The three Macedonian Wars followed by the Aechean War that led to the creation of the Roman Provinces of Macedonia and Aechea (146 BC), proved that Rome had become the new great power of the Mediterranean, and showed her ambition to expand eastward. In reaction to the conquest of Thrace by the Seleucids, the Romans, for the first time, headed towards Asia Minor and, in 189 BC, defeated Antiochus III at the Battle of Magnesia with the aid of Eumenes II of Pergamon. In 133 BC, Attalus III of Pergamon bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, opening Asia Minor to the Roman power. Then a gradual annexation of the Hellenistic kingdoms and territories in the East, started. Rome had become so powerful that the chance of survival of an independent kingdom in Asia Minor was most improbable. Mithridates VI of Pontus lost the three wars against the Roman domination, first defeated by Sylla, then by Lucullus who started the conquest of Pontus (and Armenia 69 C) achieved by Pompey (66 BC) who strenghtened the Roman domination and annexed Syria (68 BC). Asia Minor was divided in provinces: Cilicia was incorporated to the Roman Province of Asia (western and south-western part of Asia Minor), Bithynia and Pontus were united in one province just like Galatia and Cappadocia. Armenia became a vassal state of Rome. A major problem about the protectorate of Armenia remained between Rome and the two Parthian dynasties, the Arsacids and later the Sassanids, leading to last long wars of succession .

  Conquests of Rome in the 2C BC   Conquests of Rome in the 1C BC
  Conquests until Augustus’ death (14 AD)   Annexions from Augustus’ death till Trajan’ s accession (98 AD)
  Trajan’ s conquests   Trajan’s temporary conquests (114-117)
* Main battles (defeat of Antiochus III at Magnésia of Sipyle in 189 BC)
Peace of Apamea (treaty signed by Antiochus III in 188 BC, ensuring the seizure of Asia Minor by the Romans)
  Main legionary garrison centers   Isolated posts

It took about a century to the Romans to colonize Asia Minor. A period of peace, called the "Pax Romana", began under Emperor Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) and lasted more than 200 years. The new Roman provinces of Asia Minor appeared like a land of prosperity, of gentle way of life with the birth of a new bourgeoisie and the blossoming of a culture, fastuous synthesis of Greek, Roman and Persian arts. Under the influence of oriental models, the Romans created new shapes and elements of architecture such as the arch, the barrel or groined vault, the dome used in the construction of stadiums, theatres, amphitheatres, colonnaded streets, arches of triumph, bridges, aqueducts or central heated baths... Marble became the main building material. The symbol of this civilization is Ephesus which became the Roman governors' place of residence. The city counted 200,000 inhabitants and was adorned with prestigious buildings (the Celsius Library), roads lined with colonnades and porticoes, luxurious houses with mosaics and frescoes...
During the first and second century of our era, Anatolia was one of the most prominent cultural and artistic centers in the Roman Empire.

Ephesus – Celsius Library

At the begining of the Christian era, the Roman provinces of Anatolia formed a land of liberty and tolerance. This is naturally why the new Christian religion spread here. About 37 AD, some apostles and believers fleeing Jerusalem, found a land of welcome in Antioch (Antakya) where, for the first time, they received the name of Christians. It was from here that the missionaries Paul, Peter, John, Barnabas and their companions set out for western Anatolia in the 1st century A.D. Paul, born in Tarsus, was known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. To spread the Gospel, he made three missionary journeys through southern, central and western Anatolia between 45 and 58. His first sermon was delivered in Antioch-of-Pisidia and he wrote the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Galatians. St John and the Virgin Mary ended their days in Ephesus.
The Seven Churches of Asia, mentioned in the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) which is a prophetic book written by John about 95 AD, were all located in western Anatolia: Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (Izmir), Laodicea ad Lycum (Denizli, Goncalı), Sardis (Sart), Pergamon (Bergama) Philadelphia (Alaşehir) and Thyatira (Akhisar). These Churches were founded by John the apostle, and formed either directly or indirectly by Paul. While banished to the island of Patmos, John saw a vision of the future and was commanded to send it to the seven churches located in Asia Minor entrusted to his care:
Revelation 1:10
: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamon and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.
" Seven Letters were addressed one by one to the Seven Churches which stood as representative of seven congregations.

///// Diocese of Caesarea of Cappadocia IIIII Diocese of Antioch \\\\\ Diocese of Ephesus

_____ St Paul 1st missionary journey ------ St Paul 2nd journey ........ St Paul 3rd journey

· cities + monastic centers Diocese capitals

In the 2C Christianity was strongly persecuted. However Christian faith was an essential fact in the oriental Roman provinces, and from 324, emperor Constantine the Great openly embraced Christianity which became state religion, and Byzantium was chosen as second capital of the Roman Empire under the name of Constantinople en 330.



In 391 Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) closed the temples and forbade whorship of idols.

In 395
when he died, the empire was shared between his two sons. Honorius received the Western Roman empire, and Arcadius the Eastern Empire.

