The city of Byzantium grew from an ancient Greek colony founded on the European side of the Bosporus.
Perhaps the most significant cultural feature of the Byzantine Empire was the type of Christianity developed there. Bulgars, and Slavs, some of them directed by the monks Cyril and Methodius, whose invention of Slavonic alphabets (still called Cyrillic) made possible the translation of the Bible and the spread of literacy along with Christianity in Slavic lands. Although the empire had lost much territory to the Arabs and to the independent kingdoms established in the Balkan Peninsula, its remnants were strengthened by a number of institutional reforms. All of these developments led to a golden age marked by a literary renaissance and brief resurgence of military and naval power under the Macedonian dynasty, whose founder, a peasant adventurer named Basil, murdered his way to the throne in 867.
No matter how centralized their administration or how absolute their power on paper, the emperors were unable to stop the feudalization of the empire and the concentration of land and wealth in a few great families. The very name Byzantine illustrates the misconceptions to which the empire's history has often been subject, for its inhabitants would hardly have considered the term appropriate to themselves or to their state. The latter term is derived from the name Byzantium, borne by a colony of ancient Greek foundation on the European side of the Bosporus, midway between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea; the city was, by virtue of its location, a natural transit point between Europe and Asia Minor (Anatolia).
Re-founded as the "new Rome" by the emperor Constantine in 330, it was endowed by him with the name Constantinople, the city of Constantine.
The fortunes of the empire thus were intimately entwined with those of peoples whose achievements and failures constitute the medieval history of both Europe and Asia. A source of strength in the early Middle Ages, Byzantium's central geographical position served it ill after the 10th century. The Roman Empire, the ancestor of the Byzantine, remarkably blended unity and diversity, the former being by far the better known since its constituents were the predominant features of Roman civilization. The Roman formula of combating fortune with reason and therewith assuring unity throughout the Mediterranean world worked surprisingly well in view of the pressures for disunity that time was to multiply. Given the obstacles against which the masters of the Roman state struggled, it is altogether remarkable that Roman patriotism was ever more than an empty formula, that cultivated gentlemen from the Pillars of Hercules to the Black Sea were aware that they had "something" in common.
The definition of consistent policy in imperial affairs was the achievement of two great soldier-emperors, Diocletian (ruled 284-305) and Constantine I (sole emperor 324-337), who together ended a century of anarchy and re-founded the Roman state.
The means they adopted to achieve these ends differ so profoundly that one, Diocletian, looks to the past and ends the history of Rome; the other, Constantine, looks to the future and founds the history of Byzantium. Yet it would be a mistake to consider Constantine a revolutionary or to overlook those areas in which, rather than innovating, he followed precedent. Whether innovative or traditional, Constantine's measures determined the thrust and direction of imperial policy throughout the 4th century and into the 5th. The extreme social mobility noted in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries seems less characteristic of the second half of the latter century. Even before the end of the first quarter of the 5th century, these provincial differences were visible; and, in no small degree, they help to explain the survival of imperial government and Greco-Roman civilization in the East while both eventually perished in the West. Most important, the emperor in the East never lost access to, or control over, his sources of manpower and money.
These differences between Eastern and Western social structures, together with certain geographical features, account for the different reception found by the Germanic invaders of the 4th and 5th centuries in East and West.
Neither in West nor East did Theodosius' policy of accommodation and alliance prove popular. Furthermore, the East made good use of its resources in gold, in native manpower, and in diplomacy, while quickly learning how best to play off one enemy against another.
With Zeno's death and the accession of the Roman civil servant Anastasius I (ruled 491-518), Isaurian occupation of the imperial office ended, but it was not until 498 that the forces of the new emperor effectively took the measure of Isaurian resistance. If ethnic hostility within the empire was less a menace around the year 500 than it had often been in the past, dissensions stemming from religious controversy seriously threatened imperial unity, and the political history of the next century cannot be understood without some examination of the so-called Monophysite heresy. If the Fathers of the 4th century quarreled over the relations between God the Father and God the Son, those of the 5th century faced the problem of defining the relationship of the two natures--the human and the divine--within God the Son, Christ Jesus. More important for the purposes of military and political history than the theological details of the conflict was the impact Monophysitism produced on the several regions of the Mediterranean world. In the reign of Anastasius I (491-518), all these tendencies of the 5th century found their focus: the sense of Romanitas, which demanded a Roman rather than an Isaurian or a German emperor, the conflict between Orthodoxy and Monophysitism, and the persisting economic prosperity of the Eastern Roman Empire. Anastasius' economic policies were far more successful; if they did not provide the basis for the noteworthy achievements of the 6th century in military affairs and the gentler arts of civilization, they at least explain why the Eastern Empire prospered in those respects during the period in question. In 224 the ancient Persian Empire had passed into the hands of a new dynasty, the Sasanians, whose regime brought new life to the enfeebled state. The 6th century opened, in effect, with the death of Anastasius and the accession of the Balkan soldier who replaced him, Justin I (ruled 518-527). After 550, it is possible to begin to speak of a medieval Byzantine, rather than an ancient East Roman, empire.
Justinian is but one example of the civilizing magic that Constantinople often worked upon the heirs of those who ventured within its walls. In the same year of 532, Justinian survived a revolt in Constantinople, stemming from the Nika riot, which initially threatened his life no less than his throne but, in the event, only strengthened his position. In 529 his officials had completed a major collection of the emperors' laws and decrees promulgated since the reign of Hadrian. Meanwhile, architects and builders worked apace to complete the new Church of the Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, designed to replace an older church destroyed in the course of the Nika revolt. In 533 the moment had clearly come to reassert Christian Roman authority in the West, and Vandal North Africa seemed the most promising theatre of operations.
These were, in fact, years of major provincial reorganization, and not in North Africa alone. In the prefaces to his edicts, Justinian boasted of his reconstituted authority in North Africa, hinted at greater conquests to come, and--in return for the benefits his decrees were to provide--urged his subjects to pay their taxes promptly so that there might be "one harmony between ruler and ruled." Quite clearly the Emperor was organizing the state for the most strenuous military effort, and, later (possibly in 539), reforms were extended to Egypt, whence the export of grain was absolutely essential for the support of expeditionary armies and Constantinople.
Developments during 534 and 535 in Ostrogothic Italy made it the most likely victim after the fall of Vandal North Africa. In 535, as in 533, a small, tentative expedition sent to the West--in this instance, to Sicily--met with easy success. All were dispatched to Constantinople, where Justinian was presumably thankful for the termination of hostilities in the West.
The short-term impact of the plague may be seen in several forms of human activity during the 540s.
After about 548, Roman fortunes improved, and, by the mid-550s, Justinian had won victories in most theatres of operation, with the notable and ominous exception of the Balkans. The treaty also regulated trade between Rome and Persia, since rivalry between the two great powers had always had its economic aspects, focused primarily upon the silk trade.
In view of the wide mixture of peoples that descended upon it, the Balkans present a far more complex situation, and the Romans used a wider variety of tactics to contain the barbarians. As long as the financial resources remained adequate, diplomacy proved the most satisfactory weapon in an age when military manpower was a scarce and precious commodity.
No summary of the quiet, but ominous, last years of Justinian's reign would be complete without some notice of the continuing attacks of bubonic plague and the impact they were to continue to produce until the 8th century. The resulting shortage of manpower affected several aspects of a state and society that perceptibly were losing their Roman character and assuming their Byzantine. In summary, the East Roman (or better, the Byzantine) state of the late 6th century seemed to confront many of the same threats that had destroyed the Western Empire in the 5th century.
Justinian regulated the size of churches and monasteries, forbade them to profit from the sale of property, and complained of those priests and bishops who were unlearned in the forms of the liturgy. Probably the least successful of Justinian's ecclesiastical policies were those adopted in an attempt to reconcile Monophysites and orthodox Chalcedonians. If, in contrast, his regulation of the Christian life proved successful, it was largely because his subjects themselves were ready to accept it.
