The Fear of God
Byzantium, the erstwhile Constantinople, was the cradle of a spiritual and visual tradition within Western Christendom. The Byzantine period is reckoned to have run from about the year 330 when the emperor Constantine founded Constantinople, having some years earlier defeated other contenders for power and having instructed his soldiers to bear Christian symbols on their shields. By 600 Christianity was the driving force of the empire and historians recognize a golden age from 843 to 1204. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 is taken to be the end of the Byzantine period.