We are taught that the Roman Empire fell in 476 CE, but the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which had existed as a distinct administrative entity since 395 CE, survived the collapse of western Roman territory. The capital of eastern Roman territory, Constantinople, became the beating heart of the Roman world thereafter. While the last Roman emperor in the west was deposed in 476 CE, emperors continued to rule from Constantinople until 1453 CE, when the city itself was conquered by Ottoman Turks. The eastern half of the Roman Empire, more accurately known as the Byzantine Empire, went through periods of upheaval, decline, and renaissance. We'll focus on the history of the Byzantine Empire, from the founding of Constantinople to the fall of that city in the late middle ages. We'll pay particular attention to Byzantine society’s relations with its neighbors, including western Christians, various Slavic states, and the various Muslim empires and forces that occupied the Near and Middle East from the seventh to the fifteenth centures.