Table of Contents
Quick Rise to Power: Fall of the Byzantine Empire
Threats to Byzantine Empire
Rise of Ottomans
Quick Rise to Power: The Fall of the Byzantine Empire Constantine, who was the first to achieve power, established constantinople (the capital) in the 4th century.
Constantine’s successors grew the empire until the Byzantine Emperor spanned most of the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Sicily and Italy. However, the empire’s downfall was due to over expansion. The Eastern Empire’s geographical position was not favorable, and they were surrounded by enemies. There were many Saracens in the south, including the Umayyad Caliphate and Seljuks. This made it difficult for the Pope to be recognized as the leading religious authority of Christendom. The Byzantine Empire was under threat. The Byzantine Emperor had to confront invasions from various fronts in the Late antiquity. Fear grew as the 5th century saw the rise of Islam in Europe. In 636 CE, the empire was defeated again in Battles like the Battle at Yarmouk. This battle took place between the Byzantine Imperial and the Rashidun Caliphate. As victories kept coming in the Arabs began to campaign to take land from the byzantine empire. In this campaign they were able conquer Asia Minor (Sierra Minor), Crete, Crete, as well as Cyprus. The Byzantine Empire suffered a significant blow with the fall of Egypt. This region was important for grain and other manufactured goods.
The Seljuk Empire, a rival in the 11th-century Seljuk Empire, grew up in the Byzantine Empire. In August 1071, they clashed at Battle for Manzikert. This resulted the decisive defeat to the Byzantine Imperial. Byzantine lost Armenia and Anatolia, resulting in a humiliating defeat. Italy was home to many territories that the Byzantine Empire had been seized by small countries such as the Normans.
THE CRUSADESTo combat all these threats and with the Seljuk Turks located central Asia bearing down upon Constantinople, Emperor Alexius II called for assistance from west-allied allies, which resulted in Pope Urban II declaring “holy warfare” that launched the First Crusade.
Alexius attempted to make the leaders of Byzantium’s armies swear loyalty to him to ensure that any land he had gained from the Turks would be returned to his empire. The crusades were intended to help the byzantine empire weaken, reclaim lost territory. However, The Fourth Crusade proved to be the most dangerous threat to the empire. The =soldiers in this crusade mutinied in Constantinople and began looting, vandalism, destruction and general looting.
The historic great sack of Constantinople was a pivotal moment in history. After centuries of conflict between Orthodox and Catholic religions, Christendom’s influence in the east was severely reduced. This allowed for the rise and expansion of Islam into Europe. Plagues The Plague Of Justinian decimated a large portion of the empire’s population between 541 and 542 CE. The plague caused the deaths of approximately 5,000 people every day during its peak in Constantinople Civil Wars.
All of this culminated in two civil conflicts that did not only harm the military, but also the social aspect of the Byzantine imperium. Andronikos III, his grandfather’s co-emperor, was elected to be the winner of the second war. Many saw it as an opportunity to gain notable gains in Anatolia.
A civil war erupted after Andronikos III’s death in 1341. This continued until 1347. Andronikos II died leaving behind his six-year old son, Anne of Savoy. John Cantacuzenus (the de facto leader) was an associate of Andronikos III, an extremely wealthy landowner. He was elected emperor of Thrace, but things didn’t go his way. The war was decided by class. Cantacuzenus was supported by the wealthy, while Cantacuzenus was supported and supported by the poor. The Serbs used the civil war as an opportunity to claim themselves the emperor and king of the Serbs. The Byzantine Macedonia conquered by the Serbian King Stefan Uros IV Dusan, 1345. Large swathes were also captured by Epirus and Thessaly.
Cantacuzenus employed Turkish mercenaries to help him secure his authority in civil war. In 1352, they captured Gallipoli from The Byzantines. Although the Byzantine Empire lost many of its territories to the rebel mercenaries in 1354, western crusaders defeated them. However, Turkish armies would eventually regain control of most of these areas. These two civil wars were a major setback to the Byzantine Empire’s military power and gave its opportunistic adversaries an opportunity to gain significant territory in Byzantine territory.
Rise of OttomansBy then, Byzantine was very weak and almost invulnerable to the Ottoman Turks. The Turks made Constantinople their top priority and started the Second Siege of Constantinople. It was stopped by attacks from the mongols Ottoman Sultan Murad II. However, it was quickly lifted following fierce resistance from the city’s defenders. Sultan Mehmet II, the Byzantine Empire’ was defeated in 1453. At this point, the empire was limited to Constantinople and Morea. Constantine XI and his 8,000 troops defended Constantinople bravely, but Constantinople fell on May 29, 201453.
The Byzantine empire was the center for civilization and sank both the Roman and Greek civilisations. Western Europe suffered from the terrible effects of the Great Depression. While it shared some Rome’s characteristics, it established its own type of civilization but not its own state. The Empire was responsible for protecting Western Europe’s possessions until barbarism fell. Many historians agree that Europe would not have survived the Islamic invasions without Byzantium. Although the Roman Empire’s western half was destroyed in 476, its eastern half survived for over 1,000 years. This gave rise to a rich history of writings, art and knowledge that served as a buffer and military support. The empire’s great end was due to its excessive expansion of territory.