Introduction: Christian Empires: Byzantium, Crusades, and Venice (01:29)
The Roman Empire faced collapse in the 5th century AD; Constantine changed the course of history. This episode examines the rise and fall of Christian empires and significant sites.
Istanbul, Turkey (02:13)
The city was the center of the Byzantium Empire and known as Constantinople. Fearing a coup, Constantine killed his wife and son.
Walls of Constantinople: c.330-500 AD (01:16)
Constantine began construction of the walls that would defend the city for 1,000 years.
Hagia Sophia: 532-537 AD (03:50)
Emperor Justinian was instrumental to Byzantine development. He began construction of the citadel that remained the largest building in Christendom for 1,000 years. Workers added the minarets after Muslim conquest in 1453.
Dead Cities: c.100-600 AD (04:49)
Northwest Syria was famous for olive oil and wine production. Emperor Zeno built the Basilica of St Simeon to commemorate the monk who lived on a pillar. Muslim armies captured Jerusalem in the 11th century and Pope Urban II announced a Christian holy war.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre: c.335 AD (04:45)
The holy site was built on what is believed to be the location of Christ's tomb; the church underwent reconstruction several times. Some crusaders founded the Crusader States; Saladin drew out the jihad spirit.
Horns of Hattin: 1187 AD (04:56)
Saladin and his Muslim army defeated the Christian crusaders near the Sea of Galilee and captured Jerusalem and the relic from the True Cross. Richard the Lionheart led a new crusader force to the Holy Land.
Acre Crusader Fort: 1104-1291 AD (03:34)
A siege at the fortress set the stage for a territorial war game between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. Under crusader rule, the active port became the capital; the Mamluks sacked the city in 1291. Crusaders had fortresses scattered across the Holy Land.
Krak Des Chevaliers: 1142-1271 AD (05:22)
The castle was built at great expense and served as a base for the Knights Hospitaller. After eviction from the Holy Land, Cyprus became home to the Lusignans. Famagusta, a crusader stronghold, attracted Venetian trade.
Saint Mark's Basilica: 1092 AD (02:13)
The medieval cathedral with Byzantium influence was the citadel of Venetian power.
Doges Palace: 1424 AD (03:03)
Venice's head of state ruled from the palace that best represented the Venetian Republic's wealth and power. The Ottoman Empire's expansion placed Venice between militant Islam and militant Christianity; the Republic established defensive fortresses.
Rhodes Fortress: 1522 AD (03:47)
The Knights Hospitaller moved to Rhodes and established a base and hospital system. The Ottomans attacked in 1522 and forced a surrender.
Venetian Fortresses (04:15)
Sophisticated fortifications, important to Venetian society, eventually fell to the onslaught of the Ottoman; Heraklion withstood a 20-year siege. The Christians defeated the Ottomans in the Battle of Lepanto.
Siege of Vienna: 1683 AD (03:13)
King Jan Sobieski and the Hussars joined the Hapsburg army to defeat Kara Mustafa Pasha and his Ottoman army.
Credits: Christian Empires: Byzantium, Crusaders, and Venice (00:37)
Credits: Christian Empires: Byzantium, Crusaders, and Venice
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