1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Roman Empire, Later

21650281911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 23 — Roman Empire, LaterJohn Bagnell Bury

ROMAN EMPIRE, LATER. The reign of Constantine the Great forms the most deep-reaching division in the history of Europe. The external continuity is not broken, but the principles which guided society in the Greek and Roman world are replaced by a new order of ideas. The emperor-worship, which expressed a belief in the ideal of the earthly empire of Rome, gives way to Christianity; this is the outward sign that a mental transformation, which we can trace for 300 years before in visible processes of decay and growth, had reached a crisis.

Besides the adoption of Christianity, Constantine's reign is marked by an event only second in importance, the shifting of the centre of gravity of the Empire from the west to the east by making Byzantium a second capital, a second Rome. The foundation of Constantinople (q.v.) determined the subsequent history of the state; it established permanently the division between the eastern and western parts of the Empire—a principle already introduced—and soon exhibited, though not immediately, the preponderance of the eastern half. The eastern provinces were the richest and most resourceful, and only needed a Rome in their midst to proclaim this fact; and further, it was eastward that the Empire fronted, for here was the one great civilized state with which it was in constant antagonism. Byzantium was refounded on the model of Rome, had its own senate, and presently a praefectus urbi. But its character was different in two ways: it was Christian and it was Greek. From its foundation New Rome had a Christian stamp; it had no history as the capital of a pagan empire. There was, however, no intention of depressing Rome to a secondary rank in political importance; this was brought about by the force of circumstances.

The Christian Roman Empire, from the first to the last Constantine, endured for 1130 years, and during that long period, which witnessed the births of all the great modern nations of Europe, experienced many vicissitudes of decline and revival. In the 5th century it lost all its western provinces through the expansion of the Teutons; but in the 6th asserted something of its ancient power and won back some of its losses. In the 7th it was brought very low through the expansion of the Saracens and of the Slavs, but in consequence of internal reforms and prudent government in the 8th century was able before the end of the 9th to initiate a new brilliant period of power and conquest. From the middle of the 11th century a decline began; besides the perpetual dangers on the eastern and northern frontiers, the Empire was menaced by the political aggression of the Normans and the commercial aggression of Venice; then its capital was taken and its dominions dismembered by Franks and Venetians in 1204. It survived the blow for 250 years, as a shadow of its former self.

During this long life its chief political rôle was that of acting as a defender of Europe against the great powers of western Asia. While it had to resist a continuous succession of dangerous enemies on its northern frontier in Europe—German, Slavonic, Finnic and Tatar peoples—it always considered that its front was towards the east, and that its gravest task was to face the powers which successively inherited the dominion of Cyrus and Darius. From this point of view we might divide the external history of the Empire into four great periods, each marked by a struggle with a different Asiatic power: (1) with Persia, ending c. 630 with the triumph of Rome; (2) with the Saracens, who ceased to be formidable in the 11th century; (3) with the Seljuk Turks, in the 11th and 12th centuries; (4) with the Ottoman Turks, in which the Roman power went down.

Medieval historians, concentrating their interest on the rising states of western Europe, often fail to recognize the position held by the later Empire and its European prestige. Up to the middle of the 11th century it was in actual strength the first power in Europe, except in the lifetime of Charles the Great, and under the Comneni it was still a power of the first rank. But its political strength does not express the fulness of its importance. As the heir of antiquity it was confessedly superior in civilization, and it was supreme in commerce. Throughout the whole period (to 1204) Constantinople was the first city in the world. The influence which the Empire exerted upon its neighbours, especially the Slavonic peoples, is the second great role which it fulfilled for Europe—a rôle on which perhaps the most speaking commentary is the doctrine that the Russian Tsar is the heir of the Roman Caesar.

The Empire has been called by many names—Greek, Byzantine, Lower (Bas-empire), Eastern (or East-Roman). All these have a certain justification as descriptions, but the only strictly correct name is Roman (as recognized in the title of Gibbon's work). The continuity from Augustus to Constantine XI. is unbroken; the emperor was always the Roman emperor; his subjects were always Romans (Ῥωμαῖοι: hence Romaic—Modern Greek). “Greek Empire” expresses the fact that the state became predominantly Greek in character, owing to the loss, first of the Latin provinces, afterwards of Syria and Egypt; and from the middle of the 6th century Greek became the official language. “Lower Empire” (Later is preferable) marks the great actual distinction in character between the development before Constantine (Haut-empire) and after his adoption of Christianity. “Byzantine” sums up in a word the unique Graeco-Roman civilization which was centred in New Rome. Eastern is a term of convenience, but it has been used in two senses, not to be confused. It has been used, loosely, to designate the eastern half of the Empire during the 80 years or so (from 395) when there were two lines of emperors, ruling formally as colleagues but practically independent, at Rome and Constantinople; but though there were two emperors, as often before, there was only one Empire. It has also been used, justifiably, to distinguish the true Roman Empire from the new state founded by Charles the Great (800), which also claimed to be the Roman Empire; Eastern and Western Empire are from this date forward legitimate terms of distinction. But between the periods to which the legitimate and illegitimate uses of the term “Eastern Empire” apply lies a period of more than 300 years, in which there was only one Empire in any sense of the word.

A chronological table of the dynasties will assist the reader of the historical sketch which follows.

Succession of Emperors arranged in Dynasties.

1. Constantinian Dynasty.—A.D. 324–363.

Emperors (founder of dynasty, Constantius I., 305–306): Constantine I. (306, sole emperor since), 324–337.
In west—Constantine II., 337–340; Constans, 337–350
In east—Constantius II., 337–.
Sole emperors: Constantius II., 350–361; Julian, 361–363
Inter-Dynasty.—Jovian, 363–364.

2. Valentinianean Dynasty.—A.D. 364–392.

In west—Valentinian I., 364–375; Gratian, 367–383; Valentinian II., 375–392.
In east—Valens, 365–378 (Theodosius I., 379–392).

3. Theodosian Dynasty.—A.D. 392–457.

Emperors: Theodosius I. (379), 392–395.
In east—Arcadius, 395–408; Theodosius II., 408–450; Marcian, 450–457.
In west—Honorius, 395–423; Constantius III., 422; Valentinian III., 425–455; (non-dynastic) Maximus, 455; Avitus, 455–456.

4. Leonine Dynasty.—A.D. 457–518.

In east—Leo I., 457–474; Leo II., 474; Zeno, 474–491; Anastasius I., 491–518.
In west—non-dynastic, Majorian, 457–46I; Severus, 461–465; (Leo I. sole emperor, 465–467); Anthemius, 467–472; Olybrius, 472; Glycerius, 473–474; Julius Nepos, 474–480; (usurper, Romulus Augustulus, 475–476).

5. Justinianean Dynasty.—A.D. 518–602.

Emperors: Justin I., 518–527; Justinian I., 527–565; Justin II., 565–578; Tiberius II., 578–582; Maurice, 582–602.
Inter-Dynasty.—Phocas, 602–610

6. Heraclian Dynasty.—A.D. 610–711.

Emperors: Heraclius, 610–641; Constantine III., 641; Heracleonas, 641–642; Constans II., 642–668; Constantine IV. (Pogonatus) 668–685; Justinian II. (Rhinotmetus), 685–695; (non-dynastic) Leontius, 695–698 and Tiberius III. (Apsimar), 698–705; Justinian II. (restored), 705–711. II.
Inter-Dynasty.—Philip Bardanes, 711–713; Anastasius II. 713–7I6; Theodosius III., 716–717.

7. Isaurian (Syrian) Dynasty.—A.D. 717–802.

Emperors: Leo III., 717–740 (alias, 41); Constantine V. (Copronymus), 740–775; Leo IV. (Khazar), 775–780; Constantine VI., 780–797; Irene, 797–802.
Inter-Dynasty.—Nicephorus I., 802–811; Stauracius (son of Nicephorus), 811; Michael I. (Rhangabē, father-in-law of Stauracius), 811–813; Leo V. (Armenian), 813–820.

8. Phrygian or Amorian Dynasty.—A.D. 820–867.

Emperors: Michael II. (Stammerer), 820–829; Theophilus, 829–842; Michael III. (Drunkard), 842–867.

9. Macedonian Dynasty.—A.D. 867–1057.

Emperors: Basil I. (Macedonian), 867–886; Leo VI. (philosopher) and Alexander, 886–912; Constantine VII.
(Porphyrogennetos), 912–959; Romanus I. (Lecapenus), 920–944; Romanus II., 959–963; Basil II.(Bulgaroctonus) and Constantine VIII., 963–1025; (non-dynastic) Nicephorus II. (Phocas), 963–969, and John Zimisces, 969–976; Constantine VIII., alone, 1025–1028; Romanus III. (Argyros), 1028–1034; Michael IV. (Paphlagonian), 1034–1041; Michael V. (Calaphates), 1041–1042; Constantine IX. (Monomachus), 1042–1054; Theodora, 1054–1056, Michael VI. (Stratioticus), 1056–1057.
Inter-Dynasty.—Isaac I. (Comnenus), 1057–1059; Constantine X. (Ducas), 1059–1067; Michael VII. (Parapinaces), Andronicus and Constantine XI. 1067; Romanus IV. (Diogenes), 1067–1071; Michael VII., alone, 1071–1078 Nicephorus III. (Botaneiates), 1078–1081.

10. Comnenian Dynasty.—A.D. 1081–1204.

Emperors: Alexius I. (nephew of Isaac I.), 1081–1118; John II., 1118–1143; Manuel I., 1143–1180; Alexius II., 1180–1183; Andronicus I., 1183–1185; Isaac II. (Angelus), 1185–1195; Alexius III. (Angelus), 1195–1203; Isaac II. and Alexius IV., 1203–1204.
Inter-Dynasty.—Alexius V. (Murtzuphlus), 1204. Capture of Constantinople and dismemberment of the Empire by the Venetians and Franks, A.D. 1204–1205.

11. Lascarid Dynasty.—A.D. 1206–1259.

Emperors: Theodore I. (Lascaris), 1206–1222; John III. (Vatatzes or Batatzes), 1222–1254; Theodore II. (Lascaris), 1254–1259.

12. Palaeologian Dynasty.—A.D. 1259–1453.

Emperors: Michael VIII. (Palaeologus), 1259–1282; Andronicus II. (Elder), 1282–1328; Andronicus III. (Younger), 1328–1341; John V., 1341–1391; (non-dynastic), John (Cantacuzenus), 1347–1355; Manuel II., 1391–1425; John VI., 1425–1448; Constantine XI., or XII. (Dragases), 1448–1453.

Historical Sketch.—Diocletian’s artificial experiment of two Augusti and two Caesars had been proved a failure, leading to twenty years of disastrous civil wars; and when Constantine the Great (q.v.) destroyed his last rival and restored domestic peace, he ruled for the rest of his life with undivided sway. But he had three sons, and this led to a new partition of the Empire after his death, and to more domestic wars, Constans first annexing the share of Constantine II. (340) and becoming sole ruler of the west, to be in turn destroyed by Constantius II., who in 350 remained sole sovereign of the Empire. Having no children, he was succeeded by his cousin, Julian (q.v.). This period was marked by wars against the Germans, who were pressing on the Rhine and Danish frontiers, and against Persia. Julian lost his life in the eastern struggle, which was then terminated by a disadvantageous peace. But the German danger grew graver, and the battle of Adrianople, in which the Visigoths, who had crossed the Danube in consequence of the coming of the Huns (see Goths and Huns), won a great victory, and the emperor Valens perished (378), announced that the question between Roman and Teuton had entered on a new stage. Theodosius the Great saved the situation for the time by his Gothic pacification. The efforts of a series of exceptionally able and hard-working rulers preserved the Empire intact throughout the 4th century, but the dangers which they weathered were fatal to their weaker successors. On the death of Theodosius the decisive moment came for the expansion of the Germans, and they took the tide at the flood. There were three elements in the situation. Besides the Teutonic peoples beyond the frontier there were dependent people who had settled within the Empire (as Visigoths in Moesia, Vandals in Pannonia), and further there were the semi-Romanized Germans in the service of the Empire, some of whom had risen to leading positions (like Merobaudes and Stilicho). A Germanization of the Empire, or part of it, in some shape was inevitable, but, if the rulers of the 5th century had been men of the same stamp as the rulers of the 4th, the process might have assumed a different form. The sons of Theodosius were both incapable; and in their reigns the future of the state which was divided between them was decided. The dualism between the east (under Arcadius) and the west (under Honorious) developed under the rule of these brothers into antagonism verging on hostility. The German danger was averted in the east, but it led in a few years to the loss of many of the western provinces, and at the end of ninety years the immediate authority of the Roman Emperor did not extend west of the Adriatic. The reign of Honorius saw the abandonment of Britain, the establishment of the Visigothic kingdom in Aquitaine, the occupation of a great part of Spain by Vandals and Sueves (Suebi). Under Valentinian III. the Vandals founded their kingdom in North Africa, the Visigoths shared Spain with the Sueves, the Burgundian kingdom was founded in S.E. Gaul. The last Roman possession in Gaul passed to the Franks in 486 (see Goths; Vandals; Franks). It is significant that the chief defender of the Empire against the Germans who were dismembering it were men of German race. Stilicho, who defended Italy against Alaric, Aëtius, whose great work was to protect the imperial possessions in Gaul, and Ricimer. It was also a German, Fravitta, who played a decisive part in suppressing a formidable Gothic movement which menaced the throne of Arcadius in 399–400. It was characteristic of this transformation of Europe that the Germans, who were imbued with a profound reverence for the Empire and its prestige, founded their kingdoms on Roman soil in the first instance as “federates” of the Emperor, on the basis of formal contracts, defining their relations to the native provincials; they seized their dominions not as conquerors, but as subjects. The double position of Alaric himself, as both king of the Visigoths and a magister militum of the Empire is significant of the situation.

