Byzantine Empire Map At Its Height, Timeline, Over Time

Map of Byzantine Empire in 6th Century

Byzantine Empire Map

Byzantine Empire Map At Its Height, Timeline, Over Time

Byzantine Empire is one of the most interesting, unique of a kind and mysterious civilizations of the world. The history of Byzantine Empire starts with the foundation of Constantinople in many sources. The Emperor Constantine had been regarded as the ancestor by the Byzantines. He was infact a caesar of Roman Empire.

Foundation Of Constantinople By The Emperor Constantine

Constantine The Great, established the Constantinople as a new city in 330 A.D. He also declared it, as the new capital of the Roman Empire. Constantine decided to move the capital due to fierce and constant attacks of their northern neighbors: Barbarians.

Following his observations, he decided on the inconsiderable Greek originated state of Byzantium. Everybody around him were surprised. However, Emperor Constantine was one of the greatest strategist of Roman history.

Time proved that he made a perfect choice. Byzantium was a key point due to its strategic position between Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus was the only seaway that connects the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. Name of Byzantium was changed into the Constantinople and carried that name for a millenium.

Constantinople Map – Walls Of Constantine & Extended Walls of Theodosius II


Byzantine Empire Map Capital Constantinople

Theodosios Splits The Empire In Favour Of Arcadius And Honorius

The successor of the Constantine, Theodosios, split the Roman Empire as East and West. He had two sons as heirs. Therefore, Honorius appointed to the Western Roman Empire and Arcadius began to rule the Eastern Roman Empire.

Arcadius (reign 395-408) was officially the first emperor of Byzantine Empire. Throughout the history, people of Byzantine Empire had always regarded themselves as Romans, Byzantine is a given name of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Division Of Roman Empire By The Emperor Theodosios In 395 A.D.
Byzantine Empire Map

Roman Empire Map Division As East And West

What Is The Significance Of Constantinople?

Constantinople was naturally the capital of Byzantine Empire. It was very centrally located city. The Constantinople was the junction of the trade route between the Silk Road and Europe. Almost all major incidents related to history of the Byzantine Empire occured in Constantinople.

For instance, Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s most important architectural achivement, built in the heart of the Constantinople. Hagia Sophia, had been the largest temple of the world from 537 to 1626.

Famous Nika Revolt broke out in Constantinople against the Justinian‘s Rule. Altough he is regarded as the greatest ruler of Byzantine history, he faced a deadly resistance in his very capital, right after being the Emperor of Byzantium.

Byzantine Empire’s Capital Constantinople
Byzantine Empire Map Constantinople

Constantinople illustration

Byzantine Empire Map At Its Height

The map displays the greatest extent of the Byantine Empire during the Justinian’s reign.

Map Of Byzantine Empire At Its Height Under Justinian 565
Byzantine Empire Map Justinian

Byzantine Empire Map Under Justinian

Greatest Extent Of Byzantine Empire With Justinian

The Byzantine Empire reached to its greatest extent during Emperor Justinian reign. He intentionally expanded the borders to the west. His megalo idea was to revive the Great Roman Empire of ancient ages.

Justinian wanted the full control of Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Besides He wanted to give a direction to the politics of Europe and the Christendom.

Justinian reigned  from 527 to 565 for nearly 38 years. He was married to renowned Theodora. She was the most influential Empress of Byzantine history.

Emperor Justinian also built the famous temple Hagia Sophia in the heart of the Constantinople.

The map above shows the greatest extent of Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. Justinian’s achievements displayed with yellow color while his predecessor Justin I’s empire described with orange color. What Justinian had inherited, and the value he added can be clearly seen.

Further Reading: Rise Of The Byzantine Empire

Conquests of Justinian On The Map of Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire Map Justinian Conquests

Byzantine Empire Map Justinian Accomplishment

Empire Shranks Rapidly Following The Death Of Justinian

The successors of Justinian could not preserve the exceeded boundaries of Byzantine Empire. Justinian had spent tremendous amount of wealth to build castles and walls in order to protect the borders and literally there was nothing left in the state treasury.

