Sunday, October 26, 2014

His attempts came close to fruition

His attempts came close to fruition, but the many hostile neighbors of Byzantium eventually took their toll on an Empire in decline.His first concern was that of Asia Minor. Nicaea, until 1261 the capital of the Empire, was under siege by Ottoman Turks. In the summer of 1329, Andronikos III launched a relief attempt which culminated in a defeat at the Battle of Pelekanon on June 10,[15] and in 1331, the city fell. Sony VAIO PCG-5R2L battery Not wishing to see Nicomedia or the other few remaining forts in Asia Minor suffer the same fate, Andronikos III sought to pay off the Ottomans with tribute — the Ottomans did not stop at this and seized Nicomedia as well in 1337. Despite this, Andronikos III scored a few successes as well in the Aegean: in 1329, Chios was recovered,[15]and in 1335, Andronikos arranged an alliance involving financial indemnities with the Turkic Emir Bahud-din Umur, Sony VAIO PCG-5S1L battery Bey of Aydin, and was able to recover Lesbos and Phocaea from the Latins.[15] In Europe, Andronikos III had mixed results; Thessaly returned to Imperial rule in 1333, but Serbia once again began expanding southwards: led by the Byzantine renegade Syrgiannes Palaiologos, Serbian forces took five key forts from Byzantium in 1334 and forced it to recognize the new borders.[15] Sony VAIO PCG-5S2L battery Nevertheless, Andronikos was able to bring back Epirus into the fold in 1341 through the use of diplomacy.[15] The result was that whilst the Empire was reduced to its European territories, it had succeeded in bringing much of Greece under its control. Unfortunately for the newly expanded Byzantium, Stephen Dusan (ruling Serbia from 1331) decided to take these lands as well from Byzantium. Sony VAIO PCG-5S3L battery The death of Andronikos III and the resulting chaos left the Empire in no position to fight back. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the reign of Andronikos III was one of the last bright spots in Byzantine history, as the Empire's position was becoming increasingly precarious. Diplomacy became less useful, as Byzantium's enemies realized that the Emperor had not the military or even economic might to back his word. Sony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery Whilst there was a general decline in the Empire's fortunes, Andronikos III's death would be the coup de grĂ¢ce for the Empire — his 10-year-old son was led by a regency that was torn apart in dynastic rivalries which would lead to a civil war from which Byzantium would never recover. The Byzantine Empire entered into a new era of decay in 1341. Sony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery The Empire was ravaged by every possible disaster[16] — alongside wars and civil wars, renewed epidemics of bubonic plague swept through its diminished lands. The first outbreak occurred in 1347, and between the 1360s and 1420s, eight further outbreaks of plague are recorded. Cities were full of social unrest between the corrupt wealthy (who had been exploiting the tax system for their own benefit) Sony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery and the countless landless peasants burdened by the demands of the government.[16] Religious controversy, the cancer of Byzantium in the 7th and 8th centuries, once again emerged in the form of the Hesychasm controversy,[16] which eventually became a doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox church. There were numerous earthquakes, destroying Byzantium's infrastructure — the fortress of Sony VAIO PCG-61111L battery Gallipoli was destroyed in 1354 by such an earthquake[16] and the Ottoman Turks lost no time in taking it and establishing a bridgehead in Europe. Meanwhile, the Serbs continued pressing south, removing any nominal Imperial control in Epirus. The Empire shrunk in size and when the civil war ended, Byzantium would be a petty city state, hanging on to life through the respites of her foes, and soon to-be protectors. Sony VAIO PCG-61112L battery

John V, ten years old at his ascension, was guided by a regency consisting of his mother, Anna of Savoy, John VI Kantakouzenos and the Patriarch of Constantinople (John XIV Kalekas).[16]

The Patriarch, aided by the ambitious Alexios Apokaukos, sparked the civil conflict when he convinced the Empress that John V's rule was threatened by the ambitions of Kantakouzenos. Sony VAIO PCG-61411L battery In September 1341, whilst Kantakouzenos was in Thrace, Kalekas declared himself as regent and launched a vicious attack on Kantakouzenos, his supporters and family.[16] In October, Anna ordered Kantakouzenos to resign his command.[17] Kantakouzenos not only refused, but declared himself Emperor atDidymoteichon, allegedly to protect John V's rule from Kalekas. Sony VAIO PCG-71111L battery

Whether or not Kantakouzenos wished to be Emperor is not known, but the provocative actions of the Patriarch forced Kantakouzenos to fight to retain his power and started the civil war.

There were not nearly enough troops to defend Byzantium's borders at the time and there certainly was not enough for the two factions to split; consequently, foreigner mercenaries were brought in. Sony VAIO PCG-7141L battery Kantakouzenos hired Turks and Serbs — his main supply of Turkish mercenaries came from the Bey of Aydin, a nominal ally established by Andronikos III. The Regency of John V relied on Turkish mercenaries as well. However, Kantakouzenos began to draw support from the Ottoman Sultan Orkhan, who wed Kantakouzenos' daughter in 1345. By 1347, Kantakouzenos had triumphed and entered Constantinople. Sony VAIO PCG-7142L battery

However, in his hour of victory, he came to an accord with Anna and her son, John V: John V (now 15 years of age) and Kantakouzenos would rule as co-emperors, though John V would be the junior in this relationship.[18] This unlikely partnership was not destined to last long.

