This article will briefly cover the Byzantine Empire. It will cover early Byzantium, the peak of the Byzantine Empire, the Capital of Constantinople, the Byzantine Religion, and the end of the Byzantine Empire.
It is believed that Byzantium as a city was originally founded by Greeks from Megara. This is the earliest record of a city located in the same area as the future Constantinople. We get its founding date, 667 BCE, from the ancient Historian Herodotus. However, much of the information surrounding the founding of Byzantium is lost to history and only exists in myths and educated guesses.
Originally Byzantium was a trade city that had great success because of its close access to the black sea. Later during the Roman Empire’s fourth century, Constantine the Great changed the name of Byzantium to “New Rome” and made it the New capital of the Roman Empire.
The Peak of the Byzantine Empire
Eventually, the Roman Empire would be split into two halves, one known as the Western Roman Empire with Rome as its capital and the Eastern Roman Empire with Byzantium as its capital.
During the reign of Justinian I, the western Roman Empire fell, leading to the Eastern Empire returning and conquering most of the lost land—making the Byzantine Empire its largest size in 565 CE.
The borders would grow and shrink throughout the rest of the empire’s existence until 1453 CE.
The Capital Constantinople
While the city has many different names, the city is still called Constantinople by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church. One of the notable buildings in the city that was transformed from a church to a mosque is the Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia was at the center of a major turning point in human history and is highly sought after as a tourist attraction in modern-day Turkey.
Constantinople was the capital of one of the wealthiest empires and remained wealthy all the way into the 13th century.
Two nicknames the city was known by were “Queens of Cities” and “The Great City.” In a way, it was similar to an ancient version of New York City.
The Byzantine Religion
For its entire existence, the Byzantine Empire’s religion was Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church was the dominant form of Christianity. While Eastern Orthodox Christianity differs from its Roman Catholic counterpart, the two Christian sects remained open to communication and trade.
The average Christian citizen of the Byzantine Empire who followed the local Christianity rather than Catholicism referred to themselves as “Orthodox Christians.” At the same time, “Byzantine Catholics” followed the Byzantine tradition while being open to and keeping some connection with the Pope in Rome.
The End Of The Byzantine Empire
On the 29th of May 1453, Sultan Mehmed II came to the walls of Constantinople. He proceeded to start a 53-day siege which eventually led to the fall of Constantinople. After the fall of Constantinople, Mehmed II would take the Title of “The New Cesar.” He saw himself continuing the Roman empire rather than “ending it.”
The Byzantine Empire carried forward the tradition of the Romans for almost 1000 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The last Emperor, Constantine XI is said to have given a speech about remembering their ancestors, removed his Royal apparel, and dove into the battle.
After the battle, his body was never found, marking an end to the Eastern Roman Empire as far as Christianity was concerned.
Coins Of The Byzantine Empire
Byzantine coins are extremely popular. Covering a wide span of history, many Solidus are greatly desired. Below are links to the Gold Solidus we currently have in stock.
Byzantine Gold Coins
These are all of the Gold Byzantine Non-Certified and Certified Ancient Coins we currently have for sale. If you would like to read about the History of the Byzantine Empire, we recommend reading our blog post: “Byzantium: The Eastern Roman Empire.”