The development of events was complicated by the sudden growth of the transient empire of the Huns (q.v.) in central Europe, forming a third great power, which, reaching from the Rhine to the Caucasus, from the Danube to the Baltic, might be compared in the extent of its nominal supremacy, but in nothing else, to the empires of Rome and Persia. The Huns, whose first appearance had precipitated the Germans on the Empire, now retarded for some years the process of German expansion, while they failed in their own attacks upon the Empire. On Attila’s death (453) his realm collapsed, and his German vassals (Ostrogoths, &c.) founded important kingdoms on its ruins.

After the death of Valentinian III., the worst of his house, the Theodosian dynasty expired in the west, and the authority of the western emperors who succeeded him in rapid succession reached little beyond Italy. For most of this period of twenty years the general Ricimer, of German birth, held the scales of power in that peninsula, setting up and pulling down emperors. After his death the western throne was no longer tenable. First there was a usurpation; the general Orestes set up his child-son Romulus Augustulus against the legitimate Augustus, Julius Nepos, who was acknowledged by the eastern emperor; but this temporary government was overthrown (476) by a Germanic military revolution headed by Odoacer, who appropriated part of the soil to his German soldiers and founded an Italian kingdom under the nominal supremacy of the emperor at Constantinople, who, however unwilling, recognized his position (after the death of Julius Nepos).

The escape of the eastern provinces from the fate of the western illustrates the fact that the strength of the Empire lay in the east. These provinces were more populous and presented greater obstacles to the invaders, who followed the line of least resistance. But it was of immense importance that throughout this period the Empire was able to preserve a practically unbroken peace with its great eastern rival. The struggle with Persia, terminated in 364 by the peace of Jovian, was not renewed till the beginning of the 6th century. It was of greater importance that the rulers pursued a discreet and moderate policy, both in financial administration and in foreign affairs; and the result was that at the end of a hundred years the diminished Empire was strong and consolidated. Theodosius II. was a weak prince, but his government was ably conducted by Anthemius, by his sister Pulcheria and by the eunuch Chrysaphius. His reign was important for the Armenian question. Theodosius I. had committed the error of consenting to a division of this buffer state in the Roman and Persian spheres of influence, Persia having much the larger. The Sassanid government tried to suppress the use of the Greek language. But the government of Theodosius II. officially supported the enterprise of translating the Bible into Armenian (Mesrob had just invented the Armenian alphabet), and this initiated the production of an abundant literature of translations from the Greek, which secured the perpetual connexion of Armenia with European culture, and not with Oriental. This reign is also distinguished by the building of the great land walls of Constantinople, by the foundation of a university there and by the collection of the imperial laws in the Codex Theodosianus, which is a mine of material for the social condition of the Empire. It reveals to us the decline of municipal liberty, the decay of the middle classes in the West, the evils of the oppressive fiscal system and an appalling paralysis of Roman administration which had once been so efficient; it shows how the best-intentioned emperors were unable to control the governors and check their corruption; and discloses a disorganization which facilitated the dismemberment of the Empire by the barbarians.

In the reign of Zeno it seemed probable that an Ostrogothic kingdom would be established in the Balkan peninsula, but the danger was diverted to Italy (see Goths). The kingdom which Theodoric founded there was, in its constitutional aspect, a continuation of Odoacer's régime. He, like Odoacer and Alaric, held the double position of a German king and a Roman official. He was magister militum as well as rex. His powers were defined by capitulations which were arranged with the emperor Anastasius and loyally observed. The right of legislation was reserved to the emperor, and Theodoric never claimed it; but for all practical purposes he was independent.

In the 6th century the emperor Justinian, whose talents were equal to his ambitions, found himself, through the financial prudence of his predecessors, in a position to undertake the reconquest of some of the lost western provinces. The Vandal power had declined, and Africa was won back in one campaign by Belisarius in 533. The conquest of Italy was far more difficult. Begun by Belisarius in 535, it was not completed till 554, by Narses. A portion of southern Spain was also won from the Visigoths, so that the Romans again commanded the western straits. Justinian, possessed by large ideas and intoxicated with the majesty of Rome, aspired to be a great conqueror, a great lawgiver, a great pontiff, a great diplomatist, a great builder, and in each of these spheres his reign holds a conspicuous place in the annals of the Empire. His legal work alone, or the building of Santa Sophia was enough to ensure him immortal fame. But deep shadows balance the splendour. The reconquest of Africa was thoroughly justified and advantageous, but Italy was bought at a ruinous cost. In the first place, the Persian empire was at this time ruled by one of its greatest kings, Chosroes I. (q.v.), who was far from peacefully inclined. Justinian was engaged in a long Persian and a long Gothic war at the same time, and the state was unequal to the strain. In the second place, it was all-important for his western policy to secure the goodwill of the Italian provincials and the Roman bishop, and for this purpose he involved himself in an ecclesiastical policy (see below) which caused the final alienation of the Syrian and Egyptian provinces. The reconquest of the West was purchased by the disunion of the East. Thirdly, the enormous expenses of the Italian and Persian wars, augmented by architectural undertakings, caused a policy of financial oppression which hung as a cloud over all the brilliance of his reign, and led to the decline which ensued upon his death. Nor is it to be forgotten that he had at the same time to fulfil the task of protecting the Danube against the Germans, Slavs and Bulgarians who constantly threatened the Illyrian provinces. He spared no expense in building forts and walls. Justinian's name will always be associated with that of the gifted Theodora, an actress of doubtful fame in her early life, who shared his throne. Their mosaic portraits are preserved in the contemporary church of San Vitale at Ravenna. She possessed great political influence, and the fact that she was a heretic (monophysite), while Justinian was devoted to orthodoxy, did not mar their harmony, but only facilitated the policy of extending secret favour to the heretics who were publicly condemned, and enabled the left hand to act without the knowledge of the right. The events of the half-century after Justinian's death exhibited the weakness to which his grandiose policy had reduced the Empire. It was attacked on the west, on the north and on the east, and at all points was unequal to coping with its enemies. (1) Italy fell a victim to the Lombards (q.v.), and in a few years more than half of the peninsula had passed under their sway. (2) The Avars, a Hunnic people who had advanced from the Caspian, took possession of Pannonia and Dacia, and formed an empire, consisting of Slavonic and Bulgarian subjects, which endured for about sixty years. Their chief occupation was to invade the Illyrian peninsula and extort tribute and ransoms from the emperors. So far as the Avars themselves were concerned, these incursions had no permanent significance, but the Slavs who overran the provinces did more than devastate. These years saw the beginning of the Slavonic settlements which changed the ethnical character of the peninsula, and thus mark the commencement of a new period. Slavs occupied Moesia and a large part of Macedonia, even close to Thessalonica, which they besieged; they penetrated southward into Greece and made large settlements in the Peloponnesus (see Greece, History, “Roman period,” ad fin.). They occupied the north-western provinces, which became Croatia and Servia, as well as Dalmatia (except some of the coast towns). In the northern part of the peninsula the Slavonic element remained dominant, but in Greece it was assimilated to the Greek (after the 9th century) and has left little record of itself except in place names. (3) The Empire was simultaneously engaged in the perennial strife with Persia. A short interval of peace was secured when the emperor Maurice assisted Chosroes II. to dethrone a usurper, but after Maurice's death (602) the final and mortal struggle began (see Persia, History, section viii. “The Sassanian Empire”). Throughout the incompetent reign of Phocas the eastern provinces were overrun by the Persians, as the Illyrian were overrun by the Slavs. The unpopular rule of this cruel usurper was terminated in 610 by the intervention of the governor of Africa, whose son Heraclius sailed to Constantinople and, welcomed by an influential party, met with little resistance. Phocas, murderer of Maurice, was murdered by the people, and the victor was crowned emperor to find himself in presence of a desperate situation. Antioch, Damascus and many other great cities were captured by the Persians; and in 614 Jerusalem was destroyed and the Holy Cross, along with the patriarch, carried off to Ctesiphon. This event produced a profound sensation in Christendom. In 616 Egypt was conquered. The army had fallen into utter disorder under Phocas, and Heraclius so deeply despaired of saving Constantinople that he thought of transferring the imperial capital to Carthage. But the extreme gravity of the situation seems to have wrought a moral change among his subjects; the patriarch Sergius was the mouthpiece of a widespread patriotic feeling, and it was not least through his influence that Heraclius performed the task of creating a capable army. His efforts were rewarded in a series of brilliant campaigns (622–28), which, in the emphasis laid on the contrast between Christianity and fire-worship and on the object of recovering the Cross, had the character of Crusades. Heraclius recovered his provinces and held Persia at his mercy (decisive battle at Nineveh, end of 627).

This war is remarkable for the attempt of the Persians to take Constantinople (626) in conjunction with the Avars and Slavs. Soon afterwards the Avar power began to decay, and the Slavs and Bulgarians shook off their yoke. It seemed as if the Roman government would now be able to regain the control in the Illyrian lands which it had almost entirely lost. It seems probable that Heraclius came to terms with the Slavs—Croatians and Servians—in the north-west; their position was regularized, as vassals of the Empire. But fate allowed no breathing-time to do more; the darkest hour had hardly passed when a new storm-cloud, from an unexpected quarter, overspread the heavens.

At this point we have to note that the Hellenic element in the state had definitely gained the upper hand before the end of the 6th century, so that henceforward the Empire might be described as Greek. Justinian’s mother-tongue was Latin, and he was devoted to the Latin traditions of Rome, but even he found it necessary to publish his later laws in Greek, and from his reign Greek was the official language.

Many of the Latin official terms were already represented by Greek equivalents (ὕπατος = consul, ἔπαρχος = praefectus, &c.), but they were preserved in great numbers, transliterated and often corrupted (e.g. κόμης, μάγιστρος, ἀσηκρήτης = a secretis, καγκελλάριος, πραιπόσιτος, κυέστωρ = quaestor, σάκρον παλάτιον, ὀφφίκιον, ὀψίκιον = obsequium). Ῥήξ, rex, was always used of barbarian potentates, βασιλεύς being reserved as = the emperor (but also applied to the Persian king). In military drill many Latin words of command continued to be used.

It is to be noted that the year 630 marks the beginning of a period of literary (and artistic) sterility in the Greek world (see Greek Literature, section Byzantine).

With the rise of Islam (see Caliphate; Mahomet) two universal religions, for the first time, stood face to face, each aspiring to win the universe. The struggle therefore which then began was not only a new phase of the “Eternal Question,” the strife between Europe and Asia, but was one in which the religious element was fundamental. Fire-worship was only a national religion and did not present the danger of Islam. The creation of the political power of the Mahommedans was so sudden that it took the world by surprise. Bostra, the fortress of Roman Arabia, fell into their hands in 634, and before the death of Heraclius in 641 they had conquered Syria and all Egypt, except Alexandria, which opened its gates to them in 643. The religious alienation of the Syrian and Egyptian peoples from Constantinople, expressing as it did a national sentiment antagonistic to the Greeks, was an important political factor in the Mahommedan (as in the previous Persian) conquest. Thus the Mahommedans definitely cut the Empire short in the East, as the Germans had cut it short in the West; Egypt was never recovered, Syria only for short periods and partially, while the integrity of Asia Minor was constantly menaced and Cilicia occupied for many generations. By their conquest of Persia the Caliphs succeeded to the position of the Sassanids; this led to the conquest of Armenia (c. 654); while, in the West, Africa was occupied in 647 (though the conquest was not completed till the capture of Carthage and other strong places in 698). Thus within twenty years from the first attack the Empire was girt about by the new aggressive power from the precincts of the Caucasus to the Western Mediterranean.

Fortunately Constans II., grandson of Heraclius, was a man of eminent ability and firmness. The state owed to him the preservation of Asia Minor, and the creation of a powerful fleet (see below) which protected the Aegean coasts and islands against the naval power which the Mahommedans created. He was responsible for completing a new, efficient military organization, which determined the lines of the administrative reforms of Leo III. (see below). In his last years he turned his eyes to Italy and Africa. He dreamed of restoring Old Rome as the centre of the Empire. But he did not succeed in recovering south Italy from the Lombards (Duchy of Beneventum), and having visited Rome he took up his residence in Syracuse, where he was assassinated, having lost two fleets which he sent against the Arabs of Africa. The strain lasted for another fifty years. Constantinople sustained two great sieges, which stand out as crises, for, if in either case the enemy had been successful, the Empire was doomed.

The first siege was in 673–77, under the caliph Moawiya; his fleet blockaded the capital for five years, but all its efforts were frustrated by the able re cautions of Constantine IV.; “Greek fire” (see below) played an important part in the defence; and the armada was annihilated on the voyage back to Syria by storms and the Roman fleet. The second crisis was at the accession of Leo III., when the city was besieged by land and sea by Suleiman for a year (717–18), and Leo’s brilliant defence, again aided by Greek fire, saved Eurpoe. This crisis marks the highest point of Mahommedan aggression, which never again caused the Empire to tremble for its existence.

