The history of Byzantine Greece mainly coincides with the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
The Greek peninsula became a Roman protectorate in 146 BC, and the Aegean islands were added to this territory in 133 BC. Athens and other Greek cities revolted in 88 BC, and the peninsula was crushed by the Roman general Sulla. The Roman civil wars devastated the land even further, until Augustus organized the peninsula as the province of Achaea in 27 BC.
Greece was a typical eastern province of the Roman Empire. The Romans sent colonists there and contributed new buildings to its cities, especially in the Agora of Athens, where the Agrippeia of Marcus Agrippa, the Library of Titus Flavius Pantaenus, and the Tower of the Winds, among others, were built. Romans tended to be philohellenic and Greeks were generally loyal to Rome.
Life in Greece continued under the Roman Empire much the same as it had previously, and Greek continued to be the lingua franca in the Eastern and most important part of the Empire. Roman culture was heavily influenced by classical Greek culture (see Greco-Roman) as Horace said, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit (Translation: "Captive Greece took captive her rude conqueror"). The epics of Homer inspired the Aeneid of Virgil, and authors such as Seneca the Younger wrote using Greek styles, while famous Romans such as Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius compiled works in the Greek language.
During that period, Greek intellectuals such as Galen or Apollodorus of Damascus were continuously being brought to Rome. Within the city of Rome, Greek was spoken by Roman elites, particularly philosophers, and by lower, working classes such as sailors and merchants. The emperor Nero visited Greece in 66, and performed at the Olympic Games, despite the rules against non-Greek participation. He was, of course, honored with a victory in every contest, and in 67 he proclaimed the freedom of the Greeks at the Isthmian Games in Corinth, just as Flamininus had over 200 years previously.
At the same time Greece and much of the rest of the Roman east came under the influence of Christianity. The apostle Paul had preached in Corinth and Athens, and Greece soon became one of the most highly Christianized areas of the empire.
During the second and third centuries, Greece was divided into provinces including Achaea, Macedonia, Epirus vetus and Thracia. During the reign of Diocletian in the late 3rd century, the western Balkans were organized as a Roman diocese, and was ruled by Galerius. Under Constantine I Greece was part of the dioceses of Macedonia and Thrace. The eastern and southern Aegean islands formed the province of Insulae in the Diocese of Asia.
Greece faced invasions from the Heruli, Goths, and Vandals during the reign of Theodosius I. Stilicho, who acted as regent for Arcadius, evacuated Thessaly when the Visigoths invaded in the late 4th century. Arcadius' Chamberlain Eutropius allowed Alaric to enter Greece, and he looted Corinth, and the Peloponnese. Stilicho eventually drove him out around 397 and Alaric was made magister militum in Illyricum. Eventually, Alaric and the Goths migrated to Italy, sacked Rome in 410, and built the Visigothic Empire in Iberia and southern France, which lasted until 711 with the advent of the Arabs.
Greece remained part of the relatively unified eastern half of the empire. Contrary to outdated visions of late antiquity, the Greek peninsula was most likely one of the most prosperous regions of the Roman and later the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. Older scenarios of poverty, depopulation, barbarian destruction and civil decay have been revised in light of recent archaeological discoveries. In fact the polis, as an institution, appears to have remained prosperous until at least the sixth century. Contemporary texts such as Hierocles' Synecdemus affirm that in late Antiquity, Greece was highly urbanised and contained approximately 80 cities. This view of extreme prosperity is widely accepted today, and it is assumed between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, Greece may have been one of the most economically active regions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Following the loss of Alexandria and Antioch to the Arabs, Thessaloniki became the Byzantine Empire's second largest city, called the "co-regent" (symbasileuousa), second only to Constantinople. The Greek peninsula remained one of the strongest centers of Christianity in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. After the area's recovery from the Slavic invasions, its wealth was restored. Events such as the Seljuk invasion of Asia Minor and the Latin occupation of Constantinople gradually focused Byzantine imperial interest to the Greek peninsula during the late Byzantine period. The Peloponnese in particular continued to prosper economically and intellectually even during its Latin domination, the Byzantine recovery, and until its final fall to the Ottoman Empire.
