Archive | November, 2017

Preserving Culture D.17.12.01

30 Nov

During the time of the conquering of the Byzantine period it was challenging to preserve the wealthy and sophisticated culture.
If it were not for Byzantium, it’s very likely that western Europe would have been conquered by Islam, just like Spain, North Africa, Egypt to Persia and India were.
There was a great deal of change during this period of time and it has become a time lost to the memory of today.
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The Ottomans D.17.11.30

29 Nov

When the Ottomans finally conquered the empire, they replaced the Greek Christian culture of Byzantium with their own Turkish Muslim one.
Constantinople became Istanbul, which is just the Turkish word for Constantinople. Stan-bul, Stan-tinople. It’s easy to forget that Byzantium survived for 1,000 years, producing great works of art, architecture, and music.
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The Byzantine Church D.17.11.29

28 Nov

The Byzantine Church refused to recognize the authority of the Pope in Rome, relations with Western Europe were chilly, if not openly hostile.
It is worth remembering that it was the Western European Christians, not the Muslims, that first sacked Constantinople in 1204.
The Byzantine culture is often unfamiliar now, because it has no direct successor. Western Europe developed into the kingdoms and countries we now know today.
The Islamic world was thriving as there are no living Byzantines.
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Classical Heritage D.17.11.28

27 Nov

History can be traced back to Rome in an unbroken line of Emperor’s Byzantine culture which evolved into something quite different than the culture of Classical Rome.
It was for one thing an intensely Christian culture, that rejected much of the classical heritage of ancient Greek and Roman thought.
The Eastern Empire had always kept Greek as its daily language and over time, Latin was forgotten in Byzantium. After the rise of Islam, Byzantium lost the rich lands of Egypt, Syria and Palestine and existed in a constant state of warfare with Arabs to the south. Persians to the east and Slavic peoples to the north.
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The Fragmentation of Europe D.17.11.27

26 Nov

The nomadic invasions and collapse of the Western Roman Empire led to a fragmentation of European and Mediterranean society, a fragmentation that exists to this day.
After the fall of Rome there were three successor civilizations, each existing in a certain degree of isolation from the other two.
There was the eastern Roman Empire, now known as the Byzantine Empire. It’s capitol in Constantinople was by far the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. Like Rome on which it was modelled, Constantinople had aqueducts, forums, baths, a hippodrome for chariot racing, Imperial palaces, and gorgeous churches. Moreover, Constantinople was built on an impregnable site surrounded on three sides by water, and on the fourth by the largest city walls built until that time.
Despite a state of almost constant warfare with surrounding states for a period of a thousand years, Constantinople only fell twice, once to Christian classic crusaders in 1204 CE, and once finally to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
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The Early Middle Ages D.17.11.26

25 Nov

The early Middle Ages is sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, because of the social and economic collapse that followed the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.
The years between 500 and 1000 CE saw a rich flowering of civilization, both in the Byzantine Empire and in the Islamic lands of North Africa and the Middle East.
In western Europe, the so called Dark Ages also produced the sophisticated culture of Anglo-Saxon England, and the remarkable explorations of the Nordic people, the Vikings. Whose fearsome longships journeyed as far as North America 500 years before Columbus.
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15th Century Constantinople D.17.11.25

24 Nov

The Turks conquered Constantinople in the 15th century and it became Istanbul, then the church became a mosque.
In a mosque no representation of the human body is allowed so that there are no graven images within the mosque.
In churches like the Hagia Sophia the mosaics were covered up or torn out, most of the ones that survive now date from the later years of Byzantium. They’re not the ones that Justinian had put in when he first built the church.
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Iconoclasts D.17.11.24

23 Nov

There were periods when people called iconoclasts came to power, and they were people who believed, as Muslims did, that it was not right to represent people in sacred art.
This was a sin, going back to the commandment that you should not make any graven image, from the ten commandments in the Bible.
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Mosaic Decorations D.17.11.23

22 Nov

As with all Byzantine churches, was that the interior was decorated with mosaic. Mosaic is made up of little tiles of stone and of gold that catch the light, glass as well.
The mosaic created a shimmering quality that picks up on the natural light that comes in and makes the whole church seem to glow.
Many of the mosaics in Hagia Sophia were destroyed at various times during the course of the Byzantine Empire.
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The Basilica Structure D.17.11.22

21 Nov

The basilica is recognised by its long nave while at the same time has a centrality to it. The churches are decorated with a variety of stone.
The walls and pillars are made from exotic stone, porphyries, different kinds of marble. The walls have patterned marble and the columns are made of marble of different patterns. They can be a rather greenish marble in the columns. There are different shades of marble in the floor and in the walls.
The basilica displays an astonishing amount of wealth, the fact that Byzantium could construct such a building is truly remarkable.
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