The Heraclian dynasty, which had fallen on evil times and rendered inestimable services to the Empire, came to an end in anarchy, which was terminated by the elevation of the Syrian, (commonly called Isaurian) Leo III., whose reign opens a new period. His reforming hand was active in every sphere of government, but the ill-fame which he won by his iconoclastic policy obscured in the memory of posterity the capital importance of his work. His provincial organization was revolutionary, and his legislation departed from the Roman tradition (see below). From his reign to the middle of the 10th century the continuous warfare by land with the Caliphs consisted of marauding expeditions of each power into the other’s territory, captures of fortresses, guerilla lighting, but no great conquests or decisive battles. The efficiency of the army was carefully maintained, but the neglect of the navy led to the losses of Crete (conquered by Moslem adventurers from Spain 826) and Sicily (conquered by the Saracens of Africa), Panormus taken 832, Syracuse 878 (see Sicily). The Africans also made temporary conquests, including Bari, in south Italy. This period saw the loss of the exarchate of Ravenna to the Lombards (750), the expansion of the Frankish power under Pippin and Charlemagne in Italy, and in close connexion therewith the loss of Old Rome.

The iconoclast emperors pursued a moderate foreign policy, consolidating the Empire within its contracted limits; but under the “Macedonian” dynasty, which was of Armenian descent, it again expanded and became the strongest power in Europe. The 9th century also witnessed a revival of learning and culture which had been in eclipse for 200 years. The reign of Basil I. was marked by an energetic policy in south Italy, where his forces co-operated with the western emperor Louis II. The Saracens were expelled from their strongholds, Bari recovered, Calabria saved, and the new province (Theme) of Longibardia formed. This secured the entrance to the Adriatic, and the increase of dominion here at the expense of the Lombards was a compensation for the loss of Sicily. Leo VI. did much for reorganizing the navy, but his reign was not fortunate; Saracen pirates plundered freely in the Aegean and, under the able renegade Leo of Tripolis, captured Thessalonica and carried off countless captives (904). But a great tide of success began fifty years later. Nicephorus Phocas won back Crete (961) as general of Romanus II., and then as emperor recovered Cilicia and North Syria (with Antioch) 968. Cyprus was also recovered. The tide flowed on under his equally able successor, John Zimisces (of Armenian race) and under Basil II.; these reigns mark the decisive victory of the Empire in the long struggle with the Saracens, whose empire had been broken up into separate states. The eastern frontier was strengthened by the active policy of Basil II. in Armenia, which was more fully incorporated in the Empire under Constantine IX.

The reign of Basil II. marks the culmination of the power of the Eastern Empire, for it also witnessed the triumphant conclusion of another conflict which had lasted almost as long. In the reign of Constantine IV. the Bulgarians (see Bulgaria) had founded a kingdom in Lower Moesia, reducing the Slavonic tribes who had occupied the country, but less than two centuries sufficed to assimilate the conquerors to the conquered, and to give Bulgaria the character of a Slavonic state. The reign of Constantine V. was marked by continuous war with this enemy, and Nicephorus I. lost his life in a Bulgarian campaign. This disaster was followed up by Prince Krum, who besieged Constantinople in 815. His death was followed by a long peace. Prince Boris was converted to Christianity (reign of Michael III.); a metropolitan see of Bulgaria was founded, dependent on the patriarch of Constantinople; and the civilization of the Bulgarians, and beginnings of their literature, were entirely under Byzantine influence. The conversion was contemporary with the work of the two missionaries Cyril and Methodius, who (while the field of their personal activity was in Great Moravia and Pannonia) laid the south-eastern Slavs under a deep debt by inventing the Glagolitic (q.v.), not the so-called “Cyrillic” alphabet (based on Greek cursive) and translating parts of the Scriptures into Slavonic (the dialect of the Slavs of Macedonia). The most brilliant period of the old Bulgarian kingdom was the reign of Simeon (893-927), who extended the realm westward to the shores of the Adriatic and took the title “Tsar i.e. Caesar] of Bulgaria and autocrat or of the Romans.” The aggression against the Empire which marked his ambitious reign ceased under his successor Peter, who married a daughter of Romanus I., and the Bulgarian Patriarchate founded by Simeon was recognized at Byzantium. But the Byzantine rulers only waited for a favourable time to reduce this formidable Slavonic state. At length Zimisces subjugated eastern Bulgaria and recovered the Danube frontier. But while Basil II. was engaged in contending with rivals, the heroic Samuel (of the Shishmanid family) restored the Bulgarian power and reduced the Servians. After a long and arduous war of fourteen years Basil (called the “Bulgar-slayer”) subdued all Bulgaria western and eastern (1018). He treated the conquered people with moderation, leaving them their political institutions and their autocephalous church, and to the nobility their privileges. Some Bulgarian noble families and members of the royal house were incorporated in the Greek nobility; there was Shishmanid blood in the families of Comnenus and Ducas. Greek domination was now established in the peninsula for more than 150 years. The Slavs of Greece had in the middle of the 9th century been brought under the control of the government.

In the reign of Basil II. the Russian question also was settled. The Russian state (see Russia) had been founded before the middle of the 9th century by Norsemen from Sweden, who were known in eastern Europe as Russians (Ῥώς), with its centres at Novgorod and Kiev. They did for the eastern Slavs what the Bulgarians had done for the Slavs of Moesia. The Dnieper and Dniester gave them access to the Euxine, and the Empire was exposed to their maritime attacks (Constantinople was in extreme danger in 860 and 941), which recall the Gothic expeditions of the 3rd century. In 945 a commercial treaty was concluded, and the visit of the princess Olga to Byzantium (towards the end of the reign of the learned emperor Constantine VII., Porphyrogennetos) and her baptism seemed a pledge of peace. But Olga's conversion had no results. Sviatoslav occupied Bulgaria and threatened the Empire, but was decisively defeated by Zimisces (971), and this was virtually the end of the struggle. In 988 Prince Vladimir captured Cherson, but restored it to the emperor Basil, who gave him his sister Anna in marriage, and he accepted Christianity for himself and his people. After this conversion and alliance, Byzantium had little to fear from Kiev, which came under its influence. One hostile expedition (1043) indeed is recorded, but it was a failure. Much about the same time that the Russians had founded their state, the Magyars (see Hungary; the Greeks called them Turks) migrated westward and occupied the regions between the Dnieper and the Danube, while beyond them, pressing on their heels, were another new people, the Petchenegs (Patzinaks). The policy of Byzantium was to make use of the Magyars as a check on the Bulgarians, and so we find the Romans (under Leo VI.) and the Magyars co-operating against the tsar Simeon. But Simeon played the same game more effectively by using the Petchenegs against the Magyars, and the result was that the Magyars before the end of the 9th century were forced to move westward into their present country, and their place was taken by the Petchenegs. From their new seats the Magyars could invade the Empire and threatened the coast towns of Dalmatia. The conquest of Bulgaria made the Petchenegs immediate neighbours of the Empire, and during the 11th century the depredations of these irreclaimable savages, who filtered into the Balkan peninsula, constantly preoccupied the government. In 1064 they were driven from the Dniester regions into Little Walachia by the Kumans (or Polovtsi), a people of the same ethnical group as themselves. They were crushingly defeated by Alexius Comnenus in 1091, and exterminated by John Comnenus in 1123.

In the Macedonian period a grave domestic question troubled the government. This was the growth of the large estates of the rich nobles of Asia Minor, at the expense of small properties, to an excess which was politically and economically dangerous. The legislation against the evil began under Romanus I. and was directed to the defence of the poor against the rich, and to protecting the military organization which was based on holdings of land to which the obligation of military service was attached. There was also danger in the excessive influence of rich and powerful families, from which the great military officers were drawn, and which were extensively related by alliances among themselves. The danger was realized in the struggle which Basil II. had to sustain with the families of Sclerus and Phocas. Various kinds of legislation were attempted. Under Romanus I. alienation of property to the large landowners was forbidden. Nicephorus Phocas, whose sympathies were with the aristocracy to which he belonged, holding that there had been enough legislation in favour of the poor, sought to meet the difficulty of maintaining a supply of military lands in the future by forbidding further acquisitions of estates by the Church. Basil II. returned to the policy of Romanus, but, with much greater severity, resorting to confiscation of some of the immense private estates; and he endeavoured to keep down the aristocrats of Asia Minor by very heavy taxation. Through the recovery of the Balkan provinces he gained in Europe a certain political counterpoise to the influence of Asia Minor, which had been preponderant since the seventh century. Asia Minor meant the army, and opposition to its influence expressed itself in the 11th century in a fatal anti-military policy, which is largely responsible for the conquests of a new enemy, the Seljuk Turks, who now entered into the inheritance of the Caliphs (see Caliphate ad fin. and Seljuks). Constantinople was haunted by the dread of a military usurpation. An attempt of the military hero George Maniaces (who had made a remarkable effort to recover Sicily) to wrest the crown from Constantine IX. had failed; and when Isaac Comnenus, who represented the military aristocrats of Asia Minor, ascended the throne, he found himself soon compelled to abdicate, in face of the opposition. The reign of Constantine X., of the rival family of Ducas, marked the culmination of this antagonism. The senate was filled with men of the lower classes, and the military budget was ruthlessly cut down. This policy reduced the army and stopped the supply of officers, since there was no longer hope of a profitable career. The emperor thought to meet dangers from external enemies by diplomacy. The successes of the Seljuks (after the fall of the great Armenian fortress of Ani in 1064) at length awoke the government from its dream of security. The general Romanus Diogenes was proclaimed emperor. He had to create an army and to train it; he did not spare himself, but it was too late. He was defeated and captured by Alp Arslan on the decisive field of Manzikert (1071). Released by the sultan, who honoured his bravery, he was deposed in favour of Michael Ducas, and falling into the hands of his enemies, was blinded. The east and centre of Asia Minor were thus lost; the Seljuk kingdom of Rūm was founded; Nicaea was captured by the Turks in 1080. The provinces which escaped the Seljuk occupation were thoroughly disorganized, a prey to foreign and native adventurers and usurpers (see Seljuks).

Thus in the 'seventies of the 11th century the Empire seemed through incompetence and frivolity to have been brought to the verge of dissolution. The disorder was terminated by the accession of the extraordinarily able statesman Alexius Comnenus (1081), who effected a reconciliation with the rival family of Ducas, established a strong government and founded a dynasty. He had to deal with three great dangers—the Seljuks, the Petchenegs (see above), and in the west the Normans. The Normans had wrested from East Rome its possessions in South Italy (1041-71; see Normans)—succeeding where German emperors had failed—and throughout the Comnenian period the Empire was threatened by their projects of conquest beyond the Adriatic, projects which aimed at Constantinople itself.

Four great attempts against the Empire were made by the Normans; they were unsuccessful, but they heralded the Western conquest of 1204. (1) Expedition of Robert Guiscard, 1081-85, repelled by Alexius with help of Venice; (2) Bohemond's expedition, 1105-7, foiled by the able strategy of Alexius; (3) the invasion of Greece by Roger of Sicily, 1147; Venice supported Manuel Comnenus, and the Normans were driven from Corfu, 1149; (4) the expedition of William II. of Sicily, 1185, who succeeded in capturing Thessalonica; the invaders were defeated at Demetritsa, but they gained the islands of Cephallenia and Zacynthus.

The two most important events in the reign of Alexius were the prices which he paid for help against his enemies. (1) He was obliged (1084) to grant to Venice (which had become independent of the Empire in the 9th century; see Venice), in return for her naval aid against the Normans, commercial privileges which practically made the Empire commercially dependent on the Republic. (2) He sought auxiliary forces in western Europe to help him against the Seljuks; the answer of the pope and Latin Christendom was the First Crusade—a succour very different from that which he desired. Through his tact and discretion, the state was safely steered through the dangers with which the disorderly hosts of barbarous allies menaced it, and the immediate results were salutary; large parts of Asia Minor, including Nicaea, were restored to the Empire, which was thus greatly strengthened in the East while the Turks were weakened (see Crusades). But for this help Byzantium might not have recovered the transient strength and brilliance which it displayed under Manuel. In Asia Minor the Crusaders kept the terms of their agreement to restore to the emperor what had belonged to him; but on capturing Antioch (1098) they permitted the Norman Bohemond to retain it, in flagrant violation of their oaths; for to Antioch if to any place the emperor had a right, as it had been his a few years before. This was in itself sufficient to cause a breach between Byzantium and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem (founded 1099). But otherwise the new political situation created by the Crusade was dangerous, ultimately fatal, to the Empire. For its lands and seas became a highway from western Europe to the Latin colonies in Syria; the Byzantine government was forced to take precautions to protect itself against the crusading expeditions which travelled to the Holy Land; and these precautions were regarded by the western powers as a hindrance to the sacred objects of the crusades. The bitter religious antagonism between the Greek and Latin Christians increased the mutual distrust and the danger.

