The Cross of Mathilde, a crux gemmata made for Mathilde, Abbess of Essen (973–1011), who is shown kneeling before the Virgin and Child in the enamel plaque. The figure of Christ is slightly later. Probably made in Cologne or Essen, the cross demonstrates several medieval techniques: cast figurative sculpture, filigree, enamelling, gem polishing and setting, and the reuse of Classical cameos and engraved gems.
A late Roman sculpture depicting the Tetrarchs, now in Venice, Italy
The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
Barbarian kingdoms and tribes after the end of the Western Roman Empire
Constantine the Great was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity and moved the seat of the empire to Byzantium, renamed Constantinople in his honour.
A coin of the Ostrogothic leader Theoderic the Great, struck in Milan, Italy, c. AD 491–501
The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
A mosaic showing Justinian with the bishop of Ravenna (Italy), bodyguards, and courtiers.
Restored section of the Walls of Constantinople
Reconstruction of an early medieval peasant village in Bavaria
The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
An 11th-century illustration of Gregory the Great dictating to a secretary
After the death of Theodosius I in 395, the empire was again divided. The west disintegrated in the late 400s while the east ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Map showing growth of Frankish power from 481 to 814
Empress Theodora and attendants (Mosaic from Basilica of San Vitale, 6th century)
Charlemagne's palace chapel at Aachen, completed in 805
Hagia Sophia built in 537, during the reign of Justinian. The minarets were added in the 15th–16th centuries by the Ottoman Empire.
10th-century Ottonian ivory plaque depicting Christ receiving a church from Otto I
The Byzantine Empire in c. 600 during the reign of Maurice. Half of the Italian peninsula and most of southern Hispania were lost, but the eastern borders expanded, gaining land from the Persians.
A page from the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript created in the British Isles in the late 8th or early 9th century
Battle between Heraclius and the Persians. Fresco by Piero della Francesca, c. 1452
Medieval French manuscript illustration of the three classes of medieval society: those who prayed (the clergy) those who fought (the knights), and those who worked (the peasantry). The relationship between these classes was governed by feudalism and manorialism. (Li Livres dou Sante, 13th century)
By 650 (pictured) the empire had lost all its southern provinces, except the Exarchate of Africa, to the Rashidun Caliphate. At the same time the Slavs invaded and settled in the Balkans.
13th-century illustration of a Jew (in pointed Jewish hat) and the Christian Petrus Alphonsi debating
Greek fire was first used by the Byzantine Navy during the Byzantine–Arab Wars (from the Madrid Skylitzes, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid).
Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190
Constantine IV and his retinue, mosaic in Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. Constantine IV defeated the First Arab siege of Constantinople.
The Bayeux Tapestry (detail) showing William the Conqueror (centre), his half-brothers Robert, Count of Mortain (right) and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux in the Duchy of Normandy (left)
The Byzantine Empire at the accession of Leo III, c. 717. Striped indicates areas raided by the Umayyads.
Krak des Chevaliers was built during the Crusades for the Knights Hospitallers.
Gold solidus of Leo III (left), and his son and heir, Constantine V (right)
A medieval scholar making precise measurements in a 14th-century manuscript illustration
A Simple Cross: An example of Iconoclast art in the Hagia Irene Church in Istanbul.
Portrait of Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher by Tommaso da Modena, 1352, the first known depiction of spectacles
The Byzantine Empire, c. 867
The Romanesque Church of Maria Laach, Germany
The general Leo Phokas defeats the Hamdanid Emirate of Aleppo at Andrassos in 960, from the Madrid Skylitzes
The Gothic interior of Laon Cathedral, France
10th century military successes were coupled with a major cultural revival, the so-called Macedonian Renaissance. Miniature from the Paris Psalter, an example of Hellenistic-influenced art.
Francis of Assisi, depicted by Bonaventura Berlinghieri in 1235, founded the Franciscan Order.
Emperor Basil II ((r. 976 – 1025))
Sénanque Abbey, Gordes, France
The extent of the Empire under Basil II
Execution of some of the ringleaders of the jacquerie, from a 14th-century manuscript of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
Rus' under the walls of Constantinople (860)
Map of Europe in 1360
Varangian Guardsmen, an illumination from the Skylitzis Chronicle
Joan of Arc in a 15th-century depiction
Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe throughout late antiquity and most of the Middle Ages until the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
Guy of Boulogne crowning Pope Gregory XI in a 15th-century miniature from Froissart's Chroniques
Mural of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 19th century, Troyan Monastery, Bulgaria
Clerics studying astronomy and geometry, French, early 15th century
The seizure of Edessa (1031) by the Byzantines under George Maniakes and the counterattack by the Seljuk Turks
Agricultural calendar, c. 1470, from a manuscript of Pietro de Crescenzi
Alexios I, founder of the Komnenos dynasty
February scene from the 15th-century illuminated manuscript Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
The Chora Church, dating from the Komnenian period, has some of the finest Byzantine frescoes and mosaics.
Medieval illustration of the spherical Earth in a 14th-century copy of L'Image du monde
The Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm before the First Crusade (1095–1099)
A mosaic from the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople (modern Istanbul), depicting Mary and Jesus, flanked by John II Komnenos (left) and his wife Irene of Hungary (right), 12th century
Byzantine Empire in orange, c. 1180, at the end of the Komnenian period
The Lamentation of Christ (1164), a fresco from the church of Saint Panteleimon in Nerezi, North Macedonia, considered a superb example of 12th-century Komnenian art
Byzantium in the late Angeloi period
The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix (1840)
The partition of the empire following the Fourth Crusade, c. 1204
The Byzantine Empire, c. 1263
The siege of Constantinople in 1453, depicted in a 15th-century French miniature
The Eastern Mediterranean just before the Fall of Constantinople
Flag of the late Empire under the Palaiologoi, sporting the tetragrammic cross symbol of the Palaiologos dynasty
The embassy of John the Grammarian in 829, between the emperor Theophilos and the Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun
Italian sketch of Emperor John VIII during his visit in Ferrara and Florence in 1438
Interior of the Hagia Sophia, the patriarchal basilica in Constantinople designed 537 by Isidore of Miletus, the first compiler of Archimedes' various works. The influence of Archimedes' principles of solid geometry is evident.
The frontispiece of the Vienna Dioscurides, which shows a set of seven famous physicians
Bas-relief plaque of Tribonian in the Chamber of the House of Representatives in the United States Capitol
Many refugee Byzantine scholars fled to North Italy in the 1400s. Here John Argyropoulos (1415–1487), born in Constantinople and who ended his days in north Italy.
Ceramic grenades that were filled with Greek fire, surrounded by caltrops, 10th–12th century, National Historical Museum, Athens, Greece
As a symbol and expression of the universal prestige of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Justinian built the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, Hagia Sophia, which was completed in the short period of four and a half years (532–537).
Mosaic of Jesus in Pammakaristos Church, Istanbul
Triumphal arch mosaics of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. In Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy.
Earliest known depiction of a bowed lyra, from a Byzantine ivory casket (900–1100) (Museo Nazionale, Florence)
The double-headed eagle, a common Imperial symbol
Distribution of Greek dialects in Anatolia in the late Byzantine Empire through to 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian in green. (Green dots indicate Cappadocian Greek-speaking villages in 1910. )
A game of τάβλι (tabula) played by Byzantine emperor Zeno in 480 and recorded by Agathias in c. 530 because of a very unlucky dice throw for Zeno (red), as he threw 2, 5 and 6 and was forced to leave eight pieces alone.
Golden Solidus of Justinian I (527–565) excavated in India probably in the south, an example of Indo-Roman trade during the period
Christ Pantocrator mosaic in Hagia Sophia, circa 1261
Christ as the Good Shepherd; {{circa}} 425-430; mosaic; width: {{circa}} 3 m; Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (Ravenna, Italy)<ref>{{cite book |last1=Fortenberry|first1=Diane|title=THE ART MUSEUM |date=2017|publisher=Phaidon|isbn=978-0-7148-7502-6|page=108|language=en}}</ref>
Diptych Leaf with a Byzantine Empress; 6th century; ivory with traces of gilding and leaf; height: {{cvt|26.5|cm}}; Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna, Austria)<ref>{{cite book |last1=Fortenberry|first1=Diane|title=THE ART MUSEUM |date=2017|publisher=Phaidon|isbn=978-0-7148-7502-6|page=114|language=en}}</ref>
Collier; late 6th–7th century; gold, an emerald, a sapphire, amethysts and pearls; diameter: {{cvt|23|cm}}; from a Constantinopolitan workshop; Antikensammlung Berlin (Berlin, Germany)<ref>{{cite book |last1=Fortenberry|first1=Diane|title=THE ART MUSEUM |date=2017|publisher=Phaidon|isbn=978-0-7148-7502-6|page=115|language=en}}</ref>
Page of the Gospel Book with Commentaries: Portrait of Mark; 1000–1100; ink, tempera, gold, vellum and leather binding; sheet: {{cvt|28 x 23|cm}}; Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US)
Icon of the New Testament Trinity; c. 1450; tempera and gold on wood panel (poplar); Cleveland Museum of Art

