Byzantium would be impressive if it sprang from the ashes of the Roman Empire and built itself up from nothing. But all it was the Roman Empire as it had survived after being chipped away for centuries. Its administration and armies are less impressive when you realize those were just hand-me-downs from a superior age; even then the Byzantines failed to reverse the decline despite a millennium of trying desperately.
Culturally, the empire is fascinating for being an amalgamation of different elements like Hellenism and Christianity and bridging the gap between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. But it was a fucked up civilization in a lot of ways that failed to be the ideal Christian society or reenact the glories of Rome.
When I look at a map and see that there is a place called Turkey where Byzantium once was, I really don't care.
>>567333 You're wrong because you only know basic history
Eastern Roman Empire rose under Justinian and fell into darkness after the Islamic conquests. However it was able to reinvent itself with emperors like Basil the II whom destroyed the Slavs, Bulgars and Arabs and expanded his realm. The new theme system was created which was a complete reinvention, the military was the best in the world, especially it's training programs.
>However it was able to reinvent itself with emperors like Basil the II
The conquest of Bulgaria began in 968 and lasted until 1018. It was a dreadfully long war that was only achieved because Bulgaria was first conquered by the Rus, who then ceded it to the Byzantines, and then the Byzantines spent the next half century attempting to crush what was essentially a rebellion. The victory of Basil II does not erase the humiliating defeats inflicted by Khans Tervel and Simeon and the Emperor Simeon.
> and Arabs
Literally the only tactically impressive battles won over Arabs were last minute victories against armies that besieged Constantinople. The only conquests won over the Arabs was the conquest of Crete (a pirate stronghold that resisted for over a century), the Hamdanid Emirate (an independent state in Syria that was only partially conquered and managed to defeat an emperor who tried conquering Aleppo itself), and some cities along the Taurus and Anti-Taurus mountains. Conquering Crete, Antioch, or Edessa is pitiful when you realize that these were only reconquests, and far greater territories in Syria, Egypt, Sicily, and Africa were never regained.
>and expanded his realm. The new theme system was created which was a complete reinvention
The Theme system is vastly overrated. Byzantium's survival in the centuries after the Arab conquests depended largely on Constantinople's defenses and the possible uses of Greek fire. It was not until Constantine V, a full century after the Arab conquests, that the Byzantines were begin offensives against their enemies in earnest, and it was not until Nikephoros II, a full two centuries later, that real conquests began.
>the military was the best in the world, especially it's training programs.
Sure, if you only look at Basil II or Justinian at the absolute peak of their reigns and ignore China. Pick a random emperor out of a hat and ask again. I still posit that Byzantium was stagnant 85% of the time.
oh yeah like that empire that married off lots of its princesses to the Ottomans whilst handing north africa and the middle east to the arabs on a platter thanks to their persecution of native christians
>>567556 Came here to post this. The Eastern Empire was going the way of the west after Justinian, it provided the best parts of its history after. Basilio il Macedone, the Comneno dinasty, dat struggle against the Italian Normans, dat politics in the middle east with the Crusader states, the Catalan Company.even the Empire of Nicea is interesting in its own right.
>>563447 They might not look so appealing today, they are overshadowed by the later middle ages and Renaissance, but when Byzantium was founded they were basically allowed to start anew with what the Roman Empire had accumulated over the centuries. They built the Valens Aqueduct (250 fucking kilometers!), Theodosian Walls, Hagia Sophia, etc., which were simply godlike at the time. Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century, go and look at the rest of Europe then. They had a very advanced sense of diplomacy and statecraft; a centralized state with permanent provinces and shit all which lasted longer than Rome itself and didn't depend on great men empires often did. They pioneered Christianity. The culture they preserved or created laid the foundations of the western renaissance, and before then it was the America of the time in cultural exports. They gave us the fork.
>>563447 >there is nothing unique about them I know almost nothing about the byzantine empire other than that it was a direct continuation of eastern rome, but what does the uniqueness of a civilization have to do with anything?
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