What did the eastern roman empire continue on as ? – History, Politics & Society


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We call the continuation of the eastern part of the Roman Empire after the fall of its western part Byzantine Empire. However, this is not how the people in question called it. It was called Roman Empire or Empire of the Romans. Another term they used was Romania, which meant land of the Romans (not to be confused with the name which was later chosen for the country now called Romania). The Romans did not use the terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire. These terms have been coined by historians. These so-called “eastern Romans” saw themselves as just Romans.

Historians have also coined the term Byzantine Empire to indicate the eastern part of the Roman Empire after the fall of the western part. The word Byzantine was first used by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf in 1557. This term came in general use in the west in the mid-19th century and it is in this period that the term Byzantine Empire also emerged.

The term Byzantine is derived from Byzantium, the Greek city which was redeveloped, turned into an imperial capital and renamed Constantinople (City of Constantine) by the emperor Constantine the Great in 330. It is used to indicate the fact that not long after the fall of the west, this empire became centred on Greece and Greek in character after it lost most of its non-Greek territories. Greek replaced Latin as the official language of this empire in 620, some 150 years after the fall of the west. Despite this, the people in question continued to see themselves as Romans. Some of the emperors, such as Justinian the Great, came from the Latin-speaking area of this empire

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