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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:22 PM   #1

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A question on Byzantine civil war: losing Constantinople yet winning the war?


In most of the major revolts or civil wars of Byzantine history, holding Constantinople is the decisive factor in victory. Bardanes Tourkos, George Maniakes, and Leo Tornikios all failed in taking the city, which brought about the end of their revolts. Others were made emperor through taking Constantinople, like Leo III and Alexios I Komnenos. No less of an emperor than Romanos IV Diogenes lost his throne after a faction seized power in the city. Constantinople seems to be key to winning a civil war.

However, there are some exceptions. Artabasdos took Constantinople from the young Constantine V, who eventually defeated the usurper and took it back. Thomas the Slav and Bardas Phokas seem to have enjoyed widespread popularity and power in Asia Minor for long periods, to the point where one wonders if they established a centre of administration somewhere for the management of their territories. Thus, what I am wondering is, how do these exceptions fit the paradigm I've outlined above? Are there other examples that might work better?
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Old May 8th, 2014, 03:58 PM   #2
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Strategikon of Kekaumenos

Strategikon of Kekaumenos, written ca. 1075-1078 [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kekaumenos]Kekaumenos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katakalon_Kekaumenos]Katakalon Kekaumenos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_military_manuals]Byzantine military manuals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Στρατηγικόν


Part D (72-76): Includes lectures on appropriate responses when revolution happens against the emperor. Recent examples are used to demonstrate the value of loyalty to the emperor.

72
.................

Ἐάν τις μουλτεύση καί βασιλέα ἑαυτόν ἐπιφήμιζη, μήν ἕλθεις εἰς βουλήν αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ'ἀπόσθητι ἐξ αὐτοῦ. Καί εἰ μέν δυνηθῆς πολεμῆσαι καί καταβαλεῖν αὐτόν, πολέμησον ὑπέρ τοῦ βασιλέως καί τῆς τοῦ παντός εἰρήνηςˇ εἰ δ'οὐ δύνασαι τοῦτον πολεμῆσαι, άπόσθητι, ὡς εἲρηται, ἀπ'αὐτοῦ, καί κρατήσας τινός ὀχυρώματος μετά τῶν ἀνθρώπων σου, γράψον πρός τόν βασιλέα, καἰ ἀγωνίζου, ὅσον δύνασαι, ποιῆσαι δουλεἰαν, ὅπως τιμηθῆς καί σὐ καί τά παιδία σου καί οἱ ἂνθρωποι σου. Εἰ δ'οὐκ ἒχεις τινάς ἵνα κρατησεις ὀχυρώματος, κατάλιπε πάντα καί πρόσφυγε πρός τόν βασιλέα. Εἰ δ'ἲσως διά τήν φαμιλίαν σου, οὐ τολμᾶς φυγεῖν, ἒσω μετ'αὐτοῦ, ὁ δέ νοῦ σου ἒστω πρός τόν βασιλέα, καί ὁπόταν δυνηθῆς, δεῖξον ἒργον ἐπαίνου ἂξιονˇ ὢν γάρ μετ'αὐτοῦ ὑποσυρόν τινας ἒχειν φίλους ὑπερψυχίους καί ἒργασαι αὐτόν καί ἒχε πίστιν πρός τόν βασιλέα ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει, καί οὐ μή διαμάρτης τῆς ἐλπίδος σου. Γράφε δέ αὐτῶ κρυφίως. Καί εἰ μέν οἰκεῖς εἰς κάστρον τῆς άνατολῆς εἲτε τῆς δύσεως, ἒχον κουλά, καί γένηται ἀποστασία, διανάστηθι καί περισύναξον τινας καί πολέμησον τῶ ἀποστατήσαντιˇ

..................


74
............

Οὐδἐποτε γάρ τις ἐτόλμησεν ἀνταρσίαν ποιῆσαι κατά τοῦ βασιλέως καί τῆς Ρωμανίας πειρώμενος διαφθεῖραι τήν εἰρήνην, καί οὐκ αὐτός διεφθάρη. Διά ταῦτα οὖν παραγγέλω ὑμῖν, τέκνα μου ἠγαπημένα, οὕς μοι δέδωκεν ὁ Θεός, εἰς τό μέρος τοῦ βασιλέως καί εἰς τήν δούλωσιν αὐτοῦ εἶναι. Ὁ γάρ ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει καθεζόμενος βασιλεύς πάντοτε νικᾶ.

....................


---------------------------------

72
............

If one rebel and proclaiming himself Emperor , [you] not to join him, but move away from him. And if you can fight him [=the rebel] and pay[defuse/eliminate] him, fought for the emperor [basileus] and the general peace; contrary if in contrast , you can not fight him[=the rebel] , fall away from him, as I said , and while with your people [subjects] you become owner of a fort , to write emperor and struggle as you offer him service , [so] to be cherished and you and your children and your people . If you do not have people to occupy a fort , [then] to abandon everything and flee to the king. If you do not dare to leave because of your family , stay with him, however your mind is to be the [nominal]emperor and when you can do a commendable actιοn . For example, while you 're with him[=the rebel], to get on your side and some friends for face him and have faith to the Emperor of Constantinople and you will not fail of your purpose[not betrayed your hope] . Also write [sent letter] hidden. And if residence at a Castle [ fortified hamlet ] to the East [=Asia Minor/Anatolia] or the West [=Balkans/south Italy] , which has Tower [ fort ] , and become revolution, get up and gather people and to fight the renegade [ =the rebel ].....


