In the second half of the tenth century, Byzantium embarked on a series of spectacular conquests, first in the southeast against the Arabs, then in Bulgaria, and finally in the Georgian and Armenian lands. By the early eleventh century, the empire was the most powerful state in the Mediterranean. It was also expanding economically, demographically, and, in time, intellectually as well. Yet this imperial project came to a crashing collapse fifty years later when political disunity, fiscal mismanagement, and defeat at the hands of the Seljuks in the east and the Normans in the west not only spelled the end of Byzantium's historical dominance of southern Italy, the Balkans, Caucasus, and northern Mesopotamia, but also threatened its very survival. Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood offers new interpretations of key topics relevant to Medieval history. The narrative is in 3 parts: the first covers the years 955-1025, a period of imperial conquest and consolidation of authority under the emperor Basil. The second (1025-1059) examines the dispersal of centralized authority in Constantinople as well as the emergence of new foreign enemies (Pechenegs, Seljuks, Normans). The last section chronicles the spectacular collapse of the empire during the second half of the eleventh century, concluding with a look at the First Crusade and its consequences for Byzantine relations with the powers of Western Europe.