What Was Byzantium?


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Byzantium was the capital of the Byzantine empire, a city also known as Constantinople and now Istanbul. The Byzantine empire was a successor to the Roman empire. In the latter stages of Rome's dominance, as it faced grave threats to its existence on multiple fronts, the site of the imperial capital shifted around from time to time. Byzantium was declared the capital in 324 A.D. at the behest of the emperor Constantine.

When the Western half of the Roman empire was overrun by barbarians, the Eastern half managed to maintain itself intact for some time. Greek was the common language of the eastern empire, and although some aspects of Roman tradition were maintained, Byzantium developed a distinctive culture of its own. The Byzantine empire managed to continue in existence for another thousand years after the Roman empire had fallen in the west, eventually succumbing to Turkish assault in the year 1453.

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