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.
Head of the Colossus of Constantine, Capitoline Museums
A late Roman sculpture depicting the Tetrarchs, now in Venice, Italy
Remains of the luxurious residence palace of Mediana, erected by Constantine I near his birth town of Naissus
Barbarian kingdoms and tribes after the end of the Western Roman Empire
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
A coin of the Ostrogothic leader Theoderic the Great, struck in Milan, Italy, c. AD 491–501
Porphyry bust of the Emperor Galerius
A mosaic showing Justinian with the bishop of Ravenna (Italy), bodyguards, and courtiers.
Modern bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus in 306
Reconstruction of an early medieval peasant village in Bavaria
The portrait of Constantine on a Roman coin; the inscription around the portrait is "Constantinus Aug[ustus]"
An 11th-century illustration of Gregory the Great dictating to a secretary
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
Map showing growth of Frankish power from 481 to 814
Dresden bust of the Emperor Maxentius, who was defeated by Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
Charlemagne's palace chapel at Aachen, completed in 805
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.
10th-century Ottonian ivory plaque depicting Christ receiving a church from Otto I
A Roman fresco in Trier, Germany, possibly depicting Constantia, c. 310 AD
A page from the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript created in the British Isles in the late 8th or early 9th century
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
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)
The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the River Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
13th-century illustration of a Jew (in pointed Jewish hat) and the Christian Petrus Alphonsi debating
Silver medallion of 315; Constantine with a chi-rho symbol as the crest of his helmet
Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190
Gold aureus of the Emperor Licinius
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)
Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the founding of Constantinople
Krak des Chevaliers was built during the Crusades for the Knights Hospitallers.
Constantine burning books by Arian heretics ('Heretici Arriani'), from a 9th-century manuscript now in Vercelli
A medieval scholar making precise measurements in a 14th-century manuscript illustration
Pope Sylvester I and Emperor Constantine
Portrait of Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher by Tommaso da Modena, 1352, the first known depiction of spectacles
Hexagonal gold pendant with double solidus of Constantine the Great in the centre, AD 321, now in the British Museum
The Romanesque Church of Maria Laach, Germany
A nummus of Constantine
The Gothic interior of Laon Cathedral, France
The Baptism of Constantine, as imagined by students of Raphael
Francis of Assisi, depicted by Bonaventura Berlinghieri in 1235, founded the Franciscan Order.
Possible portrait of Constantine's daughter Helena and his nephew and son-in-law Julian
Sénanque Abbey, Gordes, France
Constantius appoints Constantine as his successor by Peter Paul Rubens, 1622
Execution of some of the ringleaders of the jacquerie, from a 14th-century manuscript of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
Constantine the Great by Philip Jackson, a statue unveiled in York in 1998.
York Minster is in the background.
Map of Europe in 1360
Joan of Arc in a 15th-century depiction
Guy of Boulogne crowning Pope Gregory XI in a 15th-century miniature from Froissart's Chroniques
Clerics studying astronomy and geometry, French, early 15th century
Agricultural calendar, c. 1470, from a manuscript of Pietro de Crescenzi
February scene from the 15th-century illuminated manuscript Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Medieval illustration of the spherical Earth in a 14th-century copy of L'Image du monde
The early Muslim conquests
Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750

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.

- Constantine the Great

In 330, after a period of civil war, Constantine the Great (r.

- 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.

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Byzantine Empire

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The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
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.
The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
Restored section of the Walls of Constantinople
The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)
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.
Empress Theodora and attendants (Mosaic from Basilica of San Vitale, 6th century)
Hagia Sophia built in 537, during the reign of Justinian. The minarets were added in the 15th–16th centuries by the Ottoman Empire.
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.
Battle between Heraclius and the Persians. Fresco by Piero della Francesca, c. 1452
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.
Greek fire was first used by the Byzantine Navy during the Byzantine–Arab Wars (from the Madrid Skylitzes, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid).
Constantine IV and his retinue, mosaic in Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. Constantine IV defeated the First Arab siege of Constantinople.
The Byzantine Empire at the accession of Leo III, c. 717. Striped indicates areas raided by the Umayyads.
Gold solidus of Leo III (left), and his son and heir, Constantine V (right)
A Simple Cross: An example of Iconoclast art in the Hagia Irene Church in Istanbul.
The Byzantine Empire, c. 867
The general Leo Phokas defeats the Hamdanid Emirate of Aleppo at Andrassos in 960, from the Madrid Skylitzes
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.
Emperor Basil II ((r. 976 – 1025))
The extent of the Empire under Basil II
Rus' under the walls of Constantinople (860)
Varangian Guardsmen, an illumination from the Skylitzis Chronicle
Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe throughout late antiquity and most of the Middle Ages until the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
Mural of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 19th century, Troyan Monastery, Bulgaria
The seizure of Edessa (1031) by the Byzantines under George Maniakes and the counterattack by the Seljuk Turks
Alexios I, founder of the Komnenos dynasty
The Chora Church, dating from the Komnenian period, has some of the finest Byzantine frescoes and mosaics.
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.

