If the Byzantine Empire would have survived up to the present-day, what it look like right now?

Jan 2016
1,130
Victoria, Canada
#11
I find it very unlikely that he would have been able to have any effect on Jerusalem's status, one way or the other. If I recall correctly the Byzantines had fairly positive (or at least not negative) diplomatic relations with Saladin, seeing him as much less of a threat than the Seljuks were. I doubt that the Byzantines would have gone to war with him just to defend Jerusalem, a city with no strategic or economic benefits to anybody, and a city that they also had no interest in from a practical perspective (Emperor Alexius expressed frustration when the crusaders attacked the Fatamids to take Jerusalem rather than fighting solely the Seljuks). Sending an army to help the crusaders would not have benefited the Byzantines in any meaningful way, not least because the majority of the crusader states had little to no interest in maintaining good relations let alone an alliance with the Byzantines (with the exception of the complicated status of Antioch).
The Byzantines developed positive relations with Saladin only under the Angeloi, after diplomatic relations with the Crusader states had soured (for a number of reasons, but particularly Richard the Lionheart's conquest of Cyprus). Manuel, on the other hand, maintained a very close relationship with the Crusader states, including Jerusalem in particular, the vulnerability of which he used to his advantage in pressuring the kingdom into becoming what amounted to a Roman protectorate. Manuel launched a major joint expedition against Egypt with Jerusalem in 1169 (contributing a full expeditionary force and 200 warships), though it didn't end up a success, and brought 70-150 ships to the Levant to prepare to launch another in 1176-7, though it was called off for unknown reasons; he also sponsored the construction of a number of monasteries and churches in the Kingdom, which featured fresco and mosaic portraits of himself (in one case alongside the King), arranged marriage alliances with Baldwin III and Amalric, invested Baldwin III with royal regalia in Cilicia (according to Armenian chroniclers), and received Amalric in Constantinople (asking in person for assistance against Saladin) in a grand ceremonial reception in which the King was seated on a lower throne to the Emperor's side, symbolizing his subservience (a ritual also standard for the Dukes of Antioch and Roman vassals in Serbia, and performed earlier on a smaller scale with Baldwin III). Manuel additionally payed the immense ransoms of many Crusader nobles, including Bohemond III of Antioch and Raynard of Chatillon, lord of Oultejordain and a major figure in the administration of Amalric's successor, Baldwin IV. The source for the above is mainly Magdelino's The Empire of Manuel Komnenos.

Had he lived longer -- or his policies been continued by Alexios II -- I don't doubt either Emperor would be thrilled to be able to play the part of heroic protector of Christendom in Jerusalem against the advances of Saladin, particularly in light of the abject failure of Manuel's highly publicized 1176 campaign against the Sultanate of Ikonion. Preventing the fall of the Holy City to the Muslims would dramatically increase the prestige of the Emperor(s) in Latin Europe, and draw Jerusalem further into a state of Roman dependence, not to mention promote the Church union worked towards by Manuel his entire reign -- it would also prevent a repeat of the tumultuous Kings' Crusade of 1147, as indeed happened historically. Manuel and Alexios were additionally still formally allied to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in any case, and had emphasized its status as dependent on Roman support, so not coming to its aid would be perceived as downright treacherous.
 
Likes: Futurist

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#12
In real history the borders of the Roman Empire tended to slowly fluctuate over time, and would grow overall for a long time and then shrink overall for a long time, and then start to grow again, etc.. If the Roman Empire continued to exist in 2019 at least one of the periods of decline would have had to be shorted and a period of expansion begun earlier.

The sooner that change happened the larger the empire would likely be at the time, and thus the greater the probability that it would survive to the present.

So a surviving "Byzantine" empire might have been as small as Constantine XI's or as large as Justinian I's at its height, or possibly larger or smaller.
 
#13
I wonder what would have changed in the Romans imposed Latin to the East? I doubt the Romans would have much problem doing so over the centuries, and the barrier between West and East had a lot of to do with languages. Would that barrier be gone? Would we see a bigger interaction with the Roman Empire that survived and the Kingdoms that formed in the west?
 
