Two civilizations emerged in early medieval Europe: the Byzantine Empire in eastern Europe and the diverse cultures of western Europe. The Byzantine Empire was founded when the capital of the Roman Empire was transferred to Constantinople in 324 C.E.; it existed until the fifteenth century. While Byzantium transmitted the classical culture of Greek and Rome, it also developed a unique historical and cultural character that synthesized Greek, Roman, European, and Islamic elements.
In this unit, we will examine the expansion of the Byzantine Empire and the fragile unity it created in the Mediterranean world. We will also consider the influences that Byzantium had among Slavic and Scandinavian peoples, such as the impact of Orthodox Christianity.