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Between 285 AD, when Byzantium first separated from the Western Roman Empire, and 1461, when the last Byzantine splinter state disappeared, the Byzantine state and society underwent many crises, triumphs, declines, and recoveries. Spanning twelve centuries and three continents, the Byzantine empire linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping and transmitting Greek, Roman, and Christian traditions--including the Greek classics, Roman law, and Christian theology--that remain vigorous today, not only in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but throughout western civilization. This book examines the causes behind Byzantium's successes, failures, and remarkable longevity. The author explains the paradoxes of Byzantium's long history by showing how Byzantine political leadership, military strategy, cultural attitudes, and social, institutional, and demographic changes combined with the strengths and weaknesses of the empire's enemies. Both a history and an adventure story, A Concise History of Byzantium will inform, entertain, and delight readers.