While it is generally accepted that the Roman Empire collapsed in the Fifth century A.D. that is true only in the sense that the Western Roman Empire fell to the Barbarians in the mid 5th century. (Historians, with the benefit of hindsight claim the collapse began much earlier. However, considering the strength of the Roman system -which survived a series of Emperors who ranged from simply incompetent to dangerously insane, combined with the stresses caused by centuries of near constant warfare- the claim that the Imperial collapse was rooted in an ideological failure of the Empire is somewhat extreme.) However, while Rome itself -and most of Western Europe- fell to the Huns, Goths, Visigoths and Germans, the Empire survived and thrived in the East for another thousand years. The Eastern Empire, or the Byzantine Empire, became a locus for learning, art, science, money and power; Everything Rome had stood for for the previous five hundred years. Byzantium -modern day Istanbul- became the capitol of an Empire that straddled Eastern Europe, Anatolia and part of Asia and endured as Christianity replaced the old Roman Pantheon and the Barbarians who had obliterated the Western Empire became the kings of Medieval Europe. The original our Byzantine Cross Ring is based on probably dates to the 8th or 9th century (A.D.) and was made at a time when the Emperors hired Viking mercenaries as their personal guard, the Hagia Sophia was already old and Byzantium was so wealthy even the massive underground cisterns beneath the capitol looked like a palace to visiting westerners.