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Was Constantinople in Europe or Asia during the Eastern Roman Empire Period?

Was Constantinople in Europe or Asia during the Eastern Roman Empire Period?

Was Constantinople in Europe or Asia during the Eastern Roman Empire Period? (not modern) Thanks!

In present day, Istanbul spans over the two sides of the Bosphorus, and it can claim to be the largest transcontinental city in the word.

However, in classical and medieval times the city of Constantinople and its ancestor Byzantium were only in a small part of the European side of modern Istanbul. Therefore, Constantinople was in Europe.

As Pere already explained (+1), Byzantium (and then Constantinople) was centered around the present-day neighbourhood of Sultanahmet on the European side of the Bosphorus, where many the oldest monuments in Istanbul can still be found (the Basilica cistern, hippodrome, the Milion, and the column of Constantine). The city then extended to the other side of the Golden Horn (Pera/Beyoğlu, where Genoese and Venetian merchants were based) and to the Asian side.

There was a Greek settlement on the other side of the Bosphorus (Chalcedon, the present Kadıköy) but it was much more difficult to defend and changed hands frequently, ultimately being conquered by the Ottomans a full century before Constantinople.

Interestingly, the concept of Europe was originally used to designate exactly this region, Thrace and the western shore of the Aegean sea, long before anything resembling our modern idea of the European continent formed. So there is a case to be made that Constantinople was not only at the fringes of Europe like Istanbul is today but that it was the very definition of Europe.


At the beginning of the 2nd millennium of Christian history, the church of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, was at the peak of its world influence and power. Neither Rome, which had become a provincial town and its church an instrument in the hands of political interests, nor Europe under the Carolingian and Ottonian dynasties could really compete with Byzantium as centres of Christian civilization. The Byzantine emperors of the Macedonian dynasty had extended the frontiers of the empire from Mesopotamia to Naples (in Italy) and from the Danube River (in central Europe) to Palestine. The church of Constantinople not only enjoyed a parallel expansion but also extended its missionary penetration, much beyond the political frontiers of the empire, to Russia and the Caucasus.

About Constantinople

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire from 330-1204 and 1261-1453. It was the largest and the wealthiest city in Europe from the mid-5th century to early 13th century and was popular for its magnificent architectural design. The city was built with an intention of rivaling Rome and eventually becoming the capital of the Roman Empire. It was protected by massive walls that surrounded it on both land and seafront. Despite the protection and great wealth, Constantinople was taken over and devastated by the army of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The inhabitants of the city lived under the Latin misrule until 1261 when the city was liberated by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Empire on May 29, 1453.


The first use of the term “Byzantine” to label the later years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work, Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources. The term comes from “Byzantium,” the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine’s capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the western world calling it the “Byzantine Empire” helped to emphasize its differences from the earlier Latin-speaking Roman Empire, centered on Rome.

The term “Byzantine” was also useful to the many western European states that also claimed to be the true successors of the Roman Empire, as it was used to delegitimize the claims of the Byzantines as true Romans. In modern times, the term “Byzantine” has also come to have a pejorative sense, used to describe things that are overly complex or arcane. “Byzantine diplomacy” has come to mean excess use of trickery and behind-the-scenes manipulation. These are all based on medieval stereotypes about the Byzantine Empire that developed as western Europeans came into contact with the Byzantines, and were perplexed by their more structured government.

No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm. The name millet-i Rûm, or “Roman nation,” was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire, that is, the Orthodox Christian community within Ottoman realms.

About the chronological periods of the Byzantine Empire

This essay is intended to introduce the periods of Byzantine history, with attention to developments in art and architecture.

The Colossus of Constantine, c. 312–15 (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Musei Capitolini, Rome) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Rome to Constantinople

In 313, the Roman Empire legalized Christianity, beginning a process that would eventually dismantle its centuries-old pagan tradition. Not long after, emperor Constantine transferred the empire’s capital from Rome to the ancient Greek city of Byzantion (modern Istanbul). Constantine renamed the new capital city “Constantinople” (“the city of Constantine”) after himself and dedicated it in the year 330. With these events, the Byzantine Empire was born—or was it?

Map with Rome and Constantinople (underlying map © Google).

