Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bulgarians and Byzantines, to set himself up

Bulgarians and Byzantines, to set himself up as a quasi-independent prince, supported by a substantial force of around 5,000 men. On 7 July 1345, the two armies clashed at Peritheorion. Momchil's army was crushed, and he himself fell in the field.[69] Soon afterwards, Dushan arrived before Serres and laid siege to the city. Rejecting demands by Kantakouzenos to withdraw, Sony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery a clash appeared inevitable until the murder of Alexios Apokaukos in Constantinople forced Kantakouzenos to direct his attention there.In early 1345, Kantakouzenos sent Franciscan monks to the regency to make an offer of conciliation, but it was rejected. Despite this show of confidence, the regency's position remained insecure. The defections of the previous winter had weakened their control of the capital, and in response Apokaukos launched a series of proscriptions. Sony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery He also ordered the construction of a new prison to house political prisoners. On 11 June 1345, while undertaking an inspection of the prison unaccompanied by his bodyguard, Apokaukos was lynched by the prisoners. When Kantakouzenos heard the news he marched towards Constantinople, urged by his supporters, who expected that the death of Apokaukos would result in the collapse of the regency. Kantakouzenos was more sceptical, and indeed the Patriarch and Empress Anna quickly brought the situation under control.[75Sony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery ] At the same time, Kantakouzenos suffered a series of reverses. These began when John Apokaukos, the nominal governor of Thessalonica, openly announced his allegiance to Kantakouzenos and his plans to surrender the city. He was immediately thwarted by the Zealots who rose up again and killed Apokaukos and the other Kantakouzenist sympathizers in the city.[76] Sony VAIO PCG-61111L battery Then John Vatatzes, who had defected to Kantakouzenos the year before, once more switched sides. He attempted to take some of Kantakouzenos' Turkish allies and a few Thracian cities with him, but was murdered soon afterwards.[77] Finally, Kantakouzenos lost the support of his most crucial ally, Umur of Aydin, who left with his army to confront the crusaders in Smyrna. Sony VAIO PCG-61112L battery Kantakouzenos replaced him by allying himself with the Emir of Saruhan and, more importantly, Orhan I of the rising Ottoman emirate in Bithynia.[29][78] In September 1345, after a long siege, Serres fell to Dushan. The Serbian ruler, who by now controlled about half of the pre-1341 Byzantine realm, was spurred by this success to lay his own claim on the Byzantine throne. Sony VAIO PCG-61411L battery Consequently, on Easter Sunday, 16 April 1346, he was crowned "Emperor of the Serbs and the Romans" in Skopje, thereby founding the Serbian Empire.[79] This development prompted Kantakouzenos, who had only been acclaimed Emperor in 1341, to have himself formally crowned in a ceremony held at Adrianople on 21 May, presided over by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Lazaros. Sony VAIO PCG-71111L battery Lazaros then convened a synod of bishops to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople, John Kalekas.[80] Not long afterwards, Kantakouzenos' ties with his new ally Orhan were cemented through the marriage of his daughter Theodora Kantakouzene to the Ottoman emir at an elaborate ceremony in Selymbria.[81] For the regency, the situation had become desperate. Empress Anna's requests for aid from foreign powers proved unsuccessful, as both Orhan and the beylik of Karasi rebuffed her overtures for assistance.[82] Sony VAIO PCG-7141L battery Only Balik, the ruler of Dobruja, sent an elite force of 1,000 men under his brothers Theodore and Dobrotitsa, but they were routed by a Kantakouzenist army under protostrator George Phakrases.[83] The emirate of Saruhan offered a more substantial force of 6,000 men in the summer of 1346, but instead of fighting, they plundered Thrace and then defected to join Kantakouzenos' army.[84Sony VAIO PCG-7142L battery ] Revenue remained scarce for the regency, the Genoese once again seized the imperial possessions of Chios and Phocaea, and on 19 May 1346, a part of the Hagia Sophia cathedral collapsed, a terrible omen in the eyes of the capital's inhabitants.