Later, during the Enlightenment, as the West moved to exclude religion from politics, the Byzantines were held up as the prime example of “caesaropapism” under the mistaken belief that the Byzantine emperor ruled as both king and pope, with no separation of church and state.

As Western political thought evolved, more faults were found in the Byzantine model.

The empire lacked a written constitution with enumerated rights, separation of powers, democratic procedures, or any other explicit limits on the authority of the emperor, who seemed to rule by divine right as an absolute monarch.