The Byzantine Empire

491 to 1458 A.D.

In 326 AD Constantine the Great started construction of his new city of Constantinople on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium on the Bosphorus. Thus began the split between the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. With the fall of the western half and Rome itself to the "barbarians", the eastern half was Rome. Although the inhabitants were mainly Greek, they considered themselves Roman. Later historians called it the Byzantine Empire, though that was not it's name at the time. For convenience, the Byzantine Empire can be considered to start in the reign of Anastasius I (491 -518 AD), because that was when the coinage was changed from a Roman type to a completely new style.

Parts of the Western Empire were re-captured under Justinian I (527 - 565 AD) but these were eventually lost.

Although Constantinople was a Christian beacon of opulence and splendour, it's resources and lands were slowly eaten into by various enemies, such as Sassanians, Avars and Magyars. In 622 AD, another threat reared it's head - Islam. The conquests of the Muslims, and later the Turks and Mongols, encroached on Byzantine territory. This was not helped by the take-over of Constantinople by the Crusaders (1204-1261).

In 1453, the Ottoman Great Sultan, Muhammed II, stormed the walls of Constantinople. The last emperor, Constantine XI was last seen on the walls, defending the city to the last. The great bastion of Christianity in the east had fallen, Constantinople becoming Istanbul and the great cathedral of St Sophia becoming a mosque.

Table of Rulers

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Anastasius I
491 -518 AD
AV Solidus
Anastasius I
491 -518 AD
AE Follis (large module)
Justin I
518 -527 AD
AE Follis
Justinian I
527 AD - 565 AD
AE Follis
Justinian I
527 AD - 565 AD
AE Follis
Justin II
565 AD - 578 AD
AE Follis
Maurice Tiberius
582 AD - 602 AD
AV Solidus
Maurice Tiberius
582 AD - 602 AD
AE Follis
Phocas
602 AD - 610 AD
AE Follis
Heraclius o/s on Follis of Phocas
610 AD - 641 AD
AE Follis
Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine
610 AD - 641 AD
AV Solidus
Constans II
641 AD - 648 AD
AE Follis
Basil I
867 AD - 886 AD
AE Follis
Leo VI
886 AD - 912 AD
AE Follis
Leo VI and Alexander
870 AD - 912 (913) AD
AE Follis
John I Tzimisces
969 AD - 976 AD
AR Milliaresion
Basil II
976 AD - 1025 AD
AR Milliaresion
Constantine VIII: Sole reign
15 Dec. 1025 - 11 Nov. 1028
AV Histamenon Nomisma
Michael IV
12th Apr. 1034 - 10th Dec. 1041
AE Follis
Constantine IX, Monomachus
12th June 1042 - 11th January 1055
AE Follis
Constantine X, Ducas
25 Dec 1059 - 21 May 1067
AE Follis
Romanus IV, Diogenes
1068 AD - 1071 AD
AE Follis Anonymous type
Manuel I Comnenus
8th Apr. 1143 - 24th Sept. 1180
Billon aspron trachy
Isaac II Angelus
12th Sept. 1185 - 8th Apr. 1195
Billon aspron trachy
Alexius III Angelus-Comnenus
8th April 1195 - 17th July 1203
Billon aspron trachy
Latin Rulers of Constantinople
1204-1261 AD
Billon scyphate
Empire of Nicaea
John III Ducas-Vatatzes
1222-1254 AD AV Hyperpyron
Andronicus II and Michael IX
1295-1320 AD
debased gold Hyperpyron
Empire of Trebizond
John IV - 1446 AD - 1458 AD
AR Asper






The Byzantine Empire
The Germanic Migrations