From its founding by Constantine the Great in 330 to its final fall on the morning of 29 th May, 1453, the Byzantine Empire traversed one thousand one hundred and twenty-three years. It is a period of longevity almost unrivalled in history; and yet, until recently it is a period written off by historians as merely the extended decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Its coinage has been found from Iceland to Ceylon.
A world seemingly so unlike ours, the relevance of Byzantium lingers: the president of Russia is now sworn in by the Patriarch under a banner depicting the great double-headed eagle of the Palaeologi; while enmities and confederacies stemming from policies forged in the Palace of Blachernae shape the present day alliances of the Balkans and near-East. No other lasting empire has held such temporal power mixed with such spiritual devotion.
The legendary wealth of Constantinople, with its sublime craftsmanship and awesome golden mosaics, (the "Sages standing in God's Holy fire," of Yeats' much quoted poem,) was coupled with a spirituality that dictated penance and abstinence even for a soldier who had killed in battle.
Virtual tour of the Byzantine displays at the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum holds one of the great collections of Byzantine artifacts, all uncovered during excavations and construction projects in the city and its environs. The display is little publicized - in fact, it forms about 95% of an exhibition titled Istanbul Through The Ages - and is frequently closed altogether. The Archaeological Museum displays none of this online and it is only available in print rolled into a expansive and expensive overview of the museum's complete collection. And so, with all due credit to the keepers of this fine museum, I have put together a virtual walk-through of the exhibit, displaying (just about) every piece in its sequence. The descriptive text I have used is their's, though with some extra details, such as dimensions, and the occasional clarification and added description thrown in. For the quality of the photograhy, I can only plead poor lighting and hope it won't detract too much from the usefulness of the whole.The slide-show was put together with the excellent freeware tool, JAlbum.
|Constantine I||Old Rome & New||Fausta||St Helena|
|Theodora||Crispus||Delmatius||Constantine II||Constans I||Constantius II|
|Valentinian I||Valens||Procopius||Gratian||Valentinian II||Theodosius I|
|Aelia Flaccilla||Magnus Maximus||Flavius Victor||Arcadius||Eudoxia||Honorius|
|Theodosius II||Valentinian III||Marcian||Leo I||Zeno||Anastasius I|
|Justin I||Justinian I||Justin II||Tiberius II Constantine||Maurice Tiberius||Phocas|
|Heraclius||Heraclonas||Constans II||Arab-Byzantine||Constantine IV||Justinian II|
|Leontius||Tiberius III Apsimar||Philippicus Bardanes||Anastasius II Artemius||Theodosius III||Leo III|
|Artavasdus||Constantine V||Leo IV||Irene||Nicephorus I||Michael I|
|Leo V||Michael II||Theophilus||Michael III||Basil I||Leo VI|
|Romanus I Lecapanus||Constantine VII||Romanus II||Nicephorus II Phocas||John I Tzimisces||Basil II|
|Constantine VIII||Romanus III Argyrus||Michael IV||Constantine IX Monomachus||Isaac I Comnenus||Constantine X Ducas|
|Romanus IV||Michael VII Ducas||Nicephorus III Botaniates||Anonymous Folles||Alexius I Comnenus||John II Comnenus|
|Manuel I Comnenus||Andronicus I Comnenus||Isaac Comnenus||Isaac II Angelus||Theodore Mangaphas||Alexius III Angelis-Comnenus|
|Michael VIII Palaeologus||Andronicus II Palaeologus||Andronicus III Palaeologus||John V Palaeologus||Manuel II Palaeologus||John VIII Palaeologus|
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