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Rhodes Island

Written by Tim Ross
What an incredible place. Rhodes offers almost any kind of holiday you could want. If you want peace and quiet, youíll find it on Rhodes. If you want activities and night-life, Rhodes has got it. If you want to explore history and culture, that is there too. The island is clean, the locals are very warm and friendly to tourists. English is spoken everywhere and most signs are in English too.
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4. Byzantine Period

Christianity spread over the island of Rhodes during the 1st century AD and by the second half of the 3rd century AD an organised church had been established. Many early Christian churches mark the early flourish of Christianity on Rhodes and bishops of Rhodes have been chronicled as having taken part in the Ecumenical Councils.
With the domination of Christianity over the ancient religions many ancient monuments were destroyed, the temples of the gods were converted to churches and many works of art transported to Constantinople, where it was officially proclaimed the new capital of the Roman Empire. Rhodes had become a mere provincial city; the island took on an agricultural and animal farming character, as the few historical sources of the period tell us, since attention had now turned to the administrative centre of the empire.

Rhodes was looted by the mountainous race of the 'Isavros' during 469/470 AD. In 620 AD. Rhodes was conquered and again looted by the Persians under Hosroe B'. A little later, the Arabian invasions began, which were to trouble the populations of the Aegean for centuries to come.
In 653 AD the first mate of Avoulavar conquers Rhodes during the great expedition of Moawiyah against Constantinople. After the defeat of the Arabs, Rhodes comes once again under the jurisdiction of the Byzantines, but was once more looted during the second Arabian expedition against Constantinople in 717-718 AD. After the Saracen withdrawal, Rhodes flourishes again.

During the 9th century, the islands and the coastal cities are scourged by the invasions from the ships of the famous Seljuk Caliph of Avasidon Aroun Al Rasid, who ransacked Rhodes in the year 807 AD and took with him treasure and captives. Rhodes was subject to new invasions and lootings during the years of Mamoun, the successor of Aroun.

Venice, Genoa and other Italian cities, holding favour from the Byzantine Emperors, who wanted their alliance, were able to consolidate a significant influence in Eastern matters. Piracy flourishes in the Aegean during this same period and Rhodes suffers from invasions by pirates coming from Turkey and the West. In 1089, the Turkish pirate Tzahas conquers Rhodes and other islands and rules them until 1092.

Rhodes suffered during the period of the Crusades. Due to its geographical position in relation to Palestine, it became the centre of a struggle between the Venetians, Pisans and Genoans, who found the island an easy target. In 1204, when the Crusaders conquered Constantinople and overthrew the Byzantine Empire, the administrator of Rhodes Leon Gavalas, who wanted to save the island from the Venetians, proclaimed himself the inherited ruler of Rhodes (1204-1240) under the Greek Kingdom of Nicaea.

In 1261 the Byzantines concede the island as a fiefdom to various Genoese admirals - merchants. In 1306 the Genoese Vignolo di Vignoli, sold the Island to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who had been forced to leave Palestine after the Muslim victories and found themselves in Cyprus, succeeded in capturing Rhodes in 1309.