The Byzantine Empire,{{NoteTag|{{IPAc-en|b|I|"|z|{|n|%|t|aI|n|,_|b|aI|"|z|{|n|-|,_|"|b|I|z|@|n|-|,_|-|%|t|i:|n|,_|-|%|t|I|n}} {{respell|bih|ZAN|tyne|,_|by|-|,_|BIZ|ən|-|,_|-|teen|,_|-|tin}} }} also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire remained the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. The terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" were coined after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, and to themselves as Romans{{NoteTag|{{Lang-gkm|Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων|Basileía Rhōmaíōn}} (Roman Empire); {{Lang-gkm|Ῥωμανία|Rhōmaía}} (Romania); {{Lang-gkm|Ῥωμαῖοι|Rhōmaîoi}} (Romans)}}—a term which Greeks continued to use for themselves into Ottoman times.

- Byzantine Empire

In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—most recently part of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors.

- Middle Ages
The Cross of Mathilde, a crux gemmata made for Mathilde, Abbess of Essen (973–1011), who is shown kneeling before the Virgin and Child in the enamel plaque. The figure of Christ is slightly later. Probably made in Cologne or Essen, the cross demonstrates several medieval techniques: cast figurative sculpture, filigree, enamelling, gem polishing and setting, and the reuse of Classical cameos and engraved gems.

32 related topics

Alpha

Roman Empire

The post-Republican period of ancient Rome.

The post-Republican period of ancient Rome.

The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)
The Augustus of Prima Porta
(early 1st century AD)
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)
The Barbarian Invasions consisted of the movement of (mainly) ancient Germanic peoples into Roman territory. Even though northern invasions took place throughout the life of the Empire, this period officially began in the 4th century and lasted for many centuries, during which the western territory was under the dominion of foreign northern rulers, a notable one being Charlemagne. Historically, this event marked the transition between classical antiquity and the Middle Ages.
The Roman Empire by 476
The cities of the Roman world in the Imperial Period. Data source: Hanson, J. W. (2016), Cities database, (OXREP databases). Version 1.0. (link).
A segment of the ruins of Hadrian's Wall in northern England, overlooking Crag Lough
A 5th-century papyrus showing a parallel Latin-Greek text of a speech by Cicero
Bilingual Latin-Punic inscription at the theatre in Leptis Magna, Roman Africa (present-day Libya)
A multigenerational banquet depicted on a wall painting from Pompeii (1st century AD)
Citizen of Roman Egypt (Fayum mummy portrait)
Dressing of a priestess or bride, Roman fresco from Herculaneum, Italy (30–40 AD)
Slave holding writing tablets for his master (relief from a 4th-century sarcophagus)
Cinerary urn for the freedman Tiberius Claudius Chryseros and two women, probably his wife and daughter
Fragment of a sarcophagus depicting Gordian III and senators (3rd century)
Condemned man attacked by a leopard in the arena (3rd-century mosaic from Tunisia)
Forum of Gerasa (Jerash in present-day Jordan), with columns marking a covered walkway (stoa) for vendor stalls, and a semicircular space for public speaking
Reconstructed statue of Augustus as Jove, holding scepter and orb (first half of 1st century AD).
Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161), wearing a toga (Hermitage Museum)
The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117–138) showing the location of the Roman legions deployed in 125 AD
Relief panel from Trajan's Column in Rome, showing the building of a fort and the reception of a Dacian embassy
The Pula Arena in Croatia is one of the largest and most intact of the remaining Roman amphitheatres.
Personification of the River Nile and his children, from the Temple of Serapis and Isis in Rome (1st century AD)
A green Roman glass cup unearthed from an Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 AD) tomb in Guangxi, southern China; the earliest Roman glassware found in China was discovered in a Western Han tomb in Guangzhou, dated to the early 1st century BC, and ostensibly came via the maritime route through the South China Sea
Solidus issued under Constantine II, and on the reverse Victoria, one of the last deities to appear on Roman coins, gradually transforming into an angel under Christian rule
Landscape resulting from the ruina montium mining technique at Las Médulas, Spain, one of the most important gold mines in the Roman Empire
The Tabula Peutingeriana (Latin for "The Peutinger Map") an Itinerarium, often assumed to be based on the Roman cursus publicus, the network of state-maintained roads.
A map of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greco-Roman Periplus
Workers at a cloth-processing shop, in a painting from the fullonica of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii
Roman hunters during the preparations, set-up of traps, and in-action hunting near Tarraco
Amphitheatres of the Roman Empire
