Byzantine (Civ4)
Introduced in Beyond the Sword
Leaders Justinian I
Unique Unit Cataphract (replaces Knight )
Starting techs The Wheel
Unique Building Hippodrome (replaces Theatre)
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The Byzantine people represent a civilization in Civilization IV.


The Byzantines are a multi-faceted empire. Justinian's "Spiritual" trait means anarchy is a thing of the past and makes it in their Empire's interest to found an early religion. But the combination of Justinian's "Imperialistic" trait and the high-powered Cataphract unit make the Byzantines a formidable martial civilization, as well. Be sure to claim any Horses you may encounter. The Cataphract requires them and the Hippodrome, the Byzantine replacement for the Theatre, provides an extra happiness with access to Horses.

Civilopedia EntryEdit

The Byzantine Empire, centered around the city of Constantinople, was the successor to the Roman Empire. At its height, the Byzantine Empire reached from Persia to Spain, controlling nearly all the territory that felt the lap of the Mediterranean's warm waters.

When the Byzantine Empire began and the Roman Empire ceased is a point of much contention. Some historians place the beginning of the Byzantine Empire in 300 AD, when Constantine I moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to a city called Byzantium (later known as Constantinople). Others place the birth of the Byzantine Empire at the end of the reign of Theodosius I, who at his death split the Roman Empire into the Western Empire, ruled from Rome, and the Eastern Empire, ruled from Constantinople.

Regardless of historic debate, after the sacking of Rome in 476 AD, the Byzantine Empire was to become the foremost European nation in art, trade and stability - although not necessarily all at once. Taking the throne in 527 AD, Justinian I extended the grip of the Byzantine Empire from Constantinople to the furthest coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. However the Empire would not be able to enjoy the benefits of such territorial expansions for long, as Justinian's successor, Justin II, would begin a trend of placating the various enemies of the Empire - the Sassanid Persians, the Bulgars, and the Arabs, newly organized under Mohammed - with territory in exchange for peace.

Territorial losses would continue to weaken the Byzantines until a new lineage of emperors, known as the Macedonian Emperors, arose to invigorate the Empire once again. Basil I founded the Macedonian line in 869. Under the Macedonians, the Byzantine Empire once again began to reach outwards, solidifying its hold on much of the territory neighboring Constantinople. Art flourished in their roughly two centuries of rule, as did the Greek Orthodox Church.

The new millennium would be a painful one for Byzantium. Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church had been deteriorating for many years, and the conflict came to a head with the Great Schism (1054), which finally split the two religions. Militarily, increased assaults by the Seljuk Turks culminated in a resounding defeat for the Empire at the Battle of Manzikert, the Empire losing much of its freshly-gained holdings.

But once again, the rise of a powerful new dynasty reversed the Empire's decline. This new dynasty, the Comnenius, sent the call to Western Europe for aid in fighting the Seljuk Turks. Pope Urban II, seeing a chance to reconquer the Holy Lands of Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as halt the squabbling of the European Kings, spread the word for the First Crusade.

Through the Crusaders' efforts, the Byzantine Empire regained a portion of its lost territory. But the holy warriors of Western Europe became difficult to control, often threatening to assault the very Empire that had requested their aid. John II and Manuel I, the two most prestigious of the Comnenius emperors, held off the Crusaders and safeguarded the empire from a host of external foes, while ushering in a new era of Byzantine artistic and economic prowess.

Manuel I Comnenius was the last great emperor of the Byzantines and the last Comneni. The Angeloi dynasty, successors to the Comneni, proved unable to halt the Empire's slow collapse. In 1204, the knights of the Fourth Crusade, summoned by a disposed Angeloi prince, sacked Constantinople and split the Byzantine Empire into three smaller kingdoms. Nicaea, one of these ex-Byzantine states, recaptured Constantinople years later, but all hopes of reviving the Byzantine Empire would be ended with the capture of the city by the Ottoman leader Mehmet II in 1453.

