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BYZANTIUM: FROM RECOVERY TO RUIN, a detailed chronology: AD 1220-1331
From the first appearance of the Mongols to the surrender of Nicaea to the Ottoman Turks With extensive notes on the numbers, equipment and pay of the Early Palaeogian army. Compiled by Michael O’Rourke Canberra, Australia April 2010 Email: mjor (at) velocitynet (dot) com.au
Greek Emperors at Nicaea and Constantinople: John III Doukas Vatatzes, 1221-54. Theodore II Lascaris, 1254-58. Michael VIII Palaeologus, co-emperor 1259-61 with John IV Lascaris (at Nicaea), and sole emperor, 1261-82 (at Constantinople). Andronicus II Palaeologus, 1282-1328. Andronicus III Palaeologus, 1328-41. Introduction In the early 13th century, the leading Muslim powers of western Eurasia and north Africa were (from west to east:) 1 the Almohad Caliphate in southern Spain and NW Africa: east as far as our Libya; 2 the Ayyubid Sultanate, the creation of Saladin, d. 1193, in the Levant [Egypt-Palestine-Syria]; 3 the Seljuk (Turkish) Sultanate of Rum in central and eastern Anatolia; and in Persia, 4 the Empire of the Khwarizm Shah. Two small Latin Crusader statelets, much reduced since their 12th century heyday, held enclaves on the coast of Palestine and Lebanon-Syria. They were surrounded, except on the sea-side, by the Ayyubids, viz: (a) the ‘Kingdom of Acre’ under the Hospitaller knights, and (b) the Knights-Templar Principality of Antioch-Tripoli. The Mediterranean sphere was divided among two Greek states and two Latin powers. The Greek Despotate* of Epirus (later expanded into a so-called ‘Empire
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 of Salonica’) controlled western and central Greece. Lower Greece was in the hands of the so-called Latin Empire, which also ruled in Constantinople. Crete was under the rule of Venice. Finally, the ‘Empire of Nicaea’ held western Asia Minor. Thus there were three competing candidates for the ancient and prestigious throne of New Rome or Byzantium: (1) the Greek Despot of Epirus, Theodore Komnenos Doukas [1214-1230]; (2) the Latin Emperor, Robert of Courtenay [1221-28], who actually held Constantinople; and (3) the ‘Nicaean’ Greek monarch Theodore I Lascaris [12o5-21]. Theodore had been aged about 30 when the Fourth Crusade stormed Constantinople in 1204, ousted the Roman (Byzantine) emperor Isaac II, and installed a Western (Latin) ruler. It is also useful to mention the major Latin states in Europe. There were five of note: (a) the Kingdom of Hungary under the Arpads; (b) the ‘German Empire’ socalled, under the Hohenstaufen kings, which included Sicily and nominally also northern Italy; (c) France under the later Capetian kings; (d) Castile [the most powerful of several Christian kingdoms in Iberia]; and (e) England under the Plantagenets [Henry III]. Last of all—but very strong at sea—were the small ‘maritime’ states of northern Italy: Venice, Genoa and Pisa (the last being much weakened after 1284). (*) The Despot was not an especially tyrannical ruler; his title was just an ordinary Greek word (despotes) meaning ‘lord’ or ‘master’. Strong and Weak States McEvedy & Jones’ (1978) guesstimates of population will serve as a metric for the relative strength of the Christian states. We will take first the Greek or Aegean sphere. Their estimate for Greece [present-day boundaries] is one million people in about 1225. To this must be added a guess for the population of the Nicaean Empire. Here we can use one-third of what is now Turkey-in-Asia, namely two million people in the 13th century. Total: three million. When Greek rule was restored in Constantinople in 1261, emperor Michael VIII had about two million subjects, if we follow McEvedy & Jones. Other estimates for the restored empire of around 1265 run as high as five million, not falling to perhaps two million until the disastrous reign of Andronicus II (by AD 1312) (Treadgold 1997: 700, 841: see the discussion in the entries below for AD 1278 and 1282). This can be compared with McEvedy & Jones’ guesstimates for the Western powers in the early 1200s: Hohenstaufen Germany: perhaps 7 M including Sicily; France: perhaps 6 M people (allowing for the smaller size of 13th C France compared to today); Castile: about 3.25 M in 1225; and England: about 2.5 M. Finally we will note the likely size of the strongest Muslim state, the Ayyubid Sultanate: about 6 million people. The Early Palaeogian Army . . . . . . is described in detail in a long section placed before the entry, below, for AD 1328. 2
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
The following topics are mentioned in the following places: - Barding (horse armour): 1259 (Battle of Pelagonia); after 1328 (The Palaeologian Army in about 1330); and after 1333 (Ibn Battuta’s visit to Constantinople). - Bow-cases: after 1328. - Composite bow: after 1328 (The Palaeologian Army in about 1330). - Horse archers in Byzantine service: 1242; 1259 (Battle of Pelagonia); 1261; 1262-63; 1280-81 (Berat: Albanian campaign); 1301-02 (at Baphaeon); and 1320 (the army of Andronicus). - Kettle-shaped brimmed war-hat or “chapel-de-fer”: before the entry for 1251; and before 1263. - Lamellar armour: after the entry for 1262; after 1319; and after 1325. - Pronoiars: after 1261-63; before 1297-1330; 1298; before 1300; 1313-18; after 1321; before 1326-62; and after 1328. - Quivers: after 1328. - Varangians: 1259; 1263; 1271-72; 1272; 1301/02 (Battle of Baphaeon); 1305 (Battle of Apros); before 1320; 1325; and 1329 (Battle of Pelekanon). Geography and some Technical Terms “Adrianople” [Hadrianopolis]: Today’s Edirne in European Turkey. “Asia Minor”: today’s Turkey-in-Asia. It helps to know the location of two major rivers: in the SW, the Meander (Turkish: Büyük Menderes) which exits into the lower Aegean; and in the NW, the Sangarios (Tk Sakarya), whose lower stretch runs from near Ankara down to the Black Sea well to the east of Cosnatinople. It also helps to know the eastern Aegean coast: the two major islands are Lesbos and Chios [English pronunciation “kai-us”: rhymes with ‘bias’]. The town of Pergamum lay east of Lesbos, but inland. East of Chios was the key port town of Phocaea (modern Foca) with its famous alum mines. In SW Asia Minor there was an important cluster of large towns: Magnesia, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Tralles, Nymphaeum (Tk: Nif), Ephesus and Miletus. “Basileus”: The Greek word for emperor. Pronounced ‘vasilefs’. “Caria”: The SW sector of Asia Minor opposite Rhodes. More narrowly, ‘Caria’ 3
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 was alo the mediaval nme for the ancinet inland twon of Aphrodisias. “Constantinople” [Konstantinoupolis]: Present-day Istanbul. Located at the top of the Sea of Marmara [Gk: Propontis], on the European shore, at the bottom (southern) end of the Bosphorus [Tk: Istanbul Boghazi], the narrow strait that runs from the Marmara through to the Black Sea [Gk: Euxeinos Pontos]. “Bithynia”: The NW sector of Asia Minor, adjoining the Sea of Marmara and extending to the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. “Epirus”: Today’s west-central Greece and southern Albania. Capital: Arta. “Greeks”: This was a Western term. The Byzantines called themselves Rhomaioi (Romans). Arabic and Turkish: Rumi. Today’s Greeks call themselves ‘Ellenes (Hellenes). “Macedonia” [Gk Makedonía]: It is important to distinguish three references: (a) the ancient and modern region of Greece centred on Thessaloniki; (b) the Byzantine Theme (province) of Makedonia, which actually covered lower Thrace; and (c) ‘FYROM’: the modern Slavic state located today in what was historically SW Bulgaria/SE Serbia. In the 13th century Greek Macedonia began as part of the Latin Empire of Constantinople (”Romania”) and ended as part of the Byzantine (Roman/Greek) Empire. What is now FYROM began as part of Bulgaria and ended divided between Serbia and the Byzantine empire. “Morea”, Greek Moreas: The medieval name of the ancient Peloponnesus, the southernmost segment of modern Greece. The name possibly derived from the name of the mulberry tree [Gk: moréa], on which silk worms fed. More probably, given its long O [omega], it derives from moros, ‘fool, rebel, outlaw’, by implcation ‘lawless land’ (see discussion at www.mlahanas.de/Greece/Regions/Morea). The name first appears in the 10th century in Byzantine chronicles. “Thessaly”: The east-central segment of present-day Greece, centred on the city of Larissa. Cf Wallachia. “Thrace”: Modern Turkey-in-Europe plus our south Bulgaria. The ByzantineBulgarian border ran broadly west-east just beyond Byzantine Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv). “Türkmen”: Turkish nomads, i.e. non-farmers. Tent-dwellers herding sheep and goats. “Their [the Mongols] apparition brought some 200,000 people and the equivalent of three or four million sheep and goats, who displaced the nomads already there [in Asia Minor] and pressed them westward” (Lindner). 4
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
“Wallachia”: Vlach is the ‘exonym’ (outsiders’ name) for speakers of the several East Romance languages. There are two key references to be distinguished when we read of Vlachia or ‘Wallachia’: (1) The region of modern Romania immediately north of the Danube, which emerged as a distinct principality in 1330; and, of more relevance to us: (2): The duchy or “despotate” in greater Thessaly, 1271-1318, in what is now central Greece, whose best soldiers were Romance-speaking Aromanians or “Vlachs”. Greek name: Megáli Vlachía. Capital: Neopatras or Neai Patrai: modern Ypati (west of Lamia). Thessaly’s loyalties vacillated between Latin Achaia, Greek Epirus and Byzantium.
Above: The eastern Mediterranean in AD 1200. CHRONOLOGY BEGINS HERE 1220-37: Eastern Asia Minor: Zenith of the Seljuq (Turkish) sultanate of Rum under ‘Ala al-Din Kay Kubad I. Turkish rule is extended to the Black Sea and southern Anatolian coast. - See 1221. Cf 1223-24: expedition to Greek Crimea. Also 1242-43: Mongols arrive. 1220-22: FIRST MONGOL INCURSION: 5
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Intrigued by stories of the Caspian Sea being landlocked, the Mongols sent a reconnaissance in force around the bottom or southern end of the sea on a twoyear journey, 1220-1221. First they crush (1220) the Khwarizm Shahdom in what is now NE Iran, and then carve a bloody track across Armenia and Georgia. Now for the first time, Christendom learned of the Mongols. Having crossed into Transcaucasia from Gpoergia, the first Mongol incursion reaches what is now Ukraine and Crimea, before they withdraw to the east vaia the Volga. Eastern Georgia fell under Mongol domination, but western Georgia remained free . . . f0r the time being. In the winter of 1220-1221 the Mongols attacked Georgia, then ruled by King George Lashen IV. This was the first campaign in which Mongol forces were opposed by a Christian army. Dennis Sinor (1999) proposes that, though Grigor of Akanc speaks of the "merciless slaughter" perpetrated by the "nation of the archers", it can be assumed that the small army commanded by Jebe and Subetei [Sübügätäi] had no intention of occupying on a permanent basis either Christian Georgia or Muslim Azerbaijan. 1221: 1. Macedonia: The Epirotes advance into Latin-ruled Macedonia, almost cutting off the highway from Latin-ruled Constantinople to Latin Thessaloniki (Bartusis p.23). See 1223-24. The Seljuk Apogee 2. South-central coast of Asia Minor: The Seljuk sultan Kay-Kubad - Kayqubad or Keykubad ‘the Great’ - acquires ex-Byzantine Alanya [Gk Kalonoros]; it became thereafter his summer residence. See 1228. The Christian Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (on the mainland north of Cyprus) periodically held the port after 1204, and it was from an Armenian nobleman, Kir (“lord”) Fard, that Muslims took lasting control in 1221 when the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Kayqubad exchanged governance of the inland town of Akshehir for it; as part of the deal Fard’s daughter married Kayqubad (Lloyd & Rice 1958: 34). “The Seljuks had a robust interest in reusing the classical past for decorative purposes in their fortifications, and were unusual in their acceptance of iconic sculpture, including sarcophagi. Sarre [Friedrich Sarre, the German archaeologist, d. 1945] has provided a photographic record of some of their spolia-rich* creations. The most famous are the walls of Konya, whose towers were erected by Alaeddin Kuykubad I in 1221; he encouraged the inclusion of figural sculpture, inscriptions, and having sculptured stones of various sorts set into both his gateways” (Greenhalgh, citing T. Talbot Rice, The Seljuks in Asia Minor, London 1961, p. 153 ff). (*) Spolia: Re-used materials taken from older buildings. 1221-28: Robert of Courtenay, Latin ruler in Constantinople, “a weak and feckless youth” 6
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (says Norwich 1995: 193). See 1224. 1221/2-54: JOHN (Ioannes) III Ducas Vatatzes, emperor in Nicaea and Nymphaion. Aged about 29 at accession. A successful soldier from a military family, in 1212 John at age 20 had been chosen by the heirless Emperor Theodore I Laskaris as husband of his daughter Eirene Laskarina (d. 1239) and as heir to the throne. Later he marries Constance-Anna, Costanza von Hohenstaufen, a nautural (legitimised) daughter of the German-Sicilian emperor Frederick II. In this reign Nicaea remained the formal capital where the imperial coronations took place, but the emperor’s residence and the seat of government was moved (1222) from Nicaea to Nymphaeum, modern Nif (renamed Kemalpasha), inland from Izmir-Smyrna. Norwich 1995: 203 assesses Vatatzes as one of the greatest of all Greek/Byzantine emperors, at least among the later emperors. He more than doubled the size of his empire and strengthened the eastern border with the Seljuq Turks. “The Lascarid emperors, first at Nicaea, then - for the remainder of their Anatolian exile - at Nif or Nymphaeum in the southwest, attended to the economic, military, and physical reconstruction of west Anatolia below the plateau in order to finance their European campaigns and threats against Constantinople. They meant to revive Anatolia, but for the sake of Constantinople. They wanted Anatolia to prosper, but only so they could leave it. The agricultural prosperity achieved during the half-century of Lascarid rule centred in the south, in the valleys of the Gediz [near Smyrna] and Menderes [Meander] rivers. The silk production of Nicaea was Bithynia's major contribution. John Ill Ducas Vatatzes . . . fostered a more intensive exploitation of farm resources in the lands surrounding Manisa/Magnesia [north of Smyrna]. His egg ranch is perhaps best known for the crown* its profits bought.” —thus Lindner. (*) Vatatzes offered his wife, Irene, a crown "of eggs" or ‘egg-crown’, the famous öaton, bought with the proceeds of the sale of the first eggs from the imperial estate. Many of the purchasers of these eggs after 1243 were Seljuq refugees fleeing west from the Mongols: see under 1243 (Lippard 1984: 177). Sardis at this time was the seat of a small lordship, on the main highway between the frontier and the emperors’ favoured residence (Nymphaion) and the treasury (Magnesia/Manisa). The line of the hihway ran thus: Smyrna, Nymphaion, Sardis and Philadelphia. Ruth Macrides notes (in her translation of Akropolites) that the region Philadelphia-Nymphaion-Magnesia - which is to say: 7
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the valley of the Hermus River (Gediz Nehri: east of Izmir) - formed the heartland of the Nicaean empire. The nearest ports to Nymphaion were Phocaea (Foca) amd Smyrna (Izmir). Money Although the hyperpyron survived the disaster of 1204, coins struck by the exiled “emperors of Nicaea” at the Magnesia mint in Asia Minor were little by little debased, falling to 18 carats under John III, r.1222–54 (Grierson 1999) 1221-25: The Seljuks under Kay Qubadh conquered the Mediterranean coast around Alanya from the Romaics in 1221 to 1225. c.1222: West-central Asia Minor: The small box-like three-storey palace at Nymphaeum (Nimphaion, Nif, modern Kemalpasa) was apparently built by John Vatatzes in about 1222. In Turkish the ruins are called Kiz Kulesi [see http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemalpa%C5%9Fa,_%C4%B0zmir: in Turkish]. The fact that it is one of only four remaining Byzantine imperial palaces built after 1204 is enough to make it important. It was probably the first to display Western influences, not heretofore seen in imperial Byzantine audience-halls. It appears striped, the two upper storeys being built with differently coloured layers of masonry. 1223: The Franciscan order, founded in N Italy, is recognised by Rome: piety is equated with poverty; + revitalisation of the Western church. 1223/24: Breakup of the Latin Empire: Theodore of Epirus—Theodoros Komnenos-Doukas Angelos—besieges (1223) and takes (1224) Thessaloniki from its Latin king, and establishes his court there. From 1228 he assumes the title “sovereign and emperor of the Romans”: basileus kai autokratõr Rõmaiõn; this briefly creates an Epirote “Empire of Salonika” (until 1246) (Heurtley et al. 1967). — The Epirote capture of Thessaloniki severed the land link between Latin Constantinople and Latin Athens; thus the Latin empire became dependent on maritime links. There were now two rulers claiming the title "Emperor of the Romans": John III Vatatazes in Nymphaeum and Theodore in Salonica-Thessaloniki. Or three if we count the Latin monarch in Constantinople itself. The central Byzantine realm was at this time divided among four states, two Greek/Romaic and two Latin: [1.] The Greek 'Empire of Nicaea', which comprised much of western Asia Minor; [2.] The 'Latin Empire' of Romania ruling 8
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Constantinople, part of NW Asia Minor [see 1225], part of Thrace and (nearly all) the Peloponnesus; [3.] The Venetians controlled Crete and most of the Aegean islands; and [4.] The Greek ‘Empire of Salonika’ held the central Balkan peninsula. (Eastern Anatolia was dominated by the Seljuks of Rum, with a further "Greek-speaking"/Romaic statelet at Trebizond and an Armenian statelet in Cilicia.) — In short, a small Latin empire of Constantinople or “Romania” - mainly lower Greece and the capital - was wedged between two larger Greek states: the "empire of Salonika" (which included Epirus) and the Nicaean 'empire' in western Asian Minor. As noted, Venice ruled Crete and the Athens sector of the Aegean. — Thessaly, the so-called "Duchy of Neopatras", also called 'Great Wallachia', was dominated by Epirus, but was sometimes independent. (This Wallachia is not to be confused with a later Wallachia, which is part of present-day Rumania.) 2. Crimea: Using their new port of Sinope, the Seljuks tried to control the entire Black Sea. In 1223-24 (or 1225) they ventured a campaign in the Crimea— hitherto dominated by the Greeks of Trebizond—resulting in the brief occupation of the town of Sudak or Sughdaq [centre of the SE coast] (Zahariadou 1989: 213; Freely 2008: 73). 1224: 1. Asia Minor: John III of Nicaea/Nymphaeum decisively defeats the Latins at Poimanenon and occupies almost all their territory in Asia Minor, i.e. up to the coast opposite Gallipoli and its hinterlands. Langdon p.1 calls it a “stirring” victory. Neither side would have deployed large numbers. It has been said that at the height of its power, in the period 1204-24, the Latin empire possessed fewer than 1,000 cavalrymen (Cassidy p.310, citing Hendricks). Adding foot solders, the Latin side probably did not even reach 4,000. NW Asia Minor: After two years of consolidation, reorganisation and the building of a new army and fleet, in 1224 Vatatzes struck at and defeated a Frankish army on the same battlefield of Poemanenum or Poimanenon, located south of Cyzicus, west of Bursa, north of present-day Balikesir, where his father-in-law had been beaten 20 years previously (LBA p.23). Cyzicus, Lopadion (Ulubad) and Poimanenon form the points of an equilateral triangle. Poimanenon effectively ended Latin power in NW Asia Minor. The victory brought Nicaea much of the lands lost by Theodore I along the Aegean coast of Mysia.* From this position, Vatatzes used his new fleet** to take Samos, Chios and Lemnos from the Venetians and also to subjugate the minor despotate of Rhodes. (*) The region that bordered the south coast of the Sea of Marmara. (**) There were two main naval bases: one for the Aegean at Smyrna and one for 9
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the Hellespont at Holkos, near Lampsakos. In addition ships were sometime stationed at Stadeia (ancient Cnidus) on the Aegean between Bodrum and Rhodes and Lampsakos itself on the Sea of Marmara (on the Asian shore, at the top of the Hellespont opposite modern Gelibolu). —Macrides 2007: 100. Both John III and Theodore II undertook winter campaigns. After his victory against the Latins in Poimamenon (1224), John III conducted a series of operations against Latin possessions in Asia Minor and captured Poimamenon; Lentiana: a fortress between Lopadium and Cyzicus; Charioros and Berberiakion. Akropolites points out that these operations were mainly long sieges carried out during the winter and aimed at exhausting the besieged. –Thus Kyriakidis. 2. John III makes his first foray into Europe, where, faced with little resistance from the Latins, he takes most of Thrace (LBA p. 23). See 1277. Frederick II founds Naples University. 1224-30: Theodore Ducas—Theodoros Komnenos Doukas Angelos— rules at Thessaloniki. In 1228 he claims the title of emperor. The so-called ‘Empire of Salonica’ covered most of the central Balkans (Epirus to outer Thrace). John III Ducas Vatatzes’s ‘Nicaean Empire’ in Asia Minor was not much larger. See next. 1224-47: The Nicaean fleet wrests the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Icaria from the Latins. (Chios and Lesbos lie offshore from Smyrna, close upon the then capital of Nymphaeon; Samos and Ikaria are further south.) See next. - The reorganisation or revival of the fleet had probably begun under Theodore Lascaris, d. 1221, and was continued by Vatatzes (cf Savvides 1981: 98, citing Ahrweiler). - Lesbos remained under Byzantine rule 1224-1355. 1225: a. Treaty between Vatatzes and Robert of Constantinople. An exchange of territory brought the northern boundary of the Nicaean kingdom within sight of Nicomedia (Nicol, Epiros p.104). b. The Balkans: The army of Theodore of Epirus (ruling at Thessaloniki) advanced through the Aegean coast of Thrace and in 1225 (or 1227) seized Adrianople and the surrounding portions of Thrace from the Nicaeans. Cf 1227. Theodore marched from Serres NE along the Via Egnatia into Thrace and occupied Kavalla, Xanthi, Gratziana and Mosynopolis. From there he advanced to Didymoteichos and Adrianople. The latter had only just fallen into the hands of the Nicaeans. It promptly surrended to Theodore without a fight (Nicol, Epiros p.104). See 1225.3 below.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 c. Thrace: Having struck a marriage alliance with Bulgaria, Theodore Angelus of Epirus advances with his army into inner Thrace and reaches the walls of Latin Constantinople; but of course the city is impregnable (ibid.) Following his withdrawal to Arta in Epirus, Theodore arranges for a synod to be convened; it duly declares him “faithful sovereign (basileus) and Roman emperor (autokrator Rhomaion) (Nicol, Despotate p.105). From about 1225: The Seljuqs of Rum establish a trade route from Egypt to their new port of Alanya, and thence across Anatolia to the Black Sea, the Crimea and the so-called Golden Horde [or “Kipchak Empire”:* Mongol-ruled Ukraine] (http://www.turkishhan.org/trade.htm). Cf 1228 – slipyard; and 1230. (*) Within a few generations the conquering Mongols were absorbed by the conquered Turkic populations. The process of assimilation was so fast that Al-'Umari, fl. 1342, could already state in his time that Mongols and Kipchaks seemed to belong to the same race (Sinor 1999). 1225-31: Langdon 1992 calls Vatatzes’ campaign in this period Byzantium’s “last” imperial offensive in the Meander Valley in SW Asia Minor. It would be better to say: its last effective offensive.* This meant postponing his plans to recover Constantinople. (*) Cf 1281: Nestongus’s expedition; and 1304: Catalans relieve Philadelphia. According to Langdon, this campaign “can be likened to a crusade in its zeal” (p.21). Hopwood (1999) rightly rejects this claim as “extravagant” (Hopwood, “Frontier’, p. 156; also Freely 2008: 73). Some estimates of the size of the Nicaean army are unbelievable, but George of Pelagonia’s “8,055” men (sic: Langdon, his note 186) is within the limit of credibility. Lascaris had led 2,000 men in 1211, but that was essentially a one-off flying column, and the usual total he was able to deploy at that time may have been more like 6,000. The main Greek sources, George of Pelagonia and Acropolites, do not give the size of the Turkish force(s) in 1225; but if we take the final zero off Nicodemus Hagiorites’s fantastic “63,000” we may have a credible figure, i.e. 6,300 men. The enemy were not the sultan’s professional forces, for Nicaea and Konya were at peace; rather the Turkish enemy was the irregular light horsemen of the borderlands. As Hopwood says, “John Vatatzes was marching against Türkmen, not Seljuks” (“Frontier”, p.157). Hagiorites’ figure might be correct if it meant the whole of the Turkish tribes - children, women and men - from whom the raiders were drawn.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The various accounts of the campaign show that the middle Cayster valley inland from Ephesus - around present-day Tire - was infested with “barbarians”, nomad Türkmen who were only nominally loyal to the Seljuq Sultan. Vatatzes first took his army from his capital Nyphaeum eastward – some 50 km - to Sardes; he then turned south-west and crossed the Cayster River [modern Küçük Menderes, ‘Little Meander’], specifically to Tire (Thera, Thyraea), immediately south of that river, and travelled thence west to Ephesus in the lower Cayster valley. Presumably he was clearing out Turkish strongholds as he went. From Ephesus he proceeded with his troops SE into the lower Meander (Menderes) Valley, past modern Selçuk to Magnesia-on-the-Meander: a distance of under 20 km. They campaigned thence up - that is: eastwards along - the Meander valley from Tralles (Aydin) to Nyssa, Antioch-on-the-Meander [modern Kuyucak, east of Nazilli] and Laodiceia [modern Denizli]. Evidently the two forces clashed below, i.e. a little to the west of, Antioch (Langdon p.32), i.e. near modern Nazilli. Then in a final sweep, Vatatzes turned north to Tripolis and Philadelphia (today’s Alasehir), and thence down the Hermus, i.e. west, to Sardes once again and on to Magnesia-on-the-Hermus (modern Manisa). —Langdon 1992. Cf 1264: Turks have returned. 1225-36: The Nicaeans take S Thrace from the Latin emperor. Cf 1227. c.1227: Birth of the Italian painter Giotto, first to move away from Byzantine-style art . . . cf 1231. 1227: Thrace: John III Vatatze's possession of Adrianople was terminated by Theodore Komnenos Doukas of Epirus and Thessalonica, who drove the Nicaean garrison out of Adrianople and annexed much of Thrace in 1227. 1227: d. Genghis Khan. See 1231. 1228: (Or ca. 1227:) The Seljuqs build a dockyard or slip-yard at Alanya: see plan in Rice 1961. Situated to the south of the Red Tower, right by the sea, there is a covered building, quarried out of the rock, where the big warships of the age were built and repaired in complete security. Galleys were stored out of water when not in use. The shipyard itself is 56.5 metres long, 44 (or 42.5) metres wide and consists of five chambers or galleries (long sheds). Each chamber is 7.70 metres wide and 42.30 metres deep, all opening to the sea. In other words, a snug fit for a large galley of about 5 x 30 metres (source: www.alanyaholidays.com/thehistoryandhistoricalsitesofalanya; accessed September 2006). 1228-29: 12
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The ‘Sixth Crusade’ as later historians call it: The army of the German-Sicilian emperor Frederick II, later dubbed ‘the Great’, ‘sails’ [or rows: most of his ships were galleys] via Cyprus to Syria and proceeds overland thence to Palestine. The Ayyubids cede (1229) Jerusalem to the Latins, and declare a 10 year truce: see 1244. Emperor Frederick II, who had been excommunicated, chose to crown himself King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre [28 March 1229], and then departed (Abulafia 1992: 184). All sides, Jews, Muslim and Christians, were angered by Frederick's tolerance for the three religions … In February of 1229 the Egyptian ruler al-Kamil negotiated a 10-year peace with Frederick II and returned Jerusalem and other holy sites to the Crusader kingdom. Muslims and Jews were forbidden from the city, except for the Muslim holy sites around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa. 1228-61: r. Baudouin de Courtenay or Baldwin II, Latin (Flemish) ruler in Constantinople. He was 11 years old at accession; the aged John of Brienne, 80 or nearly 80 years old, lately king of Jerusalem, served as regent. Cf 1230. Also 1235 – attack on Constantinople repulsed. - Constantinople's population apparently fell to a mere 35,000 people (Wikipedia, 2010, ‘Baldwin II’). 1229: 1. Crete: Rebellion against Latin (Venetian) rule by the Greek population (Gertwagen 1998) . See 1230. 2. A fine illuminated manuscript of Dioskorides’ De materia medica (dated 1229, now in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul). - a text written by a pagan Greek, translated into Arabic, copied by a Christian scribe, for use by a Muslim reader. It was pobaly produced in Syria or northern Iraq Dioskorides, enthroned, wearing a generic toga-like garment, and, crowned with a halo, resembles an evangelist in a Romaic icon; and the presenters of the books, inclining toward him, look like Byzantine angels, but they wear long robes similar to modern Arab jibbas. All three of the protagonists wear turbans - even Dioskorides, with his halo. For a reference to Byzantine turbans, see 1320. 1229: The Hafsids (a Berber line) in Tunisia break with the Almohads of Morocco. Territory in 1230 The so-called Epirote "Empire of Salonika (Thessaloniki)" ruled most of the Balkans including part of Thrace, bordering Bulgaria (see next). Its rival the "Empire of Nicaea" ruled the western third of Asia Minor. These Romaic/Greek successor-states dominated the small 'Latin Empire' wedged between them. The Seljuk Sultan ruled the larger part of Asia Minor. See 1234, 1246. 13
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1230: 1. Vatatzes sends ships to aid the Byzantine rebels of Crete against their Latin (Genoese) rulers (Nicol 1992). See 1233. 2. Thrace: Theodoros Angelos, emperor of Thessaloniki, annuls the treaty signed with the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asan II against Ioannis (John) Vatatzis and immediately declares war against the Bulgarians. His army is annihilated near Klokotnitsa on the Evros/Maritza near today’s Haskovo in what is now SE Bulgaria, about halfway between Adrianople/Edirne and Plovdiv (Norwich 1996: 196). Epirus attacks Bulgaria: The Bulgarians under John Asen destroy an EpiroteSalonikan army under Theodore - which will leave the way clear for Nicaea to claim the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) mantle. Theodore was captured and later blinded. Cf 1241. — This victory briefly extended Bulgarian rule into modern-day Albania. — The Bulgarian Tsar, John Asen, invaded Thessalonica and captured the Thessalonican-Epirus Emperor, causing the ‘empire’ to disunite into its former kingdoms of Thessalonica and Epirus. John Asen then made an alliance with John Vatatzes, and the two forces assaulted Constantinople in 1235. The siege ended unsuccessfully when John Asen betrayed the Nicaeans, thinking that a new Byzantine power would be far more troublesome than the existing Latin Empire. — The "second Bulgarian empire" reached its peak under Ivan Asen II, tsar at Turnovo [d. 1241]. Bulgaria ruled the whole north Balkans from Belgrade to Adrianople and from N Epirus to the Danube mouth. A good soldier and administrator, Ivan restored order, controlled the boyars, and acquired much of Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, and part of Epirus (1230). See 1235, 1246. — The first indigenous Bulgarian coinage is created during this reign. Thrace: Theodore went on campaign against the Bulgarian tsar John Asen II (1218–41) in 1230, but was defeated at the battle of Klokotnica (located on the road between Adrianople and Philippopolis), and captured and blinded. The Bulgarians soon conquered Didymoteichon and many other towns in the southern Maritza or Evros valley; cf. Nicol, Epiros I, 109–11. Theodore was succeeded as ruler of Epiros by his nephew, Michael II Komnenos Doukas. The Bulgarian victory over Epiros at Klokotnica (near modern Haskovo) in 1230 extended Bulgaria’s rule west to the Adriatic at Dyrrachion. The marriage of John Asen's daughter to Theodore II Laskaris of Nicaea and the creation of a Bulgarian patriarchate in 1235 mark the apogee of Bulgarian power in this period. In an inscription on a white marble column in the Church of the Forty Martyrs at Trnovo (Bulgaria), the tsar of Bulgaria told of the results of his victory in this “inflated” style; “I, John Asen, in Christ God the faithful Tsar and Autocrat of the Bulgars, son of the old Tsar Asen … set forth on a march upon Romania [ie Thessaloniki] and defeated the Greek troops, and I have captured the Emperor 14
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 himself, Theodore Comnenus, with all his boyars [nobles], and taken all the countries from Hadrianople to Durazzo, the Greek territory, as well as the Albanian and Serbian territories. The Latins [Franks] have kept only the cities round Tsargrad itself, but even they have become subject to the power of my Majesty, for they have no king but myself, and only thanks to me have they continued their existence.” —Vasiliev 1928 3. Eastern Anatolia: Alâeddin Keykubad or Kay-Qubadh of Rum, allied with the Ayyubid (Egyptian) prince Ashraf, defeated Jala ad-Din, the Khwarizm Shah of Iran. In this campaign Kay-Qubadh ends the Seljuk dynasty of Erzurum and annexes its domains. He was to be the last of his line to die (1237) in independence. Cf 1231: Mongols. "With order and tolerance of all races and religions established, agriculture and mining activity revived, … to foreigners Turkey [i.e. Rum] seemed one of the richest of countries" (Encyc. Brit. 15th ed. p. 944). Cf next; also AD 1232: Sultan Han; and 1243. 4. Caria, SW Asia Minor: The Çardak han or caravansary (fortified rest house) is just outside Cardak, east of Denizli on the left side of the Denizli-Afyon road. According to the seven-line inscription above the door, the Han was built by order of one Esedettin Ayaz bin Abdullah el Sahabi by his freed slaves in the time of Alaeddin Keykubat. It appears to have been completed in 1230 in the month of Ramadan (source: Denizli Tourism website: http://www.denizli.org.tr/EN/content.asp?id=625; accessed 2010). 1230-35: Western Mediterranean: Spanish Christians (Aragonese) —first mention of Aragon in this chronology—conquer the Balearics from the ‘Moors’ (Almohads): Majorca falls 1230 and Ibiza in 1235. 1230-37: r. Prince Manuel Angelos Ducas: younger brother of Theodore I Doukas and ruler at Thessaloniki, 1230-ca. 1237. He reigned under the domination of his father-inlaw Tsar Ivan of Bulgaria. In 1233 he restored relations between his state, known to us as the "(ex)Empire of Salonica (Thessaloniki)", and the empire of Nicaea. His brother John succeeded him to the throne, 1237-42. Manuel Dukas, son of John Dukas, was Regent of Thessalonica (1230-37), +1241; 1m: ca 1216 Efimia, dau. of Stephen Nemanja the ‘Veliki-Zupan’ or senior chieftain of Serbia; 2m: ca 1225 Maria, dau. of Tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria. 1230-34: The Aegean: Greeks on various islands revolt against their Italian rulers. 1231: RETURN OF THE MONGOLS: They complete the destruction of the Khwarizm Shahdom in Iran (1231) and briefly settle in Azerbaijan, 123142. See below: 1236. Also in 1231: Mongols conquer Diyarbakir in Mesopotamia, briefly ending Ayyubid rule (resumed 1244). 15
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1231-32: E Aegean: Vatatzes reconquers (Latin-ruled) Lesbos, Chios, Samos and the neighbouring islands (Gregoras, cited in Treadgold 1997: 963n). See 1233-35. 1231-37: According to Vacalopoulos (1970: 37, 43), this period saw the first stirrings of a Greek nationalism. There does seem to have been a stirring of Greekness or Hellenism; but was it nationalism? - At any event Vacalopoulos notes that John III Ducas Vatatzes was prepared to use the words ‘nation’ (genos), ‘Hellene’ and ‘Hellas’ together in his correspondence with the Pope. John acknowledged that he was Greek, although bearing the title Emperor of the Romans: “the Greeks are the only heirs and successors of Constantine”, he wrote. In similar fashion John’s son Theodore II, acc. 1254, who took some interest in the physical heritage of Antiquity, was prepared to refer to his whole Euro-Asian realm as “Hellas” and a “Hellenic dominion”. (What Vacalopoulos does not examine is whether, like the Latins, they also called their Aegean world ‘Roman-ia’. See earlier under 1204: Imperii Romaniae.) Cf Acropolites’ “Hellenic land” under 1248. 1231-1252: Sicily, Florence and Genoa: The first gold coins minted in the Latin West for many centuries.* This signalled the re-emergence of the Western kingdoms from ‘semi-barbarism’: 1. the AUGUSTALE of Frederick II of 1231: mints at Messina and Brindisi, 2. the FLORIN of Florence; and 3. the GENOVINO of Genoa: both appeared first in 1252. Cf 1270s, 1284 (Venice). (*) The Eastern Empire had produced light-weight gold coins in Italy until the late 700s; as did the Lombards of Benevento. The last gold coins in the Latin West had been minted under the Frankish king Louis (d. 810) (Porteous p.56). Also Byzantine gold coins (nomismata) had continued to circulate in southern Italy until after the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy (1071). The Byzantines were still issuing the gold hyperpyron at Nicaea and then (after 1261) at Constantinople. From 1285, however, they will switch largely to silver for their locally minted coins. - Silver coinage was minted at Trabzond [med. Trebizond] from the time of John I (acc. 1235). - The first Seljuq gold coins appear in 1233. They had to compete with the currency of Baghdad [now a minor state], the Ayyubids of Cairo, Aleppo [also Ayyubid] and Florence (the florin, from 1252); all were accepted throughout the sultanate of Rum (T Rice 1961: 110). 1231-67: Ruler of Epiros: Michael II Komnenos Doukas, reigned ca. 1231-ca. 1267/68. 1232: 16
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Turkish Rum: Building [1229-32] of the Sultan Hani, the great fortified travellers' inn, east of Konya, west of Aksaray, on the Konya-Akasaray road that runs south of the great lake Tuz Gölü. This karavansarai is the largest or one of the largest, the “most splendid”, of its genre (4,500 sq.m.: 67m x 67m) (Freely 2008: 170). Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I built Aksaray Sultan Han in 1229/32. With its buttresses, turreted towers and sturdy walls, it has the appearance of a fort on the outside (details at http://www.turkishhan.org/sultanaksaray.htm). Between 1201 and 1243 nearly 30 fortified rest houses—karavansarai or ‘han— were erected along the Anatolian high roads for the protection of travelling merchants. See also 1253-54. 1232-34: West-central Asia Minor: Turkmen bands were operating freely on the borders of Byzantium, i.e. in Phrygia, in the valley of the upper Simav Cayi, the ancient Makestos, east of the Byzantine fortress outpost of Calamus, west of modern Kutahya, a Seljuk possession since 1182 (Langdon p.23). - To locate Kutahya, draw a line east from Edremit, Greek Adrymittium, to intersect with a line south from Iznik (Nicomedia). 1232/34: North-east China, lower Yellow River Valley: combined Mongol and Song (southern Chinese) forces attack the Jin/Chin; plague kills one million people in three years. The Jin/Chin used bombs and rudimentary guns ("fire lances") against the Mongols. "Fire lances" were tubes containing spears that were fired out by gunpowder.
