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19 janvier 2013 6 19 /01 /janvier /2013 05:13

Byzantine Empire

The accession of Basil I to the throne in 867 marks the beginning of the Macedonian dynasty, which would rule for the next two and a half centuries. This dynasty included some of the most able emperors in Byzantium's history, and the period is one of revival and resurgence. The Empire moved from defending against external enemies to reconquest of territories formerly lost. In addition to a reassertion of Byzantine military power and political authority, the period under the Macedonian dynasty is characterised by a cultural revival in spheres such as philosophy and the arts. Toshiba Satellite M30X-S171ST Laptop CPU Cooling Fan There was moreover a conscious effort to restore the brilliance of the period before the Arab and Slavic invasions, and the Macedonian era has been dubbed by some scholars as the "Golden Age" of Byzantium.[70] Though the Empire was significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it had regained significant strength, as the remaining territories were less geographically dispersed and more politically, economically, and culturally integrated. HP 532614-001 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan In the early years of Basil I's reign, the Arab raids on the coasts of Dalmatia were successfully repelled, and the region once again came under secure Byzantine control. This enabled Byzantine missionaries to penetrate to the interior and convert the Serbs and the principalities of modern-day Herzegovina and Montenegro to Orthodox Christianity.[71] The attempt to retake Malta however ended disastrously when the local population sided with the Arabs and massacred the Byzantine garrison. By contrast, the Byzantine position in Southern Italy was gradually consolidated so that by 873 Barihad once again come under Byzantine rule,[71] SONY Vaio VGN-SZ4VWN/X Laptop CPU Cooling Fan and most of Southern Italy would remain in the Empire for the next 200 years.[72] On the more important eastern front, the Empire rebuilt its defences and went on the offensive. The Paulicianswere defeated and their capital of Tephrike (Divrigi) taken, while the offensive against the Abbasid Caliphate began with the recapture of Samosata.[71]HP 532613-001 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Under Michael's son and successor, Leo VI the Wise, the gains in the east against the now weak Abbasid Caliphate continued. However, Sicily was lost to the Arabs in 902 and in 904 Thessaloniki, the Empire's second city, was sacked by an Arab fleet. The weakness of the Empire in the naval sphere was quickly rectified, so that a few years later a Byzantine fleet had re-occupied Cyprus, lost in the 7th century, and also stormed Laodicea in Syria. Despite this revenge, the Byzantines were still unable to strike a decisive blow against the Muslims, who inflicted a crushing defeat on the imperial forces when they attempted to regain Crete in 911.[73] ASUS X51L Laptop CPU Cooling Fan The death of the Bulgarian tsar Simeon I in 927 severely weakened the Bulgarians, allowing the Byzantines to concentrate on the eastern front.[74] Melitene was permanently recaptured in 934, and in 943 the famous general John Kourkouas continued the offensive in Mesopotamia with some noteworthy victories, which culminated in the reconquest of Edessa. The latter was especially celebrated for the return to Constantinople of the venerated Mandylion, a relic with the purported portrait of Christ on it.[75]HP Pavilion dv9338eu Laptop CPU Cooling Fan The soldier-emperors Nikephoros II Phokas (reigned 963–969) and John I Tzimiskes (969–976) expanded the empire well into Syria, defeating the emirs of north-west Iraq. The great city of Aleppo was taken by Nikephoros in 962 and in 963 the Arabs were decisively expelled from Crete. The recapture of Crete put an end to Arab raids in the Aegean, allowing mainland Greece to flourish once again. Cyprus was permanently retaken in 965, and in 969 Nikephoros' career culminated in the recapture ofAntioch,  SONY Vaio VPC-EB1S1E/BJ Laptop CPU Cooling Fan which he incorporated as a province of the Empire.[76] Nikephoros' successor John Tzimiskes recaptured Damascus,Beirut, Acre, Sidon, Caesarea and Tiberias, putting Byzantine armies within striking distance of Jerusalem, although the Muslim power centres in Iraq and Egypt were left untouched.[77] After much campaigning in the north, the last Arab threat to Byzantium, the rich province of Sicily, was targeted by Basil II in 1025, who died before his expedition could be completed. Nevertheless by the time of Basil II's death, the Empire stretched from the straits of Messina to the Euphrates, and from the Danube to Syria.[78] HP Pavilion dv5-1003nr Laptop CPU Cooling Fan The traditional struggle with the See of Rome continued through the Macedonian period, spurred by the question of religious supremacy over the newly Christianised state of Bulgaria.[70] Ending 80 years of peace between the two states, the powerful Bulgarian tsar Simeon I invaded in 894, but was pushed back by the Byzantines, who used their fleet to sail up the Black Sea to attack the Bulgarian rear, and also called on the help of the Hungarians.[79] The Byzantines were however defeated at the Battle of Boulgarophygon (896), Toshiba GDM610000172 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan and agreed to pay annual subsidies to the Bulgarians.[73] Leo the Wise died in 912, and hostilities soon resumed with Simeon marching to Constantinople at the head of a large army.[80] Though the walls of the city were impregnable, the Byzantine administration was in disarray and Simeon was invited into the city where he was granted the crown ofbasileus (emperor) of Bulgaria and had the young emperor Constantine VII marry one of his daughters. When a revolt in Constantinople halted his dynastic project, he again invaded Thrace and conquered Adrianople.[81] The Empire was now faced with the problem of having a powerful Christian state within a few days' marching distance from Constantinople,[70] as well as with having to fight on two fronts.[73] HP Mini 110-3135dx Laptop CPU Cooling Fan A great imperial expedition under Leo Phocas and Romanos I Lekapenos ended again with a crushing Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Achelous (917), and the following year the Bulgarians were free to ravage Northern Greece. Adrianople was plundered once again in 923 and in 924 a Bulgarian army laid siege to Constantinople. But Simeon died suddenly in 927 and Bulgarian power collapsed with him. Bulgaria and Byzantium entered a long period of peaceful relations, and the Empire was now free to concentrate on the eastern front against the Muslims.[82] In 968, Bulgaria was overrun by the Rus' under Sviatoslav I of Kiev, but three years later, John I Tzimiskes defeated the Rus' and re-incorporated Eastern Bulgaria into the Byzantine Empire.[83]HP Pavilion dv6-3257cl Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Bulgarian resistance revived under the rule of the Cometopuli dynasty, but the new emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025) made the submission of the Bulgarians his primary goal.[84] Basil's first expedition against Bulgaria, however, resulted in a humiliating defeat at the Gates of Trajan. For the next few years, the emperor would be preoccupied with internal revolts in Anatolia, while the Bulgarians expanded their realm in the Balkans. The war dragged on for nearly twenty years. The Byzantine victories of Spercheios and Skopje decisively weakened the Bulgarian army, and in annual campaigns, Basil methodically reduced the Bulgarian strongholds.