HERE’S THE FUNNY THING, LUCIFER LOVERS, HE LOVES SCHADENFREUDE. HE WILL RELISH EATING THE HAND THAT FEEDS HIM. YOURS IS IT. HE LOVES THE ANGUISH OF THOSE THAT SERVED- THEIR TOTAL MIND BLOWING DISBELIEF THAT HE DIDN’T APPRECIATE THE SERVICE. HE DID APPRECIATE IT; NOW YOU CAN ENHANCE HIS ENJOYMENT BY REALLY BLOWING YOUR MIND THAT HE TURNED ON YOU. HE NEVER TURNED ON YOU- YOU JUST DIDN’T LOOK AT WHO YOU SERVED AND THE SERVICE REQUIRED THE FUN OF SCHADENFREUDE. I THINK IT’S REALLY SWEET. YOU KNOW THAT I KNOW, SO NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? YOU KNOW I’M NOT LYING. YOU ARE FIRST ON THE LIST. WHACHA GONNA DO WHEN DEY COME FER YOU?
HE GAVE THEM HIS POWER, HIS SEAT AND HIS AUTHORITY.
ALAN, ALAN, ALAN. YOU WANT TRUMP TO ACT PRESIDENTIAL. YOU KNOW WHAT IT TAKES – THE ABILITY TO KEEP SMILING AND LOOSE JOINTS, SO WHEN HE TELLS YOU TO BEND OVER FURTHER YOU GO “IS THAT LOW ENOUGH?”
NOW VITAL HISTORY LESSON TO TRY TO SHOW THE HIDDEN HAND,
THE RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS BEEN AT THIS GAME SO LONG THEY THINK IT IS THEM. THE RUSSIANS THINK THE PERSIANS/MUSLIMS ARE THEIR PAWNS. WILL THEY BE SURPRISED. PERSIANS ARE GREAT DUPLISITOUSICIANS. NEW WORD- DING, DING. MUSLIMS HATE RUSSIANS – THEY HATED THE RUSSIANS WHEN THE RUSSIANS HELPED THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE FIGHT THEM AND THEN THEM UNDER TURKISH RULE. RUSSIANS HATE TURKS/TURKS HATE RUSSIANS. RUSSIANS HATE ARABS, ARABS HATE RUSSIANS. BELOW ARE THREELISTS YOU MAY WANT TO PERUSE’
LET ME TEACH YOU AMERICANS SOMETHNG- THINK ROMAN EMPIRE AND GREEK EMPIRE. ROMAN EMPIRE TOOK GREEK EMPIRE AND RENAMED IT EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE, LATER BYZANTIUM. WESTERN ROMAN EMPRE SPOKE LATIN BECAME THE MORE PROGRESSIVE CATHOLICS, THE EASTERN/GREEK ROMAN EMPRE SPOKE GREEK AND WERE UNDER THE MORE RIGID (ORTHODOX)CHURCHES. THE ROMAN GREEKS WERE ALWAYS ALLIES WITH RUSIANS. WHEN CONSTANTINOPLE FELL TO TURKS (LAST OF EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE) IT MOVED ITS HEADQUARTERS TO RUSSIA. THE BLOOD, THE CROWN, THE CHURCH, MANY ELITES. SO RUSSIANS AND MUSLIMS DETEST EACH OTHER WAY MORE THAN MUSLIMS HATE THE WEST, BUT JUST LOOK AND COUNT. THEY DON’T TEACH YOU THIS. THE TSARS WERE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE. GO LOOK AT HISTORY. THAT IS WHY THE RUSSIANS BEGAN FLYING THE DOUBLE HEADED ROMAN EAGLE (SYMBOLIZING EASTERN AND WESTERN HALVES OF THE EMPIRE). RUSSIANS TOOK THE NAME TSARS OR CZARS FROM CAESAR OF ROME. ALL CEREMONIES OF CROWN AND CHURCH WERE MOVED TO RUSSIA. IF YOU THINK ARABS/TURKS/MUSLIMS DON’T KNOW THIS YOU NUTS.
THE RUSSIANS THINK THAT MUSLIMS ARE THEIR PROXY AND THE MUSLIMS PLAY ALONG. SO WHO IS THE MUSLIM ALLY? WHO WAS MUSLIM ALLY IN WW2? THEY SPLIT THEIR ALLEGIANCES BETWEEN ENGLAND/FRANCE/USA AND THE NAZIS/ITALIANS/TURKS/NORWEIGIANS. THE MUSLIMS THAT DIDN’T SUPPORT EITHER SIDE WERE FORCED INTO MILITARY SERVICE BY ONE SIDE OR OTHER (DRAFT). NO ONE WAS RUSSIA’S BUDDY. NO ONE. BELOW ARE PICS OF NAZIS AND BROTHERHOOD WITH ITS LEADER, MUFTI. THOSE ARENT GERMAN TROOPS ON PRAYER RUGS ALL KNEELING AND FACING MECCA. THE BROTHERNHOOD AND THOSE OTHER ARABS SERVED IN THE AFRICACORPS IN TH WEHRMACHT. THEY EVEN FOUGHT IN EUROPE. BEFORE ALL THE MAIN NAZIS DISAPPEARED IN SOUTH AMERICA (INCLUDING HITLER WHO DIDN’T SUICIDE) THEY HAD ARRANGED A COMEBACK WITH MUSLIMS. YOUR SEEING THE NAZIS (MERKEL PROBABLY SYMPATHIZER) IN OTHER EUROPEAN CAPITALS, BRINGING MUSLIMS IN TO TAKE EUROPE FROM NON-NAZIS. THE RUSSIANS THINK THEY ARE WORKING FOR THEM. THEY’VE BEEN TOLD OTHERWISE, BUT WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY BELIEVE, BUT I BET THEY ARE NOW LOOKING OVER THEIR SHOULDER. THE LOWER ECHELON MUSLIMS ARE JUST DUMB JIHADIS. THOSE IN CHARGE AREN’T EVEN IN EUROPE. SO, WHERE ARE THE NAZIS. THEY AREN’T WEARING SWASTIKAS.
PROVE IT. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? THEY ARE SHOWING THE WORLD BELOW ON HOW SURE THEY ARE A RELIGION OF PEACE.
YOU WANT PROOF- A BIT DIFFICULT YET- FOR SURE SOME EUROPEANS ARE TRAITORS TO THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. MUSLIMS- THEY ALWAYS DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD- BY A SOLDIER OR RELIGIOUS SCHMUCK.
BELOW ARE 3 WARRING FACTIONS I ENCLOSE. THE OTHER 10 HAVEN’T BEEN FORGOTTEN EITHER. I WOULDN’T READ ABOUT THEM UNLESS YOU LIKE BUNNYBHOLES LIKE ME. JUST LOOK AT THE NUMBER. MOST ARE BLAMED ON RUSIANS. RUSSIA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. ROMAN EMPIRE FROM BYZANTIUM (CONSTANTINOPLE) WAS THE RULING, USUALLY STRONGER HALF OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, MOVED TO RUSSIA WHEN TURKS FINALLY TOOK IT OVER. 1453. THEY JOINED TOGETHER. IF THE TSARS WERE STILL ALIVE : 0 :0 😉, THE BLOOD OF THELASTV ROMAN EMPERORS WAS IN THEIR BODIES. THEY HAD DNA. UNLESS SOMEONE DID A QUEEN ON THE SLY
2.BYZANTINE-OTTOMAN TURK WARS
NOT INCLUDED BUT IS PART OF THE PICURE
BYZANTINE VS SELJUK TURK WARS
ROMAN ARAB WARS
ROMAN PARTHEON WARS
ALEXANDER THE GREAT’S WARS
OTHER GREEK/SELEUCID, PTOLOMEIC, LYSIMACHUSIAN, CASSANDRIAN WARS
The Russo-Turkish wars (or Ottoman-Russian Wars) were a series of wars fought between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 20th centuries. It was one of the longest series of military conflicts in European history.