The vitality and pervasiveness of popular Christian culture manifested themselves most strongly in the veneration increasingly accorded the icon, an abstract and simplified image of Christ, the Virgin, or the saints.
The contrasting view--a willingness to accept images as a normal feature of Christian practice--would not have prevailed had it not satisfied certain powerful needs as Christianity spread among Gentiles long accustomed to representations of the divinity and among Hellenized Jews who had themselves earlier broken with the Mosaic commandment.
Men of the 4th century were encouraged to take such a step, influenced as they were by the analogous veneration that the Romans had long accorded the image of the emperor. Until Heraclius arrived to save the empire in 610, inconsistency and contradiction marked the policies adopted by the emperors, a reflection of their inability to solve the problems Justinian had bequeathed his successors. The accession of Maurice in 582 inaugurated a reign of 20 years marked by success against Persia, a reorganization of Byzantine government in the West, and the practice of economies during his Balkan campaigns that, however unavoidable, would destroy him in 602. Confronted by a Visigothic resurgence in Spain and by the results of a Lombard invasion of Italy (568), which was steadily confining Byzantine power to Ravenna, Venice, and Calabria-Sicily in the south, Maurice developed a form of military government throughout the relatively secure province of North Africa and in whatever regions were left in Italy.
But the major thrust of his efforts during the last years of his reign was to be found in the Balkans, where, by dint of constant campaigning, his armies had forced the Avars back across the Danube by 602. The most threatening problem Heraclius faced was the external menace of the Avars and the Persians, and neither people abated its pressure during the first years of the new reign. Second, during the social upheaval of the previous decade, the imperial treasury had doubtless seized the estates of prominent individuals who had been executed either during Phocas' reign of terror or after his death. When Heraclius "went out into the lands of the themes" in 622, thereby undertaking a struggle of seven years' duration against the Persians, he utilized the third of his sources of strength: religion. As for the Byzantine defenders of Constantinople, they celebrated their victory by singing Romanos' great hymn "Akathistos," with choir and crowd alternating in the chant of the "Alleluia." The hymn, still sung in a Lenten service, commemorates those days when Constantinople survived as a fortress under ecclesiastical leadership, its defenders protected by the icons and united by their liturgy.
In the same year that Heraclius went out into the themes, Muhammad made his withdrawal (hijrah) from Mecca to Medina, where he established the ummah, or Muslim community. The aging Heraclius was unequal to the task of containing this new menace, and it was left to his successors--Constantine III (ruled February to May 641), Constans II (641-668), Constantine IV (668-685), and Justinian II (685-695, 705-711)--to do so. On the Balkan frontier, meanwhile, the Bulgars assumed the role abdicated by the Avars after 626. However dismal the military record, institutional and economic developments had permitted the empire to survive and were to provide foundations for greater success in the centuries to come.
Another favorite lie of the critics is that the original KJV of 1611 included the Apocrypha, which no true Christian today accepts as Scripture.
In fact, the Council of Trent (1546) pronounced a CURSE upon anyone who denied that these books were inspired. They merely placed the Apocryphal books BETWEEN the Old and New testament as a historical document, not as Scripture. Job had to be familiar with the animals on God's list for the illustration to be effective. The elasmotherium, an extinct giant rhinoceros, provides another possibility for the unicorn's identity. The biblical unicorn could have been the elasmotherium.6 Assyrian archaeology provides one other possible solution to the unicorn identity crisis.
The aurochs' highly prized horns would have been a symbol of great strength to the ancient Bible reader.
The importance of the biblical unicorn is not so much its specific identity—much as we would like to know—but its reality. This book traces the historical relationship between male-male erotic desire and the genre of literary or philosophical dialogue. The fall of Rome to the Ostrogoths in 476 marked the end of the western half of the Roman Empire.
It was heir to the Hellenistic civilization, a blending of Greek and Middle Eastern elements dating back to the conquests of Alexander the Great. The later years of his reign were marred by renewed war with the Persians and incursions by Bulgar and Slavic tribes, which created severe shortages of manpower and revenue.
More mystical and more liturgical than Roman Christianity, it was also less unified because of age-old ethnic hostilities in the region, the survival of various heresies among the clergy in Syria, Egypt, and other provinces, and the early use of the demotic (vernacular) languages in religious services. A new administrative unit, the theme, was introduced along with a system of military land grants and hereditary service that ensured an adequate supply of soldiers.
The Macedonian emperors supervised the Hellenization of the Code of Justinian, into which they wrote the principle of imperial absolutism tempered only by the spiritual authority of the church.
The rivalry between rural and urban aristocracies led each faction to nominate its own imperial candidates. He appealed to Venice, to whom he gave the first of the commercial concessions that helped make it a great maritime power, and to the pope, who in turn appealed to the feudal rulers of the West, many of them, ironically, Normans. Theirs was, in their view, none other than the Roman Empire, founded shortly before the beginning of the Christian Era by God's grace to unify his people in preparation for the coming of his Son. The derivation from Byzantium is suggestive in that it emphasizes a central aspect of Byzantine civilization: the degree to which the empire's administrative and intellectual life found a focus at Constantinople from 330 to 1453, the year of the city's last and unsuccessful defense under the 11th (or 12th) Constantine. Nor did hostility always characterize the relations between Byzantines and those whom they considered "barbarian." Even though the Byzantine intellectual firmly believed that civilization ended with the boundaries of his world, he opened it to the barbarian, provided that the latter (with his kin) would accept Baptism and render loyalty to the emperor. The conquests of that age presented new problems of organization and assimilation, and these the emperors had to confront at precisely the time when older questions of economic and social policy pressed for answers in a new and acute form. The common Latin language, the coinage, the "international" army of the Roman legions, the urban network, the law, and the Greco-Roman heritage of civic culture loomed largest among those bonds that Augustus and his successors hoped would bring unity and peace to a Mediterranean world exhausted by centuries of civil war. This "something" might be defined as the Greco-Roman civic tradition in the widest sense of its institutional, intellectual, and emotional implications. To protect the frontier against them, warrior emperors devoted whatever energies they could spare from the constant struggle to reassert control over provinces where local regimes emerged. Thus, in the matter of succession to the imperial office, Diocletian adopted precedents he could have found in the practices of the 2nd century AD. Each Augustus then adopted a young colleague, or Caesar, to share in the rule and eventually to succeed the senior partner. Constantine's laws in many instances extended or even rendered hereditary these enforced responsibilities, thus laying the foundations for the system of collegia, or hereditary state guilds, that was to be so noteworthy a feature of late-Roman social life. The state of the empire in 395 may, in fact, be described in terms of the outcome of Constantine's work. Certain provinces, or parts of provinces such as northern Italy, flourished commercially as well as agriculturally. Untilled land in the hilly regions of northern Syria fell under the plow to supply foodstuffs for the masses of Constantinople. Certainly the emperors continued their efforts to bind men collectively to their socially necessary tasks, but the repetition of laws tying the colonus to his estate, the navicularius to his ship, and the curialis to his municipal senate suggests that these edicts had little effect.
Throughout the Eastern provinces, population levels seem to have remained higher, and the emperors in Constantinople never had to search (at least until the 6th century) for men to fill the ranks of their armies. By the early 5th century, their wealth seems to have been, individually, much less than the resources at the disposal of their Western counterparts; their estates were far more scattered and their rural dependents less numerous. Although the Germanic people had eddied about the Danube and Rhine frontiers of the empire since the 2nd century, their major inroads were made only in the latter half of the 4th century, when the ferocious Huns drove the Ostrogoths and Visigoths to seek refuge within the Danubian frontier of the empire. The Goths, like most Germanic peoples with the exception of the Franks and the Lombards, had been converted to Arian Christianity, which the Catholic, or Orthodox, Romans considered a dangerous heresy.
