Treasure Island

RAJ NANDY

(CALCUTTA, NOW SETTLED IN NEW DELHI)

**THE STORY OF BYZANTINE EMPIRE: PART-I


THE STORY OF BYZANTINE
EMPIRE
(667BC-1453AD)

PART – I

ORIGIN OF BYZANTIUM

The story Byzantium has its origins steeped in
both legend and history,
And the Greek myths have added to its mystery!
Recalling one such myths of many years ago,
When Zeus had fallen in love with King of Argos’
lovely daughter Io;
They had a love child by the name of Keroessa!
She was a girl from whom pure beauty shone!
And the God of seas and ocean - the great Poseidon,
Fell in love with her at first sight, and in course of
time,
Byaz their famous son was born!
It was this Byaz the Megarian, who became the
founder of Byzantium!
And Byzantium got christened after the name of
Keroessa’s and Poseidon’s son, -
With the name of ‘Byzanton’!

Though origins of Byzantium has been historically
traced,
To Greek Herodotus* and Roman historian Pliny;
And they both relate that the Oracle at Delphi,
Told the Megarian prince Byaz to establish a colony,
Which was to be ‘opposite the blind’, -
Where the Gods to him would be most kind!
Though at that point in time Byaz did not know, -
What the Oracle had meant or what lay in his store!

So with a selected band of Megarian Greeks in
667 BC, -
With a small fleet of galleys Byaz set sail!
Sailing north-east up the waters of the Aegean Sea,
Toiling against the currents through the narrow strait
of Hellespont+, -
Which separates the Asian and European sides of
Turkey!
Those adventures galleys rowed through the broad
Marmora Sea,
And finally anchored in the smooth waters of the
Bosphorus, -
On the western side of present day Turkey!
There a crescent shaped creek strikes inland for
more than seven miles,
Today know as the Golden Horn, located on the
European side!
On this head-land south of the Golden Horn,
A few hundred Greek colonists disembarked,
And to secure themselves from the inland wild
tribes and the dark,
They built a rough stockade across the ground
from beach to beach;
Thereby making the initial foundation of ‘Byzanton’
complete!

Thus Byaz had established a Greek colony on a
jutting peninsula,
Lying between the Sea of Marmora in the south,
The Bosphorus in the east, and the Golden Horn
up north, -
Just opposite the old Greek colony of Chalcedon!
This Chalcedon on the Asian side had acquired the
name of ‘The Land of The Blind’!
Because its earlier Greek settlers during 685 BC,
must have been blind, -
To have missed out the natural harbor of the hinterland,
Which had stared in their face on the western side!
It was mainly for these reasons in 330 AD, the famous
Constantine the Great,
Had made this historic ‘Byzanton’ his Roman Capital!
Which later got renamed as Constantinople!

Thus Byaz had been blessed by Apollo’s Oracle at
Delphi,
When he had laid the initial foundation of Byzantium, -
With its more than thousand years of future history!
The ‘Nova Roma’ lasted from 330 AD till 1453, -
When it was ransacked by the Ottoman Turks;
Who christened it as Istanbul, now standing at the
#cross-roads of History!
-Raj Nandy
New Delhi
10 May 09
(*Herodotus=the father of History. +Hellespont= now
called Dardanelles Strait.#Cross-roads=Istanbul covers
both the western & eastern sides of Europe &Asian
continents! ‘Nova Roma’= New Rome of Constantine!
Megara=ancient city in Attica, Greece, under Dorian rule.
I propose to write this History in installments for easy
reading.)

Submitted: Sunday, May 10, 2009
Edited: Sunday, May 10, 2009

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Comments about this poem (**THE STORY OF BYZANTINE EMPIRE: PART-I by RAJ NANDY )

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  • Sathyanarayana M V S (5/12/2009 11:20:00 AM)

    Very interesting account of Greek history, written in simple, lucid English. Regarding Indira's comments, it is difficult to mould such informative concept into any stanzaic form.......... This is good. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Babbellapati (5/11/2009 11:44:00 AM)

    wish you didn't cram so many details or you could hv chosen a suitable stanzaic form each containing one historical fact...great research indeed...it will help the lazy like me to refresh without going bk to the texts, thnq, capt!
    *do continue the series... (Report) Reply

  • Subroto Chatterjee (5/10/2009 8:46:00 AM)

    Rajda,
    First, my congratulations to you on the arduous task of writing down the beautiful history of old.
    Second, you have managed a broad sweep of events regarding historical characters, dates, places, etc. in this long poem. Good. I have a suggestion here, if you don't mind..
    If you break down the poem in to manageable stanzas, such as quatrains or at least eight-line verses, headed by stanza numbers (if you feel so) , then reading the same will be much easier, I feel.
    I'm looking forward to more Byzantine adventures..So, onward ho! !
    Cheers.
    Subroto (Report) Reply

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