Construction on the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum (Italy), began during the reign of Vespasian.
The Pont du Gard aqueduct, which crosses the river Gardon in southern France, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
Cityscape from the Villa Boscoreale (60s AD)
Aquae Sulis in Bath, England: architectural features above the level of the pillar bases are a later reconstruction.
Public toilets (latrinae) from Ostia Antica
Reconstructed peristyle garden based on the House of the Vettii
Birds and fountain within a garden setting, with oscilla (hanging masks) above, in a painting from Pompeii
Bread stall, from a Pompeiian wall painting
An Ostian taberna for eating and drinking; the faded painting over the counter pictured eggs, olives, fruit and radishes.
Still life on a 2nd-century Roman mosaic
Wall painting depicting a sports riot at the amphitheatre of Pompeii, which led to the banning of gladiator combat in the town
A victor in his four-horse chariot
The Zliten mosaic, from a dining room in present-day Libya, depicts a series of arena scenes: from top, musicians playing a Roman tuba, a water pipe organ and two horns; six pairs of gladiators with two referees; four beast fighters; and three convicts condemned to the beasts
Boys and girls playing ball games (2nd-century relief from the Louvre)
So-called "bikini girls" mosaic from the Villa del Casale, Roman Sicily, 4th century
Stone game board from Aphrodisias: boards could also be made of wood, with deluxe versions in costly materials such as ivory; game pieces or counters were bone, glass, or polished stone, and might be coloured or have markings or images
Women from the wall painting at the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii
Claudius wearing an early Imperial toga (see a later, more structured toga above), and the pallium as worn by a priest of Serapis, sometimes identified as the emperor Julian
The Aldobrandini Wedding, 27 BC – 14 AD
The Wedding of Zephyrus and Chloris (54–68 AD, Pompeian Fourth Style) within painted architectural panels from the Casa del Naviglio
The bronze Drunken Satyr, excavated at Herculaneum and exhibited in the 18th century, inspired an interest among later sculptors in similar "carefree" subjects.
On the Ludovisi sarcophagus, an example of the battle scenes favoured during the Crisis of the Third Century, the "writhing and highly emotive" Romans and Goths fill the surface in a packed, anti-classical composition
The Primavera of Stabiae, perhaps the goddess Flora
The Triumph of Neptune floor mosaic from Africa Proconsularis (present-day Tunisia), celebrating agricultural success with allegories of the Seasons, vegetation, workers and animals viewable from multiple perspectives in the room (latter 2nd century)
Actor dressed as a king and two muses. Fresco from Herculaneum, 30–40 AD
All-male theatrical troupe preparing for a masked performance, on a mosaic from the House of the Tragic Poet
Pride in literacy was displayed in portraiture through emblems of reading and writing, as in this example of a couple from Pompeii (Portrait of Paquius Proculo).
Reconstruction of a writing tablet: the stylus was used to inscribe letters into the wax surface for drafts, casual letterwriting, and schoolwork, while texts meant to be permanent were copied onto papyrus.
A teacher with two students, as a third arrives with his loculus, a writing case that would contain pens, ink pot, and a sponge to correct errors
Mosaic from Pompeii depicting the Academy of Plato
Portrait of a literary woman from Pompeii (ca. 50 AD)
A fresco in Pompeii depicting a poet (thought to be Euphorion) and a female reading a diptych
Statue in Constanța, Romania (the ancient colony Tomis), commemorating Ovid's exile
Brescia Casket, an ivory box with Biblical imagery (late 4th century)
Silver cup, from the Boscoreale Treasure (early 1st century AD)
Finely decorated Gallo-Roman terra sigillata bowl
Gold earrings with gemstones, 3rd century
Glass cage cup from the Rhineland, 4th century
Dionysus (Bacchus) with long torch sitting on a throne, with Helios (Sol), Aphrodite (Venus) and other gods. Fresco from Pompeii.
A Roman priest, his head ritually covered with a fold of his toga, extends a patera in a gesture of libation (2nd–3rd century)
Statuettes representing Roman and Gallic deities, for personal devotion at private shrines
thumb|upright=0.6|The Pompeii Lakshmi, an ivory statuette from the Indian subcontinent found in the ruins of Pompeii
Relief from the Arch of Titus in Rome depicting a menorah and other spoils from the Temple of Jerusalem carried in Roman triumph.
This funerary stele from the 3rd century is among the earliest Christian inscriptions, written in both Greek and Latin: the abbreviation D.M. at the top refers to the Di Manes, the traditional Roman spirits of the dead, but accompanies Christian fish symbolism.
The Pantheon in Rome, a Roman temple originally built under Augustus and later rebuilt under Hadrian in the 2nd century, dedicated to Rome's polytheistic religion before its conversion into a Catholic church in the 7th century

