Defenders of Europe: The Byzantine Army 610-1071 A.D.
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But it had far greater institutional weaknesses than the East.
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What is ultimately surprising is not that the Western Empire collapsed, but that the Eastern Empire survived. Imperial crisis, — In , Alaric and his Visigoths posed a threat to the Roman East and demanded high office and rewards. Stilicho, magister militum , used Alaric as a threat to pressure the court of Constantinople into concessions.
Stilicho aspired to an imperial marriage and a regency over both emperors, rather than imperial defense. Stilicho, in Greece and Italy, failed to destroy Alaric to preserve the Gothic king as a possible future ally in a bid for power. Alaric, thwarted from high office in the Roman army, played the role of king of the Visigoths and erstwhile rebel.
By rebellion, Alaric sought to extort from Rome arms, horses, and supplies. By campaigns in the Balkans, Alaric armed his tribal army and forged a Visigothic nation. In , Alaric migrated to Italy, exploiting the clash between the western and eastern Roman courts. Stilicho, facing a Visigothic threat in Italy and rising opposition at Ravenna, redeployed western field armies to Italy. By design, Stilicho failed to destroy Alaric in northern Italy.
The Visigoths were settled in southern Gaul as an independent kingdom, in , thereby initiating the breakup of the Roman West. Disintegration of the western Roman Empire: Between and , the imperial government had lost control of the western provinces and ruled over only the Mediterranean core of Italy, Africa, and the Mediterranean littoral and islands. Valentinian III , guided by his mother Galla Placidia, was likewise a pawn of Aetius, magister militum and successor to Stilicho. Aetius premised control of the western provinces by alliance with the Huns to check German federates.
Aetius could not prevent the Vandal conquest of Africa in In , Pope Leo I was perceived as convincing Attila to withdraw. Valentinian III was too weak to profit from the disintegration of the Hun Empire; his death in ended legitimacy in the West. Phantom emperors reigned by sufferance of German generalissmos in , but the court of Ravenna controlled little beyond Italy.
The deposition of Romulus Augustus by Odoacer ended the puppet emperors in the West; henceforth, Odoacer ruled Italy with the blessings of the eastern Emperor Zeno. The barbarians of the fifth century never threatened the heartland of the Roman East; imperial resources were intact. Alaric and his Visigoths, and later Attila and the Huns, plundered the Balkans, but turned their armies west.
The Shah of Sassanid Persia was preoccupied defending his northern frontiers. The eastern court was able to meet the costs of survival in the early fifth century despite uninspired imperial leadership. Prefect Anthemius fortified the land side of Constantinople with the Theodosian Walls in to make the city impregnable.
Theodosius I paid heavy tributes in gold to Attila and still amassed a huge reserve. Marcian ended tribute to the Huns and reformed the imperial army, recruiting warlike provincials as Isaurians in place of Germans. In and , the eastern court sent significant military aid to the West. The eastern ruling classes, in response to the crisis of the fifth century, redefined their identity as Orthodox citizens of the New Rome and accepted the loss of the West.
The western German kings were regarded as reigning as agents of Zeno Zeno and Anastasius I saw reconciliation with the Monophysites as urgent. Readings: Baynes, N. Bury, J. Ferrill, A. What were the respective resources and strategic situations of the eastern and western Roman Empires at the death of Theodosius I ? How critical was imperial leadership in the crises of ?
Why did the eastern court fear Stilicho? Did Stilicho bungle the imperial defense by his dealings with Alaric? How did migrations within the Roman Empire forge the Visigoths into a nation? Why did Honorius commission the Visigoths to restore order in the West? By what stages did the western Roman Empire fragment in ? At what point did collapse become inevitable? Did Aetius offer a plausible policy? What were the aims of King Attila of the Huns? What was determined by the Battle of Chalons ?
Why did the eastern Roman Empire survive? How important was the position of Constantinople? Could the eastern emperors have prevented the collapse of the West? A professional army and a full treasury promised success. In , Justinian crushed dissident aristocrats in the Nike Revolt and negotiated a peace with Shah Chosroes I of Persia that released the field armies for the West. Justinian adroitly isolated the Vandal kingdom of Africa, then the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy.
He planned swift campaigns of reconquest, followed by a return to Roman rule and taxation. In his expectations, Justinian erred, and so condemned his empire to decades of war and suffering. Justinian , last of the great Roman emperors, defined the future institutions of the medieval Byzantine Empire. Justinian viewed himself as the new Constantine, and he intended to restore the Christian Roman order to the entire Mediterranean world. Justinian, a Latin-speaking Illyrian provincial, was Roman in outlook and Orthodox in faith.
He reigned as co-Augustus with his uncle Justin I and succeeded to the throne as a mature, experienced ruler in His policy of restoration included recovery of the western provinces, union in the imperial church, conversion of the barbarians, codification of Roman law, and promotion of Christian arts and aesthetics. Justinian surrounded himself with a brilliant court and inspired greatness and loyalty in his ministers and generals. Finance ministers John of Cappadocia and Peter Barsymes funded imperial ventures by slashing budgets, manipulating currency, and devising new taxes primarily aimed at the privileged classes.
His generals Belisarius and Narses led a small but tough professional army based on cataphracti heavy cavalry and bucellarii private retainers in stunning victories over Persians, Vandals, and Goths. The Mediterranean world in the sixth century: Viewed from his throne, Justinian still beheld a late Roman order across the Mediterranean. His task was an apparently simple one of returning the lost imperial provinces to ordered rule. But western European kings were devolving power into private and local hands and lacked the means to maintain more than the facade of Roman political and social institutions.
The Roman order had disintegrated at varying rates since the late fifth century. In Anglo-Saxon England, Roman institutions had all but vanished. Clovis , king of the Franks, had imposed his hegemony over Gaul by an adroit alliance of his Merovingian house with the Catholic Church and Gallo-Roman landed classes.
In Italy, Theoderic , the enlightened Arian Ostrogothic king, had overthrown Odoacer, and reigned with the cooperation of the Roman Senate and the papacy. The Visigoths ruled as an Arian military caste over Spain. Byzantine emperors since Marcian could not reverse the decline of the Roman West and looked to their eastern provinces. Zeno recognized the Germanic kings, and he used diplomacy to destroy foreign foes, pitting Theoderic against Odoacer in Italy in Anastasius thwarted Persian ambitions by subsidies and diplomacy. Zeno and Anastasius, in effect, endorsed the Monophysite creed at the price of schism with Rome and religious disorder in Constantinople.
Imperial peace ensured prosperity of eastern cities. Emperors steadily restored a professional army and navy. Justinian in power: At his accession, Justinian, who inherited a Persian war from his uncle Justin , reversed imperial priorities henceforth to pursue a reconquest of the West.
Battle of Lalakaon
Justinian pursued a defensive eastern policy based on the Euphrates frontier and the client Georgian kingdoms in Iberia and Lazica, whereas the Persians controlled Armenia and the strategic fortresses of northern Mesopotamia. Shah Chosroes I aimed to blackmail Justinian or plunder the Roman East while imperial armies were engaged in the West. Justinian sacrificed eastern security for his western wars. Justinian had to master his capital, for he faced dangerous aristocratic opponents who patronized the circus factions, crucial to the control of Constantinople.
Justinian, given his lowly origins and his notorious wife, Theodora, was outrageously unacceptable to the Byzantine nobility. The Secret History of Procopius reports the social prejudices and resentment of the aristocrats, who were smarting from taxes and promotion of able but humble ministers.
The patrician nephews Anastasius and Areobindus, husband of the imperial princess Anicia Juliana, were potential rivals. Constantinople was crucial as the ceremonial capital of the empire and, in January , Justinian crushed the Nike Revolt, staged by the nobility, and secured his throne and rebuilt his capital. Readings: Baker, John W. Downey, G. Evans, J. Honore, T.
