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For more than a thousand years, Byzantium flourished at the crossroads of the Eastern and Western worlds. But who were the people of the first modern civilized state? What features distinguished them from earlier civilizations, and what cultural characteristics, despite their multi-ethnic origins, made them uniquely Byzantine? Through a series of detailed composite portraits, an international collection of contributors have created a clear vision of the Byzantines and their social world. Paupers, peasants, soldiers, teachers, bu reaucrats, clerics, emperors, and saints are presented in the context of ordinary Byzantine life.