Above: A Genoese galley. 1233-34: 1. The caesar Leo Gabalas of Rhodes, encouraged by the Venetians, revolts against Anatolian Romaic (Nicaean) overlordship. Gabalas was de facto a vassal
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 of Venice (Akropolites, trans. Macrides p.248). See next, and 1233-35. 2. John Vatatzes’s navy was still rather weak. In 1233, during an expedition to recover Crete from Venice, he lost “30” galleys, which must have been over half of his navy, and in 1234 he failed to capture Rhodes (LBA p.24). See next, and cf 1234. There is no record of Greek Fire still being used by the Byzantines in the late period (LBA p.341). Either the knowledge of how to make it had been lost in 1204 or perhaps the ingredients could no longer be obtained. Cf 1249 – Egypt. 1233-35: East Aegean: Vatatzes notionally recovers Rhodes from the local Greek ruler, Leo Gabalas. Leo recognises Vatatzes’ suzertainty but also signs a pact with the Venetians of Crete (Setton p.52; Treadgold 1997: 724). 1235-36: The Nicaean Emperor John III Vatatzes besieged Latin Constantinople (1235) in alliance with the Bulgarian Tsar John Asen II. The latter sent 25 large galleys to help Vatatzes in the siege of Constantinople. The city was saved by the intervention of a (smaller) Venetian fleet. A second attack in 1236 also failed (LBA p.24; Treadgold 1997: 724). 1234: Pope Gregory IX establishes the Inquisition in Languedoc [Toulouse etc: in modern-day southern France] in order to destroy the Cathar "heresy". Catharism was effectively dead in western Europe by 1300. 1235: 1a. – Renewed pact between Nicaea and Bulgaria: Vatatzes’ 13 years old son, Theodoros II Doukas Laskaris, the future Emperor in Nicaea, acc. 1254, marries 11 yrs old Elena, 1224-ca. 1254, dau. of Ivan Asen II, Tsar of Bulgaria; and concurrently: 1b. - The Bulgarian patriarchate at Trnovo reverts to Orthodoxy (rejecting Rome), and, under this treaty, the Nicaeans recognise its independence or “autocephaly”. Bulgaria had broken with Rome in 1232, with the concurrence of the Eastern patriarchs; the treaty now supplied political recognition (Obolensky p.314; Norwich 1996: 197). 1c. Ivan and Vatazes jointly besiege Latin Constantinople. Formerly Latin Thrace was apportioned between Nicaea and Bulgaria, leaving the Latins only Constantinople, which held out against a Nicaean-Bulgarian siege (1235-36). Nicaea now ruled the Gallipoli peninsula and the Thracian littoral 18
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 west of the city (ODB ii: 1094; Norwich 1996: 197; Treadgold 1997: 724). During this siege the prince of Achaia, Geoffrey II, came to the aid of the Latin Empire with 100 knights, 800 archers and six vessels (Wikipedia, 2010 under ‘Achaea’). Moorish Minorca paid tribute to Aragon (Spain) but remained effectively independent. Italian painting: Bonaventura Berlinghieri's altarpiece of Saint Francis is painted (1235) in the Italo-Byzantine style, which is characterized by a strict formality, a linear flatness, a shallow space, and an emphasis on the spiritual. Cf 1236, 1245, 1291, 1297. 1235-36: Thrace: With Bulgarian aid, the Nicaeans under Vatatzes launch a “massive” campaign against Latin Romania (Langdon’s word: 1992 p.39); but they fail to take the capital. The Latins from Achaia sent aid. The Latins prevailed on land and at sea: the Ventians captured 25 Greek galleys including the flagship (Setton et al., History of the Crusades, 2005: 219). The sources mention some Turkish mercenaries serving on the Nicaean ships during the attack on Constantinople (Langdon, note 175). 1235-36: South-west China: The Mongol general Kuoduan Hequ started to attack the region of Sichuan with the Chengdu plain. The occupation of this region had often been an important step for the conquest of the south. The important city of Xiangyang, the gateway to the Yangtse plain, that was defended by the Song general Cao Youwen, capitulated in 1236. 1235-39: Seljuqs attack the Crimea and establish a protectorate over Sudaq. Trebizond and Genoa has hitherto dominated the Crimea. Al-Andalus/Castile: On 29 June 1236, after a siege of several months, Córdoba of the Almohads was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile, during the Spanish Reconquista. 1236: "Still one Europe, not two": - 'The Madonna and Child' by the Italian artist Berlinghiero of Lucca, died by 1236, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY, is one of the outstanding examples of Western art influenced by Byzantium. Image at: http://www.hri.org/MFA/thesis/spring97/byzantium.html. But see 1245: Cimabue. 1236-43: MAJOR MONGOL INCURSIONS. By 1238 they will defeat the north Russian principalities and in 1239 occupy Georgia and raid into old 19
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Armenia. Ani was sacked in 1239. They will sack Christian Kiev in 1240; and then smash through Poland and Hungary 1241-42. The corps based in Azerbaijan is directed into Armenia and then eastern Asia Minor, where they attack the Seljuks of Rum (1242-43), who accept tributary status. The whole of Georgia and Armenia also submit to the Mongols. 1236-48: The south of Spain: rise of Castile. Christians under Ferdinand III of Leon-Castile advance along the valley of the Guadalqivir, taking Moorish Cordoba 1236 and the capital Seville 1248. This effectively brought the Reconquista to its climax, if not quite its end. They also advance to the east coast, taking Valencia 1238 and Murcia 1243. + 123839: in Grenada, beginning of the building of the Alhambra (“red castle”). 1237-38: In winter: The Mongols cross the Volga into Russia. Riazan was stormed on 21 December 1237, then Moscow (a minor town or large village at that time), and on 8 February 1238, Vladimir. 1237-42: r. John Ducas, nominal ruler at Thessalonica, claiming the title of emperor. His father Theodore, who was blind [see above 1230], had recently been released by the Bulgarians and proceeded to depose his brother, the Despot Manuel Komnenos Dukas. Being blind, Theodore called his son ‘emperor’ and ruled in his name from the nearby town of Edessa (Treadgold 1997: 724). See 1242: capture of Theodore and deposition of John Ducas. Epirus was ruled separately by Michael II Komnenos Dukas, nephew of Manuel and Theodore. 1237-1261: Baldwin II of Courtenay [Baudouin II de Courtenay], last Latin ruler in Constantinople. He began his personal rule only after the death (1237) of his father-in-law, John of Brienne. Baldwin travelled in Western Europe seeking financial and military aid for his precarious throne. To obtain funds he sold a large part of the (imagined) True Cross and other sacred relics to Louis IX of France and at one time pawned his son to the Venetians. See 1240. The realm which Baldwin governed was after 1240 little more than the city of Constantinople. His financial situation was desperate, and his life was chiefly occupied in begging at European courts. 1238: (Or in 1237:) The Balkans: The Nicaeans under Vatatzes engage in war with the Cumans* in the service of Baldwin. The Bulgarians join Baldwin and the Cumans in an unsucessful attack on the Greek-held fortress of Tzurulum in eastern Thrace (Norwich 1996: 197; Langdon p.21). (*) The Kipchaks or Cumans, Greek: Koumanoi, known to the Russians as Polovtsy, were a pagan Turkish people living in the Black Sea-Caspian 20
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (Rumanian-Ukrainian) steppe. After 1241, they formed the core population of the ‘khanate of the Golden Horde’. Sulatn Baybars of Egypt, d. 1277, was an ethnic Kipchak. ca. 1239: Ioannes (John) Komnenos Kantakouzenos Angelos, the later pinkernes (Imperial Butler) and Dux of the Thrakesion Theme for the Nicaean Empire (1244-49), +as the monk Joannikios before 1257; m. before 1240 Eirene Eulogia Palaiologina (*1218 +1284), sister of the future Emp Michael VIII Palaiologos. http://genealogy.euweb.cz/byzant/byzant5.html, under ‘Kantakuzenos family’; accessed 2010. 1239: Mongols sack Kars and Ani, capital of Armenia. 1239-41: The “Baba’i rebellion” in Turkish Anatolia. Nomadic Türkmen bands, many of them refugees from the Khwarizmians and Mongols, try to throw off the rule of the sedentary urban Seljuks. This left Anatolia seriously weakened on the eve of another Mongol incursion (Langdon p.11). 1240: 1. Mongols sack Kiev, 6 December (note: in winter). They then proceeded against Hungary. 2. (or in 1241) Nicaean naval campaign leads to the re-capture of Nicomedia from the Latins. Akropolites says the Nicaeans lost 13 of 30 vessels they dispatched; this is the only time he ever mentions the size of the fleet. Islam: The young Rumi ("Mevlana"), the future famous Muslim mystic, returns to Konya after studies in Aleppo and Damascus - became a mystic c.1244; died 1273; wrote mainly in Persian. When Rumi and his movement were established in Konya, the city was still under the influence of Christianity, and the Greek language was common among communities around the city. Thus the Sufis could not avoid being influenced by the Greek culture and philosophy that were promoted by the Christians. Rumi wrote a handful of his poems in Greek. By 1240 there were many sets of trade routes across Seljuk Anatolia, all with strings of hans (khans or caravanserai) or ‘fortified motels’ for traders and travellers. Judged by the number of hans, the most important trade route into the Seljuq capital Konya was the one that ran SW from Kayseri (map in Nicolle 2008: 19). By about 1240: The Latin West comes back to cultural parity or near parity with the 'Greek' or Byzantine East: This is signalled by the 21
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 completion of Chartres cathedral, SW of Paris, an early highpoint in the so-called “Gothic” style of Western architecture. Cf 1290. 1241: The Mongols smash through Hungary and Poland: Battle of Mohi, east of Budapest, and Battle of Leignitz, NW of Cracow. The army reached Cracow, already abandoned, on 24 March; it then divided into two. By strange coincidence (or careful planning?), both victories were won on the same day, 9 April 1241. Reconnaissance patrols were then sent into Italy and Austria, and a Mongol detachment rode on briefly to the Dalmatian coast at Spalato (1242). Thomas of Splatao describes their armour as “made from layers of bull’s hide, usually thick, impenetrable and very secure” (Sweeny 1980). See below under 1242-43. 1241: d. Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria. His rule extended from modern Albania and northern Serbia east to the mouth of the Danube, and south to western Thrace and a section of the northern Aegean coast, separating "Greek"-ruled Thessaloniki from Latin-ruled Constantinople. But the Mongol incursion of 1241 seriously weakened the Bulgarians. Cf 1242, 1246. 1242: Europe: Having crossed the Hellespont, John III Vatatzes leads a Nicaean invasion of the Balkans accompanied by the now liberated Theodore Angelus. Vatatzes and the Grand Domestic, Andronikos Palaiologos, led the army overland, while Manuel Kontophre led the fleet along the coast. Old Theodore had been liberated earlier by the Bulgarians and assumed effective control of the small Thessalonican despotate or “empire”; Vatazes cunningly invited Theodore to Nicaea and arrested him (1241). Theodore went back to Macedonia as Vatatzes’ captive; and there his John Ducas, the nominal emperor of Thessalonica, submitted to Vatatzes. John accepted a demotion to the rank of despot. A title also garnted to his younger brother Demetrius (Norwich 1996: 198). See 1246. Vatatzes’ target appears to have been the important centre of Thessalonica, but his attempts to capture the city through force or subversion failed and he was not prepared for a protracted siege. Also there was news of a Mongol atck on the Sultanate of Konya, which signalled danger to the Nicaean east. The expedition was not a total loss as Vatatzes received the submission of the Despot of Thessaly (as he now became), who agreed to give up the title “emperor”, to recognise Nicaean suzerainty over his territory and to give Nicaea control of the Aegean coast west to the Strymon River. Vatatzes became the sole claimant to the heritage of the Byzantine throne (Nicol, Epiros p. 139; Bartusis, LBA p.24). Cf 1246.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The Nicaean expedition was made up mainly of Cumans* with whom Vatatzes had recently struck a treaty; they served in return for lands along the empire’s Anatolian borders (Nicol, Epiros p. 138; Treadgold 1997: 725). (*) Strengthening the defence in Asia: In 1241/42 a large mass of Cumans fleeing from, or rather: fearful of, the Mongols were settled within Byzantine lands, namely in the Meander valley and east of Philadelphia. The Byzantine Skythikon regiment in John’s army would have consisted largely of Cuman allies in native equipment, i.e. mounted archers. Bartusis notes that they participated in Vatatzes’ abortive siege of Thessaloniki of 1242 (LBA p.26). As pictured in Nicolle’s Eastern Europe (1988), a Cuman cavalryman wore a pointed conical helmet and short-sleeved mail shirt, usually under a long, open kaftan, and carried a bow and sabre. The Limits of Mongol Power It has been calculated that the Hungarian range-lands could provide for the mounts of fewer than 80,000 warriors - indeed probably more like 40,000, clearly far below the strength of the Mongol army. Thus the Mongol high command found itself in a position similar to that of a commander of a modern armoured division running short of fuel. Further advance to the west, into Transdanubia, would have made matters worse. It was the habit of the Mongols to stop fighting in the spring and let their horses go free to water and graze and to multiply so that they would be ready for war in the autumn. This is the reason why in the spring of 1242 the Mongols withdrew from devastated, overgrazed Hungary to the abundant pastures of the steppe in modern Ukraine, where they could replenish and strengthen their herds, on which their military power rested. —Sinor 1977. 1243: Anatolia: Proceeding west from old Armenia and Iran, the pagan MONGOLS INVADE THE SULTANATE OF ICONIUM. Rum’s neighbours, John III Vatatzes and the king of Armenia, went (early 1243) to Kayseri to plan the defence. In 1242-43 the Mongols invaded Seljuk territory, and although John III was worried they might attack him next, they ended up eliminating the Seljuk threat to Nicaea. See 1245-46. In June 1243 the army of the Seljuk sultan Keyhüsrev or Kay-Khusraw II, r. 123646, was crushed by the Mongol commander Bayju or Baidu at Kuse Dag or Kosedag between Erzincan and Trebizond in NE Asia Minor, and the Anatolian Seljuks passed under Mongol suzerainty as vassals. Bayju’s army pressed on as far as Kayseri (Nicolle 2008: 23). Kay-Khusraw II fled to Konya and then to Antalya, leaving his minister to come to terms with the Mongols. Cilician 23
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Armenia also submitted to the Mongols, and Türkmen revolts broke out along the Nicaean-Seljuk western frontiers. See 1245, 1256. It seems that one decisive factor was the much larger number of light horsearchers on the Mongol side. The Seljuqs had become acclimatised to Middle Eastern warfare, and depended to a great extent on heavily armoured closecombat cavalry supported by infantry (Nicolle loc. cit.). As well as Latin mercenaries, Kaykhusraw had with him detachments sent by various allies and vassals, namely Nicaea, Trebizond (his vassal) and Aleppo. (Armenia withdrew from the alliance.) John Vatatzes contributed 400 lancers (Bartusis, LBA). Qq Or Thedore II?? Cf Cassidy notes to Pachymeres p.114
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 From 1243: Westward migration of the ‘Turcomans’ or nomadic Turkish tribes as a result of the Mongol invasions. Cf 1261, emirate of Menteshe. The Seljuq economy was destroyed, and a great epidemic followed the Mongol invasion. Thus the migrants were frequently more like refugees than invaders (Lippard 1984: 177). After 1243 there was a no man’s land on the frontier between the Nicaea and Seljuk lands; the Mongols penetrated no further west than Kayseri until 1256 – see there. Fearing the worst, Vatatzes set about strengthening his frontier defences. 1244: German marriage alliance: Aged about 52, Ioannes [John] III Dukas Vatatzes/Batatzes, Emperor of Nicaea since 1221, marries 12 years old Constantia, Constance or Costanza [renamed Anna] von Hohenstaufen, the illegitimate or ‘legitimised’ dau. of the Italo-German emperor Frederick II. Her mother was briefly recognized as Frederick’s lawful wife and all her children were thereafter treated as legitimate (Gardner 1912: 168). Cf 1246, 1250. Anna’s brother Manfred was afterwards King of Sicily. Anna herself returned there in 1263. Muslim mysticism: In Konya, d. Shams al-Din, teacher of the young Rumi. The latter will found the Mevlevi order of whirling dervishes . . . Palestine: An army of Khwarizmi Turks, fleeing from the Mongols, enters Palestine as agents of the Sultan of Egypt. They sack Muslim-ruled Damascus and Latin-ruled Jerusalem. The latter is nominally restored to Muslim (Egyptian) rule, allies of the Khwarezmids. The Latins tried but failed to recover Jerusalem. At La Forbie (Harbiya), NE of Gaza, the French Count of Jaffa and Ascalon, Walter [Gauthier] de Brienne of Jaffa, led a combined Syrian-Latin force of 11-13,000 men: 1,000 Crusader cavalry including Templars and Hospitallers; 6,000 Crusader infantry; 4,000 Syrian (“Damascenes”: rebel Ayyubid) heavy cavalry and some Bedouin light horse (perhaps 2,000). They fought an army of 11-16,000 troops led by an Egyptian (loyalist Ayyubid) general Baibars*: 6,000 Mamluk (Egyptian) professional heavy cavalry and 10,000 Khwarezmids including many irregulars. Walter’s army was all but totally annihilated (Bradbury 2004). The Mamluks were able to hold off the Latin and Syrian knights while the highly mobile Khwarezmi horsemen evaded them. Also Baibars seems to have used more scientific tactics; Walter relied on the courage and bravado of the all-out charge. The battle marked the true collapse of Christian power in Outremer (the Levant). (*) Not be confused with the identically named Baibars who later became Mamluk sultan. 26
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
Above: Note the absence of plate armour. 1244-46: Demetrius Angelos Comnenus Ducas, aged about 22, succeeds his older brother as Despot of Thessalonica under Nicaean suzerainty. See 1246. 1245/46: Anatolia: Conflict between the sons of Kay-Khusraw, or Keyhüsrev, leads briefly to the division of Rum into two competing princedoms (nominally under Mongol suzerainty). Kilijarslan IV rules west of the Halys River - i.e. Konya and the south-west: bordering the Nicaean realm: cf 1256; while Keykavus II rules at Kayseri and ‘east’ (north-east) of the Halys River. Cf 1256. 1246: 1. Greece: The Epirotes under Michael II Angelos, Despot of Epirus, invade the Frankish Duchy of Athens and Thebes. In response, the feudal overlord of the duchy, the new prince of Achaia, quickly rides north with a force of “8,000 cavalry”, and the Epirotes withdraw (Nicol, Epiros p. 142).
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
2. Thrace: John III Vatatzes advances against the Bulgarians, captures Adrianople, and takes NW Thrace. Impressed by this, the Greek population of Thessaloniki, until now a small separate despotate or ‘empire’, open their gates to him (December) (Setton 1976; Fine 1994: 156). This isolates the Latin emperor in Constantinople. When Emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes campaigned near the city during his invasion of Bulgaria in 1246, the local nobility conspired to arrest the despot Demetrios and turn over the city to the Nicaean emperor. Thessalonica, December 1246: Ioannes (John) III Vatatzes made a quick and victorious advance through the central Balkans, during which he captured Serrhai, Melenikon [Melnik: the region of the middle Strymon valley], Skopje, Velessa [modern Veles: on the upper Vardar in FYROM] and Prilep, and entered the city of Saint Demetrios (Thessaloniki) in triumph. He installed as its governor the Great Domestic Andronikos Palaiologos. Much of the "empire" of Thessaloniki was annexed, so that the Nicaean frontier was carried to the Adriatic. And about half of Bulgaria was ceded to John. To the south, the Wallachian (Vlach) principality of “Neopatras” (Thessaly) was left independent until 1318. See 1248. — The Vlach language remained widely spoken in what is now north-central Greece well into the 20th century. All the Vlach groups use various words derived from romanus (Roman) to refer to themselves: Români, Rumâni, Rumâri, Aromâni, Arumâni etc. This can be confusing because the Greek-speaking subjects of the Byzantine emperor also called themselves Romans (Gk Rhomaioi, singular Rhomaios). 1246-48: Peloponnesus: A long but finally successful Frankish-Venetian siege of Imperial Monemvasia. (Monemvasia would return to Byzantine rule in 1259.) Achaia was nominally part of the Latin Empire: Prince William II Villehardouin [acc. 1246] was a poet and troubadour, and his court—at Mistra from 1249—had its own mint, literary culture, and form of spoken French. The Principality produced the Chronicle of Morea, a valuable verse history of the Crusader States in Greece. Achaea's laws became the basis for the laws of the other Crusader States, combining aspects of Byzantine and French law, and nobles often used Romaic titles such as logothetes and protovestarios, although these titles were adapted to fit the conceptions of Western feudalism (source: http://www.mlahanas.de/greeks/medieval/lx/principalityofachaea.html). 1246-75: SE Anatolia: The Karamanid beylik (lordship, principality) was established by the warlord Karamanoglu Mehmed Bey (an islamised Cilician Armenian) in 1246. Bey = ‘chieftain or leader’. In 1256 the town Laranda, SE of Konya, was captured and renamed Karaman. It became the capital of the Karamanid state in 1275.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1247: fl. Nicephorus Blemmydes, abbot, scholar and man of letters. In 1225 he declined an offer to become Patriarch. Tutor to the dauphin Theodore, the future Nicaean emperor (from 1254), Nicephorus wrote many prose works including an interesting autobiography. He wrote on medicine, philosophy, theology, mathematics, astronomy, logic, and rhetoric. He wrote in 1264-1265 an autobiography in two versions (a rare literary genre in Byzantium). 1248: 1. Epirus acknowledges Vatatzes as emperor; the Epirote ruler Michael II receives the title of “despot” from Vatatzes. — ‘Neo-Hellenism’: Acropolites chose the Pindos mountain chain in central Greece as the boundary between Epirus and what Nicaean Greeks called “our Hellenic land”, neatly disqualifying the Despotate of Epirus as potential Roman (Byzantine) rulers (cited in M Angold, Church and Society in Byzantium under the Comneni: 1081-1261, Cambridge 1995 p.528). 2. The Morea (Peloponnesus): The Byzantine outpost at Monemvasia briefly falls to a Frankish force: cf 1259. William II de Villehardouin succeeded in effecting the conquest of Laconia, with the reduction of the fortress of Monembassia or Monemvasia. After a three-year siege by Venetians and the French prince of Achaia, Geoffrey de Villehardouin, the ‘city’ (kastron, ‘fortified town’) surrendered because of famine. A year later (1249), perceiving the strategic importance of the hill of Mystra, in the mountains west of ancient Sparta, he raised a castle, the ruins of which survive to this day, on its summit (Andrews et al. 2007). 3. The Genoese briefly seize Rhodes from Nicaea; they were expelled after a few months (NCMH 1999: 427). Spain: Ferdinand II of Castile takes Muslim Seville. The Almohads had abandoned Spain in 1228-29, leaving the local Muslim lords to their fate. Morocco: The Banu Marin clan - hence "Marinids" - capture Fez. See 1269. 1248-50: 1. 'Seventh Crusade': Louis IX of France sails to Cyprus where he winters (1248) before proceeding (1249) to Ayyubid Egypt. Egypt would, Louis thought, provide a base from which to attack Jerusalem, and its wealth and supply of grain would keep the crusaders fed and equipped. He takes the NE port of Damietta and penetrates along a main waterway into the Nile delta; there the French are blockaded by Egyptian galleys and defeated in 1250 (surrender 6 April). This was followed by a coup in Egypt: the Mamluk leaders killed the last Ayyubid sultan; Louis was freed by them in return for gold (Setton et al. 2006: 761). See 1250. One reads that "60,000" French and others were defeated by "70,000" 29
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Egyptians and Turks. Keen 1999: 126 wisely prefers a figure of just 15-25,000 for the number of combatants in Louis’s army. The Muslims deployed Greek Fire or something similar against them. Significantly, the Egyptians launched their Greek Fire (if it was that*) not using force-pumps or siphons in the old Byzantine manner but in earthenware pots hurled from catapults. Joinville: "This was the fashion of the Greek fire: it came on as broad in front as a vinegar cask, and the tail of fire that trailed behind it was as big as a great spear; and it made such a noise as it came that it sounded like the thunder of heaven. It looked like a dragon flying through the air. Such a bright light did it cast, that one could see all over the camp as though it were day, by reason of the great mass of fire, and the brilliance of the light that it shed." (*) Interestingly there is no evidence that Greek Fire was still being used by the Imperials themselves in the late period (LBA p.341). Either the knowledge of how to make it had been lost in 1204 or perhaps the ingredients could no longer be obtained. 2. William [Guillaume] II moved the capital of Achaea to the newly built fortresstown of Mistra, near Sparta, in 1249. Lurier p.23 calls him the “most celebrated prince of Morea’s history”. Crossbowmen and Archers in Western Armies As will be seen, on some estimates, crossbowmen comprised as many one-fifth of an army; the true figure is more like one in eight. In English armies, the proportion of longbow-archers was higher. According to earlier writers, in the French army which landed at Damietta in Muslim Egypt in 1248, out of a total of 50,000 men, 5,000 (one tenth) were crossbowmen. Modern writers prefer a total figure of about 20,000 in all, and crossbowmen may have numbered as few as 2,500. French vs Flemish: The French army of the Comte d'Artois, which was defeated by the Flemish at Courtrai (‘Battle of the Golden Spurs’) in 1302, and which also allegedly numbered some 50,000 men, supposedly included 10,000 French or foreign cross-bowmen (one-fifth), according to earlier writers. Modern writers argue that the French at Courtrai were a classic feudal army of only about 8,000; or even as few as 6,500! There was a core of 2,500 noble cavalry, including knights and squires. According to Clifford Rogers, they were supported by 1,000 crossbowmen, 1,000 pikemen and up to 3,500 light infantry, totalling around 8,000 - so crossbowmen were only one eighth (Clifford J. Rogers, "The Age of the Hundred Years War." In Maurice Keen, ed. Medieval Warfare: A History 136-160. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). At Crecy in 1346 the French army comprised some 12,000 [or 10,000] heavy cavalry, 17,000 light cavalry retainers, 6,000 Genoese crossbowmen 30
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 [the chronicler Froissart says “15,000”], and more than 20,000 [or 14,000] militia levies who were inexperienced and poorly armed [bracketed figures from Dougherty 2008: 164]. Total regulars: perhaps 35,000. If we omit the levies, the crossbowmen represented about one sixth of the professional army. The English army of Edward III at Crecy had 7,000 to 10,000 (a third or more) archers (longbowmen) out of a total strength of 19,000 men. Or perhaps 7,000 (up to 64%) in a total of 11,000 (Wikipedia, 2009, ‘Battle of Crecy’). Alternatively 5,500 longbowmen (65%) in a total of 8,500 (Dougherty 2008: 164). Primitive cannons were used at Crecy, but not to any decisive effect: "The English guns cast iron balls by means of fire ... They made a noise like thunder and caused much loss in men and horses ... The Genoese were continually hit by the archers and the gunners...[by the end of the battle] the whole plain was covered by men struck down by arrows and cannon balls" (Villani). At Poitiers in 1356 the French forces consisted of perhaps 8,000 heavy cavalry, 8,000 light cavalry, 4,500 mercenaries including 2,000 crossbowmen, and possibly 15,000 militia levies. If one ignores the levies, crossbowmen made up about one in ten. Another estimate of French numbers is 3,000 crossbowmen, 500 mounted men at arms and 17,000 dismounted men at arms. If so, then about one in seven were crossbowmen. At Najera (Navarette) in 1367 the English under the Black Prince defeated the French and Castilians. The Franco-Castilian totals were 6,000 ‘men-at-arms’ [meaning heavy cavalry], 4,000 jinetes [light cavalry with javelins], 6,000 crossbowmen and ‘44,000’ other infantry. Let us omit half the 44,000 infantry – the total of regulars then becomes 38,000 – crossbowmen making up about one in six. 1250: (a). d. Frederick II Hohenstaufen ‘the Great’ of Germany and “Sicily” (i.e. S Italy and Sicily). (b) fl. Albertus de Groot ‘Magnus’, German-Latin philosopher and theologian, a Dominican monk. Born in Bavaria, educated at Padua and Bologna, he taught in S Germany and at Paris. Teacher to Thomas Aquinas. (c) (or 1252:) First Mamluk or “slave-soldier” ruler of Egypt. Cf 1260. In March of 1250 the French crusader king Louis finally returned to Damietta, but he was taken captive on the way there, fell ill with 31
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 dysentery, and was cured by an Arab physician. The Battle of Fariskur was fought on 6 April 1250 between the French Crusaders led by Louis IX and an Egyptian army. The French had been in retreat following a failed siege of Al Mansurah. The Egyptians were victorious, and Louis IX was captured along with his army and ransomed in exchange for the surrender of Damietta, captured earlier in 1248 - the only real achievement of the Crusade. Image: There is a good line drawing of Mamluk cavalrymen in Dougherty 2008: 36. In May Louis was ransomed in return for Damietta and 400,000 livres, and he immediately left Egypt for Acre, one of the few remaining possessions of the crusaders in Syria. Meanwhile, the Mameluk soldiers of Egypt revolted. Turanshah, as-Salih's successor, took control of Cairo, creating a Mameluk dynasty that would eventually conquer the last of the crusader territories. Cf 1252: Baybars. Western knights c.1225: The helmet might be either a ‘great helm’ (cylindrical ‘head-pot’) or a simple rounded helmet leaving the face open. Mail from head to foot. The main change since c.1180, besides the helm, is the surcoat: a loose cloth outer-coat extends to below the knee. Shields are shorter than in 1180; but still kite-shaped. + Lance and sword. (See generally Hopkins 1996.) The ‘great helm’ was never adopted by Byzantine soldiers , ie other than by the Latin mercenaries employed by Constantinople; the Byzantines in this period generally preferred the kettle-shaped brimmed war-hat. 1251: The Balkans: Michael of Epirus invades Nicaean territory, taking Prilep and briefly advancing into Macedonia. See 1252. 1251-65: Reign of Hulagu, Mongol prince, conqueror of Persia and founder of the ‘Empire of the Il-Khans’ or Mongol-Persian “Ilkhanate”. See 1256. 1252: The Balkans: Vatatzes’ last campaign was a major offensive against Epiros. Leading a substantial army, he conquered west as far as Prilep and Ochrid (LBA p.35). The subsequent treaty also gave him Dyrrachion. -Norwich, 1996: 200, dates this to 1253. Following an unsuccessful campaign against the Nicaeans, Michael II (Angelus ‘Nothos’) of Epirus is forced to cede the eastern portion of his domains (Thessaly) to Nicaea. Dyrrachium also went to Nicaea. 1252: (a) The Italians begin minting gold coins (see above). (b) Spain: Astronomers finish the Tabulae Alfonsinae, drawn up for Alfonso X of Castile.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (c) Egypt: The Mamluk general Baybars, born a Kipchak Turk in Crimea, seizes power in Ayyubid Egypt (or after 1260). Territory in 1252 (after the map in Bartusis, LBA): The Empire of Nicaea, having recaptured a large section of the Balkans –Thrace, Macedonia and Thessaly - was already the strongest of the Christian powers in the Aegean region. In Europe it ruled a swathe of land from Epiros to S Bulgaria, running from (or near) the Adriatic to the Thracian Black Sea coast. A notional line running broadly east-west through Adrianople indicates the Bulgarian-Nicene border. In Asia, Nicaea ruled the whole NW quarter of Anatolia. The Latin ‘empire’ was a tiny rump, i.e. just Constantinople and the small peninsular areas east and west of the capital. Tracking anti-clockwise, Nicaea’s neighbours were: Bulgaria [cf 1253-56 below]; Serbia; a reduced Epirus (which before 1252 had extended through Thessaly to the Aegean coast south of Thessalonica); the Latin principality of Achaia ruling the whole Morea; various Venetian possessions in the S Aegean including Crete; and the Latin Duchy of Athens (our east-central Greece). The Sultanate of Rum, ruling three-quarters of Asia Minor, included mainland Caria north of Romaic Rhodes until 1258 (cf 1253-54). 1253: 1. The army general Michael Palaiologos (aged 29)—the future Basileus in Nicaea, 1259-82 (restored 1261 to Constantinople)—marries Theodora Dukaina Batatzaina, the emperor’s 13 years old niece. See 1256. 2. Venetian naval power was challenged in this period by Genoa. It took three major wars with Genoa, the first in 1253-99, before Venetian maritime supremacy was assured. Michael Paleologus would ally himself with Genoa (in 1261) in order to recover New Rome (Constantinople). Cf 1270s. Compasses and charts began to be used in the Mediterranean by about this time … see 1270. 1253-54: Caria, SW Asia Minor: A great part of the Seljuq caravanserai (Tk: han) called Akhan (ak-han) survives today just six km from ancient Laodiceia, present-day Denizli City on the Ankara highway. The westernmost of all the caravansaries, it was constructed by Karasungur bin Abdullah in 1253-54 when he was governor of Ladik/Laodiceia (Wikipedia, 2010, ‘Denizli’; Freely 2008: 138). See 1258 – taken by the Nicaeans. The region was contested ground; but there was peace between Nicaea and Konya, and the sultan wanted trade with Byzantium to be protected. Ak Han was the westernmost point in a line of hans built in 1201-07. They provided strongpoints for the protection of goods and traders in an area where security was at a 33
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 premium (Hopwood, “Frontier” p.156). Cf 1256: Türkmen detain Michael Palaeologus SE of Nicaea. “The uç [“ootch”, frontier] was debatable [sic] land, under the control of nomadic groups. Sedentarists [farming communities] could only be protected by the presence of forts, to which they could retire on the arrival of the nomads, and at which strong defensive forces could be concentrated. . . . East of Magnesia and Philadelphia . . . Türkmen controlled the countryside: whoever controlled the strong-points such as Laodikeia/Denizli or Philadelphia/Alasehir controlled the surrounding area. . . . the cities [read: fortress-towns] at the heads of the valleys were the crucial centres by which regions might be won” (Hopwood p.155). 1253/54: The Mongol prince Khubilai is victorious in southern China: he outflanked the Song Chinese forces by capturing Dali (modern Yunnan). 1254: 50th anniversary of the capture of Constantinople by the Latins. The late emperor John III had been 12 when it was lost. 1254-58: THEODORE II Ducas Lascaris, emperor in Nicaea and Nymphaeum. Son of John II Ducas and Irene Lascarina (herself the daughter of Theodore Lascaris, d. 1221), Theodore II was aged 33 at accession. His wife was Helena, eldest daughter of the Bulgarian ruler. Bartusis calls him a “sickly vacillating scholar” (LBA p.35); but he lead a vigorous campaign in 1255 (see there). He wrote two works on natural philosophy, Kosmike delosis (Cosmic Exposition) and Peri phusikes koinonias (On Physical Community), in which he brought simple mathematical schemes to bear on elemental theory and cosmology. 1254-55: Greece: The general Alexios Strategopoulos was based at Serres in 1254, and in the next year, he participated, along with pinkernes (Imperial Butler) Konstantinos Tornikes, in a failed campaign against the Bulgarian fortress of Tzepaina in the western Rhodope mountains. As a result, and because of his close connection to the aristocratic faction around Michael Palaiologos, he was removed of his offices (Wikipedia 2010, under ‘Alexios Strategopoulos’). See next. 1255: Turkish Rum: The Flemish monk Willem Van Ruysbroeck (‘William of Rubruck’) 34
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 travelled east to try to convert the Mongols; on his return journey in 1255 he passed through Eastern Anatolia (Rum). Writing 12 years after the Mongol victory at Kosedag, he remarks that the Turkish sultan Kayka’us II, r. 1246-60, had “no money [literally ‘without a treasure’], few soldiers and many enemies” (quoted by Cassidy p.113). Cf 1256: Seljuq defeat near Aksaray. Van Ruysbroeck also underlines that the great majority of the Sultan’s subjects were non-Muslims, i.e. Armenians and Greeks. 1255-56: The Nicaean army battles the Bulgarians for control of Thrace and Macedonia. The struggle continued from the winter of 54/55 to winter 55/56. In 1255 Theodore II’s army campaigned against the Bulgarians in the Rhodopi mountains and captured the fortresses of Peristitza, Stenimachos [inland E of Thessaloniki] and Krytzimos, which the Bulgarians had recently seized, without encountering significant resistance. However, the imperial army faced difficulties, since it reached (1256) Tzepaina in the western Rhodopes in mid winter. The cold weather combined with the mountainous geographical background of that campaign did not allow the army to stay there for long and to carry out an attack. Theodore II, ignoring the forthcoming winter and the severe weather conditions, assembled a “large” military force in Adrianople (Gregoras states that Theodore II assembled a much larger army than his father’s) and marched (south-west) on Tzepaina. But the conditions and lack of supplies - possibly reflecting poor planning - forced them to pull back (Savvas Kyriakidis, ‘The Nicaean armies: Logistics, Weather and Geography’, online at www.wra1th.plus.com/byzcong/comms/Kyriakidis_paper.pdf Akropolites mentions the presence of the servants of the soldiers (unarmed or lightly armed auxiliaries) in the 1255 campaign of Theodore II in Tzepaina. 1256: 1. Asia: “In 1256 he [the 33 years old soldier and future emperor Michael Palaeologus] … fled to the Seljuk court for refuge from Lascarid suspicions and … served Konya as head of the contingent of foreign soldiers. “On the way across the frontier zone east of Nicaea, nomads had ambushed him [and robbed him of all of his possessions]. The ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) chronicler Acropolites described his captors. The Turkmen, according to him, >>lie in ambush on the farthest frontiers of the Seljuks. Filled with irreconcilable hatred against the Romans, they take pleasure in looting them and seizing booty<<. Acropolites notes also that at the time Michael passed, they were particularly rapacious, for Mongol pressure had set many tribes in motion. Such Mongol pressure, exerted a number of times in the years of Michael's youth and adulthood, had a decisive effect on the size of the nomadic population at the western edge of the plateau” (thus Lindner; also Hopwood 1999 and Cassidy p.113). In the SW, Türkmen controlled the countryside east of Philadelphia/Alasehir, “and whoever controlled the strong points of Laodicia/Denizli and Philadelphia controlled the surrounding area.” —Hopwood, 1999. - Cf 1280. 35
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
2. East-central Anatolia: On 14 October 1256 the Mongols under Bayju inflicted a second defeat on the Seljuks near Aksaray, NE of Konya. Kayka’us II fless to Byzantium. In 1256 the Mongol general Bayju asked the Seljukid sultan, Izzeddin Kaykawus II, to assign him summer and winter quarters in Anatolia for his army and tribes to settle in. This was after Hulagu Khan had ordered the evacuation of Arran and Mughan plains to make way for the Mongol imperial army. The sultan rejected Bayju's demand. The ensuing battle ended with the defeat of the Seljukid army and their evacuation of the best pasture lands in the modern Tokat-Amasya area, including the lush Kazova plain, inland SE of Sinope (Inalcik 1980). Michael Palaelogus fought on the Seljuk side at the head of a unit of the sultan’s Christian subjects. They were outfitted to look like Byzantine troops, which confused the Mongols who were expecting to meet Turks. After the battle, in which Michael killed one of the Mongol commanders, he returned with the Seljuk commander to Kastamonu. The sultan fled to the Romaics; Lascaris welcomed both him and Palaeologus, who was forgiven (1257) (Lippard 1984: 186-87). See 1257. Now for the first time the Mongols advanced in strength to the Byzantine frontier, where they remained for at least four months, through the winter of 1256-57. One detachment advanced as far as Denizli in the SW before the whole force went into winter quarters, either in Paphlagonia (in the north) or perhaps west of Aksehir (Philomelion) (Lippard 1984: 23). This defeat created a situation even more dangerous for the Seljuks than the earlier defeat at Kose Dag, as from this point onward Mongol troops were permanently stationed throughout Anatolia, until 1335. Cf 1256 (Qaraman) and 1271. 3. Marriage of Georgios Mouzalon*, protovestiaros (chamberlain) of the Nicaean Empire and megas stratopedarches or head of army logistics (murdered 1258), to the 16 years old Theodora Palaiologina Kantakouzene, protobestiarissa, born ca 1240. His position was responsible for the provisioning of the regional armies (see Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies). In 1261 Theodora will marry (2) Ioannes (John) Raoul Komnenos Doukas Angelos Petraliphas, the new protobestiaros of Byzantium (dead by 1274). She herself died as the nun Kyriake 6.12.1300. (*) His brother Andronicus Muzalon was made Megas Domesticus or army commander. They were from an undistinguished family, it being the policy of Theodore II to raise novi homines (‘new men’) to positions of power and 36
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 influence (Nicol, Lady p.34). 1256-60: Powerful Mongol armies invade the Turkish sultanates of the Middle East: they kill the Caliph and sack Baghdad (1258), and then advance into Ayyubid Palestine. See 1260. 1256-61: r. Qaraman I, founder of the Qaramanid line of beys in southcentral Asia Minor. = Further decay of Seljuk rule. 1256-57: 1. The Adriatic: Michael II of Epiros vs Manfred, regent of German (Hohenstaufen) Sicily-South Italy* and son of the late Frederick II. The Germano-Norman Sicilians invade Epiros: Corfu is captured, along with several mainland towns. Then peace was made with a marriage: see 1258; and ‘SiciloItalia’ became the ally of Epiros (against Nicaea). (*) Having crushed by force Papal claims to German South Italy, Manfred was made “vicar” of the South in 1257 by the official German (Swabian) king of Naples and Sicily, the five years old Conradin. Manfred was based in Sicily, Conradin in Bavaria and Swabia. 2. Thrace: In the winter of 1256-57 Theodore II ordered a very large number of carts from “the Macedonian lands”*, according to Akropolites, to assemble in Adrianople. They would carry the Nicaean siege engines, as well as food supplies for the campaign of 1257: see there. (*) This was a reference to lower Thrace, not Macedonia as we know it. In earlier centauries the name ‘Macedonia’ had been the name of a Theme (military province) centred on the lower Evros (Maritsa) River; our Macedonia was called at that time the Theme of Thessalonica (Treadgold 1997: 546). fl. "Rumi" or Mowlana, born Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, greatest Persian mystic poet. His nickname ‘Rumi’ (“Byzantine”) alludes to his living most of his life in ‘Romania’ (Rum: Asia Minor). Born in Balkh, now in N Afghanistan, he was the founder of the 'Whirling Dervish' order. He settled c.1228 at Konya, seat of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor. Converted 1244 [aged 37] to mysticism. Prolific poet, writing mainly in Persian; died 1273. "Rum" or Seljuk central Anatolia was at this time wedged between the Mongol Ilkhanate and the Greeks-Nikaeans-Byzantines, with Cilicia or Christian ‘Lesser Armenia’ as a small buffer state between Rum and the Mamluks of Syria-Palestine-Egypt. Cf 1260. 1257: 1a. Theodore recalled general Michael Palaiologos from exile, giving assurances for his safety and position. Michael was restored to his former position of Megas Kontostaulos, chief of the ‘Frankish’ [Latin] mercenaries. 37
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1b. Macedonia: Following incursions by the Epirotes, Theodore II Laskaris of Nicaea sends his (now returned) general Michael Palaeologus to Macedonia with an “inferior” body of troops. In a battle outside Vodena (Bodena, west of Thessaloniki), Palaiologos led some 500 (sic!) troops: Paphlagonians, secondrate Thracians and Turks, against the Epirote princeling Theodore (a bastard son of the ruler Michael Ducas). Acropolites says that Michael’s only good soldiers were “50” Paphlagonians. The Epitote force agisnt him comprised 500 picked cavalry. Michael prevailed, and the Epirote Theodore was killed, but such minor successes could not prevent the loss of most of western Macedonia (Setton 1976: 75; LBA p.35, citing Nicol and Angold). Cf 1259: Pelagonia. The army led by Michael Palaiologos and Michael Laskaris in Macedonia encamped in the countryside close to Bodena because that area was a good source of fodder: Akropolites, I, 146. Acropolites on the Fighting around Prilep, 1257 Note that a force of 500 men was considered large enough to operate in the field on its own. Also it seems implied that the Epirote army of ‘the rebel Michael’ [Michael II Ducas] numbered up to 1,500. “When we met [Acropolites was governor of the Prilep-Ochrid region in today’s FYROM], we decided on the following: Michael Laskaris would take his entire army, both the Roman [Byzantine] and the Scythian [Turkish] contingents, leave the lands around Berroia – for it was there that he was encamped – set out for Pelagonia [ = where today’s FYROM-Greece border runs] and take up a position there. Likewise the skouterios [senior court official] Xyleas was to take his entire military corps (that was quite a large number) and join with Michael Laskaris and together they were to take up a position in the region of Pelagonia. . . . The rebel Michael had laid hold of the surrounding territories and fortresses; one only, Prilep, was wanting and he was pressing, as much as was in his power, to bring Prilep under him. In this way it would be possible for him to rule over the surrounding area securely. So, not long after, the renegade Michael made his first attack on us [Prilep] with his entire army, and he made attempts on the town by military means. . . . [Meanwhile the emperor] chose . . . Michael Komnenos, giving him also an army from Macedonia which was very small in size and worthless in quality. But Michael Komnenos could not object to the orders he had been given and so, taking that paltry and unwarlike army, he went to Thessalonike and from there, after crossing the Vardar, which the ancients call the Naxeios, he joined Michael Laskaris. … The skouterios Xyleas, who was near the town [Prilep] with the army which was under his command, saw that the army of Serbs was plundering the land and setting fires everywhere. He was a man ignorant in matters of war and with no military experience at all, for he did not have spies at a distance so as to learn from afar of the advance of the enemy, nor did he know how to array an army in battle order. He released each man to rush against the Serbs as he wished. Since their battle order had been broken up and they were few, they fell into the grip of the Serbs, who were more in number, and they were caught. Some were put to the 38
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 sword, others were taken alive and carried off as captives. . . . The renegade Michael, the despot—having exact information about the Roman army, how many it numbered and that all except for a small part of it was useless and worthless—, selected men from his entire army and, separating the best from the rest – they came to 500 in number – he appointed his illegitimate son Theodore general, and sent them against the Roman army. … He [Michael Komnenus] armed himself, taking a spear and the military detachment which was under Michael Laskaris and which came from Paphlagonia [Asia Minor] (this alone was better than the others and capable of fighting, numbering 500 men) and set out against the enemy. . . the Paphlagonians accompanying him engaged in close combat with the others, man to man, and the renegade Michael's men were routed at the end of the battle, while those of Michael Komnenos checked them, taking captive more than 20 of the elite men and putting many others to the sword. But Michael Komnenos' men were not able to drive them away because they were very few in number. . . . The renegade Michael attacked us [the town of Prilep] a second time. Since there was a cessation of hostilities and he discovered that the imperial forces did not have the strength to fight him in close combat, he surrounded the town with a guard and set up siege towers. . . . The men who had planned this beforehand opened the gates unopposed and the town of Prilep was taken in this way, not by the excellence of the enemy soldiers, nor because of the place's lack of fortifications, but because of the foolishness and disloyalty of the garrison. We also were taken captive and became prisoner.” —Akropolites, trans. Macrides, online at www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/akropolites.html. 2. The Venetians did not commonly sail into the Black Sea, which they left to the Genoese; but in 1257 a fleet of 10 Venetian galleys, hired by the Latins of Constantinople, briefly captured Mesembria on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria (D M Nicol 1992: 186). See next. 1257-70: (Or from 1253:) First Venetian-Genoese War. Cf 1295: gargantuan Genoese fleet. The Genoese were defeated in 1257 and 1258. In 1261, they will take their revenge by assisting Michael Palæologus to reconquer Constantinople, and obtained from him Smyrna and Pera, and the monopoly of trade in the Black Sea (Cath. Encyc. under ‘Genoa’). They developed markets rapidly on the shores of this sea, the principal one being [from 1266] Caffa in the Crimea, and carried on a brisk trade, exporting mainly slaves, wine, oil, woollens, and silks, and importing from the Golden Horde skins, furs, wheat and other grains, and from the Muslims Persian stuffs, etc. (But the export of Western gold and silver to the Muslim states and the Byzantines was the main way in which the Italians paid for Eastern luxuries: the deficit favoured the East. Cf Day in Laiou 2002.) 1258: 1. MONGOLS SACK BAGHDAD. Some say Hulagu led the largest army ever fielded by the Mongols. A low figure is 90,000 and a high estimate 400,000 (Cassidy p.282, citing Smith and Saunders). As well as Mongols and Chinese, it included Persians, Turks, Armenians and Georgians (Saunders 2001). 39
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The city’s inhabitants were massacred: supposedly “80,000” people were executed in 40 days (Freely 2008: 85). And al-Mustansir the (last) Abbasid caliph was rolled in a carpet and trampled to death literally under the hoofs of the Mongol cavalry. He was killed thus because a ruler’s blood should not be seen being shed. Panic ensues in Ayyubid Syria and Palestine. 2. Greece: Michael of Epiros - Michael II Komnenos Dukas Nothos Angelos, “Archon of Epirus and Aetolia*” - creates an alliance against Nicaea by giving away his daughters: (a) Manfred of Sicily married Helena; and (b) William of Achaia (in the Peloponnese) married Anna. ** Cf 1259: battle of Pelagonia. (*) Aetolia is the region to the NW of the Gulf of Corinth, inland from Naupactus. (**) Anna ‘Komneno-dukaina’, “Lady of Kalamata and Clermont”, d.1286; 1m: ca 1258 Guillaume (William) II de Villehardouin, Prince of Achaia d. 1278; 2m: ca 1279 Nicolas de Saint-Omer, Prince of Achaia d. 1294. 4. d. Theodore II Lascaris, Nicaean emperor from 1254. Known for his many letters, orations and religious poems. The general Michael Palaiologus becomes regent for Theodore’s eight years old son, emperor John IV Lascaris. A few days after the death of Emperor Theodore II Doukas Laskaris in 1258, Michael Palaiologos, aged 34, succeeded the influential bureaucrat and general George Mouzalon (when the latter was murdered), becoming joint guardian and regent for the eight years old Emperor John IV Doukas Laskaris together with the patriarch Arsenios. The latter was co-regent in name only. Michael was invested with the titles of megas doux (admiral) and, in November 1258, of despotes (“master”) (Wikipedia 2010, ‘Michael VIII’). 5. Last eastward excursion: East of Laodicea – not quite to Antalya, - the Nicaeans carved out a corridor of territory from Turkish Rum [map in Nicolle 2008: 30]. It was held until 1261. Cf 1261, 1264, 1269: Miletus and Caria.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
Above: Michael VIII.
