One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The empire in south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor formed from the eastern part of the Roman Empire. It ended with the loss of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
The Roman Empire was divided in AD 395 by the Emperor Theodosius between his sons; Constantinople (Byzantium) became the capital of the Eastern Empire in 476, with the fall of Rome. In 1054 theological and political differences between Constantinople and Rome led to the breach between Eastern and Western Christianity (see Great Schism (sense 1)). After about 1100 the empire gradually declined; the loss of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 was the end of the empire, although its rulers held Trebizond (Trabzon) until 1461
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