In the reign of Theodosius II (408-450), the Huns under their chieftain Attila received subsidies of gold that both kept them in a state of uneasy peace with the Eastern Empire and may have proved profitable to those merchants of Constantinople who traded with the barbarians.
The Isaurian followers of Tarasicodissa, who was to survive a stormy reign as the Emperor Zeno (474-491), were rough mountain folk from southern Anatolia and culturally probably even more barbarous than the Goths or the other Germans. After the victory of that year, the loyal subject of the Eastern Roman emperor could breathe easily: Isaurians had been used to beat Germans, but the wild mountain folk had, in their turn, failed to take permanent possession of the imperial office. It was the second great heresy in the Eastern Empire, the first having been the dispute occasioned by the teachings of the Alexandrian presbyter Arius, who, in an effort to maintain the uniqueness and majesty of God the Father, had taught that he alone had existed from eternity, while God the Son had been created in time.
The theologians of Alexandria generally held that the divine and human natures were united indistinguishably, whereas those of Antioch taught that two natures coexisted separately in Christ, the latter being "the chosen vessel of the Godhead . Partly because it provided a formula to express resistance to Constantinople's imperial rule, Monophysitism persisted in Egypt and Syria.
Acclaimed and elected as the Roman and Orthodox emperor who would end both the hated hegemony of the Isaurians and the detested activity of the Monophysite heretics, Anastasius succeeded in the first of these objectives while failing in the second. An inflation of the copper currency, prevailing since the age of Constantine, finally ended with welcome results for those members of the lower classes who conducted their operations in the base metal.
Since there was, in fact, to be concurrent warfare on both fronts during the 6th century, some knowledge of the age-old rivalry between Rome and Persia is essential to an understanding of the problems confronted by the greatest among Anastasius' successors, Justinian I (ruled 527-565), as he undertook the conquest of the West. Having assured firm control over the vast lands already subject to them, the Sasanians took up anew the old struggle with Rome for northern Mesopotamia and its fortress cities of Edessa and Nisibis, lying between the Tigris and the Euphrates. During most of Justin's reign, actual power lay in the hands of his nephew and successor, Justinian I. Of the four traumas that eventually transformed the one into the other--namely, pestilence, warfare, social upheaval, and the Arab Muslim assault of the 630s--the first two were features of Justinian's reign. Justin, the uncle, was a rude and illiterate soldier; Justinian, the nephew, was a cultivated gentleman, adept at theology, a mighty builder of churches, and a sponsor of the codification of Roman law. From Lazica to the Arabian Desert, the Persian frontier blazed with action in a series of campaigns in which many of the generals later destined for fame in the West first demonstrated their capacities. Shortly after his proclamation as emperor, Justin had summoned a council of bishops at Constantinople.
To understand the course of events, it is essential to remember that Constantinople, like other great East Roman cities, had often to depend upon its urban militia, or demes, to defend its walls.
With the subsequent proclamation of the "Endless Peace," he could hope to use his earlier won reputation as a champion of Chalcedonian orthodoxy and appeal to those Western Romans who preferred the rule of a Catholic Roman emperor to that of an Arian German kinglet.
Called the Codex Constitutionum and partly founded upon the 5th-century Theodosian Code, it comprised the first of four works compiled between 529 and 565 called the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), commonly known as the Code of Justinian. In five years they had constructed the edifice, and it stands today as one of the major monuments of architectural history. Although a major expedition mounted under Leo I had failed to win back the province, political conditions in the Vandal monarchy had altered to the Eastern emperor's favour. A series of edicts dated in 535 and 536, clearly conceived as part of a master plan by the prefect John of Cappadocia, altered administrative, judicial, and military structures in Thrace and Asia Minor. When Theodoric died in 526, he was succeeded by a minor grandson for whom Theodoric's daughter, Amalasuntha, acted as regent. At first the Goths negotiated; then they stiffened their resistance, deposed their king, Theodahad, in favour of a stronger man, Witigis, and attempted to block Belisarius' armies as they entered the Italian peninsula. Throughout the 530s, Justinian's generals almost constantly had to fight to preserve imperial authority in the new province of North Africa and in the Balkans as well.
During the 550s, his armies were to prove equal to the challenge, but a major disaster prevented them from so doing between 541 and about 548. Justinian's legislation of those years is understandably preoccupied with wills and intestate succession. Raw silk reached Constantinople through Persian intermediaries, either by a land route leading from China through Persia or by the agency of Persian merchants in the Indian Ocean. After the Kutrigur Bulgar attack of 540, Justinian worked to extend a system of fortifications that ran in three zones through the Balkans and as far south as the Pass of Thermopylae. Justinian's subordinates were to perfect it in their relationships with Balkan and south Russian peoples. As have other societies subjected to devastation from warfare or disease, East Roman society might have compensated for its losses of the 540s had the survivors married early and produced more children in the succeeding generations. The construction of new churches, so noteworthy a feature of the earlier years, ceased as men did little more than rebuild or add to existing structures. Barbarians pressed upon it from beyond the Balkan frontier, and peoples of barbarian origin manned the armies defending it. One advantage already described, diplomatic skill, blends institutional and attitudinal change, for diplomacy would never have succeeded had not the Byzantine statesmen been far more curious and knowing than Justinian's 5th-century predecessor about the habits, customs, and movements of the barbarian peoples. Pagans were ordered to attend church and accept Baptism, while a purge thinned their ranks in Constantinople, and masses of them were converted by missionaries in Asia Minor. His efforts to improve the quality of the secular clergy, or those who conducted the affairs of the church in the world, were most opportune. After the success of negotiations that had done so much to conciliate the West during the reign of Justin I, Justinian attempted to win over the moderate Monophysites, separating them from the extremists. Traditional Greco-Roman culture was, to be sure, surprisingly tenacious and even productive during the 6th century and was always to remain the treasured possession of an intellectual elite in Byzantium; but the same century witnessed the growth of a Christian culture to rival it. Notable for the timeless quality that its setting suggested and for the power expressed in the eyes of its subject, the icon seemingly violated the Second Commandment's explicit injunction against the veneration of any religious images.
The convert all the more readily accepted use of the image if he had brought into his Christianity, as many did, a heritage of Neoplatonism.

Although the first Christians rejected this practice of their pagan contemporaries and refused to adore the image of a pagan emperor, their successors of the 4th century were less hesitant to render such honour to the images of the Christian emperors following Constantine.
Justin II (565-578) haughtily refused to continue the payment of tribute to Avar or Persian; he thereby preserved the resources of the treasury, which he further increased by levying new taxes. He abandoned the old principle of separating civil from military powers, placing both in the hands of the generals, or exarchs, located, respectively, at Carthage and Ravenna. Khosrow seized the opportunity offered him by the murder of his benefactor, Maurice, to initiate a war of revenge that led Persian armies into the Anatolian heartland.
Heraclius, son of the Exarch of Africa, set sail from the western extremes of the empire, placing his fleet under the protection of an icon of the Virgin against Phocas, stigmatized in the sources as the "corrupter of virgins." In the course of his voyage along the northern shores of the Mediterranean, Heraclius added to his forces and arrived at Constantinople in October 610 to be hailed as a saviour. The Avars almost captured the Emperor in 617 during a conference outside the long walls protecting the capital. The first was the pattern of military government as he and the nucleus of his army would have known it in the exarchates of North Africa or Ravenna. In consequence, though the treasury lacked money, it nonetheless possessed land in abundance, and Heraclius could easily have supported with grants of land those cavalry soldiers whose expenses in horses and armament he could not hope to meet with cash.
Its spirit was manifest in 630, when Heraclius triumphantly restored the True Cross to Jerusalem, whence the Persians had stolen it, and--even more--when Constantinople resisted the Avar-Persian assault of 626.