[84] ASUS Eee PC 1201T Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Eventually, at the Battle of Kleidion in 1014 the Bulgarians were annihilated: their army was captured, and it is said that 99 out of every 100 men were blinded, with the remaining hundredth man left with one eye so as to lead his compatriots home. When TsarSamuil saw the broken remains of his once gallant army, he died of shock. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered, and the country became part of the Empire.[84] This victory restored the Danube frontier, which had not been held since the days of the emperor Heraclius.[78]HP 535442-001 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Between 850 and 1100, the Empire developed a mixed relationship with the new state of the Kievan Rus', which had emerged to the north across the Black Sea.[85] This relationship would have long-lasting repercussions in the history of the East Slavs, and the Empire quickly became the main trading and cultural partner for Kiev. The Rus' launched their first attack against Constantinople in 860, and pillaged the suburbs of the city. In 941, they appeared on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, but this time they were crushed, an indication of the improvements in the Byzantine military position after 907, when only diplomacy had been able to push back the invaders.  TOSHIBA V000120460 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Basil II could not ignore the emerging Rus' power, and, following the example of his predecessors, he used religion as a means for the achievement of political purposes.[86] Rus'–Byzantine relations became closer following the marriage of the Anna Porphyrogeneta to Vladimir the Great in 988, and the subsequent Christianisation of the Rus'.[85] Byzantine priests, architects and artists were invited to work on numerous cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding Byzantine cultural influence even further, while numerous Rus' served in the Byzantine army as mercenaries, most notably as the famous Varangian Guard.[85]ASUS A8000He Laptop CPU Cooling Fan However, even after the Christianisation of the Rus', relations were not always friendly. The most serious conflict between the two powers was the war of 968–971 in Bulgaria, but several Rus' raiding expeditions against the Byzantine cities of the Black Sea coast and Constantinople itself are also recorded. Although most were repulsed, they were often followed by treaties that were generally favourable to the Rus', such as the one concluded at the end of the war of 1043, during which the Rus' gave an indication of their ambitions to compete with the Byzantines as an independent power.[87]ACER Aspire 5810T Laptop Keyboard By 1025, the date of Basil II's death, the Byzantine Empire then stretched from Armenia in the east to Calabria in Southern Italy in the west.[78] Many successes had been achieved, ranging from the conquest of Bulgaria, to the annexation of parts of Georgia and Armenia, and the reconquest of Crete, Cyprus, and the important city of Antioch. These were not temporary tactical gains, but long-term reconquests.[71]ASUS X51RL Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Leo VI achieved the complete codification of the whole of Byzantine law in Greek. This monumental work of 60 volumes became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law and is still studied today.[88] Leo also reformed the administration of the Empire, redrawing the borders of the administrative subdivisions (the Themata, or "Themes") and tidying up the system of ranks and privileges, as well as regulating the behaviour of Constantinople's various trade guilds. Leo's reform did much to reduce the previous fragmentation of the Empire, which henceforth had one center of power, Constantinople.[89] However, the increasing military success of the Empire greatly enriched and empowered the provincial nobility with respect to the peasantry, who were essentially reduced to a state of serfdom.[90] SONY Vaio PCG-K215M Laptop Keyboard Under the Macedonian emperors, the city of Constantinople flourished, becoming the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, with a population of approximately 400,000 in the 9th and 10th centuries.[91] During this period, the Byzantine Empire employed a strong civil service staffed by competent aristocrats that oversaw the collection of taxes, domestic administration, and foreign policy. The Macedonian emperors also increased the Empire's wealth by fostering trade with Western Europe, particularly through the sale of silk and metalwork.[92] TOSHIBA Satellite L755D Series Laptop Keyboard The Macedonian period also included events of momentous religious significance. The conversion of the Bulgarians, Serbs and Rus' to Orthodox Christianity permanently changed the religious map of Europe and still resonates today. Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, contributed significantly to the Christianisation of the Slavs and in the process devised theGlagolitic alphabet, ancestor to the Cyrillic script.[93] Packard Bell Easynote TK85 Laptop Keyboard In 1054, relations between the Eastern and Western traditions within the Christian Church reached a terminal crisis, known as the Great Schism. Although there was a formal declaration of institutional separation, on 16 July, when three papal legates entered the Haghia Sophia during Divine Liturgy on a Saturday afternoon and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar,[94] the so-called Great Schism was actually the culmination of centuries of gradual separation.[95]HP 510 Laptop Keyboard The Empire soon fell into a period of difficulties, caused to a large extent by the undermining of the theme system and the neglect of the military. Nikephoros II (reigned 963–969), John Tzimiskes and Basil II changed the military divisions (τάγματα, tagmata) from a rapid response, primarily defensive, citizen army into a professional, campaigning army increasingly manned by mercenaries. Mercenaries, however, were expensive and as the threat of invasion receded in the 10th century, so did the need for maintaining large garrisons and expensive fortifications.[96] SONY VAIO VGN-N31M/W Laptop Keyboard Basil II left a burgeoning treasury upon his death, but neglected to plan for his succession. None of his immediate successors had any particular military or political skill and the administration of the Empire increasingly fell into the hands of the civil service. Efforts to revive the Byzantine economy only resulted in inflation and a debased gold coinage. The army was now seen as both an unnecessary expense and a political threat. Therefore, native troops were cashiered and replaced by foreign mercenaries on specific contract.[97]HP G72-a20SB Laptop Keyboard At the same time, the Empire was faced with new enemies. Provinces in southern Italy faced the Normans, who arrived in Italy at the beginning of the 11th century. During a period of strife between Constantinople and Rome that ended in the East-West Schism of 1054, the Normans began to advance, slowly but steadily, into Byzantine Italy.[98] Reggio, the capital of thetagma of Calabria, was captured in 1060 by Robert Guiscard, followed by Otranto in 1068. Bari, the main Byzantine stronghold in Apulia, was besieged in August 1068 and fell in April 1071.[99] The Byzantines also lost their influence over theDalmatian coastal cities to Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia (r. 1058–1074/1075) in 1069.