Many people like their history to be garnished by relating its relevance to modern times. Such relevance can be jusdy ascribed to the fifth century ad . For it was the eastern empire, above all, which protected Europe from ruin at the hands of external aggressors; and it was in the fifth century that this empire survived its critical moments, and succeeded in living on to assume its critical protective role. True, the Arab and Turkish outsiders had not yet, by that time, arrived on the scene. But there would have been no Europeans to encounter them and keep them at bay if Constantinople had not, during the fifth century, battled on, and created the Byzantine empire that was to come.