Roman Empire had been divided between the two sons of
the Emperor Theodosius, Malta and its islands came under
the Empire of the East which had its capital in remote
Byzantium (modern day Istanbul). Very little is known
of Maltese history regarding the four centuries starting
from around the year 400 AD. This was the period of
the break-up of the old Roman Empire, the time when
Vandals and Goths carried all before them in Spain and
in North Africa and, indeed, on the Italian mainland,
the City of Rome itself was taken.
The Byzantines, however, were more successful in warding
off the attacks of the barbarians largely because of
their powerful navy. About the middle of the 6th century
the lands under Byzantine domination were organized
into a series of military provinces or Themes.