What if the Byzantine Empire Reunited Today?
Last updated: Friday November 26th, 2021
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The Byzantine Empire was practically the largest and most powerful empire of its time and is still widely regarded as one of the most significant in history, today. At its territorial peak in the year 555AD, the empire controlled a huge portion of the known world at the time and nearly dominated the entire Mediterranean Sea, stretching all the way from modern-day Spain in the west, all the way to modern-day Syria in the east. However, like all empires, the Golden Age for the Byzantines didn't last forever and gradually it began to lose the power and influence it once had in control by major world events like the Black Death of the Middle Ages and other invasions from outsiders, until finally, in the 1453, the Ottoman Turks sieged its capital, Constantinople, marking the end of the empire, which in the end, lasted a whopping 1,131 years. But what if it reunited today?
Population and Land
So the first thing we need to think about a reunited Byzantine Empire is the population and land that it would control. For starters, a total of 36 different modern-day countries would lose all or some of their territory to the empire: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican City. 23 of these would be located in Europe, 8 would be in Asia, while the remaining 5 would be in Africa.
Due to so many countries making it up, the empire would have a massive land area, at around 1,040,000 Square miles (2,700,000 Sq km). This would easily be enough to make it the 10th largest country in the world, larger than some other big countries like an independent Algeria (2,381,000 Sq km) and DR Congo (2,344,000 Sq km), but slightly smaller than Kazakhstan (1,052,000 Sq km) and Argentina (1,073,000 Sq km).
As well as a massive land area, the Byzantine Empire would also have a huge population, standing at 384 Million, which would be enough to make it the 3rd most populous country in the world, even putting the population of the United States (331 Million) and Indonesia (273 Million) to shame, but, of course, still well behind the gargantuan mammoths of India (1.38 Billion) and China (1.44 Billion). Egypt would be the most populous country within the empire, with a massive population alone of 102 Million, accounting for nearly 1/3 of its entire population.
The Byzantine Empire would also boast some significant and very big cities within its borders, housing huge populations and cultures within them. The capital city of the empire would most likely be Istanbul, in modern-day Turkey, as not only was it its historic capital back in 555AD, but is also still one of the most significant hubs in its area today, with a population of 16,200,000. Despite this, however, Cairo, in Egypt, would be the biggest city with a population of 21,500,000, slightly larger than Istanbul's. Here would be the rest of the top 10 biggest urban areas in the empire:
- Cairo (21,500,000)
- Istanbul (16,200,000)
- Milan (6,150,000)
- Alexandria (5,950,000)
- Amman (5,700,000)
- Ankara (5,150,000)
- Naples (4,150,000)
- Algiers (4,030,000)
- Damascus (3,850,000)
- Rome (3,500,000)
Money and GDP
Similar to its population and land, a reunited Byzantine Empire would have a big economy, bringing us to the next topic. In total, the Nominal GDP of the empire would stand at around a whopping $4.382 Trillion. This would be enough to put it in 4th place, in terms of Nominal GDP, beating up other huge economies like Germany ($4.319 Trillion), the United Kingdom ($3.124 Trillion) and India ($3.049 Trillion), but significantly behind Japan ($5.378 Trillion) and China ($16.64 Trillion).
Despite having a huge economy, the empire wouldn't have such a sustainable Nominal GDP Per Capita, mainly due to some quite impoverished areas within it like Syria, Egypt and a few others. Taking all of this into consideration, the average yearly income for the average Byzantine citizen would be $11,411, which would still be just above the Global Average of $11,339 and ahead of the conditions in Bulgaria ($11,321) and Nauru ($10,125), but poorer than the conditions in Malaysia ($11,604) and an independent Russia ($11,654).
The Byzantine Empire would also control a portion of the world's oil reserves, mainly located in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa, which would boost its status to a major oil exporter around the world. This would also most probably become its largest export too. In addition to this, the empire would also find two of the most important trade routes and chokepoints in the world in possession, the Bosporus Strait and the Suez Canal, which would both undoubtedly be of vital significance to it.
Religion and Ethnic Groups
The next topic we need to think about a reunited Byzantine Empire is the religious and ethnic groups prevailing within its borders.
Starting off with Religion, Islam would be the most followed faith in it with the majority of the population at 70%, split between 58% Sunni and 9% Shia, adhering to it. Christianity would be the second largest religion in the empire, collectively representing 18%, split between 14% Catholic and 4% Orthodox. Judaism would be the last major religion prevalent within its borders, at 2.3%, while the final 9.7% of the population would be a mix of Atheists, other irreligious people and religions with only a tiny following.
Focusing on Ethnic Groups now, Arabs would be the largest ethnicity prevalent within the empire representing just under half of the population at 46%. Turks would be next at 16%, while Italians would be slightly less at 14%. This would be followed by Kurds at 3.1%, Greeks at 2.5%, Bulgarians at 1.8% and Castilians at 1.3%. The final 17.3% of the population would be a mix of various other tiny ethnicities within the Byzantine Empire.
