Lead Seal 29mm (14.77 grams) circa 1200-1400 A.D.
Byzantine emperor standing facing.
Jesus Christ enthroned.
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Jesus (7–2 BC to AD 30–33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, whom the teachings of most Christian denominations hold to be the Son of God. Christians believe Jesus is the awaited Messiah (or Christ, the Anointed One) of the Old Testament.
Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, and historians consider the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) to be the best sources for investigating the historical Jesus. Most scholars agree that Jesus was a Galilean, Jewish rabbi who preached his message orally, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. In the current mainstream view, Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher and the founder of a renewal movement within Judaism, although some prominent scholars argue that he was not apocalyptic. After Jesus' death, his followers believed he was resurrected, and the community they formed eventually became the Christian church. The widely used calendar era, abbreviated as "AD" from the Latin "Anno Domini" ("in the year of our Lord") or sometimes as "CE", is based on the birth of Jesus.
Christians believe that Jesus has a "unique significance" in the world. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, whence he will return. Most Christians believe Jesus enables humans to be reconciled to God, and will judge the dead either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology; though some believe Jesus's role as savior has more existential or societal concerns than the afterlife, and a few notable theologians have suggested that Jesus will bring about a universal reconciliation. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of a Divine Trinity. A few Christian groups reject Trinitarianism, wholly or partly, as non-scriptural.
In Islam, Jesus (commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God's important prophets and the Messiah, second in importance only to Muhammad. To Muslims, Jesus was a bringer of scripture and was born of a virgin, but was not the Son of God. According to the Quran, Jesus was not crucified but was physically raised into Heaven by God. Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh.
The The Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire, was the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half continuation and remainder of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally founded as Byzantium. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, tr. Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum), or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and Nova Roma ("New Rome"). Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.
The borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. In a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces, Egypt and Syria, to the Arabs.
During the Macedonian dynasty (10th–11th centuries), the Empire again expanded and experienced a two-century long renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland.
The final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline. It struggled to recover during the 12th century, but was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire.