Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
In AD 324 the emperor Constantine reunited the Roman Empire. By then Rome was too difficult to defend against barbarian attacks, so he moved his capital east to Byzantium, renaming it CONSTANTINOPLE.
From Constantinople (now Istanbul), Constantine ruled over the entire Roman world, but eventually the empire split again. In 476, the western Roman empire was swept away. However, the eastern empire, which is called the Byzantine Empire, endured until 1453, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
In 330, Constantinople was proclaimed capital of the Roman Empire. The new city’s splendid public buildings, which included a forum, were adorned with treasures from all over the empire.
Constantinople was a meeting point for long-distance trade routes linking Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Merchants brought silks from China, pearls and perfumes from Arabia, spices from southeast Asia, and fine wool and furs from Europe to sell in its markets.