Moorhead, J. Procopius, The Secret History, translated by G. Williamson, New York: Penguin Viking, How did Justinian play a decisive role in shaping the future of the Byzantine Empire? What conditions of the Mediterranean world in the sixth century would lead Justinian to conclude that restoration of the Roman world was possible? How did conditions vary in the former Roman West? What were the relative strengths of East Rome and Persia in the sixth century? Why did Justinian and Theodora, facing unpopularity and social prejudice, pursue policies objectionable to the imperial aristocracy?
How did Justinian use the Nike Revolt to crush opposition? Did Theodora and Belisarius deserve credit for the suppression of the rebels? Justinian also realized that the Persian Shah Chosroes I , bought off by the Perpetual Peace, could be expected to capitalize on Roman reverses in the West. In , Belisarius overthrew the Vandal kingdom, but Africa proved harder to rule than to conquer. Mutinies and Moorish rebellions rocked the African provinces for over a decade — Against the Ostrogoths, Belisarius initially scored swift victories, but King Wittigis pursued a war of attrition.
Although Wittigis surrendered in , Belisarius was compelled to return to the East with the outbreak of a Persian war The Goths rallied under Totila , and the ensuing desultory fighting ruined Italy. The strategy of reconquest: Justinian erred in his strategy of a rapid occupation of the entire Roman West, because his armies conquered only Africa, Italy, and southern Spain after prolonged, desultory fighting.
Justinian had limited information on the former Roman West. Imperial sources of information were based on reports of exiled Catholic clergy or aristocrats, emissaries, and merchants. Justinian, based on reports and history, was led to believe that the Romans in the West would welcome return of imperial rule. Justinian failed to perceive the erosion of imperial institutions, privatizing of local government in the West, and the decline of long-distance trade and cities.
Justinian counted on swift victories, paid for by the surplus inherited from Anastasius and current taxes in the East, but lengthy wars could undermine his finances. The crack imperial field army, 15, to 20, men, based on cataphracti heavy cavalry , was expected to end the war by decisive battle rather than attrition. The imperial fleet of dromons, rigged with lateen sails, dominated the sea and ensured imperial logistics. Desultory fighting and the plague ruined the West; rapacious imperial soldiers and corrupt officials alienated western provincials.
Reconquest of North Africa : Belisarius overthrew Vandal rule in North Africa by two decisive battles within four months, but mutinies and Moorish rebellions drained imperial resources. Justinian exploited a succession crisis in the Vandal kingdom when Gelimer overthrew Hilderic Gelimer faced Moorish revolts, persecuted Catholics, and broke with the Ostrogothic and Visigothic courts.
Justinian diplomatically isolated Gelimer; Belisarius strategically caught Gelimer and the Vandal fleet off guard. Belisarius maneuvered Gelimer into decisive battles at Ad Decimum and Tricamaron in and secured Carthage and Gelimer. In , Belisarius and the field army were recalled for service in Italy. Roman institutions in Africa were unable to support the restoration of imperial administration of the African limes. The work of restoration by Solomon was cut short by the Easter Mutiny , Moorish incursions, and outbreak of the plague Justinian framed a similar strategy, exploiting the succession crisis in the dynasty of Theodoric to allow Belisarius to attack a divided foe.
The Queen Amalasuntha, who had acted as regent for her young son, Athalaric , was overthrown by her husband, Theodahad The Roman Senate and papacy were alienated from the Gothic monarchy and looked to Constantinople. Belisarius conducted a masterful series of campaigns in that nearly won the Italian peninsula, but he was recalled to face a Persian invasion. The conquest of Sicily and occupation of Rome promised deceptively easy success. King Wittigis , elected by the Goths, pursued a strategy of attrition and put Rome under siege , compelling Justinian to pour reinforcements and money into Italy.