The term “Byzantine Empire” is a bit of a misnomer. The Byzantines understood their empire to be a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire and referred to themselves as “Romans.” The use of the term “Byzantine” only became widespread in Europe after Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. For this reason, some scholars refer to Byzantium as the “Eastern Roman Empire.”

Byzantine History

The history of Byzantium is remarkably long. If we reckon the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from the dedication of Constantinople in 330 until its fall to the Ottomans in 1453, the empire endured for some 1,123 years.

Scholars typically divide Byzantine history into three major periods: Early Byzantium, Middle Byzantium, and Late Byzantium. But it is important to note that these historical designations are the invention of modern scholars rather than the Byzantines themselves. Nevertheless, these periods can be helpful for marking significant events, contextualizing art and architecture, and understanding larger cultural trends in Byzantium’s history.

Early Byzantium: c. 330–843

Scholars often disagree about the parameters of the Early Byzantine period. On the one hand, this period saw a continuation of Roman society and culture—so, is it really correct to say it began in 330? On the other, the empire’s acceptance of Christianity and geographical shift to the east inaugurated a new era.

Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna (Italy), c. 533–49 (apse mosaic, 6th century, triumphal arch mosaics, likely c. 7th–12th centuries) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Following Constantine’s embrace of Christianity, the church enjoyed imperial patronage, constructing monumental churches in centers such as Rome, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. In the west, the empire faced numerous attacks by Germanic nomads from the north, and Rome was sacked by the Goths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455. The city of Ravenna in northeastern Italy rose to prominence in the 5th and 6th centuries when it functioned as an imperial capital for the western half of the empire. Several churches adorned with opulent mosaics, such as San Vitale and the nearby Sant’Apollinare in Classe, testify to the importance of Ravenna during this time.

Approximate boundaries of the Byzantine Empire under emperor Justinian I, c. 555 (Tataryn, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Under the sixth-century emperor Justinian I, who reigned 527–565, the Byzantine Empire expanded to its largest geographical area: encompassing the Balkans to the north, Egypt and other parts of north Africa to the south, Anatolia (what is now Turkey) and the Levant (including including modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan) to the east, and Italy and the southern Iberian Peninsula (now Spain and Portugal) to the west. Many of Byzantium’s greatest architectural monuments, such as the innovative domed basilica of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, were also built during Justinian’s reign.

Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles for Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), 532–37 (photo: © Robert G. Ousterhout)

Constantinople (map: Carolyn Connor and Tom Elliot, Ancient World Mapping Center, CC BY-NC 3.0)

Following the example of Rome, Constantinople featured a number of outdoor public spaces—including major streets, fora, as well as a hippodrome (a course for horse or chariot racing with public seating)—in which emperors and church officials often participated in showy public ceremonies such as processions.

Christian monasticism, which began to thrive in the 4th century, received imperial patronage at sites like Mount Sinai in Egypt.

Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai, Egypt (photo: Joonas Plaan, CC BY 2.0)

Apse mosaic with Virgin and Child, c. 867, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul) (photo: Evan Freeman, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Yet the mid-7th century began what some scholars call the “dark ages” or the “transitional period” in Byzantine history. Following the rise of Islam in Arabia and subsequent attacks by Arab invaders, Byzantium lost substantial territories, including Syria and Egypt, as well as the symbolically important city of Jerusalem with its sacred pilgrimage sites. The empire experienced a decline in trade and an economic downturn.

Against this backdrop, and perhaps fueled by anxieties about the fate of the empire, the so-called “Iconoclastic Controversy” erupted in Constantinople in the 8th and 9th centuries. Church leaders and emperors debated the use of religious images that depicted Christ and the saints, some honoring them as holy images, or “icons,” and others condemning them as idols (like the images of deities in ancient Rome) and apparently destroying some. Finally, in 843, Church and imperial authorities definitively affirmed the use of religious images and ended the Iconoclastic Controversy, an event subsequently celebrated by the Byzantines as the “Triumph of Orthodoxy .”

Middle Byzantium: c. 843–1204

In the period following Iconoclasm, the Byzantine empire enjoyed a growing economy and reclaimed some of the territories it lost earlier. With the affirmation of images in 843, art and architecture once again flourished. But Byzantine culture also underwent several changes.