The history of the new relations between East and West dating from the First Crusade is closely connected with the history of the futile attempts at bringing about a reunion between the Greek and Latin Churches, which had severed communion in 1054 (see below). To heal the schism and bring the Greek Church under the domination of Rome was a principal object of papal policy from Gregory VII. forward. The popes alternated between two methods for attaining this, as circumstances dictated: namely, a peaceful agreement—the policy of union; or an armed occupation of the Empire by some western power (the Normans)—the policy of conquest. Their views varied according to the vicissitudes of their political situation and their struggles with the western emperors. The eastern emperors were also constantly preoccupied with the idea of reconciliation, constantly negotiating with a view to union; but they did not care about it for its own sake, but only for political advantages which it might bring, and their subjects were bitterly opposed to it. Manuel Comnenus during the first part of his reign was the close friend and ally of the western emperor Conrad III., but after Conrad's death, he formed the ambitious plan of realizing in Europe a sovereignty like that of Justinian, and hoped to compass it in conjunction with Rome, the enemy of the Hohenstaufen. His forward policy carried war into Italy; he seized Ancona. But his strength was unequal to such designs. His Latin sympathies, no less than his financial extravagance, made him highly unpopular at home; and the national lack of sympathy with his Western policy was exhibited—after the revolution which overthrew his son Alexius and raised his cousin Andronicus I. to the throne—by the awful massacre of the Latin residents at Constantinople in 1182, for which the expedition of William of Sicily (see above) and the massacre of the people of Thessalonica was the revenge. The short reign of the wicked and brilliant Andronicus was in all respects a reaction, prudent, economical and popular. His fall was due to the aristocracy against whom his policy was directed, and the reign of Isaac Angelus undid his efforts and completed the ruin of the state. Oppressive taxation caused a revolt of the Bulgarian and Walachian population in the European provinces; the work of Zimisces and Basil was undone, and a new Bulgarian kingdom was founded by John Asen—a decisive blow to the Greek predominance which the Macedonian emperors seemed to have established.

In the fatal year 1204 the perils with which the eastward expansion of western Christendom (the Crusades, and the commercial predominance and ambitions of Venice) had long menaced the Empire, culminated in its conquest and partition. It was due to a series of accidents that the cloud burst at this moment, but the conditions of such a catastrophe had long been present. Isaac Angelus was dethroned by his brother Alexius III., and his son escaped (1201) to the west, where arrangements were being made for a new crusade, which Venice undertook to transport to the Holy Land. The prince persuaded Philip of Swabia (who had married his sister) and Boniface of Montferrat to divert the expedition to Byzantium, in order to restore his father and himself to the throne, promising to furnish help to the Crusade and to reconcile the Greek Church with Rome; Venice agreed to the plan; but Pope Innocent III., the enemy of Philip, forbade it. Isaac and his son, Alexius IV., were restored without difficulty in 1203, and the crusading forces were prepared to proceed to Palestine, if Alexius had performed his promises. But the manner of this restoration, under Latin auspices, was intensely unpopular; he was not unwilling, but he was unable, to fulfil his pledges; and a few months later he was overthrown in favour of one who, if an upstart, was a patriot, Alexius V. Then the Crusaders, who were waiting encamped outside the city, resolved to carry out the design which the Normans had repeatedly attempted, and put an end to the Greek Empire. The leaders of the Fourth Crusade must be acquitted of having formed this plan deliberately before they started; it was not conceived before 1204. They first arranged how they would divide the Empire amongst themselves (March); then they captured the city, which had to endure the worst barbarities of war. In partitioning the Empire, which was now to become the spoil of the conquerors, the guiding mind was the Venetian leader, the blind doge, Henry Dandolo. He looked to the interests of Venice from the narrowest point of view, and in founding the new Latin Empire, which was to replace the Greek, it was his aim that it should be feeble, so as to present no obstacles to Venetian policy. The Latin Empire of Romania was a feudal state like the kingdom of Jerusalem; the emperor was suzerain of all the princes who established themselves on Greek territory; under his own immediate rule were Constantinople, southern Thrace, the Bithynian coast, and some islands in the Aegean. But he was hampered from the beginning by dependence on Venice, want of financial resources, and want of a fleet; the feudal princes, occupied with their separate interests, gave him little support in his conflict with Greeks and Bulgarians; at the end of ten years the worthless fabric began rapidly to decline, and the efforts of the popes, for whom it was the means of realizing Roman supremacy in the East, were unavailing to save it from the extinction to which it was doomed in its cradle.

The original Act of Partition (which gave ¼ of the Byzantine territory to the future emperor, ⅜ to Venice, the remaining ⅜ to the Crusaders) could hardly be carried out strictly, as the territory was still to be won. The most important vassal state was the kingdom of Thessalonica, including Thessaly, which was assigned to Boniface of Montferrat. But it was conquered by the Greeks of Epirus in 1222. The chief of the territories taken by Venice was Crete. For the Latin states in Greece and the Aegean see Greece. The first Latin emperor, Baldwin of Flanders, was captured and put to death by the Bulgarians in 1205. He was succeeded by his brother Henry, an able statesman, after whose death (1216) the decline began.

Three Greek states emerged from the ruin of the Roman Empire. A member of the Comnenian house had founded an independent state at Trebizond, and this empire survived till 1461, when it was conquered by the Ottomans. A relation of the Angeli maintained in Europe an independent Greek state known as the Despotate of Epirus. But the true representative of the imperial line was Theodore Lascaris, who collected the Byzantine aristocracy at Nicaea and was elected emperor in 1206. He and his successors advanced surely and rapidly against the Latin Empire, both in Europe and Asia. It was a question whether Constantinople would fall to the Walacho-Bulgarians or to the Greeks. But an astute diplomat and general, the emperor Michael Palaeologus, captured it in 1261. His object was to recover all the lost territory from the Latins, but he was menaced by a great danger through Charles of Anjou, who had overthrown the rule of the Hohenstaufens in the two Sicilies, and determined to restore the Latin kingdom of Romania. To avert this peril, Michael negotiated with Pope Gregory X.; he was ready to make every concession, and a formal union of the Churches was actually brought about at the council of Lyons in 1274. The emperor had the utmost difficulty in carrying through this policy in face of clerical opposition; it aroused disgust and bitterness among his subjects; and it was undone by his successor. Meanwhile the pope had with difficulty bridled Charles of Anjou; but in Martin IV. he found a more pliable instrument, and in 1282 he made vast preparations for an expedition against the Greek Empire. It was saved by the Sicilian Vespers (see Sicily), to be the prey of other powers.

The end of the 13th century saw the rise of the Ottoman power in Asia and the Servian in Europe. The Empire was assisted by a band of Spanish mercenaries (the Catalan Grand Company; see Greece, History, “Byzantine Period”) against the advance of the Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor; they distinguished themselves by saving Philadelphia (1304). In 1326 Brusa (Prusa) became the Ottoman capital, while on the other side the Servians (crushing the Bulgarians in 1330) were gradually closing in on Byzantium. Under Stephen Dusan (1331-1355) Servia attained the height of her power. The enemies were strengthened by the domestic struggles within the Empire, first between Andronicus II. and his son, then between John VI. and the usurper Cantacuzenus. But before the fate of Byzantium was settled the two enemies on its flanks came face to face. In 1387 the Servian power was crushed on the field of Kossovo by the Ottomans (who had crossed the Hellespont in 1360 and taken Philippopolis in 1363). Sultan Bayezid I. won Philadelphia, the last Asiatic possession of the Empire, and conquered Trnovo, the Bulgarian capital, in 1393. Constantinople was now surrounded. The Ottoman power was momentarily eclipsed, and the career of conquest checked, by the Mongol invasion of Timur and the great defeat which it sustained in the battle of Angora (1402). Mahommed I. found it necessary to ally himself with the emperor Manuel. But the pause was brief. Murad II. took Adrianople, and tried (1422) to take Constantinople.

It was small compensation that during this time the Palaeologi had been successful against the Franks in Greece. The situation was desperate. The Turks were in possession of the Balkan peninsula, threatening Hungary; there was no chance of rescue, except from western Europe. John VI. and Manuel had both visited the West in search of help. The jeopardy of the Empire was the opportunity of Rome, and the union of the Churches became the pressing question. It was taken up earnestly by Pope Eugenius IV., and the result was the Decree of Union at the council of Florence in 1439. The emperor and the higher clergy were really in earnest, but the people and the monks did not accept it, and the last agony of Byzantium was marked by ecclesiastical quarrels. Eugenius IV. preached a crusade for the rescue of the Empire, and in 1443 an army of Hungarians and Poles, led by the Hungarian king, won a victory over Murad, which was more than avenged in the next year on the memorable field of Varna. The end came nine years later under Murad's successor, Mahommed II. An army of about 150,000 blockaded the city by land and sea, and Mahommed began the siege on the 7th of April. The emperor Constantine XI., Palaeologus, on whom the task of the forlorn defence devolved (and whose position was all the more difficult because he was alienated from his subjects, having embraced the Latin rite), can have had little more than 8000 men at his disposal; he received no help from the Western powers; but an experienced Genoese soldier of fortune, John Justiniani, arrived with two vessels and 400 cuirassiers and aided the emperor with his courage and advice. The resident foreigners, both Venetians and Genoese, loyally shared in the labours of the defence. The final storm of the land walls took place on the night of the 29th of May. All looked to Justiniani for salvation, and when he, severely wounded, retired from the wall to have his wound looked to, a panic ensued. The enemy seized the moment, and the Janissaries in a final charge rushed the stockade which had been constructed to replace a portion of the wall destroyed by the Turkish cannon. This decided the fate of the city. Constantine fell fighting heroically. Soon after sunrise (May 30) the Mahommedan army entered Constantinople (Stambul = ’ς τὴν πόλιν, “the city”), which was in their eyes the capital of Christendom.

The ultimate responsibility for this disaster is generally imputed to the political adventurers who dismembered the Empire in 1204. It may indeed be said that at that time the Byzantine state seemed already stricken with paralysis and verging to dissolution, and it was menaced by the re-arisen power of Bulgaria. But more than once before (in the 7th century and in the 11th) it had recovered its strength when it was weak and in dire peril; and, considering what the emperors of Nicaea and Michael VIII. accomplished, it seems probable that, if there had been no Fourth Crusade, it might have so revived and consolidated its forces in the course of the 13th century, as to be able to cope successfully with the first advances of the Ottomans. The true statement is that the Fourth Crusade was only an incident (not in itself decisive) in a world-movement which doomed the Eastern Empire to extinction—namely, the eastward movement of western Europe which began in the 11th century with the rise of the Normans and the First Crusade. Henceforward the Empire was a middle state, pressed between expanding forces on the east and on the west, and its ultimate disappearance was inevitable.

Church and State.—In making the state Christian, Constantine made the Church a state institution, and therefore under imperial control. Caesaro-papism was the logical consequence. The sacerdotium was united with the imperium in the person of the monarch as in the pagan state. The Church acquiesced, and yet did not acquiesce, in this theory. When a heretical emperor sought to impose his views, champions of ecclesiastical freedom never failed to come forward. At the very beginning Athanasius fought for the independence of the Church against the emperor Constantius. But the political principle which Constantine had taken for granted, and which was an indispensable condition of his adoption of Christianity, was fully recognized under Theodosius I., and, notwithstanding protests from time to time, was permanent. It is significant that Constantinople, which had become a second Rome politically, with its senate and capitol, became then a second Rome ecclesiastically, and that the elevation of the see of Constantinople to patriarchal rank next to the Roman see was due to Theodosius (381), who gave a permanent form to the dualism of the Empire. The patriarch became a state minister for religion. The character of the Church as a state institution is expressed above all in the synods. The general councils are not only summoned by the emperor, but are presided over by him or by his lay deputies. The order of the proceedings is modelled on that of the senate. The emperor or his representative not only keeps order but conducts the deliberations and intervenes in the theological debates. It has been erroneously thought that at the council of Chalcedon (451) the legate of Pope Leo presided; but the acts of that assembly teach us otherwise; the privilege which the Roman legates possessed was that of voting first (the right of the princeps senatus). The first general council at which a churchman presided was the seventh (at Nicaea, 787), at which the emperor (or empress) deputed, not a layman, but the patriarch Tarasius to preside. The resolutions of these ecclesiastical state-councils did not become the law of the Empire till they were confirmed by imperial edicts.

The emperors, in their capacity as heads of the Church, did not confine themselves to controlling it by controlling the councils. They soon began to issue edicts dealing with theology, by virtue of their own authority. It has been said that the council of Chalcedon closed an epoch of “parliamentary constitutionalism”; a general council was not summoned again for more than one hundred years, though the Empire during that period was seething with religious disunion and unrest. The usurper Basiliscus in his short reign set an example which his successors were not slow to follow. He issued an edict quashing the decision of Chalcedon. Zeno's Henōtikon (see below) a few years later was the second and more famous example of a method which Justinian largely used, and of which the Ecthesis of Heraclius, the Type of Constans II. and the iconoclastic edicts of Leo III. are well-known instances. It was a question of political expediency (determined by the circumstances, the intensity and nature of the opposition, &c.) whether an emperor supported his policy or not by an ecclesiastical council.

The emperor was always able to control the election of the patriarch, and through him he directed the Church. Sometimes emperor and patriarch collided; but in general the patriarchs were docile instruments, and when they were refractory they could be deposed. There were several means of resistance open to a patriarch, though he rarely availed himself of them. His participation in the ceremony of coronation was indispensable, and he could refuse to crown a new emperor except on certain conditions, and thus dictate a policy (instances in 812, Michael I.; 969, John Zimisces). There was the power of excommunication (Leo VI. was excommunicated on account of his fourth marriage). Another means of resistance for the Church was to invoke the support of the bishop of Rome, who embodied the principle of ecclesiastical independence and whose see admittedly enjoyed precedence and primacy over all the sees in Christendom. Up to the end of the 8th century he was a subject of the emperor, and some emperors exerted their ecclesiastical control over Rome by drastic measures (Justinian and Constans II.). But after the conquest of Italy by Charles the Great, the pope was outside the Byzantine domination; after the coronation of Charles in 800 he was associated with a rival empire; and when ecclesiastical controversies arose in the East, the party in opposition was always ready to appeal to him as the highest authority in Christendom. Under the iconoclastic emperors the image-worshippers looked to him as the guardian of orthodoxy.