[85] By the summer of 1346, Kantakouzenos stood on the verge of victory. He left Thrace under the control of his son Matthew and moved on to Selymbria, close to Constantinople.[86Sony VAIO PCG-81113L battery ] He did not attack the capital, but waited for almost a year for the city to surrender. In his memoirs, he explains that he did not want to turn his Turks on the city, although contemporaries such as Gregoras accused him of indecision and of needlessly prolonging the war.[87] As the months passed, and the privations in Constantinople increased, the pro-Kantakouzenos faction in the capital grew as the Empress refused even to consider negotiations. Sony VAIO PCG-81114L battery Twice agents were sent to assassinate Kantakouzenos, but they failed. The Empress eventually fell out with Patriarch John Kalekas, who was deposed in a synod on 2 February 1347. On the same night, supporters of Kantakouzenos opened the disused Golden Gate, and Kantakouzenos entered the city with 1,000 men.[88]Meeting no resistance, his troops surrounded the Palace of Blachernae, Sony VAIO PCG-81115L battery the imperial residence, the next morning, but the Empress refused to surrender for several days, still fearful of the fate that awaited her. Kantakouzenos' men grew impatient and stormed part of the palace complex, and John V persuaded his mother to accept a settlement. On 8 February 1347, the war formally ended with an agreement making Kantakouzenos senior emperor for ten years, after which he and John V would reign as equals. Sony VAIO PCG-81214L battery Kantakouzenos also promised to pardon anyone who had fought against him.[90] To seal the pact, John V married Kantakouzenos' daughter Helena, and in May, Kantakouzenos was crowned again in the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae.[91] In the end, as Donald Nicol commented, the long conflict had been meaningless, with terms that "could have been agreed five years before and saved the Empire so much bitterness, hatred and destruction."[92] Sony VAIO PCG-81312L battery Despite the moderation and clemency shown by Kantakouzenos in this settlement, it did not gain universal acceptance. Supporters of the Palaiologoi still distrusted him, while his own partisans would have preferred to depose the Palaiologoi outright and install the Kantakouzenoi as the reigning dynasty.[93] Kantakouzenos' eldest son, Matthew, also resented being passed over in favour of John V, Sony VAIO PCG-8131L battery and had to be placated with the creation of a semi-autonomous appanage covering much of western Thrace, which doubled as a march against Dushan's Serbia.[94] Of the remaining Byzantine territories, only the Zealots in Thessalonica, now an isolated exclave surrounded by the Serbs, refused to acknowledge the new arrangement, instead leading a de facto independent existence until Kantakouzenos conquered them in 1350.[95] Sony VAIO PCG-8141L battery After 1347, John VI Kantakouzenos tried to revive the Empire, but met with limited success. Aided by the depopulation brought by about by the Black Death, Dushan and his general Preljub took Kantakouzenos' Macedonian strongholds as well as Epirus and Thessaly in 1347–1348, thereby completing their conquest of the remaining Byzantine lands in mainland Greece.[96] Sony VAIO PCG-8152L battery An attempt to break Byzantium's dependence for food and maritime commerce on the Genoese merchants of Galata led to a Byzantine–Genoese war, which ended in 1352 with a compromise peace.[97] In 1350, Kantakouzenos took advantage of Dushan's preoccupation with a war againstBosnia to recover Thessalonica from the Zealots as well as Berroia, Sony VAIO PCG-8161L battery Vodena and other Macedonian cities from the Serbs, but the Serbian emperor quickly reversed the Byzantine gains. Again, only Thessalonica remained in Byzantine hands.[98]Steadily deteriorating relations between Matthew Kantakouzenos, who now ruled eastern Thrace, and John V Palaiologos, who had taken over Matthew's former domain in western Thrace, sowed the seeds of yet another internal conflict. Sony VAIO PCG-9131L battery Open warfare broke out in 1352, when John V, supported by Venetian and Turkish troops, launched an attack on Matthew Kantakouzenos. John Kantakouzenos came to his son's aid with 10,000 Ottoman troops who retook the cities of Thrace, liberally plundering them in the process. In October 1352, at Demotika, the Ottoman force met and defeated 4,000 Serbs provided to John V by Stephen Dushan.