By the fourth century, Rome was invaded by Germanic-speaking tribes from north of the Italian peninsula. Rome’s many roads made it easy prey for the Franks, the Vandals, the Lombards and the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Ostrogoths to invade the Italian countryside. Those Germanic tribes moved into the Roman Empire because they were pushed West by the Huns, a violent band of nomadic warriors.
By 324ce, Rome had become a difficult city to defend, so Emperor Constantine began construction of a “New Rome” in Byzantium, a Greek city almost 1500 miles to the east. The emperor renamed the city “Constantinople,” which means “city of Constantine.”
Roman civilization survived for centuries in Constantine’s eastern empire, while Rome and the empire’s western provinces fell to the Germanic invaders. Historians refer to the Eastern Roman Empire as the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire included parts of modern Greece, Serbia, and Turkey. The Byzantine Empire lasted until 1453, when it fell to Turkish warriors. The Turks brought their faith in Islam to Constantinople and converted many churches to mosques. Constantinople is now known as Istanbul, Turkey.