Flavius Belisarius (Greek: Βελισάριος, ca. 500 – 565 AD) was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously.One of the defining features of Belisarius' career was his success despite a lack of support from Justinian. He is also among a select group of men considered by historians to be the "Last of the Romans".
Narses was a eunuch who served at the court of Justinian the Great, Byzantine Emperor. Nothing is known of Narses’ youth, how he came to be castrated, nor how he rose to the high position of Chamberlain. When the Nika riots, the most destructive sports riot in history, broke out Narses was the person sent to bribe the crowds into submission. This help he gave to Justinian led to Narses’ advancement to power in the army. Justinian’s dream was to re-conquer Italy and especially Rome. When his general Belisarius lost his trust the mission was turned over to Narses. Despite having never commanded in a battle Narses won several stunning victories and completed the conquest. He was over seventy when he started his career as a general. He outlived Justinian but fell from favor with his successor and was recalled to the east
27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity ,[notes 4] Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire.Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars. He also fought successfully against the Franks , Alamanni , Visigoths , and Sarmatians during his reign — even resettling parts of Dacia which had been abandoned during the previous century. Constantine built a new imperial residence at Byzantium , naming it New Rome . However, in Constantine's honor, people called it Constantinople , which would later be the capital of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire for over one thousand years. Because of this, he is thought of as the founder of the Byzantine Empire.
Anna Comnena is considered the world's first female historian and a major source of information about the reign of her father, Alexius I. Her works are full of details about daily life at court, the deeds of her family, and the exchanges between the Byzantines and western crusaders during the first crusades.
Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot in the history of Constantinople, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed. It remains today one of the world's deadliest ever riots. On January 13, 532 a tense and angry populace arrived at the Hippodrome for the races. The Hippodrome was next to the palace complex and thus Justinian could watch from the safety of his box in the palace and preside over the races. From the start the crowd had been hurling insults at Justinian. By the end of the day, at race 22, the partisan chants had changed from "Blue" or "Green" to a unified Nίκα ("Nika", meaning "Win!" or "Conquer!"), and the crowds broke out and began to assault the palace. For the next five days the palace was under virtual siege. The fires that started during the tumult resulted in the destruction of much of the city, including the city's foremost church, the Hagia Sophia (which Justinian would later rebuild).Some of the senators saw this as an opportunity to overthrow Justinian, as they were opposed to his new taxes and his lack of support for the nobility. The rioters, now armed and probably controlled by their allies in the Senate, also demanded that Justinian dismiss the prefect John the Cappadocian , who was responsible for tax collecting, and the quaestor Tribonian , who was responsible for rewriting the legal code . They then declared a new emperor, Hypatius , who was a nephew of former Emperor Anastasius I .Justinian, in despair, considered fleeing, but his wife Theodora is said to have dissuaded him, saying, "Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress." Although an escape route across the sea lay open for the emperor, Theodora insisted that she would stay in the city, quoting an ancient saying, "Royalty is a fine burial shroud," or perhaps, [the royal color] "Purple makes a fine winding sheet."
As Justinian rallied himself, he created a plan that involved Narses , a popular eunuch , as well as the generals, Belisarius and Mundus . Carrying a bag of gold given to him by Justinian, the slightly built eunuch entered the Hippodrome alone and unarmed, against a murderous mob that had already killed hundreds. Narses went directly to the Blues' section, where he approached the important Blues and reminded them that Emperor Justinian supported them over the Greens. He also reminded them that the man they were crowning, Hypatius, was a Green. Then, he distributed the gold. The Blue leaders spoke quietly with each other and then they spoke to their followers. Then, in the middle of Hypatius's coronation, the Blues stormed out of the Hippodrome. The Greens sat, stunned. Then, Imperial troops led by Belisarius and Mundus stormed into the Hippodrome, killing the remaining rebels.About thirty thousand rioters were reportedly killed.Justinian also had Hypatius executed and exiled the senators who had supported the riot. He then rebuilt Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia, and was free to establish his rule.
Alexius V Ducas Mourtzouphlus, also spelled Alexios V Doukas or Alexius Ducas Murtzuphlus (died November 1204, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]), Byzantine emperor in 1204, son-in-law of Alexius III Angelus . He led a revolt against the coemperors Isaac II and Alexius IV , who were supported by the Fourth Crusade. He then became the last emperor of Byzantium before its overthrow and partition by the Crusaders. In January 1204 Alexius began his four-month reign by imprisoning the deposed Alexius IV , whom he later had strangled. The leader of the anti-Latin party in Constantinople, he disavowed Alexius IV’s debt to the Crusaders and demanded their withdrawal from Constantinople. They instead besieged the city, and three days later (April 12, 1204) Alexius fled to join the fugitive Alexius III . Alexius III, however, blinded him. He was then captured by the Crusaders, who put him to death as the murderer of Alexius IV by casting him from the top of a column in Constantinople.