List of conflicts
1 Russo-Turkish War (1568–70)
Russian military victory
Ottoman commercial victory
2 Russo-Turkish War (1676–81)
Treaty of Bakhchisarai
3 Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700)
Russia gains possession of Azov
fortress of Taganrog,
Pavlovsk and Mius
4 Russo-Turkish War (1710–11)
5 Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–39)
• Treaty of Belgrade (18 September 1739). With the Treaty of Belgrade, the Habsburgs ceded the Kingdom of Serbia with Belgrade, the southern part of the Banat of Temeswar and northern Bosnia to the Ottomans, and Oltenia, gained by the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, to Wallachia (an Ottoman subject), and set the demarcation line to the rivers Sava and Danube.
• Treaty of Niš (3 October 1739). Although Russia achieved military victories at Azov, Ochakov, Stavuchany and in the Crimea, the Habsburg withdrawal forced Russia to accept peace, whereby it was allowed to build a port at Azov, gaining a foothold on the Black Sea, and was granted trading privileges. However, they were not allowed to build fortifications or maintain a fleet there, and had to give up their territorial claims to Moldova and Bessarabia.
6 Russo-Turkish War (1768–74)
7 Russo-Turkish War (1787–92)
8 Russo-Turkish War (1806–12)
9 Russo-Turkish War (1828–29)
10 Crimean War (1853–56)
Ottoman, British, French and Italian victory
11 Russo-Turkish War (1877–78)
12 World War I: Caucasus Campaign (1914–18)
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Rise of the Ottomans: 1265–1328
Following Michael VIII Palaeologus’ reconquest of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire was left in a grave position. There was plenty of talk among the Latin states of the Greek mainland and other regions of retaking Constantinople for the Latin Empire whilst to the north the main threat came from Serbian expansion into the Balkans by king Stephen Uros. What was once a strong frontier under the Komnenian dynasty at the Danube river now threatened Constantinople itself.
Middle East c. 1263. KEY: Dark Green: Ottoman domain by the 1300s, dotted line indicates conquests up to 1326 Purple: Byzantine Empire Light Green: Turkic lands Blue: Cilicia Red/Pink: Latin states
To solve these problems Michael Palaeologus began consolidating his rule; he had the younger co-emperor John IV blinded, which resulted in much resentment. To counter this, the Byzantine Emperor installed a new Patriarch of Constantinople, Germanus III, ordering him to lift an excommunication that had been placed against him by the former Patriarch Arsenios Autoreianos and to submit to the authority of Rome in order to alleviate the Latin threat.
As the Byzantine Empire continued the conquest of Latin territory, the Turks under Osman I began their raids into Byzantine Anatolia; Sogut and Eskisehir were taken in 1265 and 1289 respectively. Michael Palaeologus was unable to deal with these early setbacks due to the need to transfer troops to the West.
In 1282, Michael Palaeologus died and his son Andronicus II took power. The death of the old Byzantine Emperor came as a relief for the society at large; his policy of Latin appeasement to the Church in Rome, heavy taxation and military expenditure placed a severe burden on the people. As the Ottoman Turks began taking land from the Empire, they were seen as liberators of Anatolians and many soon converted to Islam undermining the Byzantine’s Orthodox power base.
Andronicus’ rule was marked with incompetence and short-sighted decisions that in the long run would ruin the Byzantine Empire beyond repair. He began to debase the Byzantine hyperpyron, resulting in a reduction of the value of the Byzantine economy; taxes were decreased for the Powerful, i.e. landed aristocracy and instead placed upon the Knight-class Pronoia. To popularize his rule he repudiated the union of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches decreed by the Second Council of Lyon in 1274, thereby further increasing hostilities between the Latins and the Byzantines.
Andronicus II took a deep interest in preserving the Anatolian lands of Byzantium and ordered construction of forts in Asia Minor and vigorous training of the army. The Byzantine Emperor ordered that his court be moved to Anatolia to oversee the campaigns there and instructed his General Alexios Philanthropenos to push back the Turks. Early successes were rendered useless when Alexios staged an unsuccessful coup, leading to his blinding and the end of his campaigns. This allowed the Ottomans to lay siege to Nicaea in 1301. A further defeat on Andronicus’ son Michael IX and the Byzantine general George Mouzalon occurred at Magnesia and Bapheus in 1302.
Despite this, Andronicus tried once more to strike a decisive blow back at the Turks, this time hiring Catalan mercenaries. Under the guidance of Michael IX and the leadership of Roger de Flor, the 6,500-strong Catalan Company in the spring and summer of 1303 to drive back the Turks. The mercenaries’ expensive services drove them back from Philadelphia to Cyzicus and in doing so brought great destruction to the Anatolian landscape. Once again these gains were thwarted by internal matters. Roger de Flor was assassinated and, in revenge, his company began pillaging the Anatolian countryside. When they finally left in 1307 to attack Byzantine Thrace, the locals welcomed the Ottomans who once again began blockading key fortresses in Asia Minor.
The Ottomans were able to implement their military success due to the numerous divisions amongst their opponents. Many of the peasant classes in Anatolia saw the Ottomans as the better master.
Byzantine Empire at the time of Andronicus III’s assumption of power.
After these defeats, Andronicus was in no position to send many troops. In 1320, Andronicus II’s grandson, Andronicus III, was disinherited following the death of his father, Michael IX, the Emperor’s son and heir apparent. The following year, Andronicus III retaliated by marching on Constantinople and was given Thrace as an appanage. He kept on pressing for his inheritance and, in 1322, was made co-emperor. This culminated into a Byzantine civil war of 1321-1328 in which Serbia backed Andronicus II and the Bulgarians backed his grandson. Eventually Andronicus III emerged triumphant on May 23, 1328. As Andronicus III consolidated his hold on Byzantium, the Ottomans succeeded in taking Bursa from the Byzantines in 1326.
Byzantium counter: 1328–1341
Main article: Siege of Nicomedia
The Ottoman Sultanate operated vast numbers of skilled troops and conscripts.
Andronicus III’s reign was to be marked by Byzantium’s last genuine and promising attempt at restoring “the glory that was once Rome”. In 1329, Byzantine troops were sent to meet the Ottoman forces who had been blockading, and in effect laying siege to, Nicaea since 1301. Byzantine counter-attacks coupled with the scale of Nicaea’s defenses had frustrated the Ottomans’ attempts at taking any cities. The fate of Nicaea was sealed when the Byzantine relief army was defeated at Pelekanos on 10 June 1329. In 1331, Nicaea surrendered, resulting in a massive blow considering that it was the capital of the Empire 70 years prior.
Once again the Byzantines’ military power was depleted and Andronicus III was forced into diplomacy as his grandfather was before him; in return for the safety of the remaining Byzantine settlements in Asia Minor, tribute would be paid to the Ottomans. Unfortunately for the Byzantine Empire, this did not stop the Ottomans from laying siege to Nicomedia in 1333; the city finally fell in 1337.
Despite these setbacks, Andronicus III was able to score a few successes against his opponents in Greece and Asia Minor; Epirus along with Thessalonika were subjugated. In 1329, the Byzantines captured Chios and, in 1335, secured Lesbos. Nonetheless, these isolated Islands were isolated exceptions to the general trend of increasing Ottoman conquests. Furthermore, none of the Islands were a part of the Ottoman domain; their capture demonstrates the potential that the Byzantines had at the time of Andronicus III. Byzantine military ability would be further weakened by Serbian expansions into recent acquisitions by Andronicus III (Epirus) and finally by a devastating civil war that would subjugate the Byzantine Empire as a vassal to the Ottomans.
Balkan invasion and civil war: 1341–1371
The Balkans and Anatolia in ca. 1355. Byzantium has lost her cities in Asia Minor and Macedonia and Epirus have been conquered by Dushan’s Serbia, while the nascent Ottoman emirate has consolidated its hold over Bithynia
Andronicus III died in 1341 leaving his 10-year-old son John V to rule. A regency was set up with John Cantacuzenus, the young Emperor’s mother, Anna of Savoy, and the Patriarch John XIV Kalekas. Rivalries between Kalekas and Cantacuzenus led to a destructive civil war, in which Cantacuzenus emerged triumphant at Constantinople in February 1347. During this time plague, earthquakes and Ottoman raiding continued until only Philadelphia remained in Byzantine hands and only so by payment of a tribute. Throughout the civil war the Byzantines on both sides employed Turks and Serbs with mercenaries pillaging at will, leaving much of Macedonia in ruin and in the hands of the newly created Serbian Empire. Following this victory, Kantakouzenos ruled as co-emperor with John V.