[100]ACER TravelMate 5742 Laptop Keyboard It was in Asia Minor, however, that the greatest disaster would take place. The Seljuq Turks made their first explorations across the Byzantine frontier into Armenia in 1065 and in 1067. The emergency lent weight to the military aristocracy in Anatolia who, in 1068, secured the election of one of their own, Romanos Diogenes, as emperor. In the summer of 1071, Romanos undertook a massive eastern campaign to draw the Seljuks into a general engagement with the Byzantine army. SONY Vaio PCG-K315B Laptop Keyboard AtManzikert, Romanos not only suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Sultan Alp Arslan, but was also captured. Alp Arslan treated him with respect, and imposed no harsh terms on the Byzantines.[97] In Constantinople, however, a coup took place in favour of Michael Doukas, who soon faced the opposition ofNikephoros Bryennios and Nikephoros Botaneiates. By 1081, the Seljuks expanded their rule over virtually the entire Anatolian plateau from Armenia in the east to Bithynia in the west and founded their capital at Nicaea, just 90 km from Constantinople.[101]Packard Bell NEW95 Laptop Keyboard Komnenian dynasty and the crusaders After Manzikert, a partial recovery (referred to as the Komnenian restoration) was made possible by the efforts of the Komnenian dynasty.[108] The first emperor of this dynasty was Isaac I (1057–1059) and the second Alexios I. At the very outset of his reign, Alexios faced a formidable attack by the Normans under Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemund of Taranto, who captured Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid siege to Larissa in Thessaly. Robert Guiscard's death in 1085 temporarily eased the Norman problem. The following year, the Seljuq sultan died, and the sultanate was split by internal rivalries. By his own efforts, Alexios defeated the Pechenegs; they were caught by surprise and annihilated at the Battle of Levounion on 28 April 1091.[109] Packard Bell EasyNote TJ75 Laptop Keyboard Having achieved stability in the West, Alexios could turn his attention to the severe economic difficulties and the disintegration of the Empire's traditional defences.[110] However, he still did not have enough manpower to recover the lost territories in Asia Minor and to advance against the Seljuks. At the Council of Piacenza in 1095, Alexios' envoys spoke to Pope Urban II about the suffering of the Christians of the East, and underscored that without help from the West they would continue to suffer under Muslim rule. HP G62-450ER Laptop Keyboard Urban saw Alexios' request as a dual opportunity to cement Western Europe and reunite the Eastern Orthodox churches with the Catholic Church under his rule.[111] On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont, and urged all those present to take up arms under the sign of the Cross and launch an armed pilgrimage to recover Jerusalem and the East from the Muslims. The response in Western Europe was overwhelming.[109]Packard Bell NEW95 Laptop Keyboard Alexios had anticipated help in the form of mercenary forces from the West, but was totally unprepared for the immense and undisciplined force that soon arrived in Byzantine territory. It was no comfort to Alexios to learn that four of the eight leaders of the main body of the Crusade were Normans, among them Bohemund. Since the crusade had to pass through Constantinople, however, the Emperor had some control over it. He required its leaders to swear to restore to the empire any towns or territories they might conquer from the Turks on their way to the Holy Land. In return, he gave them guides and a military escort.[112] Alexios was able to recover a number of important cities and islands, COMPAQ Presario CQ35 Series Laptop CPU Cooling Fan and in fact much of western Asia Minor. Nevertheless, the crusaders believed their oaths were invalidated when Alexios did not help them during the siege of Antioch (he had in fact set out on the road to Antioch, but had been persuaded to turn back byStephen of Blois, who assured him that all was lost and that the expedition had already failed).[113] Bohemund, who had set himself up as Prince of Antioch, briefly went to war with the Byzantines, but agreed to become Alexios' vassal under the Treaty of Devol in 1108, which marked the end of Norman threat during Alexios' reign.[114]TOSHIBA Satellite L300-156 Laptop Keyboard Alexios's son John II Komnenos succeeded him in 1118, and ruled until 1143. John was a pious and dedicated Emperor who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered at the Battle of Manzikert, half a century earlier.[115] Famed for his piety and his remarkably mild and just reign, John was an exceptional example of a moral ruler, at a time when cruelty was the norm.[116] For this reason, he has been called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius. HP Mini 210-1161EZ Laptop Keyboard In the course of his twenty-five year reign, John made alliances with the Holy Roman Empire in the West, decisively defeated the Pechenegs at the Battle of Beroia,[117] and personally led numerous campaigns against the Turks in Asia Minor. John's campaigns fundamentally changed the balance of power in the East, forcing the Turks onto the defensive and restoring to the Byzantines many towns, fortresses and cities right across the peninsula.[118] He also thwarted Hungarian, and Serbian threats during the 1120s,  HP Pavilion DV7t-2200 CTO Laptop Keyboard and in 1130 allied himself with the German emperor Lothair III against the Norman king Roger II of Sicily.[119] In the later part of his reign, John focused his activities on the East. He defeated the Danishmend emirate ofMelitene, and reconquered all of Cilicia, while forcing Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, to recognise Byzantine suzerainty. In an effort to demonstrate the Emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of the Empire and the Crusader states; HP 597635-001 Laptop Keyboard yet despite the great vigour with which he pressed the campaign, John's hopes were disappointed by the treachery of his Crusader allies.[120] In 1142, John returned to press his claims to Antioch, but he died in the spring of 1143 following a hunting accident. Raymond was emboldened to invade Cilicia, but he was defeated and forced to go to Constantinople to beg mercy from the new Emperor.[121]DELL Inspiron 1750 Laptop Keyboard John's chosen heir was his fourth son, Manuel I Komnenos, who campaigned aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. In Palestine, he allied himself with the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and sent a large fleet to participate in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reinforced his position as overlord of the Crusader states, with his hegemony over Antioch and Jerusalem secured by agreement with Raynald, Prince of Antioch, and Amalric, King of Jerusalem respectively.[122] DELL Vostro PP37L Laptop Keyboard In an effort to restore Byzantine control over the ports of southern Italy, he sent an expedition to Italy in 1155, but disputes within the coalition led to the eventual failure of the campaign. Despite this military setback, Manuel's armies successfully invaded the Kingdom of Hungary in 1167, defeating the Hungarians at the Battle of Sirmium. By 1168, nearly the whole of the eastern Adriatic coast lay in Manuel's hands.[123] Manuel made several alliances with the Pope and Western Christian kingdoms, and successfully handled the passage of the Second Crusade through his empire.[124]COMPAQ Presario C700 Laptop Keyboard In the east, however, Manuel suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Myriokephalon, in 1176, against the Turks. Yet the losses were quickly made good, and in the following year Manuel's forces inflicted a defeat upon a force of "picked Turks".[125] The Byzantine commander John Vatatzes, who destroyed the Turkish invaders at the Battle of Hyelion and Leimocheir, not only brought troops from the capital but also was able to gather an army along the way; a sign that the Byzantine army remained strong and that the defensive program of western Asia Minor was still successful.