The Birth of Byzantium

In 330, Emperor Constantine made the capital of the Roman Empire the city of Byzantium, located on the picturesque shores of the Bosphorus. The new capital was first called New Rome, and later – Constantinople, that is, “the city of Constantine.”

VI Art. From the report of the medieval historian Jordan about the visit to Constantinople by the Ostrogothic king

He entered the royal city and, amazed, said: “Now I see with my own eyes this famous city, which I often listened with disbelief.” Looking around, he admired the location of the city, he marveled at the caravan of ships… Looking at the famous walls and the crowd of people, who flocked here like an army in a fighting formation, …, prophesied: “No doubt, the emperor is an earthly god, and he who decides to rebel against him, he himself will be guilty of his death. “

In 395 G. Roman Empire finally split into the Western Roman and Eastern Roman. The Eastern Roman Empire began to be called Byzantium. The territory of Byzantium included the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, part of Mesopotamia and Transcaucasia, Crete and Cyprus.

Power in Byzantium belonged to the emperor, whose support was numerous officials. The emperor was an autocrat. His word was considered law. Imperial power was not hereditary, that is, did not pass from father to son, since the emperor was elected by the nobles and the army. Therefore, unlike in Western Europe, where monarchs became the birthright, in Byzantium the throne could be occupied by anyone – a warrior, groom, peasant.

This gave rise to political instability in the state. The struggle for power was constant and fierce, only a few emperors managed to retain power until old age or die without help.

The autocrat is a monarch, to whom all power belongs wholly, which is not accountable to anyone.

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The Birth of Byzantium