[99] This was the Ottomans' first victory in Europe and an ominous portent. Two years later their capture of Gallipoli maSony VAIO PCG-3E1M battery rked the beginning of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, culminating a century later in the Fall of Constantinople.[100] Meanwhile, John V fled to the island of Tenedos, from where he made an unsuccessful attempt to seize Constantinople in March 1353. John VI Kantakouzenos responded by having Matthew crowned as co-emperor, but John V Palaiologos, enlisting Genoese support and relying on the declining popularity of Kantakouzenos, Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery succeeded in entering the capital in November 1354. John VI abdicated and retired to a monastery. Matthew held out in Thrace until 1357, when he too abdicated, leaving John V Palaiologos as the sole master of a rump state. The civil war proved a critical turning point in the history of the Byzantine Empire. In the words of the Byzantinist Angeliki Laiou, "after the end of the second civil war, Sony VAIO PCG-7148L battery Byzantium was an empire in name only",[103] while according to Eva de Vries-Van der Velden, it marks "the point of rapture between the "decline" and "the fall" of the Byzantine Empire".[104] The Byzantines' division and reliance on foreign troops, especially the Serbs and Turks, encouraged the latter's expansionism. Dushan in particular proved adept in exploiting the civil war to expand his state at Byzantium's expense.[29][105Sony VAIO PCG-7151L battery ] Aside from huge territorial losses, the prolonged conflict exhausted the Byzantine state's resources, as it brought "anarchy to the cities and devastation to the countryside" (Alice-Mary Talbot). Thrace, the largest contiguous territory remaining in the Empire, suffered such destruction that, along with Constantinople, it became dependent on grain imported from Bulgaria and theCrimea.[29][1Sony VAIO PCG-7152L battery 06] Trade had stopped, and the treasury contained, in the words of Gregoras, "nothing but the atoms of Epicurus". Kantakouzenos had exhausted his own personal fortune, and Empress Anne had left the Empire heavily indebted to the Venetians. The war also led to the collapse of the centralized imperial administration in the provinces, causing control of the Thracian countryside to shift to a manorial system run by the local magnates. Sony VAIO PCG-7153L battery Despite their considerable wealth, the magnates, through exemptions or outright evasion, managed to avoid paying taxes to the imperial government.[107] In addition, the arrival in 1347 of the Black Death and its recurrent outbreaks further reduced the Empire's tax and recruitment base, curtailing its ability to reverse the Serbian territorial gains.[108] Sony VAIO PCG-7154L battery Along with the renewal of the civil war in 1352, these factors destroyed any chance of even a modest recovery similar to that experienced under Andronikos III.[109]Thereafter, Byzantium remained under the menacing threat of stronger neighbours, unable to pursue an independent foreign policy, handicapped by a shortage of resources and riven by internal strife.[110] Sony VAIO PCG-7161L battery Nevertheless, through a combination of fortuitous external circumstances and adroit diplomacy, it survived for another century, until finally conquered by the Ottomans in 1453.[111] Only the Byzantine exclave in the Morea remained prosperous, having been spared the ravages of the civil war because of its relative isolation. Sony VAIO PCG-7162L battery The appointment of Manuel Kantakouzenos as its despotes in 1349 heralded the creation of the semi-independent Despotate of the Morea, which experienced the last economic and cultural flowering of the Byzantine world before it too fell to the Ottomans in 1460. Sony VAIO PCG-7171L battery The Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologoi dynasty is a period of Byzantine history spanning from 1260 to 1453 AD, from the restoration of Roman rule to Constantinople by the usurper Michael VIII Palaiologos to the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. From the start, the régime faced numerous problems.