Eastern Roman Empire
The Blood Prophesy of the Byzantine Emperors
During his reign, Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos was transfixed with a prophecy that foretold the survival of his dynasty depended on adherence to the acronym "AIMA." AIMA is also the Greek word for "blood". Anxious for the survival of...
Digenes Akritas, Hero of the Byzantine Borderlands
Digenes Akritas (Διγενής Ακρίτας) is one of the only surviving epic poems from the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire. It tells the story of the titular character, Basileios, dubbed Digenes Akritas, meaning "two-blood border lord." The epic poem is part of the...
How Did the Byzantines (Eastern Romans) Celebrate Christmas?
In the fourth century AD, the Romans abandoned the Classical pagan pantheon for Christianity. This meant swapping Saturnalia festivities for Christmas celebrations. From these early beginnings, the surviving Byzantine Empire would inherit and modify its own Christmas traditions. As the...