Russia and Eastern Europe

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Slavic Origins

The Byzantine Empire

Kyivan Rus

Appanage Russia

Muscovite Russia

Imperial Russia

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The Byzantine 

(Later or Eastern Roman) Empire


The reign of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, is often taken to mark the beginning of a new period in the history of the Roman Empire.  Certainly there were significant changes: Christians come to play a more important and more public role in the life of the empire; Christian concerns come to dominate public discourse; the capital was moved from Rome to Constantinople (Byzantium).  Yet there were also significant points of continuity:  the legal and political structure remained largely the same, the economy and the military were largely the same.  Even the form of Christianity in the Empire acquired significant aspects of Greco-Roman culture.  The Byzantine Empire would last until the city of Constantinople was finally conquered by Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Formation of a Christian Empire: 300-527

  • 306-337: The Emperor Constantine
  • 325: The Council of Nicea
  • 378: Battle of Adrianople
  • 410: Rome is sacked by the Visigoths
  • 354-430: St. Augustine of Hippo
  • 455: Rome is sacked by the Vandals.
  • 476: Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor in the West is deposed.

The Restoration of the Roman Empire in the East: 527-1056

  • 527-565: Reign of Justinian
  • 532-537: Justinian builds the Church of Hagia Sophia
  • 568: Lombards invade Italy
  • 680: Monophysitism is declared unorthodox.
  • 690s: Muslims conquer Byzantine North Africa
  • c. 858-867: The Missionary Journeys of Sts. Cyril and Methodius
  • 867-1056: Macedonian dynasty
  • 988: Kievan Russ adopts Orthodoxy

1056-1453: Decline of the Byzantine Empire

  • 1071: Seljuk Turks defeat Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert
  • 1204: Constantinople falls to Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade.
  • 1261: Constantinople is liberated from the Crusaders.
  • 1453: Fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Turks 

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