Byzantine Empire

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Βασιλεία Ρωμαίων
The Imperial Republic of Byzantium
Roman (Byzantine) Empire
Byzantine Flag Byzantine Eagle
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: παρακαλώ κάνω όχι βλάπτω εμάs βάρβαρος! εμείs θα δώσω οτιδήποτε θέλω!
(English:
Please don't hurt us Mr. Barbarian! We'll give you anything you want!'
150px
Capital Constantinople
Largest city Constantinople
Official language(s) Greek, Geek, 1337
Government Monarchy
National Hero(es) Constantine, Keanu Reeves, Justinian, Theodora
Established 395 AD
Currency Solidus, Hyperpyron
Religion Orthodox Christianity
Population 34,000,000
Area 3,500,000 km2
National animal Siamese Twin Eagles

The Byzantine Empire (or "Roman Empire Mark II" as it is colloquially called) is the name given to the Greek-speaking half of the Roman Empire. Before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was often referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire. The empire was renamed Byzantine Empire after the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed after being beaten around by barbarians so much. This has led some to believe that they renamed their empire so that they would no longer be associated with their dead cousin, the western half. Others say that the empire was given this name as it sounded more original than "Eastern Roman Empire".

Origins of the Empire's Name

The term "Byzantine Empire" was never used in the empire's lifetime. Back during its peak, it was known as the "Bantine Empire", with the area around Constantinople subsequently called "Bantium". It wasn't until the late 20th century when rapper Snoop Dogg began to study history, and created the term "Byzantine Empire", with "Bantium" subsequently called "Byzantium". From that moment, the term became massively popular and ultimately became the accepted name of the empire.

Rise of the Empire

During the third century AD, the city of Rome became less important in the empire. The emperors rarely spent their time actually in the city of Rome; they would instead be off in distant lands within the empire buying valuable gemstone-encrusted necklaces, sweet-smelling incense, and gold-plated chariots that had large, 24 inch, shining iron rims and flame decals. The emperor Diocletian, realizing how hard it was to rule an empire so large and being too lazy to rule everything by himself, split the Roman Empire in half and established a tetrarchy. The system didn't really work for after Diocletian voluntarily abdicated soon after establishing the system, the tetrarchy quickly fell apart.

Constantine Musei Capitolini

A stone bust of Constantine, his bloated head representing his massive ego.

Constantine I, who was a local Roman MC at the time, was fed up over the tetrarchy not working, and sought to bring the two halves of Rome back together. One by one he defeated each of the opposing kings, and after giving a proper bitch-slapping to his last rival Licinius in 324 AD, he brought the two halves of the Roman Empire back together. Soon after this accomplishment, he became the official sponsor for Christianity and moved the capitol of the empire to the city state of Byzantium. He was originally going to call the city "Nova Roma", Latin for New Rome, but out of vanity, he named the city "Constantinople", literally meaning Constantine's City. To insure that his precious city would not be ruined by foul hands, he started to build a series of large walls to keep out bad things such as barbarians, traveling salesmen, and grues. The walls did not do so great a job at keeping out spyware.

After Constantine's death in 312 AD, the title of emperor was given to Julian, a pagan Roman, who was vastly unpopular with the eastern half. Believing him to be a threat to the teachings of Jesus, Julian was assassinated by one of his own soldiers, who was a Christian, during a battle against the Persians. No one mourned the death of Julian, and some even made the remark, "eh, he was an asshole anyway." His successor was Jovian, who strangely enough, died after choking on a mushroom, just one year into his reign. Valentinian was then crowned emperor in 364. He, just like Diocletian, was too lazy to rule the massive empire by himself, and appointed his son, Valen (aka, Mini-Valentinian), as the ruler of the eastern half of the empire. Valen's reign ended in 378, when he and the entire Roman legion had their asses handed to them by the Visigoths at the Battle of Adrianople. Taking Valen's place was Theodosius I. Just like Diocletian and Valentinian before him, he was much too lazy to rule the empire on his own, and gave the empire to his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius.

When the Byzantines were scared out of their wits at the Battle of Adrianople, they decided that they had no choice but to bribe any invaders that would come near their lands, to make sure that they would not have their cities pillaged and their maidens raped. It was even reported that emperor Theodosius II paid the Huns of Attila 700 pounds of gold after Attila threatened to take the emperor's teenage daughter. After this incident, Theodosius II became very paranoid, and added massive fortifications to the walls, making the city impenetrable to even attacks by Anti-Grues. Even with these new fortifications, the city still had problems keeping out spyware.

Golden Age

Theodora

Theodora, the hot lady that every man in the empire wanted to sleep with.