1258-82: MICHAEL VIII Palaeologus, emperor of Nicaea and (from 1261) Constantinople. Following the death of Theodore, the Nicaean general Michael Palaiologus, aged 34 in 1258, proclaims himself emperor, in formal terms co-emperor with John IV Lascaris (aged eight). This effectively ends the Lascarid dynasty. John’s sisters were to be married to Constantine Tich (Tikh) of Bulgaria and Nicephorus I of Epirus. Michael VIII Palaiologos was the son of the megas domestikos Andronikos Doukas Komnenos Palaiologos and Theodora Angelina Palaiologina, the granddaughter of Emperor Alexios III Angelos and Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamaterina. Wife: Theodora. Son: Andronicus, b. 1258, the future Andronicus II. His daughters Irene and Eudocia married respectively John Asen II of Bulgaria
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 and John III Comnenus of Trebizond. Two of his "natural" (adopted or illegitimate) daughters were married to the Mongol rulers, Nogaya/Nopai and Hulagu, i.e. they joined their harems (cf 1281). Michael's reign was taken up by his fight against Charles I, the Angevin (French) king of Naples and Sicily, and against the despotate of Epirus. He concluded treaties with the so-called ‘Tatars’ [Mongols and Kipchaks] and Egyptian Mamluks in 1272. For support against Charles, he vacillated between Venice and Genoa as allies. Michael was also distinguished for his learning and he left an autobiography (edited by H. Gregoire, “Imperatoris Michaelis Palaeologi, ‘De Vita Sua',” Byzantion, 29–30: 447–476 [1959–60]). - Michael’s gold coin, the hyperpyron, had 15 carats; this would fall to 14 carats by 1282. - The historian George Acropolites, aged 44, formerly tutor to Theodore Lascaris, was appointed rector of the newly restored university. His History covers events in the former Nicaean empire to 1261. Lindner: “Michael VIII Palaeologus, who usurped the Byzantine throne in 1258, found himself in possession of a pacific Anatolian domain. Its frontier began on the Black Sea east of Amasra/Amastris* [Paphlagonia: in the centre of the Anatolian Black Sea coast], cut west to the Sakarya [River: west of Ankara, NE of Eskisehir/Dorylaion], followed the line of the plateau, excluding Eskisehir [Dorylaeum] and Kutahya [Kotyaion]**, and then ran south over the Carian highlands to the Dalaman Cay/Indus on the Aegean [the river that exits opposite Rhodes]. On Michael's accession there was peace in the east. After the recovery of Constantinople, however, he neglected and even antagonised his Anatolian subjects at a time when Turkish tribesmen and Seljuk successors were beginning to look west to their fortunes, away from the increasingly threatening Mongols.” (*) Amasra lies on the coast nearly at the intersection point of a line drawn direct north from Ankara. (**) That is to say: the Turks (the Sahibata clan: see 1270) held the valley of the Porsuk River, which runs from Kutahya (Gk: Kotaiyon) to Eskisehir (Dorylaion). Thus, just 15 years after the Mongol invasion had pushed Turkish adventurers westwards, already the Nicaea-Dorylaion and Bursa-Kotaiyon regions were borderlands. Cf 1265: the precursors of the Ottomans establish themselves at Sogut, NW of Dorylaion. And in the SW, the border was marked out by the mountains between Laodiceia/Denizli in the (Imperial) upper Meander Valley and the (Turkish) Dalaman headwaters. Cf 1261, 1264 and 1270: presumably the Inanj [Inanç] tribe arrived in the upper Meander valley around 1261. Byzantium lost Denizli in 1262. See also the map in Nicolle 2008: 30. 42
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1258: 1a. Michael Palaiologos, aged 34, already a general, and soon to be coemperor, is appointed megas dux, admiral of the navy (Polemis p.157, citing Pachymeres). See 1259. 1b. On the death of Theodore II, George Muzalon becomes regent for the boy emperor John VII Lascaris. After just nine days Muzalon is assassinated in favour of Michael Palaiologus, who takes the quasi-royal title of despotes (“master”). 2. Greece: Michael sends an army to Macedonia under the command of his brother the Sevastokrator John and the new Grand Domestic Alexios Strategopoulos. They wintered there, ahead of an attack on Epiros. As noted later (see 1259), the expedition probably numbered some 6-8,000 men. 3. In December Michael is proclaimed co-emperor. From 1258, Pontus: The destruction of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan in 1258 made Trebizond the western terminus of the Silk Road. The city grew to tremendous wealth on the Silk Road trade under the protection of the Mongols. It was by way of Trebizond that Marco Polo returned to Europe in 1295. See 1297. 1259: 1. Asia Minor: At Nymphaeum, the military commander Michael Palaiologus is proclaimed emperor; he was subsequently crowned jointly with John IV Laskaris at Nicaea. The menacing appearance of the Varangian Guard - “the axe-bearing Keltikon [Celt-unit]” as the Romaic historian Pachymeres calls them - who accompanied Michael dissuaded any adherents of John Laskaris from making an objection. Michael himself called them the Engklinobarangoi, ‘Anglo-Varangians’ (Bartusis, LBA pp.281, 283). See further below undr 1271-72. By this time —probably since 1204—they had ceased to have a battle-field role, their role being confined to literal guard duties (Bartusis p. 273). They did, however, fight in or with the field army as late as 1329, at Pelekanos: see there; presumably this was a one-off performance. 2. Epirus: The despot Michael II Komnenus Doukas, seeking an alliance with Manfred the German king of Sicily (who was being opposed by the Pope), gave him his daughter Helen in marriage in 1259 and bestowed upon her Corfu as a dowry (website Corfu-Xenos, 2010: http://www.corfuxenos.gr/guide_despotate.cfm). Manfred sent 400 German cavalrymen to strengthen the Epirote forces – see next, Pelagonia. 3. (cf 1259-61 below:) The Nicaean army under the Palaeologan emperor’s brother, the sevastokrator John, and the Grand Domestic Alexius Strategopulus, advances into the western Balkans against the Epirotes. They capture Ochrida 43
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 and many other towns in Macedonia and Epiros. The combined Nicaean force marched from Thessaloniki west to Ohrid and then surprised Michael II and his Epirote army at Kastoria (south-east of Ohrid). Michael was joined by his son-inlaw William (Guillaume) Villehardouin with Latin and Greek troops from Achaia. The Epirotes and their Achaian allies pulled back (northwards), but soon the two armies clashed at Pelagonia near modern Bitola and the Nicaeans prevailed (LBA p.37). The Nicaeans went on to capture the Epirote capital, Arta. The Despot of Epirus thereby lost a major part of his territories. Nicaea also received the south-east quarter of the Peloponnesus from the Latins. The Battle of Pelagonia, 1259 The Pelagonia region is transected by the western stretch of today’s FYROMGreek border. The battle of Pelagonia in 1259 took place near present-day Bitola (Monastir) in FYROM: the ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’. The ‘Greco-Franks’ of Achaia and their German ‘mercenaries’ were deserted by their Epirote allies and suffered a disastrous defeat. Many of the princes and nobility were captured. Held hostage thereafter by the Byzantines = Nicenes (in, it must be admitted, some comfort), the Franks had to trade some of their conquests for their freedom. In Villehardouin's case this meant he had to forfeit large tracts of territory to the Byzantines including the castles of Monemvasia, which he had only just captured (in 1248), and Mistra and the castle of Grand Magne [south of Mistra] which he had only just built. —John Chapman, Mani: A Guide, online at www.zorbas.de/maniguide/medieval; accessed September 2006. The Allies On the Epirote-Latin side at Pelagonia, the elite force consisted of 400 heavily armed German knights sent by Manfred of Sicily. Pachymeres (Cassidy p. 39) says Manfred sent fully “3,000” Germans but Akroplites and Sanudo agree on 400 (Cassidy, commentary p. 183). It will be noted that Germans fought as the elite on both sides. William/Guillaume led the local ‘Franks’, overseas Latins and the Greeks of Achaia. The latter probably participated in substantial numbers because there was a general feudal calling-out. Vlachs and Franks from Thessaly and Euboea were in the allied force as well as the Franks of the Morea. There were also some Sicilian troops and a few Turks. Again Turks fought on both sides. In his autobiography, which is preserved, Michael Palaeologus writes concerning this battle: “Along with them [with “the traitors to the Roman state”, i.e., the Despot of Epirus and his associates] and their allies, who had as their leader the Prince of Achaia, whom have I vanquished? - [Answer:] Alamans [Germans], Sicilians, and Italians who came from Apulia, the land of the Iapygians* and Brindisi, [and Latins] from Bithynia, Euboea, and the Peloponnesus” (quoted by Vasiliev, p.472). 44
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
(*) This was the name of one of the ancient tribes of Apulia. A fair guess is that, at the start, the allied Epirote-Latin force was probably larger than the Nicaean army: perhaps as many as 15,000 (mainly light infantry) (cf Geanakoplos 1959: 63-64). — The Chronicle of Morea says William commanded “20,000 troops”: 8,000 “fully armed” (armoured)** or “first-class men at arms” and 12,000 “light armed” or “on foot” (Setton 1976: 88; also Nicol, Epiros p. 179); but this seems rather too high for this era, as Cassidy p. 184 rightly points out. — Geanakoplos 1959: 65 and Runciman, Vespers p.46, suggest that the allied Epirote-Latin army was initially somewhat larger than the Nicaean force. — Noting that 400 knights were sent as reinforcements, William may have commanded as few as 4,000 Achaian and Epirote knights (cf LBA p.37). If so, then the bulk of the allied force (say 11,000) comprised lesser cavalrymen and infantry. (**) Keen 1999: 191, 199 notes that Latin knights began using horse-armour (“barding”) from the middle 1200s: mostly in the form of hardened leather, with metal plates at first confined to the horse’s head and chest. The knight’s own armour remained mainly mail, although some iron-plate armour is seen from the mid 1200s, worn to protect the elbows, knees and shins. Full plate armour for man and horse did not appear until the mid-to-late 1300s. The Nicaeans According to the Greek and French versions of the Chronicle of Morea, the Nicaean force numbered “26,000”, made up of 8,000 cavalry and 18,000 foot (Nicol 1957: 179; Setton 1976: 88; LBA p.37). One Western source says ‘8,000 foreigners, 12,000 mounted Greeks and 40,000 infantry’ (Setton 1976: 87). But probably the majority were ‘mercenary’ cavalry, i.e. professional troops of nonGreek ethnicity. The native ‘Greeks’ taking part in the campaign, probably more like 1,200 in number, seem to have been mainly foot-archers. But possibly there were a few Greeks on horses as they asssted the mobile Cuman and Turk units in the preliminary raiding and skirmishing. The totals here are not credible. The Palaeologian field army was as large as perhaps 10,000 men at a later period, not including town-based garrison troops, according to Treadgold (1997: 819). That indicates the upper limit. Lippard 1984: 16 proposes that at least 20,000 men were enrolled in 1259; but this too is surely too many. Cf 1304. According to the Greek and French versions of the Chronicle of the Morea, the Nicene army included Hungarian and German mercenaries, and Serb and Bulgarian horsemen, in addition to Turkish and Cuman cavalry and Greek archers, the latter probably from Philadelphia. In addition there would have been some troops drawn from the Greek garrison forces of Macedonia and Thrace. The specific figures are: 2,000 Cumans; 1,500 Hungarians; 1,300 (or 500) Turkish mercenaries (infantry); 600 or 1,000 Serbs and one detachment of 45
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Bulgarians; “many” Byzantine (“Greek”) arche0rs; and 300 Germans (LBA p.37; Heath 1995: 34). Total in round thousands: 6,000 men. Likewise Miller 1906 lists the troops on the Nicaean side thus: 300 German knights under the Duke of Carinthia; 500 Turkish mercenaries; 600 Serbian horse-archers; 1,500 Hungarian horse-archers; “a large number of Anatolians [Romaics] accustomed to fight against the Turks” [say 2,000]; 2,000 ethnic Cuman horse-archers; and “a detachment” of Bulgarians. Total: perhaps 5,400+. — The German knights were the elite troops. But it was the imperial horse-archers, especially the Cumans and Hungarians, who proved decisive (LBA p.38). Bartusis and Treadgold guess that the Nicaean force numbered as few as 6,000 men including 2,000 Cumans, i.e. drawn from Cuman communities settled in Asia Minor: Bartusis, LBA p.27; Treadgold in Harris 2005: 81. This may well be an underestimate seeing that the Greek version of the Chronicle says there were “27” cavalry allagia or allangia - detachments or troops or “companies” - on the Nicaean side. That would be 9,000 cavalry if three allangia constituted 1,000 men; or even 13,500 if there were as many as 500 in each allagion.(**) The ‘Greek archers’ that are mentioned may have incudeed some cavalry, while others were presumably foot-archers. If the foot archers numbered over 1,000, then we have perhaps over 10,000 men in all (9,000 horse and 1,000 foot). (**) The Chronicle of Morea, trans. Lurier p.207, says three “squadrons” made up 1,000 men, i.e. 333 per squadron. Or, according to the Pseudo-Kondinos of ca 1355, there were 500 men in an allagion (cited in Heath 1995: 14). The Battle The Cuman and Turkish horse-archers and Anatolian-Greek archers (probably also on horseback) on the Nicene side spent a long time harassing the enemy cavalry. On the allied side there was much “ethnic” tension* between Despot Michael Angelos’s Greeks and Prince Guillaume’s Latins. The Despot Michael Angelos’s bastard son John Ducas fell out with Villehardouin. Soon Angelos’s Greeks became dispirited (Geanakoplos 1959: 71 ff). Some of the the frustrated Epirote and Achaian Greeks departed, leaving the Latins - Germans and Achaian Franks - to the mercy of the now larger Nicaean force. Others among the Epirote and Achaian Greeks defected to the Nicaean side. So the number who ended up fighting for Villehardouin must have been only a few thousand. Hence Nicol says that Pelagonia “was hardly a battle” (Lady p.17). As we note below, after just one failed cavalry charge by the Achaian Franks, the outcome was decided by an arrow barrage from the horse-archers on the Nicaean side. (*) Geanakoplos, p. 66: “As in antiquity, the Greeks still considered themselves superior to the Latins, and on the whole tended to look upon the latter as supercilious [i.e. patronisingly haughty, disdainful, proud], contemptible, and heretical. Latin opinion of the Greeks, on the other hand, was even less complimentary. In general the Greeks were regarded as devoid of moral scruples, 46
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 cowards, and schismatics.” In part the harsh judgment of the Latins reflected their poor opinion of Byzantine military science which had always emphasised subtle tactics and cunning rather than immediate pitched battles decided by front-on lancer charges. In the prelude John Palaiologos assigned to his heavy-armed troops (“cataphracts”) the task of occupying the strong positions in the surrounding hills, while, as we have said, he deployed his lighter-armed and more mobile Cuman, Turk, and Greek archers in harassing the enemy on the plains with sudden attacks and withdrawals. The battle proper opened with a charge by the Frankish knights (Achaian and German heavy lancers) serving on the Latin side against the German knights fighting for Nicaea. The latter counter-charged. Initially neither side prevailed. To break the impasse, Palaeologus ordered in his Hungarian and Cuman horsearchers. Aiming at the horses, they cut down the enemy German Latin-Peloponnesian knights and along with them the empire’s own surviving German mercenaries: they were sacrificed. “Let [this] sin be mine”, he says to the Hungarians in the Chronicle of Morea. —Lurier p.190. Soon Villehardouin had his horse shot from under him and took to flight (one imagines by commandeering another horse). Seeing this, his Frankish knights followed him and the battle turned into a rout. The Nicenes carried out a thorough pursuit. Most of the surviving Frankish and enemy German knights were killed or captured, although many of the defeated rank and file managed to flee home to Achaia (Nicol, Despotate p.182). 1259-60: MONGOLS ENTER AYYUBID SYRIA AND RAVAGE INTO PALESTINE. Fall of Diyarbakir, 1259. After an incursion into Syria and Palestine, the Mongol main force returned east (in response to news of the death of the Khan), leaving a garrison corps in Palestine (1260). - As Mongol vassals, both the Seljuk rulers, the brothers Izzeddin and Ruknuddin, were forced to join this campaign with their troops (Freely 2008: 85). On this occasion too, Bohemund VI de Poitiers, the prince of Antioch, newly allied to the Mongols, fought on their side. - There were two small Crusader states lodged ‘within’ the Ayyubid realm, namely the Kingdom of Acre (under the Knights Hospitallers) and the Principality of Antioch-Tripoli (Knights Templars). They mostly sided with the Mongols. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’, especially if he is not Muslim. – See 1260 (point 4). 1259-61: THE OLD EMPIRE RESTORED: Nicaean victory over the Latins at the Battle of Pelagonia in Macedonia, near Bitola (Monastir), east of Ochrid (1259): as already related, Michael VIII’s brother John Palaeologus defeats the Epirotes and Latins under Guillaume 47
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 [William] de Villehardouin, Prince of Akhaia. Or rather, he defeats the Latins; the Epirotes melted away before the battle was joined. The Nicaean army then divides for two further campaigns: one force under Alexios Strategopoulos takes most of Epirus, briefly capturing the capital Arta; meanwhile John Palaiologos defeats the Latins of the Peloponnese and sacks Thebes (LBA p.38). Following these successes, General Alexios, first, and then Emperor Michael, re-enter Constantinople (1261). The Chronicle of the Morea (trans. Schmitt, ed, Bury 1904 p.186) mentions that in Constantinople the Varangian Guard had charge of the prison; they escorted the Latin lords taken captive after Pelegonia back and forth. 1260: 1. Michael Palaeologus takes personal charge of the Nicaean army and invests Constantinople but it holds out. Realising he needs naval support, Palaeologus opens negotiations with Genoa (Norwich 1996: 209-10). See 1261. 2a. Mesopotamia/Syria: MONGOLS CAPTURE ALEPPO AND DAMASCUS [1 March 1260], ENDING AYYUBID RULE. 2b. In Palestine, the battle of ‘Ain Jalud near Nazareth. The Mamluks of Egypt beat off the Mongol garrison, the first time they were ever beaten: general Baybars, an ethnic Kipchak Turk, becomes Sultan. Marvellous to relate, TurkoEgyptian archery, and a feigned retreat, proved superior to Mongol archery. The Mamluk sultan Qutuz and his general Baibars commanded perhaps 12,000 mainly ethnic Turkish troops (NCMH p. 616). Not counting their Armenian allies and Syrian conscripts, the Mongols under Kitbuqa [Ked-buqa] numbered about 10,000 men, most of the army having been withdrawn to Central Asia following news of the death (1259) in China of the Great Khan Mongke. Tschanz 2007 proposes that the total under Kitbuqa was 20,000. From 1265, the Egyptians will commence the reconquest of coastal Palestine from the ‘Franks’. See 1268, 1291. In retrospect ‘Ain Jalud can be seen as one of the most important battles in history, as it saved Islam. If Egypt had fallen, the Muslims would have become subjects of a pagan power. The battle strengthened the Muslim side and weakened the Christian side (the Latin enclaves were soon eliminated), ensuring that the Mongols in the west would in due course convert to Islam rather than Christianity. 3. Syria: In line with his alliance with Byzantium, the Mongol prince Hulegu or Hülagü forced Bohemond VI, the Latin prince of Antioch, to install an Orthodox patriarch, Euthymius. See next. 1260-61: 48
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 SW Asia Minor: Michael’s former host, the Seljuq ‘Izz ad-Din [Izzeddin] sought refuge in Nicaea after his expulsion by the Mongols. He ceded Denizli/Laodikeia to the Byzantines (Gregoras IV.2, cited by Hopwood, “Frontiers” p.157). 1261: Asia Minor: In line with the alliance between Constantinople and the Mongol IlKhan of Persia, Perso-Mongol troops swept through the no man’s land between Nicaea and the Seljuqs and briefly “pacified” the Türkmen tribes on the Byzantine frontier (Lippard 1984: 197). See 1265. “The alliance with Hulegu was crucial to Nicaea’s success on both fronts. On the one hand, Michael was able to offset Hulegu’s ties with the Latins and prevent any anti-Byzantine collusion between the two. On the other, he precluded a Mongol invasion of his Asian provinces and re-established the equilibrium that earlier existed between Konya and Nicaea. In one stroke Michael eliminated the chief threat to Byzantine Anatolia and found an ally to subdue the Turkmens [Muslim nomads], who constituted the only other threat to Byzantium’s security in Asia Minor” (Lippard 1984: 197). Cf below: alliance also with Genoa. 2. Nicaea makes an alliance with, and extends commercial privileges to Venice’s great rival Genoa (13 March 1261).* Total tax immunity: As a reward for naval and financial aid in recovering the capital, Genoese traders received the right to trade in all parts of the Romaic empire without taxes. Genoa was to provide up to 50 ships [later 60] for the emperor’s use, with the salaries and other expenses to be paid by Byzantium (Geanakoplos 1959: 87; LBA p.39). Cf 1262-63: Peloponnesian expedition. (*) Interestingly, the treaty also provided that trading posts – consisting of a loggia, palazzo, church, bath, and houses - were to be assigned to Genoese merchants in Constantinople, Thessalonica, Aenos, Cassandria, Smyrna, Adramyttion, and the islands of Crete [i.e. as soon as it was retaken by Byzantium], Negroponte [Euboea], Chios, and Lesbos (Geanakoplos p. 87). By the treaty of Nymphaion of 1261, the Genoese were invited into Byzantium in the hope that they would set themselves up in opposition to the Venetians. After negotiations, they settled at Galata, on the other side of the Golden Horn, and founded a colony of their own that was governed by a podesta` (mayor). Galata occupied the northern shore at the mouth of the Golden Horn. Over time, the Genoese, who paid nothing to the Byzantine emperor, came to have considerable control over all the trade of the Black Sea. The Venetians, too, despite their initial opposition to the reestablishment of Byzantine government in Constantinople, soon signed a treaty with the emperor (1265) by which they regained their own quarter of the city, their harbour facilities, their complete exemption from tax, and their administrative autonomy under a bailo of their own. 49
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 By 1263 Michael was paying the sailors’ wages for 60 Genoese warships, as well as his own (Nicol, B&V p.180). Gibbon says Genoa had to provide 50 empty galleys and a further 50 completely armed and manned by Genoese. Cf below, 1263-64.
3. Night of 24-25 July 1261: “800” Nicaean troops, most of whom were ethnic Cuman horse-archers, under general Alexios Strategopoulos slip into Constantinople (LBA p.27). Gregoars writes simply of of “800 Bithynian soldiers”, which may mean Greeks. Cassidy p.300 proposes that the true numbers in Strategopoulos’s expedition were probably several hundred elite Cumans supported by (say) 600 less capable Greeks. 15 August: Quiet, restrained, elaborate but non-triumphal entry on foot to the city by the 37 years old Michael VIII Palaeologus, entering by the traditional imperial entry point, the Golden Gate, ie from the landward side, the south-west point. His co-emperor from Nicaea, the boy John IV Lascaris, aged 11, is blinded and imprisoned.
In July of 1261, as most of the Latins’ forces were fighting elsewhere - conducting a raid against the Nicaean island of Daphnousia, - general Alexius was able to convince the guards to open the gates of the city. Once inside he burned the Venetian quarter - as Venice was an enemy of Genoa, and had been largely responsible for the capture of the city in 1204. Michael was recognised as emperor a few weeks later, restoring the Roman (Byzantine) Empire (Wikipedia, 2010, ‘Empire of Nicaea’). His very first act after recovery of the ‘Queen City’ in 1261 was to march in an elaborate procession, but on foot, from the Golden Gate, with the icon of the Virgin Hodegetria, ‘She who shows [points] the Way’ (to salvation),* at the head, to Hagia Sophia. There he and the entire people gave thanks to God. –Thus the Greek Patriarchate, 2010, at: http://www.patriarchate.org/book/western_hostility_grows.html. (*) The Virgin holds Christ on her left arm and gestures toward him with her right hand, showing that he is the way to salvation. The name ‘Hodegetria’ comes from the Hodegon Monastery in Constantinople, in which the icon showing the Virgin in this particular stance resided, from at least the 12th century onward, acting to protect the city. The icon was believed to have been painted by St Luke hiself. 3. Constantinople: Founding of what would become the church of St Mary "of the Mongols". The original structure dates from around 1261; it was added to or rebulit in 1281-82, and named for the Byzantine former wife of the Mongol khan: 50
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 see there. 4. 1261-69: Menteshe Bey, a Turkoman or Türkmen* (nomad) leader, launched the conquest of Byzantine ports and lands in south-western Anatolia, establishing, under nominal rule of the Seljuk Sultan, the principality or beylik of Menteshe. By 1269 he controlled the whole coastal area of Caria. His capital was later (1280) at Milas/Miletus. - Hans Theunissen's doctoral dissertation, "Venice and the Turkoman Begliks of Menteshe and Aydın" 1998, formerly online at http://www2.let.uu.nl/solis/anpt/ejos/pdf/vg07.pdf; accessed 2007; dead site 2010. See further under 1261 and 1269. EB15 gives “ca.1290” for the foundation of the dynasty; presumably this was the accession date of Menteshe’s son Mesud. (*) ‘Turkoman’ can have two meanings: 1. a nomadic Turk living as a pastoralist; and 2. a western Turk, as distinct from the eastern Turkish tribes.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
Above: SW Asia Minor; modern Turkey. Buyuk Menderes = Meander River; Bergama = Pergamon; Izmir = Smyrna; Manisa = Magnesia; Aydin = Tralles; Milas = Miletus, etc, etc. The Türkmen Beyliks The principal dates listed here are variously accession dates or proclaimed dates of independence as given by Nicolle 2008; K Ross at www.friesian.com/mongol, 52
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 accessed 2008; and EB15 = Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th edn. c.1280: Caria: Menteshe Beg: beylik of Menteshe. As noted above, this tribe had begun its conquests in the 1260s under the Seljuks. In 1269 the Romaics withdrew their military forces for a campaign in Europe, and by the end of that year the Menteshe (briefly) controlled the whole coastal area of Caria, including specifically the ex-‘Greek’ or Rhomaioi ports at Trachia, Stadia and Strobilus. Stadia was the ancient Cnidus, modern Tekir, on the long peninsula extending west between Bodrum and Rhodes. They were pushed back around 1280. The Byzantines very briefly retook Miletus (Tk: Milas) in 1294-95 (see there); it became thereafter the Menteshe capital. Cf 1304: Expedition by the Catalan Company: battle with Menteshe. c.1286 or 1299: In the central west: Ya’qub Ali Shir, first Germiyan bey. But this tribe had been active there since c. 1275 (Freely 2008: 112). In about 1275-78 the ghazi chief Ertugrul, father of the Ottoman founder Osman, had formed a small lordship at Sogut, 125 km east of Brusa, under Seljuk - or more likely under Germiyan - suzerainty. This indicates where the Byzantine borderland lay at that time. As it appears, the Germiyan bey Ya’qub first established his seat at Kütahya, SW of Dorylaeum, in 1283-86 following the execution of the Rum sultan Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev [Kaykhusraw III]; but Ya’qub’s independence was not formalised until 1299 (Nicolle 2008: 29, 49). 1292: In Paphlagonia: Yaman Jandar Shams ad-Din: beylik of Candar or Jandar. After taking it from the Byzantines in 1291 (see there), Candar Bey set up his capital at Eflâni, NE of Karabuk and west of Kastamonu. Candar then attacked Kastamonu itself in 1309. His son Süleyman finally captured Kastamonu and Sinop in 1314. 1304, or ca.1308: Ephesus: Muhammad Beg or Mubariz ad-Din Ghazi, first bey of Aydin. The first seat of the dynasty was at Birgi, SE of Smyrna-Izmir. Turks, of whatever tribe, controlled parts of the region inland from Ephesus as early as 1269. At that time the sub-tribe of Muhammad ibn Aydin were still a member of the wider Germiyan tribe. The final military contest around Tralles (the future town of Aydin) took place in the 1280s: see there. Emperor Andronicus recovered, and brought in Greeks to repopulate, a devasted Tralles in about 1282 but immediately upon his departure, the Turks captured it, along with nearby Nyassa, definitively from the Greeks (c.1283-84). In 1304 the empire sent the Catalan Company to recapture the region but although they defeated the Turks they did not stay. When the Catalans departed, the tribe of Aydïn Oghlu Muhammad Beg (Muhammad ibn Aydin), still in the service of Germiyan, proceeded to capture Ephesus and Smyrna, in late 1304 (ODB i:707). The date of 1308 would be the date that he proclaimed his independence. See 1302: Failed relief expedition sent to Magnesia by the Emperor. 1304: Expedition by the Catalan Company. Then c.1313: At Magnesia: Sarukhan Beg, first Sarukhan Bey. The followers of the Sarukhan or Saruhan family took the 53
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 town of Magnesia or Manisa, inland NW of Smyrna, in 1313 and established a lordship (Turkish: beylik), over ex-Byzantine Lydia. Ross and EB15 concur on 1313. 1261-63: Emperor Michael rebuilds a Greek navy. See 1263, 1270. He brought from the Peloponnese to the capital a colony of Tzakones or Lakonians—children, women and men from a Greek tribe of the Morea—in order that the men could serve as marines (“light-armed troops”) on his ships. (‘Tzakones’ was both an ethnic tag and a functional title: Tzakones means ‘light infantry, sentinels’ but also they were a tribe from the eastern Peloponnese, viz Lakonia). This was also in part a move to repopulate the city. When not on board ships, the Tzakones guarded the sea walls. Also serving as marines were the Gasmouloi of the capital (English: ‘Gasmules’), the sons of mixed Latin-Byzantine marriages born during the Latin occupation. “The Gasmules, whom the Byzantines call ‘two-raced’, are born of Byzantine women to Italian men [mainly Venetians]. They derive their zealousness in battle and prudence from the Byzantines and impetuosity and audacity from the Latins” (wrote Pachymeres; quoted by Mirkovic 2001). Under the Treaty of 1277 between Venice and the emperor, the Gasmules will be awarded Venetian citizenship, meaning subjects of the doge (Nicol B&V p.199). To row his galleys, Michael recruited as oarsmen “more than 1,000” Greek (Byzantine) refugees (Geanakoplos 1959: 126, 130). That was enough for only about 10 ships. Pachymeres (Cassidy p. 81) writes of “thousands” of proselontes or oarsmen – if we read this as 3,000 then we have enough to man 20 ships. Cf 1262-63: 48 ships in a combined Byzantine-Genoese fleet. The oarsmen were given substantial farms located at various sites around the N Aegean littoral in return for naval service (Geanakoplos 1959: 126, 130; LBA 1992: 45-48 citing George Pachymeres, De Michaele et Andronico Palaeologis, Bonn, 1835, vol. 1, p. 309. Translation in: Geanakoplos, Byzantium, 305.) There were also significant developments in the army. To stabilise his eastern borders, Michael converted the Greek highlanders of western Anatolia from localised frontier militiamen into campaign troops. From paramilitary border guards, they were transformed into full-time professional soldiers. Formerly rural landowners, they now became town-dwelling pronoiar-soldiers (drawing their income partly directly from the nearby farms that constituted their pronoia and partly as salary from the treasury). But the effect was in fact negative: over several decades (1261-1291) this weakened their economic and psychological bond with the frontier and their morale plummeted (Bartusis LBA pp.54 ff). Cf 1265 and 1275. Pronoiai developed into essentially a licence to tax the citizens who lived within the boundaries of the grant (the paroikoi). Pronoiars (those who had been granted a pronoia) became something like tax collectors, who were allowed to 54
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 keep some of the revenue they collected. (*) The pronoiars were relatively high status town-dwelling professional soldiers who drew their income from a ‘pronoia’ (grant) of rural land-taxes. Most but not all were ethnically Greek; some would be Latins. They did not own the farms but rather were the payees of the peasant-farmers’ taxes. A grant of a pronoia was a grant of revenue, not a land grant. Instead of paying taxes to the central treasury, a nominated set of peasants paid money direct to the pronoiar. Thus Kantakuzenos writes in the 1300s of those soldiers “having incomes from villages” (quoted in LBA p. 163). 1261-1309: Rhodes was ruled by Byzantium. 1262: 1. Thrace: Byzantine troops take the Black Sea ports of Anchialus and Mesembria from the Bulgarians (Lippard p.203). Also 1263: capture of Philippopolis (see there). The Bulgarians were now pushed back to a modest realm south of the Danube; about half of present-day Bulgaria came under Byzantine rule. 2. SW Asia Minor: Byzantine Laodikeia/Ladik/Denizli is captured by Türkmen. Its conqueror, the Karamanid emir Mehmet Beg, bore the title “beg al-Uçi”, literally ‘lord of the borderlands’. Here the ‘beg’ (bey) is ambiguous: it may signify the office he held under the Seljuks or it may mean he aspired to be an independent ruler. Later it became the title of the lords of Menteshe, Aydin, Karaman and Germiyan. But when Mehmet wrote to the Mongol Il-Khan Hulagu seeking recognition, the Mongols responded by directing their vassals the Seljuks to send an army to suppress him. This was duly done (1262) by Mongol and Türkmen troops led by the de facto Seljuk ruler, the pervane (chamberlain) Mu’in ad-Din (Muineddin) Sulayman (Hopwood, “Frontiers’ p.157). Mehmet’s son in law, Ali Bey, who had supported the Mongols in this dispute, was then invested by Hulagu with authority over Ladik and the surrounding area, which thus became an autonomous Turkmen beylik (Freely 2008: 91). The period after 1262 sees the emergence in this region of the Inanj [i.e. Tk: Inanç] tribe, at first loyal to Konya but increasingly independent, even disobedient, in the 1270s. See 1278. 1262-63: Europe: Having built up his army and navy, Michael dispatched his forces in three partly successful western campaigns against: [a] Michael of Epirus (see 1264); [b] the Venetians in the Aegean Islands; and [c] William of Villehardouin, Latin ruler in the Peloponnesus. As a result, Greek Constantinople recovered much of the Morea, including Monemvasia and Mistra, i.e. the south-eastern third of the Peloponnese; and Epirus became a vassal of Byzantium (1264). See 1264. Most of Michael's troops seem to have been ‘mercenaries’ (foreign professionals) hired for a term, including Turks and a large contingent of Cuman 55
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 horse-archers; but there were some native Byzantine regulars, including heavy cavalry, headquartered near the capital, and various Byzantine irregulars from Asia Minor (Geanakoplos 1959: 158; Treadgold 1997: 737, 819). [a] Epirus: Alexios Strategopoulus marched to Macedonia against the Epirotes but was defeated and captured. So Michael dispatched another army under his brother the despotes John (LBA p.48). See 1263. Meanwhile the Bulgarians invaded Thrace; but they were beaten back and the Byzantines occupied (1263) Philippopolis [Plovdiv], Stenimachos and the Black Sea towns of Mesembria and Anchialos (LBA p.53). Cf 1264. [b] Aegean expedition: The protostrator (imperial cup-bearer or groom) Alexios Philanthropenos took the new Genoese-Byzantine fleet with its Gasmule and Lakonian or Tzakonian marines and attacked many of the islands held by the Venetians. Cos, Naxos and Paros were captured and assaults were made on Euboea (Norwich 1996: 220; LBA p.49, citing Pachymeres). [c] The Morea: Mistra was handed over to Byzantium by William as part of the treaty after his defeats, but then William broke the treaty by re-arming. Michael sent an expedition of supposedly “15,000” men (a third were Turkish mercenaries) under his brother, the sevastokrator or ‘imperial companion’ Constantine, the parakoimomenos or grand chamberlain Makrenos or Makroenus and the megas domestikos [army commander] Alexios Philes. Their troops comprised Turkish mercenaries and Greek troops from Magedon in Asia Minor; they were transported to Monemvasia by Genoese ships. They marched from there NW across the Morea towards the Latin capital of Andravida (in the far west). But at Prinitza, SE of Andravida, in the NW of the Morea, Constantine was defeated. Prinitza was near modern Vyliza, itself near Olympia (Geanakoplos 1959: 157; Lurier, Crusaders as Conquerors: The Chronicle of the Morea). See next. Early 1263: The Byzantine expedition to the Morea/Peloponnesus (Monemvasia) – comprised of ‘Greeks’ from Asia Minor and Turkish mercenaries - was carried by Genoese ships, while the small native ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) navy, commanded by Philanthropenos, recovered some Aegean Islands including Naxos from the Venetians. Having ravaged the Cyclades, Philanthropenos occupied the southern coast of the Morea (Lakonia) (Lurier, p.205). -- The battle of Prinitza (west-central Morea): Constantine was on the brink of controlling the whole Morea when his army was surprised and routed by— according to one source—supposedly just “300” or “312” Frankish knights (Geanakoplos 1959: 159, citing the Chronicle of Morea; Lurier pp. 207-208; LBA pp.49-50). -- The army sent to the Morea under the sebastocrator Constantine supposedly numbered “15-20,000 men” (including 6,000 cavalry); or rather that was the number when augmented by local Morean Greeks (“insurgents”) who joined in on the imperial side. It is said that this included “5,000 Turks”. Bartusis (LBA p.263) rightly discounts these figures, arguing that if the Byzantines really had 56
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 15+ thousand men at Prinitza they would have walked all over the 300 Franks. Makroenus had earlier been informed that the emperor had authorized him to hire one thousand more men as reinforcements. This may indicate that the original expedition numbered of the order of only 2-3,000. Cf 1292, Ioannina. [d] Soon after Constantine’s defeat on land, a Venetian fleet of 32 galleys fought a Greek-Genoese fleet of 48 ships—38 galleys and 10 ‘cutters’ or saettie*—near Spetsai off the NE coast of the Morea. As it appears, 13 of these galleys were Byzantine vessels. The imperial-Genoese vessels were scattered, with casualties of about 1,000 men, including a Genoese admiral, as against only 420 Venetians. —Norwich 1996: 220, citing Martino da Canale. Geanakoplos, 1959: 153, thinks that “1,000” is exaggerated; but it is just possible: 20 vessels only x 50 dead (killed or drowned) = 1,000. (*) Singular saettio: ‘darter, fast mover’. Troop types in the late Byzantine army (a) Stratiotai cavalry: armoured lancers. They wore medium armour and a long triangular shield if from the western provinces; or a round shield if from Thessaloniki, Constantinople or Anatolia; (b) Kavallarioi knights: locally born Greco-Franks with heavier armour than the Stratiotai and on larger horses; (c) Vardariotai: light foot and light horse, including elite guards infantry accompanying the emperor, and other light armed infantry, either Tzakones from the Morea or Catalan mercenaries. Bartusis p. 279 explains the Vardariotai as part of the retinue of the emperor, a bodyguard or kind of military police. As pictured in Nicolle, Eastern Europe 1988, Byzantine guards infantrymen wore a kettle-shaped war-hat and all-over mail (as far as the fingers and toes) and they carried a small to medium-size (50-60 cm) round shield. Illustration: GO HERE for an icon of 1295 showing a saint wearing a ‘kettle’-style helmet. His cloth outerwear conceals most of his armour; but where it protrudes at his neck it appears to be lamellar: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Byzantine_icon_StMercurius_1295.jpg. (d) Light horse: Turkish allies, Cumans, Alans, and/or Tourkopouloi [see 1264]; (e) Infantry Kontaratoi: unarmoured spearmen; and (f) Horse and foot archers. The bulk of the infantry were unarmoured archers, although some archers are shown (in illustrations) wearing armour and shooting from behind shields in Turkish fashion. – So says
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 www.umiacs.umd.edu/~kuijt/dba153/byzantinevariant. Also illustrations in LBA. 1262-67: Pisa vs Genoa: five naval battles - Settepozzi, Durazzo, Trapani, Tyre, and St-Jean d'Acre - were fought across the Mediterranean, in which Genoa was generally the loser. 1263: 1. In the Morea, Constantine resumes the offensive. But his Turks, who had not been paid for six months, deserted to the Latin side. Constantine then returned to Constantinople, leaving the chamberlain Makrenos/Makrynos and the general Philes in charge. The Achaians (Latins) and the turncoat Turks under William now came forward to attack, and after a first skirmish in the far west near Andravida, the Byzantines pulled back. The Latins followed and inflicted a major defeat at Makry-Plagi in south-central Morea, NW of Mistra. Makrenos and Philes were both captured. The Latins pressed on to Mistra, which they could not capture, although they ravaged the district (LBA p.51; Norwich 1996: 222). The Byzantine army, provoked by Villehardouin, was compelled to fight at Macryplaghi—in the defile which leads from Megalopolis and Leondari to the Messenian plain—where it was annihilated. General Macrinos (Makrynos) was taken prisoner by the Burgundo-Achaean nobleman Anselin de Toucy, “lord of Mottola” [Italy], who was William’s brother-in-law. Of Burgundian and Greek descent, de Toucy was born in Achaea; Mottola was his Italian fief. — This ended the Byzantine offensive in the Morea. Makrynos’ forces included 1,500 Turkish mercenaries (who deserted to the Franks) and about 2,000 Anatolians (Byzantines); there were also a few Varangians on the imperial side, but probably only a small detachment acting as a body-guard for the commander. Thus a plausible total is 4,000 men, or 2,500 once the Turks defected. It is notable that the Byzantines employed no Latins in this campaign (Chronicle of Morea, cited by Lurier p.204; Bartusis LBA p.50. Norwich 1996: 222 says the Turks numbered an unlikely “5,000”). 2. Thrace: Led by the despot John, the Byzantines re-captured all of the Thracian towns, including Philippopolis/Plovdiv and the fortress of Stenimachos (modern Asenovgrad or Assenovgrad,* immediately south of Plovdiv). This provoked the Bulgarians, who in 1265 appeared in Thrace, supported by numerous ‘Tatar’ [Kipchak] mercenaries, and badly devastated the province. (*) The fortress bears an inscription in Bulgarian, thus - "In 6739 [AD 1231], Indiction 4, Ivan Asen, by God's will Tsar of the Bulgarians, the Greeks and other peoples, installed Alexi Sevast [Alexios Sebastos] here in power and erected this fortress". —Assenovgrad History Museum, “Assen’s Fortress”, at http://asmuseum.hit.bg/askrepost_eng.htm; accessed 2009. 58
