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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 June 16th, 2014, 10:18 PM   #11
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Constantine V was one of the 7 best emperors, who passed from the throne of Constantinople in its 11 centuries history.
He was vilified by the religious historians of his time because he was an iconoclast, justifiably so in my opinion. It was the time that everyone who wanted to avoid military service was becoming a monk.
During his time the Byzantine Empire was the strongest nation in Europe due to his military achievements.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 09:53 AM   #12

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Constantine V was one of the 7 best emperors, who passed from the throne of Constantinople in its 11 centuries history.
He was vilified by the religious historians of his time because he was an iconoclast, justifiably so in my opinion. It was the time that everyone who wanted to avoid military service was becoming a monk.
Constantine's monastic policy is still up for debate, since we don't have the documentation from the monasteries in that period, as we do later and Theophanes and Nikephoros had a specific agenda, as you stated. I'm not sure that people were avoiding military service by joining monasteries. Rather, it seems likely that Constantine was trying to limit monastic power. At least, this is what older scholarship claims. I haven't read most of the recent stuff, since a lot of it is in German.

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During his time the Byzantine Empire was the strongest nation in Europe due to his military achievements.
It was locked in a slow, grinding war with Bulgaria, and bordered by a caliphate that was much more powerful. Byzantium's position was very precarious, although less so than throughout most of the previous century.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 10:52 AM   #13
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It was locked in a slow, grinding war with Bulgaria, and bordered by a caliphate that was much more powerful. Byzantium's position was very precarious, although less so than throughout most of the previous century.
Constantine V was a very successful emperor.
He was able to beat the Umayyad Caliphate in 746 invading Syria and capturing Germanikeia.
In 747 he beat the Arab fleet off the coast of Cyprus.
He beat the Abasid Chaliphate in 752 capturing Theodosiopolis and Melitene.
He strengthened the European side of the empire by resettling people from the Asiatic side.
He also in 755-756 beat the Bulgarians by successive campaigns;
again in 763 he beat the Bulgarians at Anchialus sailing with his fleet which caused the Bulgarian state to be destabilized for a long time.
Before his death he was preparing new campaigns against the Bulgarians but unfortunately he died.
His detractors were the kind of people that brought decline to the state after his death.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 11:14 AM   #14

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I've been reading some primary and other sources on the reign of Andronikos and his predecessors.

Eustatius and Nicitas Choniates were his opponents, and often painted an unfaltering image of Andronikos, especially of his tumultuous private life, but one does not get the impression they universally condemn his personality or his reign as Emperor.

The brother of Eustatius, the metropolitan of Athens, vehemently defended Andronikos and his policies, which he claimed benefited the provinces, hard pressed by corruption and widespread abuses.

I think his policies had been on right track (though extremely brutal) but a bit too late for the Empire at that point. It does not help that Andronikos lacked the political skill and tact needed to put forward such policy.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 07:20 AM   #15

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The brother of Eustatius, the metropolitan of Athens, vehemently defended Andronikos and his policies, which he claimed benefited the provinces, hard pressed by corruption and widespread abuses.
It was Niketas' brother who was metropolitan of Athens.

You might find Alicia Simpson's book on Niketas interesting. She argues that his portrait of Andronikos is much more complicated than a quick overview suggests.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 10:05 AM   #16

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It was Niketas' brother who was metropolitan of Athens.

You might find Alicia Simpson's book on Niketas interesting. She argues that his portrait of Andronikos is much more complicated than a quick overview suggests.
Yes, I've mistaken him for being the brother of Eustatitus.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 12:02 PM   #17

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It's been a while since I've read Choniates, but in that history Andronikos struck me as something of a reactionary republican traditionalist, if a bit eccentric and paranoid. He was very concerned with the traditional roles and trappings of Roman imperial authority; passing laws, building aqueducts, plastering his figure all over the place, and even planning to erect a triumphal column, though this was never brought to fruition, but you can tell that he also was motivated by a desire to clear away the rot of nepotism and aristocracy that had been festering throughout the Komnenian period. Andronikos wanted to reestablish the connection between the imperial office and the Roman people, and to this end he initiated a government purge, bringing in new men to fill the gaps, and started developing a language of empathy between himself and the common man, which included commissioning a public mosaic depicting the emperor in workers' clothes holding a sickle up to the neck of an oppressive noble (at least I'm pretty sure that's what it was; as I said, I haven't read Choniates in a while, so maybe it was a little more tame).

Of course, in reality he ended up souring relations with the west, alienating most of the government, military, and, though I forget exactly how, eventually people, and getting himself put on display in the hippodrome, but he had nobler intentions than most of the "bad" emperors that came before and after him. It's interesting to think about what might have happened if Andronikos had ascended from a stronger position, such as a military coup, and was more diplomatic in the implementation of his policies. Romania had not strayed so far from the old order that it could not return, with some gentler prodding, but Andronikos spoke loudly and could have used a bigger stick.
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Old January 6th, 2018, 10:20 AM   #18

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What was Andronikos' policy towards the Muslim world? Later emperors attempted to ally with Saladin against the west, but they lacked the strength/competence to carry out such a policy and ended up enfeebled.

Presumably it would have been a good idea for the empire to defeat the Sultanate of Rum, although I'm not sure how feasible that was by this stage. It seems rather the Byzantine society lacked the dynamism to expand at this period. Although as Saladin's capture of Egypt demonstrates, perhaps better leadership could have changed that.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 04:55 AM   #19

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What was Andronikos' policy towards the Muslim world?
This is a great question, and one that I'm not has been adequately addressed given that all the attention on Andronikos tends to focus on his domestic purges and Latin policy. However, I'm not sure we can speak of a general policy towards the "Muslim world", given that from Constantinople's viewpoint there were numerous Muslim polities, the nearest of which resided in Anatolia.

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Presumably it would have been a good idea for the empire to defeat the Sultanate of Rum, although I'm not sure how feasible that was by this stage.
I'm not sure it would have been a good idea from the empire's perspective - Rum occupied some of the poorest lands in Anatolia, were a regular source of troops, served as a punching bag when someone needed some military glory, and was a useful buffer for keeping Antioch, the ever-problematic Cilicians, and the Zenghids away from Byzantium's productive areas.

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It seems rather the Byzantine society lacked the dynamism to expand at this period. Although as Saladin's capture of Egypt demonstrates, perhaps better leadership could have changed that.
John II, Manuel I, and Theodore I seem to have possessed the dynamism to expand.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 06:47 AM   #20

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I'm not sure it would have been a good idea from the empire's perspective - Rum occupied some of the poorest lands in Anatolia, were a regular source of troops, served as a punching bag when someone needed some military glory, and was a useful buffer for keeping Antioch, the ever-problematic Cilicians, and the Zenghids away from Byzantium's productive areas.
I doubt the Zenghids posed much of a threat to Byzantium in the 1180s. They had more pressing concerns, namely fighting Saladin. The Sultanate of Rum managed to sever the Empire's link to the southern coast after Manuel's death, and let's just say that, if it wasn't for the Seljuqs, the Empire would still have Antioch. Rum occupied poor lands, true, it also occupied lands not too far from the capital itself.
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