As to the ecclesiastical controversies which form a leading feature of Byzantine history, their political significance alone concerns us. After the determination of the Arian controversy in 381 new questions (as to the union of the divine and human elements in the person of Christ: one or two natures?) arose, and it may seem surprising that such points of abstruse theology should have awakened universal interest and led to serious consequences. The secret was that they masked national feelings; hence their political importance and the attention which the government was forced to bestow on them. The reviving sense of nationality (anti-Greek) in Syria and in Egypt found expression in the 5th century in passionate monophysitism (the doctrine of one nature): theology was the only sphere in which such feelings could be uttered. The alienation and dissension which thus began had fatal consequences, smoothing the way for the Saracen conquests of those lands; the inhabitants were not unwilling to be severed politically from the Empire. This ultimate danger was at first hardly visible. What immediately troubled the emperors in the first half of the 5th century was the preponderant position which the see of Alexandria occupied, threatening the higher authority of Constantinople. The council of Chalcedon, called by Marcian, an able statesman, was as much for the purpose of ending the domination of Alexandria as of settling the theological question. The former object was effected, but the theological decision of the council was fatal, it only sealed and promoted the disunion. The recalcitrant spirit of Syria and Egypt forced Zeno, thirty years later, to issue his Henōtikon, affirming the decisions of previous councils but pointedly ignoring Chalcedon. This statesman-like document secured peace in the East for a generation. Rome refused to accept the Henōtikon, and when Justinian resolved to restore imperial supremacy in the Western kingdoms, conciliation with Rome became a matter of political importance. For the sake of this project, the unity of the East was sacrificed. The doctrine of Chalcedon was reasserted, the Henōtikon set aside; New Rome and Old Rome were again hand in hand. This meant the final alienation of Egypt and Syria. The national instinct which had been alive in the 5th century grew into strong national sentiment in the 6th. One of the chief anxieties of Justinian's long and busy reign was to repair the mischief. Deeply interested himself in matters of dogma, and prepared to assert to its fullest extent his authority as head of the Church, he has been called “the passionate theologian on the throne”; but in his chief ecclesiastical measures political considerations were predominant. His wife Theodora was a monophysite, and he permitted her to extend her protection to the heretics. He sought new formulae for the purpose of reconciliation, but nothing short of repudiation of the Chalcedon acts would have been enough. The last great efforts for union were made when the Saracens invaded and conquered the dissident provinces. A new formula of union was discovered (One Will and One Energy). This doctrine of monotheism would never have been heard of but for political exigencies. The Egyptians and Syrians would perhaps have accepted this compromise; but it was repudiated by the fanatical adherents of Chalcedon. Heraclius sought to impose the doctrine by an edict (Ecthesis, 638), but the storm, especially in Italy and Africa, was so great that ten years later an edict known as the Type was issued by Constans forbidding all disputation about the number of wills and energies. Constans was a strong ruler, and maintained the Type in spite of orthodox opposition throughout his reign. But the expediency of this policy passed when the Saracens were inexpugnably settled in their conquests, and in his successor's reign it was more worth while to effect a reconciliation with Rome and the West. This was the cause of the 6th Ecumenical Council which condemned monotheism (680-681).

In the Hellenic parts of the Empire devotion to orthodoxy served as a chrysalis for the national sentiment which was to burst its shell in the 10th century. For the Greeks Christianity had been in a certain way continuous with paganism. It might be said that the old deities and heroes who had protected their cities were still their guardians, under the new form of saints (sometimes imaginary) and archangels, and performed for them the same kind of miracles. Pagan idolatry was replaced by Christian image-worship, which by the Christians of many parts of Asia Minor, as well as by the Mahommedans, was regarded as simply polytheism. Thus in the great iconoclastic controversy, which distracted the Empire for nearly 120 years, was involved, as in the monophysitic, the antagonism between different racial elements and geographical sections. Leo III., whose services as a great deliverer and reformer were obscured in the memory of posterity by the ill-fame which he won as an iconoclast, was a native of Commagene. His first edict against the veneration of pictures evoked riots in the capital and a revolt in Greece. The opposition was everywhere voiced by the monks, and it is not to be overlooked that for many monks the painting of sacred pictures was their means of existence. Leo's son Constantine V. pursued the same policy with greater rigour, meeting the monastic resistance by systematic persecution, and in his reign a general council condemned image-worship (753). Iconoclasm was supported by the army (i.e. Asia Minor), and a considerable portion of the episcopate, but it was not destined to triumph. When the Athenian Irene, wife of Leo IV., came to power after her husband's death, as regent for her son Constantine VI., she secured the restoration of the worship of icons. The Iconoclastic Council was reversed by the 7th Ecumenical Council of 787. The iconoclastic party, however, was not yet defeated, and (after the neutral reign of Nicephorus I.) came again to the helm in the reigns of the Armenian Leo V. and the first two Phrygian emperors, Michael II. and Theophilus. But the Empire was weary of the struggle, and on the death of Theophilus, who had been rigorous in enforcing his policy, icon worship was finally restored by his widow Theodora (843), and the question was never reopened. This was a triumph for the Greek element in the Empire; the “Sunday of orthodoxy” on which iconoclasm was formally condemned is still a great day in the Greek Church.

The ablest champions who wielded their pens for the cause of icons, defending by theological arguments practices which really had their roots in polytheism, were in the early stage John of Damascus and in the later Theodore (abbot of the monastery of Studium at Constantinople). The writings of the iconoclasts were destroyed by the triumphant party, so that we know their case only from the works of their antagonists.

In this struggle the Greeks and Latins were of one mind; the image-worshippers had the support of the Roman see. When the pope resisted him, Leo III. confiscated the papal estates in Sicily and Calabria; and the diocese of Illyricum was withdrawn from the control of Rome and submitted to the patriarch of Constantinople. But when iconoclasm was defeated, there was no question of restoring Illyricum, nor could there be, for political reasons; since the iconoclastic schism had, with other causes, led to the detachment of the papacy from the Empire and its association with the Frankish power. By the foundation of the rival Roman Empire in 800 the pope had definitely become a subject of another state. No sooner had the iconoclastic struggle terminated than differences and disputes arose between the Greek and Latin Churches which finally led to an abiding schism, and helped to foster the national self-consciousness of the Greeks. A strife over the patriarchal chair between Ignatius (deposed by Michael III. and supported by Rome) and Photius the learned statesman who succeeded him, strained the relations with Rome; but a graver cause of discord was the papal attempt to win Bulgaria, whose sovereign Boris had been baptized under the auspices of Michael III. (c. 865), and was inclined to play Old Rome against New Rome. Photius stood out as the champion of the Greeks against the claim of the Roman see, and his patriarchate, though it did not lead to a final breach, marks the definite emancipation of the Greeks from the spiritual headship of Rome. This is the significance of his encyclic letter (867), which formulated a number of differences in rite and doctrine between the Greek and Latin Churches, differences so small that they need never have proved a barrier to union, if on one side there had been no question of papal supremacy, and if the Greek attitude had not been the expression of a tenacious nationality. There was a reconciliation about 900, but the Churches were really estranged, and the open and ultimate breach which came in 1054, when the influence of the Cluny movement was dominant at Rome (Leo IX. was pope and Michael Cerularius patriarch), sealed a disunion which had long existed. Subsequent plans of reunion were entertained by the emperors merely for political reasons, to obtain Western support against their foes, or to avert (through papal influence) the aggressive designs of Western princes. They were doomed to futility because they were not seriously meant, and the Greek population was entirely out of sympathy with these political machinations of their emperors. The Union of Lyons (1274) was soon repudiated, and the last attempt, the Union of Florence in 1439, was equally hollow (though it permanently secured the union of the Rumanians and of the Ruthenians). Part of the historical significance of the relations between the Greek and Latin Churches lies in the fact that they illustrate, and promoted by way of challenge, the persistence of Greek national self consciousness.

The emperors legislated against paganism and against heresy, not merely under ecclesiastical pressure, but because they thought religious uniformity politically desirable. Theodosius the Great, a Spaniard, with no sympathy for Hellenic culture, set himself the task of systematically eradicating pagan institutions and customs. Though his persecution accomplished much, paganism was far from being extinct either in the East or in the West in the 5th century. Not only did heathen cults survive in many remote districts, but the old gods had many worshippers among the higher classes at Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Athens. The most distinguished Greek literati of that period were non-Christian. Justinian, who united theological enthusiasm with belief in the ideal of uniformity and, like Theodosius, was out of sympathy with Hellenism (“Hellen” now came to mean “pagan”), persecuted polytheism more earnestly and severely than his predecessors. His measures created a panic among the higher classes at Byzantium, of whom many, as he suspected, were addicted to the ancient religion. He instituted a regular inquisition, exacted oaths of orthodoxy from all officials and teachers, and closed the philosophical schools of Athens. Missionaries (and it is remarkable that he employed monophysite heretics) were sent to abolish the old heathen worship which survived in many parts of Asia Minor where Christianity had hardly penetrated. By the end of the 6th century formal paganism had practically disappeared.

In Asia Minor, especially in the east, there were many dissident communities which asserted independence of the Church of Constantinople and of all ecclesiastical traditions, founding their doctrines directly on the Bible. Most important of these heretics were the Paulicians (q.v.), a dualistic sect whom the Church regarded as Manichaeans.

The Autocracy and its Constitutional Forms.—With Diocletian the Principate of Augustus had become undisguisedly an absolute monarchy, and this constitution prevailed to the end. There is virtually no constitutional history in the proper sense of the term in the later Roman Empire, for there was neither evolution nor revolution. The monarchical system remained in all its essential points unchanged, and presents a remarkable example of an autocracy of immense duration which perfectly satisfied the ideas of its subjects. No attempt was made to alter it,—to introduce, for instance, a limited monarchy or a republican government; all revolts and conspiracies were aimed at the policies of particular autocrats, not at autocracy itself; generally they only represented sectional antagonisms and personal ambitions. The emperors inherited a deeply rooted instinct of legality as a tradition from Old Rome; and this respect for law which marked their acts, along with the generally good administration of justice, was a palladium of the monarchy. They were supreme in legislation, as well as in the administrative and judicial spheres; but they were on the whole moderate in wielding legislation as an instrument of policy.

There were, however, recognized constitutional principles which it would have been impossible for the emperor to override.

(1) The elective principle, inherited from the Republic, was never changed. A new emperor had to be elected by the senate and acclaimed by the people. The succession never became automatic. But even Augustus had indirectly introduced the dynastic principle. Theodosius the Great, by causing his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, to be elected Augusti in their infancy, practically elevated the dynastic idea into a constitutional principle; henceforward it was regarded as in the regular course that the son born to a reigning sovereign should in his infancy be elected Augustus. Thus the election, though always an indispensable form, was only a reality when a dynasty came to an end.

(2) When the position of Christianity was assured by the failure of Julian's reaction, it was evident that profession of that religion would henceforward be a necessary qualification for election to the throne. This was formally and constitutionally recognized when the coronation of the emperor by the patriarch was introduced in 457, or perhaps in 450.

(3) The sovereignty of the emperor was personal and not territorial. In this respect it always retained the character which it had inherited as the offspring of a Roman magistracy. Hence no Roman territory could be granted by the emperor to another power. For instance, the Western emperor Conrad III. could promise to hand over Italy to Manuel Comnenus as the dowry of his wife, but it would have been constitutionally illegal for Manuel to have made such a promise to any foreign prince; an Eastern emperor had no right to dispose of the territory of the state. Tendencies towards a territorial conception begin indeed to appear (partly under Western influence) in the time of the Palaeologi, especially in the custom of bestowing appanages on imperial princes.

(4) While the senate of Rome generally lost its importance and at last became a mere municipal body, the new senate of Constantine preserved its position as an organ of the state till the fall of Constantinople. For the imperial elections it was constitutionally indispensable, and it was able sometimes to play a decisive part when the throne was vacant—its only opportunity for independent action. The abolition, under Diocletian's system, of the senatorial provinces deprived the senate of the chief administrative function which it exercised under the Principate; it had no legislative powers; and it lost most of its judicial functions. It was, however, still a judicial court; it tried, for instance, political crimes. In composition it differed from the senate of the Principate. The senators in the 4th century were chiefly functionaries in the public service, divided into the three ascending ranks of clarissimi, spectabiles, illustres. The majority of the members of the senatorial order lived in the provinces, forming a provincial aristocracy, and did not sit in the senate. Then the two lower ranks ceased to have a right to sit in the senate, which was confined to the illustres and men of higher rank (Patricians). The senatorial order must therefore be distinguished from the senate in a narrower sense; the latter finally consisted mainly of high ministers of state and the chief officials of the palace. It would be a grave mistake to underrate the importance of this body, through an irrelevant contrast with the senate of the Republic or even of the Principate. Its composition ensured to it great influence as a consultative assembly; and its political weight was increased by the fact that the inner council of imperial advisers was practically a committee of the senate. The importance of the senate is illustrated by the fact that in the 11th century Constantine X., in order to carry out a revolutionary, anti-military policy, found it necessary to alter the composition of the senate by introducing a number of new men from the lower classes.