[1] The Turks of Asia Minor had since 1263 been raiding and expanding into Byzantine territory in Asia Minor. Sony VAIO PCG-7172L battery Anatolia, which had formed the very heart of the shrinking empire, was systematically lost to numerous Turkic ghazis, whose raids evolved into conquering expeditions inspired by Islamic zeal. With a decreasing source of food and manpower, the Palaiologoi were forced to fight on several fronts, most of them being Christian states: the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire, the remnants of the Latin Empire and even the Knights Hospitaller. Sony VAIO PCG-7173L battery The loss of the land in the east to the Turks and in the west to Bulgarians was complemented by two disastrous civil wars, the Black Death and the 1354 earthquake at Gallipoli, whose destruction and evacuation allowed the Turks to occupy it. By 1380, the Byzantine Empire consisted of the capital Constantinople and a few other isolated exclaves, which only nominally recognized the Emperor as their lord. Sony VAIO PCG-7174L battery Nonetheless, Byzantine diplomacy coupled with the adroit exploitation of internal divisions and external threats among their enemies, and above all the invasion of Anatolia by Timur, allowed Byzantium to survive until 1453. The last remnants of the Byzantine Empire, the Despotate of the Morea and the Empire of Trebizond, fell shortly afterwards. Sony VAIO PCG-7181L battery However, the Palaiologan period witnessed a renewed flourishing in art and the letters, in what has been called the "Palaiologian Renaissance". The migration of Byzantine scholars to the West also helped to spark the Renaissance in Italy. Following the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine Empire had fractured into the Greek successor-states of Nicaea, Sony VAIO PCG-7182L battery Epirus and Trebizond, with a multitude of Frankish and Latin possessions occupying the remainder, nominally subject to the Latin Emperors at Constantinople. In addition, the disintegration of the Byzantine Empire allowed the Bulgarians, the Serbs and the various Turcoman emirates of Anatolia to make gains. Although Epirus was initially the strongest of the three Greek states, Sony VAIO PCG-7183L battery the Nicaeans were the ones who succeeded in taking back the city of Constantinople from the Latin Empire.[2] The Nicaean Empire was successful in holding its own against its Latin and Seljuk opponents. At the Battle of Meander Valley, a Turkic force was repelled[2] and an earlier assault on Nicaea led to the death of the Seljuk Sultan. Sony VAIO PCG-7184L battery In the west, the Latins were unable to expand into Anatolia; consolidating Thrace against Bulgaria was a challenge that kept the Latins occupied for the duration of the Latin Empire. In 1261, the Empire of Nicaea was ruled by John IV Laskaris, a boy of ten years.[2] However, John IV was overshadowed by his co-emperor, Michael VIII Palaiologos. Sony VAIO PCG-7185L battery Palaiologos was a leading noble of military standing and the main figure of the regency of John IV, who had used this role to propel himself to the throne, and set the stage for his becoming sole Emperor of the restored Byzantine Empire. In 1261, while the bulk of the Latin Empire's military forces were absent from Constantinople, Byzantine General Alexios Strategopoulos used the opportunity to seize the city with 600 troops. Sony VAIO PCG-381L battery Thrace, Macedonia and Thessalonica had already been taken by Nicaea in 1246.[2] Following the capture of Constantinople, Michael ordered the blinding of John IV in December 1261, so as to become sole emperor.[2] As a result, Patriarch Arsenios excommunicated Michael, but he was deposed and replaced by Joseph I. Sony VAIO PCG-382L battery The Fourth Crusade and their successors, the Latin Empire, had done much to reduce Byzantium's finest city to an underpopulated wreck.[3] Michael VIII began the task of restoring many monasteries, public buildings and defence works.[4] The Hagia Sophia, horribly looted in the Crusade of 1204, was refurbished to Greek Orthodox tradition. Sony VAIO PCG-383L battery The Kontoskalion harbour and the walls of Constantinople were all strengthened against a possible new expedition by the Latin West. Many hospitals, hospices, markets, baths, streets and churches were built, some with private patronage. Even a new Mosque was built to compensate for the one burnt during the Fourth Crusade.