Though the beginnings of the Byzantine Empire are unclear, its demise is not. The history of the Eastern Roman Empire, from its foundation in 324 to its conquest in 1453, is one of war, plague, architectural triumphs and fear of God's wrath.
The prime minister at the time of Napoleon’s defeat was a keen observer of European politics. His government sought a balance of power on the Continent, but with minimal British engagement.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Great Powers competed for the right to extract the vast oil reserves around the Iraqi city of Mosul. The motivation – and prize – was energy security.