The Grail Legend (also known as the Grail Quest, Quest for the Holy Grail) developed in Europe c. 1050-1485 CE. It most likely originated in Ireland as folklore before appearing in written form sometime before 1056 CE in The Prophetic Ecstasy...
Columns of Basilica Cistern, Istanbul
Located across the Hagia Sophia Museum, Yerebatan Sarayi is also known as the Basilica Cistern because of a basilica that was once located nearby as a cultural centre. It is the largest surviving underground cistern of Istanbul. Fatih Cistern...
The Differences Between Byzantine & Armenian Christianity
Although both the Byzantines and the Armenians were Christian, the types of Christianity they professed had important differences that led to a lack of recognition and tensions between the two groups and a considerable part of their relationship...
Interview: Barry Strauss on Ten Caesars
Dr. Barry Strauss' Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine tells the epic story of the Roman Empire from its rise to its eastern reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and...
Women in the Middle Ages
The lives of women in the Middle Ages were determined by the Church and the aristocracy. The medieval Church provided people with the 'big picture' of the meaning of life and one's place in it; the aristocracy ensured that everyone stayed...
Constantine I, aka Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from 306 to 337 CE. Realizing that the Roman Empire was too large for one man to adequately rule, Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE) split the empire into two, creating a tetrachy or...
Icons, that is images of holy persons, were an important part of the Byzantine Christian Church from the 3rd century CE onwards. Venerated in churches, public places, and private homes, they were often believed to have protective properties...
Monasticism, that is individuals devoting themselves to an ascetic life in a monastery for devotional purposes, was an ever-present feature of the Byzantine empire. Monasteries became powerful landowners and a voice to be listened to in imperial...
Constans II (aka Konstans II) was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668 CE. Sometimes known as Constans Pogonatos (“the Bearded”), he came to the throne by a series of unlikely events and his empire was immediately challenged...
The Gates of Constantinople
Mehmed II enters Constantinople through the Adrianople Gate on his way to the Hagia Sophia, painting by Fausto Zonaro (1854-1929).