The name "Byzantine Empire", the state received in the writings of historians after his fall, for the first time a German scholar Hieronymus Wolf in 1557. The name derives from the medieval name of Byzantium, which stands for settlement, which existed at the site of modern Istanbul (Constantinople, Constantinople) to develop its Constantine the Great. The inhabitants of the empire, among whom were the ancestors of modern Greeks, Southern Slavs, Romanians, Moldovans Italians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Turks, Arabs, Armenians and many other peoples called themselves the rum or the Romans. The very same empire, they sometimes simply called "Romania", but often referred to her – a state the Romans. Capital – Constantinople (ancient Byzantium, Slavic Constantinople, now Istanbul). As the successor of the Roman Empire not only inherited his rich provinces and preserve cultural heritage, but also a long time was a spiritual, cultural, economic and political center . Its capital – Constantinople (ancient Byzantium) in documents of that time was called Rome. Its rulers in times of greatest might have ruled the land from the African desert to the shores of the Danube, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the ridges of the Caucasus. There is no consensus at when the Byzantine Empire. Many see Constantine 306-337) the founder of Constantinople as the first Byzantine emperor. Some historians believe that this event occurred before, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), which is to facilitate the management of a vast empire, formally divided it into eastern and western halves. Others consider turning the reign of Theodosius 379-395) and the formal extrusion of Christianity, paganism, or the time of his death in 395, when the political division between Eastern and Western parts of the empire grew. Also a milestone is 476, when Romulus Augustulus, the last western emperor, to relinquish power and under the Emperor remained only in Constantinople. The important point was 620 at the time of year when the Emperor Heraclius official language officially became Greek. The decline of the empire is associated with many causes, both external and internal. This development of other regions of the world, particularly Western Europe (especially Italy, Venice and Genoa Republics), as well as Islamic countries. It is also a sharpening of the contradictions between the various regions of the empire and divided it into Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian and other kingdoms. Ethnic composition of the Byzantine Empire, especially in the first phase of its history, was very colorful: the Greeks, Syrians, Copts, Armenians, Georgians, Jews, Hellenized Asia Minor tribes, the Thracians, Illyrians, Dacians. C reduction in the territory of the Byzantine Empire (from the vii century) of peoples has remained outside of it – at the same time to come here and settle in new peoples (Goths in the IV-V century, the Slavs in the VI-VII century, the Arabs in vii – and centuries, Pechenegs Polovtsians in XI-XIII century, etc.). In VI-XI centuries. in composition of the Byzantine Empire included ethnic groups from which later formed the Italian nation. Greater role in economy, politics and culture of the Byzantine Empire played the Greek population. The state language of the Byzantine Empire in IV-VI centuries – Latin, from the vii century and until the end of the Empire – Greek.

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