The rise of Arabs, Bulgarians, Avars, Sasanians caused big troubles in the Byzantine borders. The Byzantium was under pressure from every direction.

Isaurian Dynasty And Iconoclasm (717-802)

Under these circumstances, Isaurian Dynasty seized the throne and put the Byzantium back on track. They had to take serious precautions including banning the religious icons, mosaics and frescoes. This particular period is called as Byzantine Iconoclasm.

Byzantine Empire Map Under Isaurian Dynasty 8th Century
Byzantine Empire Map Under The Rule Of Isauran Dynasty

Byzantine Empire Map Isauran Dynasty 8th Century

Macedonian Dynasty (867-1057)

Macedonian Emperors improved the trade, reinforced the defence and secured the borders, patronized the art. Therefore this period is known as resurgence era for Byzantium. When the last Macedonian Emperor Basil II (Bulgar Slayer) died, the empire had already reached to its natural borders.

Byzantine Empire Under Macedonian Dynasty
Byzantine Empire Map Under Macedonian Dynasty

Byzantine Empire Map in 1025 by the death of Basil II

Byzantine Empire Under Seljuk Pressure (1071-1204)

Doukas Dynasty ruled the Empire from 1059-1081 and Byzantine legions experienced a serious defeat at Battle Of Manzikert.

Byzantine wing collapsed and central units utterly routed by the Seljuk cavalry. Emperor Romanos Diogenes IV was taken prisoner. The outcome of this war was a great disaster for Byzantium.

Seljuk Turks’ decisive victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 totally broken the Byzantine resistance to the Turkish invasion of Anatolia (Asia Minor). When the Byzantine defence against the Turks failed, Seljuk Turks had the chance to capture majority of Eastern and Central Anatolia.

Seljuk Turks Pressure Over The Byzantine Empire
Map Of Great Seljuk Turks

Map Of Great Seljuk Turks

Latin Invasion And Sack Of Constantinople 1204-1261

Following the Pope’s order, the Crusader armies of Europe marched through Constantinople in the 12th and 13th centuries. Seljuk Turks overwhelmed by the constant raids of Crusaders. Byzantines took back majority of the Anatolia from Turks. Yet they lost it again to Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (Meaning Seljuks Of Rome or Seljuks Of Western lands)

However in during the IV.Crusade, 1204, the Doge Of Venice Enrico Dandolo attacked to Constantinople and captured it by force. The Latin invasion lasted for 57 years and gave a great damage to Constantinople.

The long lasting invasion was the breaking point of the hostility between two Christian sects. The Latins always hated Constantinople and the Orthodox Patriarch. So they striked the final blow, when they got the chance.

Byzantine Princedoms During The Latin Invasion of Constantinople
Map Of Byzantine Empire During Latin Invasion 13th Century

Map Of Byzantine Empire During Latin Invasion From 1204 to 1261

Fall Of Constantinople 1453

The Byzantines repelled the Latin invaders. However they could not really recover after Latin invasion. Turkish warlords on the eastern borders of Byzantine Empire become serious threats.

One of these warlords, Osman (Othman) Ghazi , founded a princedom that would grew into the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed The Conqueror captured the imperial capital of Constantinople in 1453 and made it the capital of rising Ottoman Empire. The fall of Constantinople was the end of one of the longest-lasting empire in the world.

Recommended Reading: Byzantine Monuments of Istanbul

Siege of Constantinople And Fall Of Byzantine Empire In 1453
Fall Of Constantinople Depiction

Fall Of Constantinople

Byzantine Empire Map Blog Post By Serhat Engul

Maps Of Byzantine Empire At Its Height, Timeline, Facts, Over Time, Decline, Fall

  • Sani


    This is really educating and we will need more of this there later, thanks a lot.

    • Serhat Engül

      Hello Sani, thank you for the review. I intend to provide more article about “Byzantine History” in the near future.

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