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Byzantine Empire

Introduction

Byzantine Empire, successor state to the Roman Empire (see under Rome), also called Eastern Empire and East Roman Empire. It was named after Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine I rebuilt (A.D. 330) as Constantinople and made the capital of the entire Roman Empire. Although not foreseen at the time, a division into Eastern and Western empires became permanent after the accession (395) of Honorius in the West and Arcadius in the East.

Throughout its existence the Byzantine Empire was subject to important changes in its boundaries. The core of the empire consisted of the Balkan Peninsula (i.e., Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, Greece proper, the Greek isles, and Illyria) and of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). The empire combined Roman political tradition, Hellenic culture, and Christian beliefs. Greek was the prevalent language, but Latin long continued in official use.

See the table entitled Rulers of the Byzantine Empire for a list of all the Byzantine emperors and the years they reigned.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Late Roman and Byzantine

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