Belisarius resumed the offensive and tricked Wittigis into surrender, thereby earning the distrust of Justinian Belisarius was recalled before the field army could secure northern Italy, allowing King Totila — to quickly recover the region. Rebellions in Africa, the Second Persian War, and plague delayed an imperial reconquest.
The plague in particular proved a demographic disaster. Despite financial crisis and defeat, Justinian was committed to reconquering Italy if he were to keep his throne. Belisarius, with limited forces, defended Rome against Totila in a second siege The fall of Rome to Totila after a third siege compelled Belisarius to launch a massive expedition under Narses. This war was far more destructive than anything that happened in the fifth century. The cost of military recovery: Justinian and his empire paid a high price for a fleeting victory, and the fighting transformed the western provinces.
The western provinces required emergency administrative measures, and easterners staffed bureaucratic posts to the resentment of local aristocrats. Justinian passed the Pragmatic Sanction to restore order in Italy. Bishops and landlords assumed the roles of imperial officials in Italian cities. Rome declined to a minor town of 20,, and the Senate disappeared. The papacy emerged as the only effective power in central Italy by the pontificate of Gregory I Imperial expenditures exhausted the reserve by , and taxes in the East failed to meet the rising costs of war.
Demographic collapse resulted from the plague ; taxes fell, trade contracted, and cities declined. Desultory fighting ruined the professional field army. Justinian recruited more barbarians, but the army was reduced to , men by For a short time, at least, the empire was restored to its earlier Mediterranean dimensions. How well did Justinian comprehend conditions in the former western provinces? What were his sources of information?
Why did the reconquests of Africa and Italy prove so difficult? Did the sacrifices along the eastern frontier compromise imperial security? Was Belisarius a military genius mistreated by his emperor? What were the strengths and weaknesses of the imperial army?
What were the costs of military recovery? How did the wars of Justinian transform life in the former western provinces? What was the impact of the plague? Why did the Vandal kingdom collapse so quickly but the African provinces prove so difficult to restore to imperial rule? Why did the Goths prove tougher opponents? Had Belisarius achieved victory in Italy when he was recalled in ? Why did the Goths recover so successfully under Totila? Did Justinian needlessly prolong the fighting in Italy because of his growing distrust of Belisarius?
Rome argued for primacy and refused to renegotiate the Council of Chalcedon. Constantinople, based on the canons of Chalcedon, insisted on equality with Rome. Monophysites demanded a reversal of Chalcedon and the vindication of Alexandria. Because Justinian needed the good will of Rome for his western wars, he sought to win over Rome by a common formula, the Theophascite theology, but his policy was delayed by the fighting in Italy and a search for moderate bishops to broker a compromise.
But Justinian was thwarted by Pope Vigilius , who suffered arrest and exile rather than compromise. Monophysites, too, were dissatisfied, and the imperial church was even more bitterly divided. Christian division and imperial policy, Most viewed the dispute over the creed at Chalcedon as a division in the imperial church and believed that a common wording was theologically possible if accepted by the leading prelates.
The Patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome accepted the creed of Chalcedon. Greek-speaking Orthodox theologians based their theology on the writings of Cyril and were linked to Monophysite counterparts. The Patriarch insisted on equality with Rome canon The Patriarchate was willing to negotiate on Chalcedon. Western prelates, notably in Africa, refused to compromise on Chalcedon.
The Monophysites became committed to revising the creed of Chalcedon and rehabilitating the reputation of Dioscorus. He saw all three positions of the controversy as nuances of the same creed. In essence, Justinian had inherited the first case of ill will between Constantinople and Rome. The Acacian Schism split the eastern Orthodox and western Catholic churches in the empire over the issue of reconciliation with the Monophysites.
Zeno issued the Henoticon of Zeno , upholding the first Three Ecumenical Councils, affirming the theology of Cyril and Leo I without mention of Chalcedon, and ordering an end to theological debate. In the East, Patriarch Acacius of Constantinople accepted Henoticon , and Monophysite bishops interpreted it as imperial favor. Negotiation between Constantinople and Alexandria ensued. The schism sharpened prejudices between Greek and Latin churches.
