Byzantine Empire

Byzantium represents one of the high points of historical globalization. The Empire not only served as a physical bridge between East and West during the first millennium, it also combined a variety of traditions and beliefs that gave it a particularly cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic character. The territorial decline of the Empire after the 8th century and its diminution after 1204 also reflected the rise of yet another global force: Islam. Despite having disappeared as a political entity almost 600 years ago, the cultural exports of Byzantium remain at the core of much of the culture of Eastern Europe.