Tag Archives: paganism

When Did “Roman” Empire Become the “Byzantine” Empire?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 12 June 2021

A painting representing the Byzantines use of “Greek fire” to repel the Arab siege of Constantinople, 674-78

The use of the word “Byzantium” for the Eastern Roman Empire is inescapable, though it is best thought of as a term of convenience rather than definition. For one thing, the inhabitants never called themselves “Byzantines”: they always thought of themselves as “Romans”, though using the Greek work “Romaioi”. The easiest way to see the problem is to ask: When did the Byzantine Empire begin? Continue reading

How Many Christians Were There in the Roman Empire?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 11 June 2021

The numbers on the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire are very uncertain, but there are enough data points to hazard a reasonable estimate. Continue reading

Islamic State Claims It Follows God’s Law, Jews and Christians Do Not

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 1, 2016

The fifteenth issue of the Islamic State’s English-language magazine, Dabiq, released on 31 July 2016 contained an essay, “By the Sword,” a brief polemic that defends the Islamic State’s brutality on the basis that it is conducted according to the Word of God—laying open claim to genocide and slavery so long as it is undertaken by Muslims and not disbelievers, saying they would have felt no need to have apologized for the atomic bombing of Japan or the use of defoliants in Vietnam and would have been more thorough-going in the extermination of Native Americans and Jews, since these things are vouchsafed by the Creator. The Islamic State contends that the Jewish and Christian religious contain the same prescriptions for the forcible implementation of the Holy Law that the Qur’an does, but these monotheists have lapsed and pay more attention to the edicts of the United Nations. Continue reading