The largest building in the cities of the Western Roman Empire was the arena, where the Romans held their gladiatorial combats. The largest building in the cities of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) was the place of worship.
The Byzantines were not interested in watching gladiators kill each other in the arena, and for this they were often branded as effeminate by their Western counterparts. This indicates that the Western Romans were brawny (gladiatorial) and the Byzantines were brainy (theistic).
The Byzantine Empire had its Renaissance between the ninth to the eleventh centuries, three centuries earlier than the Western Roman Empire. It can be argued that the Byzantine Renaissance was the fountainhead of the Renaissance in Western Europe.