[126]HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard John and Manuel pursued active military policies, and both deployed considerable resources on sieges and on city defences; aggressive fortification policies were at the heart of their imperial military policies.[127] Despite the defeat at Myriokephalon, the policies of Alexios, John and Manuel resulted in vast territorial gains, increased frontier stability in Asia Minor, and secured the stabilisation of the Empire's European frontiers. From circa 1081 to circa 1180, the Komnenian army assured the Empire's security, enabling Byzantine civilisation to flourish.[128]SAMSUNG NP-N102-JA01DX Laptop Keyboard This allowed the Western provinces to achieve an economic revival that continued until the close of the century. It has been argued that Byzantium under the Komnenian rule was more prosperous than at any time since the Persian invasions of the 7th century. During the 12th century, population levels rose and extensive tracts of new agricultural land were brought into production. Archaeological evidence from both Europe and Asia Minor shows a considerable increase in the size of urban settlements, DELL Inspiron N4050 Laptop Keyboard together with a notable upsurge in new towns. Trade was also flourishing; the Venetians, the Genoese and others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods from the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer and Fatimid Egypt to the west and trading with the Empire via Constantinople.[129]TOSHIBA Satellite L755-S5364 Laptop Keyboard In artistic terms, there was a revival in mosaic, and regional schools of architecture began producing many distinctive styles that drew on a range of cultural influences.[130] During the 12th century, the Byzantines provided their model of early humanism as a renaissance of interest in classical authors. In Eustathius of Thessalonica, Byzantine humanism found its most characteristic expression.[131] In philosophy, there was resurgence of classical learning not seen since the 7th century, characterised by a significant increase in the publication of commentaries on classical works.[106] In addition, it is during the Komnenian period that there occurs the first transmission of classical Greek knowledge towards the West.[107]HP Pavilion G7-1150US Laptop Keyboard Manuel's death on 24 September 1180 left his 11-year-old son Alexios II Komnenos on the throne. Alexios was highly incompetent at the office, but it was his mother, Maria of Antioch, and her Frankish background that made his regency unpopular.[132] Eventually, Andronikos I Komnenos, a grandson of Alexios I, launched a revolt against his younger relative and managed to overthrow him in a violent coup d'état. Utilizing his good looks and his immense popularity with the army, he marched on to Constantinople in August 1182, and incited a massacre of the Latins.[133] OSHIBA Satellite L775D-S7135 Laptop Keyboard After eliminating his potential rivals, he had himself crowned as co-emperor in September 1183; he eliminated Alexios II and even took his 12-year-old wife Agnes of France for himself.[133]ACER Aspire 5336 Laptop Keyboard Andronikos began his reign well; in particular, the measures he took to reform the government of the Empire have been praised by historians. According to George Ostrogorsky, Andronikos was determined to root out corruption: Under his rule, the sale of offices ceased; selection was based on merit, rather than favouritism; officials were paid an adequate salary so as to reduce the temptation of bribery. In the provinces, Andronikos's reforms produced a speedy and marked improvement.[134] HP Pavilion dv3-2106tu Laptop Keyboard The aristocrats were infuriated against him, and to make matters worse, Andronikos seems to have become increasingly unbalanced; executions and violence became increasingly common, and his reign turned into a reign of terror.[135] Andronikos seemed almost to seek the extermination of the aristocracy as a whole. The struggle against the aristocracy turned into wholesale slaughter, while the Emperor resorted to ever more ruthless measures to shore up his regime.[134]SAMSUNG NP-Q320-FS01UK Laptop Keyboard Despite his military background, Andronikos failed to deal with Isaac Komnenos, Béla III of Hungary (r. 1172–1196) who reincorporated Croatian territories into Hungary, and Stephen Nemanja of Serbia (r. 1166–1196) who declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire. Yet, none of these troubles would compare to William II of Sicily's (r. 1166–1189) invasion force of 300 ships and 80,000 men, arriving in 1185.[136] Andronikos mobilised a small fleet of 100 ships to defend the capital but other than that he was indifferent to the populace. He was finally overthrown when Isaac Angelos, surviving an imperial assassination attempt, seized power with the aid of the people and had Andronikos killed.[137]TOSHIBA Satellite A305 Laptop Keyboard The reign of Isaac II, and, still more, that of his brother Alexios III, saw the collapse of what remained of the centralised machinery of Byzantine government and defence. Although, the Normans were driven out of Greece, in 1186 the Vlachs and Bulgars began a rebellion that led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The internal policy of the Angeloi was characterised by the squandering of the public treasure, and fiscal maladministration. Imperial authority was severely weakened, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard and the growing power vacuum at the center of the Empire encouraged fragmentation. There is evidence that some Komnenian heirs had set up a semi-independent state in Trebizond before 1204.[138] According to Alexander Vasiliev, "the dynasty of the Angeloi, Greek in its origin, ... accelerated the ruin of the Empire, already weakened without and disunited within."[139]DELL KR737 Laptop Keyboard In 1198, Pope Innocent III broached the subject of a new crusade through legates and encyclical letters.[140] The stated intent of the crusade was to conquer Egypt, now the centre of Muslim power in the Levant. The crusader army that arrived atVenice in the summer of 1202 was somewhat smaller than had been anticipated, and there were not sufficient funds to pay the Venetians, whose fleet was hired by the crusaders to take them to Egypt. Venetian policy under the ageing and blind but still ambitious Doge Enrico Dandolo was potentially at variance with that of the Pope and the crusaders, because Venice was closely related commercially with Egypt.[141] HP Pavilion G6-1223TX Laptop Keyboard The crusaders accepted the suggestion that in lieu of payment they assist the Venetians in the capture of the (Christian) port of Zara in Dalmatia (vassal city of Venice, which had rebelled and placed itself under Hungary's protection in 1186).[142] The city fell in November 1202 after a brief siege.[143] Innocent, who was informed of the plan but his veto disregarded, was reluctant to jeopardise the Crusade, and gave conditional absolution to the crusaders—not, however, to the Venetians.[141]HP Pavilion G6-1C58DX Laptop Keyboard After the death of Theobald III, Count of Champagne, the leadership of the Crusade passed to Boniface of Montferrat, a friend of the Hohenstaufen Philip of Swabia. Both Boniface and Philip had married into the Byzantine Imperial family. In fact, Philip's brother-in-law, Alexios Angelos, son of the deposed and blinded Emperor Isaac II Angelos, had appeared in Europe seeking aid and had made contacts with the crusaders. Alexios offered to reunite the Byzantine church with Rome, pay the crusaders 200,000 silver marks, join the crusade and provide all the supplies they needed to get to Egypt.