Answer to Question #151666 in History for Nicole Ure

Question #151666
1) Explain the origin of the Byzantine Empire: how and why was it created? Then explain how it differed from the Western Roman Empire.
Expert's answer

Byzantium, derived from Byzantine, is an ancient Greek colony founded by a man called Byzas. The empire is located in Europe -Bosporus (a strait connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea). Byzantium is strategically located and served best as a transit and trading point between Europe and Asia. Byzantine Empire was developed due to the decision of Roman emperor Constantine I to relocate the Roman Empire’s capital from Rome to Byzantium by 330 CE. The decision was arrived at following the suitability of the Byzantium by enjoying its perfect geographical position. Byzantium had a natural harbor on the Golden Horn inlet.

Moreover, the capital was located between Asia and Europe, giving it the status to control movement and trade between the two continents. Attacks from both the land and sea were managed by the strategic location of the empire’s capital. The Byzantium Empire was different from other western Roman empires by shifting the Capital to Byzantium, changing the official religion to  Christianity. People of the Byzantium empire spoke Greek as their official language, different from Latin adopted by other Western Roman Empires.


Vasiliev, A. A. (1964). History of the Byzantine Empire, 324–1453, Volume II (Vol. 2). Univ of Wisconsin Press.

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