Byzantine Empire

Greek Fire

By Robert Heege

The year was ad 678, 46 years after the death of the prophet Mohammed. Now the Mohammedans, determined to bring the light of Islam to Arabia and beyond, were streaking across the whole of the Middle East like a comet. Read more

Belisarius is shown triumphant over the Ostrogoths and heading for Rome.

Byzantine Empire

Military Myths and Legends: Belisarius

By James Allan Evans

It was a sorry tale. A brilliant general, military hero, and faithful servant of the state, blind and reduced to penury in his old age, sitting on the main street of Constantinople begging for his living. Read more

European knights battle Seljuq Turks outside the walls of Antioch. The city was a stronghold blocking the Crusaders’ way to the Holy Land.

Byzantine Empire

Deus le Veult! The Siege of Antioch

By John Murphy, Jr.

Shortly before dawn on June 3, 1098, Bohemund of Taranto, one of the leaders of the First Crusade and the survivor of many campaigns, stood in the shadow of the Tower of the Two Sisters, one of the strongest points in the defenses of the ancient city of Antioch. Read more

Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Spies in the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars

By Arnold Blumberg

Byzantium, the successor state to ancient Rome, lasted over a thousand years. But it all could have been different because its first major enemy—Persia—was a fierce and determined competitor bent on the Empire’s demise. Read more

Viking longboats cut through the sea while on expedition. King Harald’s nickname was “Hardradi,” meaning “the ruthless;” something his enemies could surely attest to.

Byzantine Empire

Harald “Land Waster” Hardradi

by Kenneth Cline

For many history buffs, the date 1066 conjures up an image of Norman knights breaking through the shield wall of the ax-wielding Anglo-Saxons at Senlac Hill. Read more

Varangian leader Rurik and his sons arrive in the trading post of Staraya Ladoga in 862. About that same time Varangians began serving with forces protecting the frontiers of the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Army’s Varangian Guard

By Erich B. Anderson

Byzantine Emperor Basil II suffered a massive defeat against the Bulgarians on August 17, 986, at a strategic mountain pass known as Trajan’s Gate in Bulgaria. Read more

Sailors and marines of the powerful Venetian Navy assault the seaward wall along the Golden Horn for a second time in April 1204. The Venetians suspended gangplanks from the masts and yard-arms of their galleys that served as flying bridges for marines to use in assaulting the tops of the city's walls.

Byzantine Empire

Sack of Constantinople

By William E. Welsh

Dawn broke clear and hot over Constantinople on July 17, 1203.

All manner of war machines were clustered around the Latin crusaders’ fortified camp on a hill where the Monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian was located. Read more

Byzantine Empire

Hungary’s National Hero

By Ludwig Heinrich Dyck

Janos Hunyadi, Hungary’s national hero, was one of the great captains in the war between Europe and the Ottoman Turks. Read more

Byzantine Empire

Clash of the Tyrants

By Louis Ciotola

In the early 15th century, the strongest military powers in the world resided in Asia. Arguably, no two were more powerful than the Ottoman Empire of Bayezid I and the Tartar Empire of Tamerlane (Timur the Lame). Read more