Constantine I ({{Reign|324|337}}) reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital and legalised Christianity.

Roman Empire

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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

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.

Order was eventually restored by Constantine the Great, who became the first emperor to convert to Christianity, and who established Constantinople as the new capital of the eastern empire.

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

Classical antiquity

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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)

Late antiquity saw the rise of Christianity under Constantine I, finally ousting the Roman imperial cult with the Theodosian decrees of 393.

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.

Christianity – Percentage of population by country (2014 data)

Christendom

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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.

Early Christendom would close at the end of imperial persecution of Christians after the ascension of Constantine the Great and the Edict of Milan in AD 313 and the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world

Catholic Church

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Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

Largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (c. 110 AD). Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Χριστιανισμός) c. 100 AD. He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.
This fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter.
The Last Supper, a late 1490s mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci, depicting the last supper of Jesus and his twelve apostles on the eve of his crucifixion. Most apostles are buried in Rome, including Saint Peter.
Jesus' commission to Saint Peter
19th-century drawing by Henry William Brewer of Old Saint Peter's Basilica, originally built in 318 by Emperor Constantine
Chartres Cathedral, completed 1220
The Renaissance period was a golden age for Catholic art. Pictured: the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo
Ruins of the Jesuit Reduction at São Miguel das Missões in Brazil
While, since the 1960s, Pope Pius XII has been accused of not having done enough to shelter Jews from the Holocaust, his defenders claim he secretly encouraged individual Catholic resistance groups, such as that led by priest Heinrich Maier. Maier helped the allies fight against the V-2, which was produced by concentration camp prisoners.
Members of the Canadian Royal 22e Regiment in audience with Pope Pius XII, following the Liberation of Rome in 1944 during World War II
Bishops listen during the Second Vatican Council
Pope John Paul II was credited as a major influence to the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. Here with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, in 1982.
Francis is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City. He was elected in the 2013 papal conclave.
C. 1210 manuscript version of the traditional Shield of the Trinity theological diagram
The Blessed Virgin Mary is highly regarded in the Catholic Church, proclaiming her as Mother of God, free from original sin and an intercessor.
Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes, France. The chalice is displayed to the people immediately after the consecration of the wine.
Baptism of Augustine of Hippo as represented in a sculptural group in Troyes Cathedral (1549), France
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist at the canonisation of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on 11 May 2007
A Catholic believer prays in a church in Mexico
The Seven Sacraments Altarpiece triptych painting of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) with oil being administered by a priest during last rites. Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445.
Priests lay their hands on the ordinands during the rite of ordination.
Wedding mass in the Philippines
Catholic religious objects – Holy Bible, crucifix and rosary
East Syrian Rite wedding crowning celebrated by a bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the pope and the Catholic Church.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta advocated for the sick, the poor and the needy by practicing the acts of corporal works of mercy.
Allegory of chastity by Hans Memling
Pope Paul VI issued Humanae vitae on 25 July 1968.

Emperor Constantine legalised the practice of Christianity in 313, and it became the state religion in 380.

The Holy See also confers orders, decorations and medals, such as the orders of chivalry originating from the Middle Ages.

The divided Empire in 271

Crisis of the Third Century

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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

However the trend of civil war would continue after the abdication of Diocletian in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy (306–324) until the rise of Constantine the Great as sole Emperor.

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

Depiction of a Gothic warrior battling Roman cavalry, from the 3rd century Ludovisi Battle sarcophagus

