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Byzantines Defenders of Europe?

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    Posted: 15 Feb 2011 at 07:45

The Byzantine Empire being situated on both Europe and Asia was constantly afflicted on both sides by would-be conquerors. In the east there was always a threat. First being the Persian Sassanids then the Muslims who stormed of the Arabian desert taking all in their path in 632. The Byzantines fought the various muslim sultans and caliphates for nearly 800 years, without their tenacity would it not be fair to say Europe would be a vastly different place? Now I know someone will point out Charles Martel and the battle of Tours, this is important but pales in the contribution and sacrifice of the Byzantines. Let me know your thoughts.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2011 at 08:29
The Byzantines eventually lost.
 
So we can presume that Europe is a vastly different place?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2011 at 08:37
The sacrifice of the Byzantines? Now that is a twist to the tale...since Manzikert in 1070 was merely a confirmation of the disintegration of the agrarian themes of Anatolia that had sustained the Eastern Empire from the time of Heraklius onward. besides you are assuming a false homogeneity under the guise of "Muslim" opponents. The Seljuks would just as easily swept over an Arab as they would have a Byzantine and religion was essentially inconsequential.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2011 at 17:52
There are many theories on how Europe would be a different place and many if(s). In the end you don't know what would happen if eventually someone had broken through during those 800 years. Maybe, Europe might have been ready for it or not. For sure they created a comfort over eastern threats but Europe itself had its own issues from time to time. In the end it fell but the Ottomans didn't reach were many might have feared from an eastern power.


Edited by Flipper - 15 Feb 2011 at 17:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Youngblood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2011 at 14:23

I should not have referred to them all as Muslim since obviously the Seljuks are different than Arabs, but the Seljuks didn't finish off the Byzantines it was the Ottomans. Yes, they did fall and did eventually die out. However, they bought Europe time to grow and centralize into countries that would be able to defend against the Ottomans when they did eventually move into Europe.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2011 at 23:53
Actually, the Bizantine empire was weakened by the Western Crusaders, when they invaded it, a while before the Turks.

So, why should the Bizantines wanted to "deffend" the West?


Edited by pinguin - 17 Feb 2011 at 23:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 03:01
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Actually, the Bizantine empire was weakened by the Western Crusaders, when they invaded it, a while before the Turks.

So, why should the Bizantines wanted to "deffend" the West?
As usual it is a question of sharing an enemy, not necessarily mutual "love". Since Konstantinople stood in the way for further expansion into Europe, by defending itself it at least slowed ottoman expansion. On the other hand the ottomans were at various times supported with various european powers, not for their own sake, but because of shared enemies. France, Sweden, Britain, and later Imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary did just that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 05:10
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Actually, the Bizantine empire was weakened by the Western Crusaders, when they invaded it, a while before the Turks.

So, why should the Bizantines wanted to "deffend" the West?


Actually both of your points are correct. As I've read many times, the Crusaders were the ones who caused the damage and the Ottomans just finished the job.

As for the Byzantines, they covered first their ass of course. They were the wall of comfort as long as the enemy came from south east.

One of my greatest historical IFS is "What if the Byzantines could see the future in a magic ball"? They would simply come into agreement with the Arabs not to be touched and let them through Evil Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 06:09

The Byzantines didn't save europe because the thrust of the conquests was directed towards Asia and north Africa. The reason why there was so many attempts against Constantinople from the very beginning was simple. The Byzantine empire was at its most vulnerable situation after the initial conquests and its fall would be the coup d'grace that relieve the pressure on that front.

After 740 there was no real campaign directed at destroying the Byzantines, in fact the conquest movement all but ended due to the civil war. Only the Seljuqs 300 years later who launched a campaign of conquests and een then the crusades and the disintegration of their empire gave the Byzantines respite.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 07:25
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Actually, the Bizantine empire was weakened by the Western Crusaders, when they invaded it, a while before the Turks.

So, why should the Bizantines wanted to "deffend" the West?
Most of the time I recall the Byzantines had more animosity with the west than with the middle east.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 11:14
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Actually, the Bizantine empire was weakened by the Western Crusaders, when they invaded it, a while before the Turks.

So, why should the Bizantines wanted to "deffend" the West?
 
Most of the time I recall the Byzantines had more animosity with the west than with the middle east.
 
