Borders Drawn in Blood
The Byzantine Empire has only very small holdings on the Italian Peninsula. However, in the East it is one of the most powerful states in existence. The Byzantine Empire is an uninterrupted continuation of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire split into Eastern and Western halves in order to make administration more efficient. In 462ad Rome was sacked by the Visagoths led by Alleric. In a very short time the Western half was systematically dismantled by the Visagoths and other various Germanic tribes including the Goths, Ostragoths, and Vandals. The Eastern half of the empire continued unchallenged. It still enjoys the protection of numerous Roman Legions, plentiful resources, as well as technological advancements unrivaled throughout the known world.
Emperor Justinian attempted to retake the Western Empire, but was forced to abandon the campaign because of a plague that swept through his army. Up to that point, he had been extremely successful in capturing territory. With the retreat of the Byzantines Western Europe was once again thrown into a chaos of a leaderless existence until Charlemagne. The only lasting legacy from Justinian’s effort was the bubonic plague which continues to appear in minor outbreaks all over Western Europe.
The Language here is Greek. Life expectancy in the Byzantine Empire is significantly higher than its neighbors due to a superior knowledge of medicine and anatomy combined with skilled practitioners able to employ it. The Byzantine Empire enjoys a lucrative relationship with the Venetian Republic. The Empire provides goods to be traded through Venice’s expansive trading network. Venice also supplies the Empire with Naval power to augment its nearly invincible land forces. Despite this these mutual benefits, the relationship between the two nations has been cold in recent years due to political power struggles.