|Kingdom of Byzantium|
βασιλεία τοῦ Βῡζᾰντῐ́ουTimeline: Differently
OTL equivalent: Greece, Albania, North Macedonia, outer regions of Turkey, Cyprus, North Cyprus
Location of Byzantium in Europe
(and largest city)
|Government||Federal democracy under parliamentary monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||Athena Palaeologa|
|-||Founding of Constantinople||11 May 330|
|-||East–West division||17 January 395|
|-||Byzantine Empire abolished||13 February 1801|
|-||Transition from Republic to Kingdom||31 July 1805|
|-||Total|| 452,624 km2
174,759 sq mi
Byzantium, officially the Kingdom of Byzantium, is a country in Southeast Europe. It borders Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria to the north and West Persia to the east and is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Adriatic Sea on the west and the Black Sea on the northeast. The modern reminiscent of the old Roman Empire, Byzantium was historically one of the most powerful and educated nations in the world. Its plenty of historical sights, including decorated churches, makes tourism its main economic activity. Byzantium is considered the cultural bridge between Asia and Europe. The modern state of Byzantium dates back to 1805, when the Republic of Byzantium was abolished and the current Kingdom was established.
With a population of over 57 million inhabitants, Byzantium is Europe's sixth-most populous country, ranking 27th in the entire world. Its surface area of 452 square kilometers makes it the fourth-largest nation in Europe and the 51st-largest in the entire world.
Byzantium's capital and largest city is Constantinople. Other important cities include Athens, Smyrna, Thessaloniki and Heraklion.
In the late 4th century, following the death of Theodosius I, the Roman Empire was divided between the Western and Eastern Empires, with its respective capitals in the Italian Peninsula and in Constantinople. About eighty years later, the Western Roman Empire fell due to a number of factors, including invasions by barbarians. The Eastern Roman Empire, however, endured and gradually developed its own identity based on Greek culture and Orthodox Christianity, while still retaining Roman traditions. While the nationals referred to themselves as Romans, the realm would become known, many centuries later, as the Byzantine Empire.
Throughout its existence Byzantium would face cycles of glory, decline and recovery. By 600 AD, the empire ruled over most of the Mediterranean coast that once belonged to the Romans, including Rome itself. 43 years later, Byzantium lost Egypt and Syria, its richest provinces, to legions of well-armed separatists. It kept losing more territory than it gained and by 1200 it reached its approximate current shape, comprising the southern Balkans and the coast of Asia Minor.
Byzantium recovered its former economical glory under the Komnenid dynasty and by the 12th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. Under the following Angelid dynasty, the empire resisted several attempts of invasion by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) and managed to successfully preserve its hegemony and the unity of its territory.
By the mid-14th century, Byzantium was invaded by neighboring Zoroastrian Turkic states, marking the beginning of conflicts between Zoroastrian and European nations, which lasted until 1502, when those Turkic nations were conquered by the Sassanid Empire, whose emperor supported peace with Europe in favor of national unity and stability. However, unaware of this and still expecting to lose, the Byzantine military put more fortifications into Peloponnese, which protected them from further invasions that came later.
For the following two and a half centuries, Byzantium, albeit weakened, remained a relatively stable and prosperous nation and was not involved in any major conflicts. By the 1760s, however, the country plunged into an era of internal political conflicts, with many supporting the abolition of the monarchy (even though the country was a parliamentary monarchy, the monarch was considered to hold still too much power). This culminated in 1797 with a French Revolution-inspired civil war, in which several political opponents fought. The war ended in 1801 with a provisional republican government in power.
Albeit initially popular, the new government started with an increasingly unstable economy caused by the recent war, generating dissatisfaction across the nation. During an unemployment crisis in 1805, the indirectly-elected president was assassinated, prompting a national revolt in which the monarchy was restored under a democratic constitution. The country was renamed from "empire" to "kingdom" and the monarch's powers were severely limited. The monarch lost his ability to dissolve the Senate and appoint ministers, although he still had considerable command over the armed forces. The new state adopted the current flag, coat of arms and anthem of Byzantium as official national symbols. It was also the second state to adopt the name Byzantium officially after the republic (the empire was called only "Roman Empire").
By 1820, the country had fully recovered from its economic crisis and started a process of modernization and better relations with Western European and international powers. Over the 19th century, the kingdom became an important economic partner and diplomatic ally of Italy, Germany, Britain, France and even distant countries such as the United States, Brazil and Australia.
In the late 19th century, tourism was already Byzantium's main economic activity, which contributed to an economical boom in the 1890s. In 1896, the Byzantine city of Athens inaugurated the first modern Olympic Games, giving even more prestige to the nation.
