Byzantine Model

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"In hoc Signo, vinces."

Constantine's vision before the battle at the Milvian bridge

Byzantinism or Byzantism, is a term that refers to the political system of the Byzantine Empire as well as implementations of its system[2][3][6]. The Byzantine system was notable for being extremely bureaucratic, with it effectively being the most centralised state in medieval Europe. Byzantinism lived on despite the Byzantine Empire’s collapse, being adopted throughout the empire's spiritual successors in Russia[6] and the Balkans, and to a lesser extent in Germany [2] and France.


Byzantine Empire

Byzantinism considers itself (and arguably is) to be the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire after the deposition of Romulus Augustus. With a new capitol in Constantinople, they continue to practice the same system of government, laws, and customs that had existed in the Western half of the Roman Empire. There is too much history to summarise, it's equivalent to summarising all of Roman history, and I don't just want to copy-paste the wikipedia page.


Due to the direct pressence of the empire in the Balkans many realms directly drew inspiration from the empire in their administration, diplomacy, conduct, military, religion, aesthetics, etc. Examples include Serbia Bulgaria, Wallachia, Croatia, Hungary, Venice (which had a lot of territory in the Balkans) and more. All these were at some point Byzantine provinces and either directly or indirectly ruled by the Eastern empire. They were also at war with the empire as many times as they were under it. Many times these realms claimed the title of Empire itself, especially after 1204 (for no particular reason) For the entire middle ages these realms were both emulating and competing with the Eastern Empire, and this influence stuck in some regard all the way into modernity.

Eastern Europe

Russia is the most obvious example of Byzantine influence, both in religion, government and aesthetics. Despite the claim often being mocked, the Russian Empire is called "Third Rome" for a reason as throughout the entire middle ages, the Kievan Rus was Orthodox and Byzantine-Aligned, and after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Ivan III "The Great" invited Byzantine emigrees to Russia and consolidated the Orthodox Church around Moscow as it was formerly around Constantinople. Most Russian tsars acted against the Boyar aristocracy and heavilly centralised the realm within Moscow (Later St. Petersburg). The empire developed it's own Administrative class like in the Empire, which was the topic of a lot of Russian realist literature. This administrative class replaced the merchant burgher class which was much more prominent in western europe.







The Byzantine Empire was heavily centralised around Constantinople, many emperors lost their crown by attempting to move the capital out of the city. As the eastern empire never fell to barbarians, feudalism did not become as prominent as a result, as well as because the empire kept the bureaucratic model of the Roman empire. The Empire developed a prominent administrative class that was as influential in the imperial government as the clergy and army, as opposed to western europe's burgher class (3rd estate).


The Emperor had direct influence and power within the church as its temporal representative and defender, organising ecumenical councils such as Chalcedon and Nicea, settling disputes among and appointing Patriarchs, defining clerical borders and such. Despite this, Caesaropapism was never truly an accepted principle in Byzantium. Many bishops and saints opposed imperial authority within the church on theological grounds.


Inherited from the Roman Empire, Byzantine Law was built upon throughout the history of the empire, with the most notable example being that of the Corpus Juris Civilis or the Justinian Code, commissioned by the Emperor Justinian to the Court Jurist and his advisor Tribonian. The work had four volumes, The Codex itself which included all byzantine law up until that point, the Digest, mainly the references and quotes of Roman jurists, the Institutes, which was intended as a textbook for all students of law in Byzantium and later the Novellae which included the new laws introduced after 534.

The Justinian Code is seen in many ways as the direct foundation of western law and jurisprudence, setting an example for most governments. It was introduced to the west with the Justinian Reconquests of Italy and Spain, under the Pragmatic Sanction of 554.


With the Eastern Empire being arguably the true successor to the Roman Empire, it naturally inherited Roman diplomacy as well. Which, naturally meant absolute disdain for barbarians (non romans) and pretenders to the empire (namely the Holy Roman Empire). With it came a patronising attitude towards the barbarian kings playing in the mud with toy crowns, and expansionism of imperial borders. A byzantine staple was Shock and Awe diplomacy, completely overwhelming diplomats with displays of wealth and grandure as befits the true heirs of rome and completely mistreating anyone they viewed as lesser, namely HRE diplomats. Basil II also made use of Political Mutilation against the Bulgarians against whom he waged war against... Let's just say he's named Bulgaroktonos for a reason.

Imperial Court

Byzantine court politics were exceptionally complicated affairs under which also falls the shock-and-awe diplomacy mentioned above. Symbolism was all-prevasive, court relations were often very machiavellian as every member sought power, wealth and prestige within the court, all vying for imperial favor. Everything related to the Byzantine court was so extravegant, machiavellian, and over-the-top, the term Byzantine is often used as a pejorative for concepts that are: Extremely intricate and complex, secretive, devious, extravagant, etc. Political Mutilation and use of Eunuchs was also a common occurence, punishments such as blindings and castration were used against traitors.

