According to history, the origins of the Byzantine Empire can be traced back to 330 A.D., during the reign of Constantine I of Rome. At that time, Constantine dedicated New Rome on Byzantium, which was an ancient Greek colony. The colony was founded by Byzas and was mainly located to serve as a transit point between Asia Minor and Europe. Before this decision, five years earlier, Constantine had introduced Christianity as the official religion in Rome. Even though most people spoke Greek and not Latin, they strongly identified themselves as Romans and Christians. One of the main aspects of the Byzantine Empire was its longevity as it survived without external interference up to the start of the modern age. This was a rare attribute as most states, West of China experienced a series of interruptions.
It is important to note that Constantine rule a unified Roman empire, unlike his successor, Valentinian I, who divided into western and Eastern. This happened in 337 after the death of Constantine I. following the division, Valentinian rule the Western section, and installed his brother Valens to rule the eastern side. However, this separation brought about differences in the years that followed. For example, Germans constantly attacked the Western region leading to its disintegration. This continued until Italy was the only territory under Roman control.
However, the Eastern section under Valens was less vulnerable to attacks. Some historians argue that this was partly because of its geographical location. It was almost impossible to break the capital’s defenses to realize a successful offensive. Additionally, the eastern side had a shorter common border with Europe, thus limiting the chances of an attack. Among other reasons, the region further benefited from its internal political stability and central administration, coupled with huge wealth compared to other states in the region. Emperors in the region also exerted power of economic resources, making it hard for invasion from external forces. As a result, the Eastern Roman Empire, famously known as the Byzantine Empire survived for several centuries even the Rome had already fallen.
It is worth noting that Byzantine Empire was under Roman law, together with Roman political institutions. As a result, Latin was its official language. However, Greek was also common as students were taught literature, history and culture through Greek. Christianity was the main religion in Byzantine Empire. Justinian I took over the mantle of power in 527 and ruled until his death in 565. He was considered as the first great ruler of the empire. During his reign, Byzantine Empire excelled in almost every sphere. For example, its land expanded and its army conquered several territories, including the former Western Roman Empire and part of North Africa. Many Justinian monuments were put up in his honor, which included the doomed church of Holy Wisdom. He was also remembered for reforming the Roman law by establishing a Byzantine code, which survived several centuries. These reforms played a major role in redefining the modern concept of the state. By the time Justinian died, Byzantine Empire was largest and most powerful state in entire Europe.
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