[144] Innocent was aware of a plan to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and forbade any attack on the city, but the papal letter arrived after the fleets had left Zara. TOSHIBA Satellite L755-SP5102CL Laptop Keyboard The crusaders arrived at the city in the summer of 1203 and quickly attacked, started a major fire that damaged large parts of the city, and seized control of it (first of two times). Alexios III fled from the capital, and Alexios Angelos was elevated to the throne as Alexios IV along with his blind father Isaac. However, Alexios IV and Isaac II were unable to keep their promises and were deposed by Alexios V. Eventually, the crusaders took the city a second time on 13 April 1204 and Constantinople was subjected to pillage and massacre by the rank and file for three days. Many priceless icons, relics, and other objects later turned up in Western Europe, a large number in Venice. SAMSUNG N150 Laptop Keyboard According to Choniates, a prostitute was even set up on the Patriarchal throne.[145] When Innocent III heard of the conduct of his crusaders, he castigated them in no uncertain terms. But the situation was beyond his control, especially after his legate, on his own initiative, had absolved the crusaders from their vow to proceed to the Holy Land.[141] When order had been restored, the crusaders and the Venetians proceeded to implement their agreement; Baldwin of Flanders was elected Emperor and the Venetian Thomas Morosini chosen as Patriarch. The lands divided up among the leaders included most of the former Byzantine possessions, however resistance would continue through the Byzantine remnants of the Nicaea, Trebizond, and Epirus.[141]HP Envy 15 Laptop Keyboard After the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by Latin Crusaders, two Byzantine successor states were established: the Empire of Nicaea, and the Despotate of Epirus. A third one, the Empire of Trebizond was created a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople by Alexios I of Trebizond. Of these three successor states, Epirus and Nicaea stood the best chance of reclaiming Constantinople. The Nicaean Empire struggled, however, to survive the next few decades, and by the mid-13th century it lost much of southern Anatolia.[146] TOSHIBA Satellite L775D-S7305 Laptop Keyboard The weakening of the Sultanate of Rûm following the Mongol Invasion in 1242–43 allowed many Beyliks andghazis to set up their own principalities in Anatolia, weakening the Byzantine hold on Asia Minor.[147] In time, one of the Beys, Osman I, created an empire that would eventually conquer Constantinople. However, the Mongol Invasion also gave Nicaea a temporary respite from Seljuk attacks allowing it to concentrate on theLatin Empire only north of its position. HP Mini 110-1032NR Laptop Keyboard The Empire of Nicaea, founded by the Laskarid dynasty, managed to reclaim Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 and defeat Epirus. This led to a short-lived revival of Byzantine fortunes under Michael VIII Palaiologos, but the war-ravaged Empire was ill-equipped to deal with the enemies that now surrounded it. To maintain his campaigns against the Latins, Michael pulled troops from Asia Minor, and levied crippling taxes on the peasantry, causing much resentment.[148] Massive construction projects were completed in Constantinople to repair the damages of the Fourth Crusade, but none of these initiatives was of any comfort to the farmers in Asia Minor, suffering raids from Muslim ghazis.  SONY VAIO VGN NR385E/T Laptop Keyboard Rather than holding on to his possessions in Asia Minor, Michael chose to expand the Empire, gaining only short-term success. To avoid another sacking of the capital by the Latins, he forced the Church to submit to Rome, again a temporary solution for which the peasantry hated Michael and Constantinople.[149] The efforts of Andronikos II and later his grandson Andronikos III marked Byzantium's last genuine attempts in restoring the glory of the Empire. However, the use of mercenaries by Andronikos II would often backfire, with the Catalan Company ravaging the countryside and increasing resentment towards Constantinople.[150]SONY VGN-FE790P Laptop Keyboard Things went worse for Byzantium during the civil wars that followed after Andronikos III died. A six-year long civil wardevastated the empire, allowing the Serbian ruler Stefan IV Dushan (r. 1331–1346) to overrun most of the Empire's remaining territory and establish a short-lived "Serbian Empire". In 1354, an earthquake at Gallipoli devastated the fort, allowing the Ottomans (who were hired as mercenaries during the civil war by John VI Kantakouzenos) to establish themselves in Europe.[151]By the time the Byzantine civil wars had ended, the Ottomans had defeated the Serbians and subjugated them as vassals. Following the Battle of Kosovo, much of the Balkans became dominated by the Ottomans.[152]SONY VGN-FE550G Laptop Keyboard The Byzantine emperors appealed to the West for help, but the Pope would only consider sending aid in return for a reunion of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the See of Rome. Church unity was considered, and occasionally accomplished by imperial decree, but the Orthodox citizenry and clergy intensely resented the authority of Rome and the Latin Rite.[153] Some Western troops arrived to bolster the Christian defence of Constantinople, but most Western rulers, distracted by their own affairs, did nothing as the Ottomans picked apart the remaining Byzantine territories.[154]SONY VAIO VGN-N31Z/W Laptop Keyboard Constantinople by this stage was underpopulated and dilapidated. The population of the city had collapsed so severely that it was now little more than a cluster of villages separated by fields. On 2 April 1453, Sultan Mehmed's army of some 80,000 men and large numbers of irregulars laid siege to the city.[155] Despite a desperate last-ditch defence of the city by the massively outnumbered Christian forces (c. 7,000 men, 2,000 of whom were foreign),[154] Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans after a two-month siege on 29 May 1453. The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, was last seen casting off his imperial regalia and throwing himself into hand-to-hand combat after the walls of the city were taken.[156]HP Pavilion G6-1223TX Laptop Keyboard By the time of the fall of Constantinople, the only remaining territory of the Byzantine Empire was the Despotate of the Morea (Peloponnese), which was ruled by brothers of the last Emperor, Thomas Palaiologos and Demetrios Palaiologos. The Despotate continued on as an independent state by paying an annual tribute to the Ottomans. Incompetent rule, failure to pay the annual tribute and a revolt against the Ottomans finally led to Mehmed II's invasion of Morea in May 1460. Demetrios asked the Ottomans to invade and drive Thomas out. Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard Thomas fled. The Ottomans moved through the Morea and conquered virtually the entire Despotate by the summer. Demetrios thought the Morea would be restored to him to rule, but it was incorporated into the Ottoman fold.  HP Mini 110-3135dx Laptop Keyboard A few holdouts remained for a time. The island of Monemvasia refused to surrender and it was first ruled for a short time by a Catalan corsair. When the population drove him out they obtained the consent of Thomas to place themselves under the Pope's protection before the end of 1460. The Mani Peninsula, on the Morea's south end, resisted under a loose coalition of the local clans and then that area came under Venice's rule. The very last holdout was Salmeniko, in the Morea's northwest. Graitzas Palaiologos was the military commander there, stationed at Salmeniko Castle. While the town eventually surrendered, Graitzas and his garrison and some town residents held out in the castle until July 1461, when they escaped and reached Venetian territory.