By 285 CE the Roman Empire had grown so vast that it was no longer feasible to govern all the provinces from the central seat of Rome. The Emperor Diocletian divided the empire into halves with the Eastern Empire governed out of Byzantium (later Constantinople) and the Western Empire governed from Rome.
Scholars think Hernán Cortés brought the seeds in 1519 with the intent of the fruits being used ornamentally in gardens. By the 1700s, aristocrats started eating tomatoes, but they were convinced the fruits were poison because people would die after eating them. In reality, the acidity from the tomatoes brought out lead in their pewter plates, so they’d died of lead poisoning.