(5) The memory of the power which had once belonged to the populus Romanus lingered in the part which the inhabitants of New Rome, and their representatives, played in acclaiming newly elected emperors, and in such ceremonies as coronations. In the 6th century the factions (“demes”) of the circus, Blues and Greens, appear as political parties, distract the city by their quarrels, and break out in serious riots. On one occasion they shook the throne (“Nika” revolt, 532). The emperors finally quelled this element of disturbance by giving the factions a new organization, under “demarchs” and “democrats,” and assigning them a definite quasi-political locus standi in the public ceremonies in the palace and the capital. The duty of providing panem et circenses was inherited from Old Rome; but the free distribution of bread cannot be traced beyond the 6th century (had the loss of the Egyptian granary to do with its cessation?), while the spectacles of the hippodrome lasted till the end. Outside the capital the people took little interest in politics, except when theology was concerned; and it may be said generally that it was mainly in the ecclesiastical sphere that public opinion among the masses, voiced by the clergy and monks, was an influence which made itself felt.

The court ceremonial of Constantinople, which forms such a market contrast to the ostentatiously simple establishments of Augustus and the Antonines, had in its origin a certain constitutional significance. It was introduced by Aurelian and Diocletian, not, we must suppose, from any personal love of display, but rather to dissociate the emperor from the army, at a time when the state had been shaken to its foundations by the predominance of the military element and the dependence of the emperor on the soldiers. It was the object of Diocletian to make him independent of all, with no more particular relation to the army than to an other element in the state; the royal court and the inaccessibility of the ruler were calculated to promote this object. The etiquette and ceremonies were greatly elaborated by Justinian, and were diligently maintained and developed. The public functions, which included processions through the streets to various sanctuaries of the city on the great feast-days of the Church, supplied entertainment of which the populace never wearied; and it did not escape the wit of the rulers that the splendid functions and solemn etiquette of the court were an effective means of impressing the imagination of foreigners, who constantly resorted to Constantinople from neighbouring kingdoms and dependencies, with the majesty and power of the Basileus.

The imperial dignity was collegial. There could be two or more emperors (imperatores, βασιλεῖς) at the same time; edicts were issued, public acts performed, in their joint names. Through the period of dualism, in the 4th and 5th centuries, when the administration of the Eastern provinces was generally separate from that of the Western, the imperial authority was also collegial. But after this period the system of divided authority came to an end and was never renewed. There was frequently more than one emperor, not only in the case of a father and his sons, or of two brothers, but also in the case of a minority, when a regent is elected emperor (Romanus I.; cf. Nicephorus II. and John Zimisces). But one colleague always exercised the sole authority, was the real monarch, the “great” or the “first” Basileus; the other or others were only sleeping partners. Under the Comneni a new nomenclature was introduced; a brother, e.g., who before could have become the formal colleague of the ruler, received the title of Sebastocrator (Sebastos was the Greek equivalent of Augustus).

Legislation.—The history of the legislation of the Eastern Empire is distinguished by three epochs associated with the names of (1) Justinian, (2) Leo III., (3) Basil I. and Leo VI.

(1) The Justinianean legislation (see Justinian) is thoroughly Roman in spirit, and inspired by pious adhesion to the traditions of the past; but it admitted modifications of the older law in accordance with tendencies which had been long since making themselves felt; consideration is accorded to principles of humanity in the laws affecting persons, and to the principle of public interest in the laws relating to things. Justinian not only sanctioned changes which time had brought about, like the mitigation of the strict patria potestas and the greater independence of wives, but introduced a revolutionary change in the law of succession to property, abolishing inheritance by agnatio or relationship through males, and substituting inheritance by blood relationship whether through males or females.

(2) Justinian's reign was followed by a period in which juristic studies decayed. The seventh century, in which social order was profoundly disturbed, is a blank in legal history, and it would seem that the law of Justinian, though it had been rendered into Greek, almost ceased to be studied or understood. Practice at least was modified by principles in accord with the public opinion of Christian society and influenced by ecclesiastical canons. In a synod held at Constantinople in the reign of Justinian II. numerous rules were enacted, differing from the existing laws and based on ecclesiastical doctrine and Mosaic principles, and these were sanctioned as laws of the realm by the emperor. Thus Church influence and the decline of Roman tradition, in a state which had become predominantly Greek, determined the character of the ensuing legislative epoch under the auspices of Leo III., whose law book (A.D. 740), written in Greek, marks a new era and reliects the changed ideas of the community. Entitled a “Brief Selection of Laws” and generally known as the Ecloga, it may be described as a Christian law book. In regard to the patria potestas increased facilities are given for emancipation from paternal control when the son comes to years of discretion, and the paternal is to a certain extent replaced by a parental control over minors. The law of guardianship is considerably modified. The laws of marriage are transformed under the influence of the Christian conception of matrimony; the institution of concubinatus is abolished. Impediments to marriage on account of consanguinity and of spiritual relationship are multiplied. While Justinian regarded marriage as a contract, and therefore, like any other contract, dissoluble at the pleasure of the parties, Leo III. accepted the Church view that it was an indissoluble bond. Ecclesiastical influence is written large in the criminal law, of which a prominent feature is the substitution of mutilation of various kinds for the capital penalty. Death is retained for some crimes, such as murder and high treason; other offences were punished by amputation (of hand, nose, &c.). This system (justified by the passage in the New Testament, “If thine eye offend thee,” &c.), though to modern notions barbaric, seemed a step in the direction of leniency; and it may be observed that the tendency to avoid capital punishment increased, and we are told that in the reign of John Comnenus it was never inflicted. (The same spirit, it may be noted, is apparent in the usual, though by no means invariable, practice of Byzantine emperors to render dethroned rivals or members of a deposed dynasty innocuous by depriving them of eyesight or forcing them to take monastic orders, instead of putting them to death.) The Church, which had its own system of penalties, exercised a great influence on the actual operation of criminal law, especially through the privilege of asylum (recognized by Justinian, but with many reserves and restrictions), which was granted to Christian churches and is admitted without exceptions in the Ecloga.

(3) The last period of legislative activity under Basil I. and Leo VI. represents a reaction, in a certain measure, against the Ecloga and a return to Justinian. The Ecloga had met practical needs, but the Isaurian and Phrygian emperors had done nothing to revive legal study. To do so was the aim of Basil, and the revival could only be based on Justinianean law books or their Greek representatives. These books were now treated somewhat as Justinian and his lawyers had treated their own predecessors. A handbook of extracts from the Institutes, Digest and Code was issued in 879 (ὁ πρόχειρος νόμος, “the law as it is”), to fulfil somewhat the same function as the Institutes. Then a collection of all the laws of the Empire was prepared by means of two commissions, and completed under Leo VI. It was entitled the Basilika. In many points (in civil, but not in criminal, law) the principles of the Ecloga are set aside in favour of the older jurisprudence. Thus the Justinianean ordinances on the subject of divorce were revived, and there remained henceforward a contradiction between the civil and the canon law.

After this there was no legislation on a grand scale; but there was a great revival of legal study under Constantine IX., who founded a new law-school, and there were many learned specialists who wrote important commentaries, such as John Xiphilin (11th century), Theodore Balsamon (12th century), Harmenopulos (14th century). The civil code of Moldavia (published 1816-17) is a codification of Byzantine law; and modern Greece, although in framing its code it took the Napoleonic for its model, professes theoretically to base its civil law on the edicts of the emperors as contained in the Hexabiblos of Harmenopulos.

Administration.—Three principles underlay the administrative reform of Diocletian: the separation of civil from military functions; the formation of small provincial units; and the scalar structure which deepened on the interposition of the vicar of a diocese and the praetorian prefect between the provincial governor and the emperor. This system lasted unchanged for three and a half centuries. The few unimportant alterations that were made were in harmony with its spirit, until the reign of Justinian, who introduced certain reforms that pointed in a new direction. We find him combining some of the small provinces into large units, undermining the scalar system by doing away with some of the dioceses and vicars, and placing in some cases military and civil authority in the same hands. The chief aim of Diocletian in his general reform had been to secure central control over the provincial governments; the object of Justinian in these particular reforms was to remedy corruption and oppression. These changes, some of which were soon cancelled, would hardly in themselves have led to a radical change; but they prepared the way for an administrative revolution, brought about by stress of external necessities. In the 7th century all the energies of the Empire, girt about by active enemies, were centred on war and defence; everything had to give way to military exigencies; and a new system was gradually introduced which led ultimately to the abolition of the old. The change began in Italy and Africa, at the end of the 6th century, where operations against the Lombards and the Berbers were impeded by the friction between the two co-ordinate military and civil authorities (masters of soldiers, and praetorian prefects). The military governors were made supreme with the title of exarchs, “viceroys”; the civil authority was subordinated to them in case of collision, otherwise remaining unaltered. The change is an index of the dangerous crisis through which these provinces were passing. In the East similar circumstances led to similar results. The Saracen danger hanging imminent over Asia Minor imposed a policy of the same kind. And so before the end of the 7th century we find the Empire divided into six great military provinces, three in Europe and three in Asia: (1) Exarchate of Africa, (2) Exarchate of Italy, (3) Strategia of Thrace, (4) County of Opsikion (= obsequium), including Bithynia, Honorias, Paphlagonia, parts of Hellespontus and Phrygia, (5) Strategia of the Anatolikoi, most of west and central Asia Minor, (6) Strategia of the Armeniakoi, eastern Asia Minor. In addition to these there was a naval circumscription, (7) the Strategia of the Karabisiȧnoi (from κάραβος, a vessel), including the southern coast land of Asia Minor, and the Aegean (see below under Navy).

The lands of the old prefecture of Illyricum were not included in the system, because this part of the Empire was then regarded as a lost position. On the contrary, here military powers were committed to the Prefect of Illyricum, whose actual sphere extended little beyond Thessalonica, which was surrounded by Slavonic tribes.

The Eastern changes, perhaps initiated by Heraclius, but probably due mainly to Constans II., did not interfere with the civil administration, except in so far as its heads were subordinated to the military commanders. But Leo III., who as a great administrative reformer ranks with Augustus and Diocletian, did away with the old system altogether; (1) Reversing Diocletian's principle, he combined military and civil powers in the same hands. The strategos or military commander became also a civil governor; his higher officers (turmarchs) were likewise civil functionaries. (2) The scalar principle disappeared, including both the vicars and the praetorian prefect of the East (some of whose functions were merged in those of the prefect of the city); no authority interposed between the strategoi and the emperor. (3) The new provinces, which were called themes (the name marks their military origin: thĕma = corps), resembled in size the provinces of Augustus, each including several of the Diocletian divisions. This third and last provincial reform has, like its predecessors, its own history. The list of themes in the 11th century is very different from that of the 8th. The changes were in one direction—the reduction of large provinces by cutting off parts to form smaller themes, a repetition of the process which reduced the provinces of Augustus. Hence the themes came to vary greatly in size and importance. Leo himself began the process by breaking up the Anatolic command into two themes (Anatolic and Thracesian). The principle of splitting up was carried out systematically by Leo VI. (who was also responsible for a new ecclesiastical division of the Empire).

The development will be exhibited by a list of the themes in the middle of the 10th century. A. Asia: {(1) Opsikion, (2) Optimaton, (3) Paphlagonia, (4) Bukellarian} = old Opsikion; {(5) Anatolic, (6) Thracesian, (7) Samos (naval), (8) Cappadocia, (9) Seleucia} = old Anatolic; {(10) Armeniac, (11) Colonea, (12) Sebastea, (13) Charsianon, (14) Chaldia, (15) Mesopotamia} = old Armeniac; (16) Cibyrrhaeot, (17) Aegean (= Dodekanesos). B. Europe: (1) Thrace, (2) Macedonia, (3) Strymon, (4) Thessalonica, (5) Hellas, (6) Peloponnesus, (7) Nicopolis, (8) Dyrrhachium, (9) Longibardia, (10) Cephallenia, (11) Cherson.

It is interesting to note that up to Leo VI. the district between Constantinople and the wall of Anastasius formed a separate theme or government, entitled the Wall (τὸ τειχίον) or the Ditch (ἡ τάφρος); Leo VI. united it with the theme of Thrace.

In the central administration, the general principles seem to have remained unchanged; the heads of the great administrative bureaux in Constantinople retain the palatine character which belonged to most of them from the beginning. But there were many changes in these offices, in their nomenclature and the delimitation of their functions. There are great differences between the administrative corps in the 5th, in the 10th and in the 15th centuries. We can hardly be wrong in conjecturing that, along with his provincial reform, Leo III. made a rearrangement of the central bureaux; the abolition of the Praetorian Prefecture of the East entailed, in itself, modifications. But minor changes were continually being made, and we may note the following tendencies: (1) Increase in the munber of ministers directly responsible to the emperor, (a) subordinate offices in the bureaux being raised to the rank of independent ministries; (b) new offices being created and old ones becoming merely titular. (2) Changes in nomenclature; substitution of Greek for Latin titles. (3) Changes in the relative importance and rank of the high officials, both civil and military.

The Prefect of the City (ἔπαρχος) controlled the police organization and administration of justice in the capital; he was vice president of the imperial court of justice, and, when the office of Prefect of the East was abolished, he inherited the functions of that dignitary as judge of appeals from the provinces. But the praefectus vigilum, commander of the city guards, who was subordinate to him, became an independent officer, entitled Drungary of the Watch, and in the 11th century superseded him as vice president of the imperial court. We are told that in the last years of the Empire the Prefect of the City had no functions at all; but his office survives in the Shehr-imaneti, “city prefecture,” of the Ottomans, in whose organization there are many traces of Byzantine influence.

Instead of the Quaestor of the Sacred Palace, whose duty was to draft the imperial laws and re scripts, we find in the 9th century a quaestor who possesses certain judicial and police functions and is far lower in the hierarchy of rank. It has been supposed that the later quaestor really inherited the duties of another officer, the quaesitor, who was instituted by Justinian. In the latest period the quaestor, if he still existed as a name, had no functions.