[157]HP Mini 210-2090nr Laptop Keyboard The Empire of Trebizond, which had split away from the Byzantine Empire just weeks before Constantinople was taken by the Crusaders in 1204, became the last remnant and last de facto successor state to the Byzantine Empire. Efforts by the Emperor David to recruit European powers for an anti-Ottoman crusade provoked war between the Ottomans and Trebizond in the summer of 1461. After a month long siege, David surrendered the city of Trebizond on 14 August 1461. With the fall of Trebizond, the last remnant of the Roman Empire was extinguished. ACER PK1307R1A01 Laptop Keyboard The nephew of the last Emperor, Constantine XI, Andreas Palaeologos claimed to have inherited the title of Byzantine Emperor. He lived in the Morea (Peloponnese) until its fall in 1460, then escaped to Rome where he lived under the protection of the Papal States for the remainder of his life. Since the office of emperor had never been technically hereditary, Andreas' claim would have been without merit under Byzantine law. DELL UW739 Laptop Keyboard However, the Empire had vanished, and Western states generally followed the Roman church sanctioned principles of hereditary sovereignty. Seeking a life in the west, Andreas styled himself Imperator Constantinopolitanus ("Emperor of Constantinople"), and sold his succession rights to both Charles VIII of France and the Catholic Monarchs. However, no one ever invoked the title after Andreas's death. DELL PVDG3 Laptop Keyboard Mehmed II and his successors continued to consider themselves heirs to the Roman Empire until the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. They considered that they had simply shifted its religious basis as Constantine had done before. Meanwhile, the Danubian Principalities (whose rulers also considered themselves the heirs of the Eastern Roman Emperors[158]) harboured Orthodox refugees, including some Byzantine nobles. TOSHIBA Satellite L655D-SP5012M Laptop Keyboard At his death, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was claimed by Ivan III, Grand Duke of Muscovy. He had married Andreas' sister, Sophia Paleologue, whose grandson, Ivan IV, would become the first Tsar of Russia (tsar, or czar, meaning caesar, is a term traditionally applied by Slavs to the Byzantine Emperors). Their successors supported the idea that Moscow was the proper heir to Rome and Constantinople. The idea of the Russian Empire as the successive Third Rome was kept alive until its demise with the Russian Revolution of 1917.[159]ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard The Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, was unable to match Byzantine economic strength until late in the Middle Ages. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa, in particular being the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. Until the first half of the 6th century and in sharp contrast with the decaying West, TOSHIBA Mini NB 505-SP0160 Laptop Keyboard Byzantine economy was flourishing and resilient.[160] The Plague of Justinian and the Arab conquests, however, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Isaurian reforms and, in particular, Constantine V's repopulation, public works and tax measures, marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204, despite territorial contraction.[161] From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, and the travellers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. The Fourth Crusade resulted in the disruption of Byzantine manufacturing and the commercial dominance of the Western Europeans in eastern Mediterranean, Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard events that amounted to an economic catastrophe for the Empire.[162] The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces. Gradually, it also lost its influence on the modalities of trade and the price mechanisms, and its control over the outflow of precious metals and, according to some scholars, even over the minting of coins.[163]TOSHIBA NB100-11G Laptop Keyboard One of the economic foundations of Byzantium was trade, fostered by the maritime character of the Empire. Textiles must have been by far the most important item of export; silks were certainly imported into Egypt, and appeared also in Bulgaria, and the West.[164] The state strictly controlled both the internal and the international trade, and retained the monopoly of issuing coinage, maintaining a durable and flexible monetary system adaptable to trade needs. The government exercised formal control over interest rates, SONY VGN-FE590P Laptop Keyboard nd set the parameters for the activity of the guilds and corporations, in which it had a special interest. The emperor and his officials intervened at times of crisis to ensure the provisioning of the capital, and to keep down the price of cereals. Finally, the government often collected part of the surplus through taxation, and put it back into circulation, through redistribution in the form of salaries to state officials, or in the form of investment in public works.[165]TOSHIBA Satellite A205-S5811 Laptop Keyboard The writings of Classical antiquity never ceased to be cultivated in Byzantium. Therefore, Byzantine science was in every period closely connected with ancient philosophy, and metaphysics.[166] Although at various times the Byzantines made magnificent achievements in the application of the sciences (notably in the construction of the Hagia Sophia), after the 6th century Byzantine scholars made few novel contributions to science in terms of developing new theories or extending the ideas of classical authors.[167]SAMSUNG N145 Laptop Keyboard Scholarship particularly lagged during the dark years of plague and the Arab conquests, but then during the so-calledByzantine Renaissance at the end of the first millennium Byzantine scholars re-asserted themselves becoming experts in the scientific developments of the Arabs and Persians, particularly in astronomy and mathematics.[168] The Byzantines are also credited with several technological advancements, particularly in architecture (e.g. the pendentive dome) and warfare technology (e.g. Greek fire). SONY VAIO VGN-AR605E Laptop Keyboard In the final century of the Empire, Byzantine grammarians were those principally responsible for carrying, in person and in writing, ancient Greek grammatical and literary studies to early Renaissance Italy.[169] During this period, astronomy and other mathematical sciences were taught in Trebizond; medicine attracted the interest of almost all scholars.[170]HP Pavilion DV6-1030us Laptop Keyboard In the field of law, Justinian I's reforms had a clear effect on the evolution of jurisprudence, and Leo III's Ecloga influenced the formation of legal institutions in the Slavic world.[171] In the 10th century, Leo VI the Wise achieved the complete codification of the whole of Byzantine law in Greek, which became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law, generating interest to the present day.[88]COMPAQ Presario CQ50-209WM Laptop Keyboard The survival of the Empire in the East assured an active role of the Emperor in the affairs of the Church. The Byzantine state inherited from pagan times the administrative, and financial routine of administering religious affairs, and this routine was applied to the Christian Church. Following the pattern set by Eusebius of Caesarea, the Byzantines viewed the Emperor as a representative or messenger of Christ, responsible particularly for the propagation of Christianity among pagans, and for the "externals"SONY KFRMBA151B Laptop Keyboard of the religion, such as administration and finances. As Cyril Mango points out, the Byzantine political thinking can be summarised in the motto "One God, one empire, one religion".