Egyptian Timeline:

Byzantine Period (A.D. 395-A.D. 641)

Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
In A.D. 395, a separation occurred between the western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire, leaving Constantinople with the supremacy of the East. Egypt maintained its role as grain provider for the Empire, but Alexandria lost its predominant position to Constantinople. As a consequence, Egypt was left out of the conflicts created by the imperial successions and international politics.
During the fourth and the fifth centuries A.D., as Egyptians converted to Christianity, they were able to access important functions first in religious life and then in public life. The increasing power of the clergy of Alexandria eventually posed a threat to the clergy of Constantinople. At the Council of Chalcedon, in A.D. 451, their differences resulted in a break between the Church of Alexandria and the Church of Constantinople. The emperors, unwilling to let Egypt slip from their influence, tried to reinstate the authority of Constantinople by persuasion and persecution, without any real success. In A.D. 619, the Persians managed to invade the Eastern Empire and Egypt, ruling over the country for a decade. The emperor managed to expel the Persians, but the resulting weakness of the Empire's borders paved the way for the Arab conquest and the beginning of the Islamic period in A.D. 641.
Christian monasticism originated in Egypt during this period. In Thebes several churches and monasteries were set up in the ruins of temples at Karnak and Luxor [13511]. On the West Bank, Madinat Habu became the Coptic village of Djeme. Monasteries were built at the site of the Hathor temple of Dayr al Madinah and on the ruins of the Hatshepsut's Memorial Temple at Dayr al Bahri. Other monasteries were constructed on hilltops such as Qurnat Mura'i and Dayr al Bakhit above Dira' Abu al Naja. Many tombs in Shaykh Abd al Qurna were used by monks as dwellings, while in the Valley of the Kings, several of the Dynasty 19 and Dynasty 20 tombs (KV 1, KV 2, KV 3, KV 4, KV 8, KV 9) were used as dwellings or chapels [10514]. 13511 10514
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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