Feb 2014
246
Miami
#14
Greece with Smyrna and Cyprus and Thrace and the Pontus region with a monarchy that claims they are Romans and not Greece. They would also sue Romania saying the country is trying to steal their name instead of just going after Macedonia
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,753
Blachernai
#16
I wonder what would have changed in the Romans imposed Latin to the East? I doubt the Romans would have much problem doing so over the centuries, and the barrier between West and East had a lot of to do with languages. Would that barrier be gone? Would we see a bigger interaction with the Roman Empire that survived and the Kingdoms that formed in the west?
Imposing Latin would have been very difficult. The empire required the local elite to administer itself on the ground, and they functioned in Greek. For many, Greek may well have been a second language, with Syriac and Coptic likely having a greater number of total native speakers in the near east.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,753
Blachernai
#17
Anyway, though, how do you think that Manuel would have handled the Fourth Crusaders had he lived until the 1200s?
Assuming that the Fourth Crusade was still going by sea, my suspicion is that Manuel would have used his considerable influence to keep them at a distance. The crusaders went to Constantinople in 1203 because they were looking for help. To some extent, Manuel is responsible for this - he did a capable job in convincing the Latins that he would aid them. Given the earlier efforts to keep the crusaders away from Constantinople, I have no doubt Manuel would have done just that. The crusaders got dragged into Byzantine politics because of uncertainty over the throne, and with Manuel in charge, that uncertainty doesn't exist. My guess is that Manuel would have sent some ships, troops, titles, and piles of cash to meet up with the crusader fleet, much as he did with King Amalric of Jerusalem against Egypt.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,753
Blachernai
#18
I find it very unlikely that he would have been able to have any effect on Jerusalem's status, one way or the other. If I recall correctly the Byzantines had fairly positive (or at least not negative) diplomatic relations with Saladin, seeing him as much less of a threat than the Seljuks were. I doubt that the Byzantines would have gone to war with him just to defend Jerusalem, a city with no strategic or economic benefits to anybody, and a city that they also had no interest in from a practical perspective (Emperor Alexius expressed frustration when the crusaders attacked the Fatamids to take Jerusalem rather than fighting solely the Seljuks). Sending an army to help the crusaders would not have benefited the Byzantines in any meaningful way, not least because the majority of the crusader states had little to no interest in maintaining good relations let alone an alliance with the Byzantines (with the exception of the complicated status of Antioch).
One doesn't need to start a war to apply pressure. One element that seems to have been included in the strategic calculation of Muslim rulers is control of the mosque in Constantinople - it is a blow to one's prestige if some other Muslim's ruler's name gets mentioned during the Friday prayers. They used this as a weapon during the squabbling between Egypt and Baghdad in the eleventh century. Constantinople could also use its diplomatic leverage via money, prestige, and titles to induce Mosul or Baghdad to act against Saladin's interests, whether militarily or otherwise.
 
Jan 2016
1,130
Victoria, Canada
#19
Assuming that the Fourth Crusade was still going by sea, my suspicion is that Manuel would have used his considerable influence to keep them at a distance. The crusaders went to Constantinople in 1203 because they were looking for help. To some extent, Manuel is responsible for this - he did a capable job in convincing the Latins that he would aid them. Given the earlier efforts to keep the crusaders away from Constantinople, I have no doubt Manuel would have done just that. The crusaders got dragged into Byzantine politics because of uncertainty over the throne, and with Manuel in charge, that uncertainty doesn't exist. My guess is that Manuel would have sent some ships, troops, titles, and piles of cash to meet up with the crusader fleet, much as he did with King Amalric of Jerusalem against Egypt.
I do wonder how an excommunicated Crusader army would have been received in the Levant -- probably with gratitude and tacit acceptance, but it could have turned into quite a scandal depending on the Pope's response.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,753
Blachernai
#20
I do wonder how an excommunicated Crusader army would have been received in the Levant -- probably with gratitude and tacit acceptance, but it could have turned into quite a scandal depending on the Pope's response.
I doubt many in the east would have been too bothered. After the excommunication in Zara, some of the bishops of the crusade just un-excommunicated the army, completely against canon law, of course, so these things could be flexible. And the leaders in the Levant were accustomed to Christians of differing persuasions under their military command. A good portion of the armies seem to have been recruited locally from Christian Syrians and Armenians, not all of whom were in communion with Rome.