Later, the Empire was ruled by multiple emperors who shared control over the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.

The adoption of Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire in AD 380 and the fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

The Barberini ivory, a late Leonid/Justinian Byzantine ivory leaf from an imperial diptych, from an imperial workshop in Constantinople in the first half of the sixth century (Louvre Museum)

Late antiquity

The Barberini ivory, a late Leonid/Justinian Byzantine ivory leaf from an imperial diptych, from an imperial workshop in Constantinople in the first half of the sixth century (Louvre Museum)
Late 4th-century Roman bust of a Germanic slave in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Belgica Prima, seat of the praetorian prefecture of Gaul (Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier)
Modern statue of Constantine I at York, where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306
The Byzantine Empire after the Arabs conquered the provinces of Syria and Egypt – the same time the early Slavs settled in the Balkans
The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius, 1883: John William Waterhouse expresses the sense of moral decadence that coloured the 19th-century historical view of the 5th century.
The ruins of the Taq Kasra in Ctesiphon, capital of the Sasanian Empire, photographed in 1864
View west along the Harbour Street towards the Library of Celsus in Ephesus, present-day Turkey. The pillars on the left side of the street were part of the colonnaded walkway apparent in cities of Late Antique Asia Minor.
Roman cavalry from a mosaic of the Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily, 4th century CE
The Four Tetrarchs, in porphyry, later sacked from Constantinople, St. Marks, Venice
The Vienna Dioscurides, an early 6th-century illuminated manuscript of De Materia Medica by Dioscorides in Greek, a rare example of a late antique scientific text

Late antiquity is the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in Europe and adjacent areas bordering the Mediterranean Basin.

