At its height, Constantinople was home to around one million people. The city’s language and culture were Greek, but traders and visitors spoke many languages. Ships crowded the city’s harbor, loaded with goods. The city streets, some narrow and twisting, some grand and broad, teemed with camel and mule trains.
Conflict between the East and West
Justinian was determined to rebuild the city on an even grander scale than before. He put huge sums of money into public works. Soon Constantinople had new bridges, public baths, parks, roads, and hospitals.
When Constantine built his new capital, Constantinople, he intended it to be the religious center of the empire as well as the seat of government.
Medieval Europe and the Byzantine Empire were united in a single faith: Christianity. Over the centuries, however, cultural, political, and religious differences brought the two parts of the old Roman Empire into conflict. The two regions had been quite different even in the days of the old Roman emperors. The eastern half of the empire had many cities, much trade, and great wealth. The western half was mostly rural and agricultural, and not nearly as wealthy.