Byzantine (Scope note)

The term refers to the successor state to the Roman empire in the eastern Mediterranean, from the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine the Great in AD 330 until its fall to the Ottoman Turks in AD 1453. The Byzantine period is often divided into three phases: the early Byzantine period from the early 4thC to the 7thC (see also the term Late Antique) which saw the losses of the key provinces of Syria and Egypt to the Arabs; the Middle Byzantine period from the 8thC to the early 13thC covering Iconoclasm and ending with the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204; the Late Byzantine period from the early 13thC to the mid-15thC, a period of geographical and political decline, but also of a flowering of the arts under the Palaeologan dynasty. See also the term 'Medieval'. N.B. For the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, the term 'Early Byzantine' is not used. Instead, for the period during which Egypt was under Byzantine rule, ie. from circa AD 330 until circa AD 641, the term 'Byzantine' is used.