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3. SW Aegean: First real battle involving the restored Byzantine navy, a defeat: naval battle with Venice by the imperial alliance of Byzantium and Genoa. As noted earlier, a Venetian fleet of 32 ships intercepted 38 or 48 Byzantine and Genoese warships (39galleysandmaking south for the Morea. The battle took place off the island of Spetsai (Spetses, Settepozzi) near Hydra, south of Athens: off the NE coast of the Morea, and was won by the Venetian side (Nicol B&V p.180; Norwich 1996: 220). See next. 1263-64: 1. The Morea: With the help of Pope Urban IV, Michael VIII concluded peace with his former enemies in 1263 and 1264 respectively. By the terms of the treaties, the Achaian leader William II (Guillaume de Villehardouin) was obliged to cede Mystras, Monemvasia and Maina in the Morea to the Byzantines. (In their correspondence the pope addresses Michael as “illustrious Emperor of the Greeks”.) Michael VIII had relied on an alliance with Genoa against Venice and the Latin states of the Aegean Sea, but in the end he made treaties with both Genoa and Venice, seeking to maintain a balance of power advantageous to the Empire. — Wikipedia, ‘Michael VIII’, accessed 2009. 2. The naval failure of 1263 caused Michael to lose confidence in the Genoese. So he discharged about 60 Genoese ships whose sailors’ wages he was paying, and sent them back to Genoa. He expelled the Genoese colony from Constantinople; they were required to move to Herakleia, on the Thracian coast of the Sea of Marmara (Nicol B&V p.180; Norwich 1996: 221). Cf 1265 – negotiations with Venice. 1263-68: Serbia, western Kosovo: Famous mural paintings (frescoes) in the elegantlyconstructed monastery church of Sopochani, built for king Stefan Urosh I. Interestingly, the apostle Philip and other ancient saints are painted beardless, while Urosh himself and a procession of local bishops are painted with beards: Urush has a very dark and quite full beard, and the bishops have full grey beards. At this time the town of Rasa or Rasha was the centre of the Serbian domains, and the region to the east close upon Bulgarian Nish was a borderland. The intersection-point between Rascia/Serbia, Byzantium and Bulgaria lay SW of Bulgarian Sofia-Serdica, i.e. between Bulgarian Sofia and Byzantine Skopje. The southern border with Byzantium lay beyond the town of Prizren/Prishtina. Skopje was the NW outpost of the Byzantines. 1263-91: Constantinople: According to El-Cheikh, Ibn Jubayr says that the Byzantine emperor rebuilt Maslama’s mosque in 455/1263 [sic: AD 1077?]. The mosque has not survived. 59
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The historian Ibn ‘Abd al-Zahir (d. AH 692/1291-92) states that while the ambassador from Egypt was touring Constantinople with ‘al-Ashkari’ (“the Laskarid”: Theodore II, d. 1258), they came to the mosque built centuries earlier by Maslama. Saladin had wanted at one time to reconstruct this mosque, but the Byzantines had refused. According to Ibn ‘Abd al-Zahir, God postponed this deed, so that it would be God’s reward for al-Zahir, and a glory for his state. Thus, as late as the late thirteenth century, and despite the recent destruction of the city by the Latins, Constantinople’s symbolic importance had not diminished. — Nadia Maria El-Cheikh, ‘The Islamic View of Late Byzantium’, at http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/islam-byzantium.asp. 1264: fl. Roger Bacon, English friar and philosopher. Between 1237 and 1245 he taught at the university of Paris. Otherwise he was based mainly in Oxford. He wrote on mathematics, astronomy, astrology, optics, alchemy and physiology. 1264: 1. Greece: Emperor Michael Palaiologos personally led a large force towards Macedonia in a display of military strength that caused Epirus to submit to him. The Despot Michael Angelos accepted the nominal suzerainty of Palaiologos and agreed to strengthen the bond by dynastic marriages. This submission reconstituted the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire. But the Latins still controlled most of the Peloponnese, and the Venetians continued to hold Crete. Meanwhile Bulgaria requests help from the Kipchaks or so-called "Tartars" of the 'Golden Horde'* in preesnt-day Ukraine-southern Russia; a Kipchak detachment raids into Byzantine Thrace. (*) The western-most of the four great khanates into which the Mongol Empire broke when Kubilai ascended the throne (1260). Also known as the "Kipchak Empire" because many of its subjects were Kipchak Turks. It was formed In 1242, when Batu, son of Genghis, established his capital at Sarai, commanding the lower stretch of the Volga River. The Tatar incursion into Thrace A joint Bulgarian-Tatar (‘Russian Mongol’) expedition invaded Thrace up to the vicinity of Constantinople. They rescued the exiled Seljuk sultan Izz al-Din (Izzeddin) Kaykaus II from Byzantine Aenos (Enez) where Michael had ordered him confined (LBA p.53). — Nogai, a general of the ‘Golden Horde’ (Kipchaks or “Tatars”), led 2,000 men across the Danube, sending the Byzantine forces fleeing before him. Then, joining up with the Bulgarians, he and the Bulgarian Tsar devastated the towns of Thrace. Ainos, the Thracian town at the Aegean mouth of the Ebrus or Maritsa river, withstood an attack by Bulgarians and ‘Tatars’ but the garrison (which included Varangians: English-born élite infantrymen) chose to surrender Izzeddin (Freely 2008: 90). See 1266. — Marching back through Thrace, Michael has to flee from a raiding force of 60
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Golden Horde ‘Mongols’ (Kipchaks), whom Kaykaus (the ex-sultan detained by Michael at Aenus) had called to his aid. The Kipchaks rescued Kaykaus, but Kaykaus’ own Turkish retinue of about 1,000 defected to Michael, and he enrolled them as a regiment in the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) army under the name “Turcopouli” (Treadgold 1997: 738). Because of its location, Constantinople could not be bypassed by traders or envoys plying between Egypt and the Golden Horde in Russia. Trade had to pass through the straits controlled by the Byzantine emperor who could, and on occasion did, detain envoys. One such instance occurred in 1265 when relations between Berke, the khan of the Golden Horde, and Michael VIII Palaeologus became strained to the point of open hostility. The probable cause was the detention by the emperor of the Seljuk sultan `Izz al-Din Kaykawus II who, out of favour with his Mongol overlord Hulegu, had fled to Constantinople, where he was coolly received by Michael VIII, reluctant to antagonize the Il-khan. `Izz al-Din was imprisoned until, in the spring of 1265 (or more probably 1264), he was liberated by a coalition of the troops of Nogai (Mangu) and Constantine Tech/Tich, tsar of Bulgaria. The Mongol troops then ravaged much of Thrace and Bulgaria. —Denis Sinor, ‘Mongols in the West’ , www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/sinor1.htm. See 1266. A detachment of the Varangian Guard was instrumental in freeing the former Seljuk sultan Azz-ed-Din [sic: Izzeddin], when the Bulgarian Tsar ambushed the Byzantine army and besieged them in the small town of Ainos in Thrace. In return for Azz-ed-Din's freedom, the Tsar granted the garrison their lives and allowed them to keep the town. A relief force arrived the next day and the Varangians returned to a furious emperor, who had them flogged, dressed in women's clothes and led on donkeys around the streets of Constantinople. Source: http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/battlehonours.html, accessed 2009. 2. Caria: Emperor Michael’s brother John campaigns in SW Asia Minor. His troops pushed the Turks out of the lower Meander or Menderes valley and retook Tralles, the modern Aydin, inland from Ephesus. He also took control of the town of Magedon and the Kaistros or Cayster valley* (LBA p.57). See 1269. In addition to Latins and Cumans, John’s army included ‘Greek’ troops from Thrace, Macedonia and Asia Minor (LBA p.31, citing Pachymeres). (*) From north to south the three key rivers of the Thrakesion region were the Hermon or Hermos, the Cayster/Kaistros and the Meander. The Hermos (modern Gediz) enters the Aegean near Smyrna. The Kaistros enters the Aegean near Ephesus. The Meander enters the Aegean near Miletos. Magedon, a town in ancient Lydia, lies north of the upper Hermos, near Saittai/Saettae. Tralles lies inland in the Meander valley. –Cf notes to Akropolites, trans. Macrides 2007: 153, 382. 61
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
3. Syria: Bar Hebraeus becomes Jacobite (Monophysite) maphrian [patriarch] of the East. 1264-67: Prince John governs the SW region of Asia Minor, trying to build it up; but when he departs, the Türkmen reinvade. See 1265 and 1269. “The reconquest of Constantinople was, in fact, a disaster for the empire's Anatolian possessions, since with the transfer of imperial attention back to Constantinople, the Asian provinces were neglected just as the Mongols weakened Seljuq hegemony over the nomadic Turkmen tribes, allowing them unrestricted access to the ill-defended Byzantine districts. Most of the southwestern and central coastal regions were lost by about 1270.” —‘Anatolia’, (2010): In Encyclopædia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article44366. 1265: 1. Marriage alliance with Mongol-ruled Persia: Upon his succession, Abaqa or Abaka, 1265-82, second of the Mongol Khans of Persia (the “Ilkhanate”), received (8 February 1265) the hand of Maria Despoina Palaiologina, the ‘natural’ and adopted daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, in marriage (Lippard 1984: 197; she was the daughter of his mistress, a Diplovatatzina). Hence “Mary of the Mongols”, the latterday name of the Theotokos Panagiotissa, the monastery and church she later built or rebuilt in Constantinople. See 1266. The Mongols effectively governed as far as the borders of Byzantium, the Seljuk king Ghiyath ad-Din Kay Khusrau III (1265–1284) being simply the nominal or puppet ruler of all of Anatolia. More formally, we can say that the Seljuks nominally ruled west of Caesarea, while the Ilkhans imposed direct rule east of Caesarea. The intersection point of the realms of the Muslim Seljuks, the Christian Armenians of Cilicia and the ‘pagan’ Ilkhans lay immediately south of Caesarea. 2a. The East: Emperor Michael, writes Lindner, “recalled troops serving in Anatolia to deploy them in the Balkans. Future Anatolian operations were undertaken by expeditions from Europe, not by local garrisons. “To the populace, then, Byzantine military responses were tardy and manned by soldiers sharing no ties with, and perhaps little care for, the land and citizens to be protected. The military forces on the borders, the akritai [local militia], lost their privileges and many consequently deserted. In 1265 Michael confiscated lands held from the state by some akritai and replaced their revenues with a pension of 40 hyperpyra (gold coins). He also tried to enrol the akritai in the regular army. His brother John persuaded him to reconsider, but the akritai were not convinced of their emperor's good intentions” (Lindner). It was this mismanagement and neglect of the Anatolian borderlands 62
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 that in Pachymeres’ judgement ultimately caused the collapse of the empire (Cassidy p.332). 2b. NW Asia Minor: As the Byzantine Empire continued the re-conquest of Latin territory, Turks under Ertoghrul/Ertugrul—father of the Ottoman founder Osman I—began their raids into Byzantine western Anatolia. Tradition says that Ertugrul at first commanded just 400 horsemen or families (one family supplying one horseman). Sogut* and Eskisehir (Dorylaeum) were taken (or settled) in 1265 and 1289 respectively [Fleet 2009: 118] (others say 1277). In 1265 Osman was a boy aged seven. Michael Palaeologus was unable to deal with these early setbacks due to the need to transfer troops to the West. (*) As the crow flies, Sogut is 60 km SE of Nicaea-Iznik or 125 km east of Brusa: Cf 1302. 3. The West: Failed treaty negotiations: Byzantium’s attempt to strike a treaty with Venice was thwarted (1265) by the doge Zeno's arrogance: he refused to address Michael as 'emperor of the Romans' and insisted on maintaining his own title (adopted in 1204) as 'Lord of a quarter and half-a-quarter of the whole Romaic imperium' ["Quartae Partis et Dimidiae Totius Imperii Romaniae Dominator"]. - Michael in retaliation gave (1267) Venice's rivals, the Genoese, commercial rights which threatened Venice's own prosperity (Freeman 2004). Cf 1266. 4. Nikephoros I Doukas Angelos, the future Despot of Epirus (d. 1295/96), married Anna Palaiologina Kantakouzene, Basilissa and later Regent of Epirus (born ca 1244/50, died 1313). 5. Outremer (Latin Palestine): The Muslims under Baibars, the Mamluk sultan of Egypt, take Latin-ruled Caesarea Maritima, the Hospitaller fortress Arsuf, and Haifa. He razes Caesarea to the ground (NCMH p.618). fl. "Sa'di", Persian poet and popular moralist. Populariser of the ghazal form of verse. Born in Shiraz, studied in Baghdad, he became a wanderer until returning to Shiraz in 1256. In this period the Khwarizmi Shahdom was destroyed by the Mongols [cf above: sack of Baghdad 1258]. Territory in 1265-70 The leading powers of western Eurasia/North Africa were the post-Mongol ‘Golden Horde’ (Kipchak Empire), ruling west to modern Ukraine; the postMongol Ilkhan Empire ruling west to Rum (Turkish Asia Minor); and the Mamluks in Egypt. Among the Christian powers, the four strongest on paper looked to be: Castile, France, Hungary and the Christian Roman Empire of the Greeks (which we call Byzantium). The ‘German Empire’ had lost its unity and 63
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 become just a collection of small states. The Roman (Byzantine) Empire was now centred on the Aegean, controlling somewhat more territory in Europe than in Asia. The Greeks ruled the northwestern third of Asia Minor; part of the Morea; and much of the northern Balkans—southern Bulgaria, Thrace and Macedonia—including a toe-hold as far as the Adriatic. Constantinople also has suzerainty over Epirus (its vassal since 1262) and thereby the whole lower Adriatic coast. A line from Skopje running east to Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and thence to the coast at Burgas broadly indicates the N border. Serdica [Sofia] and Turnovo were held by Bulgaria, while Skopje and Philippopolis were held by the Byzantines. In other words, Byzantium held the bottom third of modern Bulgaria. From west to east, the empire’s neighbours were: 1 Serbia; 2 the subordinate Despotate of Epiros; 3 the (small) County of Cephalonia; 4 the Frankish or Latin Principality of Achaia (= the northern two-thirds of the Peloponnese, bordering Byzantine Morea); 5 the Duchy of Athens; 6 the principality of Wallachian Thessaly; 7 Venetian-ruled Euboea and Crete; 8 the Venetian-ruled 'Duchy of the Archipelago' in the Cyclades, west of Byzantine Rhodes: see 1269; 9 Bulgaria; and, in Asia: 10 the Seljuq sultanate of Rum (subordinated to post-Mongol Persia). The borders of Bulgaria and the Seljuk domains were about equidistant from Constantinople, the Turks being slightly closer, namely east of Nicaea. In Asia, comparing the position in 1265 with that in 1214, we see that Turkish tribes have advanced west into the upper and middle Sangarius basin—the region between Nicaea and Ankara—and now control, or at least they dominate, the Dorylaeon [Eskisehir] and Amorium region. The Turkish-Byzantine border lay just east of Nicaea on the western curve of the lower Sangarius River, or at least that was the extent of the contested marchland between Byzantium and the Turks of the Sahib-ata tribe.* On a positive note, the Byzantines controlled rather more of Caria (SW Asia Minor) in 1265 than they did in 1214, albeit that Caria was being threatened by the Turks of the Inanj tribe. (*) Named for ‘Sahip Ata’ or Fakhr al-Din Ali, a leading official at the Seljuq court; the beylik in question was established in the period 1265-75 by his sons, hence “Sahipata-ogullari”. Hopwood, “Frontier” p.155, lists the Byzantine frontier forts as: Leuke/Lefke on the Sangarius River just east of Nicaea; Melangeia [Malagina], between Lefke and Vezirkhan/Vesirhan at the curve in the middle Sangarius; Kabaia/Geyve NE of Nicaea; and the sites named in the Ottoman chronicles as Cadirlu, LeblebeciHisar [elsewhere glossed as Lubluce**] and Kara Çepis [Cadirlu and Kara Çepis unlocated on my detailed map of Turkey, MO’R]. Turkish leblebeci ‘fruit/nut market/seller’, hisar = ‘castle, fortress, citadel’; kara = ‘black, noble’. (**) Or Lüblüce, located on the western slope of Mt Olympus, i.e. south of Bursa, according to Nicolle 2008: 37.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Byzantium held the SW of Asia Minor until after 1267. But on the borders of Rum and Byzantium thereafter, there would form various small but aggressive Turkish ghazi* principalities, namely Germiyan [supplanting the Sahib-ata from 1278: see there], Menteshe [see 1269: replacing the Inanj] and Aydin [inland from Ephesus: see 1269, 1280 and 1282]. (*) Ghazi: ‘frontier holy-warriors’ or jihadists. It is disputed whether the religious motivation of Turkish raiders was dominant or decisive. Some would say that the idea of ‘ghazis’ is a later construct, proposing that at the time the main motive for raiding was plunder. It is also argued that the Turks gained much territory by ‘osmosis’: the Greek peasants preferred the lighter taxation of the ‘infidel’, and were in many cases, because of that, ready to change their religion. 1266: 1. The north: Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, anxious to make a peace alliance, gave his other illegitimate or adopted daughter Euphrosyne (Eirene) Palaeologina to Nogai, de facto* khan of the Golden Horde [Kipchak Empire], as a wife. Nogai’s son by Euphrosyne, Chaka, will become tsar of Bulgaria. See 1298. (*) He never formally assumed the title, serving in turn five khans who were his nominal rulers. 2. d. Helena Doukaina, Manfred’s widow, Greek-born former Queen of the ‘Two Sicilies’, 1258–1266. 3. The Crimea: Traders from Genoa arrived and purchased the town of Theodosia from the ruling Golden Horde (‘Kipchak empire’). They established a flourishing trading settlement called Caffa or Kaffa, which will virtually monopolise trade in the Black Sea area and serve as the chief port and administrative centre for the Genoese settlements around the Sea. An Italian outpost on the edge of the vast Kipchak empire, it came to house ( - after the plague of 1347) one of Eurasia’s biggest slave markets - exporting mainly Russians and other Slavs via the Bosporus to Egypt. Slavery With the recovery of Constantinople, there was, once again, a political and to some degree economic reorientation toward Egypt. Of primary importance to the Mamluks, and also important for the nexus of relationships between the Byzantines and the Muslims, was the slave trade, which brought to Egypt slaves (mamluk, ‘owned’*) for its armies from the Crimea through Constantinople. Almost immediately after the recovery of the capital, Emperor Michael VIII and 65
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the Egyptian sultan Baibars exchanged embassies regarding the importation of slaves from the Black Sea. Laiou comments that Gregoras (Bonn ed.), 1:101–2, records the Egyptians only needed to sail to the northern coast of the Black Sea, i.e. to Kaffa, once a year, to procure slaves. —Laiou 2001. (*) The mamluks or slave soldiers, many of whom were Kipchak Turks, were slaves only in relation to the sultan; they stood far higher in social status than free-born Egyptians, including other troops. —Daniel Pipes, ‘Military Slaves: A Uniquely Muslim Phenomenon’, 2000; online 2010 at http://www.danielpipes.org/448/military-slaves-a-uniquely-muslimphenomenon F Morrisson & Cheynet, in Laiou ed., 2002: 848, have collated the recorded prices of slaves sold by the Genoese at Pera [Galata: facing Constantinople on the north] (1281) and Kaffa on the north coast of the Black Sea (1289) and by the Venetians on Crete (1300). For comparison: In these years the cost of a horse ranged from 12 to 91 hyperpyra (gold coins); median 25. - Pera: median price for a slave: 20-23 hyperpyra. That is, same as a horse. Highest: 31 for a “white” slave woman. Lowest: 6.5 for a boy aged 6-7. Some are referenced as “white”; one was an Abkhasi. - Kaffa: average 25-40 hyperpyra. - Crete: median 20-22. Some are referenced as “Turks”. (a) S Italy passes from German or Hohenstaufen to French or Angevin rule: 40 years old Charles of Anjou, adjectival Angevin*, brother of the French king, inherits the title ‘king of Sicily’ (and Naples) and conquers S Italy. In this campaign Provencal, French, Flemish and N Italian troops under Charles defeat and kill Manfred, the German king of Sicily, at Benevento. Manfred’s troops were Germans, S Italians and Arabs, i.e. Italian and Sicilian Saracens. Naples is chosen as the capital. Angevin S Italy will become a major enemy of the Byzantines. See 1267, 1271, 1274. The use of some plate armour – supplementing their mail hauberks by the German knights at Benevento was a novelty; it did not come into wide use until the next century. (*) The English branch of the family is called ‘Plantagenet’. (b) Iberia: Aragon takes Moorish Murcia. 1266-68: The Levant: The Mamluk Egyptians attack and conquer Latin-ruled inner 66
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Palestine, the area NW of the Sea of Galilee: they take the Templar castles of Safed [east of Acre], Toron [ESE of Tyre] and Beaufort [Beq valley: near the intersection-point of modern Lebanon, Israel and Syria] (Nicholson 2001: 35). The Latin realm is reduced to a coastal fringe. See 1268: Antioch. 1266-70: France briefly issues its own gold coins, but soon abandoned the experiment. Cf 1285. 1267: 1. Treaty of Viterbo: Charles of Anjou, the French King of Sicily and S Italy, strikes an alliance with Baldwin, the former Latin emperor (Fine 1994: 170). Charles promises to help Baldwin retake Constantinople in return for lordship over the Peloponnesus. Thus Achaia becomes a dependency of Sicily. The Angevins (Franco-Italians) seize Corfu and move to replace the ‘Orthodox’ [Greek] Church with the ‘Catholic’ [Latin] one. Fearing further moves from Charles, emperor Michael makes peace with the Genoese, whose help he expects to need. They are allowed to re-establish their colony in Constantinople, or rather: outside Constantinople, at Galata on the northern shore of the Golden Horn, and to set up a trading post in the Crimea. Cf 1269. — Feeling envious, the formerly hostile Venetians now decided to re-open negotiations with Michael. Whereas earlier the Doge had addressed Michael using the insulting form ‘Emperor of the Greeks’, he was now ready to return to the correct title ‘Emperor of the Romans’ (Nicol B&V p.191). Cf 1268: trety signed. 2. fl. George Acropolita or Akropolites. His historical work, the Annales, embraces the period from the capture in 1204 of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade by the Latins to its recovery in 1261 by Michael Palaeologus, thus forming a continuation of the work of Nicetas Choniates. It is valuable as written by a contemporary, whose official position as great logothete [megas logothetes or chancellor], military commander and confidential ambassador afforded him frequent opportunities of observing the course of events. In 1256 he had been made priator, a position which made him responsible for the Nicaean armies based in western Macedonia. He is often the only source available for particular battles, and gives detailed descriptions of campaigns and other events (Encyc. Britt, 1911: www.1911encyclopedia.org/Acropoltta). Cf 1257. 1268: 1. Syria: 18 May: The Mamelukes under sultan Baybars capture Antioch from the Latins (the crusader Principality of Antioch-Tripoli). They razed the city and killed or enslaved the population, although Prince Bohemund was able to escape (Setton et al. 2006: 577). Cf below: 1268-71.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 As a result, in the north the Mameluke border now extended to just south of Syrian Alexandretta, which was part of the kingdom of Lesser Armenia (Cilicia). To the south, in Palestine-Lebanon, there were two remaining Christian enclaves: the kingdom of Acre and the (reduced) principality of Tripoli. 2. Treaty with Venice: Michael Paleologus again permitted the Venetians into Constantinople in 1268 although they were still at war with his Genoese allies, and peace was concluded in 1270. The Genoese took part in these negotiations more at the order of Louis IX of France, who needed their fleet for his ill-fated crusade to North Africa, than out of conviction. The emperor allowed the Venetians to return to the city in 1268, but the Genoese retained their increasingly powerful base at Pera (Galata) and the Venetian dominance of the Bosphorus was broken. The Italians could fight each other in the Black Sea and the Aegean, but the treaty provided they must stay at peace between Abydos at the entrance to the Hellespont and the Black Sea exit of the Bosporus (Nicol B&V p.191). — In place of permanent quarters in Constantinople, the Venetians were required to rent houses, bakeries and baths in whatever part of the city they wished. — The treaty provided that Venice must not transport the troops of any other power against the empire; Crete was left in Venetian hands as were their outposts in the Morea. — Durres [Dyrrhachium] in modern Albania was restored to the empire. 1268-71: Syria: The Egyptian Mamluks under sultan Baybars effectively end Latin Christian rule in the Levant: destruction of Antioch/Antakya 1268 and capture of the great castle Krak des Chevaliers 1271. Cf 1289. In latter-day Arab historiography, Baybars is a greater hero than Saladin, because the latter took a more accommodating attitude towards the West Europeans. 1269: 1. Bithynia: Lindner writes thus concerning of NW Asia Minor: “By 1269 travellers [from Nicomedia] could no longer reach Pontic Heraclea [modern Eregli] overland in safety, thanks to the Turkish nests along the [lower] Sakarya River [which exits into the Black Sea west of Heraclea]. The town was accessible by sea alone [i.e via the Bosphoros]. The Turkish occupation of the lower Sakarya implies that by ca. 1280 the Turks had broken through the network of castles erected [in the 1100s] by the later Comneni” ( - but others believe that Byzantium held the lower Sakarya until after 1300). Cf 1291. 2. Caria: Disintegration of the empire in SW Asia Minor: The Menteshe-oglu 68
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Turks under Menteshe Bey invade, or better: they raid, the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) ports in Caria [SE Asia Minor], namely Trachia, Stadia [ancient Cnidus, modern Tekir: on the long peninsula extending west between Bodrum and Rhodes], and Strobilus. Evidently this was just a temporary or partial irruption; permanent Turkish rule was not established quite yet. Cf 1277-80. The Menteshe capital is later (in the 1300s) established at Milas, ancient Mylasa: NE of modern Bodrum. The despot John had campaigned against the Turks along the Meander River, at Tralles [modern Aydin, east of Ephesus], and along the Cayster - i.e., NW of Ephesus - and at Magedon. But as Vryonis (1971) notes, “the army, which succeeded in an extensive reassertion of imperial authority in parts of Caria in 1269, was soon recalled to Europe and so the Turks re-entered” (1270). The Meander valley was depopulated, the area of Caria to the south was completely lost, and Tralles was destroyed (Pachymeres, "De Michaele Palaeologo", VI, 20 and 21, in P.G. [Patrologica Graeca], CXLIII, 929-34). Cf 1277-80 and 1278. This was before an independent emirate was declared; formally the Türkmen of Caria acknowledged Seljuk rule. 3. The Byzantines under the ethnic Italian admiral Licario/s recover the North Aegean Islands from the Latins; also the Dodecanese islands in the SE Aegean (Rhodes etc) - but Venice retained the Naxos islands. The effect of this was to establish a notional line running diagonally through the middle of the Aegean: Constantinople ruled the islands north-east of the line and the Venetians ruled to the south-west. 4. Charles of Angevin (French) Sicily sets up an anti-Byzantine alliance with Hungary and Serbia. See 1270-71. 1269: Africa: The Marinids of Fez take Marrakech and bring Almohad rule to an end. As a result, there are three kingdoms in N Africa, all under Berber dynasties: the Marinids of Fez (E. Morocco); the Zayyids of Tlemcen (Algeria) and the Hafsids in Tunisia. c. 1269-70: The Capital: It was probably at this time that Michael, under the threat of invasion by the Franco-Sicilian king Charles of Anjou, reinforced the sea walls of Constantinople, creating a double-line of walls (Geanakoplos 1959: 129). 1270: The Aegean: The Byzantine navy sailed to Negroponte, as Venetian-ruled Evvia/Euboea was called, and laid siege to the town of Oreos. Bartusis notes that this was the first opportunity to demonstrate that the empire did not need Genoese help to wage sea battles. The fleet of 24 imperial galleys defeated a Latin fleet of 20 galleys (LBA p.59). 1270: The earliest record of a sea chart, shown to Louis IX, king of France, 69
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 during preparations for the 8th Crusade - to N Africa. Cf 1275.
Above: The Aegean in 1265. Venice ruled Modon [Gk Methoni], Euboea [Negropont] and Crete. The East and the Aegean Region in 1270 GO HERE for a map of the Empire in this period: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/byzantine_empire_1265.j pg In the East there were three great powers: 1 the Mongol-founded Khanate of the Golden Horde or ‘Kipchak Empire’ which dominated in the north, from the lower Danube and the Caucasus to beyond the Aral Sea; 2 the Mamluk sultanate of Egypt and Syria; and 3 the Mongol Il-Khanate of Persia, ruling from our eastern Turkey and Syria in the west to present-day Afghanistan in the east (map in Nicolle 2008: 25). The Byzantine empire, apparently restored to some of its old glory, now ruled about half the Balkans and about a quarter of Asia Minor. On paper it looked as strong as most states in the West, including Castile, France and Hungary. 70
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Somewhat stronger-looking, however, was the German (“pre-Hapsburg”) Empire which extended from Tuscany to Denmark (cf Times Atlas 1994: 88). But Germany was really little more than a jumble of feudal fiefs owing distant allegiance to a ruler on the Rhine. In Greece, Byzantine Epirus was separated from Byzantine Morea by several Latin principalities: the Latin (French or Angevin) Principality of Achaia, the Latin Duchy of Athens and Venetian-ruled Euboea (Italian: Negroponte). Most of the Aegean islands, including Rhodes, acknowledged Byzantine authority, although Venice dominated the south Aegean, ruling Crete and the Naxos archipelago. -- In Europe Byzantium’s neighbours were: the Kingdom of ‘Sicily’ - Angevin South Italy – with its capital at Naples [see 1271-72]; the small state of Serbia; and several Bulgarian statelets. -- On the Asian side, the upper Sakarya River was a disputed marchland; but in broad terms Byzantium ruled east of a line from Amastris in western Paphlagonia to just west* of Laodiceia in central Caria. As noted, Rhodes too was Byzantine. (*) Others say that all of Caria was controlled by the Turks by 1269. Mehmet Beg had captured Laodicia/Denizli during the 1260s. The Turkish Karaman beylik (Iconium) and the Rum Seljuks (Kayseri) controlled the larger part of Anatolia, both under vassalage to the Ilkhan Mongols of Persia. Several ghazi beyliks were de facto independent, namely Karaman, and (in the west, bordering Byzantium) those of the Inanj [ie Tk: Inanç] in Caria (the Inanç, Inanj or ‘Inanch-oglu’ of Ladik/Laodiceia: Denizli) and (ca. 1275:) the Sahib-ata in the Lakes region (inland central-west) (the ‘Sahibata’ of Afyon-Karahisar) under the rule of the sons of the vizier Fahrettin Ali (Freely 2008: 92).** Also, in the north, the Choban in the Ankara-Sinope region (the Choban-oglu of Kastamonu). The region between Kutahya and Ankara was a no man’s land contested between Greeks and and Turks. In the SW, Byzantium controlled most of the valley of the Meander, but the Inanç ruled to the coast opposite Rhodes (map in Nicolle 2008: 30). Thus the weakened Seljuk sultan at Kayseri effectively controlled only the north-eastern quarter of Anatolia. Cf 1271, 1280. (**) ‘Sahipata’ was the sobriqet of the Seljuk vizier Fahreddin Ali ibn Husein (Fakhr al-Din Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Abu Bakr). A general idea at least of the relative distribution of the Turcomans on the Byzantine frontiers can be gained from the no doubt exaggerated figures provided by the Andalusi geographer Ibn Said, fl. 1263. [a] ‘200,000 tents’ of the Inanj or Inanç in the Tonguzlu valley, ie around Denizli or Ladik, ancient Laodicaea = SW; the far upper Meander River: see 1278; [b] ‘100,000 tents’ of the Choban in the Kastamoni region and Paphlagonia = the central-north: see 1290; and [c] ‘30,000 tents’ of the Sahib-ata in the Afyon*-Kutahya (Cotyaeum): the westcentral region, SE of modern Eskisehir, NE of Afyon. Cf 1280-81: forerunners of 71
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the Ottomans. (*) Afyon or Afyonkarahisar: Greek Akroinon or Nicopolis; NW of the Great Lakes Region. The beylik was named after Fakhr al-Din Ali [Fahreddin Ali ibn Husein], better known as Sâhib Ata or Sâhip Ata, who held a number of high offices at the court of the Seljuq Sultans of Rum from the 1250s until his death in 1288. His sons formed the ghazi outpost in ca. 1275. 1270-71: Byzantium vs Charles of Anjou: Michael dispatches (1270) an army to the Peloponnesus (Achaia) against the local Latins, and Charles sends forces to help them (1272). It is not clear who the imperial commander was: possibly Alexios Philanthropenos. The Byzantine army was a “large” one, says Geanakoplos, comprised of Anatolian Greeks, Byzantino-Cumans and Turks, commanded probably by the emperor’s nephew the Protostrator Alexios Philanthropenus. The Byzantine troops slowly ravaged the Morea—for two years, 1270-72— but neither side wished to fight head-on and so no major engagements took place with the local Frankish barons (Geanakoplos 1959: 229; Lurier 1964: 261, n85). See 1271-72, 1272 and 1274. 1271: 1. Marriage alliance with Bulgaria: Maria, the daughter of Michael’s sister Eulogia, is married to the Bulgarian tsar (Lippard p.203). 2. Muslim uprising in Anatolia against the pagan Mongols, i.e. local officials of the Ilkhanids of Iran. The Mamelukes sent aid to the Anatolian Turks, but the Mongols brutally suppressed the revolt (Inalcik p.6). 1271 = 200 YEARS AFTER THE BATTLE OF MANZIKERT, the disastrous defeat that allow the first Turks to settle in Asia Minor. Cf 1280-81. 1271-72: 1. The W Balkans: An earthquake wrecks Byzantine Dyrrhachium (Durazzo); the city is then occupied (1271) by the forces of Charles, the French (Angevin) king of Naples. Charles posed as the pope's champion, claiming he was leading a crusade against the schismatic 'Greeks' (see 1281). In February 1271 Charles began to expand his Adriatic possessions by capturing Durazzo, and he soon controlled much of the Albanian interior. In February 1272 he proclaimed himself King of Arberia or Albania and appointed Gazzo Chinardo as his Vicar-General (Jacques 1995: 166). 1272: Epirus: forces of the King of Naples occupy Durrës (Dyrrhachium) and establish the Kingdom of Arbëria, which is sometimes called, inaccurately, the first ‘Albanian’ kingdom. The kingdom covered the land of Albania but not the people of that name. The non-Slavic Albanians* were still in their highland fastnesses and do not appear as historical actors until the 1300s. See 1280-81 and 1318. 72
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
(*) Traditionally scholars have seen the Albanian language as the descendant of Illyrian, although this hypothesis has been challenged by some linguists, who maintain that it derives from ancient Dacian or Thracian. 2. The Varangian guards regiment, which no longer had a battle-field role, was probably all but entirely English by 1272, when Michael VII specifically refers to it as comprising Englinvarrangoi. See also 1272 below. (Earlier, in the 12th century, we find Choniates and Scutariotes referring to Inglinoi troops.) —Theban Tribunal Sourcebook, “Byzantine mercenaries”, at http://www.geocities.com/leucretia/bginfo/social/merc.html; accessed 2009. The Varangians did fight in or with the field army as late as 1329, at Pelekanos: see there; but presumably this was a one-off performance. 3. Palestine: The Crusader remnant at Acre receives assistance from the English prince Edward; the Egyptian ruler Baybars arranges for an assassin to try to kill Edward (this fails). 1271-82: In these years there was a stable three-way alliance between Byzantium, the ‘Golden Horde’ and Mamluk Egypt. 1272: 1. Greece: King Charles of Sicily sends his chancellor Beaumont with 700 cavalry and infantry to the Morea to aid the Frankish barons fighting against the Byzantine expeditionary force. The Byzantines, based at Mistra, declined to engage in open battle, and eventually Beaumont departed (Geanakoplos 1959: 230). 2. Michael concluded treaties with the ‘Tatars’: the Ilkhanid Mongols of Persia, and the Mamluks in 1272. The Latin crusader enclaves at Acre and Tripoli, surrounded by Mamluk territory, were tiny. And the Egyptians and Persians had only a very limited knowledge of the rising Western powers, including the German Empire. So, “despite the decline of Byzantium, the emperor was still considered [by the Muslim rulers] as head of Christendom, the successor of Alexander the Great of Macedonia and the chief protector of the Christian faith. Such perception was demonstrated not only by the Mamluk but also the Ilkhanid chancery. However, the Mamluks brought about an innovation: they recognised the concept of the socalled Byzantine Commonwealth, an association of the Orthodox states with the Byzantine emperor as its head”. —Korobeinikov 2004. 3. Date of Michael’s prostagma setting out the rights of his son Andronicus II as co-emperor. He say that in various processions and at formal receptions the emperors should be accompanied by several sets of guards: the axe-armed Varangians and the sword-armed ethnic-Greek Paramonai (their first-ever 73
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 mention) with the paramilitary or court police called the Vardariotai, possibly ethnic Hungarians or Hungaro-Greeks, leading the way (the last-ever mention of the Vardariots) (Bartusis pp. 276, 279, 283). Latin Armies The size of North Italian armies may be noted for comparison with the numbers cited below under 1273. Florence’s army at Montaperti in 1260 numbered some 15,600 men including 1,600 knights. The allied Guelf army led by Florence at Campaldino in 1289 numbered about 11,600 men including 1,600 cavalry. These were major battles, so in more ordinary clashes the numbers must have commonly been under 7,000 (cf LBA p.264). 1273: (Or 1275. Treadgold, State, p.740 prefers 1273:) Rebellion by ‘the Bastard’ John I Doukas of Thessaly and the megas konostaulos or ‘grand constable’ (cavalry commander) Andronikos Tarchaneiotes. Against them, Michael sent a supposedly “large” army to Thessaly under John Palaiologos and Alexios Kavallarios. They besieged John Ducas in his fortress capital at Neopatras or Neai Patrai (modern Ypati). John escaped to Thebes and borrowed 300 knights from his neighbour, the Latin ruler of Athens. Returning with these, he surprised the Byzantines, still in position, and they withdrew. For once we have good information on the composition of a late Byzantine expeditionary army, even if the supposed number (“30,000” men) is not credible. The cavalry, who were drawn from NW Asia (Bithynia and Paphlagonia), included Greeks as well as Byzantino-Cumans and the Tourkopouloi: TurkoGreek Christians, the sons of Greek mothers and Turkish fathers. The infantry units were ethnic Greeks drawn from Thrace and Macedonia. If 300 knights could make them withdraw, it would be better to believe that the expedition numbered more like 3,000 soldiers. See further discussion this under 1275 below. At the same time the fleet—73 ships under Alexios Philanthropenos, carrying Tzakone and Gasmouloi marines—sailed to attack Latin shipping off Greece. It was at anchor off Demetrias, on the mainland opposite the top of Euboea, when attacked by a much smaller Latin fleet. The Latins appeared to be winning when (as noted above) suddenly the rebel despot John appeared onshore with reinforcements; he had ridden the 40 miles or 65 km from Neopatras in one night. Seeing him appear, the imperial army retired. But in the naval battle, the Byzantines were victorious. All but two of the Latin ships were sunk or captured (LBA p.61, citing Gregoras and Pachymeres). Anatolia, 1273: d. the Persian-born mystic Rumi (Jala al-Din Rumi), founder of the first dervish order.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Western Galleys, 1273-74 Good information about Sicilian (Angevin) galleys survives from 1273-74. Length: 40 metres; beam at the wales: 3.69 m amidships (4.61 m at deck level). Beak or spur: 6.59 m. Number of oars: 108. Crew: total 152: two masters, two ship’s boys, 4 helmsmen, 36 marines and 108 oarsmen. Armaments: 200 lances; 47 axes; 40 glass bottles of incendiary materials (cf 36 marines); 28-30 crossbows, etc etc. (see article by Pryor in Gardiner 2004). 1274: 1a. The fleet and troops of Charles of Anjou, French king of Naples, conquer Greek Corfu. 1b. Summer of 1274: Charles of Anjou sent an army into lower Albania, where it captured the fortress of Berat, SE of Durres/Dyrhachium, and the sea-port of Butrinto opposite Corfu (Runciman, Vespers p. 176). It included 200 ItaloSaracen foot archers from Lucera. October 1274: Emperor Michael sent his troops into Epiros (our W Greece and Albania) against the Angevin-Italians; the Byzantines re-took two key fortresses: Butrinto, on the coast opposite Kerkyra/Corfu; and Berat, inland from Dyrrhachium. Michael began a campaign in Albania in late 1274, where he captured Berat and Butrinto. He also enjoyed some success in his campaigns in Euboea and the Peloponnese. - The Angevins retreated to Dyrrhachium, which the Byzantines next besieged. Meanwhile the Byzantine fleet almost succeeded in cutting communications between Angevin Italy and Greece, almost preventing Charles from sending reinforcements to Albania (Geanakoplos 1959: 280; LBA pp.62-63). 2. To undercut Charles, Michael sends delegates to the Latin Council of Lyons: temporary (soon to fail) rapprochement with the Western Church: see generally Geanakoplos 1959. The Orthodox delegates agreed to recognise the Papal claims and to recite the Creed with the 'Filioque' (“and from the Son”: a formulation that the Byzantines had long opposed). But this was only an agreement on paper since the clergy and the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaike) Church in the Imperial City did not accept it (street demonstrations began in January 1275: Norwich, 1996: 236). Michael negotiated with Pope Gregory X for a union of the Eastern and Western Churches, and in 1274 at the Second Council of Lyons his emissaries agreed to recognise the spiritual supremacy of the pope. However, in 1281, Michael's policy, sincere or not, was violently opposed by most of his people, and in 1281 he had to persecute and imprison large numbers of them in order to persuade the papacy that the union of the churches was being implemented (NCMH p.585). 1274: d. Aquinas, greatest of the medieval Latin philosophers. The 75
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Muslim-Spanish philosopher Ibn Rushd known to the Latins as Averroes, d. 1198, is cited repeatedly as a major authority in Aquinas's works. Mongol invasion of Japan, with roughly 23,000 men (15,000 Mongol & Chinese soldiers and 8,000 Korean troops), in 300 large vessels and 400500 smaller craft. 1270s: Black Sea trade: The Genoese, allies of Byzantium, set up trading posts in the Crimea (at Caffa) - part of the Khanate of the ‘Golden Horde’ - and at Trebizond the independent Greek statelet -, giving them access to the Russian and Iranian (Ilkhanate) markets. — Crimea: In the late 13th century, traders from Genoa arrived and purchased the town of Theodosia from the ruling Golden Horde. They established a flourishing trading settlement called Caffa or Kaffa, which virtually monopolised trade in the Black Sea area and served as the chief port and administrative centre for the Genoese settlements around the Sea. It came to house (in the 1300s) one of western Eurasia's biggest slave markets. The tiny Greek “empire” of Trebizond (called ‘empire’ because its ruler lay claim to the throne of New Rome) ruled part of the Crimea (Cherson) at this time, while the ‘post-Mongol’ Khanate of the Golden Horde controlled what is now southern Russia, and the Mongol Khanate of Persia ruled what is now Iran. Cf 1296.
After the Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258, much trade to and from the Christian West had been diverted through N Iran (Tabriz) and via the Black Sea. The trade of Genoa is said to have expanded fourfold in the years 1274-93, stimulated in part by its use of gold coinage (the genovino) (Porteous p.88).
At this time the Seljuq Turks of Anatolia continued to recognise Mongol suzerainty - ruling from Persia as the still-pagan "Ilkhanate". 1270s: Marco Polo in China (travels c.1271-92: at the khan’s court from 1275): he reported seeing four-masted sea-going junks crewed by up to 300 men. c. 1275: Many of the Byzantine highlanders of Anatolia (akritai, borderers, military irregulars) abandoned their posts due to arrears in pay (LBA p.155). Cf 1277-80: the Meander Valley. Italy: Date of the oldest surviving sea chart, the 'Carta Pisana' [Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris].
