Alexandria

The University of Constantinople. February 27, 425 AD.

Byzantine society was generally a quite educated one. Primary education was widely available, sometimes even at village level and uniquely in that era for both sexes. Female participation in culture was high and scholarship was fostered not only in Constantinople but also in institutions operated in such major cities as Antioch and Alexandria. Aelia Eudocia, Theodosius´ wife, had been raised and educated in traditional and classical sophist education from Athens, but her goal was to blend classical pagan education with Christianity. This was her way of using her power as Empress to honor teachers and education, something that was very important to her in her life. The original school was founded in 425 by Emperor Theodosius II at the urging of his wife Eudocia, with 31 chairs for law, phil...

Christian Persecution – February 23, 303 AD

February 23, 303, saw the celebration of Terminalia in the Roman Empire – the day pagans boasted they would put an end to Christianity. During this festival, because of the encouragement of Galerius Caesar, the emperor Diocletian issued an edict ordering the destruction of the newly built Christian church in Nicomedia. The city prefect went to the church with many officers and assistants and forced open the doors, removed all of the sacred books and burned them, confiscated the treasury, then leveled the building itself, all while Diocletian and Galerius observed. Following this, a general edict was issued for the entire empire, commanding the destruction of all Christian churches and texts, along with naming all Christians as outlaws. In Nicomedia, all Christians were being rounded up and...

War of Candia – September 27, 1669 AD

Most of Crete had been conquered by the Ottoman Empire during the early part of the war against the Republic of Venice and its allies, which was the fifth Ottoman-Venetian War, and began in 1645. The capital of Crete, the fortress of Candia, managed to hold off the Ottomans in their prolonged siege of the city until the last two bloody years, finally resulting in a negotiated surrender on September 27, 1669. The Venetians lost Cyprus to the Ottomans in the fourth war (1570-1573), making Crete the last major overseas territory of their republic. The Ottomans were expanding their empire and wanted Crete for its strategic location. Although Venice and the Ottomans were technically in a period of peace, the Ottomans were still allied with Barbary pirates. When the Venetian fleet attacked and d...

Disaster in Alexandria – July 21, 365 AD

In Alexandria, Egypt, the historian Ammianus Marcellinus described the events of July 21, 365 AD as “slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts, the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake…and the sea was driven away. The waters returning when least expected killed many thousands by drowning. Huge ships…perched on the roofs of houses… and others were hurled nearly two miles from the shore…”. The epicenter of the undersea earthquake was near the plate boundary called the Hellenic Arc, near Crete, and scientists propose it might have actually been two tremors in succession, the larger possibly being a magnitude of 8.0 in modern measurements. Nearly all of the coastal towns in Crete were destroyed by the earthquake as it pushed up parts o...

The Year of Four Emperors – 69 AD

When January 1, 69 arrived, Servius Sulpicius Galba was on the throne of the Roman Empire, following the suicide of Nero in June the previous year. It was a tumultuous time in the empire, with civil war breaking out in several regions. Galba himself rose to the purple through the machinations of the Praetorian Guard prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, after the failed attempt of Vindex to promote Galba, while he was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to replace Nero. Galba marched into Rome with the Legion VII Galbiana, which would later be renamed VII Genima. Support was tenuous for Galba in the beginning as it was, even though he was confirmed by the Senate. Two of the legions in Gaul refused to support him and instead wanted the governor of their region, Aulus Vitellius Germanicus, proclaimed...

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