25 Things You May Not Know About The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire was the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half and remainder of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Even though this vast empire survived for more than one thousand years, spawning a rich tradition of art, literature, and learning; and serving as a military buffer between the states of Europe and the threat of invasion from Asia, people may not be aware of its great legacy. From the longest continuously reigning Byzantine monarch to their outrageous love for sweets, here are 25 things you may not know about the Byzantine Empire.


Byzantium was an ancient Greek city founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 BC. The city was rebuilt and re-inaugurated as the new capital of the Byzantine Empire by Emperor Constantine I in 330 AD and subsequently renamed Constantinople in his honor.

Ancient Byzantium

In 476 AD the Western Roman Empire fell and the Eastern Empire survived as what we know today as the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine Empire


Byzantion is said to be named after Byzas, the leader of the Megarean colonists and founder of the city. The form “Byzantium” is a Latinization of the Greek Byzantion.


However, “Byzantine” is a nineteenth-century term that modern historians applied to this culture. Byzantines, on the other hand, called themselves “Romans” from the beginning of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD until it fell to the Ottomans in 1453.



The Byzantines were the first to try rosemary to flavor roast lamb. They also were the first to use saffron in cooking. These aromatics, well known in the ancient world, had not previously been thought of as food ingredients.


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