(c.500 - 548 ), empress of the Byzantine Empire .Theodora was born into the lowest class of Byzantine society, the daughter of a bearkeeper for the circus . Much of the information from this earliest part of her life comes from the Secret History of Procopius , published posthumously. Critics of Procopius have dismissed his work as vitriolic and pornograpic, but have been unable to discredit his facts. For example, the sources do not dispute Theodora emerged as a comic actress in burlesque theater, and that her talents tended toward what we might call physical comedy. She was renowned for her animal acts. While her advancement in Byzantine society was up and down, she made use of every opening. She had admirers by the score. Procopius writes that she was a courtesan who briefly served as the mistress of a provincial administrator, by whom she bore her only child, a son. Sometime before meeting Justinian she became an adherent of the Monophysite sect of Christianity , which claims Christ was of wholly divine nature. She remained their partisan throughout her life.In 523 Theodora married Justinian, the magister militum praesentalis in Constantinople . On his accession to the throne of Byzantium in 527 as Justinian I , he made her joint ruler of the empire, and appears to have regarded her as a full partner in their rulership. This proved to be a wise decision. A strong-willed woman, she showed a notable talent for governance. In the Nika riots of 532 , her advice and leadership for a strong (and militant) response caused the riot to be quelled and probably saved the empire.Theodora was Byzantium's first noted proponent -- and, according to Procopius, practitioner -- of abortion ; she convinced Justinian to change the law that forbade permit noblemen from marrying lower class women (like herself). Theodora also advocated the rights of married women to commit adultery , and the rights of women to be socially serviced, helping to advance protections and delights for them; and was also something of a voice for prostitutes and the downtrodden. She also helped to mitigate the breach in Christian sects that loomed large over her time; she probably had a large part in Justinian's efforts to reconcile the Monophysites to orthodoxy.Theodora died of cancer [probably breast cancer] before the age of 50, some 20 years before Justinian died.
The Fall of Constantinople (Turkish : İstanbul'un Fethi; Greek : Άλωση της Κωνσταντινούπολης, Alōsē tēs Kōnstantinoupolēs) was the capture of Constantinople , the capital of the Byzantine Empire , which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire , under the command of 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II , against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos . The siege lasted from Friday, 6 April 1453 until Tuesday, 29 May 1453 (according to the Julian calendar ), when the city was conquered by the Ottomans.The capture of Constantinople (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire , an imperial state which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. It was also a massive blow to Christendom , and the Ottomans thereafter were free to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear. After the conquest, Mehmed made Constantinople the Ottoman Empire's new capital. Several Greek and non-Greek intellectuals fled the city before and after the siege, migrating particularly to Italy . It is argued that they helped fuel the Renaissance . Some mark the end of the Middle Ages by the fall of the city and empire.
Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481) (Ottoman Turkish : محمد ثانى, Meḥmed-i s̠ānī; Turkish : II. Mehmet; also known as el-Fātiḥ, الفاتح, "the Conqueror" in Ottoman Turkish ; in modern Turkish , Fatih Sultan Mehmet; also called Mahomet II  in early modern Europe ) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire twice, first for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from February 1451 to 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire , transforming the Ottoman state into an empire. Mehmed continued his conquests in Asia, with the Anatolian reunification, and in Europe, as far as Bosnia and Croatia . Mehmed II is regarded as a national hero in Turkey , and Istanbul's Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is named after him.
(c. 482 – 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of Late Antiquity and the last Roman Emperor to speak Latin as a first language, Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire . The impact of his administration extended far beyond the boundaries of his time and domain. Justinian's reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire". This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire . His general Belisarius swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, extending Roman control to the Atlantic Ocean . Subsequently Belisarius, Narses , and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic Kingdom , restoring Dalmatia , Sicily , Italy , and Rome to the Empire after more than half a century of barbarian control.The prefect Liberius reclaimed most of southern Iberia , establishing the province of Spania . These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million solidi . During his reign Justinian also subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before.A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis , which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states. His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia , which was to be the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity for many centuries.A devastating outbreak of bubonic plague (see Plague of Justinian ) in the early 540s marked the end of an age of splendor. The Empire entered a period of territorial decline not to be reversed until the ninth century.Procopius provides the primary source for the history of Justinian's reign. The Syriac chronicle of John of Ephesus , which does not survive, was used as a source for later chronicles, contributing many additional details of value. Both historians became very bitter towards Justinian and his empress, Theodora . Other sources include the histories of Agathias , Menander Protector , John Malalas , the Paschal Chronicle , the chronicles of Marcellinus Comes and Victor of Tunnuna .Justinian is considered a saint amongst Orthodox Christians , and is also remembered by some in the Lutheran Church on November 14.
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica , later a mosque , and now a museum in Istanbul , Turkey . From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople ,[ except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire . The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized . It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.The Church was dedicated to the Logos , the second person of the Holy Trinity , its dedication feast taking place on 25 December, the anniversary of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although it is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia ), sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom – the full name in Greek being Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".Famous in particular for its massive dome , it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture  and is said to have "changed the history of architecture. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years thereafter, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus , a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles , a mathematician.