The Master of Offices, who supervised the bureaux in the palace and was master of court ceremonies, also performed many functions of a minister of foreign affairs, was head of the imperial post (cursus), and of the corps of agentes in rebus or Imperial Messengers. This ministry disappeared, probably in the 8th century, but the title was retained as a dignity at all events till the end of the 9th. The most important functions, pertaining to foreign affairs, were henceforward performed by the Logothete of the Post (λογοθέτης τοῦ δρόμου). In the 12th century this minister was virtually the chancellor of the Empire; his title was changed to that of Great Logothete by Andronicus II.

The two financial ministers, comes sacrarum largitionum and comes rei privatae, continued to the end under the titles λογοθέτης τοῦ γενικοῦ (General Logothete) and ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ ἰδικοῦ (Anastasius added a third, the Count of the Sacred Patrimony, but he was afterwards suppressed). But in the 9th century we find both these ministers inferior in rank to the Sacellarius, or private purse keeper of the emperor. Besides these there was a fourth important financial department, that of the military treasury, under a Logothete.

The employment of eunuchs as high ministers of state was a feature of the Byzantine Empire from the end of the 4th century. It is laid down as a principle (A.D. 900) that all offices are open to them, except the Prefecture of the City, the quaestorship, and the military posts which were held by “Domestics.” There were then eight high posts which could only be held by eunuchs, of which the chief were the parakoimōmenos and the protovestiarios (master of the wardrobe).

An emperor who had not the brains or energy to direct the affairs of the state himself, necessarily committed the task of guiding the helm to some particular minister or court dignitary who had gained his confidence. Such a position of power was outside the constitution, and was not associated with any particular office; it might be held by an ecclesiastic or a eunuch; it had been held by the eunuchs Eutropius and Chrysaphius in the reigns of Arcadius and Theodosius II. respectively. In later times, such a first minister came to be denoted by a technical term, ὁ παραδυναστεύων. This was the position, for instance, of Stylianus, the father-in-law of Leo VI. Most of the emperors between Basil II. and Alexius Comnenus were under the influence of such ministers.

The orders of rank (which must be distinguished from titles of office) were considerably increased in later times. In the 4th and 7th centuries there were the three great classes of the illustres, spectabiles and clarissimi; and above the illustres a small, higher class of patricians. In the 9th century we find an entirely different system; the number of classes being largely augmented, and the nomenclature different. Instead of epithets like illustres, the names are titles which had designated offices; “patrician” alone survives. The highest rank is now (1) the magistroi; then come the patricians in two classes: (2) proconsular patricians, (3) respectable patricians; below these (4) protospatharioi; (5) dishypatoi (= bis consules); (6) spatharokandidatoi; (7) spatharioi; and other lower ranks. Particular ranks do not seem now to have been inalienably attached to particular offices. The strategos of the Anatolic Theme, e.g., might be a patrician or only a protospathar. Whoever was promoted to one of these ranks received its insignia from the emperor's hand, and had to pay fixed fees to various officials, especially to the palace eunuchs.

In the provinces ordinary justice was administered by judges (κριταί) who were distinct from the governors of the themes, and inherited their functions from the old provincial governors of Diocletian's system. In Constantinople higher and lower courts of justice sat regularly and frequently. The higher tribunals were those of the Prefect and the Quaestor, before whom different kinds of cases came. Appeals reached the emperor through the bureau of Petitions (τῶν δεησέων); he might deal with the case immediately; or might refer it to the imperial court of appeal, of which he was president; or else to the special court of the Twelve Divine judges (θεῖοι δικασταί), which was instituted by Justinian.

While the administration of justice was one of the best features of the Eastern Empire, its fiscal system, likewise inherited from the early Empire, was one of its worst. If the government had been acquainted with the principles of public economy, which have not been studied till comparatively recent times, a larger revenue might have been raised without injuring the prosperity of the inhabitants. Taxes were injudiciously imposed and oppressively collected. The commerce of the Empire was one of its great sources of strength, but the government looked on the merchants as a class from which the utmost should be extorted. The chief source of revenue was the land. The main burdens which fell upon the landed proprietors throughout the whole period were the land tax proper and the annona. The land tax (capitatio terrena = the old tributum of the imperial, stipendium of the senatorial, provinces) was based, not on the yearly produce, but on the capital of the proprietor, the character and value of the land being taken into account. In later times this seems to have become the καπνικόν, or hearth tax. The annona was an additional impost for supporting the army and imperial officials; it was originally paid in produce. In later times, we meet it under the name of σιταρκία or συνωνή. The province was divided into fiscal districts, and the total revenue to be derived from each was entered in a book of assessment. The assessment was in early times revised every fifteen years (the “indiction” period), but subsequently such revisions seem to have been very irregular. The collection of the taxes was managed through the curial system, while it lasted (till 7th century?). The decurions, or municipal councillors, of the chief town in each district were responsible for collecting and delivering the whole amount, and had to make good the sums owed by defaulters. This system of collective responsibility pressed very heavily on the decurions, and helped to cause their decay in the Western provinces. After the abolition of the curial organization, the principle of collective responsibility remained in the form of the ἐπιβολή or additional charge; that is, if a property was left without an owner, the taxes for which it was liable became an extra charge on the other members of the district (οἱ ὁμόκηνσοι). The taxes were collected by praktores, who were under the General Logothete. The peasant proprietors were also liable to burdens of other kinds (corvées), of which the most important was the furnishing of horses, vehicles, postboys, &c., for the state post (see Angaria).

The history of landed property and agrarian conditions in the Eastern Empire still awaits a thorough examination. It may be noted that individual hereditary proprietorship was always the rule (on crown and monastic lands as well as in other cases), and that the commonly supposed extensive existence of communities possessing land in common is based on erroneous interpretation of documents. When imperial lands were granted to monasteries or as fiefs (πρόνοιαι) to individuals, the position and rights of the peasant proprietors on the estates were not changed, but in many cases the imposts were paid to the new master instead of to the fisc. In the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries the cultivators were attached to the soil (coloni, ascriplicii; see Serfdom), in the interests of the fiscus; it has been supposed, on insufficient grounds, that this serfdom was abolished for a time by Leo III., though it is probable that the condition of the peasants was largely changed by the invasions of the 7th century. In any case the system of compulsory attachment of peasants to their lands remained in force, and the class of adscripticii (ἐναπόγραφοι) existed till the latest times. The chief sources for agrarian conditions are, besides the imperial laws, monastic records, among which may be mentioned as specially valuable those of the Monastery of Lemboi near Smyrna.

Army and Navy.—The general principle of the military defence of the Empire in the 4th century consisted in large forces stationary on the frontiers, and reserve forces, stationed in the interior provinces, which could be moved to any point that was in danger. Thus the army was composed of (1) the limitanei, frontier-troops (under duces), and (2) reserve forces (under magistri militum) of two denominations, (a) palatini and (b) comitatenses. The limitanei were the more numerous; it has been estimated that if they numbered about 350,000, the comitatenses and palatini together amounted to less than 200,000. It is to be noted that for the old legion of 6000 men a smaller legion of 1000 had been substituted, and that the proportion of cavalry to infantry was small. In the 6th century the fundamental principles of the system were the same; but the cavalry had become a much more important branch of the service, and in the wars of Belisarius the foederati, barbarian mercenaries of various races, commanded by their own chiefs, played a great rôle. The peasants of Illyria and Thrace, the mountaineers of southern Asia Minor still supply an important part of the army, but the number of barbarians (Heruli, Vandals, Goths, Slavs, Arabs, &c.) is much larger. Solidity and a corresponding want of mobility characterized at this time both cavalry and infantry; their great merit was straight and rapid shooting: Belisarius ascribed his success in Italy to the excellence of the archery. It is remarkable with what small forces (not more than 25,000) the first conquest of Italy was achieved, though Belisarius was far from being a military genius and the discipline in his army was flagrantly defective.

Frontier Defence.—Justinian carried out on the frontiers and in the exposed provinces a carefully devised and expensive system of defensive works. Fortified towns along the limes were connected by intervening forts, and at some distance behind was a second line of more important fortresses more strongly garrisoned, which furnished both a second barrier and places of refuge for the inhabitants of the open country. There was an elaborate system of signals by which the garrisons of the front stations could announce not only the imminence of a hostile invasion, but the number and character of the enemy. In North Africa there are abundant remains of the forts of the 6th and 7th centuries, displaying the military architecture of the period and the general frontier system. The typical fortress had three defences: the wall flanked by square towers of three storeys; at a few yards' distance a second wall of stone; and outside a deep foss about 20 yds. wide, with vertical sides, filled with water, and along its edge a rampart of earth.

We have already seen how the disasters and losses of the 7th century led to a radical change in the military organization, and how the Empire was divided into themes. The preponderant influence which Asia Minor won and retained till the 11th century is reflected in the military establishment, which mainly depended on the Asiatic provinces. The strategos of a large theme commanded a corps of 10,000 and the scheme of the divisions and subordinate commands has a remarkable resemblance to the organization of some of the armies of modern Europe.

The recorded scheme was probably not uniform in all the themes, and varied at different periods. The Thĕma (corps) consisted of 2 turmai (brigades) under turmarchai; the turma of 5 banda (regiments), each under a drungarios (colonel); the bandon of 5 pentarkhiai (companies) under a komētes (captain). The pentarkhia, containing 200 men, had 5 subdivisions under pentekontarkhai (lieutenants); and there was a smaller unit of ten men under the dekarkhes (corporal). The total strength in the 9th century was 120,000; in Justinian's time it was reckoned at 150,000.

Distinct from the military forces (θέματα) of the provinces were the forces (τάγματα) stationed in or near the capital. The most important of these were the Scholae and the Excubitores. The Scholarian troops were in early times under the Master of Offices, but subsequently their chief officer, the Domestic of the Schools, became the highest military commander in the Empire next to the Strategos of the Anatolic Theme. In war, when the emperor did not assume the chief command himself, he might entrust it to any commander, and he often entrusted it to the Domestic. In the 11th century, after the conquest of Bulgaria, there were two Domestics, one for the east and one for the west, and under Alexius Comnenus the Domestic of the west received the title Great Domestic. Under the Palaeologi the Great Domestic was superior in rank to all other ministers.

Besides the Scholarians, and the Excubitores (who had been organized in the 5th century), there were the regiments of the Hikanatoi, the Arithmos and the Numeroi. The Numeroi were foot-soldiers. The Optimatoi, also infantry, properly belonged to the same category, though they were constituted as a theme. It is to be observed that the demes or corporations of Constantinople were partly organized as militia, and were available for purposes of defence.

The great difference between this Byzantine army and that of the earlier Empire is that its strength (like that of the feudal armies of the West) lay entirely in cavalry, which the successors of Heraclius and the Isaurian emperors developed to great perfection. The few contingents of foot were quite subsidiary. The army was free from the want of discipline which was so notable in the 6th century; it was maintained in Asia Minor, which was the great recruiting ground, by a system of military holdings of land (an extension of the old Roman system of assigning lands in the frontier districts to federate barbarians and to veterans). The conditions of the marauding expeditions and guerilla warfare, continuously carried on against and by the Saracens in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries, were carefully studied by generals and tacticians, and We possess the theory of the Byzantine methods in a treatise composed by the emperor Nicephorus Phocas, and edited by one of his pupils. Every detail of an inroad into Saracen territory is regulated.

In the 8th and 9th centuries there was a system of signals by which an approaching Saracen incursion was announced to Constantinople from the Cilician frontier. The news was flashed across Asia Minor by eight beacon fires. The first beacon was at Lulon (which commanded the pass between Tyana and the Cilician gates), the last on Mt. Auxentius in Bithynia. When this fire appeared, a light was kindled in the pharos of the imperial palace at Constantinople. The system was discontinued in the reign of Michael III., probably after the capture of Lulon by the enemy in 860, and was not renewed, though Lulon was recovered in 877. It should be noted that this famous telegraphic system was only an application on a large scale of the frontier signalling referred to above.

The loss of a great part of Asia Minor to the Seljuks, and the disorganization of the provinces which they did not acquire, seriously weakened the army, and the emperors had recourse more and more to foreign mercenaries and barbarian auxiliaries. The employment of Scandinavians had begun in the 10th century, and in 988 was formed the Varangian guard, consisting chiefly of English adventurers. In the arsenal of Venice are two lions, which were transported from the Peiraeus, inscribed with obscure Runic characters, carved perhaps by Scandinavians in the army of Basil II. Under Michael IV. the famous Norwegian prince Harald Hardrada (described by a Greek writer as “Araltes, son of the king of Varangia”) fought for the Empire in Sicily and in Bulgaria. But in the latter part of the 11th century foreign mercenaries greatly increased in numbers and importance.