Greece was raided in Macedonia in 479 and 482 by the Ostrogoths under their king, Theodoric the Great (493–526). The Bulgars also raided Thrace and the rest of northern Greece in 540 and on repeated other occasions. These continuing Bulgar invasions required the Byzantine Empire to build a defensive wall, called the "Anastasian Wall," that extended for some thirty (30) miles, or more, from the city of Selymbria (now Silivri) to the Black Sea. The Huns and Bulgars raided Greece in 559 until the Byzantine army returned from Italy, where Justinian I had been attempting to capture the heart of the Roman Empire.
According to historical documents, the Slavs invaded and settled in parts of Greece beginning in 579 and Byzantium nearly lost control of the entire peninsula during the 580s. However, there is no archaeological evidence indicating Slavic penetration of imperial Byzantine territories before the end of the 6th century. Overall, traces of Slavic culture in Greece are very rare.
The city of Thessaloniki remained unconquered even after being attacked by the Slavs around 615. The Slavs were eventually defeated, gathered by the Byzantines and placed into segregated communities known as Sclaviniae. During the early 7th century, Constans II made the first mass-expulsions of Slavs from the Greek peninsula to the Balkans and central Asia Minor. Justinian II defeated and destroyed most of the Sclaviniae, and moved as many as 110,000–200,000 Slavs from the Greek peninsula to Bithynia, while he enlisted some 30,000 Slavs in his army.
The Slavic populations that were placed in these segregated communities were used for military campaigns against the enemies of the Byzantines. In the Peloponnese, more Slavic invaders brought disorder to the western part of the peninsula, while the eastern part remained firmly under Byzantine domination. Empress Irene organised a military campaign which liberated those territories and restored Byzantine rule to the region, but it was not until emperor Nicephorus I's resettlement of some rural areas of Peloponnese with Greek-speakers from southern Italy, that the last trace of Slavic element was eliminated.
In the mid-7th century, the empire was reorganized into "themes" by the Emperor Constans II, including the Theme of Thrace, the naval Karabisianoi corps in southern Greece and the Aegean islands. The Karabisanoi were later divided by Justinian II into the Theme of Hellas (centred on Corinth) and the Cibyrrhaeotic Theme By this time, the Slavs were no longer a threat to the Byzantines since they had been either defeated numerous times or placed in the Sclaviniae. The Slavic communities in Bithynia were destroyed by the Byzantines after General Leontios lost to the Arabs in the Battle of Sebastopolis in 692 as a result of the Slavs having defected to the Arab side.
These themes rebelled against the iconoclast emperor Leo III in 727 and attempted to set up their own emperor, although Leo defeated them. Leo then moved the headquarters of the Karabisianoi to Anatolia and created the Cibyrrhaeotic Theme of them. Up to this time Greece and the Aegean were still technically under the ecclesiastic authority of the Pope, but Leo also quarreled with the Papacy and gave these territories to the Patriarch of Constantinople. As emperor, Leo III, introduced more administrative and legal reforms than had been promulgated since the time of Justinian. Meanwhile, the Arabs began their first serious raids in the Aegean. Bithynia was eventually re-populated by Greeks from mainland Greece and Cyprus.
Nicephorus I began to reconquer Slavic and Bulgar-held areas in the early 9th century. He resettled Greek-speaking families from Asia Minor to the Greek peninsula and the Balkans, and expanded the theme of Hellas to the north to include parts of Thessaly and Macedonia, and to the south to include the regained territory of the Peloponnese. Thessalonica, previously organized as an archontate surrounded by the Slavs, became a theme of its own as well. These themes contributed another 10,000 men to the army, and allowed Nicephorus to convert most of the Slavs to Christianity.
In the late 9th century Leo VI faced invasions from the Bulgarians under Simeon I, who pillaged Thrace in 896, and again in 919 during Zoe's regency for Constantine VII. Simeon invaded northern Greece again in 922 and penetrated deep to the south seizing Thebes, just north of Athens.
