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 remarkably detailed composite portraits, an international collection of distinguished scholars has created a startlingly clear vision of the Byzantines and their social world. Paupers, peasants, soldiers, teachers, bureaucrats, clerics, emperors, and saints—all are vividly and authentically presented in the context of ordinary Byzantine life. No comparable volume exists that so fascinatingly recovers from the past the men and women of Byzantium, their culture and their lifeways, and their strikingly modern worldview.