Purple = Christianity
Green = Islam
Light Blue = Judaism
Grey = Atheism
Continuing off its demographics, the languages of a reunited Byzantine Empire would also be a interesting topic to consider. Like its Ethnic Groups, Arabic would also be the most spoken language in its border with just about 43% of the population natively speaking it. Turkish would be next at 20%, which would be closely trailed by Italian at 14%, Kurdish at 2.6%, Greek at 2.4% and Hebrew at 1.5%. The final 16.5% of the population would be a mix of many languages with only a tiny speaking in it.
One specific official language of the empire would be difficult to hypothesize but I predict that there would be a few official languages based on the most spoken, in this case, Turkish, Italian and Arabic, similar to the current situation in South Africa where there are 10 different official languages.
Finally, the last topic we need to think about the Byzantine Empire is its military. Starting with manpower, the empire would possess a huge 1,834,650 active-duty personnel which would give it the 4th largest force in the world, even larger than some other formidable militaries like North Korea (1,280,000 troops) and Russia (1,014,000 troops), but slightly smaller than the United States (1,388,100 troops) and India (1,455,550 troops)'s numbers. In addition to this, it would also possess an extra 1,147,350 troops placed in reserves bringing its army to a total of 2,982,000.
The budget to fund this enormous military would also be staggering, standing at around $64.01 Billion, or 1.4% of the empire's entire Nominal GDP. This would be enough to place it as the 5th highest budget in the world, larger than either Saudi Arabia ($61.9 Billion) or France's ($50.1 Billion) budgets, but smaller than Russia ($65.1 Billion) and India's ($71.1 Billion).
A reunited Byzantine Empire may also possess Nuclear weapons, inheriting all of Israel's apparent arsenal of what is said to be between 80 and 400 warheads, which would roughly be the amount of nukes at its disposal too.
Brazilian Empire | A united CANZUK | Confederate States of America | Qing Dynasty
And finally, that brings us to the end of this part of the series. If you have any other new suggestions for any empires you want me to cover, that I have not yet, then please let me know in the comments. But for now, I would like to thank you all so much for reading and goodbye! :)
A united CANZUK | 6 votes | 1st Place
Confederate States of America | 5 votes | 2nd Place
Brazilian Empire | 3 votes | 3rd Place
Qing Dynasty | 1 vote | 4th Place
Amazing blog, like all the others in the series! :D
My vote goes to the CSA (MG please don't kill me)
I'm sure MG won't be that harsh on you lol
reality : Illegal
👏 👏 👏 👏
I’m trying to keep this comment compact. I may have to use the emergency word to describe this series
@ZooTuber, Yes lol. Even in one day I already have 30 notifications. I'll add your vote to the polls :)
Kãi, kaibona kulai KONDZRU.
Can you understand that lol?
I vel'lekusatone, ic'ya'k paca!
Kãi, kaibona kulai KONDZRU.
Can you understand that lol?
I vel'lekusatone, ic'ya'k paca!
Translation: Fifth! My first comment in another language will be in Naturian! Now you can't use translator! But this blog is very great! The Byzantines were a great empire, but I don't know much about them. It would be very interesting if they reunited! I liked seeing the statistics.
Anyway, I want CANZUK.
And I almost forgot, here is a song!
Sabba specst Aficiobaasaa! Aficiobaasaa ist badi osan ift tu specst Ingles, Dwitsches, Sanskrit, Hindbaasaa, Urdes arre todal Pulikates. Asli ich ilan i'lig konstruksui baasaa hus di srasanik baasaa!
Translation: Naturian is better! In Naturian there is English, Telugu, Hindi, and Spanish! It only looks hard because of all the languages that contribute to it. But I like Aficionadoan too :)
Ahi is yes in Naturian
@Thread, I'll add your vote to the polls :)
Incredible. Just incredible.
I'll go for...Brazilian Empire.
Copied that from Translate, not sure if that is correct.
For the first time the comment section on a BGG blog is so dynamic! I think I'd go for CANZUK. :)
What if the Earth Reunited Today?
@Aficionado, That's actually not a bad idea lol. But I'm definitely going to have to change it the blog titles permanently to "What if ___ United Today?" lol :)
(That’s actually a Brazilian joke, and it keeps, keeps, keeps...)
E o gato só vai
vomitarregurgitar, se vocês votarem pelo Império Brasileiro. AVE IMPÉRIO!
With a humongous area of 18 million km2, it would become the largest country. It would have a population of around 136 million.
With its capital at London and the official language being English. There's certainly no doubt about it. The Head of State will be the Queen, as she is already ruling over these "realms". The demographics: mostly English and Irish, some Scottish and Welsh as well. A huge South Asian population and relatively smaller East Asian one. Africans too! And lastly, others like the Maori, Australian and Canadian first nations.
CANZUK is an acronym for a proposed alliance comprising Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as part of an international organisation or confederation similar in scope to the former European Economic Community. This includes increased trade, foreign policy co-operation, military co-operation and mobility of citizens between the four states, tied together by speaking English. The idea is lobbied by the advocacy group CANZUK International and largely supported by British conservatives. Other supporters include think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute, the Henry Jackson Society, Bruges Group and politicians from the four countries.