The Byzantine Empire

By: Carroll Rudman and Teddy Greenspon


The The Byzantine Empire endured because of their strategic location, economic stability, and their advanced and flourishing system of trade.

Economic Stability

The Byzantine Empire boasted economic stability for many reasons. One of these was the fact that they had a coherent form of money throughout their empire, making trade and other exchanges of goods easier. The Byzantines also had a surplus of grain, wax, wine, silk, and oil. They were able to trade these products for monetary value, or trade them for other products that they did not possess. The Byzantines were also surrounded by the Mediterranean which allowed them to trade easily to surrounding provinces and countries through the sea, instead of arduous land travels. Without this naval superiority they would not have been able to endure as a civilization for as long as they did.

Strategic Location

The Byzantine Empire was placed strategically around the Mediterranean Sea, which made trading and travelling throughout easier. Their empire was greatly influenced by their neighboring countries, especially Rome, which they were once a part of, until they divided into the eastern and western civilizations. They were placed along the Mediterranean, which greatly simplified traveling and protecting their land, and people. They were mostly surrounded by water, which allowed them to spend less of their time protecting themselves, and more time focusing on economic and political issues. Their immediate surrounding neighbors were the Slavonic, Serbian, Croatian, Avar, and Bulgar people. They considered themselves superior to these surrounding countries, which influenced how they acted towards them. Because of this they were focused on competing with these countries, and not some of the pressing issues of their society.

System of Trade

The Byzantines used surplus goods for trade when they were in need of products that they were not able to manufacture or produce on their own. Some popular trade items that they exported from their society were spice, drugs, and rare and precious stones. They also held an international trading system, which allowed them to trade not only with neighboring countries, but with international countries that sold rarer and more valuable goods, that they could not acquire from their immediate surrounding countries. Their advanced technology allowed them to create Vessels, which were used to import and export goods over the Mediterranean.

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire endured for another 1000 years after the western Roman civilization collapsed. According to Jared Diamond, the collapse of a society is due to multiple causation. His theory includes five different factors; environment, climate change, enemies, trading, and the society's political, economic, and social responses to these shifts. In the Byzantine Empire, the society had a strong trading system, environment, and economy, which allowed for the empire to remain powerful and kept flourishing.


Works Cited

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Perceptions of Byzantium and Its Neighbors (843–1261)." The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Perceptions of Byzantium and Its Neighbors (843–1261). Mary C. and James W. Forsburgh Publications Fund, 2000. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Nicol, Donald M. "The Byzantine Empire." Cambridge University Press, 1972. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Salisbury, Joyce E. "Byzantine Empire: Overview." Daily Life through History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <>.

Stathakopoulos, Dionysios. "The Elusive Eastern Empire." History Today 58.11 (2008): 38-45. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.