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1275-1325: The stern rudder was introduced on Mediterranean ships in this period, replacing, or at least initially supplementing, the two siderudder oars of Antiquity (Alertz in Gardiner 2004: 151). Cf 1277-78. 1275: 1. The Adriatic/Albania: The Byzantine navy continues its blockade of Angevin Dyrrhachium; but Charles’ forces held out. 2. Greece: Michael Palaeologus dispatches a large, ethnically mixed army supposedly of “over 30,000” [sic!] men against John Ducas of Neopatras, known as John ‘the Bastard’ of Thessaly. Although there were some ethnic “Greeks”, on this occasion the imperial army was largely comprised of Cumans: presumably drawn from Byzantino-Cumans earlier settled a generation earlier in Asia Minor; also some Turkish ‘mercenaries’. Sanudo’s figure is 30,000; while Pachymeres says that the imperial army and fleet together numbered 40,000 (Genanakoplos 1959: 282; Setton 1976: 423). These figures are impossible to accept. As we remarked earlier, if the land army could be scared off by the appearance of “300” Latin knights, then its true size may been more like 3,000 men. The land expedition was jointly commanded by Michael’s brother the Despot John Palaeologus and Alexios Kaballarios. The emperor also ordered a fleet of “73” ships (Pachymeres’ figure) under the protostrator Alexios Philanthropenos to attack the Latin lords of lower Greece, thereby preventing the dispatch of aid to ‘the Bastard’. Land Battle of Neopatras (lost): As described earlier, the Byzantines caught ‘the Bastard’ in his fortress at Neopatras but he managed to sneak away to Thebes, where he linked up with the local Latin lord de la Roche. Allegedly with just ‘300’ or ‘500’ Greco-Frankish knights, de la Roche rode to Neopatras where he surprised and drove off the large army of Byzantine ‘mercenaries’ (Geanakoplos 1959: 283, Setton 1976: 423; the figure of 500 is from Gregoras). More likely, the 300 were simply reinforcements for a substantial army under ‘the Bastard’. Naval Battle of Demetrias (won): The Latins followed through by sending galleys from Crete (Venetians) and Euboea (ruled by other Italians: ‘Lombards’) to attack the imperial fleet at anchor in the Gulf of Volos/Demetrias (today’s Gulf of Pagasitikos: a gulf of the Greek mainland, opposite the top of Euboea). This time, however, it was the Latins who were routed. The sources differ on the numbers of ships involved: 50-80 for the emperor versus 30-62 on the LombardVenetian side. Pachymeres writes of “about 30” vessels. Sanudo says the Latins deployed 12 galleys and transports and 50 other ships with oars. Only two of the Latin ships escaped (Geanakopoulos 1959: 282-84, citing Sanudo, Gregoras and Pachymeres; also Runciman, Vespers p. 177, and Setton 1976: 424). 1275-82: The Eastern Aegean: The Genoese merchant, ambassador and adventurer 77
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Benedetto Zaccaria [aged about 40 in 1275] first appeared in Constantinople with his brother Manuele (Manuel) in 1275, at imperial invitation. It was then that he was first appointed administrator of the alum* mines of Phocaea. He built a plantation there, from which he traded with a number of Mediterranean and Asian cities, accumulating considerable wealth. In 1282, still in the emperor's service, he acted as an ambassador to Peter III of Aragon, encouraging him to continue the war with Angevins over Sicily (Wikipedia 2010: ‘Benedetto I Zaccaria’). See 1302. (*) A mineral used as a dye-fixer. Mundane repost that the town had 3,000 Greek inhabitants, “all” of whom “worked” the alum, around 1300. 1276: 1. First Dominican pope. 2. fl. Gregory al-Faraj, called "Bar-Hebraeus", Syriac-speaking historian and philosopher. Knew Greek and Arabic as well as Syriac. Born in Malatia [Melitene]; from 1264 "Catholicus" or head of the Jacobite church. Syria at this time was ruled by the Mamelukes of Egypt, with Latin enclaves at Tripoli and Acre. Persia was ruled by the ‘Il-khanate’ [Mongols]. Cf 1277. In Arabic: Ibn Al-'Ibri (“Son of the Hebrew”), or Abu al-Faraj, Latin name Gregorius: medieval Syrian scholar noted for his encyclopaedic learning in science and philosophy and for his enrichment of Syriac literature by the introduction of Arabic culture. Bar Hebræus has left a large historical work called Makhtbhanuth Zabhne, "Chronicon", in which he considers history from the Creation down to his own day. 3. fl. "Juwayni", Persian historian of the Mongols. Author of "History of the World Conqueror" [written 1252-60]. Participated in the Mongol sack of Baghdad , of which he later became Governor. Died in disgrace 1283, having been accused of dealing treasonably with the Mamelukes. Cf 1277. 1276-80: The Aegean: Licario, a Euboean-born Italian mercenary from Vicenza or Verona, managed to distinguish himself in naval operations in the Aegean. Commanding 24 galleys, he established a tenure in Karystos (Euboea) and soon rose to the rank of Megaduke or megas doux: commanding admiral in the Byzantine Navy (Setton 1976: 426). The Venetians, who deployed 20 galleys locally, continued to hold part of Euboea but Licario domianted most of it. Between 1276 and 1280, Licario (Gk Ikarios) ransacked the Sporades and the Cyclades in the name of Byzantium. See next. 1277: 1. The Aegean: Michael Palaeologus embarks on an offensive to expel the Latins entirely from the Greek islands. He sends his commander or ally Licario, a locally-born Italian, with a combined land and sea force to attack Euboea. Euboea - medieval Negroponte - was briefly regained for Byzantium by the 78
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Italian-born ‘grand duke’ (megas doux) Licario, ca. 1277. Nicol calls him “the emperor’s own licensed pirate”. Licario was granted the island as an imperial fief. He also briefly recaptured most of the Venetian-ruled islands of The Archipelago, with the notable exception of Naxos (Geannakoplos 1959: 296). See next: treaty with Venice. — The forces of the renewed Byzantine Empire under the admiral Licario captured many of the islands from Marco II Sanudo, but not Naxos and Paros, in the late 13th century. The Byzantine revival was to prove short-lived though, as they relinquished control of their gains in 1310. — The tiny size of 13th century armies is underlined by the number of local Euboean-Latin troops Licario had to supply to fight for the empire, namely just 200 men (LBA p.61; Norwich 1996: 239) 2. Renewal of the treaty with Venice. Evidently the Byzantines had recovered their confidence: instead of a truce or treaty between equals, now Michael reverted to the older practice of issuing a charter (chrysobull, chrysobullos logos, ‘gold-sealed letter’), as if it were a gracious dispensing of privileges to an inferior. In place of temporary rented accommodation, the Venetian traders were granted a permanent residential-commercial quarter in Constantinople, and a similar base in Thessaloniki (Nicol, B&V p.198). 3a. The East: The Mamluk ruler Baybars I invaded SE Anatolia, defeated the local Mongols, and penetrated as far west as Kayseri (in Seljuk Rum). He briefly took Konya, from which the Seljuk court had already fled, on 21 April 1277 and assumed the title Sultan of Rum. But it was really just an incursion and following his withdrawal, Baybars died (1 July), apparently of poisoned kumiz, the fermented drink made from mare’s milk. The Mongols resumed control of Konya (Freely 2008: 95). After 1277 the Mongols installed direct rule in Rum, with the Seljuq rulers (Keykavus II in the west and his nephew Keyhusrev III in the east) as their puppets. 3b. Central Anatolia: “Mongol pressure on the Seljuks in 1277 brought still more nomads west. An Arab geographer, writing in mid-century, describes the results: some 30,000 tents of nomads in the mountains of Gerede Bolu, east of the [upper] Sakarya [NW of Ankara] and another 100,000 tents near Kastamonu [N Anatolia]. Thus, in search of pasture, unsure of their proper niche in their new home on the Bithynian frontier, the Turkmen were even more dependent on predation for survival and well-being” (Lindner). The next period of massive population movement in Asia Minor began in 1277 when the native Seljukid aristocracy and their Turcoman supporters allied themselves with the Mamluks of Egypt and rose up to fight a Holy War against the ''impious" domination of the Mongols. See next. In about 1277 (or “c. 1275”), Ertugrul Ghazi, died ca. 1280 or 1281, father of the 79
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 first Ottoman/Osmanli ruler, Osman Ghazi, formed a small lordship at Sogut, located to the south of the middle Sangarios-Sankrya River SE of modern Bilecik, or about halfway between Nicaea and Eskisehir, Gk: Dorylaion (maps in Nicolle 2008: 33, 37; also Freely 2008: 99). As the crow flies, Sogut is 60 km SE of Nicaea-Iznik or 125 km east of Brusa: Cf 1302. The historicity of Ertugrul used to be doubted; but coins bearing his name have been discovered, apparently dating from the 1270s (Nicolle 2008: 28). The Byzantine fortress at Bileçik, Gk Belokoma, thus became (until 1299: see there) the outermost defence of the empire. Bilecik lies on a line from Dorylaeum (Eskisehir) to Nicaea, somewhat nearer the latter than the former. “All the chroniclers are agreed about the ancestral pastures of the Ottomans, . . . The winter pastures (klslak) lay in the vale of Sogut, a fertile glen lying on the most direct route linking Bilecik or Belocome and Eskisehir [Dorylaeum]. Summer pasture (yaylak) lay in the mountains of Ermeni Beli (the "Armenian" Pass) and Domaniç* [or Domanits], southeast of the Bithynian Olympus [Tk: Mt Uludag] and west of Eskisehir. The route up country [WSW] from winter to summer pastures passed by [sic: well south of] Bilecik, Yarhisar and Inegöl on the way to Domaniç” (Lindner; also Vacalopoulos p.64 and Nicolle 2008: 33). (*) Domanic is about half-way from Eskisehir (Gk: Dorylaion) to Bursa. Inegöl, N of Domaniç, lies a little nearer Bursa, about two-thirds of the way from Turkish Sogut to Byzantine Bursa. The mountains between Domanic and Inegol reach over 1,800 metres. 1277: In Wales some 16,000 English troops - probably the largest army assembled in the British Isles since classical Roman times - fought the Welsh. Edward I subsequently raised an army of up to 30,000 men, including many second-class peasant foot soldiers, for the Falkirk campaign of 1297 against the Scots under Wallace (Prestwich, cited by Keen 1999: 126). See 1282: perhaps 10,000 in the Byzantine army. 1277-78: Out into the Atlantic! - First Genoese and Majorcan, then Venetian, galleys found a way to get through the Straits of Gibraltar and thence to the English Channel. The key to this seems to have been gaining access to Muslim ports on the southern side, where they could lay over during difficult weather (Pryor in Gardiner 2004: 2113). –The Christians of Castile already held the western, outer of Atlantic side of the strait, but the whole southern side was controlled by the Muslim Marinids of Morocco. One imagines gold or silver changed hands! 1277-80: 1. “Uprising of Ivaylo/Ivailo”: In Bulgaria, a great peasant revolt broke out in which the Tsar is deposed and killed; the rebels were defeated with Byzantine aid 80
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (1279-80). Cf below under 1279. 2a. Anatolia: The pervane or Turkish chamberlain Muineddin Süleyman (Ar. ‘Mu’in ad-Din Sulayman’) was the Mongol (il-Khan) deputy ruling the Seljuks. (The sultan was still a child.) According to the 14th century Syrian chronicler Aqsarayi, the pervane’s death in 1277 – executed by his overlord the Il-Khan – ended his close supervision of the western borderlands (Turkish uç, marches) and freed the Türkmen to invade Rum (Hopwood, “Frontiers” p.128.). See next and below under 1278. 2b. SW Asia Minor: The Turks capture the inland towns of Caria [ancient Aphrodisias] and Antioch on the Meander*, and raid Rhodes (1278). Cf 1278-84: Turkish pirate base near Greek Ephesus. —Savvidis & Ozansoy, ‘Turkish Raiders’, Adalya website, www.akmedadalya.com; accessed 2009. (*) There were three Antiochs: 1. on the Meander; 2. in Pisidia (south-central Anatolia); and 3. Syria. 1278: Anatolia: The Il-Khan and his Seljuk vassals move to restore their rule in Asia Minor by suppressing the various rebel Turkmen. A Mongol-Seljuk army campaigns to Tokat, Aksaray, Konya and Kayseri. The Seljuk vizier Fahrettin Ali (“Sahip Ata”) then pursued a pretender west to Afyon, accompanied by the Germiyan tribe. Having captured and killed the pretender, they continued on SW to subdue the Turkmen of Denizli (Ladik), near the Byzantine border. The emir Ali Bey, originally installed by Hulagu in 1262, was captured and executed (Freely 2008: 97). - See 1285-86: Karacahisar; and 1286: Kütahya. By 1278, when Andronicus Palaeologus, the future emperor, led a failed campaign to clear the Turks from the Meander valley, already Antioch [Antioch on the upper Meander] and Caria - to the south of the Meander - had been lost: “ta’ ga’r kata’ Mai’andron kai’ Kari’an kai’ ‘Antio’xeian ho’dh kai’ teteleuth’kei” (writes Pachymeres 468.16). Cf below, 1280. The forerunners of the Menteshe beylik already, around 1278 [cf 1280-90], attempted the first semi-permanent Turcoman landing on Byzantine Rhodes from the adjacent Anatolian coastline of Makri/Fethiye. They held the island's eastern section for some time, until 1282/83. —Savvidis & Ozansoy, ‘Turkish Raiders’, Adalya website, www.akmedadalya.com; accessed 2009. Cf 1278-84: ‘Saladinus’. The Restored Empire in 1278 In 1278 Constantinople ruled the north-western fifth of Asia Minor; most of the Aegean (to Rhodes and Monemvasia in the Peloponnesus) and the central and northern Balkans west to Albania. Thus its territories were nearly equally 81
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 balanced between the Asian and European sides, the European domains being somewhat larger. The population was about five million, according to Treadgold (1997), or about half the 10-12 million people that John II Comnenus, d. 1143, had ruled – albeit now more prosperous.* The neighbouring states were: 1. The Seljuks of Rum and its nominally subject beyliks: see 1280; 2. A reduced Bulgaria south of the lower Danube, centred on a line drawn from Sofia to Varna: see 1279; 3. Serbia - a short border in the far north-west of Byzantine Albania; 4. Various Greek princedoms in Epirus, acknowledging Byzantine suzerainty; 5. The Angevin or French-ruled rump of the former 'Latin empire' known as "the principality of Achaea" in south-central Greece; 6. the Latin duchy of Athens; and 7. Venetian-ruled Crete. In Asia Minor, the border with the Sultanate of Rum ran broadly SW to NE, from the Meander Valley to the Black Sea coast at Heraclea Pontica. The Greeks held the lower Meander valley including Ephesus, Tralles and Philadelphia, while the Turks controlled the upper valley south and east of Philadelphia. In the Marmara Sea region, Byzantium held Prusa (Bursa), Nicaea and Nicomedia, but there were Turks as close as the lower-middle Sangarios (Sskarya) valley. In the central Balkans, the imperial border ran from the Adriatic coast near Durres (medieval Dyrrhachium: held by Naples at this time) broadly east across what is now southern Bulgaria to the Black Sea coast at Mesembria. Sofia and Varna were Bulgarian, while the Byzantines held Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv) and Mesembria. Most of today’s Greece was ruled by the Byzantine emperor, except for the Ionian Islands and Achaea, the Latin state in the NE Peloponnesus, and the Latin Duchy of Athens, a vassal of Achaea. Nearly the whole of the southern sector of the Aegean Sea was Byzantine as far as Rhodes, while Venice continued to rule Crete (map in Treadgold 1997: 744). (*) Prosperity: “The increase in the number of craftsmen in the countryside under the Palaiologoi constitutes a phenomenon familiar to economists as an indicator of growth. … in general terms, during the Byzantine period as a whole, or at least until the situation was reversed by the crisis in the 1350s [i.e. the Black Death followed by civil war and then the entry of the Turks into Europe], there occurred a relative rise in the living standards of the middle and lower social categories, excluding marginals.” —Morrisson and Cheynet 2002. 1278-79: 1. Italy vs Byzantium: Negotiations between pope Nicholas III and emperor Michael, flowing from the earlier Council of Lyons. The former sought proof that Byzantium really wished to belong to a reunited Christendom, while the latter was encouraging a patron who would rein in Charles of Anjou, ruler of S Italy. The papal legates reached Constantinople in late spring of 1279 (Runciman, Vespers p.189). see 1281. 2. Popular revolt in Bulgaria. Although, as we have seen, the rebel Ivailo killed tsar Constantine (1277) and was able to extend (1278-79) his authority across much of the country, he also met with resistance, and the capital Tarnovo
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 remained under the control of the legitimate tsar, seven years old Michael Asen II, and the widowed tzarina Maria Kantakouzena (Michael VIII’s niece). The Byzantines intervene in Bulgaria, take Tirnovo and install their candidate, John Asen, as Tsar. – Eirene Palaiologaina, dau, of Michael VII, marries John (Ivan) III Asen (1277 or 78). This prompted Maria to marry Ivailo who was now recognised by some as tsar (1278). A rumour of Ivailo's death caused panic in Tarnovo, where the nobility surrendered (early 1279) to a new Byzantine army and accepted Ivan Asen III as emperor. Ivan Asen III was enthroned, while Michael ordered his niece Maria Kantakouzena and his grand-nephew Michael Asen II to be sent into exile to Byzantium. Shortly after this, still in 1279 Ivailo suddenly appeared before Tarnovo with an army, but failed to take the well-fortified city. He nevertheless defeated a larger Byzantine relief force (perhaps 10,000 men) in the battle of Devnya (or Devina) and another numbering 5,000 in the Balkan passes. The battle of Devnya occurred on 17 July 1279 near Devnya, Varna Province, Bulgaria. Ivailo of Bulgaria attacked the Byzantine army sent to help his rival for the crown Ivan Asen III. With the personal participation of Ivailo the Byzantines were defeated although their army was much larger (up to perhaps 10,000 men). Soon after the victory Ivan Asen III was forced (1280) to flee from the capital Tarnovo. William Wallace leads a Scottish revolt against England. See 1298. 1278-84: Asia Minor: Selahaddin or ‘Saladinus’ is the first-known Turkish corsair*, operating from Ania/Anaea, south of Ephesus. His ships raided the Cyclades, the Sea of Marmara and even into the Black Sea! (Pryor 1988: 167). Ephesus was under Byzantine control, but inland Caria, it seems, was at this time a marchland contested between Greek farmers and Turkish warrior-herders. Cf 1280-96: emergence of the beyliks of Menteshe. (*) A distinction is sometimes drawn between ‘pirates’ who act for themselves and attack everyone, and ‘corsairs’, seaborne thieves who sail under the flag of a monarch and do not attack his vessels. 1279-82: Sicily: Prelude to the ‘Sicilian Vespers’: According to legend, it was as early as 1279 that Byzantium, the native Sicilians and the king of Aragon began plotting against the French ruler of Sicily, Charles of Anjou. The true date is probably later – in 1280 (Runciman Vespers pp.208-10). Water-mills and paper: The major centre of Italian paper manufacture developed after 1276 at Fabriano, inland from the port of Ancona in eastcentral Italy (part of the Papal State). By 1300 the Europeans' ability to harness water power to run paper mills made their product cheaper, if not initially better, than that available in North Africa and Egypt, and imported Italian paper soon began to supplant local production in 83
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Muslim North Africa and Spain. By the mid-14th century, governments too – the Marinids and Hafsids - succumbed: North African chanceries were using Western papers (source: www.saudiaramcoworld.com/.../revolution.by.the.reama.history.of.paper.htm). End of the Mongol conquest of China: On 19 March 1279 the Chinese general Zhang Hongfan of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty annihilated the last fleet of the Southern Song Dynasty at Yamen (today Xinhui County, Guangdong Province). By 1280: Byzantine Asia: No longer restrained by Konya, the Turkmens were plundering the fertile valleys of western Anatolia, cutting communications between the Rhomaoi towns, and the emirs were beginning to carve out small lordships or principalities ("ghazi" or jihadist emirates). Cf 1281. — The Turks laid siege to Tralles (Aydin) in about 1280. The co-emperor Andronicus and Andronicus Nestongus were dispatched with a small force (Langdon p.10). — The town of Tralles/Aydin was rebuilt by Andronicus about 1280 (perhaps 1281); it was superseded a few years later, after the Seljuk/Turcoman conquest, by a new town, Aydin, founded by the amir Aidin in a lower situation. See next. Hopwood says that by 1280 the akritic (frontier guards) system had largely collapsed, although the fortified centres of Magnesia ‘ad Sipylum’ [Manisa; at the foot of Mt Sipylos] and Philadelphia, and the forts of Neocastra, still held out against the nomadic Turkmen – until 1313 in the case of Magnesia. 1280: The Bosphorus: The Genoese build the great castle of Anadolu-kavagi (to use its later Turkish name). It is located inside the top section of the Bosphorus channel, on the Asian side, with a view north to the Black Sea (Nicolle 2008: 39). c.1280-c.1296: fl. Menteshe Beg: c.1290: Foundation of the emirate of Menteshe in Caria, the far SW of Asia Minor. See 1282. Names: The Venetian writer Sanudo calls Michael “l’Imperio di Romania”, ‘the Emperor of Romania’. 1280-81: Last significant Byzantine offensives. Three campaigns: (1) against the Serbs; (2) into Asia Minor, where the border with the Turks was extended south to the Meander valley, the present-day Menderes River in west-central Asia Minor; and finally (3) in the West to combat another Angevin (Franco-Sicilian) invasion of presentday Albania, which was beaten back. Most of Albania was recovered from the Angevins. 84
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 As noted earlier, Michael’s total field army numbered perhaps 10,000, not including town garrisons (Treadgold 1997, p. 819). Lippard 1984: 16 proposes, per contra, that the Byzantine army had at least 20,000 men. (a) Against Serbia: The imperial troops that took part in the battle of Belgrade in 1281 were commanded by the despot Michael, the son-in-law of the ruler; the grand domestikos Michael Tarkhaniotes; the grand stratopedarch or quartermaster-general* John Synadenus; and the eunuch Andronicus Oenopolita, then ‘tatas of the imperial palace’ [an obscure title]. —Pachym. I, 512; cited by Guilland 1943. (*) Formally this position was responsible for the provisioning of the army. (b) Asia: Michael VIII Palaiologos took an army into Bithynia in the autumn of 1281 to combat the threat from a Turkish tribe later to be known as the Ottomans* (see below). He found the area of the Sangarios or Sakarya River, south-east of Nicaea, abandoned and impassable. One imagines that all the roadways and tracks were overgrown with brush. Having known this region well from his service there as a young general some 30 years earlier, Michael fell into despair on seeing what he described as a ‘Skythian desert’ (Gk: eremia), presumably meaning that Greek farmers had retired westward (or had themselves switched to pastoralism) and that the area was now being occasionally grazed by Turcoman pastoralists or else was literally abandoned. There were, however, still abundant fruits** on the trees, enough to feed his army. —Pachymeres VI.29, cited by www.doaks.org/byzgarden/byzgarch6; also Hopwood, “Frontiers” pp. 157, 159. See 1282. At the same time, another small force under the co-emperor Andronicus and Andronicus Nestongus proceeded to the lower Meander: see further below under 1283. (*) Ertugrul Ghazi, died 1281, was the father of the first Ottoman or Osmanli ruler, Osman Ghazi. Under Seljuk suzerainty, Ertugrul had formed, ca. 1277, a small lordship or mini-emirate at Sögüt, to the south of the middle Sangarios River, SE of modern Bilecik, or about halfway between Nicaea and Dorylaeum (Eskisehir). As the crow flies, Sogut is 60 km SE of Nicaea-Iznik or 124 km east of Brusa: Cf 1302. Osman Ghazi was just 23 when he succeeded to the leadership of the Kayi clan in Sögüt in 1281. (**) The most widely grown fruits in Byzantium were apples, cherries, figs, pears and pomegranates (Rautman p.176). (c) The lower Meander/Maiander: Hopwood, ‘Frontiers’ p.158, notes although the ‘akritic system’ (Gk akrites, ‘borderer’: defence by part-time frontier guards) had largely collapsed by 1280 (for which Pachymeres blames the emperor), the fortified cities of Manisa/Magnesia-ad-Sipylum and Alasehir/Philadelphia and 85
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the forts of Neokastra [the region to the north of Magnesia] still held out. Nomadic Türkmen, however, were by now active around Miletos on the Aegean coast at the mouth of the Meander, Priene [the one-time Aegean port near the Meander mouth, N of Miletos, SE of Samos*] and the lower Meander valley generally. (*) Near modern Söke. Silting of the Meander has moved both Priene and Milet/Miletos well inland. The opening of the Meander valley to Turkish raids can be directly attributed, says Hopwood, to Mehmet Beg. His seizure of Denizli/Laodiceia opened the head of the Valley to the Turkmen. Michael intervened, and sent his heir apparent, Andronicus, to revitalize the defence of the region. His army, of cavalry and heavy infantry, easily dispersed the light horse of the Turkmen, and he reached Aydin/Tralleis half-way up the valley. There, according to Pachymeres (VI.20), he was “seized by the charm of the place” and decided to refound it as Andronikopolis or Paleologopolis. Hopwood proposes that the real beauty of Tralleis was its position at the mid-point of the valley, blocking access to the plains of the lower Maiander. The decision to refortify the town was “an imaginative counterstroke”. But see 1282. (d) Albania 1280-81: Charles opened his campaign in present-day Albania, where his general Hugh (Hugues or Hugo) de Sully captured Butrinto from the Despotate of Epirus in 1280 and besieged Berat. But the town held out. The Angevin general Sully, a Burgundian by birth, crossed (late 1280) from Italy to the NW Balkans with a Franco-Sicilian army of some 8,000 men: 2,000 horse including perhaps 500 Angevin knights, plus 6,000 infantry including many crossbowmen and a few Italo-Saracen foot-archers from Lucera (Geanakoplos 1959: 330; LBA p.63, citing Sanudo; also Norwich 1996: 246). They proceeded inland into Byzantine-ruled western Macedonia to besiege the fortress-town of Berat (in present-day south-central Albania: south of Tirana; SW of Lake Ohrid) which they intended to use as base for their advance on Thessaloniki. A Byzantine army of relief, including a contingent of Turks, under the grand domestic Michael Tarchaneiotes arrived in March 1281. Hugh of Sully was ambushed and captured, and his army put to flight. The Byzantines took possession of the interior of Albania. —Wikipedia contributors, "Charles I of Sicily," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (2010). Emperor Michael, fearing that Thessalonica would be attacked next, dispatched (early 1281) his best troops under the Grand Domestic or megas domestikos Michael Tarchaneiotes. We may guess his army was of the same order of magnitude as Sully’s: say 7,500 men. When the Byzantines reached Berat, Sully himself went out to reconnoitre; he was captured by a body of Turkish auxiliaries serving on the Byzantine side and his bodyguard fled. Hearing of this, the entire imperial army immediately rode forward, and nearly the whole AngevinItalian army was either killed or captured. As earlier at Pelagonia, the horsearchers on the Byzantine side concentrated their fire on the horses of the 86
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 heavily-armed Latin knights (Geanakoplos 1959: 332-33; LBA p.63; Norwich 1996: 247). According to Geanakoplos, p. 334, “after Pelagonia and the reconquest of Constantinople, Berat was probably the most important military encounter of Palaeologus with the Latins during his entire reign. Not only were the vast Angevin preparations of 20 months destroyed and Berat saved, but all of Epirus dominated by Berat and loannina soon again fell into imperial hands, a circumstance which enabled Michael's troops to advance on Dyrrachium and Avlona. More important, the victory marked the complete failure of the attempt to launch a land expedition against the capital. Thus, as a result of his defeat at Berat, Charles had to shift his strategy to a sea attack against Constantinople, a fact which now made indispensable the support of the Venetian fleet.” The Adriatic: Eloquent testimony to the inadequacy of Angevin naval strength at this time is provided by an incident in July of 1281, when eight warships (“quattro grosse navi e quattro galere”) were “boldly” dispatched by the Emperor against the Regno [Angevin kingdom] itself: the unexpected appearance of Greek vessels and their harrying of the Apulian coast near Otranto seems to have provoked near-panic among the Sicilian (Angevin) officials (Geanakoplos p.336). See next: Angevin-Venetian alliance. 1280-1330: Western galleys switch from a bireme system using two lines of oars to trireme or three levels. It seems likely, says Pryor in Gardiner 2004: 116, that this occurred during the protracted ‘War of the Sicilian Vespers’ between the Angevins, Sicilians and Aragonese, from 1282: see there. Cf also 1294, 1308 and 1321 (Byzantium). 1281: 1. SW Asia Minor: Co-emperor Andronicus having returned to the capital, Andronicus Nestongus continues a campaign against the Turkmen in the Meander Valley. See 1283. 2. The West: Venice switches sides and agrees with the French (Angevin) king of Sicily and Naples, Charles of Anjou, to strike an alliance aimed at restoring the Latin Empire. In response Michael seeks support from Genoa, the king of Aragon and the Sicilian nobility. See 1282: ‘Sicilian Vespers’. “A treaty was concluded (1281)”, writes Vasiliev, “between Charles [as] the titulary Latin Emperor, and Venice ‘for the recovery of the Empire of Romania [i.e. Byzantium] which is under the sway of the Palaeologus’ (ad recuperationem ejusdem Imperii Romaniae, quod detinetur per Paleologum). A vast coalition formed against Byzantium: the troops of the Latin possessions on the former territory of the Byzantine Empire, the troops of Italy and of Charles' native France, the Venetian fleet, the papal forces, and the armies of the Serbs and Bulgars”. — Pope Martin IV, a supporter of the Angevin Charles, broke (October 1281) the union of the churches by excommunicating Michael, while Charles's troops, with 87
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 those of Venice, invaded Epirus [see above: late 1280]. Michael saved his throne by financing a rebellion in Sicily, which broke Charles's power in the famous ‘Sicilian Vespers’, the uprising of the Sicilians against the French - see 1282. 3. Muslim alliance: Faced with common enemies, the Byzantine-Egyptian (Ayyubid) alliance served as a counterweight to Western, Mongol, and Turkish threats. The good relations extended into the reign of the Egyptian sultan Qalawun, who exchanged sworn undertakings in 1281 with Emperor Michael VIII in which they agreed to maintain ‘love and friendship without limit of time’. — Nadia El-Cheikh, in Laiou & Mottahedeh 2001: 67. 4. The Capital: Return of Michael's natural and adopted daughter Mary/Maria from Baghdad, after the death of the Mongol (Ilkhanate) ruler, Hulagu. She founds or rebuilds a convent attached to church of St Mary "of the Mongols" [Gk: Mouchliotissa], as it later became known. Maria had married, i.e. joined the harem of, Abagha, Mongol khan of Persia, while another illegitimate or adopted daughter Euphosyne, married Nogay, khan of the Golden Horde. 1281-89: Palestine-Lebanon: Under Qalawun, the Mamlukes of Egypt reduce the small Christian enclaves (kingdom of Acre and principality of Tripoli). Mamluk rule extended from Syria to Egypt; thus Acre and Tripoli survived as islands in a Muslim sea. Having defeated the ‘Mongols’ [Ilkhanate of Persia] at Homs in 1281, Qalawun’s troops captured Margat, the Hospitaller castle north of Tripoli, in 1285 and Tripoli in 1289. He died in 1290 en route to attack Acre. 1281-93: Period in which the Muslim merchant Abdallah b. Muhammad lived in Constantinople. He compared it to Alexandria and described the Muslim quarter, with some exaggeration, as two-thirds the size of Damascus. This suggests nevertheless that the city had recovered some of its former size and opulence (El Cheikh 2004: 206). 1281-1324: Bithynia: r. Osman or Othman (Arabic Uthman) I, founder of the future Ottoman line of beys and sultans. Cf 1290. The chronology of his activities before 1302 cannot be established accurately, but Osman appears to have been elected chieftain by his tribesmen sometime around 1280, and to have led their seasonal migrations and predatory raids from their pasture areas around Dorylaeum (Eskishehir) in northwestern Anatolia. Cf 1282. Turkish tradition says he was recognised by the sultan Alaeddin Keykubas as lord of Sögüt in 1284. Within a century (by 1382), the Ottoman Turks will reach the Aegean, cross into Europe and take control of the northern Balkans. 1280s: “We learn that the Byzantine lord of Inegol [near Bursa: west of Ottoman 88
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Sögüt] was harassing Osman's movements from winter to summer pastures. To ease the journey and increase his mobility, Osman arranged to leave heavy goods with the Byzantine lord of Bilecik for safekeeping when his families were on the march. The women loaded their belongings on oxen and placed them in the citadel of Bilecik. When they returned in the fall, they offered cheese, carpeting, rugs and sheep as payment. This became a routine arrangement” (Lindner). But after this time, farming began to supersede pastoralism, and it was probably the ‘sedentarisation’ of the Türkmen that explains the emergence of the Ottoman emirate (Hopwood, “Frontiers” p.159). “Osman had good relations with his Byzantine opposite number, the lord of Beloukome/Bileçik [20 km NW of Osman’s base at Sögüt]. He [Osman] intervened in local disputes and thereby outflanked the major Byzantine forts of Cadirlu, Leblebeci and Kara Çepis* in his advance down to the plain. These forts only yielded to the Ottomans after they had been hopelessly outflanked, as the Ottomans had not the means [i.e. siege engines] to capture them” (Hopwood, loc.cit.). (*) Leblebeci = Lüblüce, located south of Bursa according to Nicolle 2008: 37. Cadirlu and Kara Çepis = presumably somewhere east of Inegöl. –These sites are not found on my detailed map of Turkey, MO’R. 1282: 1. The far NE: The rulers of tiny Trebizond [Gk: Trapezontos] called themselves ‘Grand Komnenos’, Gk: Megas Komnenos, and at first claimed the traditional Byzantine title of "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans". After reaching an agreement and marriage alliance with Constantinople in 1282, the official title of the ruler of Trebizond was changed to "Emperor and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians [Georgians*] and the Transmarine Provinces" and remained such until the end in 1461. Michael’s daughter Eudokia Palaiologina, +1302; m. 1282 Ioannes II Komnenos, Emp. of Trapezunt (+1297). (*) An affectation: Georgia was a separate and larger state than Trebizond. 2. FYROM: Stefan II Milutin of Serbia was an ally of Charles of Anjou. Immediately upon his accession to the throne, Stephan attacked Byzantine lands in Macedonia. In 1282, he conquered the northern parts of Macedonia with the Byzantine-ruled town of Skoplje, which became his capital. Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos began preparations for war but he died later the same year before their completion (Norwich 1996: 260). 3. NW Asia Minor: Lindner writes that “in early 1282, Turks on the lower Sakarya [River] had already repelled Byzantine troops. Michael's expedition took the field late in the summer. He advanced up the Sakarya east of Nicaea [i.e. in the direction of Sogut, seat of the proto-Ottoman Turks] and was soon surrounded by the desolation which his western concerns had crowded out of his mind. He was 89
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 unable to catch the Turks.” Cf above, 1280-81: “Scythian desert”. “There were very few people tilling the soil, and it was difficult to provide even the coarsest of bread for the soldiers. A mute witness, samples of the bread, the brown harvest of Michael's hopes blasted, was sent to Constantinople. The emperor turned back, marched west of Bursa [Gk: Prousa], and [re-]fortified the cities of Achyraous and Ulubad/Lopadion. The latter lay on the western end of Lake Apolyant or Lake Uluabad: west of Prusa/Bursa, about half-way along the highway** from Cyzicus/Erdek [east] to Bursa. Achyraous was further south, halfway to Smyrna. Michael's resolve to protect these cities, far below the plateau, distant from the Sakarya, reveals the collapse of the frontier defences” (so argues Lindner). Cf 1290-93. (**) From west to east, the old Roman highway ran from Cyzicus [near modern Erdek] past Lake Apolyant [Ulubat Golu] through Lopadion and east to Bursa. The fortress at Lopadion had originally been built in 1130, so we may imagine Michael was restoring it. 4. Sicily: Emperor Michael of Byzantium, aged 58, fomented the massive revolt afterwards known as the "Sicilian Vespers"*, beginning in Palermo on 29-30 March 1282. The rising wrecks Charles' plans for another invasion of the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) empire. Bartusis calls it “the crowning achievement in the long career of a master diplomat” (LBA p.64). Michael VIII in his memoirs wrote: “The Sicilians, disdaining the rest of Charles' force as despicable, dared to raise arms and free themselves from slavery. Therefore, if I said that God who granted freedom to them, granted it through us, I should tell the truth” (Vasiliev’s rendering). Runciman, Vespers p. 220, quotes it thus: "Should I dare to claim that I was God's instrument to bring freedom to the Sicilians, then I should only be stating the truth". (*) ‘Vespers’ means evening prayers. The sobriquet was first used in the late 1400s, alluding to the legendary use of Easter bells to call the insurgents to arms the following day (Easter Tuesday). Alternatively the revolt began as a local riot in Palermo, the first Frenchman being killed only seconds before the bells were sounded for vespers on Easter Monday, 30 March. Beginning in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Palermo on the NW coast, the Sicilian people rose up against the French. In the course of one night and one morning, 2,000 French men and women are killed; Angevin (French) flags are replaced with those of the late Frederick II [d.1250: the former German king of Sicily]; and heralds are sent to ignite support across Sicily. The revolt first spreads south to Corleone, then east to Messina. Within a few weeks, Sicily was cleared of all Frenchmen; the island passed to Aragon. Peter (Pedro) of Aragon landed in Sicily six months later, on 30 August, entered Palermo and then sent envoys to parlay with Charles who had earlier 90
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 crossed from Calabria to Messina. Fearing Peter’s popularity with the Sicilians, the Angevin withdraw back to the Italian mainland (Norwich 1996: 251). Peter of Aragon accepted the throne offered by the Sicilians, and a 20-year war for possession of Sicily followed between the Angevin kings of Naples and the Aragonese kings of Sicily. The Almogávares (Aragonese and Catalan light infantry) [see 1303-04] formed the most effective element of Peter’s army. Their discipline and ferocity, the force with which they hurled their javelins, and their mobility, made them very formidable to the heavy cavalry of the Angevin armies ( —Wikipedia, 2009, under ‘Almogavars’). Later, - see 1303 – they will also prevail over the Turkish horse-archers in Asia Minor. 1292: Final annexation of Wales by the English.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Above: Michael VIII Palaeologus. Territorial review At the end of Michael’s reign, the empire held lands in Europe and Asia: more in the former than in the latter. In the east Byzantium ruled the north-western fifth of Asia Minor, from Nicomedia in the north to Miletus in the SW. Its European domains comprised Thrace and thence west to Epirus and Albania, where Angevin [French] Naples held a number of ex-Romaic cities; Macedonia and Thessaly; a part of the Peloponnesus (Mistra and Monemvasia); and Constantinople. Byzantium's European territories were significantly larger than the size of its Asian provinces. The longest land transect was a line across the northern Balkans from the Adriatic coast of Albania to the Black Sea coast NW of Constantinople, with Scopia/Skopje, Philippopolis/Plovdiv and Mesembria as the northernmost imperial possessions. — Latins: Angevin (French) Naples [until 1282] and various subordinate Latin dukes still held half the Peloponnesus and the middle section of Greece (Patras, Corinth, Athens); and, as noted, Venice held Crete and a few islands in the Aegean. Byzantium ruled only the SE quarter of the Morea. — Asia Minor was divided one-fifth to four-fifths between Byzantium/Rhomaniya and the Seljuks of Rum, themselves subject to the Mongol Il-Khan of Persia, with the Sultan of Iconium ruling as nominal overlord of the various petty Turkish emirs. Cf 1290: The Ottomans will proclaim their independence. — In the SW, the Turks held most of Caria. The frontier ran along the line Miletus-Tralles-Philadelphia, the middle Meander valley having become a marchland. Cf 1294 – Miletus. — In Bithynia, Byzantium ruled only a little to the east of Brusa, Nicaea and Nicomedia, i.e. to the lower Sangarios River. Cf above, under 1281: “Scythian desert”. — Constantinople controlled nearly the whole Aegean. The Latins controlled Crete [Venice]; a few Aegean islands, namely Paros and Naxos [Venice] ; and the Principality of Achaia, i.e. most of the Peloponnesus and to Athens. — A further "Greek" kingdom continued in coastal NE Asia Minor and in the southern Crimea (Cherson): the tiny “empire” of Trebizond. In short, the “Empire” was penned in between the Seljuks of Rum, the ghazi emirates [see 1282], Venetian Crete, the Latin principality of the Peloponnesus (Achaea), the Serbs (at Pech and Nish), and the Bulgarians (at Sofia). It consisted 92
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 essentially of the wider littoral of the Aegean: northern Greece; the central Balkans from present-day Albania to Thrace; Constantinople; and the northwestern fifth of Asia Minor. The population totalled about five million. Changes since Comnenian Times If we compare the restored empire of Michael Palaeologus in 1290 with that of the Comnenoi 140 years earlier, under John II, we find that the empire is about one-third smaller. The net losses were as follows: a. The East Mediterranean-southern Asia Minor: Cilicia lost to the Armenians; Cyprus to the Latins; and the Attalian-Carian (Pamphylian) coast to the Turks. The Armenian ruler of Cilicia had first obtained the title “king” in 1199. Then in 1221 the Seljuqs took Alanya, breaking land commerce between Christian (Greek) Asia Minor and Christian (Greco-Armenian) Cilicia. b. The Aegean: was again almost all Greek; but Crete, Paros and Naxos have been lost to the Venetians. Venetian rule had been established on Crete, Paros and Naxos in 1204 and 1210, and Constantinople never recovered them. c. Lower Greece: Various Latin lords controlled most of the Morea and the Thebes-Athens sector. Latin rule had been first established in Corinth and the Morea in 1205, immediately after the capture of Constantinople by Latin (Franco-Venetian) Crusaders. d. In the NW: The Serbs have taken Belgrade and the whole Morava valley above Nish from the Bulgarians. During the 1180s, Belgrade had been fought over by Hungary and Byzantium, while the Serbs encroached in the south. In 1189 when Barbarossa’s crusade came through, Nish was held by Nemanja’s Serbs. But the Byzantines under Isaac Angelus decisively re-asserted their power in 1191, defeating Nemanja and making the Morava the border between Serbia and Byzantium. Then from 1192 to 1204 there was a four-way contest for the Morava valley between the Serbs, Hungarians, the newly resurgent Bulgarians, and the Byzantines. Various Serb princes were allied with Bulgaria and Hungary. Responding to a Hungarian invasion, in 1203 the Bulgarians invaded the NW domains of Byzantium, attacking Nish and Belgrade. After 1204, with the fall of Constantinople to the Latins, it was left to Hungary and Bulgaria to fight for Belgrade; the Serbs still had no unitary kingdom. Bulgaria ruled the Morava valley for most of the 1200s. An attack on Belgrade by the restored Byzantine empire in 1281 (see above) was unsuccessful. Then in 1284 Serbia finally obtained official control of Belgrade, which was formally ceded by Hungary.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 e. Albania, Macedonia and Thessaly are Greek again: recovered from the Latin Empire during the 1200s. f. The sub-Danube region - Bulgaria north of the Balkan Range - was controlled by Byzantium in 1143; in 1282 it is Bulgarian again. The ‘Second Bulgarian Empire’ emerged in 1185-97 by breaking from Byzantine rule. Between the autumn of 1185 and the spring of 1186, the Bulgarians revolted and drove the Greeks out of the whole of northern Bulgaria, with the exception of Varna; and in 1187 and 1190 Byzantine re-invasions were defeated. Thus in 1282 Scopia/Skopje, Philippopolis/Plovdiv and Mesembria were the northernmost imperial possessions. g. Northern Asia Minor and the Black Sea coast: The littoral east of Heraclea, including Sinope, has moved from Greek to Turkish rule. * * * To recap. The restored "empire" of 1261 was already a middle power. After 1283/85 it would lack a navy, and at best it could field about 10,000 troops - half the size of Alexius’s forces in 1100; and after 1300 fewer than that. From this time all Byzantine field armies will be quite small. "Abuse of the pronoia system [land titles held nominally in return for military service, or more exactly: diversion of land taxes from the state to the soldiery] (writes Hussey) had its effect on the army which became almost entirely mercenary and was consequently a heavy expense" (Hussey p.76; cf Treadgold 1997: 749, 819). The pronoia, usually consisted of the concession of the income from cultivated lands together with the paroikoi [tenants, workers] established on the land in question, and it included not only the taxes but part of the income of the land as well. However, various fiscal rights of the state, unrelated to land, such as for instance customs dues, water rights and fishing rights, were also given as pronoiai. In most cases, the pronoia was granted to an individual, either for a specific period of time or, more often, for life, in return for his military service. — Foundation for the Hellenic World, ‘Economics in the Late Byzantine Period’ online at www.fhw.gr/chronos/10/en/o/oa/oa3a.html, accessed 2009. In these years, Byzantium’s main opponents were the Serbs in the west and the Turks in the east. The latter, however, were not a unified power but divided into several statelets or beyliks. The Ottomans, under their first emir Osman, 12811326, were at first just one of a half-dozen Turkish ghazi emirates or beyliks in Asia Minor recognising the distant suzerainty of Rum and their overlords the Mongol Ilkhans of Persia.
1282-1328: ANDRONICUS II Palaeologus
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Son of Michael VIII, Andronicus was aged 24 at accession. First wife: Anna of Hungary, d. 1281. Second wife, marr. 1284: Yolanda-Irene of Montferrat, dau. of the Marquis of Montferrat in "Germanic" Italy, d. 1317. Andronicus's sisters married John Asen III of Bulgaria and John III of Trebizond. — In their own signatures, the emperors of the Palaeologan dynasty used the following formula: X en Khristoi toi theoi basileus kai autokrator ton Rhomaion ho Palaiologos, ie. "X in Christ the God, sovereign and emperor of the Romans [= Byzantines] the Palaeologus." — The gold coin of Byzantium, the hyperpyron, now contained 14 carats; by 1310 this would be reduced to 12. Andronicus was “a well-educated prince, eloquent, devoted to learning, and very pious, but weak, and susceptible to every influence, especially to that of his second wife, Yolande de Montferrat. He was devoid of any political qualities.” — Diehl in Baynes 1949: p.44. 1282: The Balkans: Now formally allied with the Angevins, John Doukas of Thessaly again attacks Byzantine Macedonia. Emperor Michael appealed for help from his son-in-law* Nogai, the khan of the Golden Horde [Kipchak Empire], who sent 4,000 troops. But no expedition proceeded against Thessaly because meanwhile Michael died – in December 1282 (LBA p.64). Andronicus acceded to the throne. See 1283. “With him [Michael VIII] died the last pretence that the union of the churches [West and East] could ever be achieved by force” (Nicol, Lady p.38). (*) As noted earlier, Michael married two of his illegitimate and adopted daughters to the ‘Mongol’ kings: Euphrosyne married Nogay, khan of the Golden Horde; and Maria married Abagha, khan of Persia. 2. Sole emperor from 1282, Andronikos II immediately repudiated his father's unpopular Church union with the Papacy, but was unable to resolve the related schism within the Orthodox clergy until 1310. Andronikos was also plagued by economic difficulties, and during his reign the value of the Byzantine hyperpyron depreciated precipitously while the state treasury accumulated more than seven times less revenue (in nominal coins) than it had done previously. —Wikipedia, 2009, ‘Andronicus II’. At the beginning of his reign, in 1282, Andronicus ruled probably about five million people; by 1312, however, after the loss of almost all of Byzantine Asia Minor, he will rule only around two million. “The empire [will lose] at least half its population in 30 years. This was the real catastrophe”, writes Treadgold, State p. 841. 95
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
3. SW Asia Minor, inland in the Meander valley: Possible date of a second capture, and destruction, of Byzantine Tralles - the future Aydin - by Menteshe’s Turks. Nearby Nyssa [Tk: Sultanhisar], further upstream, also fell (Parry & Cook 1976: 12). Langdon (1992) prefers to date this to late 1283 or early 1284. See below under ca. 1283. According to Pachymeres, the fortress-town of Tralles had recently [ca 1280] been repopulated or recolonised and re-fortified with as many as “36,000” Greek settlers or re-settlers (3,600 would be more credible). The Turks reduced the town by blockade and starvation, refusing to let the inhabitants surrender until most of them had died (Pachymeres, "De Michaele Palaeologo", VI, 20 and 21, in Patrologica Graeca, CXLIII, 929-34, cited in Vryonis 1971). See 1294. Lindner: “In 1282 [or earlier] Michael's son Andronicus led a force up the Meander to rebuild and resettle Aydin/Tralles. He planned to create a large and prosperous city, and a friendly estimate of the population of his new foundation endows this "Andronicopolis" with the improbable total of ‘36,000’ [sic] residents. When Andronicus departed without engaging the Turks in the surrounding countryside, they cut (ca. 1283) the water supply and forced the city's prompt capitulation.” The Turkish leader on this occasion was one Menteshe Bey (Pachymeres VI.21, cited by Hopwood, “Frontiers” p.158). Lower Meander Valley: The Turks destroy, ca. 1283, a “large” army under Andronicus Nestongus at Nyssa, modern Sultanhisar, upstream from Tralles; Nestongus is captured. Following this, the Turks cut off the water supply to the refortified town of Tralles and it was forced to surrender (1283 or 1284) (Langdon p.10). This sealed the fate of the lower Meander. See 1293: tribute exacted from Byzantine Miletus. NW Asia Minor: Failure also marked Michael's own effort in Bithynia. There, frontier garrisons which had not received their wages left their posts. In early 1282 Turks on the lower Sakarya had already repelled Byzantine troops. As noted earlier, Michael's expedition took the field late in the summer. He advanced up the Sakarya south-east of Nicaea and was soon surrounded by the desolation which his western concerns had crowded out of his mind. He was unable to catch the retreating Turks (Sinor 1996: 16). Cf 1285/86: Bursa. 1283: 1. The west Aegean: The last occasion on which a Byzantine blue-water fleet was sent into action was in 1283: about 80 [or 73] galleys and other vessels went to support an army that had invaded Thessaly. (Cf 1329, 1348, 1321.) This required the imposition of extra taxes. In 1283, as we have seen, Andronikos’ first cousin the protovestarios (‘Master of Robes’) Michael Tarchaneiotes led a large army overland to Demetrias (at the 96
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 top of the gulf south-east of Larissa), a fortress town held by the Thessalians under John Doukas’s son Michael. There the army was joined by the fleet of 80 ships under Tarchaneiotes’s brother in law Alexios Raoul, son of Ioannes Raoul Komnenos Doukas Angelos Petraliphas. The Byzantines took the town, but they were then struck down by disease and had to withdraw (LBA p.68). Andronikos thereafter disbanded or at least heavily reduced the size of the navy (1285) in order to concentrate his meagre budget on his land forces. By the year 1300, Constantinople had lost control over most of the Aegean (Nicol pp.114-15; LBA p.66). Cf 1285, 1296. Evidently the Palaeologian army was never larger than about 5,000 men, or at least not after 1300 (Treadgold 1997: 819). Cf 1304, 1321. 2. Anatolia: Ahmet, the Mongol khan of Persia, orders the Seljuq leader Keykhusrev III murdered and he instals the latter’s nephew Ghiyas al-Din [“Giyas-eddin”] Mes’ud II as Seljuk puppet ruler at Erzincan. Mes’ud’s cousin Keykubad III contests control of the west/southwest (until 1298). Cf 1290. Aragon: fl. Ramon Lull, writer in Catalan and Latin. The first considerable writer in a Romance language. Cf Dante = 1315. After Castile, Aragon was the second strongest power in Iberia, Portugal occupying third place. Muslim rule was limited to the small emirate of Granada. See 1291 for more on Lull. 1283-89: Gregory of Cyprus, patriarch in Constantinople. A student of George Acropolites [see under 1261], Gregory wrote an autobiography and many theological works. 1284: 1. The first Venetian gold coins appear: the pure-gold ducat, from Lat. Ducatus “duchy”. This was a token of the collapse or near collapse of the debased Byzantine gold coin, the hyperpyron. The ducat quickly ousted the hyperpyron as the standard currency for Mediterranean trade. 2. The Serbian king Dragutin was given Belgrade by the Hungarian Crown; for the first time Belgrade came under Serbian rule. 1284: Naval battle of Meloria: Genoa crushes Pisa; the latter never recovered. c.1285:
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Italian art: In his altarpiece of the Madonna Enthroned with Angels and Prophets, the Florentine painter Cimabue (pron. “chimabooway”) moves beyond the strict conventions of the Italo-Byzantine style towards an increased naturalism in the treatment of space and in the solid three-dimensionality of the Virgin's throne. He is generally regarded as the last great Western painter working in the Byzantine tradition. Cf 1291 - Cavallini.
