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

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
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between Venice and the Turks , after loosing Anatolia Byzantium didn't stand a chance ,
it was all a question of time
 
Jan 2016
1,139
Victoria, Canada
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.
Yeah, that sounds about right -- Innocent might have just lifted the excommunication anyway, if they actually made it to the Holy Land. A situation with still-excommunicated nobles ruling newly created Crusader States could be quite interesting though, in the event that it was successful.
 
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Oct 2012
812
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.
I doubt that. Just look how greek disappeared from all other regions of the Eastern Empire after they were lost. Maybe the greek heartland would be harder, especially for the common population, but not the elite.

edit: I think replaced might be a little too strong. The idea is that the Romans making Latin a more present language. For example, you can only occupy high positions in the administration if you know how to speak/write it.
 
Mar 2013
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Breakdancing on the Moon.
I doubt that. Just look how greek disappeared from all other regions of the Eastern Empire after they were lost. Maybe the greek heartland would be harder, especially for the common population, but not the elite.

edit: I think replaced might be a little too strong. The idea is that the Romans making Latin a more present language. For example, you can only occupy high positions in the administration if you know how to speak/write it.
I can answer this more from a perspective of the classical Roman administrative system.

Latin spread in the West wherever they had to build out infrastructure and urbanise. In the East, they took over 'Greek' urban infrastructure. I say 'Greek' because often Greek was a second or third language, and sometimes competed against older systems that the Hellenistic monarchies didn't fully assimilate (native Egyptian, Syriac etc). We even had bilingual Greek and Cuneiform Akkadian tablets.

Greek was the prestige language, at one point we even had a high priest of Jerusalem called "Jason", ha. That said, it didn't manage to spread as deeply as you'd think. A lot of Greek just would have been for trade and admin, even there we find tonnes of solecisms in the papyrological record.

The reason Greek disappeared is because the Islamic administration a) started promoting Arabic (after Muawiyah??) and b) some very nasty stuff happened under the Arabs that we gloss over.

Could Latin have ever displaced Greek as the prestige language in the East? Potentially, but it would have required a huge shift in administration and demographics. For your other idea, again later Greek texts do, if you read closely, show some more than passing familiarity with Latin literature. That never seemed to translate to much on the ground though.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
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" The Byzantines recaptured coastal Anatolia during the early 11th century, though. "
Byzantium had lost the Anatolian recruiting grounds , for ever the uplands switched to pastoralism
raising armies was more difficult and way more costly , it also deprived them of strategic depth
those are not my ideas , but From Steven Ruciman ,"History of the Crusades "
he postulate that Byzantium ceased to be a substantial land empire , to become an empire of cities
 
Jan 2016
1,139
Victoria, Canada
between Venice and the Turks , after loosing Anatolia Byzantium didn't stand a chance ,
it was all a question of time
Venice on its own was never really a major threat, even in the Late period -- Sicily (later Naples), Serbia, and Bulgaria were all far more dangerous enemies in the west. On the Turks and Anatolia, I'd refer you to this recent thread -- the Romans still controlled the vast majority of the Anatolian population through the 12th century, and maintained a strong grip on the peninsula's richest, most productive, and most densely populated regions into the 1290's. An exaggerated-relief map of Western Anatolia with the borders of the Empire in 1265:



Note how all of the fertile plains and river valleys of the west -- and thus the majority of the Anatolian population -- remain under firm Roman control, even 200 years after Manzikert. Indeed, through the mid-13th century the economy and population of Western Anatolia continued to expand, the civil-thematic administration remained stable and functional, there was general peace between the Sultan at Iconium and the Emperor (the Romans of Cappadocia even continued to commemorate the reigns of the Emperors in church inscriptions), and grain was regularly exported east, to the sparse and occasionally famine-prone plateau (see Angold's A Byzantine Government in Exile). It was the knock-on effects of the Mongol conquests -- the disintegration of the Sultanate of Iconium and the migration of Turkoman nomads west under increasing Mongol pressure, namely, as well as the subsequent formation of great, pasture-starved nomadic confederacies immediately east of the Roman border -- that threw a giant wrench in this perfectly sustainable status quo, and even then it took over half a century, a truly mediocre Emperor, and a great deal of bad luck for the Asian frontier to truly collapse. And that was in the thirteenth century, never mind the twelfth!

An elevation map of Turkey with the rough borders of Komnenian and Nicaean/Palaiologian Anatolia, for further context:



The Green areas (outside of Mesopotamia and the Armenian highlands) correspond generally to those of densest human settlement, although there were some scattered pockets of intensive agriculture in Phrygia and further east on the plateau, particularly around Iconium itself.
 