In the late 10th century the greatest threat to Greece was from Samuel, who constantly fought over the area with Basil II. In 985 Samuel captured Thessaly and the important city of Larissa, and in 989 he pillaged Thessalonica. Basil slowly began to recapture these areas in 991, but Samuel captured the areas around Thessalonica and the Peloponnese again in 997 before being forced to withdraw to Bulgaria. In 999 Samuel captured Dyrrhachium and raided northern Greece once more. Basil recaptured these areas by 1002 and had fully subjugated the Bulgarians in the decade before his death.
By Basil’s death in 1025 Greece was divided into themes including Crete, the Peloponnese, Hellas, Nicopolis, Larissa, Cephalonia, Thessalonica and Strymon, the Cyclades and the Aegean Sea. They were protected from raids and invasions by the new themes created out of Bulgar territory.
Greece and Thrace became more prosperous in the 10th century and towns and cities began to grow again. Athens and Corinth probably grew to about 10,000 people, while Thessalonica may have had as many as 100,000 people. There was an important aristocratic class from these themes, especially the Macedonian emperors who ruled the empire from 867 to 1056.
Greece and the empire as a whole faced a new threat from the Normans of Sicily in the late 11th century. Robert Guiscard took Dyrrhachium and Corcyra in 1081 (see Battle of Dyrrhachium), but Alexius I defeated him, and later his son Bohemund, by 1083. The Pechenegs also raided Thrace during this period.
In 1147 while the knights of the Second Crusade made their way through Byzantine territory, Roger II of Sicily captured Corcyra and pillaged Thebes and Corinth. In 1197 Henry VI of Germany continued his father Frederick Barbarossa's antagonism towards the empire by threatening to invade Greece to reclaim the territory the Normans had briefly held. Alexius III was forced to pay him off, although the taxes he imposed caused frequent revolts against him, including rebellions in Greece and the Peloponnese. Also during his reign, the Fourth Crusade attempted to place Alexius IV on the throne, until it eventually invaded and sacked the capital.
Greece was relatively peaceful and prosperous in the 11th and 12th centuries, compared to Anatolia which was being overrun by the Seljuks. Thessalonica had probably grown to about 150,000 people, despite being looted by the Normans in 1185. Thebes also became a major city with perhaps 30,000 people, and was the centre of a major silk industry. Athens and Corinth probably still had around 10,000 people. Mainland Greek cities continued to export grain to the capital in order to make up for the land lost to the Seljuks.
However, after Constantinople was conquered during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Greece was divided among the Crusaders. The Latin Empire held Constantinople and Thrace, while Greece itself was divided into the Kingdom of Thessalonica, the Principality of Achaea, and the Duchy of Athens. The Venetians controlled the Duchy of the Archipelago in the Aegean, and the Despotate of Epirus was established as one of the three Byzantine Greek successor states.
Michael VIII restored the empire in 1261, having also regained the Kingdom of Thessalonica. By his death in 1282, Michael had taken back the Aegean islands, Thessaly, Epirus, and most of Achaea, including the Crusader fortress of Mystras, which became the seat of a Byzantine despotate. However, Athens and the northern Peloponnese remained in Crusader hands. Charles of Anjou and later his son claimed the throne of the defunct Latin Empire, and threatened Epirus and Greece, but were never able to make any progress there.
By the reign of Andronicus III Palaeologus, beginning in 1328, the empire controlled most of Greece, especially the metropolis of Thessalonica, but very little else. Epirus was nominally Byzantine but still occasionally rebelled, until it was fully recovered in 1339. Greece was mostly used as a battleground during the civil war between John V Palaeologus and John VI Cantacuzenus in the 1340s, and at the same time the Serbs and Ottomans began attacking Greece as well. By 1356 another independent despotate was set up in Epirus and Thessaly.
The Peloponnese, usually called Morea in this period, was now almost the centre of the empire, and was certainly the most fertile area. Mystras and Monemvasia were populous and prosperous, even after the Black Plague in the mid-14th century. Mystras rivaled Constantinople in importance. It was a stronghold of Greek Orthodoxy and bitterly opposed attempts by the emperors to unite with the Roman Catholic Church, even though this would have allowed the empire to gain help from the west against the Ottomans.