Goths

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Depiction of a Gothic warrior battling Roman cavalry, from the 3rd century Ludovisi Battle sarcophagus
A stone circle in the area of northern Poland occupied by the Wielbark culture, which is associated with the Goths
The Roman Empire under Hadrian, showing the location of the Gothones, then inhabiting the east bank of the Vistula
Gothic invasions in the 3rd century
The 3rd-century Great Ludovisi sarcophagus depicts a battle between Goths and Romans.
Europe in AD 300, showing the distribution of the Goths near the Black Sea
Ring of Pietroassa, dated AD 250 to AD 400 and found in Pietroasele, Romania, features a Gothic language inscription in the Elder Futhark runic alphabet
Athanaric and Valens on the Danube, Eduard Bendemann, 1860
Gizur challenges the Huns by Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1886.
Europe in AD 400, showing the distribution of the Goths in the aftermath of the Hunnic invasion
An illustration of Alaric entering Athens in 395 (the depiction, including Bronze Age armour, is anachronistic)
The maximum extent of territories ruled by Theodoric the Great in 523
The Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna, Italy. The frieze includes a motif found in Scandinavian metal jewellery.
Ruins of the citadel of Doros, capital of the Crimean Goths
An Ostrogothic eagle-shaped fibula, AD 500, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg
Detail of the votive crown of Recceswinth, hanging in Madrid. The hanging letters spell [R]ECCESVINTHVS REX OFFERET [King R. offers this].
Visigothic – Pair of eagle fibulae found at Tierra de Barros (Badajoz, southwest Spain) made of sheet gold with amethysts and coloured glass
Ulfilas explains the gospel to the Goths, 1900
Visigothic crypt of Saint Antoninus, Palencia Cathedral
In Spain, the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias who founded the Kingdom of Asturias and began the Reconquista at the Battle of Covadonga, is a national hero regarded as the country's first monarch.
Götaland
The island of Gotland
Wielbark culture in the early 3rd century
Chernyakhov culture, in the early 4th century
Roman Empire
Oksywie culture and the early Wielbark culture
Expansion of the Wielbark culture
Przeworsk culture
Germanic spearheads

The Goths (𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰; Gothi, ) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe.

In 332, Constantine helped the Sarmatians to settle on the north banks of the Danube to defend against the Goths' attacks and thereby enforce the Roman border.

Sasanian Empire

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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 latter was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great.

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

Location of Byzantion

Byzantium

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Ancient Greek city in classical antiquity that became known as Constantinople in late antiquity and Istanbul today.

Ancient Greek city in classical antiquity that became known as Constantinople in late antiquity and Istanbul today.

Location of Byzantion

In the Middle Ages, Byzántion was also a synecdoche for the eastern Roman Empire.

Herodotus' dating was later favored by Constantine the Great, who celebrated Byzantium's 1000th anniversary between the years 333 and 334.

Cologne

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Largest city of the German western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the fourth-most populous city of Germany with 1.1 million inhabitants in the city proper and 3.6 million people in the urban region.

Largest city of the German western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the fourth-most populous city of Germany with 1.1 million inhabitants in the city proper and 3.6 million people in the urban region.

Fresco with Dionysian scenes from a Roman villa of Cologne, Germany (site of the ancient city Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium), 3rd century CE, Romano-Germanic Museum
Cologne around 1411
Panorama of Cologne in 1530
Attack on Deutz by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War in 1632
Hängebrücke
The devastation of Cologne, 1945
Cologne, seen from ESA Sentinel-2
Cologne in 2013
Soviet letter's envelope in honor of the Internationale Philatelic Exhibition LUPOSTA in Cologne in 1983.
The 1930 flood in Cologne
Results of the 2020 city council election.
Köln Cathedral on the banks of Rhine
A plan published in 1800 shows the mediaeval city wall still intact, locating 16 gates (Nr. 36–51 in the legend), e.g. 47: Eigelsteintor, 43: Hahnentor, 39: Severinstor
Bridge in Cologne over the Rhine River.
Rhine River at Cologne, Germany.
Courtyard of the Kolumba museum in 2007, designed by Peter Zumthor
Tauzieher, a limestone sculpture by Nikolaus Friedrich, 1911
Water feature in Cologne, Germany, summer of 2017.
The Museum Ludwig houses one of the most important collections of modern art.
Roman excavation in Cologne: Dionysus Mosaic on display at Römisch-Germanisches Museum
North entrance to Koelnmesse, 2008
Modern office building at Rheinauhafen, EA Games Headquarters
Major roads through and around Cologne
Cologne Stadtbahn at Bensberg station
Train at Köln Hauptbahnhof
RheinEnergieStadion is the stadium of 1. Bundesliga club 1. FC Köln.
Cologne Cathedral
Great St. Martin Church
Basilica of St. Severin
Church of the Assumption
Trinity Church
Cologne City Hall
Gürzenich
Overstolzenhaus
Eigelsteintor
Hahnentor
Severinstor
Results of the 2022 state election in Cologne.
Results of the second round of the 2020 mayoral election

During the Middle Ages the city flourished as being located on one of the most important major trade routes between east and western Europe (including the Brabant Road, Via Regia and Publica).

In 310, under emperor Constantine I, a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne.