East Roman Empire is the official name of the Byzantine Empire which originally had control over the East Mediterranean region, the Black Sea, the Haemus peninsula and North Africa. At its peak covered the whole of Mediterranean sea.
Byzantium was the name given to both the state and the culture of the Eastern Roman Empire in the middle ages. Both the state and the inhabitants always called themselves Roman, as did most of their neighbours. Western Europeans, who had their own Roman Empire called them Orientals or Greeks, and later following the example of the great French scholar DuCange, Byzantines after the former name of the Empire's capital city, Constantinople.
The city was ready by AD 330 for a ceremony of inauguration. Byzantium acquires two new names - New Rome and Constantinople, the city of Constantine. The Roman Empire, within eighteen years of Constantine's first victory, has a new religion, a new centre of gravity and a significant change of culture.
Greece has always been the main cultural influence on Rome, and Greek is the language of the inhabitants of Byzantium. With the founding of Constantinople, the older culture effectively absorbs its vigorous younger challenger. Even the name Constantinopolis is Greek (polismeaning city).
This is a list of the recognized Noble families from the Byzantine Empire and their respective Coats-of-Arms.
Angelos gules, 4 lozenges Or with an angel on each. (Greece)
Argyros Or, a cross between 4 stars azure.
Barbaro Argent, an annulet gules.
Cantacuzene Gules, a double-headed eagle displayed crowned, Or. (Greece)
Comnene Or, beneath an imperial crown proper, a two-headed eagle displayed Sable on asword per pale Argent, the hilt Or. (Corsica, Savoy)
Comneno Or, beneath an imperial crown proper, a double-headed eagle displayed Sable, holding in each claw a sword paleways Argent; on its breast an oval escutcheon, Argent 3 bells (?) Azure. (Milan) Comnenos (emperors of Trebizonde): Argent, three bars Sable. (Greece)
Ducas Azure, a cross Argent. (Greece) Koressio (dukes): Sable, beneath an imperial crown proper, a two-headed eagle displayed Or, holding in each claw a sword paleways Argent. (Greece)
These names give witness to the composite nature of Byzantium. It was, without any doubt, the continuation of the Roman state, and until the seventh century, preserved the basic structures of Late Roman Mediterranean civic culture: - a large multi-ethnic Christian state, based on a network of urban centers, and defended by a mobile specialized army.
The Greeks recaptured the Byzantine Empire in 1261 and restored it but it was never as strong and the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and founded the Ottoman Empire. The name of the city was later changed to Istanbul.