The Ottomans had begun their conquest of the Balkans and Greece in the late 14th century and early 15th century. In 1445, Ottoman-occupied Thessaly was recaptured by future emperor Constantine XI, at the time despot of Mystras, but there was little he could do against most of the other Ottoman territories. Emperor Constantine was defeated and killed in 1453 when the Ottomans finally captured Constantinople. After the fall of Constantinople, the Ottomans also captured Athens and the Aegean islands by 1458, but left a Byzantine despotate in the Peloponnese until 1460. The Venetians still controlled Crete and some ports, but otherwise the Ottomans controlled many regions of Greece except the mountains and heavily forested areas.
The Acropolis Museum (Greek: Μουσείο Ακρόπολης, Mouseio Akropolis) is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
The museum was founded in 2003, while the Organization of the Museum was established in 2008. It opened to the public on 20 June 2009. Nearly 4,000 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres. The Organization for the Construction of the new museum is chaired by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, Dimitrios Pandermalis.Cephallenia (theme)
The Theme of Cephallenia or Cephalonia (Greek: θέμα Κεφαλληνίας/Κεφαλονίας, thema Kephallēnias/Kephalonias) was a Byzantine theme (a military-civilian province) located in western Greece, comprising the Ionian Islands, and extant from the 8th century until partially conquered by the Kingdom of Sicily in 1185.Chase (son of Ioube)
Chase, the son of Ioube (Greek: Χασὲ υἱὸς τοῦ Ἰούβη), originally Hasan ibn Ayyub, was a senior Byzantine official of Arab origin.Culture of Greece
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. Other cultures and states such as the Frankish states, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic and Bavarian and Danish monarchies have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, but historians credit the Greek War of Independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture.
Greece is widely considered to be the cradle of Western culture and democracy. Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history, philosophy, and physics. They introduced such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, and comedy. In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.Drougoubitai
The Drougoubitai, also Drogobitai or Dragobitai (Greek: Δρο[υ]γο[υ]βῖται/Δραγοβῖται), variously anglicized as Drugubites, Drogubites, Druguvites, Draguvites etc., were a South Slavic group (Sclaveni) who settled in the Balkans in the 7th century. Two distinct branches are mentioned in the sources, one living in medieval Macedonia to the north and east of Thessalonica and around Veroia (in modern Greece).Eastern Province
Eastern Province and East Province may refer to the following places:
Eastern Province, Cameroon
Eastern Province, Cundinamarca, Venezuela
Eastern Province, Rwanda
Eastern Province (Kenya)
Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia (Al Sharqiyah)
Eastern Province, Sierra Leone
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Eastern Province cricket team
Eastern Province, Sri Lanka
Eastern Province, Zambia
Eastern Province (Victoria), a former electorate in the Victorian Legislative Council (Australia)
Khorasan (Eastern Province of Iran)
Roman and Byzantine Greece Greece as an eastern province of Roman Empire
Purvanchal, India, meaning "Eastern Province"Ezeritai
The Ezeritai (Greek: Ἐζερῖται) were a Slavic tribe that settled in the Peloponnese in southern Greece during the Middle Ages. In the early decades of the 7th century, Slavic tribes (Sclaveni) settled throughout the Balkans following the collapse of the Byzantine Empire's defense of the Danube frontier with some groups reaching as far south as the Peloponnese. The Sclaveni often settled in small groups (i.e., families and clans) and their demographic impact in mainland Greece was both weak and diffuse. Of these, two groups are known by name from later sources, the Ezeritai and the Melingoi, both having settled on the slopes of Mount Taygetos.Greece (disambiguation)
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in south-east Europe.