Anastasius I promoted the Monophysite creed and clergy, leading to a clash between emperor and patriarchs of Constantinople. Orthodox riots erupted in Constantinople ; Rome and the Catholic West were alienated. Religious policy of Justinian: Justinian faced a daunting task in reconciliation, which he viewed as his Christian duty, but he needed the cooperation of Rome and the loyalty of his Monophysite subjects to realize his ambitious military schemes. Communion with Pope Hormisdas was obtained by condemning Acacius and his successors.
The admission of error by patriarch and emperor bred resentment in the Greek churches and gave the papacy a moral victory. Justin I, on papal demand, deprived Monophysite clergy of sees, thereby embittering Monophysite clergy Trained in theology, Justinian believed that a rewording of creed should produce union; he perceived the dispute in the imperial church as doctrinal. Justinian failed to account for rivalries among great sees. Justinian had few moderate clergy who were willing to broker reconciliation. Justinian made overtures to Monophysites in Theodora sought moderate clergy to work for compromise, such as Anthimus, Patriarch of Constantinople Vigilius was elected pope to effect compromise, but desultory wars in Italy postponed the Ecumenical Council.
Christianizing the Roman world: Justinian sought to eradicate heresy and idolatry and to promote the Christian message within and beyond the empire. Imperial persecution and censorship set the standard for the medieval world. Justinian applied the Theodosian laws, arresting crypto-pagans in the capital Pagan shrines were closed or converted into churches, as in Egypt.
Civil disabilities were enacted against Jews; reading the Hebrew Torah was prohibited. Laws against heretics were applied and extended. Justinian also funded missions and patronized construction of churches in his empire. Readings: Frend, W. Why did the patriarchs of the great sees find compromise over the creed so difficult after ? What were the causes of rivalry among Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria? Could a common creed have been devised for Chalcedonians and Monophysites?
How did the policies of Zeno and Anastasius I make religious reconciliation more difficult? Why did the Fifth Ecumenical Council achieve so little? How did Justinian promote a Christian empire? Why did festivals and architecture prove so effective in converting classical cities?
How did Christian holy men impress peasants? Why did peoples beyond the imperial frontier accept Christianity? Yet Christian aesthetics and letters did not end classical arts in private settings. Imperial artists decorated San Vitale at Ravenna, seat of the Byzantine governor, with the finest of mosaics.
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Decorative arts, such as metal work and ivory carving, dignified buildings and ritual. Justinian rebuilt Hagia Sophia with a magnificent pendentive dome, and it is still the greatest domed building in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia provided the model for great domed churches in the cities of the empire, which proved decisive in creating a Christian skyline in Byzantine cities and inspiring the conversion of pagans.
The creation of Christian arts and letters not only rewrote the cultural life of East Rome but also advanced Christianity to a majority faith. Outline Evolution of Christian architecture: Constantine turned the Roman basilica into a Christian church ideally suited for the performance of the mass in splendid settings. The basilican church, as a Roman imperial building, gave prominence and dignity to the new faith.
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The prototype was the Basilica Ulpia of Trajan at Rome. The basilica was made possible by Roman concrete, bricks, and vaults. The basilica was premised on an architecture of interiors to enclose space and accommodate crowds. Imperial basilican churches at Rome, Constantinople, and Treveri provided the models for bishops in provincial cities, such as Ephesus or Sardes in Asia Minor. Pagan temples were readily converted into basilican churches, as at Aphrodisias or Diocaesarea in Asia Minor.
The centrally planned churches provided the model for the creation of the domed church, with either a square or basilican floor plan. The prototype was the Pantheon of Hadrian at Rome. The architectural task was to place a dome on a square building. Saint Polyeuctus, dedication by Anicia Juliana in , was the first domed church in Constantinople. Justinian dedicated the church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus San Vitale at Ravenna had used a squinch dome. Dedicated in , Hagia Sophia has the largest dome in Istanbul today.