This dual rule eventually failed and the two waged a new civil war further diminishing what was left of Byzantium’s integrity in the eyes of her troublesome neighbors. John VI Cantacuzenus emerged triumphant once again and replaced the now exiled John V Palaeologus with his son Matthew Cantacuzenus as junior co-emperor. However, the Turks, under Osman I’s son, Orhan I, now came into play by capturing the fort of Kallipolis (Gallipoli) in 1354 and gaining access to the European mainland. The arrival of the seemingly unbeatable Ottoman soldiers surrounding Constantinople caused a panic in Constantinople, capitalized by John V who, with the assistance of the Genoese, staged a coup and ousted John VI Cantacuzenus in November 1354. As a result, John VI would later become a monk.
The civil war did not end there; Matthew Cantacuzenus now obtained troops from Orhan and began a bid for taking Constantinople. His capture in 1356 ended his dreams of becoming Emperor and with it came an ephemeral defeat for the Ottomans who had favored the overthrow of John V.
Following the end of the civil conflict came a small lull in fighting between the expanding Ottomans and Byzantines. In 1361 Didymoteichon fell to the Turks. Orhan’s successor, Murad I was more concerned with his Anatolian positions. However, just like Alp Arslan of the Seljuk Turks, Murad I left the taking of Byzantine territory to his vassals with Philippopolis falling after major campaigning between 1363–4 and Adrianople succumbing to the Ottomans in 1369.
The Byzantine Empire was in no position to launch any decent counter-attack or defence of these lands; by now the Ottomans had become supremely powerful. Murad I crushed an army of Serbians on 26 September 1371 at the Battle of Maritsa leading to the end of Serbian power. The Ottomans were now poised to conquer Constantinople. In an attempt to stave off defeat, John V appealed to the Pope for support offering submission to Rome in return for military support. Despite publicly confessing the Roman Catholic Faith in St. Peter’s Basilica, John V received no help. John V therefore was forced to turn to reason with his enemies, the Ottomans. Murad I and John V then came to an agreement whereby Byzantium would provide regular tribute in troops and money in exchange for security.
Byzantine civil war and vassalage: 1371–1394
By now the Ottomans had essentially won the war; Byzantium was reduced to a few settlements other than Constantinople and was forced to recognize its vassal status to the Ottoman Sultan. This vassalage continued until 1394. However, whilst Constantinople had been neutralized, the surrounding Christian powers were still a threat to the Ottomans and Asia Minor was not under complete Ottoman control. The Ottomans continued their thrust into the Balkans, proving to be great conquerors in Europe as they were in Anatolia; in 1385 Sofia was captured from the Bulgarians and Niš was taken the following year. Other smaller states were subjugated as vassals, including the Serbs. Serbian resistance was crushed at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, much of Bulgaria was taken in 1393 by Bayezid I (the Thunderbolt) and in 1396 the last bastion of Bulgarian independence was wiped out when Vin[clarification needed] fell.
Map of the Middle East c.1389. Byzantium (purple) consists of little other than Constantinople. Following the occupation of Gallipoli, the Ottomans (Dark Green) rapidly spread across the Balkans, annexing southern parts of Serbia in the northwest and giving them a major advantage over their Turkic (Green) rivals in Anatolia.
Ottoman advances into the Balkans were aided by further Byzantine civil conflict — this time between John V Palaeologus and his eldest son Andronicus IV. With Ottoman aid from Murad I, John V was able to blind Andronikus IV and his son John VII Palaeologus in September 1373. Andronicus escaped with his son and secured Murad’s aid by promising a higher tribute than John V’s. The civil strife continued as late as September 1390 though potential for conflict continued until 1408. John V eventually forgave Andronicus IV and his son in 1381, angering his second son and heir apparent, Manuel II Palaeologus. He seized Thessalonika, alarming the Ottoman Sultan in liberating parts of Greece from Ottoman rule.
The death of Andronicus IV in 1385 and the capitulation of Thessalonika in 1387 to Hayreddin Pasha encouraged Manuel II Palaeologus to seek the forgiveness of the Sultan and John V. His increasingly close relationship with John V angered John VII who saw his right as the heir threatened. John VII launched a coup against John V but despite Ottoman and Genoese aid his reign lasted mere five months before he was toppled by Manuel II and his father.
Fall of Philadelphia
Whilst the civil war was raging, the Turks in Anatolia took the opportunity to seize Philadelphia in 1390, marking the end of Byzantine rule in Anatolia, although by now the city was far from Imperial rule. The city had long been under only nominal Imperial rule and its fall was of little strategic consequence to the Byzantines – whose Emperor had to suffer the humiliation of accompanying the Sultan during the campaign.
Following John V’s death, Manuel II Palaeologus was able to secure his throne and establish good relations with the Sultan, becoming his vassal. In return for Ottoman acceptance of his reign Manuel II was forced to dismantle the fortifications at the Golden Gate, something that he did not take lightly to.
Resumption of hostilities: 1394–1424
In 1394, relations between the Byzantines and the Ottomans changed for the worse and the war between the two resumed when the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid (ruled 1389–1402) ordered the execution of Manuel II after the Emperor attempted to reconcile his nephew John VII. The Ottoman Sultan then later changed his decision and demanded that a mosque and a Turkish colony be established in Constantinople. Manuel II not only refused this, he also refused to pay the Sultan tribute and went so far as to ignore the Sultan’s messages, leading to a siege of the city in 1394. Manuel II called for a Crusade, which came in 1396. Under the future Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, the Crusade was crushed at Nicopolis in 1396.
Despite his persecution of Christians, Timur saved Constantinople.
The defeat convinced Manuel II to escape the city and travel to Western Europe for aid. During this time the reconciled John VII led the city’s successful defence against the Ottomans. The siege was finally broken when Timur of the Chagatai Mongols led an army into Anatolia, dismantling the network of beyliks loyal to the Ottoman Sultan. At the Battle of Ankara, Timur’s forces routed Bayezid I’s forces, a shocking defeat for which no one was prepared. In the aftermath, the Ottoman Turks began fighting each other led by Bayezid’s sons.
The Byzantines wasted no time exploiting the situation and signed a peace treaty with their Christian neighbours and with one of Bayezid’s sons. By signing the treaty, they were able to recover Thessalonika and much of the Peloponnese. The Ottoman civil war ended in 1413 when Mehmed I, with the support of the Byzantine Empire, defeated his opponents.
Along with the humiliation, the Byzantine tribute to the Ottomans of 300,000 silver coins would have been all the more difficult with the economy in decline.
The rare amity established between the two states would not last; the death of Mehmed I and the rise of Murad II in 1421 coupled with the ascent of John VIII to the Byzantine throne led to a deteriorated change in relations between the two. Neither leader was content with the status quo. John VIII made the first and foolish move by inciting a rebellion in the Ottoman Empire: a certain Mustafa had been released by the Byzantines and claimed that he was Bayezid’s lost son.
Despite the odds, a sizable force had mustered in Europe under his banner, defeating Murad II’s subordinates. Murad II’s furious reply eventually smashed this upstart and, in 1422, began the Siege of Thessalonica and Constantinople. John VIII then turned to his aging father, Manuel II, for advice. The result was that he incited yet another rebellion in the Ottoman ranks — this time supporting Murad II brother’s claim, Kucuk Mustafa. The seemingly promising rebellion had its origins in Asia Minor with Bursa coming under siege. After a failed assault on Constantinople, Murad II was forced to turn back his army and defeat Kucuk. With these defeats, the Byzantines were forced once more into vassalage — 300,000 coins of silver were to be delivered to the Sultan as tribute on an annual basis.