The Roman Empire underwent considerable social, cultural and organizational changes starting with the reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western portions ruled by multiple emperors simultaneously.

Western Roman Empire

Used in historiography to describe the period from 286 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts.

Used in historiography to describe the period from 286 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts.

The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Republic before the conquests of Octavian
The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)
The Roman, Gallic and Palmyrene Empires in 271 AD
The organization of the Empire under the Tetrarchy
Division of the Roman Empire among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from west to east, the territories of Constantine II, Constans I, Dalmatius and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I (May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.
The division of the Empire after the death of Theodosius I, c. undefined 395 AD, superimposed on modern borders
Solidus of Emperor Honorius
Barbarian invasions and the invasion of usurper Constantine III in the Western Roman Empire during the reign of Honorius, 407–409
Germanic and Hunnic invasions of the Roman Empire, 100–500 AD
Boxwood relief depicting the liberation of a besieged city by a relief force, with those defending the walls making a sortie. Western Roman Empire, early 5th century AD
The Western Roman Empire during the reign of Majorian in 460 AD. During his four-year-long reign from 457 to 461, Majorian restored Western Roman authority in Hispania and most of Gaul. Despite his accomplishments, Roman rule in the west would last less than two more decades.
The Western and Eastern Roman Empire by 476
The city of Ravenna, Western Roman capital, on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th-century medieval map possibly copied from a 4th- or 5th-century Roman original
Map of the Barbarian kingdoms (major kingdoms and the Roman Empire labelled below) of the western Mediterranean in 526, seven years before the campaigns of reconquest under Eastern emperor Justinian I
6th-century Visigothic coin, struck in the name of Emperor Justinian I
Odoacer's Italy in 480 AD, following the annexation of Dalmatia
Solidus minted under Odoacer with the name and portrait of the Eastern emperor Zeno
Map of the realm of Theodoric the Great at its height in 523, following the annexation of the southern parts of the Burgundian kingdom. Theoderic ruled both the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kingdoms and exerted hegemony over the Burgundians and Vandals.
The Eastern Roman Empire, by reoccupying some of the former Western Roman Empire's lands, enlarged its territory considerably during Justinian's reign from 527 (red) to 565 (orange).
Map of the Eastern Roman Empire in 717 AD. Over the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, Islamic expansion had ended Roman rule in Africa and though some bastions of Roman rule remained, most of Italy was controlled by the Lombards.
Romance languages, languages that developed from Latin following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, are spoken in Western Europe to this day, with the exception of Romanian, which developed from the Latin spoken in the eastern provinces and the early Eastern Empire. Their extent in Western Europe almost reflects the continental borders of the old Empire.
Bust of Emperor Maximian, the first Western Roman emperor
Bust of Emperor Constantine I, the founder of the Constantinian dynasty
Bust of Emperor Valentinian II, a member of the Valentinianic dynasty's second generation of emperors
Emperor Honorius, as depicted by Jean-Paul Laurens in 1880

The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire were coined in modern times to describe political entities that were de facto independent; contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two imperial courts as an administrative expediency.

The date of 476 was popularized by the 18th-century British historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

The Parthenon is one of the most recognizable symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture.

Classical antiquity

Period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world.

Period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world.

The Parthenon is one of the most recognizable symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture.
Map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies (in red) around 8th to 6th century BC
Etruscan civilization in north of Italy, 800 BC.
Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), right before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC
The extent of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in 218 BC (dark red), 133 BC (light red), 44 BC (orange), 14 AD (yellow), after 14 AD (green), and maximum extension under Trajan 117 (light green)
The extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan, AD 117
The Western and Eastern Roman Empires by 476
The Byzantine Empire in 650 after the Arabs conquered the provinces of Syria and Egypt. At the same time early Slavs settled in the Balkans.
Plato and Aristotle walking and disputing. Detail from Raphael's The School of Athens (1509–1511)

decline of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, while the Eastern Roman Empire persisted throughout the Middle Ages, in a state called the Roman Empire by its citizens, and labeled the Byzantine Empire by later historians.

Head of the Colossus of Constantine, Capitoline Museums

Constantine the Great

Roman emperor who reigned from 306 to 337 AD, and was the first one to convert to Christianity.

Roman emperor who reigned from 306 to 337 AD, and was the first one to convert to Christianity.