74
............

Never dared anyone to do any mutiny against the Emperor and Romania [Roman Empire], active to destroy peace, and not destroyed himself. That's why, my lovely kids, that God donates [gives you] to me, I order to be with the part of the emperor and be to his services. Because the emperor who located to Constantinople always wins.

....


-----------------

(Translation by me, as possible accurate)

Constantinople, is a pole of development, the state treasury, the selectively imperial guard, and the best defensive fortified city of Roman/Byzantine empire, while the communication by sea and geostrategic point is built, gives benefit to the emperor of Constantinople.

We observe that the belief opinion of an experienced military as Kekaumenos, it is a given that in the revolutions, the emperor of Constantinople always wins..


==========================


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===================

Last edited by ANAX; May 8th, 2014 at 05:17 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 04:37 PM   #3

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Holding the capitol often is an important part in winning a civil war.
Perhaps is the Byzantine state was highly centralized it would have been of even greater importance but considering the theme system I doubt this was the case.
Maybe you are looking for connections where there not necessarily are any?
After all, winning a civil war has to do with a lot more things.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 04:41 PM   #4
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Oh, Constantinople... I swear I would love to see your wonderful culture alive in our times...
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Old May 8th, 2014, 10:35 PM   #5

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How much of the Empire's taxes were collected in Constantinople? I don't just mean sent by outlaying districts but levied and paid directly from tariffs on trade etc.

Constantinople was also the largest population city all through the Empire and seems extraordinarily important even for a capitol.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 05:29 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirialax View Post
In most of the major revolts or civil wars of Byzantine history, holding Constantinople is the decisive factor in victory. Bardanes Tourkos, George Maniakes, and Leo Tornikios all failed in taking the city, which brought about the end of their revolts. Others were made emperor through taking Constantinople, like Leo III and Alexios I Komnenos. No less of an emperor than Romanos IV Diogenes lost his throne after a faction seized power in the city. Constantinople seems to be key to winning a civil war.

However, there are some exceptions. Artabasdos took Constantinople from the young Constantine V, who eventually defeated the usurper and took it back. Thomas the Slav and Bardas Phokas seem to have enjoyed widespread popularity and power in Asia Minor for long periods, to the point where one wonders if they established a centre of administration somewhere for the management of their territories. Thus, what I am wondering is, how do these exceptions fit the paradigm I've outlined above? Are there other examples that might work better?
What about Andronikos I Komnenos? He held Constantinople, but the people rose up against him and he was killed by a mob in the streets.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 08:12 AM   #7
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What about Andronikos I Komnenos? He held Constantinople, but the people rose up against him and he was killed by a mob in the streets.
On September 11, 1185, during Andronikos I Komnenos absence from the capital, Stephen Hagiochristophorites,his lieutenant, moved to arrest Isaac Angelos, whose loyalty was suspect.

Isaac killed Hagiochristophorites and took refuge in the church of Hagia Sophia. He appealed to the populace, and a tumult arose that spread rapidly over the whole city.

When Andronikos arrived he found that Isaac had been proclaimed Emperor. [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andronikos_I_Komnenos"]Andronikos I Komnenos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]


Without support Andronikos was no more emperor > He did not held of Constantinople> as emperor of Constantinople had become Isaac Angelos.

Andonikos losing Constantinople losing the axiom.

Because the emperor who located to Constantinople always wins.

(or let's say at most)

===============

Last edited by ANAX; May 9th, 2014 at 08:20 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 08:58 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by Henrique Aguiar View Post
Oh, Constantinople... I swear I would love to see your wonderful culture alive in our times...
Guys like the one on your avatar contributed to this physical absense... The culture though has never died...in contrary...

Btw... Why focus on the Hagia Sophia now? - ERTU?RUL ÖZKÖK
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Old May 9th, 2014, 09:15 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichon View Post
How much of the Empire's taxes were collected in Constantinople? I don't just mean sent by outlaying districts but levied and paid directly from tariffs on trade etc.

Constantinople was also the largest population city all through the Empire and seems extraordinarily important even for a capitol.
It's a matter of debate. However, the kommerkion, the tax in gold paid by foreign merchants does seem to have contributed a decent chunk to the imperial revenues.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 09:22 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by RoyalHill1987 View Post
What about Andronikos I Komnenos? He held Constantinople, but the people rose up against him and he was killed by a mob in the streets.
I suppose we could say the same about Phokas, though. Upon losing popular or senatorial support in the capital, their reigns came to an end. Neither really had a chance to make a government in exile outside of the capital.

I'm still thinking that Artabasdos' success in taking the city and Constantine V's final success over him is a bit of an aberration.
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