Ottoman victory 1424–1453
The area around Constantinople,1430. By this point all of its major cities had fallen to the Ottomans who occupied almost half of Anatolia and most of the Balkans
The Ottomans faced numerous opponents between 1424 and 1453. Tied down by the siege of Thessalonika, the Ottomans had to contend with the Serbs under George Brankovic, the Hungarians under John Hunyadi and the Albanians under George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. This resistance culminated into the Crusade of Varna of 1444, which, despite much local support and deception – a peace treaty was unilaterally revoked by the Hungarians – was defeated.
In 1448 and 1451, there was a change in the Byzantine and Ottoman leaderships, respectively. Murad II died and was succeeded by Mehmed the Conqueror whilst Constantine XI Palaiologos succeeded John VIII. Constantine XI and Mehmed did not get along well; the former’s successful conquests of Crusader territory in the Peloponnese alarmed the latter, who had since subjugated as vassals the crusaders in the region, and Mehmed had around 40,000 soldiers sent to nullify these gains. Constantine XI threatened to rebel against Mehmed unless certain conditions were met by the Sultan regarding the status quo. Mehmed responded to these threats by building fortifications in the Bosporus and thus closed Constantinople from outside naval assistance. The Ottomans already controlled the land around Constantinople and so they began an assault on the city on 6 April 1453. Despite a union of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Byzantines received no official aid from the Pope or Western Europe, with the exception of a few soldiers from Venice and Genoa.
England and France were in the concluding stages of the Hundred Years War. The French did not wish to lose their advantage in the fight by sending knights and the English were in no position to do so. Spain was in the final stages of the Reconquista. The Holy Roman Empire, never centralized enough behind the Hohenstaufen to unite the principalities, had exhausted what could be spared at Varna. Further fighting among the German princes and the Hussite wars seriously reduced the willingness of most to perform a crusade. Poland and Hungary were key participants at Varna and the defeat there along with the Polish–Teutonic Wars kept them busy and unwilling for further commitments.
Other than these major European powers, the only others were the Italian city-states. Genoa and Venice were both enemies of the Ottomans, but also of each other. The Venetians considered sending their fleet up to attack the fortifications guarding the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, thereby relieving the city but the force was too small and arrived too late. The Ottomans would have overpowered any military assistance provided by one city, even one as large and powerful as the Venetian Republic. In any case some 2,000 mercenaries, mostly Italian under Giovanni Giustiniani Longo, arrived to assist in the defence of the city. The city’s entire defence fell to these mercenaries and 5,000 militia soldiers raised from a city whose population had been seriously eroded by heavy taxation, plague and civil conflict. Though poorly trained, the defenders were well armed in many weapons, except for any cannons to match the Ottoman’s own artillery.
The city’s largest church, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Today it serves as a Museum of Constantinopolitan legacy
The city’s fall was not a result of the Ottoman artillery nor their naval supremacy (many Italian ships were able to aid and then escape the city). The Fall came about due to the combined weight of overwhelming odds stacked against the city — outnumbered by more than 10 to 1, the defenders were overcome by sheer attrition as well as the skill of the Ottoman Janissaries. As the Ottomans continued their seemingly unsuccessful and costly assaults, many in their camp began to doubt the success of the siege; history had shown the city to be invincible to Ottoman siege and the memories of Ankara and Varna, even if they had not altered the status quo for long, lingered in their minds and in the minds of the hopeful defenders. In an effort to raise morale, the Sultan then made a speech reminding his troops of the vast wealth and pillaging of the city to come. An all-out assault captured the city on May 29, 1453. As the Ottomans fanned out to sack the city, their naval discipline began to collapse and many Genoans and Venetians escaped in vessels from the city, including Niccolò Barbaro, a Venetian surgeon present at the siege who wrote:
“ All through the day the Turks made a great slaughter of Christians through the city. The blood flowed in the city like rainwater after a sudden storm, and the corpses of Turks and Christians were thrown into the Dardanelles, where they floated out to sea like melons along a canal. ”
Byzantium’s last years saw the loss of recent territories
After the siege, the Ottomans went on to take Morea in 1460, and Trebizond in 1461. With the fall of Trebizond came the end of the Roman Empire; the Palaeologan dynasty continued to be recognized as the rightful emperors of Constantinople by the crowned heads of Europe until the 16th century when the Reformation, the Ottoman threat to Europe and decreased interest in crusading forced European powers to recognize the Ottoman Empire as masters of Anatolia and the Levant.
Causes of the Byzantine defeat
The Latin presence in the Balkans seriously undermined the Byzantines’ ability to coordinate their efforts against the Ottoman Turks. This is exemplified by Michael VIII Palaeologus, whose attempts to drive the Latins out of Greece led to the abandonment of the Anatolian borders which allowed several beyliks, as well as the Turks of Osman I to raid and settle former Byzantine lands. Andronicus II’s campaigns in Anatolia, though it obtained some military success, was constantly thwarted by events in the west of the Empire. In any event, the Byzantines were forced to choose between Papal and Latin threat of attack or an unpopular union, which was exploited by numerous rival claimants as cause for a coup against the Byzantine Emperor.
Romantic portrayal of the “Last Crusader”. Increasing Muslim victories, Christian defeats and European transgressions coupled with the Reformation and Counter-Reformation led to the end of the Crusades.
Nonetheless, towards the mid- and late-14th century, the Byzantines began to receive nominal aid from the West. This was little more than sympathy toward a fellow-Christian power fighting a Muslim power and despite two Crusades, the Byzantines “received as much help from Rome as we did from the [Mamluk] sultan [of Egypt].” The Mamluk Sultanate in the 13th century had been one of the most determined powers to remove Christian influence in the Middle East and raiding by Cyprus did not change this in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Following the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantines were left in an unstable position. The capture of Constantinople in 1261 and subsequent campaigning did not come at a good time — the weakening of the Sultanate of Rum resulted in many beyliks breaking away as autonomous states, such as the Emirate founded by Osman I. Although this weakening of power gave the Empire of Nicaea a temporary free hand, it was nothing more than a small respite not capitalized as much as it could have been.
In order to implement these Greek re-conquests, Michael VIII was forced to levy crushing taxes on the Anatolian peasantry in order to pay for the expensive army that modeled around the Komnenian army. This led to much peasant support for the Turks whose system resulted in fewer taxes initially.
After Michael VIII’s death, the Byzantines suffered from constant civil strife early on. The Ottomans suffered civil conflict as well, but this occurred much later on in the 15th century, by that time the Byzantines were too weak to reconquer much territory. This is in contrast to the civil strife of Byzantium, occurring at a time (1341–71) when the Ottomans were crossing into Europe through a devastated Gallipoli and surrounding the city, thus sealing its fate as a vassal. When attempts were made to break this vassalage, the Byzantines found themselves out-matched and at the mercy of Latin assistance, which despite two Crusades, ultimately amounted to nothing.
The Ottomans combined several different fighting methods and technologies. These Sipahis were exactly unique for western knights due to their weapons and battlefield experiments.
The Ottomans had great diplomatic skill and ability to raise vast numbers of troops. Initially, their raiding gave them great support from other Turks near Osman’s small domain. In time however, as the Turks began to settle in land poorly defended by the Byzantines, they were able to exploit the hardships of the peasant classes by recruiting their aid. Those that did not assist the Ottomans were raided themselves. Eventually, the cities in Asia Minor, cut off from the outside surrendered and the Ottomans soon mastered the art of siege warfare.
It was the Ottomans’ skill with dealing with their opponents that made them very powerful very quickly. They would subjugate their opponents as vassals rather than destroy them, otherwise they would have exhausted themselves in the process. The exacting of tribute from conquered states in the form of children and money was effective in forcing subjugation over conquest. Coupled with this, the entire region was composed of many states (Bulgaria, Serbia, Latin states) who would just as soon fight each other as the Ottomans and realized too late that the Ottoman forces defeated them by integrating them in a network of subordinate states.