Head of the Colossus of Constantine, Capitoline Museums
Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus
Mosaic in the Hagia Sophia, section: Maria as patron saint of Constantinople, detail: donor portrait of Emperor Constantine I with a model of the city
Porphyry bust of the Emperor Galerius
Modern bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306
The portrait of Constantine on a Roman coin; the inscription around the portrait is "Constantinus Aug[ustus]"
Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by Constantine, more than 100 m wide by 200 m long and capable of serving several thousand at a time, built to rival those of Rome
Dresden bust of the Emperor Maxentius, who was defeated by Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
A gold solidus of "Unconquered Constantine" with the god Sol Invictus behind him, struck in AD 313. The use of Sol's image stressed Constantine's status as his father's successor, appealed to the educated citizens of Gaul, and was considered less offensive than the traditional pagan pantheon to the Christians.
A Roman fresco in Trier, Germany, possibly depicting Constantia, c. 310 AD
Battle of Constantine and Maxentius (detail of part of a fresco by Giulio Romano in the Hall of Constantine in the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican), copy c. 1650 by Lazzaro Baldi, now at the University of Edinburgh
The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the River Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
Silver medallion of 315; Constantine with a chi-rho symbol as the crest of his helmet
Gold aureus of the Emperor Licinius
Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople
Constantine burning books by Arian heretics ('Heretici Arriani'), from a 9th-century manuscript now in Vercelli
Pope Sylvester I and Emperor Constantine
Hexagonal gold pendant with double solidus of Constantine the Great in the centre, AD 321, now in the British Museum
A nummus of Constantine
The Baptism of Constantine, as imagined by students of Raphael
Possible portrait of Constantine's daughter Helena and his nephew and son-in-law Julian
Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622
Constantine the Great by Philip Jackson, a statue unveiled in York in 1998.
York Minster is in the background.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire and a pivotal moment in the transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages.

It subsequently became the capital of the empire for more than a thousand years, the later Eastern Roman Empire being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by modern historians.

Fall of the Western Roman Empire

The loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities.

The loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities.

Routes taken by barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire during the Migration Period
Roman Empire in the early second century
The divided Empire in 271 CE
The Roman Empire under the Tetrarchy, showing the dioceses and the four Tetrarchs' zones of responsibility
Solidus of Julian, c. 361. Obverse: Julian with the beard appropriate to a Neoplatonic philosopher. Inscription: FL(AVIVS) CL(AVDIVS) IVLIANVS PP(=Pater Patriae, "father of the nation") AVG(=Augustus). Reverse: an armed Roman, military standard in one hand, a captive in the other. Inscription: VIRTVS EXERCITVS ROMANORVM, "the bravery/virtue of the Roman army"; the mint mark is SIRM, Sirmium.
The Eastern and Western Roman Empire at the death of Theodosius I in 395
The emperor Honorius, a contemporary depiction on a consular diptych issued by Anicius Petronius Probus to celebrate Probus's consulship in 406, now in the Aosta museum
The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883
An ivory diptych, thought to depict Stilicho (right) with his wife Serena and son Eucherius, ca. 395 (Monza Cathedral)
Inscription honouring Honorius, as florentissimo invictissimoque, the most excellent and invincible, 417–418, Forum Romanum
Areas allotted to or claimed by barbarian groups in 416–418
During his four-year reign Majorian reconquered most of Hispania and southern Gaul, meanwhile reducing the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suevi to federate status.
Tremissis of Anthemius
Tremissis of Julius Nepos
Europe and the Mediterranean in 476 AD
The Ostrogothic Kingdom, which rose from the ruins of the Western Roman Empire

The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire survived, and although lessened in strength, remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Western barbarians lost much of these higher cultural practices, but their redevelopment in the Middle Ages by polities aware of the Roman achievement formed the basis for the later development of Europe.

Ottoman Empire

Empire that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries.

Empire that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries.