The golden age of the Byzantine Empire came with the ascension of Justinian I to the throne, along with his wife, the stripper turned empress Theodora. Under their reign, the empire managed to regain most of their lost territories. In 533, Justinian retook Carthage and Northern Africa from the Vandals. He spent the rest of next year reverting all of the vandalism caused by the barbarians. Meanwhile, Theodora was in Constantinople dealing with a series of riots which soon became known as the Nika Riots. During this event, a large and angry mob formed outside the city palace and started throwing blunt objects at the walls. They also threw comments such as "Go die in a fire, Justinian!" and "I love you, Theodora!" It was during this incident that Theodora showed she was more intelligent than any man; knowing how desperate the Byzantine men were to get her lingerie and sell it to the black market, Theodora soaked her bra in alcohol, set it on fire, and threw it outside to the crowd.[1] The crowd immediately caught on fire and burned to death, thus ending the revolt. Justinian was so pleased with her by this that he built the Hagia Sophia in her honor.

Justinian then went off to take back Italy. At first, they were successful, but the Lombards from the north conquered the Italian Peninsula. According to historical accounts, the Byzantine army was terrified at the amount of hair that grew on the invading Lombards, and quickly ran out of the area. The only cities that the Byzantines still controlled in Italy were Ravenna and Rome.

Justinian's successor, Justin II, refused to pay the annual tribute to the rival Sassanid Empire that was in effect. The reason for this is that the money Justin II had was going to be spent on alcohol and strippers. The Sassanid emperor Khosrau was angry about this as he too was going to spend the tribute money on alcohol and strippers. This soon led to a very long and costly war. The winner would get alcohol and strippers. This war lasted until the reign of Maurice, who signed a peace treaty with the Sassanids. In the end, no one got alcohol and strippers.

Iconoclasm

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Byzantine Empire.

In the 8th century, Emperor Leo III had a problem: there were many pictures of Jesus throughout the empire, and they were all ugly. He demanded that interior designers refurnish all religious buildings in the empire and remove all images of Jesus. Within a year, they had removed all images of Jesus and made all of the churches look fabulous. This movement was called iconoclasm.

Not everybody was happy with this movement. The people who liked the images were upset that they were removed and demanded them back. When the emperor refused to comply with these wishes, the people got angry and started to revolt by spread rumors about the emperor's sex life. They also gave the emperor's son Constantine V the nickname of "Copronymus", or "poopypants"; he was given this name after a little accident he had during his baptism when he was a baby.

Eventually, the icons were restored, and the people stopped making poop jokes about the emperor's son.

73|-| 8U|_64|2 5|_4Y3|2 (The Bulgar Slayer)

Basilios II

Basil II in all of his 1337 glory.

By 894, the empire was coming under repeated attacks by Bulgars. Whenever the Bulgars would capture a Byzantine city, they would always follow the routine of torching, looting, urinating in public, and tipping over exactly two cows. Under the rule of Czar Simeon I, the Bulgars would beat the Byzantines so badly that they had to pay annual tributes to the Bulgars, and the young Byzantine emperor Constantine VII was forced to marry the fattest and ugliest daughter of Simeon I. Surviving text from that time state that their honeymoon was not fun; their dinner was terrible, they had nothing in common, and the sex they had[2] late in the evening was short and unsatisfying for both.

Former Battleship master and avid gamer Basil II took the Byzantine throne in 976, and made it his personal mission to pwn the Bulgars who had conquered most of his kingdom. He battled the Bulgars on a daily basis, and within 20 years, he defeated them decisively. He then took the Bulgarian prisoners and used them in a game similar to the modern day game of Whack-A-Mole. In the game that was played there were several holes. Out of those holes a Bulgar would pop out at a random time. The player had to stab out both eyes of the Bulgar before he went back into his hole. Basil II, with his superior gaming skills, stabbed out both eyes of 99 out of every 100 Bulgars that appeared. The 100th Bulgar of each 100 Bulgars lost only one eye. To this day, no one has ever beaten his high score.[3] For this, Basil II was given the title 73|-| 8U|_64|2 5|_4Y3|2. (In English: The Bulgar Slayer)[4]

Decline

After the death of Basil II in 1025, the empire began a long and slow decline in power.

Seljuk Turks

The Seljuk Turks, led under a man named Alp Arslan, caused the most considerable trouble for the Byzantines during the decline of the empire. They wore onions on their heads, and any Byzantine soldier who survived an attack from their armies claimed that the entire battlefield reeked of onion when a battle was over. The complaints over this smell led to the invention of the air freshener, which released incense, so the Byzantine soldiers would not suffocate from the horrible smell of the onions.

