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Rome and the Byzantine Empire

Rome organized its extensive territory under a proconsul as the province of Asia. All of Anatolia (Asia Minor) except Armenia, which was a Roman client-state, was integrated into the imperial system by A.D. 43. After the accession of the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 B.C.-A.D. 14), and for generations thereafter, the Anatolian provinces enjoyed prosperity and security. The cities were administered by local councils and sent delegates to provincial assemblies that advised the Roman governors. Their inhabitants were citizens of a cosmopolitan world state, subject to a common legal system and sharing a common Roman identity. Roman in allegiance and Greek in culture, the region nonetheless retained its ethnic complexity.

In A.D. 285, the emperor Diocletian undertook the reorganization of the Roman Empire, dividing jurisdiction between its Latin-speaking and Greek-speaking halves. In 330 Diocletian's successor, Constantine, established his capital at the Greek city of Byzantium, a "New Rome" strategically situated on the European side of the Bosporus at its entrance to the Sea of Marmara. For nearly twelve centuries the city, embellished and renamed Constantinople, remained the capital of the Roman Empire--better known in its continuous development in the East as the Byzantine Empire.

Ottoman Empire Map Largest Borders

Although Greek in language and culture, the Byzantine Empire was thoroughly Roman in its laws and administration. The emperor's Greek-speaking subjects, conscious of their imperial vocation, called themselves romaioi --Romans. Almost until the end of its long history, the Byzantine Empire was seen as ecumenical--intended to encompass all Christian people--rather tha The arrival of the first Christians (the word "Christian" was at first a term of abuse) made little impact on the world of Rome. They were looked on as merely another foreign sect, like the cults and mystery religions from Egypt and Persia. Slowly, however, their discipline and missionary zeal brought them to official notice. At last, when they had become powerful, official attempts were made to suppress them. Persecution was intermittent, and never widespread.

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