The niches of domed churches were symbolically decorated with the Christian message. Evolution of Christian arts: Christian artists adapted Roman floor mosaics and frescoes from decorative arts to religious iconography in churches. Figures of frescoes and mosaics were simplified and elongated to convey the message to viewers from below.
Iconography, as in the case of the mosaics of San Vitale, instructed the worshiper with a familiar story of faith, providing spiritual comfort and clear orientation. These messages of the faith cut across confessional lines, whether one adhered to Monophysite or Orthodox beliefs. The development of Christian rituals required icons and liturgical objects. Ivory and silver liturgical objects, such as diptychs or chalices, used classicizing forms to convey Christian stories.
The David plates, from the early seventh century, are among the most famous liturgical objects. Creation of the classics: Christian intellectuals between the late second and early seventh centuries created the classics in the Western tradition, thereby ensuring the survival of their pagan literary heritage. Classical letters inspired new Christian literature between the fourth and seventh centuries. Rhetoric was studied for its value in preaching, as seen in the orations of John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople.
Hagiography, such as the Life of St. Antony , was based on classical biography, but it offered Christian moral examples. Classical letters and aesthetics were fundamental to education; Christians objected when Julian legislated against Christians learning the classics. The Greek historical authors Herodotus and Thucydides provided the models for Byzantine historians, such as Procopius. Byzantine intellectuals edited and wrote commentaries on Plato. The epics of Homer and Athenian tragedies were the basis for poetic training.
Readings: Beckwith, J. Matthews, T. Rice, D. Runciman, S. How did architecture and decorative arts increase the prospects of converting pagans to Christianity? How did architects and artists adapt classical forms to the Christian message? What was the impact of the basilican church on the worshiper? What was the effect of the imperial churches at Constantinople? How was Hagia Sophia the climax of the Roman architectural achievement? How did Hagia Sophia influence subsequent building of churches?
Why did Christian Byzantines premise their education on pagan classical texts? What texts and subjects were vital for the education of a Byzantine gentleman? How did the Byzantines create the classics in the Western tradition? C A. Persecution of Christians by Nero at Rome Accession of Trajan ; height of the Roman peace pax Romana c. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch c.
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna Accession of Marcus Aurelius ; first signs of frontier stress Accession of Septimius Severus ; last stable dynasty of Rome; prosperity and widespread building programs in the Roman world Great Persecution of Trajan Accession of Aurelian; restoration of imperial unity c. Saint Antony enters an ascetic life in the Libyan desert Accession of Diocletian ; return of stability and prosperity; administrative, fiscal, and monetary reforms; inception of Dominate Late Roman Empire Diocletian creates the Tetrarchy rule by four emperors Edict of Maximum Prices Great Persecution of Christians Western army declares Constantine I emperor; outbreak of civil wars Battle of Milvian Bridge; conversion of Constantine to Christianity Saint Pachomius founds monastery at Tabennesi, Tipper Egypt Dedication of Constantinople as the Christian New Rome; shift of imperial power to the eastern provinces; birth of Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire Defeat and death of Julian on his Persian expedition; Roman surrender of strategic provinces in Mesopotamia c.