But no air freshener would get rid of the stinky defeat that the Byzantines suffered at a town called Manzikert in 1071. During the battle, the emperor Romanos Diogenes was captured and taken to the Seljuk stronghold somewhere in eastern Anatolia. There he was forced to endure heinous tortures such as whipping, spanking, and performances by clowns.[5] Romanos expected that he would be killed sooner or later, but Alp Arslan decided to free him instead. When he returned to Constantinople, the people attacked him. It turned out that while he was being tortured during his time in captivity, someone recorded the events and distributed it as an S&M video on the Byzantine porn market. For this, Romanos was captured by his political enemies and his eyes were poked out with a stick. He later died of an eye infection.

The Crusades

Most of the empire's decay occurred during The Crusades, which were a series of wars waged by the Christians to take back the Holy Land and maybe even jihad their ride. The First Crusade was launched in 1095, the crusader army under the command of a hermit.[6] As the Byzantines let the army pass through Constantinople, they noticed that a few of the soldiers were carrying camera equipment. In 1099, the crusaders took back Jerusalem from the muslims, and came back to Constantinople with a special surprise: a movie. The film starred Keanu Reeves, and depicted the many battles the crusaders fought and the eventual conquest of Jerusalem, along with plenty of special effects such as high-quality studio lighting, computer graphics, and cardboard cut-out of Luke Skywalker fighting the caliph's armies. The people loved it, and The First Crusade became the most successful film of the medieval era, grossing a total of 250,000 gold coins, which is a total of 3.6 billion euros today.

With such a blockbuster hit, the Pope sent more crusaders to the Holy Land, expecting another successful film. The result was The Second Crusade, and later The Third Crusade, both of which premiered in Constantinople. These sequels were far less successful than the first film. Critics complained that the script was less involving, the actors were less interesting, and the theme was beginning to become repetitive. People no longer became interested in the series if the sequels were just going to suck harder and harder.

In 1204, the Nights Templar, the movie studio responsible for the Crusades series, was running out of money due to poor tickets sales, and the pope gave them one last chance to produce a box office hit. With that, they started to assemble an army to travel to the Holy Land. However, they encountered a problem: they didn't have enough people, so they decided to travel to Constantinople to recruit more crusaders for the movie. The Byzantines did not let the crusaders inside the walls, saying that "the new movie will suck and we would rather let you go bankrupt than let you produce a crappy movie".[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much] Angry over this, the crusaders crashed their own sailing vessels into the city walls that were along the sea, climbed up the masts over the walls, and proceeded to sack the city for three days. The Pope, appalled by this turn of events, completely disbanded the Nights Templar and immediately excommunicated everyone involved in the production of the movie.

Fall of the Empire

Automan-02

The crumbling Byzantine Empire simply could not compete with the Ottomans' new-found movie star celebrity.

After numerous besieging and the devastating arrival of the bubonic plague in the 1400s, the Byzantine Empire and its capitol city of Constantinople were in shambles by the 15th century. They were now facing a new threat in the form of the Ottoman Empire. One by one, the Ottomans conquered the remaining Byzantine cities. In 1453, an Ottoman army of 85,000 led by sultan and onion lover Mehmed II reached the city of Constantinople. The Ottomans then came up with the revolutionary idea of firing eurgs out of a single massive cannon. They knew that the walls of Constantinople were impenetrable to all forms of attack by all creatures, including grues and anti-grues, but the walls did nothing to protect against eurgs. When the eurgs hit the walls, the positive matter of the walls and the negative matter of the eurgs reacted and obliterated each other out of existence. This inflicted major damage, but the engineers never worked out the kinks of the process; the cannon took too long to load, it required too many resources, and a large number of men were killed trying to load a single eurg into the cannon.

It took two agonizing months of tedious work to blast a hole large enough for the Ottoman army to charge in, and after that, the city fell in about five minutes, which is now an unbeaten record. The Byzantine Empire fell, the city of Constantinople became Istanbul, and hashish, which used to cost a fortune under Byzantine rule, could now be purchased at half the original price.

References

  1. From an interview with Byzantine scholar Procopius, circa 533 AD.
  2. Constantine VII never agreed to have sex with her; he was forced by the Bulgars to engage in sexual activity with the woman.
  3. No one wants to beat it because they will be punished by the United Nations if they do.
  4. Name translated by a group of professional hackers in 1999.
  5. Romanos Diogenes was afraid of clowns.
  6. Books say that his name was Peter the Hermit, although some historians speculate that it was Yoda


Spork This empire was originally sporked from Roman Empire.
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