This is a history of the wars between Byzantium and its numerous foes, among them the Goths, Arabs, Slavs, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks. By the middle of the 6th century the Byzantine emperor ruled a mighty empire that straddled Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Within 100 years, this powerful empire had been cut in half. Two centuries later the Byzantine empire was once again a power to be reckoned with that soon recovered its position as the paramount East Mediterranean and Balkan power, an empire whose fabulous wealth attracted Viking mercenaries and central Asian nomad warriors to its armies, whose very appearance on the field of battle was sometimes enough to bring enemies to terms. This book provides essential support for those interested in Byzantine history in general as well as a useful corrective to the more usual highly romanticized views of Byzantine civilization.