The inhabitants of the Eastern Roman territories, from 300 BC onward (that today, we incorrectly call Byzantines), used to call themselves Romans and their empire was known as The Roman Empire, or at least as The Eastern Roman Empire, or Nova Roma. The terms: “Byzantium”, “Byzantine Empire”, or “Greek Empire” were invented in the 16th century by Hieronymus Wolf a German historian who tried to legitimize Charlemagne -the Frankish king of the German tribes- who usurped the old titles and established the German “Holy Roman Empire” on December, 25th, 800. That new state was a forced confederacy and -according to Voltaire- it was “Neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire”. It was just a union of rivaling and mismatched European principalities, baronies and marginal territories, inhabited mostly by illiterate people, who did not really enjoy neither civil nor even the basic human rights.
During the age of the original Roman Empire (which was prevented from falling by Constantine I, in the 330s) its multinational inhabitants, from East to West and North to South, enjoyed some relative peace and prosperity and a somewhat sophisticated life style, which was a product of the rather ethnically tolerant Greco-Roman civilization.