[172] The imperial role, however, in the affairs of the Church never developed into a fixed, legally defined system.[173] With the decline of Rome, and internal dissension in the other Eastern Patriarchates, the Church of Constantinople became, between the 6th and 11th centuries, the richest and most influential center of Christendom.[174] Even when the Empire was reduced to only a shadow of its former self, the Church continued to exercise significant influence both inside and outside of the imperial frontiers. AsGeorge Ostrogorsky points out: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard The Patriarchate of Constantinople remained the center of the Orthodox world, with subordinate metropolitan sees and archbishoprics in the territory of Asia Minor and the Balkans, now lost to Byzantium, as well as in Caucasus, Russia and Lithuania. The Church remained the most stable element in the Byzantine Empire.[175]HP 636191-001 Laptop Keyboard The official state Christian doctrine was determined by the first seven ecumenical councils, and it was then the emperor's duty to impose it to his subjects. An imperial decree of 388, which was later incorporated into the Codex Justinianus, orders the population of the Empire "to assume the name of Catholic Christians", and regards all those who will not abide by the law as "mad and foolish persons"; as followers of "heretical dogmas".[176]SONY VAIO VGN-NW15G/T Laptop Keyboard Despite imperial decrees and the stringent stance of the state church itself, which came to be known as the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Christianity, the latter never represented all Christians in Byzantium. Mango believes that, in the early stages of the Empire, the "mad and foolish persons", those labelled "heretics" by the state church, were the majority of the population.[177] Besides the pagans, who existed until the end of the 6th century, and the Jews, there were many followers – sometimes even emperors – of various Christian doctrines, such as Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Arianism, and Paulicianism, whose teachings were in some opposition to the main theological doctrine, SONY VAIO VGN-NW15G/T Laptop Keyboard as determined by the Ecumenical Councils.[178] Another division among Christians occurred, when Leo III ordered the destruction of icons throughout the Empire. This led to a significant religious crisis, which ended in mid-9th century with the restoration of icons. During the same period, a new wave of pagans emerged in the Balkans, originating mainly from Slavic people. These were graduallyChristianised, and by Byzantium's late stages, Eastern Orthodoxy represented most Christians and, in general, most people in what remained of the Empire.[179]SONY Vaio VGN-AW Laptop Keyboard Jews were a significant minority in the Byzantine state throughout its history, and, according to Roman law, they constituted a legally recognised religious group. In the early Byzantine period they were generally tolerated, but then periods of tensions and persecutions ensued. In any case, after the Arab conquests, the majority of Jews found themselves outside the Empire; those left inside the Byzantine borders apparently lived in relative peace from the 10th century onwards.[180]SONY VAIO VPCF126FM Laptop Keyboard Byzantine art is almost entirely concerned with religious expression and, more specifically, with the impersonal translation of carefully controlled church theology into artistic terms. Byzantine forms were spread by trade and conquest to Italy and Sicily, where they persisted in modified form through the 12th century, and became formative influences on Italian Renaissance art. By means of the expansion of the Eastern Orthodox church, Byzantine forms spread to centres in Russia, Greece, Serbia and some others.[181] Influences from Byzantine architecture, particularly in religious buildings, can be found in diverse regions from Egypt and Arabia to Russia and Romania. Compaq Presario CQ56-102LA Laptop Keyboard In Byzantine literature, therefore, four different cultural elements mu

st be reckoned with: the Greek, the Christian, the Roman, and the Oriental. Byzantine literature is often classified in five groups: historians and annalists, encyclopaedists (Patriarch Photios,Michael Psellus, and Michael Choniates are regarded as the greatest encyclopaedists of Byzantium) and essayists, and writers of secular poetry (The only genuine heroic epic of the Byzantines is the Digenis Acritas). The remaining two groups include the new literary species: SONY 147915321 Laptop Keyboard ecclesiastical and theological literature, and popular poetry. Of the approximately two to three thousand volumes of Byzantine literature that survive, only three hundred and thirty consist of secular poetry, history, science and pseudo-science.[182] While the most flourishing period of the secular literature of Byzantium runs from the 9th to the 12th century, its religious literature (sermons, liturgical books and poetry, theology, devotional treatises etc.) developed much earlier with Romanos the Melodist being its most prominent representative.[183]ACER Aspire 6920-6621 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Government and bureaucracy political and legislative authority but remained as an honorary council with titular members. By the end of the 8th century, a civil administration focused on the court was formed as part of a large-scale consolidation of power in the capital (the rise to pre-eminence of the position of sakellarios is related to this change).[185] The most important administrative reform, which probably started in the mid-7th century, was the creation of themes, where civil and military administration was exercised by one person, the strategos.[186] HP Pavilion dv7-6199us Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Despite the occasionally derogatory use of the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantinism", the Byzantine bureaucracy had a distinct ability for reconstituting itself in accordance with the Empire's situation. The elaborate system of titulature and precedence, which gave the court prestige and influence, makes the imperial administration look like an ordered bureaucracy to modern observers. Officials were arranged in strict order around the emperor, and depended upon the imperial will for their ranks. FUJITSU LifeBook E8410 Series Laptop CPU Cooling Fan There were also actual administrative jobs, but authority could be vested in individuals rather than offices.[187] In the 8th and 9th centuries, civil service constituted the clearest path to aristocratic status, but, starting in the 9th century, the civil aristocracy was rivalled by an aristocracy of nobility. According to some studies of Byzantine government, 11th-century politics were dominated by competition between the civil and the military aristocracy. During this period, Alexios I undertook important administrative reforms, including the creation of new courtly dignities and offices.[188] HP Pavilion dv5-2155dx Laptop CPU Cooling Fan After the fall of Rome, the key challenge to the Empire was to maintain a set of relations between itself and its neighbours. When these nations set about forging formal political institutions, they often modelled themselves on Constantinople. Byzantine diplomacy soon managed to draw its neighbours into a network of international and inter-state relations.[189] This network revolved around treaty making, and included the welcoming of the new ruler into the family of kings, and the assimilation of Byzantine social attitudes, values and institutions.