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Jan 2016
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Victoria, Canada
Byzantium had lost the Anatolian recruiting grounds , for ever the uplands switched to pastoralism
raising armies was more difficult and way more costly , it also deprived them of strategic depth
those are not my ideas , but From Steven Ruciman ,"History of the Crusades "
he postulate that Byzantium ceased to be a substantial land empire , to become an empire of cities
I haven't read the books myself, but Runciman is incredibly outdated, from everything I hear (and as would be expected for a series written over 65 years ago! It would be considered history itself three times over by the standards of this forum). He didn't have access to a great multitude of primary sources, methodological advancements, and especially archaeological/climatic data we have now, which greatly weakens the strength of his conclusions both great and small. This is particularly the case in regards to Komnenian Byzantium, and especially Komnenian Asia Minor. In the 1950's and into the 1980's, for instance, the 12th century was understood to be a time of economic and demographic stagnation or even decline in Romania, whereas, since the 90's, archival and archaeological data have revealed quite the opposite -- that it was a period of great economic and demographic expansion, just as in Western Europe. Angeliki Laiou -- a historian who has spent much of her career working on Byzantine demography -- more recently, in The Economic History of Byzantium, estimated the population of the Empire under Manuel to be as high as 20 million people, a figure which would baffle the literature-dependent scholars of the 1950's.

In regards to Byzantium being or not being a "land empire", we've since developed a much better understanding of Komnenian, diplomacy, military campaigns, borders, and fortification policy, most of the foundational works for which simply didn't exist in 1951. These reveal a state very much concerned with securing and protecting not just major urban centres but large swathes of productive agricultural land, particularly in Western Anatolia. This goal was pursued through regularized accommodations with wintering Turkomans, diplomatic arrangements with Turkish polities of various sizes, targeted campaigns of reconquest aimed at securing key inland strongholds -- Kotyaion, Akroinon, Kedrea, Sozopolis, Kastamouni, Dorylaion, etc. -- the establishment of state-supported companies of semi-autonomous border-guards and guerrillas in Phrygia and Paphlagonia (the Akrites), and the systematic fortification of the more vulnerable areas of the fertile lowlands (particularly the new Theme of Neokastra, "Newcastles", centred on Palaiokastron and Khilara, and Mylasa & Melanoudion in Caria, alongside the reorganized Themes of Thrakesion and Opsikion, among others), as well as the passes through which they were entered. Such efforts were instrumental in enabling prosperity and Roman control Western Anatolia -- so easily lost in the late 11th century -- to endure through the tumultuous years of the early 13th. Niketiata castle, an example of a Komnenian fortress in Bithynia:







The Komnenian fortifications of Kotyaion in Phrygia:

 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Venice on its own was never really a major threat, even in the Late period -- Sicily (later Naples), Serbia, and Bulgaria were all far more dangerous enemies in the west. On the Turks and Anatolia, I'd refer you to this recent thread -- the Romans still controlled the vast majority of the Anatolian population through the 12th century, and maintained a strong grip on the peninsula's richest, most productive, and most densely populated regions into the 1290's. An exaggerated-relief map of Western Anatolia with the borders of the Empire in 1265:



Note how all of the fertile plains and river valleys of the west -- and thus the majority of the Anatolian population -- remain under firm Roman control, even 200 years after Manzikert. Indeed, through the mid-13th century the economy and population of Western Anatolia continued to expand, the civil-thematic administration remained stable and functional, there was general peace between the Sultan at Iconium and the Emperor (the Romans of Cappadocia even continued to commemorate the reigns of the Emperors in church inscriptions), and grain was regularly exported east, to the sparse and occasionally famine-prone plateau (see Angold's A Byzantine Government in Exile). It was the knock-on effects of the Mongol conquests -- the disintegration of the Sultanate of Iconium and the migration of Turkoman nomads west under increasing Mongol pressure, namely, as well as the subsequent formation of great, pasture-starved nomadic confederacies immediately east of the Roman border -- that threw a giant wrench in this perfectly sustainable status quo, and even then it took over half a century, a truly mediocre Emperor, and a great deal of bad luck for the Asian frontier to truly collapse. And that was in the thirteenth century, never mind the twelfth!

An elevation map of Turkey with the rough borders of Komnenian and Nicaean/Palaiologian Anatolia, for further context:



The Green areas (outside of Mesopotamia and the Armenian highlands) correspond generally to those of densest human settlement, although there were some scattered pockets of intensive agriculture in Phrygia and further east on the plateau, particularly around Iconium itself.
Why'd the late Byzantine Empire never reconquer either Trebizond or the southern coast of Anatolia?
 
Jan 2016
1,139
Victoria, Canada
Why'd the late Byzantine Empire never reconquer either Trebizond or the southern coast of Anatolia?
The 13th century Emperors certainly would have liked to, but they always had other, far more pressing matters to deal with (namely destroying the Latin Empire under the Nicaeans, defending the west and Constantinople against the Angevins under Michael VIII, and trying to defend Asia against the Turks under Andronikos II), and both regions were, in addition, under the protection/control of major powers for most of the century -- namely the Georgians (and later Mongols) in Trebizond and Sultanate of Iconium (and later Mongols) in the south. Michael did manage to get John II of Trebizond to replace the title "Emperor and Autokrator of the Romans" with "Emperor and Autokrator of all the East, of the Iberians and, of Perateia", effectively accepting Michael's claims to the former, and Andronikos III managed to get his candidate (Basil) on the Trapezuntine throne in the 1330's, after the loss of Anatolia, but no serious attempt was ever made in the wake of 1204 to properly retake Pontus itself.
 
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