Kantakouzenos had a son, Matthew Kantakouzenos — and any hope of keeping peace between John V and Matthew became more remote as the two grew older and more independent. Sony VAIO PCG-81113L battery

John V wed Kantakouzenos' daughter, thus becoming his son in law,[18]in a move designed to bind the two families, but it was destined to fail.

In 1353, Kantakouzenos was still hopeful that peace would be maintained, but in that year, John V launched a military attack on Matthew,[18] thereby re-igniting the civil war. John V was demoted and exiled to the island of Tenedos, one of the few islands in the Aegean still under Byzantine control, Sony VAIO PCG-81114L battery while Kantakouzenos made his son Matthew co-emperor. John V would not give up so easy however, and in 1354 Ottoman troops began crossing over into Thrace in his support. The citizens of Constantinople became gripped with fear and in November of that same year, John V launched a successful coup with Genoan aid. Kantakouzenos now abdicated and retired to a monastery, where he would write his memoirs and thoughts until his death in 1383.[19] Sony VAIO PCG-81115L battery Matthew Kantakouzenos, no doubt disappointed with his father's failure, continued to resist John V. Since the Ottoman Sultan Orkhan was his brother-in-law, he was able to obtain troops from him, but had barely begun his campaign when he was captured in the summer of 1356. He was forced to renounce his claims in 1357 and exiled to the Morea sometime between 1361 and 1383,[19] though other sources indicate 1391 a possible date. Sony VAIO PCG-81214L battery

At 25 years, John V had managed to establish himself firmly as ruler of the Empire, at the cost of bleeding out all its resources.The lands ravaged and depopulated by the civil war were filled up by arriving Turks who colonised the land through a mixture of conquest and trade.[19] Sony VAIO PCG-81312L battery

The result was that Byzantium's power was undermined beyond all recovery — two hundred years ago Byzantium could rely on the people living in the lands of Anatolia, Greece, Macedonia and several large islands like Cyprus and Crete. Now the population under its control was limited to the few remaining cities in Byzantine possession, namely Thessalonica and Constantinople and the surrounding countryside, and the Despotate of the Morea. Sony VAIO PCG-8131L battery

The immigration of Turks would be decisive in the survival of the Empire as it gave her most dire enemy, the Ottomans, a new power base, not in Asia but now in Europe.

Like his predecessors Alexios I Komnenos and Michael VIII, John V now turned to the Pope and offered the promise of a Union of the two Churches in the hopes of receiving military assistance. Sony VAIO PCG-8141L battery As a guarantee of compliance, John V offered his son, Manuel. In the past, Byzantium's cry for assistance were answered with mixed results — pillaging Crusaders would sack both friend and foe but the First Crusade had been largely beneficial and no doubt John V envisioned a repeat of such a Crusade. This time, however, the Papacy was unmoved by the calamity facing the Byzantine Empire.[20] Sony VAIO PCG-8152L battery Fortunately for John V, he had other European connections — his mother was Anna of Savoy, and her nephew (being John V's cousin) was concerned for the safety of his Greek counterpart.[20] Sailing from Venice in June 1366 with dreams of initiating yet another Crusade, Amadeo VI of Savoy arrived at and seized the fortress of Gallipoli from the Ottomans and handed it back to the Byzantines, Sony VAIO PCG-8161L battery hoping that this would stem the tide of Turkish emigration into Thrace.[20] However, the Turks had by now firmly established themselves in Thrace. Amadeo and John spent much time between 1367 and 1369 thinking of ways to stave off defeat. Amadeo returned to Europe via Rome and brought with him Byzantine envoys. The Pope again was uninterested, but called for John V to visit him.[20] Sony VAIO PCG-9131L battery

In 1369, when the Ottomans finally captured Adrianople (though some sources indicate 1365),[20] John V rushed to Rome and confessed his Catholic faith both privately and at a public spectacle.[20]

Nevertheless, in 1371 John V returned empty-handed, having humiliated himself and done nothing to improve the deteriorating situation in the Balkans. Sony VAIO PCG-3E1M battery In 1371, the Serbs mustered their strength and prepared to launch an attack to drive back the Turks from Thrace. In a crushing victory, the Ottomans annihilated the Serbian army at the Battle of Maritsa,[20] and in its aftermath, many surviving lords submitted to the Ottoman Sultan Murad I. Byzantium was in no better position and after taking Serres from the defeated Serbs, John V swore allegiance as a vassal to Murad. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery John V's rule was an unhappy one, resulting in his vassalage to Murad I. However, it must have been all the more worse when his eldest son and heir to the throne Andronikos IV Palaiologos rebelled against his father in 1373.[21] Curiously, this rebellion coincided with the rebellion of Murad I's son, Savci Celebi[21] and the two worked towards fomenting revolution in their peoples. SONY VAIO PCG-81111V battery Consequently, both the Byzantine and Ottoman rulers were facing their sons and as a result, coordinated efforts were made to defeat both.[21] John V had his eldest son, Andronikos IV, along with the latter's son, John VII, partially blinded, while Murad I defeated his son, Savci, and had him executed.[22] Manuel, the second son of John V, was made co-emperor and heir to the throne. SONY VAIO PCG-81211V battery Unfortunately for John V, Andronikos IV and his son John VII escaped. With Genoan and Turkish aid, they returned to Constantinople and succeeded in overthrowing John V, imprisoning him and Manuel.[22] In exchange for Ottoman aid, Andronikos IV handed the fortress of Gallipoli over to the Ottomans, thus rendering the only genuine European aid, provided by Amadeoof Savoy, useless. SONY VAIO PCG-51111V battery

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