Middle Byzantine churches elaborated on the innovations of Justinian’s reign, but were often constructed by private patrons and tended to be smaller than the large imperial monuments of Early Byzantium. The smaller scale of Middle Byzantine churches also coincided with a reduction of large, public ceremonies.

Katholikon church, 11th century, Hosios Loukas, Boeotia (photo: Evan Freeman, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Monumental depictions of Christ and the Virgin, biblical events, and an array of various saints adorned church interiors in both mosaics and frescoes. But Middle Byzantine churches largely exclude depictions of the flora and fauna of the natural world that often appeared in Early Byzantine mosaics, perhaps in response to accusations of idolatry during the Iconoclastic Controversy. In addition to these developments in architecture and monumental art, exquisite examples of manuscripts, cloisonné enamels, stonework, and ivory carving survive from this period as well.

The Middle Byzantine period also saw increased tensions between the Byzantines and western Europeans (whom the Byzantines often referred to as “Latins” or “Franks”). The so-called “Great Schism” of 1054 signaled growing divisions between Orthodox Christians in Byzantium and Roman Catholics in western Europe.

The Fourth Crusade and the Latin Empire: 1204–1261

In 1204, the Fourth Crusade—undertaken by western Europeans loyal to the pope in Rome—veered from its path to Jerusalem and sacked the Christian city of Constantinople. Many of Constantinople’s artistic treasures were destroyed or carried back to western Europe as booty. The crusaders occupied Constantinople and established a “Latin Empire” in Byzantine territory. Exiled Byzantine leaders established three successor states: the Empire of Nicaea in northwestern Anatolia, the Empire of Trebizond in northeastern Anatolia, and the Despotate of Epirus in northwestern Greece and Albania. In 1261, the Empire of Nicaea retook Constantinople and crowned Michael VIII Palaiologos as emperor, establishing the Palaiologan dynasty that would reign until the end of the Byzantine Empire.

The route and results of the Fourth Crusade (Kandi, CC BY-SA 4.0)

While the Fourth Crusade fueled animosity between eastern and western Christians, the crusades nevertheless encouraged cross-cultural exchange that is apparent in the arts of Byzantium and western Europe, and particularly in Italian paintings of the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, exemplified by new depictions of St. Francis painted in the so-called Italo-Byzantine style.

Late Byzantium: 1261–1453

Artistic patronage again flourished after the Byzantines re-established their capital in 1261. Some scholars refer to this cultural flowering as the “Palaiologan Renaissance” (after the ruling Palaiologan dynasty). Several existing churches—such as the Chora Monastery in Constantinople—were renovated, expanded, and lavishly decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Byzantine artists were also active outside Constantinople, both in Byzantine centers such as Thessaloniki, as well as in neighboring lands, such as the Kingdom of Serbia, where the signatures of the painters named Michael Astrapas and Eutychios have been preserved in frescos from the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Mosaic of Theodore Metochites offering the Chora church to Christ, Chora monastery, Constantinople (Istanbul) c. 1315–21 (photo: Evan Freeman, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Yet the Byzantine Empire never fully recovered from the blow of the Fourth Crusade, and its territory continued to shrink. Byzantium’s calls for military aid from western Europeans in the face of the growing threat of the Ottoman Turks in the east remained unanswered. In 1453, the Ottomans finally conquered Constantinople, converting many of Byzantium’s great churches into mosques, and ending the long history of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul—designed by Mimar Sinan and inaugurated 1557—was influenced by Byzantine architecture (photo: Evan Freeman, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Andrei Rublev, The Trinity, c. 1410, tempera on wood, 142 × 114 cm (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)

Post-Byzantium: after 1453

Despite the ultimate demise of the Byzantine Empire, the legacy of Byzantium continued. This is evident in formerly Byzantine territories like Crete, where the so-called “Cretan School” of iconography flourished under Venetian rule (a famous product of the Cretan School being Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco).

But Byzantium’s influence also continued to spread beyond its former cultural and geographic boundaries, in the architecture of the Ottomans, the icons of Russia, the paintings of Italy, and elsewhere.

Many imperial Romans had roots in the Middle East, genetic history shows

Two thousand years ago, the streets of Rome bustled with people from all over the ancient world. The empire's trade routes stretched from North Africa to Asia, and new immigrants poured in every day, both by choice and by force. Now, an ancient DNA study has shown those far-flung connections were written in the genomes of the Romans.