This they sang in Greek, as befitted a people whose culture was now Greek and no longer Latin. Upon the Prophet's death in 632, the caliphs, or successors, channeled the energies of the Arab Bedouin by launching them upon a purposive and organized plan of conquest. Heraclius had sought in 638 to placate Monophysite sentiment in these two provinces by promulgating the doctrine of Monothelitism, holding that Christ, although of two natures, had but one will. This bare list of emperors obscures the family conflicts that often imperiled the succession, but gradually the principle was established that, even if brothers ruled as coemperors, the senior's authority would prevail. Thanks to the control that the Arabs gradually asserted over the sea routes to Constantinople, they climaxed their earlier assaults on Armenia and Asia Minor with a four years' siege of the great city itself (674-678).
A pagan people whom the Khazars had forced toward the Danube Delta in the latter part of the 7th century, they eluded Constantine IV's attempts to defeat them in 681.
Monothelitism had evoked a hostile reception among the churches of North Africa and Italy, and the resulting disaffection had encouraged the exarchs of both Carthage (646) and Ravenna (652) to revolt. The themal system had taken root and, with it, probably the institution of soldiers' properties. After the loss of Egypt and North Africa, the grain fleets manned by hereditary shipmasters disappeared; in their place there emerged the independent merchant, of sufficient importance to call forth a code of customary law, the Rhodian Sea Law, to regulate his practices.
The Apocrypha is a collection of several pagan writings which the Catholic church accepts as inspired Scripture.
The King James translators did NOT consider the books to be inspired Scripture, nor did they include them in the canon as such. Their reasons for not accepting the Apocrypha as Scripture are listed on page 185-186 of the book Translators Revived, by Alexander McClure.
These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord.
They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian church.
They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures, but themselves. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.
It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation. The presence of a very strong horn on this powerful, independent-minded creature is intended to make readers think of strength. The elasmotherium's 33-inch-long skull has a huge bony protuberance on the frontal bone consistent with the support structure for a massive horn. The biblical unicorn could have been an aurochs (a kind of wild ox known to the Assyrians as rimu).
One scholarly urge to identify the biblical unicorn with the Assyrian aurochs springs from a similarity between the Assyrian word rimu and the Hebrew word re'em.
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It was more commercial, more urban, and richer than the West, and its emperors, who in the Hellenistic tradition combined political and religious functions, had firmer control over all classes of society. The weakened empire, preoccupied with internal problems, grew less and less concerned with the West. This disunity partly caused the sweeping success of the Arab invasions that began after Muhammad's death in 632.
It also laid the foundation for the emergence of great landed families who in later centuries would wage dynastic struggles for the imperial throne. They also reversed for a time the military defeats of their predecessors and reconquered large areas from the Arabs and Bulgars. While they were engaged in civil disputes, new enemies, the Normans and the Seljuq Turks, increased their power around the eastern Mediterranean.
These doubtful allies rapidly turned the ensuing Crusades into a series of plundering expeditions not only against the Turks but also against the heart of the Byzantine Empire. Proud of that Christian and Roman heritage, convinced that their earthly empire so nearly resembled the heavenly pattern that it could never change, they called themselves Romaioi, or Romans.
The circumstances of the last defense are suggestive, too, for in 1453 the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds seemed briefly to meet.
Thanks to the settlements that resulted from such policies, many a name, seemingly Greek, disguises another of different origin: Slavic, perhaps, or Turkish. To strengthen these sinews of imperial civilization, the emperors hoped that a lively and spontaneous trade might develop among the several provinces. The Eastern provinces were ancient and populous centers of that urban life that for millennia had defined the character of Mediterranean civilization. Paralleling and sometimes influencing Roman law were local customs and practices, understandably tenacious by reason of their antiquity.
Grateful for the conditions of peace that fostered it, men of wealth and culture dedicated their time and resources to glorifying that tradition through adornment of the cities that exemplified it and through education of the young who they hoped might perpetuate it. In view of the ensuing warfare, the widespread incidence of disease, and the rapid turnover among the occupants of the imperial throne, it would be easy to assume that little was left of either the traditional fabric of Greco-Roman society or the bureaucratic structure designed to support it.
In fact, the economy and society of the empire as a whole during that period was more diverse than it had ever been. Deeply influenced by the soldier's penchant for hierarchy, system, and order, a taste that they shared with many of their contemporaries as well as the emperors who preceded them, they were appalled by the lack of system and the disorder characteristic of the economy and the society in which they lived.
This rule of four, or tetrarchy, failed of its purpose, and Constantine replaced it with the dynastic principle of hereditary succession, a procedure generally followed in subsequent centuries.
Constantine, a convert to the new faith, raised it to the status of a "permitted religion." Diocletian established his headquarters at Nicomedia, a city that never rose above the status of a provincial centre during the Middle Ages, while Constantinople, the city of Constantine's foundation, flourished mightily. Of particular importance, he required the colonus (peasant) to remain in the locality to which the tax lists ascribed him. The dynastic principle was established so firmly that the emperor who died in that year, Theodosius I, could bequeath the imperial office jointly to his sons, both of whom were young and incompetent: Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West. Constantinople, in particular, influenced urban growth and the exploitation of agricultural frontiers. As the 4th century progressed, not only did Constantine's solidus remain indeed solid gold, but evidence drawn from a wide range of sources suggests that gold in any form was far more abundant than it had been for at least two centuries.
Indeed, it would be a mistake to conclude from such legislation that Roman society was universally and uniformly organized in castes determined in response to imperial orders.
As might be expected in those eastern lands in which urban civilization was several centuries old, cities persisted and, with them, a merchant class and a monetary economy.
They were thus less able to challenge the imperial will and less able to interpose themselves between the state, on the one hand, and its potential soldiers or taxpayers, on the other. The initial interaction between Roman and barbarian was far from amicable; the Romans seemed to have exploited their unwelcome guests, and the Goths rose in anger, defeating an East Roman army at Adrianople in 378 and killing the Eastern emperor in command.
The warlike ways of the Germans found little favour with a senatorial aristocracy essentially pacifist in its outlook, and the early 5th century is marked in both halves of the empire by reactions against Germanic leaders in high office. When Marcian (ruled 450-457) refused to continue the subsidies, Attila was diverted from revenge by the prospect of conquests in the West. Yet, in that they were the subjects of the Roman emperor in the East, they were undoubtedly Romans and proved an effective instrument to counter the Gothic challenge at Constantinople. Thanks in part to imperial support, the Arian heresy had persisted throughout the 4th century and was definitively condemned only in 381 with promulgation of the doctrine that Father and Son were of one substance and thus coexistent.
Until these two provinces were lost to Islam in the 7th century, each Eastern emperor had somehow to cope with their separatist tendencies as expressed in the heresy. While he defeated the Isaurians and transported many of them from their Anatolian homeland into Thrace, he gradually came to support the Monophysite heresy despite the professions of Orthodoxy he had made upon the occasion of his coronation.
Responsibility for the collection of municipal taxes was taken from the members of the local senate and assigned to agents of the praetorian prefect. In the course of the 4th century, new sources of hostility emerged as East Rome became a Christian empire.
The following account of these more than 40 years of Justinian's effective rule is based upon the works of Justinian's contemporary, the historian Procopius. All these accomplishments are, in the deepest sense of the word, civilian, and it is easy to forget that Justinian's empire was almost constantly at war during his reign. The strength of the East Roman armies is revealed in the fact that, while containing Persian might, Justinian could nonetheless dispatch troops to attack the Huns in the Crimea and to maintain the Danubian frontier against a host of enemies.
The council reversed the policies of Anastasius, accepted the orthodox formula of Chalcedon, and called for negotiations with the pope.
Coinciding with divisions within the demes were factions organized to support rival charioteers competing in the horse races: the Blues and the Greens. In these early years of the 530s, Justinian could indeed pose as the pattern of a Roman and Christian emperor.