One has to make as many inversions as mentally possible to assert that the Western Crusaders "weakened" the "Byzantine Empire". There wasn't a "Crusader" in sight at Manzikert [albeit there were some 500 Franco-Norman mercenaries in the army of Romanus IV and even Turks] and the Eastern Empire had long ago lost both Egypt and Syria so one must really strain in making the analogy that the rise of Crusader Kingdoms in the Levant "weakened" the Byzantine state in areas it had long lost. In fact, if one knows what actually happened at Manzikert in 1071, one could understand that internal rot was what did in the military organization of Byzantium. Despite the fact that the Seljuks carried the field in Armenia, they certainly did not organize any sudden intrusion into Anatolia proper and it was left to the Byzantines themselves to convert momentary defeat into total chaos with the usurpation of Ducas and the neglect of the themes for the sake of the political show at Constantinople. The loss of the Anatolian heatland to the Seljuks in the generation after Manzikert was what made the Empire little more than a collection of crab holes along the shores of the shores of the Aegean and Black Seas.
 
PS: It is usually chatted about by the ignorami that the Crusades were launched to retake Jerusalem after its capture by the Muslims in 1077. Of course such is tommy-rot because Jerusalem was captured from the Byzantines (who had lost it earlier to the Sassanids from 614 to 628) in AD 637 by the Arab Caliphate! What did happen in 1077 was the expulsion of the Fatimids from the city by a contingent of Seljuks--of course the Fatimids came back in 1098 and it was only then that we run into the Crusaders.
 
Just some food for thought.  


Edited by drgonzaga - 18 Feb 2011 at 11:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2011 at 11:28
yeah apparently the Eastern empire was at its height in the 500-700 range. Like after Atilla crokes and the huns fall to sh*te; they reconquer Italy for sometime and prosper. I forgot the guys name who changed the official language to greece. Thats the time I feel it really started losing power. They changed the culture from "Roman" to more "greek". Even if many did speak greek the main idea was "Roman". I'm not sure what happened during 500-700 I do know for a fact they grew economically. Its also funny to mention and note how the "Greeks" carried on Roman tradition and the idea of "Rome" even though none of them spoke latin as their main language and the power base was in greece. It seems like the natural order of things though before the romans dominated the greeks were in "charge".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2011 at 01:51
The Byzantines didn't save Europe because there wasn't any Byzantium and there was no Europe. It's important to distinguish between contemporary and historiographical terminology.
 
In contemporary terms, the Roman Empire maintained its sphere of influence both in the east and west over several centuries. What would have transpired if they hadn't done so for as long, and how it would have affected Catholic Christendom, is contrafactual history and impossible to speculate in as the variables in play are simply too many to identify and there isn't enough primary source material to even try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2011 at 03:58
Well Reginmund I have tired of stating as much repeatedly each time threads such as these pop up (and I have also grown weary of putting "Byzantium" in quotes) but somehow these appeals to sanity always fall on deaf ears. It is as fruitless as placing an Armenian, a Greek, and an Italian in the same room and asking each who is more "catholic"!

Edited by drgonzaga - 19 Feb 2011 at 03:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Feb 2011 at 22:19
"Byzantine" is a term of convenience among historians, like many other in historical contents (e.g terms like Minoan, Hittite etc). Most books are sold with this term but 99% of them will explain to the reader that "Byzantine Empire" is actually the Easter Roman Empire. Therefore, in a forum like this, I don't think we need to point a finger to everyone who "dares" to use the term.

We need to point a finger when someone uses the term like if the administration and the people of the empire were using it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2011 at 01:05
Well, Flipper, I dislike the term because as the existance of the adjectival pejorative, byzantine, underscores it carries a negative connotation and intuitively asserts progressive decadence. Further, this phantom also generates the false image that makes it rather easy to consider the Ottomans as "outsiders" in Europe when in actuality they were an European presence long before the capture of Constantinople in 1453. An economist might argue that the Ottomans themselves were the effective successors as a dynasty (in geopolitical terms) to the realities of the Eastern Roman Empire!
 
 
PS: How is that as an opening for the introduction of the "Turkish Problem" in a contemporary context?


Edited by drgonzaga - 20 Feb 2011 at 01:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2011 at 19:34
I agree with your statement above DrGonzaga. Everyone can have his own objections about those terms of convenience. I also agree with the fact that the Ottomans were effective successors for at least 150 years ahead.

What I didn't understand was your "PS" about the Turkish Problem. What do you mean?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2011 at 21:13
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

What I didn't understand was your "PS" about the Turkish Problem. What do you mean?
 
In the 16th Century it was the Turks "bursting in on Europe" and then in the 17th century they were at the "Gates" of Vienna while in the 18th century the Russians "verified" their European authenticity by going after the Turk in the Black Sea and beyond so much so that by the 19th century not a decade went past without there being a "Turkish Problem" roiling up Europe. And now today, what do we have? Well the Turks assert, "Hey boys we are Europe so make room for us in the Union! The result: The political correctness of the EU Club is now strained to the max over those Muslims calling themselves "Europeans"!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2011 at 22:54
The "Gates of Vienna"...Hmm, yes. Austrian diplomats keep repeating that still to their Turkish counterparts. It is indeed the political "correctness" and also the double faced moral of Europe causing that. If you scratch the back of someone because you want to reach his market, don't expect that he will not ask from you something in return.