Personality and Behavior

Byzantinism seems to have an impressive and regal but an easily triggered and patronising attitude, which may turn into downright cruelty and brutality to supposed traitors with frequent castrations and blindings. He may be depicted as extremely legalistic and bureaucratic with a taste for beauty, gold and impressive architecture. He speaks Greek, Latin and Church Slavonic and calls all foreigners Barbarians. He tries to emulate his ancestors in many ways, especially in Legalism, Court tradition and naming convention. He absolutely despises the Turks for obvious reasons. He is deeply religious and the defender of the Orthodox faith. Royal purple is his favorite color and is seen depicted with lots of gold jewelry and artefacts. He also harbours extreme resentment for Venetian merchants and has a mixed relationship with the Crusaders. He also appreciates and finances new (for that time) technology such as Greek fire.

How to Draw

Flag of Byzantine Model
  1. Draw a ball
  2. Fill it dark red
  3. Add a gold cross in the middle
  4. Draw 2 reversed B's on the top left and bottom left of the ball
  5. Draw 2 B's on the top right and the bottom right of the ball
  6. Add the eyes and you're done!
Color Name HEX RGB
Dark Red #88001B 136, 0, 27
Gold #FFCA18 255, 202, 24


Πορφυρογέννητος (Born in the Purple)

  • Christian Theocracy - "Μία Αυτοκρατορία, Μία Πίστη, Ένας Θεό!"
  • Universal Monarchism - I am your Universal Dominion. Βασιλεὺς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων!
  • Caesarism - The earlier version of me, I am the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire.
  • Orthodox Theocracy - The official state religion of my Empire. For a thousand years of cooperation my friend!
  • Absolute Monarchism - The Emperor's rule is undeniable!
  • Irredentism - Take back West Rome from the barbarians!
  • Integralism - The Emperor is the highest defender of the One Holy Orthodox Church and the Faith!
  • Counter-Enlightenment - You like what I represent, the living proof that the enlightenment is a myth and that the middle ages were, in fact, great! And thanks for dealing with those Bulgarian prisoners!
  • Reactionary Modernism - I am happy that you support me and my appreciation for technological advancement, you practically consider me the model empire no?
  • Neoreactionaryism - Hmm... Interesting. I just don't like your extreme materialism and merchant class worship.

Βαράγγοι (Varangians)

  • Hellenist Theocracy - The other counterpart to my ancestors, I preserved many of your works and literature, but the paganism was unacceptable.
  • Aristocracy - I want your loyalty, in exchange you run my administration. Don't you DARE try to betray me however, because if you do, you'll be missing a pair of eyes and testicles.
  • Odinist Theocracy - Good Varangian warriors but barbaric heathens. CONVERT DAMN YOU! Oh, well, Varangians became Christians later.
  • Bonapartism - How can you be Rome? You are Frankish! You're right that Constantinople should be the capital of the world, though.
  • Clerical Fascism - The National Union of Greece tried to restore me, but why so extreme?
  • Venizelism - The modern Greeks that tried to revive me and unfortunately failed. But what's wrong with the Monarchy?
  • Crusadism - Well... I won't forgive you for 1204 even if you admit it was a horrible decision and mostly the fault of the Venetians, that's for sure, but you did: 1. Save me from the turks and helped me re-conquer Anatolia, 2. You were practically my subject and a great trade partner for a long time and 3. used me as an example of governance and served as a mediator between me and the West. Also, I was the First Crusader and most of your modern supporters want me back.
  • Catholic Theocracy - Don't you dare crown any false emperors in the West! But thanks for the first crusade. Please forgive me for 1182

Βάρβαροι! (Barbarians!)

  • Islamic Theocracy - Woe! A Greek fire bomb upon you and your boats!
  • The Holy Roman Empire - How dare you claim the HRE is the legitimate successor to Rome!
  • Feudalism - Truly, an Economic and State system fit for the Barbarian killers of the Western Empire, fit to play with crowns of mud!
  • Jewish Theocracy - You betrayed our Lord and Saviour and aided the Turks in their invasions of Europe! DAMN YOU!
  • Slavic Pagan Theocracy - Barbarians who invaded Konstandinopolis, I Christianized you!
  • Ottomanism - How can you be Kayser-i-Rum? You are Turkish!
  • Neo-Ottomanism - Annoying fanboy and son to the heathen nomad swine above.
  • Esoteric Fascism - None of these words are in the Bible.

Further Information





  1. Basil II limited the private property and was fighting against byzantine aristocrats.
  2. Alexios Komnenos started mass propaganda against paulicians.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Third Hellenic Civilisation by the Metaxas Project
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Characteristics of the Seven Civilisations, Part II: Medieval Civilisations by Mieczysław Kuriański
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Byzantism and Slavdom: Political Ideology of Konstantin Leontiev by Julia Zlatkova
  4. Justinian and his adoptive father and uncle Justin came from plebian origins with Justin himself being a swineherd and Justinian was adopted as heir after proving himself competent
  5. Likewise, Theodora's origin is also Plebian and proved herself capable during the Nika riots and Justinian's plague.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Byzantinism: The Real and the Imaginary Influence of a Medieval Civilization on the Modern Balkans