During the 1900s, Byzantium's relations with Britain and France began to deteriorate due to its support of the rival nations of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. By the early 1910s, Europe was divided between this coalition, called the Quadruple Entente, and the Allied coalition formed by France, Britain and Russia. There was severe opposition among the people to Byzantium remaining in the alliance, but politicians who wanted to preserve the country's hegemony managed to maintain its position. The diplomatic tensions culminated in the Great War, which lasted four years from 1914 until the defeat of the Entente in 1918. Among the Entente nations, Byzantium was the one that suffered the most with the defeat. The country lost many lives and had several settlements decimated by the war, besides entering another era of unemployment and darkness. This economic depression would result in the Turks of Anatolia revolting in 1919, resulting in the Turkic Revolution which would be crushed by 1924. With the Turkic rebels seizing farmlands during the revolution, a famine and economic collapse spread through the country, inspiring nations from all around the world to send humanitarian aid.
While the economy would bounce back due to the economic reforms of Prime Minister Maxentius Lecapenas, the war had scarred a generation of Byzantine youth.. Byzantium participated in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. In the post war years, the nation has also fought wars against Armenia in the 1970s to 1990s over control of the Armenian-populated regions of Anatolia, resulting in a resurgence of anti-Armenian discrimination on the part of the government. Since its economic recovery and victories against the Armenians in the 20th century, Byzantium has emerged as an economic and military power in the east Mediterranean region.
Although Greeks are by far the largest ethnicity in Byzantium, comprising about 70% of the country's population, numerous other groups also have a significant presence, including Turks, Egyptians, Romaniote Jews, Aromanians, Afro-Byzantines and Anatolians.
Branches of Government
Byzantium is a federal democratic state under a parliamentary monarchy. The King of Byzantium, currently Constantine XVI, embodies the nation's unity and sovereignty and exercises limited reserve powers as the Head of State. The Byzantine Senate, the unicameral legislature, passes laws in the Kingdom and elects the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister, currently Athena Palaeologa, acts as chief diplomat and as head of government for the Kingdom. The Prime Minister also acts as a representative for their party due to their position as party leader. Prior to the creation of political parties in the mid 1800s, the Prime Minister was elected by "cliques" which were loose alliances of nonpartisan Senators.
The Royal Byzantine Military is headed by the Imperial Board of National Defense. It consists of six branches:
- The Royal Army
- The Royal Aviation Force
- The Royal Navy
- The Royal Marine
- The Royal Coast Guard
- The Royal Special Forces
- The Royal Military Police Force
The themes or thémata (Greek: θέματα, thémata, singular: θέμα, théma) act as administrative subdivisions for the Kingdom of Byzantium. Themes are often broken down on political, culture, geographic, or ethnic lines. The largest theme is the theme of Constantinople which encompasses much all of the massive city and surrounding neighborhoods.
The themes elect their own Governors and each theme is given Senators based on how many people live there. For example, the theme of Dyrrhachium is represented by 12 Senators due to its large population. In contrast, the theme of Monemvassia only has 2 senators as representation due to its smaller population.
There are currently 26 Themes, with the newest theme being the Turkic Theme created in 1952.
- Themes sorted by population
|Hellas (Greece)||Lamia||5,102,402||Ioannis Pagonides|
|Ospikon||Agios Nikolaos||2,520,031||Dionysios Kontas|
|Turkic Theme||Mergen||2,000,132||Eftichis Kormoglou|
There are stadiums with a capacity over 10,000 throughout Byzantium, including Olympic stadiums in Olympia, Athens, Smyrna, and Constantinople. Aside from the 1896 games, Byzantium would also host the 2004 Olympic Games.
Due to being the birthplace of the Olympics, it is tradition in Olympic Game opening ceremonies for Byzantium's delegation to be called in first and this tradition has continued ever since the re-establishment of the Olympic games in 1896.
There are also many famous Byzantine athletes who have gained international fame such as basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo who played in a lot of local Byzantine basketball leagues before making into into the United States' NBA and becoming famous in the United and Confederate States.
Throughout the 20th and 21st Century, music has become one of Byzantium's biggest cultural exports. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Thessaloniki developed a very large music scene which lead to the rise of many famous Byzantine singers such as The Andreas Sisters who became some of the most iconic singers of the 20th century and in Byzantine history, leading to the development of a stylization of Big Band music known as Mediterranean Big Band.
Throughout the 1950s, Thessaloniki's music scene would be shaken up when several singers hailing from the city of Nafplio known as the "Nafplio Pack" would dominate the nightclubs of Thessaloniki. Their blend of traditional Greek instruments such as the bouzouki with a jazzy rhythm would encapsulate audiences and draw more musical tourism from around the world to Thessaloniki to see their performances.
In the modern day, there are many famous singers and musicians who have come out of the Byzantine Empire such as Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, and Yianni Salellis who are well known around the world and have regularly broken US, European, and East Asian music charts.
Film and media
There have been many famous Byzantine film directors and movies that have come out over the years. One of the most famous Byzantine films is the 1964 Film Zorba the Greek directed by Michalis Cacoyannis. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1964 and shattered Box Office records in theaters across Byzantium, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and the Confederate States. The soundtrack from Zorba the Greek is also iconic and the song Sirtaki is one of the most famous Byzantine folk songs.
Notable film directors from Byzantium include the aforementioned Michalis Cacoyannis as well as Giannis Dalianidis, Daphne Matziaraki, and Lucia Rikaki.
Throughout the 20th century and 21st century, there have been a lot of books written about Byzantium and life in Byzantium.