List of CitiesEdit

Founding Order City Name Notes
1 Constantinople Capital (Istanbul)
2 Thessalonica* 2nd city of the empire, 2nd city of present Greece (Thessaloniki)
3 Adrianople Major religious and administrative centre in European Turkey (Edirne)
4 Nicaea Major economic, religious centre and military outpost in west Turkey (Iznik)
5 Antioch Name of 2 major religious centres in central Turkey and Syria
6 Nicomedia* Important trade city and pre-Byzantine East Roman capital in Turkey (Izmit)
7 Angora Major military and trading centre and summer capital in Turkey (Ankara)
8 Trebizond Major trade city and capital of post-Byzantine empire (Trapzon)
9 Iconium Major religious centre in central Turkey (Konya)
10 Laodicea Major trade and religious city in west Turkey; name of 5 other Byz cities
11 Dorylaeum Major religious and trading centre in central Turkey (Eskisehir)
12 Amorium Major religious centre and military outpost in west Turkey
13 Philippopolis Administrative and infrastructural centre in present Bulgaria (Plovdiv)
14 Mistra Late capital of Achaea, prosperous late-Byzantine city, royal seat (Mystras)
15 Dyrrachium Major port city and military outpost in present Albania (Durrës/Durazzo)
16 Edessa Name of 2 religious centres in Mesopotamia/east Turkey and north Greece
17 Heraclea Name of 2 major ports near Byz: on Marmara (Perinthus) & Black Sea (Eregli)
18 Theodosiopolis Name of 2 major cities in European Turkey (Arpos) and east Turkey (Erzurum)
19 Odessos Important city in present Bulgaria, on Black Sea coast (Varna)
20 Mesembria Important military outpost of Byzantium in Bulgaria on Black Sea (Nesebar)
21 Sardica Important religious and administrative centre in Bulgaria (Sofia)
22 Ragusa Important port city in present Croatia (Dubrovnik)
23 Philippi Important religious and trade centre in early Byzantine times in N Greece
24 Justinianopolis Strategically important Greek border town between Byz and Epirus (Kastoria)
25 Ioannina Important late-Byzantine economic, cultural and science centre in W Greece
26 Cephalonia Important administrative centre of the Ionian islands on Kefalonia (W Greece)
27 Selymbria Important Marmara port and military outpost in European Turkey (Silivri)
28 Callipolis Strategically important military outpost and city on the Gallipoli peninsula
29 Chandax Capital of Crete during late Byzantine times (Iraklion)
30 Lefkosia Capital of Cyprus from Byzantine times onward (Nicosia)
31 Famagusta Most important port of Byzantine Cyprus
32 Bari Major early Byzantine city and administrative centre in Italy
33 Otranto Major early Byzantine city in Italy
34 Chalcedon Important early Byzantine city, now an Asian suburb of Istanbul
35 Neocaesarea Important administrative centre in eastern Turkey (Niksar)
36 Metilene Important agricultural centre in central Turkey (Malatya)
37 Seleucia Name of many Byz cities, important religious city in SE Turkey (Mopsuestia)
38 Sebastea Important religious centre in east-central Turkey (Sivas)
39 Attalia Important early Byzantine city on south coast of Turkey (Antalya)
40 Myra Important trade and religious centre on south coast of Turkey
41 Gangra Important religious, administrative city in north central Turkey (Cankiri)
42 Ochryd Important Byzantine city along the Via Egnatia in Macedonia (Ohrid)
43 Buthrotum Important religious and military outpost in Albania (Butrint)
44 Naissus Important Roman city in Serbia, frequently changed owner afterwards (Nish)
45 Cherson Important city on the Crimea, early Byzantine possession (Chersonesos)

Unit DialogueEdit

The Byzantine units speak Medieval Greek, which has some Latin borrowings. Corresponding English dialogue appears in parentheses.

Order000: (As you wish!)

Order001: (Move out!)

Order002: Aristos! (The best!)

Order003: (We're on it!)

Order004: (No problem!)

Order005: (Consider it done!)

Order006: (Very well!)

Order007: (On our way!)

Order008: (Let's get moving!)

Order009: (You can count on us!)

Select000: (Reporting for duty!)

Select001: (At your service!)

Select002: (Tell me what to do!)

Select003: (Awaiting your orders!)

Select004: (Ready for action!)

Select005: (What's the plan?)

Select006: Nai? (Yes?)

Select007: (Your orders?)

Select008: (What do you need?)

Select009: (All present and accounted for!)