I have an unhealthy enchantment with the Byzantine Empire. I say unhealthy because it’s so excruciating to read about the Byzantines anytime after the Comnenoi really--it’s just a long slow slog until 1453 with a short Latin Crusade thrown in. The thing is though, that the 14th and 15th centuries were periods of intense artistic creativity for the Byzantines, and when the Turks conquered Constantinople, the scholars of the Empire who moved to Italy helped in part to spark the Renaissance. Can you really think of the Byzantine Empire then in terms of dead and dying?
I thought about that and I thought about the fact that any polity that has existed on earth is bound to have some effect on history, and consequently on the present day. So I thought pretty pictures would do to help give these expired nations their time in the sun.