Walls built under Theodosius II in the 5C.
In 477 Rome fell into the hands of the Barbarians. Constantinople was left the sole capital of an empire that lasted until 1453, extending its frontiers from the Euphrates to Gibraltar. The whole empire was in the emperor’s hands, who was both spiritual and political leader.

Detail from the mosaics of the
Great Palace (450-550)
The 6 th Century was marked by the reign of Justinian who restored the Roman Empire within its old frontiers. The prosperity of Byzantium also appears in the arts with the construction of Haghia Sophia and St Serge and Bacchus. That was the Golden Age Period of Byzantium.

Haghia Sophia

The Byzantine Empire under Justinian

In the 7th century, Emperor Heraclius replaced the traditional Roman imperial title of "Augustus" with "Basileus", the Greek word for "Emperor", and discontinued the use of Latin by making Greek the official language. Heraclius also repelled the assaults of the Persians.
With the birth of Islam, Byzantium had to face the Arabs, a new power eager for conquests.

In the 8th and 9th centuries the Arabs made many incursions in Asia Minor, but they failed twice (678 and 717) before Constantinople. In 730 , under the influence of the Arabs, Leo III and the iconoclasts through an edict prohibited the whorship of pictures, thinking that the Christians were lapsing into idolatry and heresy. In 754 a concile renewed the prohibition of the pictures and ordering their destruction: religious pictures, mosaics, frescoes, icons and manuscripts were destroyed throughout the Empire. During the 7th Ecumenical Concile of Nicea (787) empress Irene put an end to the debate of the icons by legitimating their veneration instead of their whorship.

Constantin VI, son of Irene,
presiding over the 7th Concile of Nicea
As military defeats occured following the restoration of the pictures and the monks' favour, in 815, Leo V called a concile at Haghia Sophia which renewed their condemnation and persecutions. However, answering the strong need of human nature, in 843 the final restoration of the pictures was celebrated at Haghia Sophia at the behest of Theodora who was Emperor Theophile's widow.
From the 9th to the 11th century: this period was the second golden age of Byzantium under emperors called Macedonians. All the invaders were repelled. Byzantium again took command of the seas, securing its trade and wealth. The artistic creations reflected the power of the city. The end of the 11th century was marked by the schism that separated the Roman Catholic Church from the orthodox church.

Haghia Sophia - Deisis

The 11 th – 12 th centuries were marked by internal struggles which prevented the Byzantines to repulse the Seljuk Turks. In 1071, Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt) north of Van. This victory caused the Byzantines to lose their Anatolian provinces which became Seljuk property. However, the fragmentation of the central Seljuk authority led to the formation of smaller Seljuk states whose leaders were now unable to unite the Muslim world against another force appeared in 1096 in the Middle East: the Crusaders, those warrior-pilgrims who took command of Antioch and Edesse before they continued on their way to the Holy Land in order to recapture the Holy Sepulchre from the Moslems. The Crusades, which were supposed to fight the infidel Turks advancing into the heart of Eastern Christendom, disastrously weakened the Byzantine Empire.

During the 12 th century
, the Comnenus family was still ruling Byzantium. The last of the Comneni was Andronicus Comnenus (1182-1185) who ruled with a heavy hand and was widely hated. When the Byzantine provinces rebelled, the people of Constantinople rioted and killed Andronicus who was succeeded by Isaac II Angelus. The new emperor expelled the Normans from Thessalonic and Dyrrachium (Albania), but Bulgaria and Serbia rebelled and he had to face the danger of the Third Crusade when Frederick I Barbarossa marched through his lands and captured Philippopolis (Bulgaria) and Adrianople (Edirne). He managed to recover a bit of the lost ground but at the same time he lost control within the palace itself.
The 13th century was marked by the Fourth Crusade and its heavy consequences. In April 1195, Alexis III Angelus, who was no more effective than his brother and was rather more corrupt, dethroned his brother Isaac II Angelus, imprisoned him and had his eyes gouged out. Early in 1202, his son, the future Alexius IV, who had been stripped of all rights and had managed to flee to Italy, asked for the help of the leaders of the Fourth Crusade, who had gathered in Venice and were preparing at last to depart, to drive out the usurper Alexius III and restore his father on the throne. The Latins, who had not forgetten that the Byzantines had allied with Saladin against the Third Crusade, and had done nothing to aid the Second Crusade, thought that they should be punished for their lack of support. The arrival of the Latins who, at first, were considered to be a rescue by the Byzantines, rapidly turned out to be a threat. Also attracted by the wealth of the city, the Crusaders came to Constantinople, and between July 5-17, 1203 they attacked the city and restored the situation. But the people rose up in anger and in January 1204 Alexius Dukas Murzuphlus, the leader of the anti-Latin faction, seized power as Alexius V, put Isaac II Angelus in prison again and assassinated his son and co-emperor Alexius IV who in return for the Crusader's help, had agreed to reconcile with the Papacy, offering men, weapons and ships for the Crusade as well as money that he had obtained by levying heavy taxes from the people of Constantinople. As a reprisal, on 12 April 1204, the Crusaders seized, savagely sacked and pillaged Constantinople for three days, destroying a great part of its artistic treasures.

The conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders
Geoffrey of Villehardouin, who was confered the title of Marshal of Romania*, chronicled the Fourth Crusade and in “On the Conquest of Constantinople ” stated: “The booty gained was so great that none could tell you the end of it: gold and silver, and vessels and precious stones, and samite, and cloth of silk, and robes vair and grey, and ermine, and every choicest thing found upon the earth. Never, since the world was created, had so much booty been won in any city”. The relics of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and saints (Thimothy, Luke, Andrew) were also fiercely contested by the Latins. The Church of the Saint Apostles, which contained many, was systematically devastated and the imperial sarcophagi sheltered here were shamelessly violated and plundered.
Baldwin of Flanders was crowned Latin Emperor of Orient*. He got one quarter of the Empire and booty, while Venice got three-eighths of it, the remainder being divided equally between the Crusaders .

One year later, Alexius V Dukas was captured and killed. A Byzantine government was formed in Nicea by Theodorus Lascaris followed by the Greek Patriarch, while two princes, sons of Andronicus I, fled to Trebizond (Trabzon) where one of them, Alexius Comnenus, became Emperor of the Independant Byzantine Empire of Trebizond .
Fighting for its own survival, the Latin Empire weakened under the assaults of the Bulgars and those of the Byzantines trying to regain their lost cities and provinces, and was soon reduced to the sole city of Constantinople.

Finally on July 25, 1261 the ruler of Nicea (İznik), Michael VIII Palaeologus, recaptured Constantinople, helped by the Genoeses who consolidated their position, making Galata a fortified independent city. During the end of the 13 th and the first half of the 14 th centuries, the Genoeses resisted the assaults of the Venetians against whom they fought for the monopoly of Constantinople's external and internal trade.

Although it suffered a lot, lost most of its treasures and its economic and political importance declined, towards the end of the 13 th century, Constantinople had a revival. The Byzantines' last period of glory is known by the name "Palaeologan Revival". One of the most prominent figures of this intellectual and artistic period is the Grand Logothete (chancellor) and scholar Theodorus Methochitus .

* The Byzantines refered to themselves as Romans, Romaioi, because their empire was in fact the Eastern Roman Empire resulted from the sharing out of the Roman Empire by Theodosius I. The Byzantine (Roman) Empire was known to the Latins or Franks, as Romania. The new Latin State
gave itself the title of Empire of Romania. The Seljuk Turks had already respected the term by founding the Sultanate of Rum in Asia Minor.

Fresco of the Resurrection (Anastasis) - Saint Saviour in Chora

From the 14th century, the remnants of the Byzantine Empire were gradually reduced to the city-state of Constantinople: while the Byzantines were having a revival, a new and ultimately final challenge was developing with the Ottoman Turks. Founded by Osman, the leading Gazi state began to expand, taking over Byzantine land in western Anatolia, other Turkish states (beyliks) and all Balkans. In 1391, Constantinople was besieged for the first time by Bayezit I . In 1396, the sultan won a victory over the Nicopolis Crusade (Bulgaria) led by King of Hungary Sigismond whose aim was to repel the Ottomans from the Balkans. In 1400, Bayezit I lifted the siege of Constantinople when Tamerlane surged through Anatolia, and the city won an unexpected reprieve when he annihilated the sultan's army at the Battle of Ankara in July 1402.
The situation deteriorated when Mustafa, Bayezit I's third son, back from Samarkand where he had been taken by Tamerlane and released upon the death of the latter, reappeared claiming the throne. Defeated by Mehmet I, he took refuge in Salonika in Byzantine lands (1419). As Manuel II would not hand him over, Mehmet I agreed to pay a high amount of money each year for the emperor to keep the unwanted brother imprisoned. Mustafa was released short after and, joined by some malcontent emirs, marched his way to Edirne where he proclaimed himself sultan. From there he proceeded to Bursa where Murat II was preparing for war. He finally was killed by Murat II (1422).
In order to punish Manuel II for his encouraging the sultan's enemies (in 1423, he also urged and helped Murat's younger brother, Musa, to rebel), war with the Byzantines was started again and Constantinople was even besieged for a short time in 1422. Emperor Constantine XI Dragases appealed in vain to the West for help, for the pope, in return, insisted on the union of the Greeks to the Roman Catholic Church. Constantinople finally succumbed to Mehmet II' s assaults in 1453. He achieved the Conquest of Constantinople after a siege that lasted from April 6 to May 29, 1453 when on that last day, a standard-bearer drove the first Ottoman standard in one of the towers, while Emperor Constantine XI died, fighting at the walls. The conquest of the last Byzantine lands in Anatolia was completed in 1461 with the fall of Trebizond, the stronghold of the Comneni, thus putting an end to the Byzantine Empire.

1453 – Conquest of Constantinople by the Turks