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Who were the Nestorians? History of Christianity

By | 2017-08-22T17:18:53+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Religion, Romans|

A Nestorian cross on a tombstone from Kazakhstan (1300s AD) In 428 AD, when Pulcheria and Eudocia were running the Roman Empire, a bishop named Nestorius became the Patriarch of Constantinople. That's like being the Pope but for people in the Eastern Empire. Nestorius didn't like the idea that Jesus was both a man and a god at the same time. Nestorius thought [...]

Byzantine Iconoclasm and Iconodules: History of Christianity

By | 2017-12-21T13:28:43+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Icon of St. Nicholas (Russia) Byzantine iconoclasm By the early 700s AD, the Roman Empire had seen four hundred years of religious arguments about what or who Jesus Christ was. The Arians believed that Christ was all god. The Catholics believed that Christ was entirely and inseparably both god and man. And people had fought over every possible combination of [...]

Mary’s tunic – Medieval Chartres

By | 2017-08-04T11:48:13+00:00 August 4th, 2017|History|

Mary's tunic, preserved in a glass case in the treasury of Chartres cathedral in France According to a popular story, about 800 AD, Irene, the Empress of the Roman Empire in Eastern Europe and West Asia, wanted to become more friendly with Charlemagne, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe. By making an [...]

Lawyer’s Tale – Chaucer – Canterbury Tales

By | 2017-08-04T07:38:53+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

This is probably a picture of either the real Constantina or her mother Helena (Santa Costanza church, Rome) In the time of the Roman Empire, says the lawyer on Chaucer's pilgrimage, there was a Christian princess Custance, the daughter of the Emperor, who was very beautiful and good. When merchants told the Sultan of Syria [...]

High Middle Ages – European history

By | 2017-08-03T11:00:13+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Devils torture the damned in Hell (Abbey of Moissac, about 1050 AD) In 1071 AD, the Byzantine Empire lost most of Anatolia (modern Turkey) to the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert. About the same time, the Abbasids lost control of pieces of the Islamic Empire as well. The Seljuks took over the East, and local rulers took over North Africa and Spain. [...]

Early Middle Ages – Dark Age Europe

By | 2017-08-02T16:40:06+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Interior of Hagia Sophia The Early Middle Ages comes after the fall of Rome, about 400 AD. But all the way through the Early Middle Ages, European people still thought of themselves as living in the Roman Empire and being Romans. Even armies who had invaded by force thought they were Romans. Even armies who [...]

Theodoric and the Ostrogoths

By | 2017-08-02T14:37:31+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Ostrogothic helmet By 476 AD, the Ostrogoths were still living north of the Black Sea, but the Roman Emperors no longer had any practical power in the West. In that year, the last Roman Emperor in the West, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed, and a Hun named Odoacer took charge of what was left of the Western Empire (mainly Italy). Odoacer sent [...]

Holy Roman Empire – Early Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-02T13:31:15+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Otto I (on a seal) After the death of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperors got weaker and weaker. By 924 AD, a hundred years later, nobody even held the title officially. But in 962 AD a German king named Otto got the Pope to name him Holy Roman Emperor anyway, and that started the Holy Roman Empire up again. Otto's father, Henry, had [...]

Who was Charlemagne? Early Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-02T13:23:40+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Charlemagne, or possibly his grandson (now in the Louvre Museum) Charlemagne's name is really Charles le Magne, or Charles the Great. In German they call him Karl der Grosse, which also means Charles the Great. His father, Pippin, left Charlemagne his Frankish empire when he died in 768 AD. The Franks were already very powerful when Pippin died, but [...]

Arcadius to Justin – Byzantine History

By | 2018-03-20T10:40:03+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

The Roman emperor Arcadius Honorius and Arcadius After the death of Theodosius in 395 AD, the empire fell to his sons, the west to Honorius and the east to Arcadius. Arcadius left all the work to his adviser Ricimer, who seems to have been the one to make the fateful decision that he could not successfully defend the [...]