We provide the answer from the ‘Preface’ of the book “A History of the Byzantine State and Society”, by Warren Treadgold.
“But why, I am sometimes asked, should anyone who is not Greek care about Byzantium? First, Byzantium shaped and passed on Christian, Roman, and Greek traditions, including Christian theology, Roman law, and the Greek classics, that still influence modern life everywhere. Byzantine traditions have had their most powerful effect on Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe, a part of the world that all of us have much more to hear from, for better or worse. Another reason for studying the Byzantines is that despite a similar background they produced a civilization often strikingly unlike that of modern Western Europe and America. As a conservative, religious, and not very materialistic society, Byzantium had weaknesses corresponding to Western strengths, and strengths corresponding to Western weaknesses. Though in its politics Byzantium often resembled a Middle Eastern dictatorship, neither the West nor anyone else has matched it in maintaining a single state and society for so long, over a wide area inhabited by heterogeneous peoples. So Byzantine history helps explain why we are as we are, and how we might be different. Some of us also find it fascinating”
Research-Selection: Anastasius Philoponus