This first collection of imperial edicts, however, pales before the Digesta completed under Tribonian's direction in 533. When King Hilderich was deposed and replaced, Justinian could rightfully protest this action taken against a monarch who had ceased persecution of North African Catholics and had allied himself with Constantinople. In general, John sought to provide a simplified and economical administrative structure in which overlapping jurisdictions were abolished, civil and military functions were sometimes combined in violation of Constantinian principles, and a reduced number of officials were provided with greater salaries to secure better personnel and to end the lure of bribery. Upon the boy's death, Amalasuntha attempted to seize power in her own right and connived at the assassination of three of her chief enemies. There the progress of East Roman arms proved slower, and victory did not come until 540 when Belisarius captured Ravenna, the last major stronghold in the north, and, with it, King Witigis, a number of Gothic nobles, and the royal treasure. In 539 a Gothic embassy reached Persia, and the information it provided caused the king, Khosrow, to grow restive under the constraints of the "Endless Peace." During the next year (the same year [540] that a Bulgar force raided Macedonia and reached the long walls of Constantinople), Khosrow's armies reached even Antioch in the pursuit of booty and blackmail. The disaster was the bubonic plague of 541-543, the first of those shocks, or traumas, mentioned earlier, that would eventually transform East Rome into the medieval Byzantine Empire. Labour was scarce, and workers demanded wages so high that Justinian sought to control them by edict, as the monarchs of France and England were to do during the plague of the 14th century.
In 551 the fortress of Petra was recovered from the Persians, but fighting continued in Lazica until a 50 years' peace, signed in 561, defined relations between the two great empires. In 552 the armies of Justinian had intervened in a quarrel among the Visigothic rulers of Spain, and the East Roman troops overstayed the invitation extended them, seizing the opportunity to occupy on a more permanent basis certain towns in the southeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. For, if the Central Asian lands constituted a great reservoir of people, whence a new menace constantly emerged, the very proliferation of enemies meant that one might be used against another through skillful combination of bribery, treaty, and perfidy. An increasing need for taxes, together with a decreasing number of taxpayers, evoked stringent laws that forced members of a village tax group to assume collective responsibility for vacant or unproductive lands.
Wealth accumulated during the 5th century had been expended; and, to satisfy the basic economic and military needs of state and society, there were too few native Romans. Only the orthodox wife might enjoy the privileges of her dowry; Jews and Samaritans were denied, in addition to other civil disabilities, the privilege of testamentary inheritance unless they converted. The best possible men were needed, for, in most East Roman cities during the 6th century, imperial and civic officials gradually resigned many of their functions to the bishop, or patriarch.
Since many in the early centuries of the church so believed, and in the 8th century the image breakers, or iconoclasts, were to adopt similar views, hostility toward images was nearly as tenacious an aspect of Christianity as it had been of Judaism before it.
Since the emperor was God's vicegerent on Earth and his empire reflected the heavenly realm, the Christian must venerate, to an equal or greater degree, Christ and his saints. Praiseworthy as his refusal to submit to blackmail may seem, Justin's intransigence only increased the menace to the empire. The lawful claimant to the Persian throne, Khosrow II, appealed to Maurice for aid against the rebels who had challenged his succession.
Their provinces, or exarchates, were subdivided into duchies composed of garrison centres that were manned not by professional soldiers but by conscript local landholders.
Rather than constantly accompanying his armies in the field, as his 7th- and 8th-century successors were to do, Maurice remained for the most part in Constantinople, losing an opportunity to engage the personal loyalty of his troops.
Subsidies again failed to restrain the barbarians north of the Danube; after 602 the frontier crumbled, not to be restored save at the cost of centuries of warfare. With the warm support of the Green faction, he quickly bested his enemy, decapitating Phocas and, with him, those Phocas had advanced to high civil and military office.
The Persians penetrated Asia Minor and then turned to the south, capturing Jerusalem and Alexandria (in Egypt). If this hypothesis is correct, then, even before 622, themes, or army groups--including the guards (Opsikioi), the Armenians (Armeniakoi), and the Easterners (Anatolikoi)--were given lands and settled throughout Asia Minor in so permanent a fashion that, before the century was out, the lands occupied by these themes were identified by the names of those who occupied them. During the attack, the patriarch Sergius maintained the morale of the valiant garrison by proceeding about the walls, bearing the image of Christ to ward off fire, and by painting upon the gates of the western walls images of the Virgin and child to ward off attacks launched by the Avars--the "breed of darkness." The Avars withdrew when Byzantine ships defeated the canoes manned by Slavs, upon whom the nomad Avars depended for their naval strength. The results were spectacular: a Byzantine army was defeated at the Battle of the Yarmuk River (636), thereby opening Palestine and Syria to Arab Muslim control. Although strife between Blues and Greens persisted throughout the century, internal revolt failed to imperil the dynasty until the reign of Justinian II.
Defeated in this last attempt by the use of Greek fire, a flammable liquid of uncertain composition, the Arabs signed a 30 years' truce, according to which they agreed to pay tribute in money, men, and horses. By virtue of a treaty signed in that year, as well as others dating from 705 and 716, the Bulgars were recognized as an independent kingdom, occupying (to the humiliation of Byzantium) lands south of the Danube into the Thracian plain. By the end of the century, Africa had been largely lost to Muslim conquerors who would, in 711, seize the last outpost at Septem. Military service was a hereditary occupation: the eldest son assumed the burden of service, supported primarily by revenues from other members of the family who worked the land in the villages. Military and religious hostilities failed to check him as he traded with the Bulgars in Thrace and, through Cyprus, with the Arabs. For example, in the Books of Maccabees alone, Antiochus Epiphanes dies three times in three places! In fact, archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, in his 1849 book Nineveh and Its Remains, sketched a single-horned creature from an obelisk in company with two-horned bovine animals; he identified the single-horned animal as an Indian rhinoceros.
The aurochs's horns were very symmetrical and often appeared as one in profile, as can be seen on Ashurnasirpal II's palace relief and Esarhaddon's stone prism. We must be very careful when dealing with anglicized transliterated words from languages that do not share the English alphabet and phonetic structure. The unicorn mentioned in the Bible was a powerful animal possessing one or two strong horns—not the fantasy animal that has been popularized in movies and books. Sturges demonstrates that various forms of erotic deviance have been differently valued in these different periods and cultures, and that dialogue has consistently proven to be the genre of choice for expressing these changing values.
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Although its rulers continued to style themselves "Roman" long after the death of Justinian, the term "Byzantine" more accurately describes the very different medieval empire. Within 10 years Syria and Palestine, Egypt and North Africa were under Muslim Arab control.
The Fourth Crusade resulted in the fall of Constantinople to Venetians and crusaders in 1204 and the establishment of a line of Latin emperors. Barbarian illiteracy, in consequence, obscures the early generations of more than one family destined to rise to prominence in the empire's military or civil service. Bitter ethnic and religious hostility marked the history of the empire's later centuries, weakening Byzantium in the face of new enemies descending upon it from east and west.
At the pinnacle of this world stood the emperor himself, the man of wisdom who would shelter the state from whatever mishaps fortune had darkly hidden. The Western provinces had only lately entered upon their own course of urban development under the not always tender ministrations of their Roman masters.
Pagan temples, Jewish synagogues, and Christian baptisteries attest to the range of organized religions with which the official forms of the Roman state, including those of emperor worship, could not always peacefully coexist.
Both, in consequence, were eager to refine and regularize certain desperate expedients that had been adopted by their rough military predecessors to conduct the affairs of the Roman state. To divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine replaced the single praetorian prefect, who had traditionally exercised both military and civil functions in close proximity to the emperor, with regional prefects established in the provinces and enjoying civil authority alone. Diocletian sought to bring order into the economy by controlling wages and prices and by initiating a currency reform based upon a new gold piece, the aureus, struck at the rate of 60 to the pound of gold.
