The Byzantine Empire was a continuance of the Roman Empire. Saint Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, transferred the capital city from Rome to Constantinople in 330 AD. Soon the emperors realised that it would be better to establish two poles of power (one in Italy and one that would remain in Constantinople). The western part fell into the hands of the German tribes. The eastern was christianized (as happened, actually, with the western part, as well), but Greek language and culture played a crucial role in transforming its character, due to the fact that Greeks were dominant there. It became the medieval Greek empire. The term "Byzantine" is, in fact, an anachronism, because what we call "Byzantines" continued to call themselves as "Romans". It refers to the ancient Greek colony "Byzantium", which was established by Megara (a town near Athens) and existed before the erection of Constantinople. The term became popular during the Renaissance period and was established by German and French scholars.