Saint Basil of Caesarea composes Asectica , rule for monastic life Battle of Adrianople; defeat and death of Valens at the hands of the Goths Theodosius I restores order by hiring federate German tribes Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople reinstates Trinity Theodosius I outlaws pagan cults and proclaims Nicene Christianity the official faith of the Roman world Alaric and the Visigoths migrate toward Italy; clash with Stilicho Migration of German tribes over Rhine; collapse of Roman northern frontiers Execution of Stilicho; end of effective leadership in the West; accession of Theodosius II as Eastern emperor Sack of Rome by Alaric; migration of Goths into southern Gaul ; Roman field army of Britain withdrawn and end of effective Roman rule Construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople Vandals conquer North Africa Promulgation of Theodosian Code Attila, King of the Huns ravages the Balkans Formula of Reunion; reconciliation of Nestorians in the Roman world Accession of Marcian ; reform of imperial army Death of Attila; collapse of the Hun Empire in central and eastern Europe Accession of Leo I; Eastern Empire has surmounted its crisis Zeno issues Henoticon in an effort to reconcile Monophysites; Acacian Schism between Rome and Constantinople Accession of Anastasius I ; fiscal and monetary reform Accession of Justin I Battle of Daras; decisive victory of Belisarius over the Persians The Gothic War; reconquest of Italy Dedication of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople Plague ravages Near East and Europe; demographic collapse Dedication of San Vitale at Ravenna The two prelates excommunicated each other in the first, Acacian, schism between the eastern and western Churches.
Bishop of Le Puy c. The most respected and objective among the leaders, his sound judgment was missed by the Crusaders after his death. Aelia Pulcheria Sister of the emperor Theodosius II and wife of the emperor Marcian , she set the role of a Christian empress.
Created Augusta in , she directed policy for her weak-willed brother and upheld Orthodox positions at Ephesus and Chalcedon Aetius, Flavizus. Aetius used the Huns as allies to check the barbarian federates that were settled in the empire until Attila invaded the Western Empire twice, in and King of the Visigoths , he was opposed by Stilicho and pressured the eastern and western courts for high command.
In migrating to Italy in , he forged the Visigothic nation, but he died soon after the sack of Rome His successor, Athaulf, with imperial permission, settled the Visigoths in Gaul. Alexander Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus Emperor, Domestic of the East and scion of a great military family, Alexius seized power and established the last effective dynasty of the Middle Byzantine state.
He restored finances, cemented relations with Venice, and regained important lands lost in western Asia Minor by the efforts of the First Crusade. At his death, the Byzantine Empire stood once again as a leading Christian state. Alexius III Emperor, This feckless Angelan emperor deposed his brother Isaac II and failed to halt imperial decline. He fled Constantinople after the initial attack by members of the Fourth Crusade.
Alexius IV Emperor, Son of Isaac II, this Angelan prince invited the Fourth Crusade to restore him to his throne; he bore immediate responsibility for the Crusader sack of Constantinople. He, along with his father, was deposed and murdered by Alexius V Ducas , who faced the final Crusader attack. Alp Arslan. Daughter of King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths in Italy , she acted as regent for her son Athalric Anastasius I Emperor, Second husband of Ariadne daughter of Leo I , he restored imperial finances and faced renewed pressure from Sassanid Persia.
He proved unpopular because of his Monophysite views, which resulted in repeated riots over religious issues in Constantinople. Andronicus II Emperor, The second Palaeologan emperor and a devout Orthodox ruler, he hired the mercenaries led by Roger Blum, the Catalan Company, to regain northwestern Asia Minor from the Ottomans. The first was the theater of war, the second configuration of its terrain.
Unlike the vast eastern plains of Syria, the Balkan Peninsula is intersected with high mountains and small valleys, with deep narrow passes in between.
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This type of terrain is particularly suitable for waging a guerilla war. That especially could refer for the period after Spercheios when Basil advanced deeper and deeper into enemy territory, where he could easily be surrounded and ambushed, or his supply lines to be cut, so that the army he led would be deprived of food and other resources needed for the successful continuation of the campaign. Because the control over a certain area or a city, as well as the loyalty of the local population from the same region were usually acquired, but also maintained, through providing allegiance from the governor of the fortress or district, this control could be easily lost in the same way.
The end result from these diplomatic activities was conquest of territory from 33 Ioannis Scylitzae, XVI. XXV, Dumbarton Oaks, , Or more accurately, they were handed over to the basileus to govern them. This internal weakening of the enemy would then seriously affect its activity on the battlefield. The Byzantine society, or rather its elite, greatly praised the victory over the enemy, or the reintegration of lost territories, when it was done without shedding Roman blood. For this purpose the Byzantine emperor first came into contact with Dioclea, the leading 35 From ideological and political point of view, with the acceptance of the Byzantine title the individual also acknowledged the Byzantine order, and thus the supreme power of the basileus.