The note of the Byzantine army was efficiency, and nowhere is the immeasurable superiority of the civilization of the Eastern Empire to the contemporary states of Europe more apparent. The theory of military science was always studied and taught; constant practice, interpreting and correcting theories, safeguarded it against pedantry; and a class of magnificent staff officers were trained, who in the 10th century were the terror of the enemy. The particular tactics of the various foes whom they had to face were critically studied. We have a series of military text-books, from the time of Anastasius I. to that of Basil II., in which we can learn their principles and methods. In this army there was plenty of courage, and distinct professional pride, but no love of fighting for fighting's sake, nor the spirit which in western Europe developed into chivalry. The Byzantines despised such ideas as characteristic of barbarians who had physical strength and no brains. The object of a good general, as Leo VI. shows in his important treatise on Tactics, was in their opinion not to win a great battle, but to attain success without the risks and losses of a great battle. The same author criticizes the military character of the Franks. Paying a tribute to their fearlessness, he points out their want of discipline, the haphazard nature of their array and order of battle, their eagerness to attack before the word was given, their want of faculty for strategy or tactical combinations, their incapacity for operations on difficult ground, the ease with which they could be deceived by simple artifices, their carelessness in pitching camps, and their lack of a proper intelligence department. These criticisms, borne out by all we know of feudal warfare, illustrate the contrast between a western host, with its three great “battles,” rushing headlong at the foe, and the Byzantine army, with its large number of small units, co-operating in perfect harmony, under a commander who had been trained in military science, had a definite plan in his head, and could rely on all his subordinates for strict and intelligent obedience.

Under the early Empire, as Rome had no rival in the Mediterranean, it was natural that the navy and naval theory should be neglected. When Constantine the Great decided to besiege Byzantium by sea, both he and his opponent Licinius had to create fleets for the struggle. Even when the Vandals in Africa made transmarine conquests and became a naval power, the Romans did not seriously address themselves to building an efficient navy and securing their own thalassocracy; the Vandals harried their coasts; their expeditions against Africa failed. And even when the Vandal power was in its decline and Belisarius set forth on his successful expedition of conquest, his fears for the safety of his squadron in case he should be attacked at sea allow us to suspect that the fleet of the enemy was superior to the Roman. The conquest of Africa secured for Justinian the undisputed command of the Mediterranean, but he did nothing for the naval establishment. It was not till the Saracens, aspiring to conquer all the Mediterranean coast lands, became a naval power that the Roman Empire was forced, in a struggle for its being, to organize an efficient fleet. This, as we saw, was the work of Constans II., and we saw what it achieved. In this first period (c. 650-720) the naval forces, designated as the Karabisianoi, were laced under the command of an admiral, with title of strategos. They consisted of two geographical divisions, each under a drungarios: the province of the Cibyrrhaeots (probably named from the smaller Cibyra in Pamphylia) which included the southern coast districts of Asia Minor, and the Aegean province, which embraced the islands and part of the west coast of Asia Minor. The former was the more important; the marines of this province were the hardy descendants of the pirates, whose subjugation had taxed the resources of the Roman government in the last years of the Republic. It was a new principle to impose the burden of naval defence on the coast and island districts. Distinct from these fleets, and probably organized on a different principle, was the naval contingent stationed at Constantinople. Leo III. changed the naval administration, abolishing the supreme command, and making the Cibyrrhaeot and Aegean provinces separate independent themes under strategoi. The change was due to two motives. There was a danger lest a commander of the whole navy should become over powerful (indicated in the political role played by the navy before Leo’s accession); but apart from this, the general reform of Leo, which united civil and military powers in the same hands, naturally placed the commanders of the two branches of the navy on a new fiooting, by making them provincial governors. In this and the following reigns, the tendency was to neglect the fleet; the interest of the government was concentrated on the army. For a time this policy was prosecuted with impunity, since the Omayyad dynasty was growing weak, and then under the Abbasids, who transferred the capital from Damascus to Bagdad, the sea-power of the caliphate declined. But the neglect of the fleet was avenged in the 9th century, when Crete and Sicily were wrested from the Empire, the loss of south Italy was imminent, and Moslem squadrons sailed in the Adriatic,—losses and dangers which led to a reorganization of the navy under Basil I. and Leo VI. After this reform we find the navy consisting of two main contingents: the imperial fleet (stationed at Constantinople), and the provincial fleets, three in number, of (a) Cibyrrhaeot theme, (b) Aegean theme, (c) theme of Samos. A small distinct contingent was supplied by the Mardaites who, natives of Mt. Lebanon, had been transplanted (partly to Pamphylia, partly to Epirus, the Ionian Islands, and Peloponnesus). The imperial fleet seems to have consisted of about 100 warships manned by 23,000 marines (the same men fought and rowed); the provincial fleets of 77 warships manned by 17,000. When the fleets acted together, the admiral in supreme command for the time was called the “drungarios of the naval forces.” The warships (δρόμωνες, “dromonds”) were mainly biremes, but there were also uniremes, built for speed, called “galleys” (γαλαῖαι). Pyrotechnic was an important department in the naval establishment; the manufacture of the terrible explosive known as liquid or marine fire (see Greek Fire) was carefully guarded as a state secret.

The navy, active and efficient in the 10th century, is described by a military and therefore unprejudiced officer of the 11th as the glory of Romania. But towards the end of the 11th century it declined, the main cause being the disorganization of the naval provinces of Asia Minor, which, as we saw, was a result of the Seljuk conquest of the interior. This decline had important indirect consequences; it led to the dependence of the Empire on the Venetian navy in the struggle with the Norman power, and for this help Venice exacted commercial privileges which injured Byzantine commerce and opened the door to the preponderant influences of the Venetians in eastern trade. In the period of the Palaeologi the imperial navy, though small, was active; and the importance which it possessed for the state is illustrated by the high rank at court which the admiral (who in the 11th century had received the title of Great Duke, μέγας δούξ) then occupied; the only minister who was superior to him was the Great Domestic.

Diplomacy.—In protecting the state against the barbarians who surrounded it, diplomacy was a weapon as important in the eyes of the Byzantine government as soldiers or fortifications. The peace on the frontiers was maintained not only by strong military defences, but by more or less skilful management of the frontier peoples. In the later Empire this kind of diplomacy, which we may define as the science of managing the barbarians, was practised as a fine art; its full development was due to Justinian. Its methods fall under three general heads. (1) One people was kept in check by means of another. The imperial government fomented rivalry and hatred among them. Thus Justinian kept the Gepidae in check by the Lombards, the Kuturgurs by the Utigurs, the Huns by the Avars. (2) Subsidies were given to the peoples on the frontiers, in return for which they undertook to defend the frontier adjacent to them, and to supply fighting men when called upon to do so. The chiefs received honours and decorations. Thus the Berber chiefs on the African border received a staff of silver, encrusted with gold, a silver diadem, white cloak, embroidered tunic, &c. More important potentates were invested with a costlier dress. In these investitures precedence was carefully observed. The chiefs thus received a definite position in the Empire, and the rich robes, with the ceremony, appealed to their vanity. In some cases they were admitted to posts in the official hierarchy,—being created Patricians, Masters of soldiers, &c. They were extremely fond of such honours, and considered themselves half-Romans. Another mode of Winning influence was to marry barbarian princes to Roman wives, and rear their sons in the luxury of the palace. Dissatisfied pretenders, defeated candidates for kingship, were welcomed at Constantinople. Thus there were generally some princes, thoroughly under Byzantine influence, who at a favourable opportunity could be imposed on their compatriots. Throughout Justinian’s reign there was a constant influx of foreign potentates to Constantinople, and he overwhelmed them with attentions, pompous ceremonies and valuable presents. (3) Both these methods were already familiar to the Roman government, although Justinian employed them far more extensively and systematically than any of his predecessors. The third method was new and characteristic. The close connexion of religion and politics at Constantinople prepares us to find that Christian propaganda should go hand-in-hand with conquest, and that the missionary should co-operate with the soldier. The missionary proved an excellent agent. The typical procedure is as follows. In the land which he undertakes to convert, the missionary endeavours to gain the confidence of the king and influential persons, and makes it a special object to enlist the sympathies of the women. If the king hesitates, it is suggested that he should visit New Rome. The attraction of this idea is irresistible, and when he comes to the capital, the pomp of his reception, the honours shown him by the emperor, and the splendour of the religious ceremonies overcome his last scruples. Thenceforward imperial influence is predominant in his dominion; priests become his advisers; a bishop is consecrated, dependent on the patriarch of Constantinople; and the barbarians are transformed by the penetration of Byzantine ideas. By the application of these various means, Justinian established Roman influence in Nubia, Ethiopia and South Arabia, in the Caucasian regions, and on the coast of the Euxine. The conversion of the Lazi (of Colchis) was specially notable, and that of the Sabiri, who were politically important because they commanded the eastern pass of the Caucasus known as the Caspian Gates. It will be observed that the great prestige of the Empire was one of the conditions of the success of this policy.

The policy had, of course, its dangers, and was severely criticized by one of Justinian’s contemporaries, the historian Procopius. Concessions encouraged greater demands; the riches of the Empire were revealed. It was a system, of course, which could not be permanently successful without military power behind it, and of course it was not infallible; but in principle it was well-founded, and proved of immeasurable value. Less prejudiced writers than Procopius fully admit the far-sightedness and dexterity of the emperor in his diplomatic activity. A full account of it will be found in Diehl’s Justinien.

In the 10th century we have again the means of observing how the government conducted its foreign policy on Carefully thought out principles. The Empire was then exposed to constant danger from Bulgaria, to inroads of the Magyars, and to attacks of the Russians. The key to the diplomatic system, designed to meet these dangers, was the cultivation of friendly relations with the Petchenegs, who did not menace the provinces either by land or sea and could be incited to act against Russians, Bulgarians or Magyars. The system is explained in the treatise (known as De administrando imperio) composed by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos (c. 950). The series of these northern states was completed by the kingdom of the Khazars (between the Caucasus and the Don), with which the Empire had been in relation since the time of Heraclius, who, to win its co-operation against Persia, promised his daughter in marriage to the king. Afterwards the Khazars gave two empresses to New Rome (the wives of Justinian II. and Constantine V.). Their almost civilized state steered skilfully between the contending influences of Islam and Christianity, and its kings adopted the curious means of avoiding suspicion of partiality for either creed by embracing the neutral religion of the Jews. Commercial and political relations with the Khazars were maintained through the important outpost of the Empire at Cherson in the Crimea, which had been allowed to retain its republican constitution under a president (πρωτεύων) and municipal board (ἄρχοντες), though this freedom was limited by the appointment of a strategos in 833, a moment at which the Khazars were seriously threatened by the Petchenegs. The danger to be feared from the Khazars was an attack upon Cherson, and it seems probable that this was a leading consideration with Leo III. when he wedded his son Constantine V. to a Khazar princess. In the 9th century it was an object of the government to maintain the Khazars (whose army consisted mainly of mercenaries) against the Petchenegs; and hence, if it should become necessary to hold the Khazars in check, the principle was to incite against them not the Petchenegs, but other less powerful neighbours, the Alans of the Caucasus, and the people of “Black Bulgaria” on the middle Volga (a state which survived till the Mongol conquest).

For this systematic diplomacy it was necessary to collect information about the peoples whom it concerned. The ambassadors sent to the homes of barbarous peoples reported everything of interest they could discover. We owe to Priscus a famous graphic account of the embassy which he accompanied to the court of Attila. We possess an account of an embassy sent to the Turks in Central Asia in the second half of the 6th century, derived from an official report. Peter the Patrician in Justinian's reign drew up careful reports of his embassies to the Persian court. When foreign envoys came to Constantinople, information was elicited from them as to the history and domestic politics of their own countries. It can be shown that some of the accounts of the history and customs of neighbouring peoples, stored in the treatise of Constantine Porphyrogennetos referred to above (furnishing numerous facts not to be found anywhere else), were derived from barbarian ambassadors who visited Constantinople, and taken down by the imperial secretaries. We may conjecture with some probability that the famous system of the Relazioni, which the Venetian government required from its ambassadors, goes back originally to Byzantine influence.

Bibliography-1. General works: Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Finlay's History of Greece (ed., Tozer; vols. i.-iv., 1877); Hopf, Geschichte Griechenlands (in Ersch and Gruber, Enzylclopädie (1 Sekt., vols. lxxxv., lxxxvi., 1876-78)); Hertzberg, Geschichte der Byzantiner und des osmanischen Reiches bis gegen Ende des 16 Jahrhunderts (1883); Paparrhegopulos, Ἱστορία τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἔθνους (5 vols., 2nd ed., 1887-88); Oman, The Byzantine Empire (1892) (a popular sketch); Gelzer, Abriss der byzantinischen Kaisergeschichte, in Krumbacher's Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (ed. ii., 1897) (a summary but original outline). 2. Works dealing with special periods, or branches of the subject: Schiller, Geschichte der römischen Kaiserzeit (vol. ii., 1887) (Diocletian to Theodosius the Great); Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders (8 vols., 1879-99) (to A.D. 800); Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, A.D. 395-800 (2 vols., 1889); Diehl, Justinien (1901); Diehl, L'Afrique byzantine (1896); Pernice, L'Imperatore Eraclio (1905); Rambaud, L'Empire grec au dixième siècle (1870); Schlumberger, Nicéphore Phocas (1 vol.) and L'Épopée byzantine (3 vols., 1890-1905; 4 vols., finely illustrated, covering the period 960-1057); Gay, L'Italie méridionale et l'empire byzantin, 867-1071 (1904); Neumann, Die Weltstellung des byzantinischen Reiches vor den Kreuzzügen (1894); Meliarakes, Ἱστορία τοῦ Βασιλείου τῆς Νικαίας καὶ τοῦ δεσποτάτου τῆς Ἠπείρου (1898); Gerland, Geschichte des lateinischen Kaiserreiches von Konstantinopel (part i., 1905); Fallmerayer, Geschichte des Kaisertums Trapezunt (1827); Norden, Das Papsttum und Byzanz (1903); Pears, The Fall of Constantinople, being the story of the Fourth Crusade (1885), and The Destruction of the Greek Empire (1903).

(J. B. B.)