Kipchak and Mongol troops of the Golden Horde led by Nogai made an unsuccessful attack against Hungary in 1285 alongside Cuman troops. After ravaging Transylvania, Nogai was beaten off by the Hungarian royal army under Ladislaus IV in an area near Pest and ambushed by the Szekely (Transylvanian Magyars) in the return. 1285: 1. Asia Minor: Osman’s Turks capture the Byzantine fort known to them as “Kuluca-Hisar” in the vicinity of Inegöl, i.e. east of Bursa. Or in 1288, if we follow Linder. Inegöl was about two thirds of the way from Osmanic Sögüt to imperial Bursa. Ottoman tradition has it that in 1284 the Seljuq sultan or pretender Alaeddin Keykubat sent a decree announcing that the rule of the border frontline region around Sögüt was given to Osman Gazi. —Turkish Ministry of Culture, ‘Chronology’, at www.turizm.gov.tr/en/belgegoster; accessed 2008. More likely, Osman’s Turks operated under the oversight of the Germiyanids: see 1286 and 1288 below. 2. As noted, Andronikos disbanded or at least heavily reduced the size of the navy (1285) in order to concentrate his meagre budget on his land forces (Nicol pp.11415; LBA p.66). To save expenses, Andronicus dismisses his two marine regiments, the Gasmouloi and Tzakones, thus effectively disbanding the Byzantine navy, preferring to rely wholly on Genoese ships to transport his small army (Treadgold 1997: 747). Bartusis, LBA pp.68-69, reads it as a heavy reduction rather than a complete disbanding: the rowers continued to serve, and not all the Gasmouloi were immediately discharged. By about 1320 (see under 1321), Byzantium maintained only about 10 galleys, compared with at least 50 in the 1270s. (On Treadgold’s figures, 1997: 843, the cost of maintaining and manning one wargalley was equivalent to the pay of about 1,400 soldiers.) Inalcik (“Siege” p.95) sees the decision as sensible, as the emperor had to pay his mainly ‘mercenary’ (salaried) land-troops to resist the Turcoman onslaught in Anatolia. Cf 1292: Genoese ships. According to Gregoras, the unemployed Byzantine mariners ran away and joined 98
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 the Turks, i.e. presumably at the Seljuk ports of Antalya and Sinope (cited by Zachariadou p.216). 3. Church of ‘St Mary of the Mongols’ in Constantinople: As we noted earlier, Maria Palaeologina, illegitimate-adopted daughter of Michael VIII Palaeologus (1261-1282), had been given in marriage to the Khan of the Mongols, Hulagu or Abagu (thus Pachymeres). After the death of her husband (1265), she returned to Constantinople and founded the convent and church, probably in 1285. Gunpowder reaches the Levant The ‘Book of Horsemanship and the Art of War’ was written in 1285 by Najm alDin Ahdab, a Syrian officer (Syria was then under the Mamluk-Egyptian rule). It is full of information on how to distill oil to make kerosene; how to prepare explosives from gunpowder; how to fit the multiple fuses into the various kinds of "naphtha pots"; and even how to build "flying fire"- rockets! The author includes sketches (drawings) of the weapons he mentions, and one is indeed a crude missile armed with a "naphtha pot". But, were all of these weapons actually used? There are no written records saying they were. Cf earlier under 1218. —Zayn Bilkadi (1995), ‘The Oil Weapons’, http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199501/the.oil.weapons.htm; accessed 2009. The first reference to guns (cannons) in the Balkans comes in 1378 [in 1389 they are said to have been used by both Serbs and Turks at Kossovo]; but firearms would not decide field battles until the 1500s. The Genoese of Galata were using primitive bombards from 1392 (LBA p.337). 1285 or 86: 1a. (c.1286:) NW Asia Minor: The Byzantine magistrates responsible for Inegöl, SE of Bursa, and Karacahisar or ‘Kuluc-hisar’, just east of Dorylaeum/Eskisehir, cooperate to resist the Turks of Osman Gazi. According to Lindner, these two fortress-towns held out until 1288; and he thinks Karacahisar was actually a Germiyanid fortress. As we noted earlier, Osman’s father, the ghazi chief Ertugrul, under Seljuk or Germiyan suzerainty, had formed, c. 1277, a small lordship at Sogut, 125 km east of Brusa (see next), about halfway between Nicaea and Eskisehir, the former Dorylaeum. Presumably in the period 1277-85, the Turks raided westward towards Bursa. See next; also 1286: Germiyan beylik. 1b. Prousa/Bursa: “A letter of 1285 or 1286 from Patriarch Gregory II proves that danger [from the Turks] had already touched Bursa. Andronicus had imposed a fine on the city, and the patriarch had received complaints of its severity. He advised Andronicus of the difficulty in raising such a large sum, as the nearby Turks [i.e. east of Byzantine Inegöl] would remain a threat to the city's prosperity, and, if there were no resources left locally, might bring about its ruin. Gregory claimed that the proposed fine of 600 hyperpyra was excessive: 300 would be quite enough. For the sake of comparison, the proposed pension to be 99
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 granted to the akritai [border militia] of Asia Minor under Michael VIII in the 1260s had been 40 hyperpyra each [per year]. Bursa's commerce and the silk trade must have been languishing indeed, if a single levy of 600 hyperpyra was considered a crushing blow” (thus Lindner). On the other hand, Cassidy p. 88 (citing Anarkis) proposes that Prousa may have had as many as 30,000 inhabintats. Cf 1290-93 below. Beautiful Rumi In Muslim writings of this period the physical beauty of the Rumi or Byzantine people is emphasised, as it was in earlier centuries. The Baghdad-based Persian cosmographer al-Qazwini, d. AH 682, AD 1285, states that the Rumi or Byzantines were mostly white, with blond hair: i.e. brown or light brown, and sturdy bodies. Similarly, the Andalusian-born geographer Ibn Sa‘id, d. AH 678 or 685: 1274 or 1286, stresses the whiteness and blondness of the Byzantines, stating that the inhabitants of the ‘sixth climate’ (the north) are characterized by extreme whiteness, blue eyes, and blond hair and they often have freckles on their faces. These physical attributes were highly valued, as can be deduced from various adab works and special manuals, which delineate the prevalent Arab typology of beauty. —Nadia Maria El-Cheikh, ‘The Islamic View of Late Byzantium’, at www.ellopos.net/elpenor/islam-byzantium; accessed 2010. 1285-89: Arta in Epiros: The Church of Parigoritria was built during 1285-89 by Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas and his wife Anna Palaiologina Cantacuzene. It is an attractively-crafted four-storey building. From 1285: After 1285 the Byzantine navy suffered catastrophic losses, and by the year 1300 Constantinople had lost control over most of the Aegean. See next. Seeking to increase revenue and reduce expenses, Andronikos II raised taxes and reduced tax exemptions, and dismantled or heavily reduced the Byzantine fleet (80 ships) in 1285, thereby making the Empire increasingly dependent on the rival republics of Venice and Genoa. In 1291, he hired 50-60 Genoese ships (LBA, pp. 67 ff; Fryde 2000: 93). Edmund Fryde calls this “one of the most fateful misjudgments of his reign”. Later, in 1320, he tried to resurrect the navy by constructing 20 galleys, but he failed. 2. Anatolia: After the execution of Ghiyas ad-Din Kay-Khusraw III in 1284, the Mongols gave the Seljuk throne to Ghiyas ad-Din Mas'ud II (1285-98, 1303-08), a 100
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 son of 'Izz ad-Din Kay-Ka`us, who had come from Crimea to claim his patrimony. However, he made Kayseri, not Konya, the seat of his government. His reign marks the definitive rise to power of the Türkmen frontier chieftains, especially the Qaramanids, the Ashrafids, and, on the Byzantine borders, the Germiyanids. —Encyc. Brit. ‘Anatolia’, www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/22897/Anatolia/44370/Division-anddecline; accessed 2009. See 1286 and 1290. Mas’ud led several ineffectual campaigns against the emerging Turkmen principalities, the Beyliks, always on behalf of the Mongols and usually with Mongol troops. Notable among these is the expedition beginning late in 1286 against the Germiyan. 1286: 1. Syria/Mesopotamia: d. ‘Bar-Hebraeus’ (Gregory Abu al-Faraj), catholicus (patriarch) and historian of the Monophysite or “Jacobite” church. His nickname derives from his birthplace, Ebra near Malatya. Studied in Antioch and Lebanese Tripoli, then under the rule of the Egyptian Mamluks. Bishop of Aleppo and then primate of the Syriac Christians. He left a large historical work called Makhtbhanuth Zabhne, or Chronicon, in which he considers history from the Creation down to his own day. 2. Turkish Anatolia: The role of the Germiyan line was key to the emergence of the western Anatolian beyliks. Their state was based on Kütahya, SW of Dorylaeum, and founded or formalised in 1286 (Nicolle 2008: 29). The first emir was ‘Alishir, known as "Karmanos [Karaman] Alisourios" to the Byzantine historian Gregoras and "Alisuras" to Pachymeres (Nicol 1993: 142). The beylik rapidly attracted considerable support as a centre of resistance to Mongol (Persian Il-Khan) domination, and Germiyan beys also sent raiders (or allowed them to go) down the western valleys to take over Byzantine territory. Several commanders of such forces established their own beyliks, which eventually stretched as far as the Aegean coast (see 1304). This was the origin of Aydın and Saruhan, who soon became significant sea powers, and Karasi who, despite eventually covering a large area facing the Byzantines across the Dardanelles, initially lacked a formidable navy. The first little Ottoman beyliks [see 1290] also seem to have emerged as an offshoot of the Germiyan. c.1286-94: Kantakouzenos (senior), father of the future emperor, was Governor of the Peloponnese, ca 1286-1294. Born ca 1265, died in the Peloponnese 1294 (his son was born after his death); m. ca 1290/92: Theodora Palaiologina Angelina, born 1275-78, died under house arrest in Constantinople, 6.1.1342, buried in the Convent of Kyra-Martha, possibly the dau. of General Chandrenos and Theodote Glabaina Tarchaneiotissa (thus website genealogy.euweb.cz/byzant/byzant5.html; accessed 2010.)
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1288: 1. Asia: Osman’s Turks capture (c. 1288) the one-time Byzantine fortress of Karacahisar, south of Dorylaeum (Eskisehir). Lindner calls this the ‘first conquest of the proto-Ottomans’. Based at Sogut, NW of Dorylaeum, Osman’s tribe was probably still a junior member of the Germiyan beylik. See 1290. --- Lindner thinks Osman captured Karacahisar, near Eskisehir, from fellow Turks, i.e. the Germiyanids. —Explorations in Ottoman Prehistory, p. 80. --- “Except for an episode in the last half of the 1280s, the emirs of Germiyan had been Seljuk allies, and they seem to have inherited some of the Seljuk pretensions to authority, weak though it may have been, over the marches. It is my belief that the enmity between the Ottomans and Germiyan goes back to the Ottoman seizure of Karacahisar, . . . . It also seems that Germiyan favoured harsher treatment of the Byzantines than did Osman. Under these conditions, living with hostile neighbours to the south and threatening Mongols to the east, Osman's interest in co-existence with the relatively weak Byzantines makes sense. Some of these Byzantines found him a promising leader and they joined the tribe, becoming his followers, or ‘Osmanlis’ ” (Lindner). 2. The eastern Aegean: Benedetto I Zaccaria, c. 1235–1307, the Genoese-born admiral, breaks with the empire as the Lord of Phocaea from 1288 and later the first Lord of Chios (from 1304), the founder of Zaccaria fortunes in Byzantine and Latin Greece. Already a successful merchant, Benedetto – aged about 29 - had first appeared as a Genoese ambassador to the Byzantine court in 1264. In 1275, at imperial invitation, he was first appointed administrator of the mines of Phocea. He built a plantation there, from which he traded with a number of Mediterranean and Asian cities, accumulating considerable wealth. In 1282, still in the emperor's service, he acted as an ambassador to Peter III of Aragon, counselling him to continue the war with Angevins over Sicily. 3. The Balkans: The empire recovers the region around Dyrrhachium from the Angevins (the French of Sicily). Nicholas IV, the first Franciscan pope. 1288-1326: Large church and town clocks begin to appear in England and France: true clocks with non-Chinese style ’escapements’. The metaphor of the world as a huge piece of clockwork first appears in the writings of Nicholas of Oresme (1382). 1289: Asia Minor: One traditional date (others give “1299”) for the supposed handover to Osman Gazi of the authority for the areas in and around Eskisehir (Gk: Dorylaeum) and Inönü by the Seljuq sultan or pretender Alaeddin Keykubat [Ala ad-Din Kayqubad III] (website www.kultur.gov.tr, 2010). The Il-Khans, the Mongol overlords of the East, variously deposed and installed 102
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 several sultans in Anatolia – in formal terms it was Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud II who was sultan in 1289. 2. Palestine-Lebanon: The Mamluks under sultan Qalawun take Christian Tripoli and Beirut. Now only NE Palestine - Acre, Tyre, and Sidon - and the two Templar castles of Tortosa [Syria] and Athlit remained in Latin hands (Irwin 1986: 75). See 1290.
Above: Icon of St Demetrius, ca 1290, Monastery of Protatos, Mt Athos. His corselet is lamellar armour, upwards-overlapping iron platelets. The transverse cord tied with a knot may be a baldric or perhaps a shield-strap. The saint is generally depicted as beardless, but does sometime appear with a beard. Beardlessness indicates his youth, not that he was a eunuch. 103
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1290: 1. Osman or Uthman: 1259–1326, leader of the Ottoman Turks - as they would later be called after him - and founder of the dynasty. He proclaimed (1290) his independence from his nominal overlord, the Seljuk Turks, upon the collapse of their empire. In that year his name began to be read aloud during the Friday prayer service, signalling the beginning of his independence (discussion in Singh p. 68). See 1299-1300. Aided by an influx of Muslim warriors, Osman will - from about 1300 - expand his state in NW Asia Minor at the expense of the petty Christian lords (Byzantine magnates) who are his neighbours. By 1308 Ottoman rule will extend NW to the Sea of Marmara. See 1290-93 below. 2. 1290-91: The Egyptian Sultan Qalawun dies en route to capture Christian Acre on 10 November 1290; but his son al-Kalil conquers it the following year. Acre, the last Latin/Crusader foothold in Palestine, falls (1291) to Islam in the shape of Mamluk Egypt (Bradbury 2004). End of 'Frankish’/Christian rule in the Holy Land. The Knights of St John (‘Hospitallers’) transfer to Cyprus. 3. fl. Theodora Kantakuzaina Raoulina (c.1240-1300), nun and scholar. In 1256 she married the high official George Mouzalon, a commoner who in 1258 (see there) momentarily became regent before being assassinated by the aristocracy and the military, among them her uncle Michael Palaiaolos, who took the throne as Michael VIII. She was then married to John Raoul, one of Michael’s allies, who now became chamberlain. She was exiled for her opposition to the emperor’s policy of uniting the Eastern and Western churches. After her uncle’s death, by now a nun, she embarked on a life of scholarship (1285: aged about 45). In her works she quotes from many of the ancient Greek texts such as Homer and Euripides (Nicol, Lady, chapter 3). 1290: First successful French gold coin, the petit royal assis. c. 1290: Eye-glasses or ‘spectacles’ seem to have been invented in Florence in 1285 or a few years later. These were convex lenses, of help only to the far-sighted. Concave lenses of use to the near-sighted were not developed until the 16th century (Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution, 1994, p.145). Asia Minor: fl. Yunus Emre, Turkish poet and mystic (sufi). He almost certainly lived in east-central Anatolia in the Karaman (Larende) area and belonged to a family who had emigrated from Khorasan (NW Persia) to the village of Seyh Haci Ismail. He was a contemporary of Rumi, who lived in the same region. Rumi composed his collection of stories and songs for a well-educated urban circle of Sufis, writing primarily in the literary language of Persian. Yunus Emre, on the other hand, travelled and taught 104
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 among the rural poor, singing his songs in the common tongue of Turkish. 1290-93: Emperor Andronicus spent the years from 1290 to 1293 in Anatolia arranging defences (Lindner, in Sinor 1996). He went to Bithynia and examined the fortified keeps near the Sakarya River, east of Nicaea. He then turned south-west to Nicaea and Lopadion which is modern Ulubad, west of Prusa-Bursa. After lengthy stays in these two towns, he moved (1291) south to Nymphaeum (inland from Smyrna), where he passed two years in the former Lascarid capital. (See under 1291.) He concerned himself with the towns and their security, if not with their provisioning. He made no sorties into the countryside, and the chroniclers do not record any encounters with Turkish forces (as Lindner remarks). Cf 1291, 1294. — This would mean only that the emperor did not go up into the highlands. For Halil Inalcik states, in “Osman Ghazi’s siege”, that despite claims to the contrary by Pachymeres, it was not until after 1300 that Osman raided down as far as the lower Sakarya/Sangarius River [i.e. east of Nicomedia]. See below: “defection” of Paphlagonia. — In the SW, the middle Meander valley, including Tralles/Aydin, had been lost in the early 1280s. Thus in the 1290s the borderline between Greek and Turk must have run along the hills (watershed) between the Hermus Valley (including Smyrna and Nymphaeum) and the Meander Valley (including Tralles/Aydin). Cf 1293 and 1294: the struggle for Miletus; and 1297: Philadelphia as a Byzantine border stronghold. From c.1290: Candar or Jandar Dynasty: also called Isfendiyar, a Turkmen dynasty (c. 12901461) that ruled in the Kastamonu-Sinop region of northern Anatolia. Paphlagonia: Ian Booth [www.byzantium.ac.uk/frameset_byzlinks] writes that “Candar Bey made …. Eflâni [NE of Karabuk; west of Kastamonu] his capital in 1291, which means that it was still in Byzantine hands until then. However Candar’s attack on Kastamonu in 1309 suggests that it was no longer a Ghazi state by then, which is consistent with Pachymeres’ claim [queried by most historians] that in the 1290s the Ghazi fighters of Paphlagonia joined Osman on the Sangarios frontier.” Booth proposes that Paphlagonia defected from the empire rather than being conquered: “Andronikos II’s financial and military policies caused the loss of Anatolia, but … people are usually unwilling to change sides unless they can see a very good reason for doing so. … I believe that in 1291 such a reason existed. Mongol control was slipping, so that instead of facing a great power, with its need to support an army and an aristocracy, Byzantium faced the Beyliks. Young, vigorous, more democratic and short of manpower, they offered the Byzantine peasant[s] hope, in return for a change of religion.” 1290-95: Italy: As noted earlier, the Florentine painter known as “Cimabue”, pron: ‘cheema-boo-way’: Bencivieni di Pepo, c. 1240-1302, was the last great Italian artist 105
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 in the Byzantine style, which had dominated early medieval painting in Italy. Among his surviving works are the frescoes of New Testament scenes in the upper church of S. Francesco, Assisi; the “Sta. Trinita Madonna” (c. 1290; Uffizi, Florence); and the “Madonna Enthroned with St. Francis” (c.1290–95; lower church of S. Francesco). See 1291 – Cavallini. The first ‘post-Byzantine’ painter was Cimabue’s pupil Giotto (aged 20 in about 1287), who among many other things painted a portrait of his near coeval Dante. In his Purgatorio Dante (aged about 37 when Cimabue died in 1302) wrote: O vanity of human powers, how briefly lasts the crowning green of glory, unless an age of darkness follows! In painting Cimabue thought he held the field but now it's Giotto has the cry, so that the other's fame is dimmed. Art historiographers from the 14th century to the present have recognised the art and career of Cimabue as the dividing line between the old and the new traditions in Western European painting. - Source: “Cimabue", Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Accessed 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9082645>. 1291: 1. Asia: As noted, after inspecting the Sangarius frontier, Andronicus proceeded south to the old Nicaean capital of Nymphaeum, which, since the loss of the Meander valley [cf above: 1269 and 1282], had become a border fort. (Nymphaeum: inland from Smyrna; modern-day Kemalpasha). Cf 1293 – Miletus, and 1294. 2. Epirus: (or 1292:) Following a revolt in Epirus, fomented by the Angevin king Charles of Naples, Andronicus had a Genoese fleet land a small force there, but the Epirote leader Nicephoros called in the Latins of the Peloponnese [where Florent of Hainaut was Prince of Achaea] and they defeated the Byzantines and Genoese. Cf 1294: recapture of Miletus. --- The Byzantine expedition was made up mainly of Turks and ByzantinoCuman soldiers; there were no Latin mercenaries enrolled on the imperial side. This is the last occasion on which we hear of Byzantino-Cuman soldiers (the descendants of the Cumans earlier settled in Byzantine Anatolia), presumably because by 1300 they became culturally fully assimilated (LBA p.27). --- According to the Chronicle of Morea (Lurier p.315), 60 or 40 Genoese galleys were hired; this fleet sailed around to the Adriatic coast off Arta. That number of ships might have carried several thousand troops. Simultaneously a large land army of “14,000” cavalry and “30,000” infantry (sic: 1,400 horse and 3,000 foot would be more credible: total say 3,400?) proceeded through central Greece (“Vlachia”) to Yannina/Ioannina, the fortress-town north of Arta. Hearing that the prince of Achaia was approaching with an army (possibly they did not know he commanded only 400-500 men), the imperial army withdrew. The fleet too withdrew after some inconsequential plundering (LBA p.70).
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 3. Macedonia: Stephen Milutin of Serbia took from the empire Scopia [Skopje] and the upper Axius (Vardar) valley, the river that runs SE from Skopje. Others say Skopje had been taken in 1282 (Nicol 1993: 119; the chronology is disputed: discussion in Fine 1994: 219). Cf 1297. 4. Emergence of Western art: In his fresco of the Last Judgment (c.1291) in the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome, Pietro Cavallini abandons Byzantine conventions and paints more sculpturally solid, almost perspectivised, figures. One might call it, Whiggishly, a ‘pre-Renaissance’ style. GO HERE for a detailed photograph in high resolution: http://www.wga.hu/art/c/cavallin/lastjudg/last_j_8.jpg 1291-99: The East: The civil war in the llkhanid (Mongol-Persian) Empire (1291-1295) and a series of rebellions on the part of several Mongol military governors in Anatolia (Tughachar and Baltu in 1297; Sulemish in 1298-99) with the ensuing repressions resulted in the immigration of more Turcomans and, now, of certain Mongol tribes as well, putting further pressure on the Byzantine frontier. —Inalcik 1980. Latins Closing the Gap with Byzantium “The rebirth of the state [in the West] and, thereby, of its tributary domination, observable in [western] Europe since the thirteenth century, had the effect of bringing about the establishment of detailed fiscal registers, first of all in the large Italian communes. The oldest surviving fiscal cadasters, such as the great cadaster of Orvieto of 1292, have been analyzed with the help of the computer. The analysis shows clearly that they, like the equivalent Byzantine documents, followed principles of bureaucratic formalization that, in themselves, were responses to the needs of the state and to social conditions”: Toubert in Laiou ed., 2002: 388. Stoned in Tunis Preaching to the unconvertible: About 1291, but some say 1285, the Catalan* (Majorcan-born) royal official, monk and writer Ramon Lull or Llull - he is known to us mainly as an author - went to Tunis, preached to the Muslims or ‘Saracens’, disputed with them in philosophy, and after another brief sojourn in Paris, returned to the East as a Christian missionary. Others place this in 1293. Deciding on an overseas mission, Llull enlisted the support of James II of Aragon, who recommended him to King Abu Hafs Omar I of Tunis, where Llull arrived in mid-1293. Adopting a common Dominican tactic, Llull challenged local Islamic scholars to a debate on the relative truth of their faiths, which led to his speedy banishment from Tunis and return to Naples. 107
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(*) At this time Catalonia was part of the kingdom of Aragon, which ruled the NE quarter of our Spain, and also the Balearics including Majorca. Lull was in Tunis again in 1304. After undergoing many hardships and privations, he returned to Europe in 1311 for the purpose of laying before the Council of Vienna his plans for the conversion of the ‘Moors’ to Christianity. Again in 1314 or 1315, now an old man of 82, he set out for Tunis—the Hafsid caliphate of Tunis: cf above 1270—where he was stoned nearly to death by the Saracens. Evacuated to Majorca, he died soon thereafter (1316) from the effects of the stoning. Lower Greece: The Chronicle of Morea covers the period 1202-1292 in the Peloponnese: English trans. H.E. Lurier, Crusaders as Conquerors: The Chronicle of Morea, New York: Columbia UP, 1964. 1293: SW Asia Minor: The Turks applied a policy of extracting tribute from the Byzantine towns and the countryside which they controlled but had not yet conquered. In about 1293 the Turks of the Maiandros - the Upper Meander Valley - imposed a tribute upon Miletos, the Greek town near the mouth of the Meander. See next. 1293-95: Asia: In 1293 Alexios Doukas Philanthropenos, a soldier with much experience (but also with Arsenite* connections), was sent by Andronicus to the south to secure the lower Maeander Valley. Philanthropenos advanced into the emirate of Menteshe and his troops recaptured the fortress of Melanoudion (north of Miletos). Philanthropenus successfully protected Miletus from Turkish bands, securing booty in gold, silver, sheep- and donkey-skins. His accomplishments, and his generosity to his enemies in victory, won over some Turks, who formed a separate corps among his men. His soldiers, and the populace he was protecting, rose in revolt against Constantinople in 1294 (or in 1296) under his banner: to the Greek farmers he represented a blow against high taxes, and to the nomad Turks (in Lindner’s view) he was a successful (tribal?) chief. Hopwood, “Frontiers’ p.159, sees this as an attempt to set up a separatist state in the uç (marchlands). Andronicus and his advisors had to rely on bribery and deceit to put down the revolt and, in late 1295, to imprison and blind its leader ( - thus Lindner). (*) From Arsenios Autoreianos, Patriarch of Constantinople (1254-59 and 126165). A supporter of the rights of the Laskarids and a defender of the observation of the rules of the Church. He was deposed by Michael VIII Palaiologos. His followers, the ‘Arsenites’, broke away from the official Church, causing what became known as the Arsenite schism, which ended in 1310 when a compromise was negotiated with the Church, during the reign of Andronikos II. 108
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1294: 1. SW Asia Minor: As noted, Andronicus' nephew Alexius Philanthropenos campaigns against the Turks in Asia Minor and briefly recaptures Miletus (in the far SW: Milet, near Aydin). He enlisted defeated Turks and Greek refugees from Crete to build up his army and scored what Bartusis calls a “dazzling” series of victories in 1294-95 (Bartusis, LBA p.74). His soldiers proclaim Philanthropenos emperor (1295), but his officers are soon bribed into seizing and blinding him. Cf 1295, 1296. Alexios Philanthropenos Tarchanaiotes was placed in command of Nymphaion and Lydia during the Turkish campaign ordered by Emperor Andronikos II in the early 1290s. He advanced into the emirate of Menteshe and recaptured Melanoudion, the fortress in the Meander Valley inland from (north of) Miletos. An island monastery abandoned by its monks before 1295 served as residence of the widow of the emir of Menteshe. Alexis Philanthropenos besieged and took over this island, and appropriated the riches. —Ragia 2007. 2. Lower Greece: Philip of Anjou, Prince of Taranto, is named by his father, Charles of Naples, as putative suzerain of all the Angevin possessions in the Balkans, from Albania to Athens, and is invested with the presumptive title ‘Despot of Romania’ (meaning in this context present-day Greece). Philip marries (1294) Thamar Angela Komnene Dukaina, “Lady of Bonditza and Lepanto”, the daughter of Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas, despot of Epirus and Anna Kantakuzene. With this marriage, Philip becomes leader of the Aetholian league and Prince of Corfu. He also buys the title and much of the possessions of the Despotate of Epirus. 1294: (1) Death of the Mongol (Yuan) emperor of China, Khubilai Khan. (2) The Venetians build the first of the so-called ‘great galleys’ – armed cargo-galleys that were longer, deeper and broader and so more suited to transporting goods: hull about eight m wide; length 53 m – about twice as wide and 30% longer than before (Casson, in Gardiner 2004: 123, 125). See next. 1294-98: Venice vs Genoa in the Adriatic, Marmara and Black Seas. At Laiazzo, on the coast of Armenia, the Genoese were victorious (1294). The Venetians retaliated by destroying the Genoese quarter of Galata, the region or suburb opposite Constantinople on the north (1296). Then in 1298 Lamba Doria, an early representative of the Doria family, famous in the annals of Genoa, totally destroyed a Venetian fleet of 95 galleys near the island of Curzola or Korcula, an island off the (Venetian-ruled) Dalmatian coast. —Kleinheinz Med Ital 2004, I: 307; Cath. Encyc., under ‘Genoa’, at www.newadvent.org/cathen/06419a.htm. 109
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Above: Icon of St Mercurius, 1295. The nature of his armour is obscure: perhaps lamellar at the neck and a corselet with mail underlay? His sword/sabre looks about 70 cm long (around 2 ft 4 in). 1295: 1. Asia: Following the capture and blinding of Alexius Philanthropenos, Turks reinvade and again seize the Meander Valley in east-central Asia Minor. The region was by 1300 divided between the emirs of Aydin (north), and Menteshe (south). Interestingly, the Aydin-oglu were Shi’ites (Moosa 1987: 446). Cf 1296, 1299 and see 1302. 2. Andronicus’s son Michael Palaiologos, aged 18, is made junior emperor of Byzantium, and marries Rita (aged 17; d. 1333), dau. of King Leo III of Cilician Armenia. - Cilicia was a small Christian state lodged between the Anatolian Turks, their overlords the Il-Khans (the Mongols of Persia) and the Egyptians (Mamelukes). Italian fleets “The Venetians, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, never put to sea a fleet as large as the great Genoese fleet of 1295 with its 165 galleys and some 35,000 men [av. 212 per vesel], but still fleets of 40 to 50 galleys were common and, allowing a conservative estimate of 200 men on each galley, that would give 8,000 to 10,000 men for a major battle fleet.” —Dotson 2001. Cf below: 1296. Genoese and Venetian naval forces were smaller in the next century: e.g. a fleet of 35 galleys dispatched by Venice in 1350, soon after the Black Death: battle of the Bosphorus vs the Genoese under Doria. 1290s: Iran: Under Ghazan (Mahmud), the Mongol Ilkhan rulers of Persia convert from Buddhism to Islam. 1296: 1. Asia: Andronicus again marched forth for the east in late May 1296. After a series of earthquakes (1 June - 17 July), however, which he interpreted as an admonitory omen, he gave up the campaign (Lindner, ‘Nomads and Ottomans’). 2. A Venetian fleet of 75 ships rows into the Sea of Marmara and attacks and burns the Genoese colony at Galata and part of Constantinople itself. First of a series of naval battles fought off Constantinople between the Venetians and the Genoese, Byzantium's suppliers and protectors. The Genoese retaliated later in the year, attacking the Venetian quarter in Constantinople (Norwich, Decline p.262). 112
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 When the Venetian-Byzantine war broke out in 1296, Venice openly encouraged its most prosperous subjects to arm their own galleys and move independently around the Aegean. The Imperial navy had been disbanded, and so Andronicus could not prevent the Venetians from occupying various Aegean islands. Although Genoa and Venice made peace in 1299, a state of hostilities continued between Byzantium and Venice until 1302 (Mahaira-Odoni, 2007). Cf 1298. 3. fl. Maximus Planudes [aged about 36], scholar and man of letters, born in Nicomedia. Imperial secretary and abbot. Teacher and polymath, he was one of the first Byzantines to have a thorough acquaintance with Latin. “Arabic” numerals and the zero, originally borrowed from India, were introduced into Byzantium from Persia by Maximus Planudes in about AD 1300. He also edited the newest version of the ‘Greek Anthology’, a collection of ancient and later lyrics and epigrams. Sent to Venice as ambassador in 1327, “he taught [many] 14th century Italian humanists, [and] was a pioneer in bridging the intellectual gap between East and West ...” (Dudley & Lang, p.205). See also under 1310. 4. (or 1295/96:) The Cilician Armenian king Hethum and his brother Thoros went to Constantinople to see their sister Rita marry the Caesar [junior emperor] Michael IX Palaeologus. By 1296: SW Asia Minor: The Menteshe family, Turkish "ghazi" lords, controlled inland Caria = further decay of Seljuk and Byzantine rule. After repulsing a Byzantine attack under Alexius Philanthropenus in 1295 (see there), Mentese's son Mesud occupied part of the island of Rhodes in 1300. Encyc. Britannica 15th ed. ( = ‘EB 15’) under ‘Menteshe’. After 1300 western Asia Minor will be divided between as many as nine beyliks or "ghazi emirates". The four western-most beyliks were those of: 1. the Ottomans: at first at Sogut near Eskisehir; later at Bursa; 2. Sarukhan: at Manisa/Magnesia from 1313; 3. Aydin: at Birgi; and 4. Menteshe: later at Peçin Kale near Milas/Mylasa. Cf 1299, 1300, 1302, 1304, 1305, 1308, etc. 1296-1316: Ala-ud-din Khilji (a Pashtun, born Ali Gurshap), ruler of the Turko-Afghan Khilji dynasty in northern India (”Sultanate of Delhi”). Mongol incursions from Central Asia were defeated in 1297 and 1299. McEvedy & Jones’s (1978) guesstimate for the population of the Indian subcontinent in 1300 is 90 million. Thus the Khilji empire, which extended from our N Pakistan south to Gujurat and east across N India to presentday Bangladesh, may have contained some 60 M people . . . compared with ‘only’ 80 M in all of Europe and, after a century of almost non-stop warfare, 85 M in China Proper [the eastern 2/3 of the modern Republic], the latter down from perhaps 110 M around 1200.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1297, Scotland: Scottish victory over the English at Stirling Bridge. Some 2,300 Scots under Andrew de Moray and William Wallace defeated perhaps 9,000 English and Welsh led by the Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne. A contemporary said that English losses in the battle were 100 cavalry and 5,000 infantry killed. 1297-1300: The emperor’s cousin John Tarchaneiotes was governor of SW Asia Minor from 1297 or 1298. He was a skilful general with good administrative abilities, and temporarily improved the position of the Byzantines in the area. But he was blamed for planning a conspiracy against the emperor and was forced to leave Asia Minor in 1299/1300. — General John Tarchaneiotes went south, and in another attempt to rebuild the local armed forces, equalised the size of soldiers' holdings so that all could afford to serve. Unwilling donors among the larger pronoiars and the bishop of Philadelphia (present-day Alasehir) turned against him and secured his recall in the summer of 1299 or in 1300. —Rudi Lindner, in his Nomads and Ottomans, Bloomington, 1983. 1297-1330: The tiny so-called ‘empire’ of Trebizond reached its greatest wealth and influence during the long reign of Alexios II (1297–1330).
Above: Anatolia and the Black Sea in about 1300. Karvuna, NE of Bulgaria proper, did not in fact become a separate Bulgarian principality until about 1320. 114
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
1298: 1. Outer Macedonia: Annoyed by the guerilla attacks of the Serbs, Andronikos sent an army to Macedonia under his nephew Michael Tarchaneiotes Glabas, the megas konostaulos or ‘great constable’ - commander of the knights. But the general quickly saw that his regular troops could not easily deal with guerillas, and he persuaded the emperor to deploy diplomacy (LBA p.73): see 1299, Metochites’s embassy to Milutin. 2. The emperor's cousin John begins rebuilding a native Byzantine army in Asia Minor. By 1301 it is clear, however, that the experiment is not successful, the new troops being judged of poor quality. Cf 1301, 1302. Bartusis proposes that by this time there were probably more pronoiars (soldiers drawing their income from farm taxes) - say 3,000? - than mercenaries (soldiers paid from the imperial treasury) in the central army: say 2,000? (LBA p.35). 3. Italy: A Genoese fleet enters the Adriatic and defeats the Venetian navy. Among the captured Venetians was one Marco Polo. In a fleet action near Curzola/Korcula in 1298 a Genoese fleet of 78 ships heavily defeated a Venetian one of 98. However, the Genoese admiral Lamba Doria also suffered such heavy losses in the battle that he did not press on to the lagoons of Venice. Scotland 1298: English victory at Falkirk: The first major battle to be decided by the longbow. Some 6-12,000 Scots under Wallace were defeated by 15-18,000 English. 1298-99: Italy: Marco Polo dictates his Description of China. “Contemporaries [in Europe] were reluctant to believe him … Who can blame them when Venice, [western] Europe’s largest city had a population of 160,000 while China’s, Hangchow, had [perhaps] a population of six million?” (Adshead p.110, citing Elvin’s Pattern of the Chinese Past, 1973). The Hazards of Overland Travel After the recapture of Constantinople by the Byzantines in 1261, the eastern part of the Via Egnatia became once more the main axis for communications with Thessaloniki, although poor weather conditions were often an impediment to travel: in November 1298, for example, there was so much snow on the road from Selymbria [just west of Constantinople] to Thessaloniki that the journey took Andronikos II more than a month. (In summer travel by ship would be preferred.) —Avramea 2002. 1298-1300: 115
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Tsar Chaka was tsar of Bulgaria from 1298-1300. He was the son of the Mongol leader Nogai Khan and his Byzantine Greek wife, Euphrosyne, the daughter of the late Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus. He was installed on the Bulgarian throne by his brother-in-law Theodore Svetoslav. Chaka had led his supporters into Bulgaria, intimidated the regency for Ivan II into fleeing the capital, and imposed himself, or was imposed, as ruler in Turnovo in 1299. It is not completely certain whether he reigned as Emperor of Bulgaria or simply acted as overlord for Theodore Svetoslav. 1298-1301: Anatolia: acc. of the last Seljuq ruler, Mesud II, 1298. His reign saw revolts by Seljuk and Mongol generals against the Mongol overlordship exercised from Persia. In the west, the Turcoman frontier chiefs felt secure from Mongol intervention, and so they were able to intensify their raids into the Byzantine lands. The raids extended from the lower Sakarya valley in the NW to Ephesus in the SW (Inalcik, “Siege” p.82). The expansion of the Turcoman tribes toward the lower Sangarius (Sakarya) River and their relentless raids into the Byzantine province of Mesothynion (the peninsula of Nicomedia) were recorded by the contemporary historian Pachymeres. He traced this back to the disorders which took place in the Paphlagonian frontier area between the Sangarius River and Kastamoni. — Inalcik 1980. Hoping to interest the Mongol (Persian) Il-khan, and to persuade him to bring the Turcomans into line, Byzantium arranged for Maria, illegitimate sister of Andronicus II, to marry Ghazan Khan (died 1304). But the Mongols were unable or unwilling to deliver on the deal. By 1299: Central Asia Minor: At this time, the strongest of the several Turkish principalities (the "ghazi" emirates) was the beylik (lordship) of the GermiyanOghullari at Kütahya, which controlled most of classical Phrygia [inland westcentral Asia Minor]. An inscription has Ya’qub ruling a large region SW and NE of Kütahya, namely: from Ankara in the NE to Gumushar, Sivriköy, Simav/Simay and Kula [near Philadelphia] to the SE and as far as Tripolis on the far upper Meander [NE of Denizli, near modern Yenicekent]. Afyon (SE of Kütahya), Denizli itself (Ladik) and Aydin in the lower Meander valley were held by his relatives or vassals (Freely 2008: 112; also map in Nicolle 2008: 33; but Freely also says, p.139, that Kutahya was not taken by the Germiyanids until 1302). Cf 1304: Ephesus under threat. Byzantium paid tribute (money) to Ya'qub I (“Ali Shir”), 1299-1327. The Ottomans at Sogut (see next) were less powerful. See 1304. 1299: Embassy to Serbia led by Metochites. His ‘caravan’, as Vanni 2007: 12 imagines it, travelled first to Byzantine Thessalonica and thence by the inland road NNW to Serbian-ruled Skopje. 116
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 So imbued were the Serbs with the imperial ideology of Byzantium that King Milutin’s court panegyrist, the future archbishop Danilo II, referred to the basileus of Constantinople as “the universal emperor of New Rome”; and a pupil of Danilo described him in the same vein as “the orthodox universal emperor, the Lord Andronicus” (Obolenksy p.327). Byzantium/Rhomaniya recognised Milutin's conquests in Macedonia. Milutin came to Thessaloniki, wehere he marries (Easter 1299) the emperor's five-years old daughter, Simonis. Simonis, the daughter of Emperor Andronikos II, was married at age five to the middle-aged ruler of Serbia: aged about 40. He injured her by premature sexual intercourse so that she was rendered incapable of childbearing (!!) http://www.geocities.com/timessquare/labyrinth/2398/bginfo/social/women.ht ml; also in Nicol’s The Byzantine Lady, 1996: 52.
2. NW Asia Minor: The Turks under Osman captured the Byzantine fortress of Bilecik, known to the Byzantines as Belikoma or Belokoma, SE of Nicaea. Bilecik, 30 km NW of Sogut, was just 40 km from Byzantine Nicaea and 75 km from Bursa. (Some place this 10 years earlier: in 1289.) The Turkish Ministry of Culture states that it was in “1298” that Osman’s men captured the forts of Bilecik, Yarhisar, and Inegöl, and this involved the presentation of Nilüfer Hatun, a Greek woman captured during the action, to Osman Gazi to become his wife. – Turkish Ministry of Culture, ‘Chronology’, at www.turizm.gov.tr/en/belgegoster; accessed 2008. Freely 2008: 104, citing Pachymeres, dates the Turkish capture of Bilecik to after 1302. Acknowledging this feat, the ex-ruler of Rum (Konya), Alaeddin Keykubat - the still deposed Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh III: he will return to the throne 1301-1303 sent him "a horsetail, a standard and a drum" as the insignia of sovereignty in 699 A.H. (1299 AD). Others say in 1295 and that the sultan who sent the insignia was Giyaseddin Mes'ud.* Thereupon, Osman minted coins and had the Friday prayers recited in his name alone. Cf 1300-26: raids in the direction of Nicomedia. —Korkut Ozgen, ‘Osman’, at www.theottomans.org/english/family/osman; accessed 2009. Also Encyc. Brit. 1911 edn under ‘Turkey’ (*) Ruling in Kayseri, the formal sultan was Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud or Mas'ud II, last of the Seljuk sultans of Rum. Both he and Kay Qubadh were puppets of the Mongol il-Khan of Persia. Mesud was deposed and restored three times between 1284 and 1307. The lower town of today’s Bilecik contains the remains of Belikoma Kalesi, a Byzantine fortress - now a monastery - which fell to Osman Gazi, son of Ertogrul and first in line of the Ottoman rulers (1299-1326). According to a later tradition, Nilphur or Nilüfer Hatun or Helen, described as a beautiful Greek ‘princess’, i.e. a grandee’s daughter, taken captive at the time, later became the wife of Osman's 117
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 son and successor Orhan. In Persian Nilüfer means ‘the Water-lily’ which may suggest she was in fact a Persian concubine (Runciman 1965: 36; Pierce 1993). According to Turkish legend, Orhan’s first wife was Holofira or Hulufira the daughter of the Byzantine ‘Prince’ of Yarhisar [east of Yenihisar]. Or her father was the castellan of Aydos or Aetos (Hopwood, “Frontiers” p.159: not located by me, MO’R). Engaged to the (Byzantine) Lord of Bilecik, she was captured in the spring of 1299 and was “given” to Orhan. Alternatively Holofira eloped with Orhan by leaving her marriage ceremony with the ‘Prince’ of Bilecik. After she was married to Orhan Ghazi, she converted to Islam and her name was changed to Nilüfer Hatun. She gave birth to Murad. —Peirce 1993.
