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After the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E., much of the Mediterranean basin was in disorder with no leadership. Germanic tribes from the north had conquered the last emperor and claimed the land their own. But in the east, a new empire was blooming, the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was both similar and different from the previous Roman Empire, and its greatest ruler, Justinian, made it his main ambition to regain the lost territory, and power of Rome.

The empire of Byzantium was the only classical empire to survive the erratically difficult period of time some 500 years after the turn of the millennium. Problems such as epidemics, diseases, declining populations, economic contraction all contributed to fall of Rome. Political turmoil, social unrest, and outside military threats also ravaged the late Roman Empire, causing its demise. Yet Byzantium managed to hold onto power throughout this time because it controlled many key sea routes coming to and from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Byzantine Empire also had many of its roads and waterways still intact, as well as methods of long distance communication, with a set of authoritative institutions from the preexisting Roman Empire. Byzantium became a prosperous center of commerce. Because of these economic and political strongholds, Byzantium quickly gained recognition as an empire that produced fine manufactured goods including silk and items of interest. This example of economic strength is similar to the type of economy that the earlier Roman Empire relied on. Rome was very well know for its manufactured goods, offering items of great trade value such as glassware, jewelry, bronze items, linen and wool textiles, iron tools, and pottery. Thus, the Byzantine Empire carried on the Roman legacy of heavy dependence on industry and trade (Marston 80, Evans 121, Adkins 254).

Roman standard of law and influence were also carried on by the Byzantines Byzantine ambassadors and...
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