The Survival of the Eastern Roman Empire

Stephen Williams and Gerard Friell analyse why Constantinople survived the barbarian onslaughts in the fifth century, whereas Rome fell.

The old attitude still prevails in some quarters that what we know of as the Roman Empire was dismembered in the fifth century, and that what survived in the East was something different - Byzantium, Greek and Christian; fascinating, no doubt, but no longer the real Rome. This quite misleading picture is often accompanied by another: that the survival of the Eastern half in the terrible fifth century, when the West went under, was a more or less natural development - even unconsciously anticipated by Constantine's wise foundation of his new capital in the wealthier, more urbanised East.

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