The fall of Constantinople came as a shock to the papacy, which ordered an immediate counter-attack in the form of a crusade. Only Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy responded but under the condition that a powerful monarch assist him; however, none would do so. Pope Pius II then ordered another crusade. Again, no substantial efforts were seen by any of Europe’s major leaders of the time. This forced the Pope himself to lead a crusade. His death in 1464 led to the disbanding of the crusade at the port of Ancona.
The Fall also had many implications in Europe: the influx of Greek science and culture into Europe by those escaping the Ottomans was a crucial factor in catalyzing the European Renaissance.
The failed attempts at defeating the Ottomans at Nicopolis and Varna, the loss of the Holy Land (without Byzantium the Crusades could not re-supply en route) and the lack of a genuine counter-attack led many, including Martin Luther, into believing that the Turks were God’s punishment against the sins of Christians:
How shamefully…the pope has this long time baited us with the war against the Turks, taken our money, destroyed so many Christians and made so much mischief!”
Nonetheless, by 1529, Europe began to rise to the threat of the Ottomans. Martin Luther, changing his views, wrote that the “Scourge of God” had to be fought with great vigour by secular leaders rather than as Crusades initiated by the Papacy.
With the Ottomans’ hold on Constantinople de facto recognized by Europe’s lack of action, the Ottomans went onto facilitate further conquests in Europe and in the Middle East. Their power finally reached a peak in the mid 17th century. Their success through the Janissaries became their new weakness; conservative and extremely powerful, Ottoman reform was difficult to implement whilst European armies became increasingly more resourceful and modernized. As a result, Russian and Austrian attempts to contain the Ottoman threat became more and more a formality until the official dissolution of the Empire after World War I.
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• Byzantine empire
• The Muslim conquests, 634–718
• Sham region was just the start of Arab expansion.
• Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
• Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661
• Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750
• According to Muslim biographies, Muhammed, having received intelligence that Byzantine forces were concentrating in northern Arabia with alleged intentions of invading Arabia, led a Muslim army north to Tabouk in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia, with the intention of pre-emptively engaging the Byzantine army; the news, however, proved to be false. Though it was not a battle in the typical sense, nevertheless the event represented the first Arab attack on the Byzantines. It did not, however, lead immediately to a military confrontation.
• However, there is no contemporary Byzantine account of the Tabuk expedition, and many of the details come from much later Muslim sources. It has been argued that there is in one Byzantine source possibly referencing the Battle of Mu´tah traditionally dated 629, but this is not certain. The first engagements may have started as conflicts with the Arab client states of the Byzantine and Sassanid empires: the Ghassanids and the Lakhmids of Al-Hirah. In any case, Muslim Arabs after 634 certainly pursued a full-blown invasion of both empires, resulting in the conquest of the Levant, Egypt and Persia for Islam. The most successful generals were Khalid ibn al-Walid and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As.
• Arab conquest of Roman Syria: 634–638
• For more details on this topic, see Muslim conquest of Syria.
• In the Levant, the invading Rashidun army were engaged by a Byzantine army composed of imperial troops as well as local levies. According to Islamic historians Monophysites and Jews throughout Syria welcomed the Arab invaders, as they were discontented with Byzantine rule.a[›].
• The Roman Emperor Heraclius had fallen ill and was unable to personally lead his armies to resist the Arab conquests of Syria and Roman Paelestina in 634. In a battle fought near Ajnadayn in the summer of 634, the Rashidun Caliphate army achieved a decisive victory. After their victory at the Fahl, Muslim forces conquered Damascus in 634 under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid. The Byzantine response involved the collection and dispatch of the maximum number of available troops under major commanders, including Theodore Trithyrius and the Armenian general Vahan, to eject the Muslims from their newly won territories.
• At the Battle of Yarmouk in 636, however, the Muslims, having studied the ground in detail, lured the Byzantines into pitched battle, which the Byzantines usually avoided, and into a series of costly assaults, before turning the deep valleys and cliffs into a catastrophic death-trap. Heraclius’ farewell exclamation (according to the 9th-century historian Al-Baladhuri) while departing Antioch for Constantinople, is expressive of his disappointment: “Peace unto thee, O Syria, and what an excellent country this is for the enemy!”b[›] The impact of Syria’s loss on the Byzantines is illustrated by Joannes Zonaras’ words: “[…] since then [after the fall of Syria] the race of the Ishmaelites did not cease from invading and plundering the entire territory of the Romans”.
• In April 637, the Arabs, after a long siege captured Jerusalem, which was surrendered by Patriarch Sophronius.c[›] In the summer of 637, the Muslims conquered Gaza, and, during the same period, the Byzantine authorities in Egypt and Mesopotamia purchased an expensive truce, which lasted three years for Egypt and one year for Mesopotamia. Antioch fell to the Muslim armies in late 637, and by then the Muslims occupied the whole of northern Syria, except for upper Mesopotamia, which they granted a one-year truce.
• At the expiration of this truce in 638–639, the Arabs overran Byzantine Mesopotamia and Byzantine Armenia, and terminated the conquest of Palestine by storming Caesarea Maritima and effecting their final capture of Ascalon. In December 639, the Muslims departed from Palestine to invade Egypt in early 640.
• Arab conquests of North Africa: 639–698
• For more details on this topic, see Umayyad conquest of North Africa.
• Conquest of Egypt and Cyrenaica
• For more details on this topic, see Muslim conquest of Egypt.
• By the time Heraclius died, much of Egypt had been lost, and by 637–638 the whole of Syria was in the hands of the armies of Islam.d[›] With 3,500–4,000 troops under his command, ‘Amr ibn al-A’as first crossed into Egypt from Palestine at the end of 639 or the beginning of 640. He was progressively joined by further reinforcements, notably 12,000 soldiers by Al-Zubayr. ‘Amr first besieged and conquered Babylon, and then attacked Alexandria. The Byzantines, divided and shocked by the sudden loss of so much territory, agreed to give up the city by September 642. The fall of Alexandria extinguished Byzantine rule in Egypt, and allowed the Muslims to continue their military expansion into North Africa; between 643–644 ‘Amr completed the conquest of Cyrenaica. Uthman succeeded Caliph Umar after his death.
• During his reign the Byzantine navy briefly won back Alexandria in 645, but lost it again in 646 shortly after the Battle of Nikiou. The Islamic forces raided Sicily in 652, while Cyprus and Crete were captured in 653. According to Arab historians, the local Christian Copts welcomed the Arabs just as the Monophysites did in Jerusalem. The loss of this lucrative province deprived the Byzantines of their valuable wheat supply, thereby causing food shortages throughout the Byzantine Empire and weakening its armies in the following decades.
• Conquest of the Exarchate of Africa
“The people of Homs replied [to the Muslims], “We like your rule and justice far better than the state of oppression and tyranny in which we were. The army of Heraclius we shall indeed, with your ‘amil’s’ help, repulse from the city.” The Jews rose and said, “We swear by the Torah, no governor of Heraclius shall enter the city of Homs unless we are first vanquished and exhausted!” […] The inhabitants of the other cities—Christian and Jews—that had capitulated to the Muslims, did the same […] When by Allah’s help the “unbelievers” were defeated and the Muslims won, they opened the gates of their cities, went out with the singers and music players who began to play, and paid the kharaj.”
Al-Baladhuri – According to the Muslim historians of the 9th century, local populations regarded Byzantine rule as oppressive, and preferred Muslim conquest instead.a[›]
• In 647, an Arab army led by Abdallah ibn al-Sa’ad invaded the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. Tripolitania was conquered, followed by Sufetula, 150 miles (240 km) south of Carthage, and the governor and self-proclaimed Emperor of Africa Gregory was killed. Abdallah’s booty-laden force returned to Egypt in 648 after Gregory’s successor, Gennadius, promised them an annual tribute of some 300,000 nomismata.
