Saint Helena at the back of a coin minted to celebrate the anniversary of the capital ( Constantinople).
The Varangians- cousins of the Normans. The Varangians were a group of Vikings who ventured out of Sweden and into the Baltic region in search of slaves and new resources. They established important strongholds in areas in Russia and Ukraine, with an important center at Novgorod (the Rus’ were a group of Varangians, the name meaning “men who row”, from which Russia gets its name). The trading centers of the Varangians were important in that they connected Dark Age Europe with the wealthy Arab caliphates (via the Volga trade route) and the Byzantine Empire (via the Dnieper trade route). After a series of raids against the Byzantines, the Varangians were able to strike up a series of treaties that financially benefited their kingdoms. By the 11th century, the Varangians had converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity and the groups who settled in Eastern Europe assimilated into the Slav populations.
The Varangian Guard (pictured here), or Τάγμα των Βαράγγων in Greek, were a mercenary group of Varangians who served as an elite unit of the Byzantine Army from the 10th-14th centuries. They also served as personal bodyguards to the Byzantine Emperor. Basil II first formed this elite guard in 988, after being sent a unit of Varangian warriors from Vladimir the Great- in compliance with their treaty. Basil distrusted his native Byzantine guard and favored the Varangians, who had proven their unshakable loyalty (Vikings and Germanic people share a tradition of faithful oath-bound service).
Not only did the Varangian guard act as the emperor’s bodyguards, they were also important mercenaries, used during the most critical moments of battles. Given their giant stature, love for warfare, and the berserker rage they would work themselves into (via ritual or drugged foods), they were fearsome and brutally effective in combat. The Varangians served the Byzantine Empire by defeating the rebel Phokas and his armies in 989, fought against Lombards in Italy extensively in the early 11th century, partially reconquered Sicily from the Arabs in 1038, defeated the Turkic Pechenegs at the Battle of Beroia in 1122, and were prominent in the defense of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.
Porphyrogenitus Palace ruins, Istanbul.
by zug55 on Flickr.
A byzantine cathedral in istanbul!
the Chora monastery
Histamenon of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos
Medusa (Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey, June 1995). Photo by Miguel Máiquez
Manuscrit de Skylitzes de Madrid. Folio 43 recto. Théophile ordonnant à l’éparque de Constantinople d’exécuter les complices de Michel II Travlos. - Manuscript Skylitzes Madrid. Folio 43 recto. Theophilos ordered the eparch of Constantinople to execute the accomplices of Michael II Travlos
(photo personnelles faites dans des conditions pas terribles, désolé pour la qualité !) / (personal photo made under bad conditions, sorry for the quality!)
A bramble, from the illuminated Byzantine manuscript ‘Vienna Dioscorides.’ (CE 512)
6-7th Century Byzantine bracelet.
Theodora wife of the emperor Theophilos from the Menologion of Basil II.(Ms. Vat. gr. 1613).
Miniature of Theodore I Laskaris, founder of the Laskarid dynasty and first emperor in exile after the 2004 fall. He managed to control the Latin expansionism in Minor Asia and defeat the rival successor empire-state of Trebizond giving hope to the byzantine nation and starting the healing process in the schism between the centre and the provinces.
The important events of 1204 were crucial in the metamorphosis of the Byzantine nation and the line between the Byzantine and Modern Greek identity though still blur can be tracked down to these events. Though tragic, the fall of 1204 prepared a nation for a much longer slavery. And was one of the main reasons it endured it.
Clearly he is one of my favourite emperors, eventhough his seat was much more humble and his court on the move.
Maximianus himself from the mosaic of St Vitale in Ravenna