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Byzantine Empire

Early Centuries

The characteristic Eastern influence began with Constantine I, who also introduced Christianity. Orthodoxy triumphed over Arianism under Arcadius' predecessor, Theodosius I, but violent religious controversy was chronic. The reigns (395–527) of Arcadius, Theodosius II, Marcian, Leo I, Leo II, Zeno, Anastasius I, and Justin I were marked by the invasions of the Visigoths under Alaric I, of the Huns of Attila, and of the Avars, the Slavs, the Bulgars (see Bulgaria), and the Persians. After the Western Empire fell (476) to Odoacer, Italy, Gaul, and Spain were theoretically united under Zeno but were actually dominated by, respectively, the Ostrogoths, the Franks, and the Visigoths, while Africa was under the Vandals. During this period arose the heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism and the political parties of Blues and Greens to divide the Byzantines.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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