Byzantium

Roman Emperor Constantine
Roman Emperor Constantine

In 313 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine the Great declared Christianity equal to the other religions. Though slowly, the new religion spread among the Thracians, as well. The construction began of Christian temples and basilicas. Preserved to this day in Sofia are the Church of St Sophia and the rotunda of St George. Of that same age is the tomb of Silistra with its exceptional mural paintings.

In AD 395 the Roman Empire split into two parts: Eastern, with Constantinople as its centre, and Western, with Rome as its centre. The present-day Bulgarian lands remained within the Eastern Empire, commonly known during the Middle Ages under the name of Byzantium.

The devastating inroads of Goths, Huns and Avars in the period of the great migration of peoples (4th-7th century) adversely affected the ancient cultural heritage in Southeast Europe. The Thracian lands were depopulated, while the remains of the old Thracian population took to the big mountains.

During the 6th century, the earliest Bulgarian and Slav settlements were established in the Balkan Peninsula. Their attacks against Byzantine cities and fortresses gravely threatened Byzantium and forced the empire to take ever more tough protective measures against the new neighbours.






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