The Ottoman Empire in 1683
The Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, depicted in an Ottoman miniature from 1523
The Ottoman Empire in 1683
Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror's entry into Constantinople; painting by Fausto Zonaro (1854–1929)
An Ottoman miniature of the Battle of Mohács in 1526
Map of Ottoman territorial acquisitions up to 1683
The Second Siege of Vienna in 1683, by Frans Geffels (1624–1694).
Austrian troops led by Prince Eugene of Savoy captured Belgrade in 1717. Austrian control in Serbia lasted until the Turkish victory in the Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–1739). With the 1739 Treaty of Belgrade, the Ottoman Empire regained northern Bosnia, Habsburg Serbia (including Belgrade), Oltenia and the southern parts of the Banat of Temeswar.
Ottoman troops attempting to halt the advancing Russians during the Siege of Ochakov in 1788
Selim III receiving dignitaries during an audience at the Gate of Felicity, Topkapı Palace. Painting by Konstantin Kapıdağlı.
The siege of the Acropolis in 1826–1827 during the Greek War of Independence
Opening ceremony of the First Ottoman Parliament at the Dolmabahçe Palace in 1876. The First Constitutional Era lasted only two years until 1878. The Ottoman Constitution and Parliament were restored 30 years later with the Young Turk Revolution in 1908.
Ottoman troops storming Fort Shefketil during the Crimean War of 1853–1856
The Empire in 1875 under sultan Abdul-Aziz
Declaration of the Young Turk Revolution by the leaders of the Ottoman millets in 1908
Admiral Wilhelm Souchon, who commanded the Black Sea Raid on 29 October 1914, and his officers in Ottoman naval uniforms
The Armenian genocide was the result of the Ottoman government's deportation and ethnic cleansing policies regarding its Armenian citizens after the Battle of Sarikamish (1914–1915) and the collapse of the Caucasus Front against the Imperial Russian Army and Armenian volunteer units during World War I. An estimated 600,000 to more than 1 million, or up to 1.5 million people were killed.
Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, leaving the country after the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate, 17 November 1922
Ambassadors at the Topkapı Palace
Inside Harem, the private residence of the sultan in Topkapı Palace
Yusuf Ziya Pasha, Ottoman ambassador to the United States, in Washington, 1913
An Ottoman trial, 1877
An unhappy wife complains to the Qadi about her husband's impotence as depicted in an Ottoman miniature.
Ottoman sipahis in battle, holding the crescent banner (by Józef Brandt)
Selim III watching the parade of his new army, the Nizam-ı Cedid (New Order) troops, in 1793
A German postcard depicting the Ottoman Navy at the Golden Horn in the early stages of World War I. At top left is a portrait of Sultan Mehmed V.
Ottoman pilots in early 1912
Administrative divisions in 1899 (year 1317 Hijri)
A European bronze medal from the period of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, 1481
The Ottoman Bank was founded in 1856 in Constantinople. On 26 August 1896, the bank was occupied by members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Smyrna under Ottoman rule in 1900
View of Galata (Karaköy) and the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn, c. 1880–1893
1911 Ottoman calendar shown in several different languages such as: Ottoman Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Bulgarian and French.
Abdülmecid II was the last caliph of Islam and a member of the Ottoman dynasty.
Mehmed the Conqueror and Patriarch Gennadius II
The original Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Istanbul was built in 1725 by the local Italian community of Istanbul.
Depiction of a hookah shop in Lebanon, Ottoman Empire
Beyazıt State Library was founded in 1884.
Ahmet Nedîm Efendi, one of the most celebrated Ottoman poets
Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, designed by Sinan in the 16th century and a major example of the Classical Ottoman style
Ottoman miniature lost its function with the Westernization of Ottoman culture.
Turkish women baking bread, 1790
Observatory of Taqi ad-Din in 1577
Girl Reciting the Qurān (Kuran Okuyan Kız), an 1880 painting by the Ottoman polymath Osman Hamdi Bey, whose works often showed women engaged in educational activities.
Members of Beşiktaş J.K. in 1903
Members of Galatasaray S.K. (football) in 1905
Miniature from Surname-i Vehbi showing the Mehteran, the music band of the Janissaries
The shadow play Karagöz and Hacivat was widespread throughout the Ottoman Empire.
Musicians and dancers entertain the crowds, from Surname-i Hümayun, 1720.
A Musical Gathering - 18th century
Acrobacy in Surname-i Hümayun

The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed the Conqueror.

The Battle of Nicopolis for the Bulgarian Tsardom of Vidin in 1396, widely regarded as the last large-scale crusade of the Middle Ages, failed to stop the advance of the victorious Ottoman Turks.

The divided Empire in 271

Crisis of the Third Century

Period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed.

Period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed.

The divided Empire in 271
Gothic raids in the 3rd century
Barbarian invasions against the Roman Empire in the 3rd century
Emperor Diocletian. With his rise to power in 284, the Crisis of the Third Century ended and gave rise to the Tetrarchy

This produced profound changes that, in many ways, foreshadowed the very decentralized economic character of the coming Middle Ages.

This would have a considerable impact on the later development of the empire with a richer, more stable eastern empire surviving the end of Roman rule in the west.

Sasanian Empire

The last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the.

The last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the.

