Which empire was more powerful circa AD700: the Byzantine Empire or the Tang Dynasty

More powerful Empire in 700 AD?

  • Byzantine

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • Tang China

    Votes: 14 87.5%

  • Total voters
    16

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,604
Blachernai
#11
Greece isn't actually that bad, although the Romans should control much of the west coast and a bit more of the east, but the Exarchate of Ravenna and Duchy of Rome are way too small and the corridor connecting them isn't shown, Roman control in Thrace is extremely underrepresented, Cherson isn't shown, Dalmatia isn't shown, the southern coast of Anatolia is only shown under Roman control up to Attaleia when it should extent a bit past Seleukia, and Cyprus, while a special case in that it was partially demilitarized and paying protection money to the Arabs, was more under Roman control than not. Here's a more accurate (although by no means perfect) map of the Empire of the period I've been working on (a bit of a peek at a larger project that'll be finished pretty soon):
I find Haldon's map a bit odd for skipping Apulia. Have you seen anything specific that suggests that Byzantium held the region, because I'm under the impression it did?
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,267
Republika Srpska
#12
That siege didn't happen, as Marek Jankowiak has convincingly demonstrated. To summarize a very long article, there were blockades of 667 and 669, with a spring siege of 668. The Arabs wintered in Kyzikos in 670/1 and suffered a defeat at Syllaion in 673/4. The seven years probably refer to the looming Arab threat over Constantinople. The other siege was an attack on the city in 654 by Mu'awiya's naval forces, which is recorded only in contemporary Armenian material.
Thank you for the clarification.
 
Jan 2016
1,042
Victoria, Canada
#13
Pretty much what the others have said. Byzantium in 700 was engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the Umayyads, with Constantinople already having been besieged twice. Despite major territorial losses, though, Byzantium retained the ability to project military power at this time, but its tax base and population would have been a fraction of what the Tang emperors enjoyed.

As for the map, the Balearics are probably still inside the empire, as is more of a thin strip of the Dalmatian coast. Corsica was not. Thesalonik probably had more of a hingerland. I'd give them a bit more land around Ravenna but take away almost everything north of the Po, while reducing the size of Rome's hinterland. Greece is really unclear and there has been a lot of discussion on what was "in" and or not, but I'm not qualified to really discuss that. The Cherson and Tmutarakan might be half-shaded or something like that - it had a Khazar governor ca. 700 but the elite was still broadly Byzantine. The shading in Anatolia puts major military bases like Amorion and Attaleia almost on the frontier, which is not quite accurate, as the frontier was slightly east of Caesarea. Cyprus is an issue, but a recent book has questioned the whole condominium thing and so it might have to be counted as inside the empire.

Map from Haldon, the Palgrave Atlas of Byzantine History. Note that the map excludes Rhodes and Kos, which were only occupied in 717 in support of the Umayyad attack on Constantinople.

View attachment 15716
As I understand it the Perugian corridor between Ravenna and Rome remained open until the 740's, as well as the Pentapolis, no? And Gaeta never fell to the Lombards, only slipping gradually out of Roman control after the fall of Sicily. From everything I've read, Adrianople and Philoppopolis at the very least would have also remained as frontier cities in Thrace, even if Roman efforts were concentrated on coastal regions. I've seen a surprising number of maps contradict this, both academic and lay, but I've never seen any mention of who apparently controlled these regions -- in maps depicting other polities Thrace especially is often just left blank, whatever that's supposed to mean, until Constantine V marches up through it without trouble in his campaigns against the Bulgars.
 
Jan 2016
1,042
Victoria, Canada
#14
I find Haldon's map a bit odd for skipping Apulia. Have you seen anything specific that suggests that Byzantium held the region, because I'm under the impression it did?
No, that's a mistake I forgot to correct because the map was based on a previous one of the Empire under Constans II. In the late 7th century Brindisi and Taranto were captured by the Lombards of Benevento, although I believe Otranto held out until the mid-late 8th century, so it should be included in a map of 700 or 717. It is a bit odd he skips Corfu though, since it was a pretty big deal and I've never seen any indication the island was occupied by the Slavs. Seleukia is also a strange omission, although I can't remember if it was occupied in the lead-up to the siege of Constantinople so that might explain it.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,604
Blachernai
#15
As I understand it the Perugian corridor between Ravenna and Rome remained open until the 740's, as well as the Pentapolis, no? And Gaeta never fell to the Lombards, only slipping gradually out of Roman control after the fall of Sicily. From everything I've read, Adrianople and Philoppopolis at the very least would have also remained as frontier cities in Thrace, even if Roman efforts were concentrated on coastal regions. I've seen a surprising number of maps contradict this, both academic and lay, but I've never seen any mention of who apparently controlled these regions -- in maps depicting other polities Thrace especially is often just left blank, whatever that's supposed to mean, until Constantine V marches up through it without trouble in his campaigns against the Bulgars.
Yeah, as far as I can tell the corridor was open until shortly before the Lombard conquest.

No, that's a mistake I forgot to correct because the map was based on a previous one of the Empire under Constans II. In the late 7th century Brindisi and Taranto were captured by the Lombards of Benevento, although I believe Otranto held out until the mid-late 8th century, so it should be included in a map of 700 or 717. It is a bit odd he skips Corfu though, since it was a pretty big deal and I've never seen any indication the island was occupied by the Slavs.
I'd imagine Corfu remained inside. Butrint, just a short distance away on the mainland, seems to have remained Byzantine. (The archaeologists are less willing to commit to this, but they found Byzantine lead seals and metal pieces that probably are from artillery pieces, so I think it's safe to put it on the inside.)
 
May 2018
102
Bordeaux
#17
For ignorants:
İn 700 ADTang empire was not super power anymore .
With Kapgan Khagan's 698-703 campaign they nearly lost all North China to Gokturks and accepted several humilition peaces.(probably worst Chinese defeat against nomad in history)
So,there was two word empire in 700 AD:Ummayid Caliphate and Gokturk Khaganate.