There was always a distinction between what an emperor wanted and what he could obtain, and, as the foregoing survey has suggested, there were distinctions among the provinces as well. Eastern merchants, known in the sources as Syrians, assumed the carrying trade between East and West, often establishing colonies in the beleaguered cities of the latter region. Emperor Theodosius (ruled 384-395) adopted a different policy, granting the Goths lands and according them the legal status of allies, or foederati, who fought within the ranks of the Roman armies as autonomous units under their own leaders.
At Constantinople in 400, for example, the citizens rose against the senior officer of the imperial guard (magister militum), Gainas, slaughtering him together with his Gothic followers. He never returned to challenge the Eastern Empire, and, with his death in 453, his Hunnic empire fell apart. In the prefecture of Illyricum, Zeno ended the menace of Theodoric the Amal by persuading him (488) to venture with his Ostrogoths into Italy. He had either to take arms against Monophysitism and attempt to extirpate it by force, to formulate a creed that would somehow blend it with Dyophysitism, or frankly to adopt the heresy as his own belief.
If his policies won him followers in Egypt and Syria, they alienated his Orthodox subjects and led, finally, to constant unrest and civil war. Trade and industry were probably stimulated by the termination of the chrysargyron, a tax in gold paid by the urban classes.
Partly by reaction, Sasanian Persia strengthened the ecclesiastical organization that served its Zoroastrian religion; intolerance and persecution became the order of the day within Persia, and strife between the empires assumed something of the character of religious warfare. The latter wrote a laudatory account of the Emperor's military achievements in his Polemon (Wars) and coupled it in his Anecdota (Secret History) with a venomous threefold attack upon the Emperor's personal life, the character of the empress Theodora, and the conduct of the empire's internal administration. The history of East Rome during that period illustrates, in classical fashion, how the impact of war can transform ideas and institutions alike. Justinian had personally participated in the ensuing discussions, which restored communion between Rome and all the Eastern churches save Egypt. It was originally thought that these two factions were divided by differing political and religious views and that these views were aired to the Emperor during the races.
In the latter work, order and system were found in (or forced upon) the contradictory rulings of the great Roman jurists; to facilitate instruction in the schools of law, a textbook, the Institutiones (533), was designed to accompany the Digesta. The Eastern merchants favoured military action in the West, but Justinian's generals were reluctant; possibly for that reason, only a small force was dispatched under Belisarius. Her diplomatic relations with the Eastern emperor had always been marked by cordiality and even dependency; thus, when Amalasuntha, in turn, met her death in a blood feud mounted by the slain men's families, Justinian seized the opportunity to protest the murder.
The plague was first noted in Egypt, and from there it passed through Syria and Asia Minor to Constantinople. In military affairs, above all, the record of those years is one of defeat, stagnation, and missed opportunities.

Other valuable commodities were exchanged in the Black Sea region, including textiles, jewelry, and wine from East Rome for the furs, leather, and slaves offered by the barbarians; yet, silk remained the commodity of prime interest. The Slavs plundered Thrace in 545 and returned in 548 to menace Dyrrhachium; in 550 the Sclaveni, a Slavic people, reached a point about 40 miles (65 kilometres) from Constantinople. East Roman relations in the late 6th century with the Avars, a Mongol people seeking refuge from the Turks, provide an excellent example of this "defensive imperialism." The Avar ambassadors reached Constantinople in 557, and, although they did not receive the lands they demanded, they were loaded with precious gifts and allied by treaty with the empire.
Monasticism, with its demands for celibacy, grew apace in the 6th century, and the plague returned sporadically to attack those infants who might have replaced fallen members of the older generations.
This, contemporary sources avow, was a burden difficult to assume, in view of the shortage of agricultural workers after the plague. He was willing to accept the barbarian within his society provided that the latter, in his turn, accept orthodox Christianity and the emperor's authority. A woman who worked as an actress might better serve God were she to forswear any oath she had taken, even though before God, to remain in that immoral profession. The latter collected taxes, dispensed justice, provided charity, organized commerce, negotiated with barbarians, and even mustered the soldiers.
In developing a creed acceptable to the moderate Monophysites of the East, Justinian alienated the Chalcedonians of the West and thus sacrificed his earlier gains in that quarter. Romanos Melodos mark the striking development of the liturgy during Justinian's reign, a development that was not without its social implications. From a belief that the seen suggests the unseen, it is but a short step to a belief that the seen contains the unseen and that the image deserves veneration because divine power somehow resides in it.
His successor, Tiberius II (578-582), removed the taxes and, choosing between his enemies, awarded subsidies to the Avars while taking military action against the Persians.
In gratitude for this support, Khosrow abandoned the frontier cities and the claims to Armenia, the two major sources of contention between Byzantium and Persia. He could not count on their obedience when he issued unwelcome commands from afar that decreased their pay in 588, ordered them to accept uniforms and weapons in kind rather than in cash equivalents, and, in 602, required the soldiers to establish winter quarters in enemy lands across the Danube, lest their requirements prove too great a strain on the agricultural and financial resources of the empire's provinces south of the river. Lacking a legitimate title, holding his crown only by right of conquest, Phocas found himself confronted by constant revolt and rebellion. There were, in consequence, few experienced counselors to aid Heraclius, for, among the men of prominence under Phocas--and earlier under Maurice--few survived to greet the new emperor.
The great days of the Persian Achaemenid Empire seemed to have come again, and there was little in the recent history of the Byzantine emperors that would encourage Heraclius to place much faith in the future. Civil problems were inseparable from the military: Heraclius could not hope to dispense justice, collect taxes, protect the church, and assure the future to his dynasty unless military power reinforced his orders.
The Opsikioi were to be found in the Opsikion theme, the Armeniakoi in the Armeniakon, and the Anatolikoi in the Anatolikon. An alliance with the Khazars, a Turkic people from north of the Caucasus, proved of material assistance in those years and of lasting import in Byzantine diplomacy. Alexandria capitulated in 642, removing forever the province of Egypt from Byzantine authority.
The victorious Muslims granted religious freedom to the Christian community in Alexandria, for example, and the Alexandrians quickly recalled their exiled Monophysite patriarch to rule over them, subject only to the ultimate political authority of the conquerors. Lured by the unsettled conditions following Justinian's second deposition, they renewed their assaults by land and sea, and in 717 the Arabs were again besieging Constantinople.
This last was a task easier to accomplish at the end of the 7th century thanks to the colonies of Slavs and other peoples brought into the empire and settled in the rural areas by Heraclius, Constantine IV, and Justinian II.
Despite constant warfare, this was, in short, a healthier society than the late Roman, and its chances of survival were further increased when the sixth general council (680-681) condemned Monothelitism and anathematized its adherents. Modern readers have trouble with the Bible's unicorns because we forget that a single-horned feature is not uncommon on God's menu for animal design.
This study provides a valuable historical perspective on current debates over the place of homosexuality in modern Western culture. With these advantages, the Byzantine emperors, who still considered themselves Romans, long nourished the dream of subduing the barbarian kingdoms of the West and reuniting the empire.
Religious disunity continued to weaken the empire throughout the Iconoclastic Controversy (a dispute over the use of religious images, or icons) of the 8th and early 9th centuries, which left the Eastern Orthodox church split into factions and further alienated from Rome.
The empire was recaptured by Byzantine exiles in 1261, but under the final Palaeologus dynasty it was little more than a large city-state besieged from all sides. The term East Rome accurately described the political unit embracing the Eastern provinces of the old Roman Empire until 476, while there were yet two emperors. Walls that had held firm in the early Middle Ages against German, Hun, Avar, Slav, and Arab were breached finally by modern artillery, in the mysteries of which European technicians had instructed the most successful of the Central Asian invaders: the Ottoman Turks. Byzantium was a melting-pot society, characterized during its earlier centuries by a degree of social mobility that belies the stereotype, often applied to it, of an immobile, caste-ridden society. The empire finally collapsed when its administrative structures could no longer support the burden of leadership thrust upon it by military conquests.