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620, under Khosrow II
Initial coinage of founder Ardashir I, as King of Persis Artaxerxes (Ardaxsir) V. c. 205/6–223/4 CE. Obv: Bearded facing head, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara, legend "The divine Ardaxir, king" in Pahlavi. Rev: Bearded head of Papak, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara, legend "son of the divinity Papak, king" in Pahlavi.
The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620, under Khosrow II
1840 illustration of a Sasanian relief at Firuzabad, showing Ardashir I's victory over Artabanus IV and his forces.
Rock relief of Ardashir I receiving the ring of kingship by the Zoroastrian supreme god Ahura Mazda.
Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rostam of Persian emperor Shapur I (on horseback) capturing Roman emperor Valerian (standing) and Philip the Arab (kneeling), suing for peace, following the victory at Edessa.
The Humiliation of Valerian by Shapur (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1521, pen and black ink on a chalk sketch, Kunstmuseum Basel)
The spread of Manichaeism (300–500)
Rome and satellite kingdom of Armenia around 300, after Narseh's defeat
Bust of Shapur II ((r. 309 – 379))
Early Alchon Huns coin based on the coin design of Shapur II, adding the Alchon Tamgha symbol Alchon_Tamga.png and "Alchono" (αλχοννο) in Bactrian script on the obverse. Dated 400–440.
Bahram V is a great favourite in Persian literature and poetry. "Bahram and the Indian princess in the black pavilion." Depiction of a Khamsa (Quintet) by the great Persian poet Nizami, mid-16th-century Safavid era.
A coin of Yazdegerd II
Plate of Peroz I hunting argali
Plate of a Sasanian king hunting rams, perhaps Kavad I ((r. 488 – 496)).
Plate depicting Khosrow I.
15th-century Shahnameh illustration of Hormizd IV seated on his throne.
Coin of Khosrow II.
The Siege of Constantinople in 626 by the combined Sassanid, Avar, and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery, Romania
Queen Boran, daughter of Khosrau II, the first woman and one of the last rulers on the throne of the Sasanian Empire, she reigned from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630
Extent of the Sasanian Empire in 632 with modern borders superimposed
Umayyad Caliphate coin imitating Khosrau II. Coin of the time of Mu'awiya I ibn Abi Sufyan. BCRA (Basra) mint; "Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, governor". Dated AH 56 = 675/6. Sasanian style bust imitating Khosrau II right; bismillah and three pellets in margin; c/m: winged creature right / Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left, mint name to right.
The Walls of Derbent, part of the Sasanian defense lines
Sasanian army helmet
A Sassanid king posing as an armored cavalryman, Taq-e Bostan, Iran
Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat between two nobles.
A fine cameo showing an equestrian combat of Shapur I and Roman emperor Valerian in which the Roman emperor is seized following the Battle of Edessa, according to Shapur's own statement, "with our own hand", in 260
Sassanian fortress in Derbent, Dagestan. Now inscribed on Russia's UNESCO world heritage list since 2003.
Egyptian woven pattern woolen curtain or trousers, which was a copy of a Sassanid silk import, which was in turn based on a fresco of King Khosrau II fighting Axum Ethiopian forces in Yemen, 5–6th century
Persian ambassador at the Chinese court of Emperor Yuan of Liang in his capital Jingzhou in 526-539 CE, with explanatory text. Portraits of Periodical Offering of Liang, 11th century Song copy.
Coin of the Kushanshah Peroz II Kushanshah ((r. 303 – 330))
Foreign dignitary drinking wine, on ceiling of Cave 1, at Ajanta Caves, possibly depicting the Sasanian embassy to Indian king Pulakesin II (610–642), photograph and drawing.
Taq-i Kisra, the facade of the Sasanian palace in the capital Ctesiphon. The city developed into a rich commercial metropolis. It may have been the most populous city of the world in 570–622.
Plate of a Sasanian king, located in the Azerbaijan Museum in Iran.
A bowl with Khosrau I's image at the center
Horse head, gilded silver, 4th century, Sasanian art
A Sasanian silver plate featuring a simurgh. The mythical bird was used as the royal emblem in the Sasanian period.
A Sasanian silver plate depicting a royal lion hunt
The remains of the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sasanian silk twill textile of a simurgh in a beaded surround, 6th–7th century. Used in the reliquary of Saint Len, Paris
Sasanian sea trade routes
Seal of a Sassanian nobleman holding a flower, ca. 3rd–early 4th century AD.
Ruins of Adur Gushnasp, one of three main Zoroastrian temples in the Sassanian Empire
The Sasanians developed an accurate, phonetic alphabet to write down the sacred Avesta
Sasanian-era cornelian gem, depicting Abraham advancing towards Isaac with a knife in his hands. A ram is depicted to the right of Abraham. Middle Persian (Pahlavi) inscription ZNH mwdly l’styny. Created 4th-5th century AD
A Sasanian fortress in Derbent, Russia (the Caspian Gates)
"Parsees of Bombay" a wood engraving, c. 1873

The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire, and re-established the Persians as a major power in late antiquity alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman Empire (after 395 the Byzantine Empire).

During the late Sasanian period, Mesopotamia had the largest population density in the medieval world.

Christianity – Percentage of population by country (2014 data)

Christendom

Culturally intertwined with.

Culturally intertwined with.

Christianity – Percentage of population by country (2014 data)
This T-and-O map, which abstracts the then known world to a cross inscribed within an orb, remakes geography in the service of Christian iconography. More detailed versions place Jerusalem at the center of the world.
Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine and the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325) holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
Spread of Christianity by AD 600 (shown in dark blue is the spread of Early Christianity up to AD 325)
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.
Picture of Christ in Majesty contained in an illuminated manuscript.
There are few old ceramic icons, such as this St. Theodor icon which dates to ca. 900 (from Preslav, Bulgaria).
The structure of a typical Gothic cathedral.
Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. Since these Christians believed God imbued the universe with regular geometric and harmonic principles, to seek these principles was therefore to seek and worship God.
Relative geographic prevalence of Christianity versus Islam versus lack of either religion (2006).

The term usually refers to the Middle Ages and to the Early Modern period during which the Christian world represented a geopolitical power that was juxtaposed with both the pagan and especially the Muslim world.

As the Western Roman Empire disintegrated into feudal kingdoms and principalities, the concept of Christendom changed as the western church became one of five patriarchates of the Pentarchy and the Christians of the Eastern Roman Empire developed.