Byzantine? Eastern Roman Empire or just Rome? the debate over what the reminants of the Roman Empire should be called is a behind-the-scenes discussion that occurs in many a history book.
Those that argue Byzantium is the correct name, often assert this on the basis that the Roman empire changes dramatically by the dawn of the new millenium. From changing the language to Greek, to becoming Christian and bringing in varoius new administration systems indicates that this was no longer the empire that dominated antiquity, rather a rump continuation. This does the Empire disservice, and at least, as far as I encounter it, the name rather agitates me. Those living within the Empire until the fourteenth century certianly did not consider themselves to be anything but Roman (or Rhomaioi in Greek).
Nor had the dramatic changes the Empire experienced not seen precidence in the past. The Romans of the 3rd Century BC were nothing like those of the Roman Empire in the era of Diocletian in the 3rd Century AD, yet we still give them the curtiousy of the right title.
What links all of Roman history is a single thread of connectivity back to, if mythology is to be believed, a settlement on a hill in Latinum. If they considered being ‘Roman’ important to them, that should not be forgotten, and its imperitive that historians do the same, less we ignore important aspects of History.