The emperor alone could provide this protection since, as the embodiment of all the virtues, he possessed in perfection those qualities displayed only imperfectly by his individual subjects. And far from unifying the Roman world, economic growth often created self-sufficient units in the several regions, provinces, or great estates. Social disorder opened avenues to eminence and wealth that the more stable order of an earlier age had closed to the talented and the ambitious. Whatever their personal religious convictions, both, finally, believed that imperial affairs would not prosper unless the emperor's subjects worshiped the right gods in the right way.
In the course of the 4th century, four great "regional prefectures" emerged from these Constantinian beginnings, and the practice of separating civil from military authority persisted until the 7th century.
The controls failed and the aureus vanished, to be succeeded by Constantine's gold solidus. Constantinople had probably grown to a population of between 200,000 and 500,000; in the 5th century the emperors sought to restrain rather than promote its growth.
Although this particular revolt was, in many respects, less productive of immediate results than similar episodes in the West, and the Germanic leaders later reappeared in roles of command throughout the East, the latter acted thenceforth as individuals without the support of those nearly autonomous groups of soldiers that western barbarian commanders continued to enjoy.
The latter province lay in the hands of the German chieftain Odoacer, who in 476 had deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor in the West.
None of these three alternatives proved successful, and religious hostility was not the least of the disaffections that led Egypt and Syria to yield, rather readily, to the Arab conqueror. If, by way of compensating for the resulting loss to the state, the rural classes had then to pay the land tax in money rather than kind, the mere fact that gold could be presumed to be available in the countryside is a striking index of rural prosperity.
Hostilities were exacerbated when Armenia, lying to the north between the two realms, converted to Christianity and thus seemed to menace the religious integrity of Persia. He negotiated, at the cost of considerable tribute, an "Endless Peace" with the Persian king, Khosrow, which freed the Roman's hands for operations in another quarter of the globe. No longer could a barbarian king hope to maintain the loyalties of his Catholic subjects by persuading them that a Monophysite emperor ruled in the East.
More recent scholarship has shown that the factions were seldom motivated by anything higher than partisan fanaticism for their respective charioteers. The fourth book, the Novellae Constitutiones Post Codicem (commonly called the Novels), consists of collections of Justinian's edicts promulgated between 534 and 565. Success came with surprising ease after two engagements, and in 534 Justinian set about organizing this new addition to the provinces of the Roman Empire. In Italy, meanwhile, the Goths chose a new king, Totila, under whose able leadership the military situation in that land was soon to be transformed. By 543 it had reached Italy and Africa, and it may also have attacked the Persian armies on campaign in that year. Rather than effective Roman opposition, it was Khosrow's own weariness of an unprofitable war that led him to sign a treaty of peace in 545, accepting tribute from Justinian and preserving Persian conquests in Lazica.
Although Justinian agreed to continue payment of tribute in the amount of 30,000 solidi a year, Khosrow, in return, abandoned his claims to Lazica and undertook not to persecute his Christian subjects. It was fortunate, then, that before 561, East Roman agents had smuggled silkworms from China into Constantinople, establishing a silk industry that would liberate the empire from dependence on Persia and become one of medieval Byzantium's most important economic operations. Early in the 550s, Justinian assembled a vast army composed not only of Romans but also of barbarians, including Lombards, Heruli, and Gepids, as well as Persian deserters. The major invasion came in 559, when the Kutrigur Bulgars, accompanied by Sclaveni, crossed the Danube and divided their force into three columns.
The Avars moved westward from south Russia, subjugating Utigurs, Kutrigurs, and Slavic peoples to the profit of the empire.
Finally, the armies that won the victories described above in east and west were largely victorious only because Justinian manned them as never before with barbarians: Goths, Armenians, Heruli, Gepids, Saracens, and Persians--to name only the most prominent. Christianity was often, to be sure, a veneer that cracked in moments of crisis, permitting a very old paganism to emerge, while loyalty to the emperor could be forsworn and often was.
Blasphemy and sacrilege were forbidden, lest famine, earthquake, and pestilence punish the Christian society.
By the early 7th century, the typical Byzantine city, viewed from without, actually or potentially resembled a fortress; viewed from within, it was essentially a religious community under ecclesiastical leadership. Whereas traditional pagan culture was literary and its pursuit or enjoyment thereby limited to the leisured and wealthy, the Christian liturgical celebration and its musical component were available to all, regardless of place or position. Icons appeared in both private and public use during the last half of the 6th century: as a channel of divinity for the individual and as a talisman to guarantee success in battle. Although Tiberius' general, Maurice, led an effective campaign on the eastern frontier, subsidies failed to restrain the Avars. The terms of the treaty gave Byzantium access, in Armenia, to a land rich in the soldiers it desperately needed and, equally important, an opportunity to concentrate on other frontiers where the situation had worsened. Exasperated by this last demand, the soldiers rose in revolt, put a junior officer named Phocas at their head, and marched on Constantinople. To contemporaries, the coincidence of pestilence, endemic warfare, and social upheaval seemed to herald the coming of the Antichrist, the resurrection of the dead, and the end of the world. He clearly could not hope to survive unless he kept under arms the troops he had brought with him; yet, the fate of Maurice demonstrated that this would be no easy task, given the empire's lack of financial and agricultural resources. A system of military government, the exarchate, had accomplished these objectives so well in the West that, in a moment of despair, Heraclius sought to return to the land of his origins. Heraclius finally destroyed the main Persian host at Nineveh in 627 and, after occupying Dastagird in 628, savoured the full flavour of triumph when his enemy, Khosrow, was deposed and murdered. As their empire crumbled, new peoples from the Black Sea to the Balkans emerged to seize power: the Bulgars of Kuvrat, the Slavs under Samo, and the Serbs and Croats whom Heraclius permitted to settle in the northwest Balkans once they had accepted Christianity. The Arabs had, meanwhile, advanced into Mesopotamia, capturing the royal city of Ctesiphon and, eventually, defeating an army under command of the Persian king himself.
In such a fashion the city persisted as a religious community under an Arab Muslim domination more welcome and more tolerant than that of Byzantium. With the aid of the Bulgars, he returned in 705 to reassume rule and wreak a vengeance so terrible that his second deposition, and death, in 711 is surprising only in its delay of six years.
Constans undertook operations against the Lombards, and he apparently intended to move his capital to Sicily, before his assassination ended the career of the last Eastern emperor to venture into the West.
In the 8th and 9th centuries, other emperors, including Leo III, Constantine V, and Nicephorus I, were to continue the practice, thus ending the population decline that had long eroded the ranks of Byzantine society. With Egypt and Syria under Muslim rule, it was no longer necessary to placate Eastern Monophysitism, and it seemed that doctrinal discord would no longer separate Constantinople from the West. On a broken obelisk, for instance, Tiglath-Pileser I boasted of slaying them in the Lebanon mountains.
To think of the biblical unicorn as a fantasy animal is to demean God's Word, which is true in every detail. The same term may even be used until the last half of the 6th century, as long as men continued to act and think according to patterns not unlike those prevailing in an earlier Roman Empire.
The latter piece, struck at the lighter weight of 72 to the gold pound, remained the standard for centuries. After 391 Christianity was far more than one among many religions: from that year onward, imperial decree prohibited all forms of pagan cult, and the temples were closed. Thus, by suggesting that Theodoric conquer Italy as his Ostrogothic kingdom, Zeno maintained at least a nominal supremacy in that western land while ridding the Eastern Empire of an unruly subordinate.
Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople in 428, adopted the Antiochene formula, which, in his hands, came to stress the human nature of Christ to the neglect of the divine. In the East, the economic resurgence of the 4th century had persisted, and it is not surprising that Anastasius enriched the treasury to the extent of 320,000 pounds of gold during the course of his reign.