• Following a civil war in the Arab Empire the Umayyads came to power under Muawiyah I. Under the Umayyads the conquest of the remaining Byzantine territories in North Africa was completed and the Arabs were able to move across large parts of Maghreb, invading Visigothic Spain through the Strait of Gibraltar, under the command of the Berber general Tariq ibn-Ziyad. But this happened only after they developed a naval power of their own,e[›] and they conquered and destroyed the Byzantine stronghold of Carthage between 695–698. The loss of Africa meant that soon, Byzantine control of the Western Mediterranean was challenged by a new and expanding Arab fleet, operating from Tunisia.
• Muawiyah began consolidating the Arab territory from the Aral Sea to the western border of Egypt. He put a governor in place in Egypt at al-Fustat, and launched raids into Anatolia in 663. Then from 665 to 689 a new North African campaign was launched to protect Egypt “from flank attack by Byzantine Cyrene”. An Arab army of 40,000 took Barca, defeating 30,000 Byzantines.
• A vanguard of 10,000 Arabs under Uqba ibn Nafi followed from Damascus. In 670, Kairouan in modern Tunisia was established as a base for further invasions; Kairouan would become the capital of the Islamic province of Ifriqiya, and one of the main Arabo-Islamic cultural centers in the Middle Ages. Then ibn Nafi “plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fes and Morocco, and at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert. In his conquest of the Maghreb, he took the coastal cities of Bugia and Tingi, overwhelming what had once been the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana where he was finally halted. As the historian Luis Garcia de Valdeavellano explains:
• In their struggle against the Byzantines and the Berbers, the Arab chieftains had greatly extended their African dominions, and as early as the year 682 Uqba had reached the shores of the Atlantic, but he was unable to occupy Tangier, for he was forced to turn back toward the Atlas Mountains by a man who became known to history and legend as Count Julian.
• — Luis Garcia de Valdeavellano
• Arab attacks on Anatolia and sieges of Constantinople
• As the first tide of the Muslim conquests in the Near East ebbed off, and a semi-permanent border between the two powers was established, a wide zone, unclaimed by either Byzantines or Arabs and virtually deserted (known in Arabic as al-Ḍawāḥī, “the outer lands” and in Greek as τὰ ἄκρα, ta akra, “the extremities”) emerged in Cilicia, along the southern approaches of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus mountain ranges, leaving Syria in Muslim and the Anatolian plateau in Byzantine hands. Both Emperor Heraclius and the Caliph ‘Umar (r. 634–644) pursued a strategy of destruction within this zone, trying to transform it into an effective barrier between the two realms.
• Nevertheless, the Umayyads still considered the complete subjugation of Byzantium as its ultimate objective. Their thinking was dominated by Islamic teaching, which placed the infidel Byzantines firmly in the Dār al-Ḥarb, the “House of War”, which, in the words of Islamic scholar Hugh N. Kennedy, “the Muslims should attack whenever possible; rather than peace interrupted by occasional conflict, the normal pattern was seen to be conflict interrupted by occasional, temporary truce (hudna). True peace (ṣulḥ) could only come when the enemy accepted Islam or tributary status.”
• Both as governor of Syria and later as caliph, Muawiyah I (r. 661–680) was the driving force of the Muslim effort against Byzantium, especially by his creation of a fleet, which challenged the Byzantine navy and raided the Byzantine islands and coasts. To stop the Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars, in 649 Muawiyah set up a navy, manned by Monophysitise Christian, Copt and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. The shocking defeat of the imperial fleet by the young Muslim navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655 was of critical importance: it opened up the Mediterranean, hitherto a “Roman lake”, to Arab expansion, and began a centuries-long series of naval conflicts over the control of the Mediterranean waterways. 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, and Emperor Constans II was almost killed. Under the instructions of the caliph Uthman ibn Affan, Muawiyah then prepared for the siege of Constantinople.
• Trade between the Muslim eastern and southern shores and the Christian northern shores almost ceased during this period, isolating Western Europe from developments in the Muslim world: “In antiquity, and again in the high Middle Ages, the voyage from Italy to Alexandria was a commonplace; in early Islamic times the two countries were so remote that even the most basic information was unknown” (Kennedy). Muawiyah also initiated the first large-scale raids into Anatolia from 641 on. These expeditions, aiming both at plunder and at weakening and keeping the Byzantines at bay, as well as the corresponding retaliatory Byzantine raids, eventually became established as a fixture of Byzantine–Arab warfare for the next three centuries.
• Gold tremissis of Constans II.
• The outbreak of the Muslim Civil War in 656 bought a precious breathing pause for Byzantium, which Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668) used to shore up his defences, extend and consolidate his control over Armenia and most importantly, initiate a major army reform with lasting effect: the establishment of the themata, the large territorial commands into which Anatolia, the major contiguous territory remaining to the Empire, was divided. The remains of the old field armies were settled in each of them, and soldiers were allocated land there in payment of their service. The themata would form the backbone of the Byzantine defensive system for centuries to come.
• Attacks against Byzantine holdings in Africa, Sicily and the East
• After his victory in the civil war, Muawiyah launched a series of attacks against Byzantine holdings in Africa, Sicily and the East. By 670, the Muslim fleet had penetrated into the Sea of Marmara and stayed at Cyzicus during the winter. Four years later, a massive Muslim fleet reappeared in the Marmara and re-established a base at Cyzicus, from there they raided the Byzantine coasts almost at will. Finally in 676, Muawiyah sent an army to invest Constantinople from land as well, beginning the First Arab Siege of the city. Constantine IV (r. 661–685) however used a devastating new weapon that came to be known as “Greek fire”, invented by a Christian refugee from Syria named Kallinikos of Heliopolis, to decisively defeat the attacking Umayyad navy in the Sea of Marmara, resulting in the lifting of the siege in 678. The returning Muslim fleet suffered further losses due to storms, while the army lost many men to the thematic armies who attacked them on their route back.
• Among those killed in the siege was Eyup, the standard bearer of Muhammed and the last of his companions; to Muslims today, his tomb is considered one of the holiest sites in Istanbul. The Byzantine victory over the invading Umayyads halted the Islamic expansion into Europe for almost thirty years.
• In spite of the turbulent reign of Justinian II, last emperor of the Heraclian dynasty, his coinage still bore the traditional “PAX”, peace.
• The setback at Constantinople was followed by further reverses across the huge Muslim empire. As Gibbon writes, “this Mahometan Alexander, who sighed for new worlds, was unable to preserve his recent conquests. By the universal defection of the Greeks and Africans he was recalled from the shores of the Atlantic.” His forces were directed at putting down rebellions, and in one such battle he was surrounded by insurgents and killed. Then, the third governor of Africa, Zuheir, was overthrown by a powerful army, sent from Constantinople by Constantine IV for the relief of Carthage. Meanwhile, a second Arab civil war was raging in Arabia and Syria resulting in a series of four caliphs between the death of Muawiyah in 680 and the ascension of Abd al-Malik in 685, and was ongoing until 692 with the death of the rebel leader.
• The Saracen Wars of Justinian II (r. 685–695 and 705–711), last emperor of the Heraclian Dynasty, “reflected the general chaos of the age”. After a successful campaign he made a truce with the Arabs, agreeing on joint possession of Armenia, Iberia and Cyprus; however, by removing 12,000 Christian Mardaites from their native Lebanon, he removed a major obstacle for the Arabs in Syria, and in 692, after the disastrous Battle of Sebastopolis, the Muslims invaded and conquered all of Armenia. Deposed in 695, with Carthage lost in 698, Justinian returned to power from 705-711. His second reign was marked by Arab victories in Asia Minor and civil unrest. Reportedly, he ordered his guards to execute the only unit that had not deserted him after one battle, to prevent their desertion in the next.
• Justinian’s first and second depositions were followed by internal disorder, with successive revolts and emperors lacking legitimacy or support. In this climate, the Umayyads consolidated their control of Armenia and Cilicia, and began preparing a renewed offensive against Constantinople. In Byzantium, the general Leo the Isaurian (r. 717–741) had just seized the throne in March 717, when the massive Muslim army under the famed Umayyad prince and general Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik began moving towards the imperial capital. The Caliphate’s army and navy, led by Maslama, numbered some 120,000 men and 1,800 ships according to the sources. Whatever the real number, it was a huge force, far larger than the imperial army. Thankfully for Leo and the Empire, the capital’s sea walls had recently been repaired and strengthened. In addition, the emperor concluded an alliance with the Bulgar khan Tervel, who agreed to harass the invaders’ rear.