People from the city's earliest eras and from after the Western empire's decline in the fourth century C.E. genetically resembled other Western Europeans. But during the imperial period most sampled residents had Eastern Mediterranean or Middle Eastern ancestry. At that time, "Rome was like New York City … a concentration of people of different origins joining together," says Guido Barbujani, a population geneticist at the University of Ferrara in Italy who wasn't involved in the study. "This is the kind of cutting-edge work that's starting to fill in the details [of history]," adds Kyle Harper, a Roman historian at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The study, published today in Science , traces 12,000 years of history using genomes from 127 people buried at 29 archaeological sites in and around the city of Rome. Alfredo Coppa, a physical anthropologist at Sapienza University of Rome, sought hundreds of samples from dozens of previously excavated sites. Ron Pinhasi of the University of Vienna extracted DNA from the skeletons' ear bones, and Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at Stanford University, sequenced and analyzed their DNA.

The oldest genomes came from three hunter-gatherers who lived 9000 to 12,000 years ago and genetically resembled other hunter-gatherers in Europe at the time. Later genomes showed the Romans changed in step with the rest of Europe, as an influx of early farmers with ancestry from Anatolia (what is now Turkey) reshaped the genetics of the entire region some 9000 years ago.

But Rome went its own way from 900 B.C.E. to 200 B.C.E. That's when it grew from a small town into an important city, says Kristina Killgrove, a Roman bioarchaeologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who wasn't involved in the study. During its growth, "probably a lot of migration [was] happening," she says—as the genomes of 11 individuals from this period confirm. Some people had genetic markers resembling those of modern Italians, whereas others had markers reflecting ancestry from the Middle East and North Africa.

That diversity increased even more as Rome became an empire. Between 27 B.C.E. and 300 C.E., the city was the capital of an empire of 50 million to 90 million people, stretching from North Africa to Britain to the Middle East. Its population grew to more than 1 million people. The genetic "diversity was just overwhelming," Pinhasi says.

But people from certain parts of the empire were far more likely to move to the capital. The study suggests the vast majority of immigrants to Rome came from the East. Of 48 individuals sampled from this period, only two showed strong genetic ties to Europe. Another two had strong North African ancestry. The rest had ancestry connecting them to Greece, Syria, Lebanon, and other places in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

That makes sense, Harper says, because at the time, areas to the east of Italy were more populous than Europe many people lived in big cities such as Athens and Alexandria. And Rome was connected to Greece and the Middle East by the Mediterranean Sea, which was far easier to traverse than overland routes through the Alps, he says.

"The genetic information parallels what we know from historical and archaeological records," Killgrove says. She and others have identified individuals from imperial Roman cemeteries who likely didn't grow up in Rome, based on isotopes in their teeth that reflect the water they drank when young—though the studies couldn't show their precise origins. Ancient texts and words carved on tombstones also point to large populations of immigrants in the city, Harper says.

But once the empire split in two and the eastern capital moved to Constantinople (what is now Istanbul, Turkey) in the fourth century C.E., Rome's diversity decreased. Trade routes sent people and goods to the new capital, and epidemics and invasions reduced Rome's population to about 100,000 people. Invading barbarians brought in more European ancestry. Rome gradually lost its strong genetic link to the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. By medieval times, city residents again genetically resembled European populations.

"People perhaps imagine that the amount of migration we see nowadays is a new thing," Pritchard says. "But it's clear from ancient DNA that populations have been mixing at really high rates for a long time."

Reader Interactions


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

/>Serhat Engül says

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

Very objective and historically accurate narrative. Non biased at all.
Well done!

/>Serhat Engül says

Thank you for the feedback. I am happy to see that you enjoyed reading it.

Zeeshan Ahmad Hassan says

Well done Serhat, got enough knowledge about Byzantine.

/>Serhat Engül says

Hi Zeeshan, thank you for the review. I am glad to see that it’s been useful for you.

I love this article it helped a lot with my work

/>Serhat Engül says

Hi Bob, that’s great. I tried to fit what I know about Byzantine history into the shortest possible article, and it makes me happy that this summary works for people.