If small-scale warfare during the 4th and 5th centuries rarely erupted into major expeditions, the threat to Rome nonetheless remained constant, demanding vigilance and the construction of satisfactory fortifications. Thus Justinian succeeded in attaining the first of the objectives needed for reconquest in the West: peace in the East. The Nika riot--"Nika!" ("Conquer!" or "Win!") being the slogan shouted during the races--of 532, however, was one of the rare occasions when the factions voiced political opposition to the imperial government. In East Asia the disease has persisted into the 20th century, providing medical science with an opportunity to view its causes and course. Huns, Sclaveni, Antae, and Bulgars ravaged Thrace and Illyricum, meeting only slight opposition from Roman armies. Command of this host eventually was given to an unlikely but, as events were to prove, able commander: the eunuch and chamberlain Narses. At the end of Justinian's reign, they stood on the Danube, a nomadic people hungry for lands and additional subsidies and by no means unskilled themselves in a sort of perfidious diplomacy that would help them pursue their objectives.
It was far from easy to maintain discipline among so motley an army; yet, once the unruly barbarian accepted the quieter life of the garrison soldier, he tended to lose his fighting capacity and prove, once the test came, of little value against the still warlike barbarian facing him beyond the frontier.
Despite these shortcomings, the Christian faith and the ecclesiastical institutions defined in the 6th century proved better instruments by far to unite men and stimulate their morale than the pagan literary culture of the Greco-Roman world.
Surely God would take vengeance upon Constantinople, as he had upon Sodom and Gomorrah, should the homosexual persist in his "unnatural" ways.
Nor did Justinian neglect the monastic clergy, or those who had removed themselves from the world. Reacting against Justinian's persecutions, they strengthened their own ecclesiastical organization, with the result that many of the fortress cities noted above, especially those of Egypt and Syria, owed allegiance to Monophysite ecclesiastical leadership.
During the dark years following the end of Justinian I's reign, no other element of popular Christian belief better stimulated that high morale without which the Byzantine Empire would not have survived. Again becoming politically active, the Blues and Greens united against Maurice, and the aged emperor watched as his five sons were slaughtered before he himself met a barbarous death. In all likelihood, he applied similar principles of military rule to his possessions throughout Asia Minor, granting his generals (strategoi) both civil and military authority over those lands that they occupied with their "themes," as the army groups, or corps, were called in the first years of the 7th century. From 711 until 717 the fortunes of the empire foundered; in that year, Leo, strategos of the Anatolikon theme, arrived as a second Heraclius to found a dynasty that would rescue the empire from its new enemies, the Arab Muslims and the Bulgars. In summary, Leo III in 717 ruled over an empire humiliated by the presence of pagan barbarians upon Balkan soil rightfully considered "Roman," threatened by an attack upon its Anatolian heartland and its capital, and reduced, finally, in the West to Sicily and the remnants of the Ravenna exarchate. There are unmistakable signs of agricultural expansion even before 800; and, at about that time, urban life, which had never vanished in Asia Minor, began to flourish and expand in the Balkans.
Almost the entire Balkan Peninsula fell to them, but their siege of Constantinople, begun in 1395, was prolonged by the city's near-impregnable strategic position and by Turkish factionalism. During these same centuries, nonetheless, there were changes so profound in their cumulative effect that after the 7th century state and society in the East differed markedly from their earlier forms. Imperial pressure was often manifest at the church councils of the 4th century, with the emperor assuming a role he was destined to fill again during the 5th century in defining and suppressing heresy. His opponents (first the Alexandrian patriarch, Cyril, and later Cyril's followers, Dioscorus and Eutyches) in reaction emphasized the single divine nature of Christ, the result of the Incarnation. Transmitted to humans by fleas from infected rodents, the plague attacks the glands and early manifests itself by swellings (buboes) in armpit and groin, whence the name bubonic.
In two decisive battles (Busta Gallorum and Mons Lactarius), the East Roman general defeated first Totila and then his successor, Teias.
Worried by Roman naval action on the Danube, which seemed to menace the escape route home, the Kutrigurs broke off the attack, returned north, and found themselves under attack from the Utigurs, a people whose support Justinian's agents had earlier connived at and won by suitable bribes. The army, in short, was a creation of war and kept its quality only by participating in battlefield action, but further expansive warfare could hardly be undertaken by a society chronically short of men and money. Drawing upon the regulations to be found in the writings of the 4th-century Church Father St.
Throughout the countryside and the city, holy men appeared in legend or in fact, exorcising demons, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and warding off the invader. It ended in 1453, when the last emperor, also named Constantine, died fighting on the walls and the Turks took the city.
Some of them--notably hereditary succession, the recognition of Christianity, the currency reform, and the foundation of the capital--determined in a lasting way the several aspects of Byzantine civilization with which they are associated. Their belief in Monophysitism, or the one nature of Christ as God the Son, became extraordinarily popular throughout the provinces of Egypt and Syria. Even though the Emperor yielded to their demands, the crowd was not appeased, converted its riot into a revolt, and proclaimed a nephew of Anastasius as emperor. To judge from Procopius' description of its symptoms at Constantinople in 542, the disease then appeared in its more virulent pneumonic form, wherein the bacilli settle in the lungs of the victims.
In Italy, Totila took the offensive, capturing southern Italy and Naples and even forcing his way into Rome (546) despite Belisarius' efforts to relieve the siege.
The two peoples weakened each other in warfare, of which the episode of 559 was not the first instance, and this was precisely the result at which Byzantine diplomacy was aimed. Basil of Caesarea, as well as the acts of 4th- and 5th-century church councils, he ordered the cenobitic (or collective) form of monastic life in a fashion so minute that later codes, including the rule of St. None of these advances was to characterize western European agriculture until the 10th century. The final stronghold of Greek power, Trapezus (modern Trabzon, Turkey), fell to the Turks in 1461. Rome, in the person of Pope Leo I, declared in contrast for Dyophysitism, a creed teaching that two natures, perfect and perfectly distinct, existed in the single person of Christ. The appearance of the pneumonic form was particularly ominous because it may be transmitted directly from person to person, spreading the infection all the more readily and producing exceptionally high mortality rates. Desperately, Justinian's great general called for reinforcements from the East; if ever they came, they were slow in arriving and proved numerically less than adequate to the task confronting them. Despite the continued resistance of certain Gothic garrisons, coupled with the intervention of Franks and Alamanni, after 554 the land was essentially a province of the East Roman Empire. Anthony, hagiographers recorded the deeds of these extraordinary men, creating in the saint's life a form of literature that began to flower in the 6th and 7th centuries. Byzantine agriculture enjoyed the further advantage of a highly developed tradition of careful farming that persisted even in the darkest days, enabling the peasant to make the most of the soil upon which he worked. At the Council of Chalcedon (451), the latter view triumphed thanks to the support of Constantinople, which changed its position and condemned both Nestorianism, or the emphasis on the human nature of Christ, and Monophysitism, or the belief in the single divine nature. Justinian's able general, Belisarius, sequestered the rebels in the Hippodrome and slaughtered them to the number of 30,000. Comparative studies, based upon statistics derived from incidence of the same disease in late-medieval Europe, suggest that between one-third and one-half the population of Constantinople may well have died, while the lesser cities of the empire and the countryside by no means remained immune.
The invasions had even provided a form of stimulus to development: having lost first its Egyptian granary and, later, its North African and Sicilian resources, the empire had to live essentially, although not totally, from whatever it could produce in the lands remaining to it.
The leaders were executed, and their estates passed, at least temporarily, into the Emperor's hands. The invasions had also, in all probability, broken up many a large estate, and the small peasant holding seems to have been the "normal" form of rural organization in this period.
Although collective village organization persisted in the form of the rural commune and, with it, certain collective agricultural practices, the state seems to have made little or no attempt to bind the peasant to the soil upon which the tax registers had inscribed him. While Byzantium remained a slave-owning society, the colonus of the later Roman Empire had vanished, and a greater degree of freedom and mobility characterized agricultural relationships during the 7th and 8th centuries.

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