[4] These attempts were costly and crippling taxes were placed on the peasantry.[5Sony VAIO PCG-384L battery ] Nonetheless, the city grew new cultural and diplomatic contacts, notably with the Mamelukes. Both had common enemies; Latin aggression, and later on, the Ottoman Turks. The Sultanate of Rum was in chaos and decentralized ever since the Mongol invasions in ca. 1240.[6] As a result, the greatest threat to Byzantium was not the Muslims but their Christian counterparts in the West — Sony VAIO PCG-391L battery Michael VIII knew that the Venetians and the Franks would no doubt launch another attempt to establish Latin rule in Constantinople. The situation became worse when Charles of Anjou, brother of the King of France, conquered Sicily from the Hohenstaufens in 1266.[7] In 1267, Pope Clement IV arranged a pact, whereby Charles would receive land in the East in return for assisting a new military expedition to Constantinople.[7] Sony VAIO PCG-393L battery A delay on Charles' end meant that Michael VIII was given enough time to negotiate a union between the Church of Rome and that of Constantinople in 1274, thus removing Papal support for an invasion of Constantinople. Unfortunately for Michael VIII, the new union was seen as a fake by the Clement's successor, Martin IV. Sony VAIO PCG-394L battery The Greek Church was excommunicated, and Charles was given renewed Papal support for the invasion of Constantinople.[8] In order to counter this, Michael VIII subsidized Peter III of Aragon's attempts to seize Sicily from Charles. Michael's efforts paid off with the outbreak of the Sicilian Vespers, a revolt that overthrew the Angevin King of Sicily and installed Peter III of Aragon as King of Sicily in 1281.[8] Sony VAIO PCG-3A1L battery For the remainder of his life, Michael campaigned to drive the Latins out of Greece and the Balkans, and secure his position versus the Bulgarians. He was largely successful, regaining several islands in the Aegean, and establishing a foothold in the Peloponnese, that would grow to become the Despotate of the Morea. Sony VAIO PCG-3A2L battery The downside however was that Michael's efforts in the West absorbed most of the Empire's manpower and resources, and neglected the Asian provinces, where a new and fateful threat was rising: the beylik of Osman I, who by 1263 had captured Sogut. Nevertheless, the border was kept relatively secure, and no significant losses occurred in Asia Minor during Michael's reign. Sony VAIO PCG-3A3L battery Michael VIII's foreign policy relied heavily on diplomacy;[8] nevertheless, his construction projects and military campaigns against the remaining Latins were extensive as well as expensive; the Nicaean army was modeled around the Komnenian army, and while it was not as effective, it was just as burdensome on the treasury. The result was that heavy taxes were levied on the peasantry,[5] Sony VAIO PCG-3A4L battery something that the Ottomans would later use to their advantage, winning over these poverty-stricken peasants with promises of lower taxes.The Second Council of Lyons and the ostensible union of the two Churches did little to avert Catholic aggression, while at the same time the Orthodox population, led by large parts of the priesthood, denounced Michael VIII as a traitor.[8Sony VAIO PCG-41112L battery ] His death in 1282 came as a relief to many, and his body was denied an Orthodox funeral, as a result of his policies towards Rome. Michael VIII was a very energetic, ambitious and capable emperor, who had enlarged and preserved the Empire and had once again made Byzantium a power to be reckoned with in the region. His army however was still small, and diplomacy was relied upon more than ever. Sony VAIO PCG-51211L battery An extortionate tax system supported his ambitious and successful foreign policies of expansion, as well as his numerous bribes and gifts to various potentates. He had put Byzantium on the road of recovery, but his achievements were still perilously fragile, as events would soon show. Andronikos II was tied down with events in the West and the East. Sony VAIO PCG-51311L battery The Serbians under King Stefan Uroš II Milutin had begun invading the Balkans and took Skopje in 1282[12] and raids against Macedonia were launched throughout the 1290s. Byzantine counter-attacks failed to stop these, and as a result Andronikos was forced to resort to diplomacy, marrying his 5-year-old daughter to the Serbian King[12] and conceding a number of forts from Ohrid to Stip to Strumica as a "dowry". Sony VAIO PCG-51312L battery Nonetheless, the Serbs continued their expansion. Unlike his father, Andronikos II recognized the gravity of the situation in Asia Minor,[12] and tried to drive out the Turks, utilizing a variety of methods. His first action was to move his court to Asia Minor, where he could better oversee the construction of fortifications and raise troop morale.