I have read many books about Byzantine history and this article presents a wonderful and accurate overview. The maps makes this overview even richer. It makes me come and visit the City once more. Very respectfully , I think that the English can be improved in a limited number of sentences but the meaning is always clear.

/>Serhat Engül says

Hello Theo, I am glad that someone who knows about Byzantine history finds the article objective and accurate. I wrote this article when I just opened my blog. And to be honest, my English wasn’t mature enough to write a history article in 2015.

Over time I improved myself and now I am reorganizing old articles. There was no time to rewrite this article yet. I care about your opinion and will try to prioritize this post for re-editing.

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Roman Republic – from 509 BCE to 27 BCE

Rome was a republic for a long time. Senate of Rome, comprised of elected members, ruled the country for many years through unanimous decisions and when they deemed necessary, they appointed consuls who accumulated administrative power for fast decisions.

Throughout its history, Roman Empire faced long-scale public rebellions, military attacks and invasions however, they were able to overcome all these thanks to the great ability of the senate.

The Roman Senate was a political institution in Ancient Rome

Enemy of Rome: General Hannibal Barca Of Carthage

The biggest military threat and invasion came from Hannibal of Carthage which was the super power in Mediterranean after Rome. In B.C. 218, with its army reinforced with elephants, Hannibal moved into Italy through France and he almost captured Rome thanks to his genius strategic move.

Romans lost the battles many times. But senate eventually found a way to decapacitate Hannibal and counterattack for Carthage. It is important here to note that the attack of Hannibal was not a simple one.

His command of the army, his tactics and victories make him one of the biggest military masterminds of the ancient world. He was able to beat a great enemy like Rome many times and stay at foreign lands for many years.

Barbarians Eventually Led The Fall of Roman Empire

Long standing enemy of the Rome was the barbarian tribes in the north. Now the modern northern European nations, those people were always degraded as barbarians by the Romans since they did not belong to the Roman civilization.

Gaius Julius Caesar versus King of Gaul Vercingetorix

First Big Slave Rebellion in the World Spartacus

The most famous rebellion of the Roman Republic was without doubt the one initiated and organized by a gladiator called Spartacus. Initially started as a regional uprising, it turned into an organized rebellion and Rome had to use big armies to suppress it.

Triumvirate And Transition to Roman Empire

The transition period from Republic to Empire is so full of intricate and complicated that it was featured in many movies and books. The main topic of this article is the transition period.

When the wars in the name of Rome peaked, Senate chose three co-rulers to rule glorious military campaigns and command the armies.

Assassination of Julius Caesar In The Roman Senate

Significance of First Triumvirate in Ancient Rome

Pompei Magnus, Marcus Crassus, Julius Caesar

In this triumvirate, Julius Caesar became a prominent force due to its wit, oratory and influence in the army and he seized the governance. Out of fear that he would declare himself tyrant, some senators plotted an assassination and murdered him in the senate.

A civil war broke out upon the assassination. Caesar’s foster child Octavius and his general Marcus Antonius swore an oath to revenge his death therefore, Marcus Julius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, whom were deemed responsible for the assassination, had to leave Rome.

Members of Second Triumvirate in Roman Republic

Octavius, Marcus Antonius, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus

Marcus Antonius and Lepidus were the generals of Caesar. Octavius was the foster child of Caesar. Octavius beat his most serious rival Antonius (and his ally Cleopatra) and Rome entered a new period.

Octavius declared himself an emperor by taking the name Augustus. (B.C. 27). Augustus ruled Rome for many years and after him, Rome was ruled on absolute monarchy by emperor coming from military backgrounds. (until A.D. 476)

Therefore, we can say that great strategist Julius Caesar, who was not an absolute monarch yet, might have been killed in vain. Senate, who pulled him off the Republic and sent him to the other world, had to accept the power of Octavius (Augustus) by force of arms.

Augustus as the First Emperor of Roman Empire

AP World History Timeline (600-1450)

Made of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, capital of Constantinople
Grew and prospered long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Justinian's Code, made by Justinian the Great, revived the legal tradition of Rome and remained a foundation of legal knowledge in Europe for centuries.
Byzantine Empire was a fairly wealthy empire but suffered frequent attacks from invaders, cities like Constantinople built extensive walls and defensives in response.