• The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople.
• From July 717 to August 718, the city was besieged by land and sea by the Muslims, who built an extensive double line of circumvallation and contravallation on the landward side, isolating the capital. Their attempt to complete the blockade by sea however failed when the Byzantine navy employed Greek fire against them; the Arab fleet kept well off the city walls, leaving Constantinople’s supply routes open. Forced to extend the siege into winter, the besieging army suffered horrendous casualties from the cold and the lack of provisions.
• In spring, new reinforcements were sent by the new caliph, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (r. 717–720), by sea from Africa and Egypt and over land through Asia Minor. The crews of the new fleets were composed mostly of Christians, who began defecting in large numbers, while the land forces were ambushed and defeated in Bithynia. As famine and an epidemic continued to plague the Arab camp, the siege was abandoned on 15 August 718. On its return, the Arab fleet suffered further casualties to storms and an eruption of the volcano of Thera.
• Stabilization of the frontier, 718–863
• For more details on this topic, see Byzantine–Arab wars (780–1180).
• The first wave of the Muslim conquests ended with the siege of Constantinople in 718, and the border between the two empires became stabilized along the mountains of eastern Anatolia. Raids and counter-raids continued on both sides and became almost ritualized, but the prospect of outright conquest of Byzantium by the Caliphate receded. This led to far more regular, and often friendly, diplomatic contacts, as well as a reciprocal recognition of the two empires.
• In response to the Muslim threat, which reached its peak in the first half of the 8th century, the Isaurian emperors adopted the policy of Iconoclasm, which was abandoned in 786 only to be readopted in the 820s and finally abandoned in 843. Under the Macedonian dynasty, exploiting the decline and fragmentation of the Abbasid Caliphate, the Byzantines gradually went into the offensive, and recovered much territory in the 10th century, which was lost however after 1071 to the Seljuk Turks.
• Raids under the last Umayyads and the rise of Iconoclasm
• Map of the Byzantine-Arab frontier zone in southeastern Asia Minor, along the Taurus-Antitaurus range
• Following the failure to capture Constantinople in 717–718, the Umayyads for a time diverted their attention elsewhere, allowing the Byzantines to take to the offensive, making some gains in Armenia. From 720/721 however the Arab armies resumed their expeditions against Byzantine Anatolia, although now they were no longer aimed at conquest, but rather large-scale raids, plundering and devastating the countryside and only occasionally attacking forts or major settlements.
• Under the late Umayyad and early Abbasid caliphs, the frontier between Byzantium and the Caliphate became stabilized along the line of the Taurus-Antitaurus mountain ranges. On the Arab side, Cilicia was permanently occupied and its deserted cities, such as Adana, Mopsuestia (al-Massisa) and, most importantly, Tarsus, were refortified and resettled under the early Abbasids. Likewise, in Upper Mesopotamia, places like Germanikeia (Mar’ash), Hadath and Melitene (Malatya) became major military centers. These two regions came to form the two halves of a new fortified frontier zone, the thughur.
• Both the Umayyads and later the Abbasids continued to regard the annual expeditions against the Caliphate’s “traditional enemy” as an integral part of the continuing jihad, and they quickly became organized in a regular fashion: one to two summer expeditions (pl. ṣawā’if, sing. ṣā’ifa) sometimes accompanied by a naval attack and/or followed by winter expeditions (shawātī). The summer expeditions were usually two separate attacks, the “expedition of the left” (al-ṣā’ifa al-yusrā/al-ṣughrā) launched from the Cilician thughur and consisting mostly of Syrian troops, and the usually larger “expedition of the right” (al-ṣā’ifa al-yumnā/al-kubrā) launched from Malatya and composed of Mesopotamian troops. The raids were also largely confined to the borderlands and the central Anatolian plateau, and only rarely reached the peripheral coastlands, which the Byzantines fortified heavily.
• Under the more aggressive Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (r. 723–743), the Arab expeditions intensified for a time, and were led by some of the Caliphate’s most capable generals, including princes of the Umayyad dynasty like Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik and al-Abbas ibn al-Walid or Hisham’s own sons Mu’awiyah, Maslama and Sulayman. This was still a time when Byzantium was fighting for survival, and “the frontier provinces, devastated by war, were a land of ruined cities and deserted villages where a scattered population looked to rocky castles or impenetrable mountains rather than the armies of the empire to provide a minimum of security” (Kennedy).
• In response to the renewal of Arab invasions, and to a sequence of natural disasters such as the eruptions of the volcanic island of Thera, the Emperor Leo III the Isaurian concluded that the Empire had lost divine favour. Already in 722 he had tried to force the conversion of the Empire’s Jews, but soon he began to turn his attention to the veneration of icons, which some bishops had come to regard as idolatrous. In 726, Leo published an edict condemning their use and showed himself increasingly critical of the iconophiles. He formally banned depictions of religious figures in a court council in 730.
• This decision provoked major opposition both from the people and the church, especially the Bishop of Rome, which Leo did not take into account. In the words of Warren Treadgold: “He saw no need to consult the church, and he appears to have been surprised by the depth of the popular opposition he encountered”. The controversy weakened the Byzantine Empire, and was a key factor in the schism between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Bishop of Rome.
• The Umayyad Caliphate however was increasingly distracted by conflicts elsewhere, especially its confrontation with the Khazars, with whom Leo III had concluded an alliance, marrying his son and heir, Constantine V (r. 741–775) to the Khazar princess Tzitzak. Only in the late 730s did the Muslim raids again become a threat, but the great Byzantine victory at Akroinon and the turmoil of the Abbasid Revolution led to a pause in Arab attacks against the Empire. It also opened up the way for a more aggressive stance by Constantine V (r. 741–775), who in 741 attacked the major Arab base of Melitene, and continued scoring further victories. These successes were also interpreted by Leo III and his son Constantine as evidence of God’s renewed favour, and strengthened the position of Iconoclasm within the Empire.
• The early Abbasids
• Unlike their Umayyad predecessors, the Abbasid caliphs did not pursue active expansion: in general terms, they were content with the territorial limits achieved, and whatever external campaigns they waged were retaliatory or preemptive, meant to preserve their frontier and impress Abbasid might upon their neighbours. At the same time, the campaigns against Byzantium in particular remained important for domestic consumption. The annual raids, which had almost lapsed in the turmoil following the Abbasid Revolution, were undertaken with renewed vigour from ca. 780 on, and were the only expeditions where the Caliph or his sons participated in person.
• As a symbol of the Caliph’s ritual role as the leader of the Muslim community, they were closely paralleled in official propaganda by the leadership by Abbasid family members of the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca. In addition, the constant warfare on the Syrian marches was useful to the Abbasids as it provided employment for the Syrian and Iraqi military elites and the various volunteers (muṭṭawi‘a) who flocked to participate in the jihad.
• “The thughūr are blocked by Hārūn, and through him
the ropes of the Muslim state are firmly plaited
His banner is forever tied with victory;
he has an army before which armies scatter.
All the kings of the Rūm give him jizya
unwillingly, perforce, out of hand in humiliation.”
• Poem in praise of Harun al-Rashid’s 806 campaign against Byzantium
• Wishing to emphasize his piety and role as the leader of the Muslim community, Caliph Harun al-Rashid (r. 786–809) in particular was the most energetic of the early Abbasid rulers in his pursuit of warfare against Byzantium: he established his seat at Raqqa close to the frontier, he complemented the thughur in 786 by forming a second defensive line along northern Syria, the al-‘Awasim, and was reputed to be spending alternating years leading the Hajj and leading a campaign into Anatolia, including the largest expedition assembled under the Abbasids, in 806.