[13] Sony VAIO PCG-51411L battery His General, Alexios Philanthropenos, was an able commander, campaigning with some success against the Turks in the Meander Valley. Unfortunately Byzantium was robbed of his services when he staged an unsuccessful coup, leading to his blinding.[13] Next Andronikos sent his son, Michael IX, and the Heteriarch George Mouzalon to attack the Turks who were laying siege to Nicomedia, but they were beaten at the Battle of Bapheus in 1302. Sony VAIO PCG-51412L battery Not giving up, Andronikos hired the 6,500 strong "Catalan Company" of Almogavars, led by Roger de Flor. Originating from Catalonia, these hardy mercenaries were used to skirmishing against the Moors in Spain and now, for an extraordinarily high price, they drove the Turks back in Asia Minor.[13] Once again, these successes were nullified when their leader, Roger de Flor, was assassinated on his way to meet Andronikos; Sony VAIO PCG-51511L battery the Catalans then revolted against imperial authority, and began pillaging and raiding cities in Thrace, leaving Asia Minor open to Turkish incursions. After this, Andronikos turned to diplomacy, asking the Ilkhanids of Persia to send troops to attack the Turks, but negotiations for such an alliance failed. Andronikos II ordered the Union of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches to be canceled, a move which pleased many. Sony VAIO PCG-51513L battery But he also ordered drastic reductions in the military, and effectively disbanded the navy,[12] which his father had worked hard to build up. As a result, tax reductions throughout the Empire were possible,[12] earning him greater popularity while seriously undermining Byzantium's abilities to deal with its opponents. He debased the hyperpyron currency[12] and heavily taxed the military elite of the pronoiarioi, Sony VAIO PCG-5N2L battery thereby further reducing Byzantium's military capability. Whilst these solved some problems that Michael VIII had left for his son, it unraveled his father's attempts at restoring the power of the Byzantine Empire; where Michael VIII had attempted to deal with problems outside the Empire, Andronikos aimed to solve the internal problems resulting from his father's reign. Sony VAIO PCG-5N4L battery Andronikos II's policies were not successful in dealing with Byzantium's external problems; however, it would be threats from within the Empire that led to his abdication — in 1320 Andronikos III, the young (in his twenties) grandson of Andronikos II was disinherited by the Emperor.[14] Andronikos III's brother had been murdered and his father (Michael IX), the son of Andronikos II, died of shock. Sony VAIO PCG-5P2L battery Andronikos III did not take his disinheritance lightly — organizing an armed opposition, he succeeded in drawing support with promises of generous tax cuts, even beyond those enacted by Andronikos II.[14] Andronikos II was powerless to stop the young usurper; he granted him Thrace as an appanage in 1321,[14] the title of co-emperor in 1322,[14] and after a small war where the Bulgarians and Serbians played the two sides against each other, Sony VAIO PCG-5P4L battery Andronikos II was forced to abdicate and retire as a monk to a monastery, where he died in 1332.[14] Despite the calamities of the civil war, Andronikos III was about to revitalise the Empire.[14] Though Asia Minor was at this point destined to fall to the Turks, it had been in a worse position in 1091 and yet still recovered by Byzantium. The rule of Andronikos III is characterized as the last genuine attempt to restore Byzantine fortunes. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1L battery

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