Byzantine (late Roman Empire)
Today, we know the city of Constantinople as Istanbul (in fact there’s a song about that!). But even before it was Constantinople, it was the ancient city of Byzantium, and it was renamed Constantinople (city of Constantine) by none other than the Emperor Constantine himself (it’s good to be the emperor!). From there a succession of emperors ruled Byzantine lands as the empire in the west dissolved. For two centuries, the Byzantine Empire even included the Italian city of Ravenna, where many churches decorated with astoundingly beautiful mosaics can still be found. In Byzantine art we see a departure from the naturalism of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Figures float in ethereal gold heavenly spaces and we find intricate carvings made from ivory, a luxurious material imported from Africa.