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While the western, Latin speaking part of the Roman Empire fell to the barbarians in the sixth century, the Greek east continued intact until the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. Much of the legacy of Greek culture was transmitted to the west via the Byzantine Empire. In particular, contact with the Byzantine Empire during the Crusades, and the subsequent flight of Greek scholars to Italy, were an essential part of the revival of Greek learning that marked the Renaissance.
Orthodox Christianity also evolved primarily in Constantinople, and is still the dominant Christian denomination in Greece, Russia, and the Balkans.
Another major contribution of the Byzantine Empire was the development of the Cyrillic alphabet and conversion of Russia to Orthodox Christianity, something in part due to two Byzantine Orthodox monks, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who were missionaries to the Slavic peoples.
The great mosaics of churches in Ravenna, Venice, and Istanbul are part of the artistic legacy of Byzantium.
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