Abstract and Keywords
The eastern half of the Byzantine Empire was able to survive the troubles of the fifth century, a feat that can be attributed to its healthier economy, a more solid tax-base, and a more diversified pattern of urban and rural relationships and markets. Another important factor was eastern diplomacy, which encouraged barbarian leaders to focus their attention to the west. Furthermore, Constantinople could not be penetrated by enemies because of its newly built, massive walls. When Leo I (457-74) became emperor, he rid himself of Aspar, and was eventually succeeded by his grandson Leo II, the son of Zeno. Zeno became sole emperor when Leo died in 474. When Zeno himself died in 491, he was succeeded by Anastasios (491-518). This article outlines the political history of the Byzantine Empire during the period 518-800, focusing on the reigns of Justin I and Justinian I (518-65), and from Justin II to Herakleios (565-641). It also examines the rise of Islam, Byzantium in the seventh century, and the rise of iconoclasm during the eighth century.
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