3. Treaty between Venice and Turks. Crete was the eastern-most outpost of the Venetian empire. 4. Cyprus: Most slave-traders here were Genoese or Ligurian [NW Italians], while Venetians do not appear till 1299 (and also after that date did not participate in slave sales in Cyprus, perhaps because they concentrated such activity in Crete). 1299-1300: Mongol incursion into Syria, defeated by the Mamelukes of Egypt. Cf 1303. Populations, State Budgets and the Size of Armies, ca 1300 In 1282 Andronicus II had still ruled about five million people. By 1312, after the loss of almost all of ‘Greek’ (Roman: Rhomaike) Asia Minor, this will fall to around two million (Treadgold 1997: 700, 841). From a middle-level power, dominant in the Aegean, Byzantium will decline to the status of a minor kingdom (albeit still as strong as any one of its immediate neighbours). Compared with perhaps 300,000 a century earlier, Constantinople’s population in 1300, according to Mathews 1998: 41, was about 50,000. Thus only 2.5% of the emperor’s subjects lived in the capital. But “50,000” may be too conservative. In Byzantine history over the long term (or at least until 1204), the proportion of the population who served in the armed forces ranged between 1 and 2% - with a high point of 2.4% under Basil II in 1025 (Treadgold Army p.165). Thus, on a population basis, we might expect the armed forces to have numbered around 75,000 men in 1282 and 30,000 even as late as 1312. In fact all the evidence points to very small armies after 1204. The central army numbered just 6,000 men in the later 1200s, if we may believe the Pseudo-Kodinos (a document of the 14th century, quoted in Heath 1995: 14). Partly the small numbers reflect a lower overall income collected as taxes. Even in the low point of the dark ages of the 8th century, Constantine V had still ruled an empire of about seven million people, and his annual budget was up to two million nomismata [0.29 nomismata per taxpayer]. This can be 118
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 compared with the half-million or so hyperpyra typically collected in the years after 1312. (The empire was more prosperous in the 14th century, but the population much smaller.) According to one authority, Andronicus spent about 450,000 hyperpyra per annum just on the Catalan Company in 1304-05 [see there], and nearly bankrupted the empire doing it (Bartusis, LBA p.148). There were 7,800 men in the Company by 1304, and they were very highly paid, especially the Catalan cavalry. Thus if instead he had spent 450,000 hyperpyra on less highly paid but still good quality salaried soldiers or so-called ‘mercenaries’, then he might have afforded up to 15,000 men. Military pay was much higher by the early 14th century than in the 8th century, another lowpoint in the empire’s fortunes, when ordinary soldiers were paid only five nomismata. (Soldiers at that time drew most of their income from their landholdings.) In the 1320s the average pay of a ‘mercenary’ or professional was 86 hyperpyra p.a., with 36 p.a. considered a low rate of pay (LBA pp.153, 266; Treadgold 1997: 843 uses 72 hyperpyra p.a. as an average). Averaging the cash outlay across all soldiers, including those who were self-financing soldiers (pronoiars and small-holder troops), the per capita cash cost of a soldier might have been about 25 hyperyra, or five times the cash cost of an 8th century soldier (when most troops wer farmer-soldiers). Around 1320 Andronicus managed to raise one million hyperpyra from his approximately two million subjects, but that was quite exceptional. In the 1320s the outlay from the treasury for military expenses was probably at most 150,000 hyperpyra per annum, about a third of the normal annual revenue [total say 450,000 or 0.23 hyperpyra per taxpayer] (noting that not all soldiers received cash: Bartusis, LBA pp.85, 147-48, 266). The 13th and 14th centuries were a period of greater upheaval and instability, but apparently ‘tax productivity’ was about the same if we assume equal efficiency in tax collecting and equal value between the 8th century nomisma and the 14th century hyperpyron. Bartusis calculates that the state budget in the 1320s was large enough to hire at most about 1,700 mercenaries (LBA p.266); but, as we have said, there were in addition pronoiars and small-holder troops who were largely self-financing. Thus, as against the perhaps expected number of 30,000 men, we find (see 131318) that Andronikos in the latter part of his reign could field just 3,000-4,000 soldiers. 1300: 1. Eastern Aegean: Turks pillage Chios (Pryor 1988: 167). 2. fl. the Palaeologan statesman, historian and hagiographer, Constantine Akropolites, 1250-1324; he recopied at least 27 ancient vitae of Byzantine saints. 3. fl. Theoleptos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia, ca. 1250-ca. 1326. He opposed the attempted church union of East and West and promoted Hesychasm (“holy 119
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 silence”: mystical aesceticism). —The life and letters of Theoleptos of Philadelphia, ed. and trans. Angela C. Hero, Brookline, Mass.: Hellenic College Press, 1994. The Poor, the Middling and the Rich In villages the majority of households appear to have possessed no animals or only very few, in contrast to the great landowners, who owned huge herds. For example it is recorded that in 1300, out of 130 households of the village of Gomato in Macedonia, the eight best-off families owned 928 animals (oxen, sheep, goats) between them [average 116 per ‘rich’ “peasant” householder], a number in striking contrast with the “70,000” sheep and numerous other animals owned and lost by the general and later emperor John Kantakouzenos during the civil war of the 1340s. —Foundation of the Hellenic World, http://www1.fhw.gr/chronos/10/en/k/kb/kb2c.html; accessed Dec 2004. But, except for oxen, animals were a luxury for farmers. Of 164 hearths counted in 1301 on the properties of Iveron in the Thessaloniki region, during a period of strong demographic pressure, the registered population comprised an average of 4.9 persons per hearth, and an average of 4.7 persons on the [leased] properties of the Athonite monastery of Lavra. The number of persons that a farm could feed was obviously related to the available means of cultivation. On the properties of the Iveron monastery, households were large among the few peasants who possessed two plough teams (four oxen: 7.5 persons, or 1.9 per ox), large too in hearths with only one team (two oxen: 5.6 persons, or 2.8 per ox) or a single ox (5.1 persons), but small among those, including share-farmers and landless labourers, who owned no oxen (4.1 persons) (Lefort in Laiou ed. 2002). Turkish beyliks formed or forming in c. 1300: (towns are those eventually ruled; not necessarily all held in 1300 ... ) a. Karasi: In 1300-02 it held part of the central-eastern Aegean coast west of Bergama/Pergamum opposite Lesbos, but was mostly located inland around Balikesir, abutting Germiyan. b. Ottomans: In 1300 they held the inland Bilecik-Sogut-Eskisehir region SE of Nicaea. The Germiyan-Ottoman border lay between Kutahya and Eskisehir. c. Saruhan: Inland from Smyrna; northern side of the Hermus Valley: formed after 1300. Its seat was later (1313) at Manisa (NE of Smyrna); and afterwards at Foça (coastal Phocea), the fortress-town of Saruhan [NE of Smyrna and Manisa], Gordes and Demirci [NE point]. Manisa was taken in 1313: see there. d. Aydin: Inland from Ephesus: southern side of the Hermus Valley and also the Meander Valley. The final military contest between Greeks and Turks on the middle Meander River around Tralles (the future town of Aydin) took place in the 120
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1280s. Subject to Germiyan until after 1304. – At Birge [see 1304], Ayasuluk, north of Kusadasi: coastal Ephesus, 1304, 1308; Tire NW of Ephesus: also 1304; and Izmir: coastal Smyrna 1310. e. Germiyan, since before 1286: inland: From near Balikesir (NW) to its seat at Kutahya (NE) and south to Ladik [Laodiceia: modern Denizli] and west beyond Afyon as far as Lake Tuz (map in Nicolle 2008: 33). Largest of the western beyliks. — To locate Kutahya, draw a line east from Edremit (Adrymittium) to intersect with a line south from Iznik (Nicomedia). — The isolated Byzantine fortress-town of Philadelphia was wedged between the beyliks of Aydin and Germiyan: see 1304. f. Menteshe, established in Caria in the SW c. 1300 by Menteshe Beg Mas'ud. Turks had first held much of this region in the 1260s, but their rule was not made definitive until the later 1290s. The seat was the fortress of Peçin Kale near Milas, ancient Mylasa: inland, NE of modern Bodrum. g. Hamid: Egirdir-Isparta-Antalya, i.e. in the region between the great lakes and the S coast. h. Karaman, the successor state in the ex-Seljuq heartland. At Nigde; ‘Laranda’ or Karaman, a town SE of Konya; Ereneek, Mut, Aksaray, Sivrihisar and Konya (captured in 1328), i.e. broadly the region centred on a notional line from Konya to Kayseri.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The Largest Cities West of India in 1300 (1) Cairo of the Mameluks was in first place according to Chase-Dunne and Willard [online], with a population of some 400,000. (2) Paris was second, having grown, they believe, to 228,000 [sic]. The NCMH p.27 proposes 200,000 for Paris. Then we have (3) Fez of the Marinids with 150,000 - its population down despite the founding of the new city in 1276, and (4) Tabriz in Mongol Persia with 125,000. In what is now northwestern Iran, Tabriz was the capital of the huge Perso-Mongolian state headed by Ghazan Khan in 1295, conventionally called the “Ilkhanate”. (5) Venice with 110,000; or 100,000 if we follow the NCMH. Fifth was the highest rank that Venice would attain, although it would match this position again in 1550 AD. In 1300 Constantinople had (they assert) fallen to seventh place, with presumably some 75,000. In contrast, McEvedy, in his New Atlas 1992, thinks the population of Byzantine Constantinople was still in the top five: of the same order of magnitude as Capetian Paris, Venice, Mamluk Cairo and Tabriz of the Ilkhans. Fez is not ranked. He also notes that a number of other Western cities were growing fast: Ghent, Milan, Genoa and Florence. Cf 1303: the Florentine painter Giotto. For Florence, the median of three estimates cited by Goldthwaite 1982 is “96,000”. The NCMH says 100,000. In Plantagenet England, London in 1300 probably had around 80,000 people; thus Barron 2004: 238. Palliser et al. offer 50-80,000 for London: “much smaller than Paris or Milan”. c.1300: 1. Constantinople: The so-called 'Palace of Constantine', modern Tekfur Saray, Turkish for ‘Sovereign’s (emperor’s) Palace’, is the only well-preserved example of East Roman palace architecture that survives in modern Istanbul. It is the shell of a three-story rectangular building of limestone and brick, laid in patterns and stripes, with vaulted windows. An extension of the Blachernai Palace, dating from about 1300, it is called the 'Palace of Constantine' and is attached to the land walls not far from the Golden Horn (photo, Mathews p.40). 2. The emperor's cousin of the same name, Andronicus Palaeologus, composes Callimachus and Chrysorrhoe, a Western-influenced romance of chivalry with erotic themes. The hero finds the heroine hanging naked by her hair from the battlement of a magic castle of an ogre-dragon that he kills after an improbable pole-vault over the walls. The finale has him ravish her after bathing together, both acts in defiance of Byzantine morality. —Barry Baldwin, ‘Ancient Science Fiction’, at http://www.shattercolors.com/nonfiction/baldwin_ancientscifi.htm; accessed 2009. 1300-26 or 1290-1326: East-central Anatolia: Osman Ghazi, the founder of the Ottoman state, is 122
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 mentioned for the first time in Byzantine sources at the turn of the fourteenth century as the leader of vigorous raids by Turcomans into the Byzantine territory at the most advanced section of the frontier. — If we follow Pachymeres, l. x. c. 25, 26, l. xiii. c. 33, 34, 36; Nicephorus Gregoras, l. vii. c. l., and the first book of Laonicus Chalcondyles the Athenian, then Othman’s tribe first invaded the region of Nicomedia in “1299” (Gibbon, chapter LXIV). Others prefer c.1301, at least for the investment of Nicaea – see there. — Nicolle, 2008: map p. 37, has Osman’s domain in 1300 extending to Yenisehir in the NW and Eskisehir (Dorylaeum) in the SW [about 90 km]; and from Inegöl in the west to a little beyond the Sakarya River in the east [also about 90 km]. 1301: Thrace: A large body of Alans* - a Christian tribe, - having been pushed south across the Danube by the ‘Mongols’ (Kipchaks), seeks service in the Byzantine army. Seeking a more effective army, Andronicus settles “10,000” or “16,000” Alans including women and children in Thrace, giving them land in return for military service by the men. He also paid for the men’s horses and arms. The Catalan chronicler or memoirist Ramon Muntaner would call the Alans “the best cavalry there is in the East”, meaning on the Byzantine side (quoted in Heath 1995: 21). Two regiments of Alans—presumably about 2,000 men in each—are posted to Asia Minor to fight the Muslim Turks, but many soon deserted (1302). Cf 130102. (*) The Alan language was an Eastern Iranian language, from which modern Ossetian descends. The kingdom of Alania, located in Northern Caucasus, was Christian, or partly Christian, from before AD 900. After the Caucasus fell under the Mongol yoke in the 1200s, some Alans migrated west into Eastern Europe, and in Hungary they became the Jasz ethnic group. c. 1301: Osman Ghazi’s troops devastate large areas of southern Bithynia and lay siege to Nicaea (today’s Iznik), the former Byzantine (Nicaean) capital. The emperor dispatches an expeditionary force. See next: Battle of Bapheon. By 1301 Osman’s forces controlled most of the triangle whose points were Dorylaion (Eskisehir)-Bursa-Nicomedia. Although the word “siege” is used, it was actually a fairly loose investment. The aim was to cut off Nicaea’s food supplies. Pachymeres writes of the Turks “uprooting vineyards, destroying crops , and finally attacking . . . the citadel” (quoted by Freely 2008: 104). By setting up a blockade and organising raids into the countryside, the ghazis or raiders—self-imagined ‘religious warriors’ who of course took slaves and plunder—sought to subdue the entire Greek-Christian population outside the city walls. But Nicaea was not entirely blockaded; there was communication to the capital via one precarious route to the west, past Iznik Lake, to the port of Kios, 123
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 modern Gemlik. 1301-02: Asia Minor: Halil Inalcik, in “Osman Ghazi’s Siege”, has studied the prelude (1301-02) to the battle of Bapheon or Koyunhisar, fought west of Nicomedia or Izmit, which is to say: inside imperial territory. It took place probably in 1301, but possibly in 1302. Bartusis prefers to date it to 27 July 1302 (LBA p.76; also Norwich 1996: 263). Osman, already aged 44 and leader of his “tribe” for 21 years, now for the first time appears by name in the Byzantine chronicles (Pachymeres calls him Atman: Freely 2008: 104). He won his first major battle against the Byzantines as a ghazi (raider) chieftain at Baphaeum (Koyunhisar) on the coastal plain about 35 km or 20 miles west of Nicomedia in 1301 or 1302. Nicolle 2008, map at p.37, places Bapheus close upon Nicomedia itself. For this the distant Seljuq sultan gave him the title of bey or beg: ‘lord, chieftain, master’. In effect the Ottomans were thenceforth independent of the powerless and near defunct sultanate at Konya. “Contemporaries rightly regarded the Byzantine defeat at Bapheus as a turning point in their history”, says Nicol, B&V p.223. It demonstrated that the medium cavalry and heavy infantry of the empire could no longer hope to repulse, or even to hold the enemy – at least in the countryside. But high-walled Nicaea would hold out for nearly 30 more years. Battle of Baphaeon, 1301 or 1302 Before investing Nicaea, says Inalcik, Osman’s troops raided into the lower Sakarya valley in order to take control of the main highway linking Nicaea to the eastern interior. Then, learning that the Emperor was preparing an army against him, Osman appealed for, and was given, aid from the Sultan of Konya. Several thousand troops arrived to strengthen Osman’s forces. Andronicus sent a force of some 2,000 troops under the heteriarch or guards commander Mouzalon to relieve the blockade on Nicaea. The breakdown is not given, but we may guess that in this force there were some 500 Greek (Byzantine) regular armoured infantrymen and Varangians (these latter were the emperor’s body-guard); 500 Greek irregulars or militia: some cavalry, but probably mainly infantry; and 1,000 Alan cavalry: horse-archers. At Bapheon they faced a much larger force of (say) 6,000 Turks, both infantry and cavalry, i.e. light infantry and horse-archers (Inalcik p.95, citing Pachymeres; but Bartusis, LBA p.76, proposes that the Turks numbered 5,000 and were all light cavalry). The early Ottomans seem to have been an army of speed and finesse, not pure hitting power. Most elements were light troops (foot and horse); they seem to have deployed no heavy (armour-wearing) infantry at all.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Some sources say the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) expedition came by ship; others that it travelled overland from Constantinople. The battle was fought near where the highway from Nicaea reached the southern shore of the Gulf of Izmit (Nicomedia), i.e. a little west of modern Karamursel, so probably the expedition came part of the way by land, before being ferried south across the tongue of water that forms the Gulf. The Byzantine side was undisciplined and disunited and was quickly forced back. According to the main Greek source (Pachymeres), many of the Byzantine regulars and militia fled towards Nicomedia. Simultaneously, however, the emperor’s Alan cavalry counter-attacked, saving some of the surviving Greeks. Indeed the Alans briefly succeeded in surrounding the large Turkish force; and troubled them with arrow fire for some time before themselves having to retire (Pachymeres, cited by Inalcik p.95). The Turkish sources say that the Turks moved to engage the Byzantines as soon as the expeditionary force disembarked. They say it was the Greek militia who fled in the direction of Nicomedia; while the regulars, aided by the Alans, tried to get back on board the ships; most were cut down, many drowning. After the battle, some of the surviving Byzantine army “swarmed ignobly into the nearby city [town] of Nicomedia”, writes Pachymeres. It was not all that near: some 40 km. Inalcik notes that the imperial side was mainly composed of mercenaries, or de facto mercenaries, meaning professionals (Varangians and Alans) who fought mainly for their large salaries, whereas most of the Turks fought for free, partly from religious fervour and partly for booty. This fact by itself tells us little or nothing about why the Turks prevailed: time and again in history we find professional ‘mercenaries’ annihilating enthusiastic amateurs. Nor is it inevitable that horse-archers ‘must’ prevail against less mobile heavy infantrymen. Presumably the imperialists were poorly trained and poorly led, while the Turks were well-led, and, because of their pastoral way of life, welltrained for skirmish-type fighting. And they had the numbers.
NW Asia Minor: Following the victory at Baphaeon, the Turkish beys - the forebears of the Karesi and Ottomans - swept westward and ravaged all of the country from Brusa to Nicaea, up to the shore of the Sea of Marmara, and even as far as the Aegean coast: Pergamum fell in 1302 but Byzantium would hold many of the towns, including Bursa and Nicaea, for many years (Nicol pp.133-34; also Nicolle 2008: 37). See next: Karesi. —Inalcik, Halil, The Ottoman Empire : The Classical Age, 1300-1600, translated by Norman Itzkowitz and Colin Imber, New Rochelle, NY: Caratzas, 1989. Other Turks advanced in the central-west of Asia: Soon after 1301, they overran the whole of the Hermus and Cayster valleys, and a fort on the citadel of Sardis [east of the old Nicaean seat of Nymphaeum] was handed over to them by treaty in 1306. The last Byzantine coin discovered at Sardis was minted under 125
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 John V (1341–91).
1302: 1. The Venetian fleet makes a further incursion into the Marmara. They burnt houses on the southern shore of the Golden Horn and captured the island of Prinkipo (today’s Buykada), which was packed with Greek refugees from the Turkish wars. (See next.) To save the refugees from being killed or enslaved, Andronicus agreed to a treaty restoring all Venice’s privileges in Constantinople (Norwich 1996: 263). 2. The eastern Aegean: The Genoese Benedetto Zaccaria was named (1302) admiral by Philip of France, meaning ‘corsair’ (licenced pirate). In that capacity he conquered the ex-Byzantine island of Chios (1304: see there), which had thitherto been in the hands of Muslim corsairs. He also occupied Samos and Cos, which were almost completely depopulated, and the Byzantine emperor conceded him sovereignty over those islands and Chios for two years, under Byzantine suzerainty. It is from this date that Benedetto is accounted Lord of Chios and begins his career as a statesman and ruler. –Wikipedia authors, 2010, under ‘Benedetto I Zaccaria’.
3. SW Asia Minor: The co-emperor Michael campaigns in western Anatolia. He marched down to Magnesia [Tk: Manisa] on the Hermos River, NW of Smyrna, with a force of Alans and others, probably no more than 3,000 soldiers in all. But there his army fell apart by desertion before any military operation against the Turks could be conducted. When Michael, with some remaining troops, fell back (i.e. withdrew northwards) to Pergamon, many of the inhabitants of Magnesia panicked and followed him, in a scramble for safety, as they saw it (LBA p.77). Cf 1304. Vryonis notes that Andronicus withdrew to Magnesia-on-the-Hermus (Turkish Manisa, NW of Smyrna); but outside its walls, the region was ravaged by the Saruhan Turks** and many Byzantines fled to the Aegean and the European shore. (*) There were two towns called Magnesia: (north) Magnesia-on-the-Hermus, modern Manisa, NE of Smyrna; and (south) Magnesia-on-the-Maeander inland SE from Ephesus, near modern Germancik. (**) The Saruhan Turks would make Manisa-on-the-Hermus their capital in 1313 (Freely 2008: 133). — In the early 14th C the Kurdish-Syrian writer Abu’l-Fida (Abu al-Fida, fl. 1323) mentions the raids of Turkish ships across the Gulf of Makri/Fethiye, i.e. the coast of the mainland NE of Rhodes. He calls their enemies ‘Kara’ites’, meaning
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Greek Carians. Hopwood, “Frontier” p.155, deduces that this gulf now constituted the uç [borderland or marches] between the Türkmen and the Nicenes, but with the added sophistication of being carried out by sea. — Rhodes was attacked by the Menteshe Turks in 1302-3, in 1303-4 and in 1307. The Turcoman remnants were eventually evicted from Rhodes after 1309/10, when the island passed into the hands of the Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. At the start of Andronicus's reign (1282), the north-western third of Asia Minor was firmly in Romaic imperial hands; but 20 years later it had nearly all been lost to the Ottomans and other Turkish beyliks. Cf 1303, 1308. From 1302: NW Anatolia: The principality of Karesi, 1302-1361, was founded or proclaimed at inland Balıkesir, halfway between Bergama and Bursa. The Erdek peninsula is the 25 km wide bulbous peninsula, almost an island, that projects northwards from the bottom side of the Sea of Marmara. The town of Erdek is on the west coast of the peninsula of that name; Edincek is on the mainland and slightly inland. The Karesi Turks will later construct a shipyard on the western coast of the Sea of Marmara near Edincik, itself near Byzantine Cyzicus: south of modern Erdek. The ships built there would soon threaten the control by the Byzantine navy of the Northern Aegean and the Sea of Marmara. But Cyzicus itself and the peninsula of Artaki or Erdek remained in Byzantine hands, although under threat from the nearby Turks. The narrow neck of the peninsula was defended by a strong wall which the Turks regularly assaulted. The Catalan Company in 1303 were to drive back the Turks (see there). According to the Catalan chronicler Muntaner, the peninsula contained “20,000 hamlets, manors and farms”. This sounds like a vast exaggeration, as one would expect it to have fewer than 20,000 people; but plainly the region was closely settled. —The Chronicle of Ramón Muntaner, translated into English by Lady Goodenough: http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/muntaner_goodenough.pdf. 1302-03: 1. SW Asia Minor: The Turks built a number of vessels and began to attack the neighbouring Greek islands: Chios, Samos, Carpathos, Rhodes and many others. “The Holy War”, writes Zachariadou, 1989: 214, “was transferred to the sea”. See 1304: Genoese occupy Chios, and 1305: Genoese occupy Rhodes. 2. South-east of Nicaea: The Ottomans now held the fort or fortresses of the Melangeia district [Malagina: captured c.1300, near the future Yenisehir* or ‘new town’: see 1323], which lay between Prusa and Nicaea. This obstructed the main Byzantine overland route to Bithynia (Magoulias, notes to Doukas 1975: 266). See 1303-04. 127
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(*) Melangeia or Malagina was more properly the name of the region around the Sangarios River SE of Nicaea and east of Yenihisar. The exact location of the Byzantine fortress has not been established. Lindner notes that the larger Byzantine towns held out: their high, heavy walls, which the Lascarids had prudently repaired, could easily withstand the light arms of the Ottoman forces. A flow of refugees, from the countryside into the towns and across the straits to Constantinople, grew in 1302-1303. —Lindner, ‘Nomads and Ottomans’ (1983), at http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~fisher/hst373/readings/lindner.html; accessed 2009. Cf 1303-04 - fortresses. 1303: The empress Eirene/Irene, born Yolanda of Montferrat (Italy), leaves the capital to reside in Thessalonica, where she maintains a separate court. 1303-04: 1. Thrace: The Bulgarian tsar Theodore Svetoslav turned on Byzantium, which had inspired several Tatar (‘Golden Horde’) invasions and had managed to conquer many Bulgarian fortresses in Thrace. In 1303 his army marched southwards and regained many towns. In the following year the Byzantines under co-emperor Michael Palaiologus (aged 27: eldest son of Andronicus II and father of Andronicus III) counter-attacked and the two armies met close to the Skafida river near Sozopolis, south of Burgas (1304). The Bulgarians won. Theodore Svetoslav felt secure enough to move on to the offensive by 1303 and captured the fortresses of northeastern Thrace, including Mesembria (modern Neseber), Anchialos (Pomorie), Sozopolis (Sozopol), and Agathopolis (Ahtopol) in 1304 (Fine 1994: 229). The Byzantine counterattack failed at the battle of Skafida near Sozopolis, where the co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos was turned to flight. 2. Asia: Osman’s forces press on past Byzantine Nicaea towards Nicomedia. “On the hills all the way to [Nicomedia] there was not a single tree, but many [Byzantine] fortresses, prosperous towns and villages” (so wrote the 14th century Turkish historian Lufti Pasha, quoted in Inalcik, “Siege”). The lack of trees was perhaps the result of scorched earth practices by either or both sides. Or it may just have represented the result of millennia of intensive farming. Andronicus’s army fades away, and much of the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) population of Asia Minor was in panic, abandoning territory to the Turks. As the latter advanced, a revolt broke out. The emperor tried to rebuild his army but failed, and this was carefully noted by Roger de Flor: see next (Treadgold, State p.750). 3. The ‘Catalan Grand Company’, a mercenary division recently fighting in Sicily for Aragon, was encouraged to offer its services to Byzantium. Or rather, they imposed themselves on the emperor and insisted that he pay them. The Catalans and Aragonese who served Byzantium under de Flor initially comprised 128
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 some 1,500 cavalry and 5,000 or more infantry. More troops arrived subsequently, bringing the total to some 7,800 men by 1304. The core of their army was the Almugavari [Greek: Amogavaroi], light and mobile infantrymen, initially numbering 4,000. The first contingent arrived at Constantiople in September 1303. Their leader was Rutger von der Blume, 36 years old in 1303, a SicilianGerman whose name was rendered in Romance as ‘Roger de Flor’; his father had been falconer to Frederick II of Sicily and Germany (d.1250). While still a boy, Rutger or Roger served with the Aragonese (whose kingdom incorporated Catalonia) in North Africa and Sicily in 1281 and later joined the Templars in Palestine: he fought in the siege of Acre in 1291.
The troops of Rutger or Roger de Flor, according to his companion Ramon de Muntaner [vol. ii. p. 137], were 1,500 ‘men at arms’ (heavy cavalry), 4,000 Almogavares, and 1,040 other foot, besides the sailors and mariners: total over 6,540. Treadgold, in Harris 2005: 81, suggests that the combined total of Byzantine armed forces was probably fewer than this (say 5,000 men). As we have said, more troops arrived subsequently, bringing the Catalans to some 7,800 men by 1304. The emperor Andronicus II accepted de Flor’s offer of service; and in September 1303 Roger with his fleet and army arrived at Constantinople. He was adopted into the imperial family, was married to a grand-daughter of the emperor, and was made grand duke (megas doux) and commander-in-chief of the army and the fleet. The Catalans had no sooner arrived in Constantinople [September 1303] than they got involved in a bloody melee in the street with the local Genoese community. Soon afterwards [1303-04] they were shipped to Anatolia ahead of an expedition to relieve Philadelphia [today’s Alasehir], an inland Byzantine town entirely surrounded by the Turks for some years. (Philadelphia was wedged between three ghazi emirates: Karasi, Germiyan and Aydin.) After some weeks lost in dissipation, intrigues and bloody quarrels, Roger and his men were sent into Asia, and after some successful encounters with the Turks (probably the Karesi or Saruhans), they went (late 1303) into winter quarters at Cyzicus (“Artaki”) on the southern coast of the Sea of Marmara. The Company was reinforced by, briefly, some “8,000” Alans (imperial mercenaries: the figure is exaggerated) and a small force of Romaniyan troops under the general Maroules (Lowe 1972: 23). Most of the Alans would refuse to join the Catalans for the march to Philadelphia in 1304; but even so, the expedition may have numbered about 15,000 all told in the first phase, and over 7,000 when it departed for Philadelphia. Specifically, Pachymeres (II.424: cited in Bartusis p.155) says de Flor led south 6,000 of his Westerners, 1,000 Alans and an unspecified number of Byzantines (say 500). They took the field in May 1304 (see entry below) and rendered the important service of relieving Philadelphia [today’s Alasehir], then invested 129
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (blockaded) and reduced to extremities by the Turks. Syria: A Muslim army led by Egyptians (Mamelukes) defeats the last-ever Mongol invasion. Italy: d. Boniface VIII, called “the last medieval pope” - in the sense of a clergyman dictating to kings. Cf 1309.
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Above: Almugavars. Note the absence of shields. Catalan-Aragonese soldiers Almugavars [Gk: Amogavaroi] had been present at every strategic juncture of 131
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 James I of Aragon’s (d. 1276) contribution to the Spanish Reconquest. “Unencumbered”, writes Morris, “by the ubiquitous heavy plate arms and armour* that characterise warfare of [a later period], the Almogavars excelled in the use of light projectile weapons such as the azcona, a short, light lance [throwing spear**], and they usually carried three or four [heavy] javelins, which they would fling with enough force to pierce through the best armour of the age [i.e. usually mail; sometimes lamellar]. They also carried a coutel or colltell, a long, cruel-looking dagger [or better: short sword***] whose potency was … noted by Muntaner: ‘And of the Almogavars [he writes] I can tell you the deed of one called Porcell, who was afterwards of my company in Romania [Greece]. He gave such a cut with his coutel to a French knight that the greaves with the leg came off in one piece and besides it entered half a palm into the horse's flank’ (Muntaner, 463).” ‘”Their armament consists of a strong combat knife, a long sword, a lance and arrows. They wear on the head a kind of protective casque in the form of an iron skullcap (calotte) consisting of a wire lattice intersecting as a cap.* A leather bag enables them to carry victuals and tools and supplements their equipment. They are Catalans, Aragonese and mountaineers” (thus the Catalan chronicler Desclot, fl. 1285; my translation from a French website, MO’R). Their technique was to throw their weapons from fairly close range, aiming for the horses rather than their riders; once a cavalryman was unseated they would close in to kill with sword or dagger (Dougherty 2008: 149). Horse-archers carried fairly small bows with limited range, so presumably the Almogavars sprinted forward before throwing their javelins. (*) The later Catalan writer, Moncada, d. 1635, wrote in his Expedicion de Catalanes y Argoneses al Oriente of “an iron network worn on the head like a helmet” (quoted in Freely 2008: 105). Presumably this meant a mail coif. (**) Moncada’s “pointed staff”. (***) In pictorial sources, it is worn at the waist but does not reach the knee. “When an Almogavar was mounted, he would place the azcona [short spear or javelin] in his stirrup, bracing it with one foot, thus piercing, on the first charge, the chest of his adversary's horse. At the Battle of Gagliano (Sicily) against the 300 handpicked French knights, ironically calling themselves the Knights of Death, more than 100 of them fell victim to these tactics. The Almogavars "went about amongst them as if they were walking in a garden" (Muntaner, 458). — Morris 2000. c.1303: Padua: Giotto’s fresco painting of The Lamentation: = “postByzantine” art in Italy. Cf 1315. 132
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Romania and Anatolia The memoirist of the Catalan Company, Ramon Muntaner, consistently calls the European side of the Empire ‘Romania’, while the Asian side is called ‘Anatolia’. This reflected an emerging Latin style, by which for Westerners the name ‘Romania’ came to mean greater Greece. In Greek ‘Romania’ simply meant the Empire fullstop, in both Europe and Asia. By 1304: Asia Minor: Recurrent Turkish raids had again reached Ephesus and Caria, the SW coast. Most of the regions between the Meander and the Cayster Rivers, i.e. inland from Ephesus, were in the hands of the Turkmen. So severe were the Turkish raids, said Pachymeres, that imperial rule in “the inland regions of Bithynia, Mysia, Phrygia, Lydia and enchanted Asia, except only for the fortified towns, came to an end” (quoted in Vryonis). ‘Mysia’ meant the region that included Pergamum. ‘Asia’ meant the central-western segment of Asia Minor (west of Amorium). In other words, Byzantium controlled only parts of the coast and a few inland towns; the hinterlands were dominated by the pastoralist Turkomans. Andronicus did not raise a native army for further campaigning. As noted, he turned to the Catalans and to diplomacy. Some time before May 1304, he attempted to bring Persian (Mongol) pressure to bear on the Anatolian emirs through an embassy to Ghazan Khan in Tabriz, and, after Ghazan's death, to his successor Uljaytu. The llkhans, recent converts to Islam, did not see the offer of a marriage alliance as inducement sufficient for a Mongol attack against the west. The Expedition into Asia Minor 1304 The Catalans based themselves at Erdek (“Artaki”: ancient Cyzicus) on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara. In late 1303 they fought with a force of Turks camped not far from Erdek (presumably Karesi Turks) who had been making spasmodic attacks on the isthmus wall that guarded the ‘neck’ of the peninsula. There were women and children on the Turkish side. This perhaps suggests they may have been herding their herds through the region, or more likely that they had established a semi-permanent base-camp. The Turks fought hard, but were defeated, more than 3,000 horsemen and more than 2,000 men on foot being killed (Muntaner: trans. Goodenough p.409). The 17th C writer Moncada says the Catalans left the site of the battle near Cyzicus “strewn with 3,000 dead horsemen and 10,000 (foot) men” (quoted in Freely 2008: 106), but this is contradicted by Muntaner. The Turkish women and children were taken as slaves and sent to Constantinople. On 1 April 1304 (the northern spring), augmented by smaller numbers of Alans 133
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 and Byzantines, the Company marched south. Advancing rapidly, they defeated a Germiyanid army in western Phrygia and then freed Philadelphia and Ephesus (by October 1304). Also at Cyzicus a brawl between the Catalans and Alans had led to large-scale fighting. Thus, when the expedition headed south to relieve Philadelphia, only about 1,000 Alans were prepared to continue under de Flor’s command. The expedition probably numbered fewer than 8,000 men: some 6,000 Catalans, mainly infantry; about 1,000 Alans, all cavalry, and a small contingent of Byzantines, also cavalry, under Marules (Lowe 1972: 29). From Cyzicus, de Flor’s men proceeded up the valley of the River Macestus, the modern Simay River to Achyraous, i.e. to the east of the lake Kus Golu and then south-west in the direction of modern Balikesir. The Turkish tribe of the Karesi had recently entered this region, but most of its Greek towns must have been still unsubdued. Immediately to the east were the lands of the Germiyan Turks. Our imperial mercenaries pressed on south-westward to the Turkish (Germiyanid) fortress at modern Soma, Byzantine Germes, which lies east of Pergamon-Bergama. The Germiyanid capital was far to the east at Kutahya. The Turks at Soma had heard of the Catalans’ fierce reputation, and were preparing to abandon the fort when they were surprised and quickly defeated by the Catalan vanguard. The expedition then turned south-east and proceeded via Thyatira, modern Akhisar, into the valley of the Hermes River (Gediz Nehri). The modern highway from Akhisar to Alasehir (medieval Philadephia) indicates the general direction that they took. Having crossed the river, they proceeded past old ruined Sardis— an ‘acropolis settlement’ inland from Smyrna: see discussion below—which lay just south of the river itself. Thence they continued ESE towards Philadelphia, today’s Alasehir. The town was a Greek enclave surrounded on all sides: by the domains of the Saruhan Turks on the west, the Aydin Turks on the south-west, and the Germiyan Turks on the north and east (map in Nicolle 2008: 33). Muntaner says extravagantly that it was “one of the largest cities in the world” with a perimeter measuring “18 miles” [presumably 4.5 km x 4.5 km] (trans. Hughes p.55) Philadelphia was under siege by “20,000” Turks led by the emir Ya’qub ibn Ali-Shir of Germiyan. An alternative figure is 12,000 Turkish infantry and 800 cavalry. A battle was fought on the plain NW of Philadelphia in which de Flor’s men crushed the Turks, who Muntaner calls “the tribes [or bands] of SaraKhan [Saruhan] and Aydin”. He claims that only about 1,000 Turkish horse and 500 foot survived (Hughes trans. pp. 55-56; Lowe 1972: 33; also Chaytor, cited below: curiously Norwich 1996: 267 says the Turks were from Karaman, further west).
It seems curious that light infantry should be able decisively to defeat highly mobile light horse, but the Catalans were, somehow, a very powerful force – presumably due to their esprit de corps and battle-hardened condition as much 134
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 as their technique. As we remarked earlier, they threw their weapons from fairly close range, aiming for the horses rather than their riders; once a cavalryman was unseated they would close in to kill with sword or dagger (Dougherty 2008: 149). Horse-archers carried fairly small bows with limited range, so probably the Almogavars sprinted forward as soon as they reached arrow-range, throwing their javelins on the run. Next, from Philadelphia, the Company travelled south-west to Tyre (Tire) which is 80 km SE of Smyrna/Izmir. There a raiding party of Turks appeared, being the survivors from Philadelphia “along with others from the tribe of Menteshe” (Muntaner: Hughes p.57; in the Catalan text Menteshe is rendered as “Mondexia”: Goodenough p.415). Moncada calls their chief ‘Sarkan’, i.e. possibly Saruhan (cited by Freely 2008: 106). The Company, or a detachment of it numbering just 1,200, attacked and defeated them (Muntaner s. 206; Hughes p.57). According to Moncada, 1,000 Turkish cavalrymen and 2,000 of their foot soldiers were killed; but this actually refers to later clash at Anaia (see later). Muntaner says “over 700 horse and many afoot” died on the Turkish side at Tyre (Goodenough p.415). The Catalans then retired NW to the old Nicaean capital of Nymphaion today’s Kemalpasha, inland from Izmir/Smyrna, - and further NW thence again, to Magnesia [Manisa]. So outraged were the local Greeks at the plundering of the Catalans that the people of Magnesia refused to let them in, and the town was then besieged. There arose great friction between the local Byzantines and their new masters, who exacted limitless tribute in preference to regular (but lower) taxation from those they had liberated (Lindner, Nomads and Ottomans, 1983). Roger had begun the siege of Magnesia when he was recalled by an urgent message from Andronicus, who wished him to support his nephew Michael in a war against the Bulgarians. A further 1,300 Catalans landed at Gallipoli towards the end of 1304 and they too forced Andronicus to hire them. They proceeded by ship to the port of Anaia (on the Asia Minor coast below Ephesus), where, after a brief stop at Ephesus, de Flor had established winter quarters.* The reinforcements had only just arrived when “the cry of alarm was raised that the Turks of the band (tribe) of Atia [sic: Aydin] were raiding the huerta [irrigated land, orchards, kitchen gardens] of Ani [Anaia]”. The Company went out to attack them and killed 1,000 Turkish horsemen and “full 2,000 men afoot” (Goodenough p.418). (*) The treaty of 1261 with the Genoa had given Genoese traders the right to use Anaia as a waystation. De Flor himself was called back to Constantinople and he travelled by sea. The expedition passed back through Ephesus and Magnesia (October 1304), and then marched north broadly following the line of the coast in concert with the galleys that had come to collect De Flor. By this point, the Catalans, who had recruited nearly 3,000 Turkic horsemen into their ranks, were considered by the Byzantines to be little better than brigands and freebooters. 135
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Finally the Company re-crossed the Dardanelles to land at Neapolis on the Gallipoli peninsula, where it went into winter quarters around the town of Gallipoli. Muntaner speaks of the Gallipoli peninsula as “the most fertile country in the world”, there being bread, wine and fruit of every kind, while the towns provided good houses and other amenities of life. This is further evidence for the prosperity of the early Palaeologan period. In order to afford the Catalans, Andronicus raised (1304) taxes and further debased the hyperpyron, reducing it to 12 carats, i.e. just 50% gold. The new taxes led (1305) to a rebellion in Bithynia (Treadgold, State p.751). 1304: 1. W Asia Minor: Loss of the Cayster Valley, inland from Ephesus. Seeing the Catalans depart, the Turks immediately moved to capture Ephesus, specifically in October 1304, according to Oikonomides, Turks 1305 p.159. They also captured nearby Thyraia [Tk: Tire] and subsequently Pyrgion [Tk: Birgi] in 1307. Mehmed Aydin-oglu (Aydin’s eldest son) and his ally Sasa beg of Menteshe took Ephesus on behalf of the Germiyan emir (Nicol, Last Centuries, p.143). Future emirate of Aydin: The tribe of Aydïn-oghlu Mehmet Beg (Arabic: Muhammad ibn Aydin), at this time still in the service of Germiyan, captures Ephesus and Smyrna, in 1304 (ODB i:707). To forestall Mehmet from taking the ex-Romaniyan island of Chios, offshore from Smyrna, the Genoese of Phocaea under their “lord” Benedetto Zaccaria, aged 69, seized the island. Cf 1305, 1308. Vryonis notes that all the Byzantines in Ephesus not put to the sword were transferred to another town nearby, today’s Ayasoluq [modern Selçuk], briefly leaving the former empty. But by 1340 a bishop was able to return to Ephesus from Constantinople, a signal that many Greeks came back to the city after 1305. Chios comes under the temporary rule of the Genoese adventurers Manuele and Benedetto Zaccharia, Benetto having married the emperor's sister. This follows a treaty with the emperor, which concedes a 10-year right to 'protect' the island providing that it remains under Byzantine sovereignty and the imperial standard flies above the kastron or fortress. Benedetto Zaccaria was officially admiral to Philip of France, and in that capacity he conquered the island of Chios (1304), which had hitherto been in the hands of Muslim corsairs. At first, he gave the government of the isle over to his nephew Tedisio. In 1304 he also occupied the islands of Samos and Cos, which were almost completely depopulated, and the emperor conceded him sovereignty over those islands and Chios for two years, under Byzantine suzerainty. It is from this date that Benedetto is accounted Lord of Chios and begins his career as a statesman and ruler (‘Zaccharia’, Wikipedia, 2010). 2. The Turks applied a policy of extracting tribute from towns and the 136
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 countryside which they controlled but not yet conquered. In about 1304 the city of Prousa/Bursa began to pay tribute to the Ottomans. 3. The Genoese received permission to fortify their colony at Galata with a circuit wall (Nicol B&V) . See next 1304-05: Crimean slave trade. 1304 = 100 YEARS SINCE THE LATIN SACK OF CONSTANTINOPLE; and 43 YEARS SINCE ITS RECOVERY BY THE 'GREEKS'. 1304-05: 1. De Flor and his men wintered in the Gallipoli peninsula and refused to start on campaign in the spring of 1305, claiming that they were owed back pay. 2. Slave trade via the Bosphoros: ‘Tatars’, i.e. Kipchak Turks from the Golden Horde north of the Black Sea, were still the most important group of slaves traded (sold mainly to Egypt) on the Venetian-ruled island of Crete; thereafter, almost all victims of the slavery business were Greeks. — Zachariadou 1983. The Mediterranean as a Christian lake: Western merchants and shippers by the end of the crusading period dominated maritime trade in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Muslims, if not the Greeks, “had lost the shipbuilding art” (to quote Ibn Khaldun). It was the Genoese who organised the slave trade from the Crimea to Mamluk Egypt, the trade in timber from Asia Minor to Egypt, and the trade in Cypriot textiles in Turkey and Syria (Day in Laiou ed. 2002: 813). 1304-06: Sardis, inland from the old Nicaean seat of Nyphaeum, 1304-06: “The acropolis furnished the last piece of evidence for the Byzantine period in the narrative of a Turkish attack of 1304. The Turkomans [warrior pastoralists] . . . proposed to the Sardians that they allow them to share the fortress. The locals refused and resisted a siege, but were finally forced to agree [in 1306] when they ran short of water and suffered from not being able to till their fields. In this account, the nature of the acropolis settlement becomes clear. Although some of its inhabitants may have been soldiers only, many were farmers, who worked land in the plain below, leaving the fortress every day to attend to agriculture, [a system] attested in the entire Byzantine record only here”. —Foss and Scott, 2002, in The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, ed. Angeliki E. Laiou; emphasis added. 1304-08: Rebellions by mercenary Turks and Catalans bring the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) state to near collapse. Profiting from the chaos, the Ottomans and other Turks seize most of west-central Asia Minor. 137
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As noted, the Catalans comprised 1,500 cavalry and more than 5,000 or more infantry: total up to say 7,800 men by 1304. They outnumbered Andronicus’s own field forces of perhaps 4,000 men; and the Romaniyan navy was nonexistent (Treadgold 1997: 819). See 1305, 1307. In accounts of the Catalan Company's actions, it is invariably the less well paid infantrymen, the Almughavars, who are given credit for carrying the tide of battle. As we noted earlier, they fought with a short spear that could be thrown, several javelins, and a large dagger or short sword, but (usually) no shield. How they could defeat the horse-archers of the enemy Turks is quite obscure. – Perhaps by staying beyond the (short) range of the cavalry bow, or positioning themselves on broken ground, and choosing the right moment for a foot sprint, hurling their javelins. After initially routing the Turks in western Asia Minor, the Grand Company rebelled. As noted, they fought their way from the isolated inland Byzantinegoverned town of Philadelphia and across the Turkish-dominated hinterlands in 1304 before returning to winter in Gallipoli. Then, with various Turkish allies, they will ravage through Gallipoli and Thrace (1304-06) and south to Thessalonica (1308). Not only was much harm done to the empire's territory in Europe, this also allowed the Turks to advance further in Asia Minor (as noted: to Ephesus, on the coastal plain of SW Asia Minor, 1304) and the Genoese were able to seize more Aegean islands. Seeing Andronicus's European lands devastated, and the Turks in control of practically the whole of the emperor’s former Asian lands, many observers now began to believe that the Byzantine state was doomed. 1304-29: Genoese rule the islands of Samos and Icarus, in the south-east Aegean off Ephesus. See 1329: Byzantine recovery of Phocaea and the islands of Lesbos and Chios. c.1305: Soon after 1300, Andronicus II introduced the so-called silver basilicon or “imperial” coin, modelled on the Venetian silver ducat (coin “of the doge”: ducal coin) and which was of a comparably high purity. Of pure silver, it was made flat and not concave, and at 1/12 of the hyperpyron, it corresponded to the old miliaresion and thus fitted easily into the system of account. —Grierson, ‘Byzantine Coinage’: www.doaks.org/byzcoins.pdf. 1305: 1. The increased taxes levied to pay the Catalans provoked a revolt in Bithynia (Bartusis p.79). 2a. Thrace: The Romaniyans assassinate Roger de Flor (4 April 1305). The junior 138
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 emperor Michael Palaeologus, aged 28, not daring to attack the fierce and now augmented bands of Catalan adventurers in the Gallipoli peninsula, invited their leader Roger to Adrianople. There he contrived the assassination of the Catalan leader and the massacre of a part of his Catalan cavalry. Roger’s death would be avenged by his men in a fierce and prolonged war against the Greeks. — Wikipedia 2009, ‘Roger de Flor’. 2b. Thrace: Michael Palaeologus eventually marched against the main Catalan force with a substantial army (up to perhaps 10,000 men; but probably fewer), but on 10 July 1305 he was defeated at Apros, which is modern Kermeyan, to the north of the Gallipoli peninsula (some authors date this battle to 1307). See next. 3. Andronicus seeks and receives a promise of a marriage alliance with the Mongol ruler of Persia, the Il-Khan Ôljaitü or Uljaytu who promises to send troops to rescue Nicaea from Osman Gazi; but the deal fell through (Freely 2008: 108).