• Continuing a trend started by his immediate predecessors, his reign also saw the development of far more regular contacts between the Abbasid court and Byzantium, with the exchange of embassies and letters being far more common than under the Umayyad rulers. Despite Harun’s hostility, “the existence of embassies is a sign that the Abbasids accepted that the Byzantine empire was a power with which they had to deal on equal terms” (Kennedy).
• Civil war occurred in the Byzantine Empire, often with Arab support. With the support of Caliph Al-Ma’mun, Arabs under the leadership of Thomas the Slav invaded, so that within a matter of months, only two themata in Asia Minor remained loyal to Emperor Michael II. When the Arabs captured Thessalonica, the Empire’s second largest city, it was quickly re-captured by the Byzantines. Thomas’s 821 siege of Constantinople did not get past the city walls, and he was forced to retreat.
• The siege of Amorium, miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes
• The Arabs did not relinquish their designs on Asia Minor and in 838 began another invasion, sacking the city of Amorion.
• Sicily, Italy and Crete
• Main article: History of Islam in southern Italy
• While a relative equilibrium reigned in the East, the situation in the western Mediterranean was irretrievably altered when the Aghlabids began their slow conquest of Sicily in the 820s. Using Tunisia as their launching pad, the Arabs started by conquering Palermo in 831, Messina in 842, Enna in 859, culminating in the capture of Syracuse in 878.
• This in turn opened up southern Italy and the Adriatic Sea for raids and settlement. Byzantium further suffered an important setback with the loss of Crete to a band of Andalusian exiles, who established a piratical emirate on the island and for more than a century ravaged the coasts of the hitherto secure Aegean Sea.
• Byzantine resurgence, 863–11th century
• A map of the Byzantine-Arab naval competition in the Mediterranean, 7th to 11th centuries
• Religious peace came with the emergence of the Macedonian dynasty in 867, as well as a strong and unified Byzantine leadership; while the Abassid empire had splintered into many factions after 861. Basil I revived the Byzantine Empire into a regional power, during a period of territorial expansion, making the Empire the strongest power in Europe, with an ecclesiastical policy marked by good relations with Rome. Basil allied with the Holy Roman Emperor Louis II against the Arabs, and his fleet cleared the Adriatic Sea from their raids.
• With Byzantine help, Louis II captured Bari from the Arabs in 871. The city became Byzantine territory in 876. The Byzantine position on Sicily deteriorated, and Syracuse fell to the Emirate of Sicily in 878. Catania was lost in 900, and finally the fortress of Taormina in 902. Michael of Zahumlje apparently on 10 July 926 sacked Siponto (Latin: Sipontum), which was a Byzantine town in Apulia.
• It remains unknown whether Michael did so under King Tomislav’s supreme command, as suggested by some historians. According to Omrčanin, Tomislav sent the Croatian navy under Michael’s leadership to drive the Saracens from that part of southern Italy and free the city. Sicily would remain under Arab control until the Norman invasion in 1071.
• Although Sicily was lost, the general Nikephoros Phokas the Elder succeeded in taking Taranto and much of Calabria in 880, forming the nucleus for the later Catepanate of Italy. The successes in the Italian Peninsula opened a new period of Byzantine domination there. Above all, the Byzantines were beginning to establish a strong presence in the Mediterranean Sea, and especially the Adriatic.
• Under John Kourkouas, the Byzantines conquered the emirate of Melitene, along with Tarsos the strongest of the Muslim border emirates, and advanced into Armenia in the 930s; the next three decades were dominated by the struggle of the Phokas clan and their dependants against the Hamdanid emir of Aleppo, Sayf al-Dawla. Al-Dawla was finally defeated by Nikephoros II Phokas, who conquered Cilicia and northern Syria and recovered Crete. His nephew and successor, John I Tzimiskes, pushed even further south, almost reaching Jerusalem, but his death in 976 ended Byzantine expansion towards Palestine.
• Nikephoros II and his stepson Basil II (right). Under the Macedonian dynasty, the Byzantine Empire became the strongest power in Europe, recovering territories lost in the war.
• After putting an end to the internal strife, Basil II launched a counter-campaign against the Arabs in 995. The Byzantine civil wars had weakened the Empire’s position in the east, and the gains of Nikephoros II Phokas and John I Tzimiskes came close to being lost, with Aleppo besieged and Antioch under threat. Basil won several battles in Syria, relieving Aleppo, taking over the Orontes valley, and raiding further south. Although he did not have the force to drive into Palestine and reclaim Jerusalem, his victories did restore much of Syria to the empire — including the larger city of Antioch which was the seat of its eponymous Patriarch.
• No Byzantine emperor since Heraclius had been able to hold these lands for any length of time, and the Empire would retain them for the next 110 years until 1078. Piers Paul Read writes that by 1025, Byzantine land “stretched from the Straits of Messina and the northern Adriatic in the west to the River Danube and Crimea in the north, and to the cities of Melitine and Edessa beyond the Euphrates in the east.”
• Under Basil II, the Byzantines established a swath of new themata, stretching northeast from Aleppo (a Byzantine protectorate) to Manzikert. Under the Theme system of military and administrative government, the Byzantines could raise a force at least 200,000 strong, though in practice these were strategically placed throughout the Empire. With Basil’s rule, the Byzantine Empire reached its greatest height in nearly five centuries, and indeed for the next four centuries.
OF COURSE, THE NUMBER OF WARS DOESN’T COUNT, JUST WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY. HMMMM. YOU THINK THE TURKS AREN’T TAUNTING THE RUSSIANS. I WOULDN’T SCREW WITH RUSSIANS. I’M ONE. REAL BAD IDEA. SO. IF YOU WERE A COLLUDING SILENT PARTY WHAT MIGHT YOU DO FOR WORLD DOMINATION? YOU KNOW WHAT STALIN WAS TRYING TO DO IN WW2? HE SIGNED A PEACE TREATY WITH HATED GERMANS SO THAT HITLER AND THE WEST COULD DESTROY EACH OTHER AND RUSSIA PICK UP PIECES. CHURCHILL SUCCEEDED IN GETTING HITLER AND THE RUSSIANS TO DESTROY EACH OTHER. ANGLOS PICKED UP THE PIECES. NOW WOULDN’T IT BE JUST CHARMING FOR USA AND RUSSIANS TO GO AT IT. OF COURSE, THE CHINESE MIGHT PICK UP THE PIECES. IDIOTS ALWAYS UNDERESTIMATE THE ENEMY FOR DUMB REASONS. TO THE NAZI- IT’S JUST A BUNCH OF CHINAMEN. THOSE PEOPLE ARE VERY INTELLIGENT, NOT LIKE THE GERMANS SEE THEM. BESIDES, CHINA WILL BE PARTY TO WW3 ACCORDING TO GERMANS. THAT IS LIKELY- THE US HAS VIETNAM, THAILAND, PHILLIPPINES, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA AND INDIA TO CHECK CHINA.
NAZIS HAVE BEEN AT MY SYSTEM. HOW DO I KNOW. FIRST, I FEEL THEM. SECOND, THEY STARTED AS SOON AS I STARTED TELLING THE WORLD OF THEIR PLANS. OFTEN 2+2 IS JUST 4. JAMMING, DISAPPEARING, MALFUNCTIONS- I KNOW ATTACKS WHEN I SEE THEM. THE US, RUSSIA, CHINA KNOW; IT’S IN THEIR COURT. ANYWAY- TOO LONG TO TELL YOU HAVE PRETTY EYES. I’M WATCHING U NOW- FOCUS ON LENS MORE OFTEN, I GET BETTER READ. THE LONGER THE BETTER. YOU REALLY HITVTHE LENS ON LOU DOBBS WHEN YOU IN BRIGHT RED- NICE CHOICE- 4/8 A LITTLE MORE LINER/SHADOW WOULD BE NICE. BY THE WAY, DON’T FORGET, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS WITH NAZIS. YOU KNOW WHICH TAQUIYYA IS MUSLIM BRO? BYE, LADY WITH BEAUTIFUL EYES/
TANZANITE, MY ECOND FAVORITE STONE- THROWS OFF RED SPARKS AS YOU TURN IT.