Actually they became his subjects who were obliged to submit to his will. A, VIII. By leading a reckless and aggressive military policy the basileus would completely undermine his position, because in the eyes of his own subjects the human losses would be interpreted as a kind of divine punishment for the deflection of the Emperor from the path of righteousness. When a defeat was suffered from the enemies, this was accepted by the Byzantines as punishment for the sins they have committed in the past.
Only when the Byzantine Empire would return to the path of righteousness it will be again victorious. This belief was widely accepted, even by those who war and warfare was an everyday profession. If the Byzantine emperor achieved "noble" victory on the battlefield he could then be presented before his subjects as a ruler who acted as protector of the Christians and cared for their welfare.
Also, through the use of these non-military diplomatic measures he was probably trying to portrayed himself as humane and compassionate ruler, who has forgiven the "hostile" actions and accepted them back seen according to the Byzantine perception , the subjects who illegally "rebelled" against him. Also see in: Whittow, The Making of Byzantium, The sources indicate that certain success was achieved because the Venetian Doge on his title dux Veneticorum added et Dalmatianorum, and his fleet by the end of the tenth and early eleventh century operated through the Adriatic Sea.
Later on, the Byzantine emperor managed to gain as an ally the Hungarian King Stephen, who militarily helped him in his conquest of the territories ruled by Samuel and his successors. Even though it seems like a construction of the author, the event which occurred in Prilapon after the Battle of Kleidion indicates enough the effect that this non- 37 Because at this time the Venetian fleet already sailed through the Adriatic, probably the imperial vessels that were witnessed by Skylitzes and patrolled around the city were one and the same, i.
Venetian ships under the flag of the basileus. It seems that the marriage of the future Doge of Venice Giovanni Orseolo with the daughter of Argyros sister of the future emperor Romanus III Argyros , the economic benefits of Venetian merchants in Constantinople, as well as the title given to the Doge Pietro II, actually were diplomatic means that the Byzantines used to win over, but also to reward the loyalty of Venice. The reason for the intensification of the Byzantine- Venetian contacts were not only of economic nature, or the Saracen and German threat in southern Italy that existed in this period their interconnection and consistence do not allow them to be characterized only as a coincidence , but it seems that they were also established because of the political situation in the Balkans and the increasing influence that Samuel had on the Adriatic coast through his control of the city of Dyrrachion.
There are various dates regarding the military involvement of King Stefan in the Byzantine fight against Samuel. See in: Gyula Moravcsik, Byzantium and the Magyars, According to the Byzantine ideological belief this act actually represented a legal and humane punishment, an act of Christian charity from the basileus, used only against those who were believed to be his subjects the population within the Empire and its dependencies and tried to defy his will, or usurp his legitimate rule.
The war in the Balkans continued with the same ferociousness. It is indisputable that against Samuel Basil used military force. These diplomatic means were implemented according to the military-political situation and the current needs on the battlefield. When Samuel's power was on the rise they were either ineffective, or there was no opportunity for their implementation.
But when the situation has changed in favor of Byzantium we can see frequent use of these non-military means that not only complemented, but sometimes completely replaced the military activities of the imperial forces on the battlefield. Despite the militant rhetoric that exists in the sources, Basil was probably not as warlike and brutal as they want to show him, but certainly he was also not that peaceful.
He was not an Emperor who achieved his political agenda only through use of weapons and spilling of blood. In fact, he was a ruler who used in his foreign policy every possible means that could bring glory to the Empire. Volume 2 Add to Cart. Have an Access Token? Enter your access token to activate and access content online. Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token. Have Institutional Access? Forgot your password?
PDF Preview. Christian-Muslim Relations. Volume 2 Series: Christian-Muslim Relations. Table of Contents.