In the year 330 A.D., the first Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great, transferred the capital from Rome to Constantinople. Starting from that date, the history of Byzantium is normally viewed in three periods, Early Middle, and Late. Early Byzantine culture is typically dated from the founding of Constantinople until the early 700s, and it is characterized by the replacement of pagan Roman gods with Christianity. The end of this period is marked by an Iconoclastic controversy where factions fought over the proper use of religious icons, and many early Byzantine icons were destroyed as a result. The Middle Period begins around 843, and icons are now accepted as tools of worship again. The empire became very wealthy and powerful, and this was a time with flourishing arts, architecture, and literature. In 1204, armies from the Fourth Crusade invaded and conquered Constantinople, signaling the beginning of the Late and final period of the Byzantine Empire. This occupation would last until 1261, when control of Constantinople was returned to Byzantine rule. The breadth of the empire was much smaller than the Early and Middle Periods, and in 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, bringing the Byzantine Empire to a close.
The Byzantine Empire is featured in Edition: The Best of the Met