Ghana Empire

Capital: Kumbai Saleh
Rulers sold gold and ivory to Muslim traders in exchange for salt, copper, cloth, and tools

Middle Ages

Period in Europe between the fall of the western Roman Empire and the fall of the eastern Roman Empire. Characterized by feudalism, kingdoms, and Catholicism, particularly in the early middle ages. During the high middle ages, new states and greater trade improved life in Europe and weakened feudalism.

Sui Dynasty

United by Sui Yangdi through violence and oppression, ruled through harsh, dictatorial methods. The Grand Canal was built during this dynasty, an important public work for China. The dynasty ended when the people were upset over high taxes, the emperor's dictatorial ways, and the conscription of laborers, causing the emperor to be assassinated.

Tang Dynasty

During this time, China enjoy relative prosperity and stability.
Had a tributary system, other kingdoms and states had to pay money or goods to the Chinese emperor. Expanded the empire's bureaucracy, developed more roads and canals. Experienced a spread in Buddhism.

Start of Islam

Founded by Mohammed, the Hegira, Mohammed's fleeing from Mecca to Medina marks the start of the Muslim calender
-Quran is the sacred book of Islam
-Five Pillars of Islam: Confession of Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting, Pilgrimage to Mecca

Taika Reforms (Japan)

Goals: Increase efficiency, put all land under government ownership.
Damaged the feudal lords' power and helped create a powerful centralized government.

Umayyad Caliphate

Capital: Damascus
Were Sunnis, controlled the largest territory of anyone since the Roman Empire.

Silla Kingdom

Had a fairly direct relationship with China, Silla was a tributary state of China and performed ritual kowtow to the Tang emperor. Due to its close relationship, Silla developed many similar aspects to that of China but did have a much more powerful aristocracy than China did.

Mississipian Civilization

The mound-builders, Cahokia (largest town), practiced large-scale agriculture and had centers of craft and commerce. Practiced animism. Had a rigid class structure with the Great Sun as the chief, had a matrilineal society. Unknown as to why the civilization declined and disappeared entirely.

Fujiwara Clan

The Fujiwara family ruled Japan for a period of time, with the emperor acting as a figurehead. Experienced the Heian Period, where culture and literature flourished among the aristocrats, the cultural development did not spread to the peasantry.

Abbasid Caliphate

Capital: Baghdad
Sunnis. Baghdad was a center of learning, experienced a golden age of learning. Abbasids were influenced by Persia, even during the Islamic Golden Age.

Kievan Rus

Kievan Rus was a collection of city-states of Slavic peoples. The beginnings of what would become Russia.

The Toltec

A civilization in northern Mesoamerica, had a capital at Tula. Led by a warrior aristocracy, extracted tribute from conquered peoples. Conquered Mayan settlements and borrowed various ideas from them.

Vietnamese Victory

Vietnam experienced various different conflicts with China throughout their history, including being occupied by China. As the Tang dynasty began to weaken, the Vietnamese began to push the Tang out, and won a major victory against them in 938.

Song Dynasty

Smaller than the Tang due to nomadic invaders taking over a portion of the land (the Jin). China's bureaucracy expanded, education improved. The extensive bureaucracy was too expensive and hurt the Song. Also, the bureaucracy could not manage the army properly, further weakening the Song.

Holy Roman Empire

The Germanic king Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, thus beginning the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. The HRE remained vibrant until the Thirty Years' War (1618-16480, which it was greatly weakened. The Empire finally ended with Napoleon's invasion in 1806.

The Great Schism

The split of the Christian Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Catholicism dominated Western Europe, while Orthodox Christianity was primarily in Eastern Europe, like Russia.

Christian Crusades

European Catholics wanted to regain access to the Holy Land in the Middle East and decided to invade. The first crusade was the only one the Christians had any success in and took control of Jerusalem in 1099, however Saladin and his Muslim forces took it back in 1187. In the fourth crusade, the crusaders did not even make it to the Holy Land and instead sacked an Italian city, Zara. The Crusades helped opened global trade in Europe, and also helped the Black Death enter Europe.


Batterberry, Michael, and Ariane Batterberry. Fashion: The Mirror of History. New York: Greenwich House, 1977.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

Houston, Mary G. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Costume and Decoration. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1947.

Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.

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