Byzantine enemies

Aug 2012
321
Italy
I am doing a school project on Byzantine's enemies whom posed serious challenge to the Byzantine Empire throughout its long history.

My list includes:

Lombard
Sassanian
Arabs
Seljuk
Fourth Crusaders
Ottomans


My question is : were Slavs and Normans threats to Byzantine Empire significant or
just minor raids?
 
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Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,087
Canary Islands-Spain
The Slavic invasions were specially significant, since they overrun all of the Balkans and reduced Byzantine power to a few pockets in some coastal areas.
 

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,638
USA
In my opinion the Arabs and Turks.

The Arabs defeat a massive Roman army at Yarkmouk, a catastrophic defeat causing the Byzantines to retreat back and letting the Arabs expanding all the way from the Persia to Africa to Spain.

The Arabs later defeated the Byzantines at Manizkert.Military Units dating back to the Roman empire were destroyed.

The Bulgarians and the Normans were pretty tough too.
 
Jun 2013
973
I am a native of Rasht in Iran, but i live in Denm
If you ask me the Sassanids would be their strongest enemy, when the Byzantines were fighting the Arabs, Turks, Bulgars, and Normans they were not so strong that they were when they fought against the Sassanids.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,864
Blachernai
The Arabs later defeated the Byzantines at Manizkert.
*Turks

The Arabs were Byzantium's greatest external foe. The Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates had vigour, wealth, and great tactical mobility. Three sieges of Constantinople attest to the extreme danger they placed the Byzantine state in.

As for the earlier question on the Normans as a danger, I think it's fair to say that they were. Dyrrachion was one end of the road to Constantinople, indicating that Guiscard probably had designs on the capital. They showed their ability in beating a Byzantine field army sent to relieve the city. Guiscard's conquests in Italy revealed a clever and tenacious individual who probably would have been a dangerous enemy if he made it to the walls of Constantinople.
 
Dec 2009
5,558
Poland
Procopius of Caesarea about one of first Slavic invasions in the middle of the 6th century:

"(...) A Slavic army, no bigger than around 3,000 men, gathered itself together and after crossing without encountering any resistance from anyone the river Ister (Danube), and later with similar ease the river Heuros, it divided itself for two parts. One part numbered 1,800 men, the other part the rest of them. Commanders of Roman garrisons in Illyria and Thrace fought against both of these parts and even though they had already separated from each other, the Romans suffered - contrary to their expectations - a defeat, and some of them fell dead on the spot, while others found salvation in escaping. This happened despite the fact that the barbarians were less numerous than the Romans. After all garrisons had suffered such defeats at the hands of either one or the other one of barbarian units, one of enemy bands fought against troops of Asbados. He was a member of Emperor Justinian's personal guard (...) and he lead a numerous and elite force of cavalry, which had been garrisoned for a long time inside the Thracian stronghold of Tdzurulon. But also they were forced to retreat by the Slavs and most of them, shamefully escaping, got slaughtered, while Asbados himself was captured and temporarily left alive, but soon after that the Slavs skinned him alive and threw him into a burning campfire. After that the Slavs were plundering all neighbouring Thracian and Illyrian lands without any obstacles and both of their two units captured many strongholds. (...)"

 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,479
YEs, The Normans and Slavs were a major Threat.


* Note I disagree about "Massive" Byzantine Army at Yarmouk.
 
Sep 2008
1,855
Halicarnassus, 353BC
I am doing a school project on Byzantine's enemies whom posed serious challenge to the Byzantine Empire throughout its long history.

My list includes:

Lombard
Sassanian
Arabs
Seljuk
Fourth Crusaders
Ottomans


My question is : were Slavs and Normans threats to Byzantine Empire significant or
just minor raids?

The biggest enemy of the Byzantines was themselves.

Byzantine rebellions, constant civil wars, brought down the empire.

Think of Phocas. Think of the civil war after Manzikert. It wasn't the battle itself that killed the empire. It was the ensuing civil war, in which Anatolia was handed to the Turks by rival claimants to the throne in exchange for mercenaries. When those claimants were defeated, all that was left was Turkish control of Anatolia.

Byzantium wasn't killed, it destroyed itself. It literally, voluntarily dismantled itself and was replaced by the same powers it had invited in.