Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Bithynia was an ancient region located in northwestern Anatolia, the western part of modern-day Turkey. The history of Bithynia is closely tied to various ancient civilizations and empires.

It was ruled in Arthur’s time by Duke Politetes, an ally of the Roman Procurator Lucius. Tradition makes Saint Helena’s father an innkeeper in Bithynia.

Bithynia | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Province | 1st – 3rd centuries
Bithynia became a Roman province in 27 BC under Emperor Augustus. It was initially combined with Pontus and known as Bithynia et Pontus. Bithynia is mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible. The Apostle Peter’s First Epistle is addressed to the Christians in Bithynia, indicating the presence of Christian communities in the region. Bithynia continued to be an integral part of the Roman Empire, experiencing the cultural, economic, and administrative developments of the time.

Byzantine Empire | 4th century
With the division of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western halves, Bithynia became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine period brought about change sin governance, language, and religious dynamics.

Byzantine Influence and Christianity | 5th – 7th centuries
Bithynia remained under Byzantine rule, and the region played a role in the military and political struggles of the Byzantine Empire against external threats, including invaisons by various groups.

Christianity continued to spread and solidify its presence in the region. Bithynia, like much of the Byzantine Empire, played a significant role in the early development of Christian theology.

Arab-Byzantine Wars | 8th century
The eighth century saw conflicts between the Byzantine Empire and the expanding Arab Caliphate. Bithynia, being part of the Byzantine territories, was likely affected by the geopolitical and military struggles of this period.

Byzantine Decline and Turkic Invasions | 9th century
The ninth century witnessed internal strife within the Byzantine Empire, including conflicts over succession and power struggles. External pressures from various invaders, including Bulgars and Arabs, contributed to the challenges faced by Byzantium.

Towards the end of the ninth century, Turkic groups such as the Pechenegs and Cumans began to pose threats to Byzantine territories, including regions in Anatolia, which includes Bithynia. Bithynia remained under Byzantine rule during the tenth and eleventh centuries.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155