GLORY OF CONSTANTINOPLE


Some truths about Byzantium by J.D.

When Constantine became Emperor of the Roman Empire, he took a good look at his Empire and saw that Christianity the Eastern Religion, was destined to be the religion that will bond his multiracial Empire. Further more he sees that the most populated, richest and civilised territories of his Empire all were in the East in the Hellenic and Hellenistic World. There were, all the big centres of civilisation, such as Alexandria, Antioch, Damascus, Bergamo's, Ephesus, Smyrna, Salonika, Athens, Corinth. There were the Universities, the philosophical school’s, technical, technological and art school’s, and above all, the wealth of knowledge, the biggest libraries in the known World. The heart of his Empire was beating in the East.

Emperor Constantine takes all these factors into consideration and with rare vision chooses to relocate the capital of his Empire to the East. There again with unusual dexterity pinpoint the unknown till then small Greek township known as Byzantium to be his Capital but at the same time in a very important and strategic location, as it was positioned right on the cross roads of the two continents, Asia and Europe, and two Seas, the Black, of witch the shores were dotted by hundreds of Greek colonies already for a thousand years there and the Mediterranean, for that matter, in a bigger scale and much – much longer period of time.

And in 324 BC he was confident that his Empire, with the new look and its Capital renamed to his name and in the right place, it would last a 1000 years. Well, he was not wrong. The Latin Emperors and Administration followed the move. The period though of the next two centuries 400 AD to 600 AD was a transient period, as the basis of the eastern part of the Empire was in Greek skills and dexterity, in education level, in civilisation, in science and scientists and by 650 AD was Hellenised completely. Since then and for the next 800 years is almost in Greek hands, since the non Greeks of the Empire were all highly Hellenised.

The loss of the non Hellenic territories, such as Syria, Palestine and Egypt in the 7th century to the Arabs contributed to the restriction down to the mainly Hellenic populated territories, such as: Minor Asia, Crimea, part of southern Italy and Sicily, Southern Balkans, Greece, the Islands, including Crete and Cyprus. Now we can say this was a Hellenic Empire. Yet the Emperors intelligently and intentionally continued to call them selves "Eastern Roman Empire" {or commonly "Romania"} as with this title appeared to be the rightful heiress of Rome and subsequently claim domination of the West. Although in this “Roman Empire” there was no Romans and nothing the Roman. The Eastern Empire was not a continuation of the Roman State but of the Hellenistic states, legacy of Alexander the Great.

H.G Wells, calls it: "Eastern new-Hellenic state", and continues: "….they talk about this Eastern State as it is continuation of the Roman tradition, while in reality is a renewal of Alexander’s tradition, speaking Greek, and continues the Greek legacy. This State was Greek and not Latin. The Romans had come and gone".

The Greeks continued though to regard themselves as citizens of the Roman Empire, yet they never spoke Latin, language they disdain as Scythian (barbaric). Citizens of Roman Empire, yes, but they never studied Virgilio, Takito, Suetonio and later Augustine or Latin church fathers.

The Language they spoke and the education level the most important factors that forms the national conscience was the Greek. The Byzantine State never broke the link with the Hellenistic and the ancient Greek World. Its Historians saw their history as an unbroken chain.

Several new historians attempted to bring in new names such as: "Eastern Empire", "Later Roman State", "New Roman Empire", "New Empire", "State of Constantinoupolis" e.t.r.. Finally dominated the name of "Byzantine Empire" or simply: "Byzantium".

Geronymo Wolf (1516-1580) was the first who used the term "Byzantium" to assert that Byzantium was a Greek Empire.

Montaigne (1533-1592) calls Byzantium "Greek Empire" (Empire Grec).

Finally the name "Byzantine Empire" was established with the woks of Du Cange, "Historia Byzantina" (1648).

After the establishment of Constantinoupolis Alexander Aleksandrovic Vasiliev writes: "All the Historians were Greeks. The church Fathers who shone during the 4th and 5th centuries all write in Greek. Athanasius the great, Gregory the theologian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, had a deep knowledge of Greek philosophy since they studied in Athens and Alexandria. John the Chrysostom student of the Greek philosopher Livanios had a classic education and his works (all in Greek) are some of the largest philosophical treasures of the World."

Bob Russell writes: "The Eastern Empire was Greek and not Latin in its civilisation", ("History of Western Philosophy").

Haizemberg: "The Eastern Empire is the Christianized Roman state of the Greek nation".

For many centuries, BYZANTIUM was the greatest, most powerful, richest, civilised and progressive state on Earth.

1) Greeks were the Emperors with a few exemptions, but highly Hellenised

2) Greeks were the Patriarchs and most of the clergyman.

3) Greeks were the legislators.

4) Greeks were most of the generals, admirals, emperor’s councillors.

5) Greeks were the missionaries' spreading the Christianity and teaching the writing (Methodios and Kyrilos) to the Slavs.

6) Greek was the language and religion (Orthodoxy), the Greek tendency of Christianity.

7) Greeks constituted the Government structure, in the education, the justice, the army, e.t.c.

8) Greeks were the intellectuals, scholars, historians, chronicle writers, theologians, music composers, mosaic workers, artists, sculptors,




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