The story

Byzantine Empire (continued)


Latin dynasties

During this period, the emperors sought to combat Hellenism, with the predominance of Latin institutions. Latin was also kept as an official language.

From 395 to 457, the Theodosian dynasty was extended, whose first emperor was Arcadius, responsible for the expulsion of the Visigoths at the end of the fourth century. Also detached was the siege of Attila the Hun, removed in 443, by paying a ransom of six thousand pounds of gold.

From 457 to 518, the Leonina dynasty was extended, which was deposed in 477 plus only the Emperor. Basilisk or (Byzantine) and was restored in 491 by Anastasius I, one of his heirs, in which the agreement on combating the Heroes between the Emperor Zeno I and the king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric, stood out.


The Byzantine Empire, 1265. The Historical Atlas, William R. Shepherd, 1911.

The most important Latin dynasty was the Justinian (518-610). In it, Emperor Justinian I (527-565) sought to restore and dispose under his full authority the vastness typical of the Antonine Empire (96-192). In 534, under the command of General Belisarius, Justinian's army conquered the Vandal Kingdom. In 554, with the conclusion of the Gothic Wars, in the Italic Peninsula, the Empire also embraced the Kingdom of the Ostrogodos.

For posterity, however, the greatest legacy of this period was the Corpus Juris Civili, the basis even today of most of the world's legislative codes. O Corpus Juris Civili was divided into four parts: the Justinian Code - a compilation of all Roman laws since Hadrian (117-138) - the Digest or Pandectas - meeting of jurisprudence works of great jurists -, the Institutes - a kind of manual that facilitated the use of the Code or Digest -, and the Soap operas or Authentic - New laws decreed by Justinian and his successors.

Justinian also ordered the construction of the Hagia Sophia, with its own architectural style, which was conventionally called the byzantine style.

In the sixth century, to combat the heresy of Nestorianism, the Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioscorus, developed monophysitism, a theological formulation also condemned by the Catholic Church and closely linked to ideals of political emancipation in Egypt and Syria. Persecution movements of the monophysicists were then triggered, however, protected by Justinian's wife, Empress Theodora. Seeking to maintain the unity of the Empire, Justinian developed the heresy of monothelism, an attempt to reconcile monophysitism with nestorianism.

Justinian's caesaropapism, which even marked the Byzantine Empire, generated disturbances in the order and dissatisfaction of the population, already outraged by the abusive collection of taxes. In 532 the Nika Uprising broke out, completely suppressed by General Belisarius after eight days.

Justinian still found himself struggling with earthquakes, famine, and the great plague of 544. After his death, the Lombards, hitherto established in Pannonia as allies, invaded northern Italy in 568. The Byzantines also maintained the Ravenna Exarchate, the Duchies of Rome and Naples, Istria, Southern Italy, and Sicily.

The Justinians still faced the onslaught of the Sassanid Persian Empire in the east and the Avars in the north. To this end, they left behind the protection of the territories conquered in Spain, North Africa and Italy, which facilitated the subsequent establishment in these regions of the Mohammedans and Church States.

The heyday

However, the Empire survived, thanks to disciplined armies, the use of Greek fire in sea battles and good emperors and generals. Between the 7th and 9th centuries, the iconoclastic movement, which condemned the cult of images, developed. Several iconoclastic emperors faced internal problems resulting from a population that did not adhere to the religious movement. Already against the Turks, the emperors of this time were able to maintain their territories and defend themselves relatively well against their enemies.

In 867, he ascended the throne Basil I, beginning the Macedonian Dynasty, which led the Empire to its heyday. Many victories were won against the Turks, Slavs and Bulgarians. Basil II, who ruled from 976 to 1025, completed the expansion of the Empire. He harmed the great landowners in favor of the peasants and overcame Bulgaria once and for all, incorporating it into the Empire and receiving the reputation of Bulbassaurus (Bulgarian killers). It defeated the Normans in Canas and reestablished the imperial authority in Apulia (Italy).


13th Century Byzantine Flag