Byzantine, Constantinople (10th century)The Christian Eastern Roman Empire’s culture is called Byzantine in reference to Byzantium, the classical name for Constantinople (contemporary Istanbul). Byzantine culture had its own, unique aesthetics. The painting and sculpture limited itself almost entirely to religious scenes, expressed in a static, almost impersonal manner within strict theological boundaries. Ivory carving developed to great heights after the 8th century. Almost half the icons depict Christ on the cross, usually with Maria and John at its foot. The four drills holes in this icon’s frame indicate that it was later used to decorate a book cover.