The Byzantine Empire dominated Eastern Europe for some time. The empire ruled over many people of different backgrounds and religions. While you may have learned about the Byzantine Empire at some point in your life, it’s likely you did not earn about every event in detail. With help from history.com, we were able to put together a list of facts that you may not have learned about in school. Check out the list below.
Things You Didn’t Know About the Byzantine Empire
- It wasn’t called the Byzantine Empire
- Yes, that’s right, the Byzantine Empire wasn’t actually called the Byzantine Empire in its heyday. As you may already know, the Byzantine Empire was a continuation of the Roman Empire. The major difference was that the capital moved from Rome to Constantinople. The community largely spoke Greek and was Chrisitan.
- Constantinople: An Imperial Capital
- Constantinople was not the original capital of the Byzantine Empire. After Constantine claimed the throne, he decided to abandon the old capital, Rome. He moved the capital to Constantinople, which was located on the Bosporus strait diving Europe from Asia. He brought the port city from rubbish to riches in just six years.
- Justinian was the most Influential Emperor
- Justantinia was born around 482 and was the son of a peasant. His uncle, Justin I, was a soldier and he took him under his wing at an early age. Justinian proceeded his uncle on the throne. He ruled for over 40 years, during which he conquered lost Roman territory and launched an abundance of construction projects. One of which was the rebuilding of Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia, a domed church. The church is considered one of the greatest architectural pieces in the history of the world.
- A Group of Hooligans Almost Brought Down an Empire
- As with today, different groups of people are fans of different sports teams. The same goes for the Byzantine Empire. The empire had the Blues and the Greens, named after the chariot teams they supported. The groups were known to hate each other, often leading to violent situations at sporting events. This even happens today when people mix alcohol and emotions. Thankfully, there were no cars in the Byzantine Empire or they would have needed a Gwinnett County DUI attorney. The group banded together to riot over taxation they felt was unfair. After days of building s being torched, Justinian had enough. He sent mercenary troops to the groups’ headquarters to fight for the safety of the city. Nearly 30,000 people died during these battles.
- Byzantine Rulers were Ruthless
- Byzantine rulers had a reputation for being ruthless. On many accounts, Byzantine politicians would have captured leaders blinded or castrated to prevent them from leading troops or having children.