On the other hand, I know many Turks don't want the EU and maybe they are right. Their economy is standing strong at the moment and they have been previously treated with arrogance. Erdogan might know that an entrace has no point now and it might be imppossible. However, he wants his name to be "the first" prime minister of Turkey doing a serious attempt to get Turkey into the EU. If Turkey does need the EU 80 years later, it will be Erdogans name in every single document and reference. Smart move if you ask me...

In any case, this is an interresting point DrG, but maybe for a thread of its own.


Edited by Flipper - 20 Feb 2011 at 22:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 07:54
Well, what a great bunch of postings. Congradulations to all!

But, have any of you ever really examined the Wiki article concerning this battle (Manzikert)?

I know that some of you have a great disreagard towards a lot of the Wiki articles, but when you ever examine a Wiki article, I would suggest that you also examine their discussion page. Thus;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manzikert

Just click upon "discussion" for more! Some of you have already read that I decry the battle as being in any way factual.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 08:11
alright, I'll bite for what it's worth. Tell us what your issue is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 08:48
My dear Seko, as I said, just go to the site and read the discussion page? It is all there, without me having to place it here.

I believe some of it was posted by my identical twin? chuckle!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 09:08
ok...seems we have a different kind of sense of humor.

What are we supposed to gather from the discussion board at wiki? If you won't make your point here than I won't bother looking elsewhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 10:14
Of course it is only your loss!

Have you ever read any discussion boards at Wiki?

It is like some foods, if you don't try them then you'll never know if you like them!

But, you respectfully asked;

"Tell us what your issue is."

My issue is the account of the Battle of Manzikert (at least at Wiki)! I consider it as worthless, as can be found in the "discussion section".

It seems as usual, that some people here suspect me of leading them into a trap, and go out of the way to avoid any suggestion I might well make. But I lead no one into traps, the traps merely spring themselves!

And, just how could anyone as "stupid as me" ever fool one of you very experienced guys?

Do not be afraid?

I am certainly not afraid of ridicule. In fact, I welcome it. And, I now expect it! smile!

Regards, and respects to all,
Ron


Edited by opuslola - 20 May 2011 at 10:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 10:26
Why don't you consider any of the primary accounts of the battle of Manzikert to be of any use?

They aren't the most detailed or reliable accounts of a battle, but as far as medieval ones go they tend to agree with eachother a lot and are written by contemporaries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 10:31
Dear Constantine XI, I can only ask of you what I asked of Seko, just go where I have asked/requested, and "you shall receive".

Just why should I take up band-width here when it is free at Wiki?

My greatest regards,

Ron

Edited by opuslola - 20 May 2011 at 21:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 11:26
I have personally read all of the primary source accounts of Manzikert, which I needed to do for university 4 years ago for one of my essays.

So I already have done what you have suggested and I don't agree with you. Try showing some evidence to back up your opinion. At the moment you appear unpersuasive and unevidenced.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 13:01
Look CIX the crap he's pulling here is the identical detritus he's sought to insert into the Wiki article and, as to be expected, received the "put down". It's some more taurus foeces demanding the illogical and scatological be accepted as factual and such simply deserves little more than derision. I wonder when the Fomenko crowd will go after him for PLAGIARISM!
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 20 May 2011 at 13:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 13:10
PS: There are no "discussion boards" on Wiki--
  • This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject.
  • Put new text under old text. Click here to start a new topic.
  • Please sign and date your posts by typing four tildes (~~~~).
  • No original research
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  • Verifiability
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    Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 13:32
    Thank you CXI and Doc.

    Opus, I suspect your identical may be you and if not you can correct me.
    Regarding one of your posts above I'll share the content that has any relevancy.

    As you say, "My issue is the account of the Battle of Manzikert (at least at Wiki)! I consider it as worthless, as can be found in the "discussion section".

    Being that this is our forum and we would like nothing better than to verify comments made here you can explain why you consider the explanation of (wiki or not) the Battle of Manzikert to be worthless.

    In one of your posts some time ago you wrote this:

    I do see in the name of "Alp Arslen", some distinct Norse elements, do you?

    If so, just why would anyone by that name be there? Was he a descendant of one of the Byzantine Guards?

    http://allempires.net/forum/topic124778_post57180.html#57180

    Maybe you can share what you mean by the battle being a worthless account. What does Alp Arslan translate into in English and why he was in Anatolia or Scandinavia according to your norse assumption.

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