The Forgotten Empire 1000 Years of Byzantium

When we think of the Middle Ages, we are apt to think of the fall of the Roman Empire and the victory of the barbarians. We think of the decline of learning, of the coming of feudalism and petty warfare. Yet that is not entirely so, for the Roman Empire did not really fall. It lasted all through the Middle Ages. Europe and America as they exist now would not be here if the Roman Empire had not continued to prevail for a thou-sand years after it was supposed to have fallen.

When we say that the Roman Empire fell, all we mean is that its western provinces were invaded by German tribesmen and their civilization disrupted. The eastern half of the Roman Empire, however, remained intact and for centuries occupied the southeast corner of Europe with adjacent lands in Asia.

This portion of the Roman Empire continued to be rich and powerful all through the centuries when western Europe was weak and divided. The empire remained learned and cultured, when western Europe was ignorant and barbarous The empire, out of its strength, held off the swelling forces of eastern invaders for a thousand years; and western Europe, safe behind that barrier of military might, could develop in peace until its culture formed a high civilization distinctly its own.

The empire of the southeast transmitted to the West both Roman law and Greek learning. It passed on art, architecture and manners; it gave the West great abstractions-like the notion of absolute monarchy-and small conveniences-like forks. What's more, it gave all this and religion, too, to eastern Europe and to Russia, in particular.

But at last western Europe grew strong and capable of defending itself, while the empire wore away with exhaustion. And what was western Europe's return for what it had received? It gave back contempt and hatred. It hurt in every way it could the forlorn remnant of the once-great empire, and when the final death throes came, it coldly withheld any help. The ingratitude continues even after death, for the history of that empire is virtually ignored in our schools, and when bits are presented, it is done without sympathy.

So few westerners realized that in the centuries when Paris and London were ramshackle towns, with streets of mud and hovels of wood, there was a queen city in the East that was rich in gold, filled with works of art, bursting with gorgeous churches, busy with commerce-the wonder and the admiration of all who saw it.

That city was the capital of the Roman Empire of the Middle Ages; it was Constantinople. And the history of that city extends back a thousand years before it was Constantinople
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Comments (9)

And you expect dear compatriot.??? Forever contempt and hatred from the vast majority of westerners.-cool
Everybody and every nation may do as they wish. History is measured by millenia. Only then one may draw conclusions. I don’t wary. Only 3 civilizations have survived until today.
How life does cycle, as today the Greeks survive off the charity of Western Europe, firstly through tourism and now through directly financing your failure of a nation and people.
Yes we really need charity of arrogant blind ill spirited barbarian slaves.
True blue 1986...You have been unable to form your own language,thats why you borrowed 50% from the Romans and the Greeks.-Through the Romans and the Greeks elevated yourselves,from the signed to the spoken lanuage.
spoken language
You say over the British invention of the internet. Of course Greece was fantastic, back then. Don't hate me, hate the facts, do something about them.
We can't afford to bail you out again. Neither can you expect to receive the revenue from tourism that you have been doing. In all seriousness, what is Greece going to do for its future?
You have your own problems to worry about Greece does just fine. Blessed is the man who understands history.
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