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All you need to know about Byzantine emperors

Byzantine Empire is commonly considered to be an absolute monarch when Diocletian divided the Roman Empire for administrative reasons into the two halves of the Western Empire and the Eastern Empire. They were and what did the Byzantine emperors who succeeded each other during the history of the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire. Today, we discuss all the Byzantine emperors. 


Died Arcadius in 408 - the first Byzantine emperor - succeeded by his son Tedosio II, emperor of the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire from 408 to 450. The emperor Todosio II had to face the problems related to the nature of Christ that undermined the 'unity of the Empire, given the supremacy of the emperor in the spiritual and political field. There were two major heresies: Nestorianism and monophysitism.


In the legal field, Theodosius II was responsible for issuing (438) the Theodosian Code, the most important collection of Roman laws before Justinian's.


In foreign policy, Theodosius II defeated the Persians between 421 and 422 CE, by agreeing with the Huns, removed them from Constantinople.

Marciano, the Byzantine emperor from 450 to 457 CE, succeeded Theodosius II, who died in 450 CE. Under Marciano, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed the supremacy of the patriarch of Constantinople in the Eastern Church and condemned monophysitism.


When Marcian died in 457 CE, he has crowned Roman emperor of the East Leo I, called the Great (457-474 CE). Leo, I is remembered for being an extremely pious and zealous emperor in faith, the first to receive the crown from the hands of the patriarch of Constantinople.

Leo I, the Great, who died in 474 CE, was succeeded by Leo II, Byzantine emperor for a few months from February 3, 474 CE until his death on November 17, 474 CE.

Leo II was succeeded by his father Zeno (474-491). Emperor Zeno, of Isauric descent, managed to ease the pressure of the Ostrogoths of Theodoric on the eastern borders, but upon his death (491 CE), the problem of succession arose. The Isauri tried to assert their military might and to impose a candidate on the throne of Constantinople, but Anastasio (491-518 CE), a court official supported by imperial bureaucracy, became emperor.


Anastasio, I ruled the Empire with great firmness, blocking any attempt at revenge, political and military, by the Isauri. A long war broke out, which led to the destruction of the Isaurian fortifications in 498 CE and the deportation of all the people to Thrace.

Anastasius I also fought hard conflicts against the Bulgarians (a tribe of Mongolian descent who surged along the Danubian border) and against the Persian Empire. He managed to contain these threats and, at the same time, to financially reorganize the Empire, rationalizing the tax system, containing corruption, and also decreasing the weight of taxes on subjects. Due to the careful policy of Anastasio, in the early sixth century, the Eastern Empire had found internal stability and economic and financial solidity.


The successor of Anastasio I, Justin (518-527), clearly reaffirmed Catholic orthodoxy and actively fought all forms of heresy.

In this way, Justin reaffirmed the authority of the emperor also in religious matters and renewed the universal mission of the empire to reunite the world rulers under a single sovereign and under a single faith, the Christian Catholic one. This involved a policy of reconquering the western territories, a project that became the center of action for Justin's successor, Justinian (527-565).

The Byzantine emperor Justinian eliminated the divisions within the Empire in the political field. He concentrated all power on himself; in the cultural field, he reorganized Roman law, having Corpus Iuris Civilis drawn up; in religious chief, he affirmed Catholic orthodoxy.


With the Emperor Justinian, the Byzantine Empire returned to control northern Africa, the Italic Peninsula, and the Iberian Peninsula and to subdue the Roman-Germanic Kingdoms.

After Justinian's death (565 CE), the Empire entered a period of crisis. Under the reigns of Justin II and Phocas, it suffered the attacks of the Lombards in Italy and the Avars in the Danubian region.

It was General Heraclius who deposed Phocas and seized power (610-641 CE), revived the Empire. Reorganized the army, Heraclius attacked the Persians. The Persian army was definitively won in 628 in Nineveh. Heraclius, however, could not stop the invasion of the Arabs, thus lost Syria, Egypt, and soon all of Africa.

At the time of the descendants of Heraclius (641-711 CE), the Arabs came to the walls of Constantinople, the Slavs settled in the Balkans, and most of Italy fell into the power of the Lombards.

The Isauric dynasty (717-802 CE) restored the Byzantine Empire, rejected the Arabs, and reorganized the state; Leo III and Constantine V had the cult of images condemned, later restored by Irene (Council of Nicaea in 787 CE).

After a period of transition and instability (802-820 CE) that followed the coup d'état of Nicephorus against Irene (802 CE), the Amorian or Phrygian dynasty (820-867) consolidated previous conquests, condemned the cult of images again and he broke off relations with the pope (Schism of Photius, 863-867 CE), but orthodoxy was re-established, and the agreement with Rome was renewed.

The Macedonian dynasty (867-1057 CE), founded by Basil I (867-886), brought the empire to its apogee. Leo VI and Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus were great legislators; Roman I Lecapeno, Niceforo II Foca, and Giovanni I Zimisce great warriors, who reconquered vast regions invaded by the Arabs. Basil II Bulgarocton (963-1025), the legislator king and warrior, took most of the power from the aristocracy, conquered Bulgaria, defeated the Arabs, and gave the Empire its maximum extension, appearing as the greatest of the princes of his time.


In the years 1057 to 1081 CE, the Empire lost all the advantages acquired, the great owners regained power, the Turks won the Byzantines in Malazkirt (1071 CE), and founded the sultanate of Rum in Asia Minor.

The sultans of the Comneni dynasty (1081-1185) stopped the decline of the Empire and took advantage of the crusades to regain the lost territories. But the disagreement between Byzantines and Latins, aggravated by the Schism of 1054, became acute in the East (the question of Antioch).

Under the dynasty of the Angels (1185-1204), the Empire fell apart; Bulgaria and Serbia regained independence, and the Latins (French, Germans, Italians, especially Venetians) favored by a succession crisis seized Constantinople (fourth crusade).

With the victory of the Latins, the Latin Empire of the East (1204-1261) was born.

The Byzantine Empire is reconstituted, with progressive conquests, by the Paleologhi (1261).

Eventually, the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire fell under pressure from the Ottomans. The Ottomans conquered Constantinople (29 May 1453), Morea (1460)Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and Trebizond (1461); the last Byzantine and Latin allocations were not long in succumbing too.


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