The royal wedding of Alexios I Comnenus and Irene Ducaena

Empress Irene Ducaena

Above: The royal wedding of Alexios I Comnenus and Irene Ducaena. Irene Ducaena was the wife and empress of Alexios I Comnenus, marrying him shortly after he seized the throne on April 1, 1081. Her daughter, the erudite Anna Comnena, wrote glowingly of her mother in her history, The Alexiad

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Romanos IV Diogenes - submitting to Alp Aslan after defeat at the Battle of Manzikert

The Unlucky Diogenes Family

Romanos IV Diogenes – submitting to Alp Aslan after defeat at the Battle of Manzikert Romanos’s Father, Constantine The Diogenes family first came to prominence during the reign of Basil II early in the 11th century. Constantine Diogenes rose through the ranks of the taghmata – the central armies under

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Byzantine Art – A historian’s view, Part 2

I continue my interview with Professor Lawrence Butler here. He has some great recommendations of places to visit when you’re in Istanbul! (Part 1 can be found here: Q – Having spent some time in Istanbul, what other buildings do you recommend visiting to learn more about Byzantine architecture,

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Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler & the Byzantines

Most of us have heard of the legend of Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler, and later simply as Dracula. This prince of Wallachia had a reputation for viciously impaling his defeated enemies – a brutal practice during a brutal time. Not being much of a fan of

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Signature in red of Constantine XI Palaeologos

Byzantine Personal Naming Conventions

Many medieval Byzantines did not use a surname. How the individual chose his surname remained fluid for many years. It often referred back to the area or town where the family originated, or from a family profession or trait.

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Byzantine fork, Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, DC

Byzantines Did It First!

I recently read a book about the city of Paris and the author mentioned that a particular hospital was the “first hospital in Europe”. I had to shake my head at his ignorance of the history of the Byzantines. However, it inspired me to make a list of a few things I know of that the Byzantines did long before the rest of Europe did.

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