[190] Whereas classical writers are fond of making ethical and legal distinctions between peace and war, Byzantines regarded diplomacy as a form of war by other means. For example, a Bulgarian threat could be countered by providing money to the Kievan Rus'.[191] HP KSB06105HA Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Diplomacy in the era was understood to have an intelligence-gathering function on top of its pure political function. TheBureau of Barbarians in Constantinople handled matters of protocol and record keeping for any issues related to the "barbarians", and thus had, perhaps, a basic intelligence function itself.[192] John B. Bury believed that the office exercised supervision over all foreigners visiting Constantinople, and that they were under the supervision of the Logothetes tou dromou.[193] IBM ThinkPad T60 2623 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan While on the surface a protocol office – its main duty was to ensure foreign envoys were properly cared for and received sufficient state funds for their maintenance, and it kept all the official translators – it probably had a security function as well.[194]  HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Byzantines availed themselves of a number of diplomatic practices. For example, embassies to the capital would often stay on for years. A member of other royal houses would routinely be requested to stay on in Constantinople, not only as a potential hostage, but also as a useful pawn in case political conditions where he came from changed. Another key practice was to overwhelm visitors by sumptuous displays.[189] According to Dimitri Obolensky, the preservation of the ancient civilisation in Europe was due to the skill and resourcefulness of Byzantine diplomacy, which remains one of Byzantium's lasting contributions to the history of Europe.[195] HP COMPAQ 2510P Series Laptop CPU Cooling Fan The original language of the government of the Empire, which owed its origins to Rome, had been Latin, and this continued as its official language until the 7th century when it was effectively changed to Greek by Heraclius. Scholarly Latin would rapidly fall into disuse among the educated classes although the language would continue to be at least a ceremonial part of the Empire's culture for some time.[196] Additionally, Vulgar Latin remained a minority language in the Empire, and among the Thraco-Roman populations it gave birth to the Proto-Romanian language.[197] SONY VAIO PCG-6J2L Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Likewise, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, another neo-Latin vernacular developed, which would later give rise to the Dalmatian language. In the Western Mediterranean provinces temporarily acquired under the reign of emperor Justinian I, Latin (eventually evolving into the various western Romance languages) continued to be used both as a spoken language and the language of scholarship.[198]HP Pavilion dv7-3065dx Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Apart from the Imperial court, administration and military, the primary language used in the eastern Roman provinces even before the decline of the Western Empire had always been Greek, having been spoken in the region for centuries before Latin.[199] Indeed early on in the life of the Roman Empire, Greek had become the common language in the Christian Church, the language of scholarship and the arts, and, to a large degree, the lingua franca for trade between provinces and with other nations.[200] The language itself for a time gained a dual nature with the primary spoken language, the constantly developing vernacular Koine (eventually evolving into demotic Greek), existing alongside an olderliterary language with Koine eventually evolving into the standard dialect.[201]SONY UDQF2PH22CF0 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Many other languages existed in the multi-ethnic Empire as well, and some of these were given limited official status in their provinces at various times. Notably, by the beginning of the Middle Ages, Syriac and Aramaic had become more widely used by the educated classes in the far eastern provinces.[202] SimilarlyCoptic, Armenian, and Georgian became significant among the educated in their provinces,[203] and later foreign contacts made the Slavonic, Vlach, and Arabiclanguages important in the Empire and its sphere of influence.[204]Toshiba Qosmio F15-AV201 Laptop CPU Cooling Fan Aside from these, since Constantinople was a prime trading center in the Mediterranean region and beyond, virtually every known language of the Middle Ages was spoken in the Empire at some time, even Chinese.[205] As the Empire entered its final decline, the Empire's citizens became more culturally homogeneous and the Greek language became integral to their identity and religion.[206]TOSHIBA Satellite L755-S5170 Laptop Keyboard Byzantium has been often identified with absolutism, orthodox spirituality, orientalism and exoticism, while the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantinism" have been used as bywords for decadence, complex bureaucracy, and repression. In the countries of Central and Southeast Europe that exited the Eastern Bloc in late 80s and early 90s, the assessment of Byzantine civilisation and its legacy was strongly negative due to their connection with an alleged "Eastern authoritarianism and autocracy." HP 6730S Laptop Keyboard Both Eastern and Western European authors have often perceived Byzantium as a body of religious, political, and philosophical ideas contrary to those of the West. Even in 19th-century Greece, the focus was mainly on the classical past, while Byzantine tradition had been associated with negative connotations.[207]COMPAQ Presario C700 Laptop Keyboard This traditional approach towards Byzantium has been partially or wholly disputed and revised by modern studies, which focus on the positive aspects of Byzantine culture and legacy. Averil Cameron regards as undeniable the Byzantine contribution to the formation of the medieval Europe, and both Cameron and Obolensky recognise the major role of Byzantium in shaping Orthodoxy, HP G42-415DX Laptop Keyboard which in turn occupies a central position in the history and societies of Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia and other countries.[208] The Byzantines also preserved and copied classical manuscripts, and they are thus regarded as transmitters of the classical knowledge, as important contributors to the modern European civilisation, and as precursors of both the Renaissance humanism and the Slav Orthodox culture.[209]HP Mini 110-3118cl Laptop Keyboard As the only stable long-term state in Europe during the Middle Ages, Byzantium isolated Western Europe from newly emerging forces to the East. Constantly under attack, it distanced Western Europe from Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and for a time, the Ottomans. From a different perspective, since the 7th century, the evolution and constant reshaping of the Byzantine state were directly related to the respective progress of Islam.[209] Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, HP Mini 1109TU Laptop Keyboard Sultan Mehmed II took the title "Kaysar-i-Rûm" (the Turkish equivalent of Caesar of Rome), since he was determined to make the Ottoman Empire the heir of the Eastern Roman Empire.[210] According to Cameron, regarding themselves as "heirs" of Byzantium, the Ottomans preserved important aspects of its tradition, which in turn facilitated an "Orthodox revival" during the post-communist period of the Eastern European states.[209]HP Mini 110-1014tu Laptop Keyboard SONY KFRMBA220A Laptop Keyboard HP 597635-001 Laptop Keyboard  HP 605344-001 Laptop Keyboard

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