The Roman civilization was an early human civilization in Europe which originated in Rome and came to dominate the continent as a major power. The Roman Empire eventually split in two under the weight of Germanic invasions, but while the western half collapsed in the 5th century, the eastern portion continued to endure for a millennium. This Eastern Roman Empire, known historiographically as the Byzantine Empire, only fell in 1453 to the Ottoman Empire.
Even after its fall, the Romans' has had a lasting, profound legacy on European culture. The laws of European countries and that of the United States were modelled after that of the Roman government. Although the polytheistic Romans initially persecuted the Christians who migrated from the Levant, the conversion of the emperor Constantine I set off the eventual Christianization of all of Europe. In the 15th century, Italian scholars seeking to recover the knowledge and culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans ignited an intellectual and artistic movement known as the Renaissance.