Greece may also refer to:
Periods of the history of Greece:
Neolithic Greece, 7000–1100 BC
Mycenaean Greece, c. 1600 – 1100 BC
Ancient Greece, 1100–146 BC
Dark Ages in Greece, c. 1100–800 BC
Archaic Greece, c. 800 – 480 BC
Classical Greece, 5th and 4th centuries BC
Hellenistic Greece, 323–31 BC
Roman Greece, 146 BC – AD 330
Modern Greece, 1828–present
First Hellenic Republic, an unrecognized state 1822–1832
Kingdom of Greece, a monarchy during the periods of 1832–1924, 1935–41 and 1944–74
Second Hellenic Republic, 1924–35
Hellenic State (1941-1944)
Greek military junta, 1967-1974
Third Hellenic Republic, 1974-presentOther:
Greece (European Parliament constituency)
Magna Graecia or Greater Greece, areas of southern Italy settled by Greeks since the 8th century BCE
Greece (town), New York, a town in western New York
Greece (CDP), New York, a suburb of Rochester located within the townHellas (theme)
The Theme of Hellas (Greek: θέμα Ἑλλάδος, Thema Hellados) was a Byzantine military-civilian province (thema, theme) located in southern Greece. The theme encompassed parts of Central Greece, Thessaly and, until c. 800, the Peloponnese peninsula. It was established in the late 7th century, and survived until the late 11th/12th century, when it was broken up into smaller districts.List of Greek artists
This is a list of Greek artists from the antiquity to today.
Artists have been categorised according to their main artistic profession and according to the major historical period they lived in: the Ancient (until the foundation of the Byzantine Empire), the Byzantine (until the fall of Constantinople in 1453) and the Modern period (1453-today).Macedonia (theme)
The Theme of Macedonia (Greek: θέμα Μακεδονίας) was a military-civilian province (theme) of the Byzantine Empire established between the late 8th century and the early 9th century. Byzantine Macedonia also incorporated the region of Thrace. Its capital was Adrianople.Macedonian Renaissance
Macedonian Renaissance is a label sometimes used to describe the period of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire (867–1056), especially the 10th century, which some scholars have seen as a time of increased interest in classical scholarship and the assimilation of classical motifs into Christian artwork.Medieval Greece
Medieval Greece refers to geographic components of the area historically and modernly known as Greece, during the Middle Ages.
Byzantine Greece (Early to High Middle Ages)
Northern Greece under the First Bulgarian Empire
various High Medieval Crusader states ("Frankish Greece") and Byzantine splinter states:
Kingdom of Thessalonica
Principality of Achaea
Duchy of Athens
Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of the Morea
Northern Greece under the Second Bulgarian Empire (Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria)
Ottoman Greece (Late Middle Ages)Melingoi
The Melingoi or Milingoi (Greek: Μηλιγγοί) were a Slavic tribe that settled in the Peloponnese in southern Greece during the Middle Ages. In the early decades of the 7th century, Slavic tribes (Sclaveni) settled throughout the Balkans following the collapse of the Byzantine Empire's defense of the Danube frontier with some groups reaching as far south as the Peloponnese. The Sclaveni often settled in small groups (i.e., families and clans) and their demographic impact in mainland Greece was both weak and diffuse. Of these, two groups are known by name from later sources, the Melingoi and the Ezeritai, of whom the Melingoi settled on the western slopes of Mount Taygetos. The origin and etymology of the name Melingoi is unknown.Nicopolis (theme)
The Theme of Nicopolis or Nikopolis (Greek: θέμα Νικοπόλεως, thema Nikopoleōs) was the name of a Byzantine theme (a military-civilian province) located in northwestern Greece, encompassing Aetolia-Acarnania and southern Epirus. It was established in the second half of the 9th century, probably after 886, and survived until the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in 1204.Peloponnese (theme)
The Theme of the Peloponnese (Greek: θέμα Πελοποννήσου) was a Byzantine military-civilian province (thema, theme) encompassing the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. It was established in c. 800, and its capital was Corinth.Rendakis
Rendakis (Greek: Ρενδάκις), also Rendakios (Ρενδάκιος) or Rentakios (Ρεντάκιος) was the surname of a powerful Byzantine noble family in the 8th to 10th centuries.Sgouros
Sgouros (Greek: Σγούρος/Σγουρός, also frequently found as Sguro(s) but even as Guro in some Latin texts, is the name of various notable persons and families in Byzantine and post-Byzantine Greece, attested from 12th century.Vrykolakas
Vrykolakas (Greek βρυκόλακας, pronounced [vriˈkolakas]), also called vorvolakas or vourdoulakas, is a harmful, undead creature in Greek folklore. It shares similarities with numerous other legendary creatures, but is generally equated with the vampire of the folklore of the neighbouring Slavic countries. While the two are very similar, blood-drinking is only marginally associated with the vrykolakas.
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