The Battle of Apros, 1305 The imperials: The Catalan memoirist Ramon Muntaner writes of ‘14,000 horse’ and ‘30,000 foot’ in the imperial-Greek army; but these numbers are not credible. In his Aragon, Chaytor says Michael probably led ‘10,000’ men, but even that seems too many. There were five Byzantine battalions or syntaxeis at the battle of Apros, differentiated by ethnicity: [unit 1] the Alans and  Tourkopouloi or Turcopoles, converted Christian Turks with bow and shield, in the van, followed by the  Macedonians, the Anatolians [cavalry], the Vlach infantry and [battalion 4] Byzantine farmer-militiamen or light infantry called the Thelematarioi;* they served as a rear-guard along with [unit 5] the ‘imperial taxis’, presumably a division of imperial guardsmen, probably including Varangians (cf LBA pp 43, 273). If we guess that each syntaxis contained 2,000 men, then we might have an army of 10,000. But knowing how expensive soldiers were, and how little money the empire had, it would be more likely that the actual figures were units of 1,000 making up a total of 5,000 men. (*) The Thelematarioi were ethnic Greeks living in the rural hinterland adjoining Constantinople on the west. The name meant "voluntaries" or ‘waverers’, derived from a propensity (i.e. before 1261) to shift allegiance at will to either the Greek or Latin side (Geanakoplos 1959: 95). The infantry formed up in the centre, with cavalry on either wing and a small reserve or rearguard. Michael’s cousin Theodore commanded the Turcopoles and 139
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Alans on the left. The ‘Grand Heteriarch’ or head of the palace guard commanded the Thracians, Macedonians and Vlachs on the right. Michael himself took command of the reserve or short second line (Lowe 1972: 77; also Bartusis, LBA: The Late Byzantine Army, 1992: 256). The Catalans: The Catalans under Bernat de Rocafort numbered about 3,000 men, or 2,500 according to Chaytor, i.e. not their full strength. The battle: The Catalans defeated the larger Romaniyan army at Apros (1305), and later the Romanian Franks of the Duchy of Athens at Kephissos (1311; near Thebes) in pitched battles. They did so, in part, because the Catalans were ‘leaner and meaner’ than their "soft" opponents. That is, they were battle-hardened and selfconfident. Or so propose David Kuijt and Chris Brantley, ‘Catalans’ at http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~kuijt/dba165/dba165.html). The defeat at Apros was due in part to Paleologus’s Alans, who, fearful of Catalan wrath at the loss of their leader de Flor, deserted the Imperial army in the field. After the battle: Michael withdrew behind the walls of the fortress-town of Didymoteichon. The Catalans for their part advanced to Rhaidestos which was located immediately NE of Apros: present-day Tekirdag, halfway between Gallipoli and Constantinople. They massacred the Greek population of the town. Rhaidestos then became a centre of operations for an ineffectual blockade of Constantinople and raids throughout Thrace for approximately two years, 1306-1307 (LBA p.81). Cf 1305-06: Turks.
3. Eastern Aegean: Benedetto Zaccaria, a Genoese merchant-adventurer, occupies the island of Chios to the west of Genoese-ruled Phokaia and persuades the Emperor Andronicus to cede it to him as a freehold property for 10 years. Chios was an important source of alum, a coagulant and dye-fixer, and the aromatic resin known as mastic that was used as an aphrodisiac and medicinally and in cooking (most of which went to the Egyptian port of Tinnis). Having no navy and only a tiny army, Andronicus was no doubt more relieved than angry (or so Nicol imagines, B&V p.223). In the same year another Genoese adventurer, Andrea Morisco, attacked and occupied the island of Tenedos at the entrance to the Hellespont (Nicol, B&V p.222).
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1305-06: Following the battle of Apros, the Catalans invited Turks from Asia Minor to fight with them as allies. Gregoras says the Turkish corps numbered 2,800 men: 800 horse and 2,000 foot (cited in Oikonomides, Turks 1305 p.159). Gregoras says that the Catalans at Gallipoli first invited 500 of the Turks as allies from the opposite side (of the Dardanelles), i.e. from Asia Minor, and that many more volunteered their services. A second group also arrived in 1305. They did not ask for any money; all they wanted was to keep the booty that they would gain, giving only one fifth to the Catalans. See 1306 below. 1305-07: The Balkans: The Empire's problems were exploited by Theodore Svetoslav of Bulgaria, who defeated the co-emperor Michael IX and conquered much of northeastern Thrace and its Black Sea ports in c.1305–1307. The conflict ended (1307) with yet another dynastic marriage, between Michael IX's daughter Theodora and the Bulgarian emperor (Norwich, Decline p.273). 1305-c.1309: Because of the Catalans, land communications between the capital and Macedonia were interrupted. Cf 1308. 1306: 1. The Catalans and their Turkish allies devastated Thrace, destroying what they could not steal and selling many Byzantines into slavery. “They [also] attacked Stenia, which was the imperial arsenal [ship-shelter] about eight miles [13 km] to the north of the Golden Horn [near modern Rumeli Hisar]. Making a great circuit, they avoided Constantinople itself and advanced to the shore of the Black Sea, leaving devastation behind them, until they reached the arsenal; they burnt some 150 [sic*] ships in course of construction or completed, seized four of their galleys which the Greeks had captured at the time of the assassination, set the town on fire, broke down the dykes which kept out the sea-water, loaded their galleys with booty and sailed [back] in front of Constantinople”. —H. J. Chaytor, History of Aragon. (*) This is too many for the navy; nearly all must have been civilian vessels. (Possibly around 1307:) Gregoras says the Catalans so terrorised the countryside in Thrace that the Greek peasants could not leave their refuge in the fortified towns and cultivate the land for two entire years; Oikonomides prefers to date this to 1311-12: see there (quoted in Laiou-Thomadakis p.261; and Oikonomides). 2a. Asia: The citadel of Sardis, the town east of the old Nicaean seat of Nymphaeum, was handed over to the Turks by treaty in 1306 (Encyc. Brit. 1911: www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sardis). Cf 1308.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 2b. The large town of Philadelphia, today’s Alasehir, in Asia Minor: twice, in 1306 and 1324, was besieged by the Turks; but it managed to retain its independence for decades - until after 1390, when it was captured by the combined forces of the Turks and the Constantinopolitans. In a letter from the 1320s, Manuel Gabalas, a church official from Philadelphia writing to the future metropolitan Matthew of Ephesos, gave two reasons why towns (polismata) in a far-off region in the midst of Turkish enemies were still under Byzantine control: “First, because of their fortifications, and (second) because they always find a way to get along with their enemies. This has created such a relationship of trust between them that our people for a very long time now have been holding all the gold and silver the others [the pastoralist Turks] own in trust for them, all their Persian [sic: Turkish] belts, rugs, precious mantles, and robes.* And there is agreement that neither the emperor nor the military commanders who are appointed from time to time are allowed to appropriate these things”. —Quoted by Matke 2002. (*) This repeats the pattern of accommodation reported around Bilecek in the 1280s: see there. In Italy: Beginnings of post-Byzantine or post-'Gothic' art: Giotto completes his fresco cycle in the Arena Chapel, Padua. Catalonia: Ramon Lull pleads for a trade ban in his “De fide” (1306): “The slave trade with the Mamluks from Greece [Grecia, Byzantium*] to Egypt, exercised by profiteers falsely calling themselves Christians, is to be suppressed by the galleys [of a Christian admiral yet to be appointed]. ... Christians, such as the Genoese and Catalans, shall buy their spices outside the lands of the Sultan, from Baghdad and India, whereby [Lull imagines] Egypt would be reduced to such poverty that within six years it can be easily conquered by the Christians”. (*) That is, the Italians’ export of slaves from the Black Sea region via the Sea of Marmara. 1306-07: 1. Asia: Ottoman Turkish advances in the NW of Asia Minor lead to the isolation of Bursa. According to Ottoman tradition, the fortress-towns of Kestel, on the main highway immediately east of Bursa, and Kete or Kite, west of Bursa, were captured in the ‘Dinboz War’ of 1306, and the first military treaty in Ottoman history was signed. —Thus the ‘Ottoman Website’, www.osmanli700.gen.tr/english/sultans/01estaplishment.html; accessed 2010. “The small forts fell before the cities: in 1306 Kite/Katoikia, a small keep west of Bursa, surrendered to a surprise attack which befell the garrison as it was being mustered. A year or so later, the garrison of Gubekler/Koubouklia, a small fort near Ulubad [Lopadion]*, betrayed their post to the Ottomans. The Bursans, now isolated, had to pay tribute to Osman.” —Lindner, "The Tent of Osman, The House of Osman" in his Nomads and Ottomans, Bloomington, 1983: extracts 142
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 online at www.h-net.org/~fisher/hst373/readings/lindner.html. Cf 1308. (*) Ulubad or Ulubat lies west of Bursa, at the western end of Lake Ulubad (Ulubat Golu). Byzantium held onto Lopadion itself for several more decades. 2. Eastern Aegean: The ‘Hospitallers’ or Order of Saint John purchased (1306-7) the islands of Rhodes, Kos and Leros from the Genoese admiral or corsair Vignolo Vignoli, who had established loose control over these supposedly Romaniyan islands. Little detail is known about the Order’s occupation of the islands but it appears to have involved fighting against the local Greek inhabitants who fiercely opposed the Order’s arrival. Various dates are proposed for the actual occupation of Rhodes, from 1308 to 1310. —Nicolas Vatin, L'Ordre de Saint-Jean-de Jérusalem, l'Empire Ottoman et la Méditerranée orientale entre les deux sièges de Rhodes, 1480-1522, Paris, 1994; and Nicolas Vatin, Rhodes et l'Ordre de Saint-Jean-de-Jérusalem, Paris, 2000, cited by Atauz 2004; also www.rhodesguide.com/rhodes/rhodes_history.php. 1307: 1a. Inner Thrace: Ainos, the Thracian town at the Aegean mouth of the Ebrus or Maritsa river, withstood an attack by the Catalans (ODB under ‘Ainos’). 1b. The devastation wrought by the Catalans in the environs of Gallipoli was so great that they were no longer able to live off the land, for they did not themselves engage in agriculture. So, in mid 1307 the Catalans razed the stronghold of Gallipoli and, with their Turkish allies, departed for the richer lands of Macedonia (Magoulis, notes to Doukas 1975: 268). See 1308: Thessaloniki. Bartusis, LBA p.82, says they comprised nearly 10,000 fighting men: 6,000 Catalans and renegade Greeks and other Christians, and 3,000 Turks, making them the strongest military force in the Aegean region or at leaqst the strongest Christian force. 2. (or 1308:) Asia: According to one his own inscriptions in the town, Mehmed Aydinoglu captures, or recaptures, the town of Birgi, Gk: Pyrgion, ESE of Smyrna, in the Cayster Valley (Oikonomides, Turks 1305-1313, p.167). It became the seat of the Aydin emirate. See 1308 and 1310. 3. In 1307 Andronikos II imposed an extraordinary tax, the sitokrithon, on two of the most important agricultural products, wheat and barley, in order to cover part of the huge expenses created by the Catalan wars and to counter the financial effects of the loss of Asia Minor. —Foundation for the Hellenic World, online 2010: ‘Economics in Late Byzantine Period’, at www.fhw.gr/chronos/10/en/o/oc/oc3b.html. 1307-09: 143
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Geography: The peninsula that juts SE into the NW Aegean is the Halkidiki; the collection of monasteries jointly called Mt Athos is located on the top ‘finger’. The hill called Athos is near the tip of the top finger. Macedonia: The Catalans raid into the peninsula of Mt Athos and plunder the monasteries. The Company and its allies, drawn from many nationalities, now numbered some 8,000 or 10,000 fighting men (women and children would have made up as least as many again) (Loew 1972: 113; LBA p.82; Norwich 1996: 272). Vasiliev notes that an eyewitness, a pupil of Daniel, igumen (abbot) of the Serbian monastery of Chilandarion on Mount Athos, wrote: “It was horror to see then the desolation of the Holy Mountain by the hands of enemies.” The Catalans likewise burned the Russian monastery of St. Panteleemon, also on Mount Athos. So great were the atrocities perpetrated by the Catalans on their march through Thrace and Macedonia in 1307-08, that their name has entered and stayed in the Greek language as proverbial for cruelty and evil (Magoulias, notes to Doukas 1975: 268). c. 1307-18: Italy: Dante writes the Divina Commedia, the first great 'vernacular' [non-Latin] poem of Western Europe. 1308: Andronicus II aged 50. 1308: 1. Bithynia: The Ottomans push west past Asian Mt Olympos (Uludag) and capture Lüblüce, south of Bursa (Nicolle 2008: 37). See next. 2. Naval threat to Bursa: The conquest of the island of Karolimne (Tk: Imralı, from ‘Emir Ali’) off the shore of the Sea of Marmara in 1308 perhaps marked the first Ottoman naval victory. With a naval or pirate base established on it, the island, which was the first ever-captured by the Ottomans, enabled them to exert some control of traffic in the Sea of Marmara and potentially to cut the connection of the Byzantines to Bursa. The name of the island Imralı is derived from the name of its conqueror Emir Ali. Nicolle, 2008: 37, queries this tradition as just legend. If there was an expedition, he thinks it was just a raid. 3. Macedonia: The Catalan Company besieges Byzantine Thessaloniki, which holds out. By 1308 bloody internal dissension, and ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) resistance to the Catalans' constant raids from their base in Gallipoli, had forced the latter to move to what is now Northern Greece, as we have seen. Using the Thessalonica region as a centre of operations, the Company raided Macedonia and ravaged the rich monasteries at Mt Athos. The Catalan war is related in detail by the Byzantine historian George Pachymeres, in the xi-th, xii-th, and xiii-th books, till he breaks off in the year 1308. Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vii. 3-. 6) is more concise and complete. Pachymeres’ literary activity was considerable, his most important work being a Roman (Byzantine) History in 13 ‘books’ (parts), in continuation of that of 144
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Georgius Acropolita from 1261 (or rather 1255) to 1308, containing the history of the reigns of Michael and Andronicus Palaeologi. 3. (Various dates have been proposed, from 1308 to 1310:) The ‘Hospitallers’ or Knights of St John establish their headquarters in Rhodes; they policed the surrounding waters against the Turkish pirates. 4a. Ephesus, the last remaining Byzantine town on the Aegean coast, falls to the Turks. Although the town was given to the Aydin-oglu Turks, it was Osman’s ‘proto-Ottoman’ troops who took the major part in capturing it (Runciman 1965: 32). 4b. [or 1307:] W Asia Minor: The Aydin-oglu Turks re-capture Pyrgion (Birgi) (SE of Smyrna, N of Aydin). Aydin declares independence from its Germiyan overlord. Mehmet Beg Mubariz ad-Din Ghazi, r.1308-1334, founded a dynasty in territories he had conquered in the Aegean region, including Birgi, Ayasoluk (modern Seljuk, near ancient Ephesus), nearby Tyre [Tire: located at the third point of an equilateral triangle with Ephesus and Aydin as its other points] and later Izmir (Smyrna) [in 1310: see there]. His son and successor, Umur Bey, Umur I, 1334-48, will organise a fleet and lead expeditions to the Aegean islands, the Balkans, and the Black Sea coasts, intervening in dynastic quarrels and assisting John VI Cantacuzenus in the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. 5. Death of Mesud II, the last Seljuk Sultan. Seljuq (central and eastern) Anatolia is again placed under direct Mongol rule - by a regional governor (1308-1336). First recorded appearance in the West of the trireme galley: a Genoese ship with 150 oars (Pryor in Gardiner 2004: 116). Cf 1321 – Byzantium. From 1308: SW Asia Minor: Mehmed Bey, ruler c. 1308-34, founded the Aydin dynasty in territories he conquered in the Aegean region, including Birgi, Ayasoluk (modern Seljuk), Tyre, and later Izmir. The latter-day town named Aydin is near med. Tralleis, inland from ancient Ephesus. Mehmed Beg Aydin-oglou killed his former ally Sasa Beg of Germiyan in 1308 and proclaimed the independence of the Emirate of Aydin from Germiyan. Source: EB15; also Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, at http://fmg.ac/projects/medlands/turks.htm#_toc127591534. 1308-09: Macedonia: After the rupture with the Byzantine Empire, the Catalan Company had to find ways of subsisting without the pay they received from Byzantium. 145
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Selling prisoners as slaves was one of them. Using first Gallipoli and then Cassandria [Kassandreia on the lower ‘finger’ of the Chalcidice/Halkidiki peninsula] as trading bases, the Company facilitated the slave trade; intermediaries bought the Company’s prisoners and resold them on Venetianruled Crete. The notary Angelo Cariolo, who conducted his business in Candia on Crete, recorded 43 sales of slaves that explicitly mention the Company as the original source or provider, in only four months (July to September 1308 and April 1309). These slaves were in large majority Greeks, with only few Bulgarians and others. —Duran i Duelt, 2000. 1308-11: Macedonia and Thessaly: Turkish irregulars, many originally from the clan of Aydin-oglu, fought as volunteers alongside the Catalans in Romaniyan Europe. They fought for a share of the plunder. Oikonomides (in Turks 1305 p.161) argues that, although they appeared to be simply auxiliaries of the Catalans, the Turks were actually planning their own jihad-type conquests in Europe. Cf 1310. (No such conquests were actually made during the next half-century.) 1308-23: 1. The NW sector of Asia Minor, centred on a line from Ephesus to Nicaea, is contested by the Byzantines and several Turkish beyliks: the Saruhan, the Karasi and the Ottomans. 2. The Morea: Cantacuzenus senior, 1308-1316, and then Andronicus Palaeologus Asen, 1316-1323, ruled as governors at Mistra. The father of John Kantakouzenos was given the lands of Morea in Peloponnese by the emperor Andronikos II in 1308. He governed there until his early death in 1316 (G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, p.497). 1308-1334: SW Asia Minor: r. “Mehmed Bey” or Mohammad Beg Mubariz ad-Din Ghazi, ruler of the Aydin dynasty. See 1310. 1309: 1. Greece: The Catalan Company marches into Byzantine Thessaly. Some of the Turks who were marching with them left to take service with the king of Serbia. 2. Rhodes: Having succeeded in suppressing local Greek resistance, the Latins of the Knights of St John or “Hospitallers” migrate from Cyprus to Rhodes which they will hold until 1522. The Grand Master was Foulques de Villaret (Occitan: Folco del Vilaret, also Fulk de Villaret), a native of Occitania, today’s Languedoc-Roussillon. On 15 August 1309, after over two years of campaigning, the island of Rhodes surrendered to the knights (date as given by Wikipedia 2010 under ‘Knights Hospitaller). They also gained control of a number of neighbouring islands, as well as the Anatolian ports of Bodrum and Kastelorizo.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 3. d. Thamar, Greek-born (Epirote) Princess of Taranto, 1294–1309. 1309-77: Under French dominance, the popes resided at Avignon: the socalled ‘Babylonian captivity’, France being ‘Babylon’. The family of Petrarch, then aged six, came to Avignon in 1310. c.1310; or 1315-21: 1. Constantinople: Re-building and redecoration (by 1321) of the “Chora” Church, Gk: he Ekklesia tou Hagiou Soteros en te Chora, anglice: "The Church of the Holy Redeemer in the Fields", today’s Kariye Camii (mosque: now a museum). For Ousterhout (1988) and everyone else, it is one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The mosaic-work*, considered the finest example of the ‘Palaeologian Renaissance’, includes a fine Christ Pantocrator and a picture of Theodore Metochites, the ‘prime minister’ (mesazon) and Grand Logothete, wearing a massive turban. (*) See 1320 below: the use mosaics in Byzantium ends when it becomes too expensive for a now impoverished state. 2. Pre-Renaissance Italy, 1310: The Italo-Byzantine style of painting was abandoned altogether by the Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone [his father’s name], who adopted a more naturalistic approach based on the observation of nature. In his ‘Madonna Enthroned’, forms are foreshortened and modelled in light and shade to create figures that have sculptural solidity and weight. Naturalism was employed also by the Roman-born painter Cavellini, fl. 1300.
1310: 1. Final Turkish capture of Smyrna or Izmir: The Genoese had claimed Smyrna as their own and built a castle under the name of "St. Peter". They kept Smyrna until 1310, when the lower part of the town was taken from them by Umur, son of the Emir of Aydın. The upper citadel held out until 1317. Smyrna: Mehmet Bey’s son Umur Bey (as he later was) first captured the fort of Kadifekale [Tk: ‘velvet castle’] at the top of the town, still intact today, in 1310, and then the lower castle of Sancakkale (Ok Kalesi: called St. Peter at that time) and used the town as a base for naval raids (Wikipedia 2010 under ‘Izmir’). The northern coastline of the Gulf of Izmir (Karsiyaka today) was, in the meantime, held by the sons of Saruhan, another bey. A little further north, the Byzantines held an enclave around Phocaea. Cf 1313: Saruhan captures Manisa. 2. Thrace: An element of the Turks who had marched with the Catalans—1,300 horse and 800 foot under a commander named Halil—asked the emperor to allow them safe passage home to Asia. This was agreed; but trouble broke out, and Halil decided to call for reinforcements from Asia. He then began ravaging Thrace. The co-emperor Michael IX marched against them with an army of “10,000” [sic!] but was defeated by “barely 2,000 Turks” (LBA p. 82, quoting a 147
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Latin source; also Freely 2008: 107). A lower figure, 4,000 men at most, would be more plausible for the size of the imperial army. Halil continued to ravage Thrace until 1312, when his force was destroyed. 3. Athens: In 1310, the Catalans accepted a new employer, Walter [Fr. Gautier] de Brienne, the new French (literally Champagne-born) duke of Athens (John V.A. Fine Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987). In six months they captured over 30 ‘castles’ (towers and fortresses) for him, and conquered most of Thessaly (allied to Constantinople), but when peace was concluded in 1311, de Brienne attempted to dismiss them without pay, and answered their reasonable demands with insults. This led to their rebellion and open battle: see 1311. 4. d. George Pachymer or Pachymeres, Byzantine scholar and historian; deacon of the church and professor at the Patriarchal Academy. His best known work was in East Roman historiography, an eye-witness history of the reigns of Michael VIII and Andronicus II; his main interests were mathematics and the theory of music. 5. d. Maximus Planudes, Greek scholar; monk and mathematician who recommended the use of Arabic numerals; wrote a historical geography; rewrote Aesop's fables; one of first scholars to translate Latin works into 'Greek' [Rhomaike: the Roman language]. 1310-11: Monasteries restored at Mt Athos. See 1312. 1310-14: Thessaloniki: The Church - originally a monastery - of the Holy Apostles is the finest late Byzantine construction that still survives in the city. It has drum-like domes typical of the period (Rice, Art p.247). 1310-15/c.1320: Constantinople, overlooking the Golden Horn: Construction or re-building of the Church of the Mother of God ‘Pammakaristos’ (Gk: “Joyous” Mother of God), with the famous mosaic of Christ Pantocrator. Today it is Fethiye Camii mosque/museum. Picture in Rice, p.233. After Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church, it has the most extensive surving Byzantine mosaics in Istanbul. 1311: Greece: The Catalan Company, with its Turkish auxiliaries, defeats the 'Frankish' barons of eastern Greece at the Battle of (the river) Kephissos near Thebes, and assumes control of the Duchy of Athens, ruling there until 1385. Gautier [Walter], duke of Athens had some “6,400” cavalry and “8,000” foot according to Gregoras. The Chronicle of the Morea says 6,000 horse and foot. This seems plausible, as the Catalin memoirist Ramon Muntaner mentions just 700 “French” knights fighting for Athens, perhaps implying that the rest were 148
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 ethnic Greek cavalry (“others from that country”). Certainly Muntaner says that the foot soldiers were all local Greeks (3,000 men if we delete the final zero from Muntaner’s ’30,000’: Hughes p.147). Walter would have had more men if it had not been for the fact that 500 Catalans still in his employ deserted to join the enemy arrayed against him. He faced a force of Almogavars (Catalan infantry), 6,000 strong, which was bolstered by Turkish [some 2,000 men: or 1,100 according to Gregoras] and Thessalian contingents. —Morris 2000; DeVries 1998: 61. (Cf 1311-13.) This force had occupied several of Gautier's Thessalian fortresses at his refusal to pay four months' worth of wages for service against his many enemies. When the duke demanded their unconditional surrender, the Almogavars had refused and had readied themselves for battle, flooding the fields or choosing already marshy ground where they expected the Frankish knights would charge. They laid a trap for their erstwhile employer Duke Gautier (Walter) at Kephissos by arraying for battle behind a newly flooded field or “bog” which Hughes says was Lake Copais. Walter and his Frankish knights charged unknowingly into the mire and were destroyed by the resourceful Catalans. He and a large proportion of his knights were slaughtered, leaving the Catalans masters of his Duchy. Cultural revival in N. Italy: fl. Albertino Mussato of Padua, author of the first play to have been composed in classical [antique] metre since Antiquity; in imitation of Seneca (Kraye 1996: 7). Cf 1315 - Dante, and 1317 Giotto. 1311-1313: Gallipoli and Thrace: Following the Catalans’ victory over the duke of Athens, their Turkish allies decided (1310 or 1311) to return home with their booty. They struck a deal with the Byzantines who agreed to help transport them back to Asia in Genoese ships. The Turks numbered some 2,100 men (1,300 horse and 800 foot). But trouble broke out and the Turks seized a fortress in the Gallipoli peninsula as a base and began raiding. In 1311 they inflicted a major defeat on an army led by Andronicus’s junior co-emperor Michael IX. For nearly two years (to 1312), their attacks laid waste the whole of Thrace. Gregoras reports that the Romaniyans, shut inside their fortified towns, were no longer able to cultivate or sow their fields (Oikonomides, “Turks 1305”, p.161; Freely 2008: 107). 1312: 1. (Or 1313: see there:) The Serbs intervened on the emperor’s side against the Turks: Milutin sent 2,000 Serbs who managed to annihilate the Turks near Callipolis/Gallipoli (LBA p.83; Treadgold 1997: 753; Freely 2008: 107: Oikonomides prefers 1313: see there). But this served only to stop the Turks from entering Europe: no lost imperial territory was recovered by the Byzantines. See 1313. 2. The Mt Athos monasteries were placed under the direct control of the Patriarchate. 149
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3. The Aegean, off Amorgos (in the eastern Cyclades): The galleys of the Hospitallers of Rhodes defeat the boats of the Menteshe Turks (Pryor 1988: 170). 1312: Genoese mariners rediscover the Canary Islands (- Portuguese conquest, 1425). At the beginning of his reign, in 1282, Andronicus had ruled probably about five million people; by 1312, however, after the loss of almost all of Byzantine Asia Minor, he probably ruled only around two million. “The empire had lost at least half its population in 30 years. This was the real catastrophe” (Treadgold, State p. 841). 1312-41: North of the Danube: The military clout of the khanate of the Golden Horde (‘Kipchak Empire’) peaked during the reign of Uzbeg, 1312-41, whose army is said - perhaps an exaggeration - to have exceeded 300,000 warriors. This might be correct if it represented every able-bodied man aged 15 to 45.* This is known from the reports of Battuta: cf below under 1331-33. (*) McEvedy and Jones’ (1978) guesstimate for the population of European Russia and Ukraine in 1300 is ‘nine’ million with a further 1.5 M in presentday Rumania. If half were ruled by the khan, he could have had over four million subjects. But one imagines he did not enrol many Slavs or Vlachs in his army. 1313: 1. Eastern Aegean: Benedetto II Zaccaria, 1235-1314, known as Paleologo (after his Greek wife, a Greek noble), was the Lord of Chios and Phocaea, as well as other Aegean islands from 1307. Paleologo was the son and successor of Benedetto I Zaccaria. On the death (1307) of his father, his cousin Tedesio Zaccaria, the subordinate governor of Phocaea, formed an alliance with the Catalans of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Turks (this was before the Catalans left for Macedonia). In 1313, he was forced to abandon the port, and its nearby alum mines, to the Byzantines and temporarily retire to Thasos. But the Zaccarias returned in 1314. The increased importance of Chios at this period is evidenced by the coins, which the Zaccaria brothers minted for their use, sometimes with the diplomatic legend, "servants of the Emperor” (Miller 1921: 290). 2a. Thrace: The Romaniyans defeat Halil’s Turks and force them back to their fortified refuge on the Gallipoli/Kallipolis peninsula. Then: 2b. King Stephen Milutin sends a force of 2,000 Serbians to aid his father-in-law 150
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Andronicus against them. A major victory against Halil and Umur the future pasha of Aydin (and conqueror of Ephesus) is achieved at present-day Camilikoy on the Gallipoli peninsula. Finally: 2c. Following up the victory, a combined force of Serbs and Byzantines crossed into Asia and proceeded against the Aydin Turks. But the Asian bridgehead that they briefly established was soon abandoned by the Byzantines (Oikonomides, “1305”: pp.165 ff). Cf 1317 – Bursa. 3. Central-western Anatolia: Sarukhan bey, r. 1313-1348. In 1313 (date given by EB15; also Freely 2008: 133), the followers of the Sarukhan or Saruhan family take the town of Magnesia or Manisa, inland NW of Smyrna, and establish a lordship, Turkish: beylik, over Lydia. They will become a minor naval power in the Aegean, along with the neighbouring Aydin-oglu (since 1308). Nif (Nymphaeon)* was also taken, although Nif and Sart (Sardis) were long disputed with Aydin (Pitcher 1972: 33). After its conquest of Manisa (1313), the Saruhan dynasty's principality extended its territories to the Aegean Sea. Surrounded by the other Türkmen principalities of Aydin, Germiyan, and Karasi, Saruhan became a seafaring state with a relatively large fleet. It controlled the port-town of Phocaea at various times. (*) Only 90 years earlier Nif had been the residence of the Nicaean emperors . . . 1313-18: Andronicus rebuilds a small native army. In about 1320 his plan was to enlarge his army a little to 3,000 cavalry - 1,000 mercenaries in Bithynia and 2,000 in the Balkans, - and enlarge the navy to 20 ships (“triremes”) (a plan never realised) [Gregoras, cited in LPA p.85]. So we may guess that by about 1318 (see more under 1320) the salaried army reached only about 1,500 cavalry and his navy perhaps 10 galleys. Of course the selffinancing native cavalry and infantry - pronoiars and military smallholders must be added, and we can probably assume they too numbered 1,500 or up to 2,500 - for a total of 3,000-4,000 land troops. In 1329 (see there) Andronicus was able to muster just 4,000 men for an incursion into Asia Minor. Gibbon, chapter 63: “The youth of Andronicus had been without spirit, his age was without reverence: his taxes produced an unusual revenue of 500,000 pounds [sic!]; yet the richest of the sovereigns of Christendom [sic!*] was incapable of maintaining 3,000 horse and 20 galleys, to resist the destructive progress of the Turks” (citing Gregoras, l. viii. c. 6). (*) One might imagine the German emperor and the French king as richer, as they ruled perhaps 15 million people and 13 million respectively (McEvedy & Jones 1978); but the system of taxation was still less developed, less centralised and less monetized in the West. Also Andronicus would certainly have had the highest income per taxpayer. 151
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1314, Scotland: At the Battle of Bannockburn, some 7,000 Scots, including 500 knights, under Robert Bruce defeated perhaps 25,000 English, of whom 2,500 were cavalry, under Edward II. It appears that both sides deployed longbow archers, crossbowmen and slingers. Longbowmen formed probably a majority on the English side. 1314: 1. Galata, the Italian suburb of Constatinople: Built in 1314, the Palace of the Genoese podestà (magistrate, governor), Montani de Marinis, was known as the Palazzo del Comune (Palace of the Municipality) in the Genoese period. The ruins still stand in a narrow street behind the famous Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street). 2. Greeks sold as slaves in Spain: James II of Aragon and the citizens of Barcelona expressed scruples about selling enslaved Greeks in the market in 1314, on the grounds that they were found to be Christian. [Presumably they were traded to the Muslims of N Africa.*] The trade may have been rendered doubly repugnant to them because many of those Christian slaves were children. — Verlinden 1964: 428. According to Lane, 1973: 133, most of the slaves bought or sold by the Venetians around 1300 were Greeks, but during the 1300s the view developed that fellow Christians should not be trafficked, and the Black Sea, i.e. the Kipchak Empire (Khanate of the Golden Horde) became the main source of supply. (*) Greek slaves from the Morea were traded from Rhodes by Venetians. 2. N Anatolia: Candar's (Jandar’s) son Süleyman re-captured ex-Seljuq Kastamonu and Sinop and in 1314 accepted the suzerainty of the Il-Khans, the Mongol rulers of Persia, until the breakdown of Il-Khanid power - at the death of its ruler, Abu Sa'id - in 1335. Travel in the Aegean Shortly after 1310 - before 1318, - the learned monk Theodoulos (Thomas Magistros) travelled on a Greek ship from Thessalonike to Constantinople. The voyage out lasted 20 days, and the return trip, during which the ship called at a number of harbours, took 45. Magistros describes the journey he made across the northern Aegean by merchant ship sometime between 1314 and 1318 in his Concerning a Voyage from Thessalonike to Byzantium and back to Thessalonike. He left Thessaloniki on 1 October and reached Constantinople via Lemnos, Imbros, Samothrace, Tenedos, the Hellespont, and the Propontis or Sea of Marmara in 20 days. The return journey, in midwinter, took 45 days and involved 24 days of enforced immobility, at first because of a calm and then because of bad weather (Avramea, 2002). The ship must have been large and two-masted, and it had a numerous crew 152
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 and a lifeboat. It carried passengers, but also engaged in entrepôt trade. Magistros was impressed by the skill of the helmsman and of the sailors as they scrambled up the masts when the vessel was under sail. He also states that the crew tended to use “mixed Greek” when at work, and this is, perhaps, the earliest reference to the lingua franca of Mediterranean trade (Makris in Laiou ed., 2002), Called Sabir, it was based mostly on Italian and Provençal but with many Greek words. 1314-46: Georgia partially recovers under King Giorgi V 'the Brilliant'. Georgia was hemmed in between ‘Mongol’-ruled Ukraine, which historians call the Khanate of the Golden Horde or “Kipchak Empire”, and the Ilkhanate or Mongol-ruled Persia. 1315: 1. Literacy: Legal decisions in Byzantium were written out in triplicate so that the imperial chancery and both parties to the judgment would have a copy. In a dispute over land heard in the patriarchal court in 1315, a woman and her sisterin-law produced six documents between them, all relating to the same plot of land, two of which turned out to be forgeries. Herrin 2007: 121 cites this as evidence of a relatively high level of literacy. 2. fl. Manuel Moschopoulos, Constantinopolitan scholar and teacher, who had studied under Planudes. He is best remembered as a lexicographer and philologist (Fryde 2000). He was a nephew of the bibliophile bishop of the reign of Andronikos II, Nikephoros Moschopoulos. He was a student of Maximos Planoudes and a commentator on (perhaps also an editor of) classical Greek poets. Among other works, he wrote a grammar of the ancient Greek language, a treatise on magic squares and an anti-Latin treatise. 1315: Using halberds, the Swiss defeat the Austrians at Mortgarden near Lake Egeri or Ägeri-see, the glacial lake in the Canton of Zug, the first major victory by Swiss peasant infantry over German knights. The Confederates prepared a road-block and an ambush at a point between Lake Aegeri and Morgarten pass where the small road or path led between the steep slope and a swamp. About 1,500 men attacked from above with rocks, logs and halberds. The knights had no room to defend themselves and suffered a crushing defeat, while the foot soldiers in the rear fled back to the town of Zug. Bradbury 2004: 244 says that this was probably the first time the Swiss deployed the halberd, a long pike headed with a large blade that was both pointed for pike-work and edged as an axe. Italy 1315: fl. Dante, the first major western poet to write in a 'vernacular' (non-Latin) language, i.e. Tuscan Italian. In his Inferno, he generously places the Muslims Avicenna, Averroes and Saladin not in Hell but in Limbo.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1315/16: Thessalonica: A marble inscription of 1315/16 was found when the sea-wall was being demolished in the early twentieth century. It refers to the repair of part of the wall or the extension of the sea-wall toward the sea by Hyaleus, logothete of the army in Thessalonike, a year before the death of Empress Irene-Yolanda, wife of Andronikos II, who had been living in Thessalonike since 1303. —Bazirkis, in Talbot ed., ‘Late Byzantine Thessalonike’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 2003; accessed online 2010. c. 1315-21: The Peloponnesus: Andronikos Palaiologos Asen (Gk Asanes), Andronikos II’s nephew and son of the Bulgarian tsar, was governor of Byzantine Morea. He expanded imperial rule further into the Morea against the Franks (LBA p.71). His daughter Irene Asanina married, ca 1319, John Kantakuzenos, the soldier and future emperor. 1316: The Ottoman heir and future bey Orhan, aged 32, took a second wife “Asporsha” or Aspordja: Asporça Hatun. She is said to have been—which is not at all credible —emperor Andronikos III’s daughter. Her name suggests she was of Greek origin. But in truth the only thing we know about her is that Orhan’s father gave her title to several villages (see discussion in Pierce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Oxford Univ. Press, 1993). Their son Ibrahim, b.1316, was afterwards Governor of Askishehir: d.1362. 1317: 1. Asia: The Ottomans resume the offensive around Byzantine Bursa. Osman’s troops attacked the Romaniyan fortresses at Karatekin, Ebesuyu, Tuzpazarı [near Bursa], Kapucuk and Keresteci. They managed to capture Orhaheli, SW of Bursa, and Bithynian Mt Olympus in 1317. In the same year they took the regions of Kocaeli, to the east of Nicomedia, and Akcakoca on the Black Sea east of Eregli. See next: siege of Bursa. —Turkish Ministry of Culture, ‘Chronology’, at www.turizm.gov.tr/en/belegegoster; accessed 2010. 2a. (Or 1318:) In 1317, Martino Zaccaria, the Italian lord of Phocaea and Chios, conquered the lower section of Byzantine Smyrna and in 1318 defeated a Turkish flotilla at sea, briefly imposing a tax on Turkish commerce vessels (Wikipedia, 2009, ‘Martino Zaccaria’). See next. 2b. At Smyrna, the Aydınoglu Turks finally take the upper citadel (Greek Pagos; Tk: Kadifekale, ‘velvet castle’) from the Byzantines. The Genoese will hold the lower town until 1329. —Nicol 1993: 143. Most of the town’s population, obviously, were Greeks; one can only imagine, imperfectly, what may have been the daily relations bwteen Turk, Greek and Genoese. The capture of Kadifekale (the citadel) on Pagos Mountain by Aydınoglu 154
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Mehmet Bey inaugurates the real Turkish age in Izmir (Smyrna). His troops took Kadifekale in 1317 or 1318 but he was unable to capture the harbour-castle (lower citadel). Plainly the Genoese were superior at sea, able to prevent any full blockade of the latter. 3. d. Eirene Palaiologina, born Yolanda of Montferrat, Empress 1288/9–1317. 1317: fl. Giotto, the Tuscan (Italian) painter and architect. From 1334 he was the city architect of Florence. 1317-26: 1. Bithynia: The Ottomans, one among several ghazi emirates in Asia Minor, blockade Bursa (Prousa). Cf 1325. 2. Italo-Turkish contest for the Aegean: the warships of Mehmed Beg, the Emir of Aydin, fought running battles against the navies of the Genoese family of Zaccaria in Chios and the Knights of Rhodes; his pirate ships preyed on Venetian merchantmen in the Aegean and plundered the Venetian-ruled islands. Cf 1319. c. 1318: John Cantacuzenus, the future emperor, at this time an army officer and friend of the young prince Andronicus [III], marries Eirene Asenina (Irene Asanina), daughter of Andronicus Asen, Despot of Morea, and grand-daughter of the Bulgarian tsar, John III Asen. See 1320-21. 1318: 1. As noted, the Aydinoglu Turks take most of Smyrna (LBA p.203, citing Lemerle). 2a. Greece: The Despot of Thessaly - "Wallachian" Thessaly: modern east-central Greece - died childless and his lands were divided between his more powerful neighbours: the revived Byzantine Empire and the Catalan Duchy of Athens. When the Despot of Epiros was assassinated that same year, Epiros passed briefly to Cephalonia (ruled by Nicholas Orsini) before being absorbed into the Byzantine Empire (formally annexed in 1336). The sole success achieved by Andronicus II's tiny native Byzantine or Romaic imperial army, re-created from about 1313, was against the independent 'Greek' [Rhomaion] principalities in northern Epirus [our west-central Greece], which were annexed in 1318. The appearance of a Byzantine army in northern Thessaly led the Greeks of northern Epirus to declare loyalty to Andronicus, and in 1319 the Epirote ruler Nicholas Orsini formally ceded the north in return for Andronicus’s recognition of his rule in the south (Treadgold 1997: 754). Cf 131833: Vlachs. 2b. The Catalans of Athens conquer the southern part of the Wallachian duchy of 155
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Neopatras or Neai Patrai, on the northern side of the Gulf of Corinth. 1318-33: Greece: Byzantine-ruled Thessaly is ravaged by migrating Vlach tribes from Albania called the Malakasioi, Bouioi and Mesaritai, said to number 12,000. Presumably that means about 3,500 fighting men. The Greek and Catalan lords and castellans were forced to take shelter in their fortresses. Eventually in 1333 or 1334 the Albanians swore allegiance to Andronicus III, and some were inducted into the imperial army (Vacalopoulos pp.7 ff). In A.D. 1334 a group of people from the mountainous areas of Thessaly, who lived in no town but in inaccessible places, submitted to the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus III, because they were afraid of being attacked during the time of heavy snows. They were "Albanians with no king, called after their tribal chiefs Malakasii, Bouii, and Mesaritai". Two of these names have persisted into modern times: the Vlachs (Romance-speakers) of the villages from Malakasi to Gardhiki [east of today’s Albania-Greece border] are the Malakasii, and the Frasherots of Southern Thessaly are also called Bouii (Hammond, Epirus, Oxford, 1966). Illustration GO HERE for a contemporary wall-painting of Emperor Andronicus II and King Milutin of Serbia: http://www.rastko.rs/isk/images/andronicus_and_milutin.html 1319: Near Chios: Just two large galleys and two fuste—smaller 30-oar, 60 oarsmen* galleys—of the Hospitallers of Rhodes were enough to destroy 30 Turkish (Aydinoglou) vessels. The weakness of the Turkish naval forces during the 14th century was due to their use of small, light boats [Tk: kaliyota or kalita, from Venetian ‘galiot’] and lack of experience at sea; the Christians relied on large war-galleys and of course had a long maritime tradition. Only Aydin among the Turks built some large galleys (Pryor 1988: 67, 170; Zachariadou pp.214-15). See 1320. (*) The fusta or fuste was in essence a small galley -- a narrow, light and fast ship with shallow draft, powered by both oars and sail. Typically it had 12 to 15 oars operated by two-man rowing benches on each side, and a single mast with a lateen (triangular) sail. More precisely: pairs of rowers aft and single rowers on each side forward of the mast (Runciman 1965: 75).
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Above: Painted icon in Chilandar/Chilandarion Monastery, Mt Athos: Saint Procopius in the southern choir of the main church, c. 1319. Points to note: 1 the triangular shield strung at his back; 2, the black shape behind his body which is clearly a square-box quiver, and 3 the transverse strap across his chest which would be a baldric. The curved brown object behind his right thigh is possibly a bow-case. The arrows appear to be stored in the quiver points-upward, the style favoured by cavalry (foot-archers tended to prefer round-cylindrical quivers in which they stored their arrows with fletching upwards). Thus he probably represents a horse-archer. 1319-20: Jewish manufacturers and merchants: In a letter of Andronikos II to the Venetian doge dated 1319/20, intended to settle a dispute between Venetian Jews and Byzantine Jews, the emperor says: 'Regarding the Jews, we respond thus: that
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 our Jews (nostri Judei) are a legitimate possession of the Empire, and for that reason an allotted place is given to them for their dwelling in which they can live and practice their own skills, paying to the Empire that which is ordered them.' He continues to say that the incoming Jews from Venice, who decided to settle in the Empire, should follow the same regulations and afterwards describes further details of trade regulations binding for Byzantine Jewish skin and fur producers and merchants. Since these kinds of exchanges are not unique, it is safe to conclude that, with regard to the Jews, the Byzantine emperors followed a relatively tolerant policy, because they had a vested economic interest in doing so (thus Mirkociv, Byzantinism 2001, accessed 2010 at: www.isidore-ofseville.com/goudenhoorn/82alexander). Territory in 1320 Byzantium still, but only just, held the entire southern littoral of the Sea of Marmara. On the Aegean side the border between the Karasi Turks and the Empire lay between Adramyttium (Edremit) and Biga, near the coast of the Sea of Marmara. To the east, the imperial towns of Prousa (Bursa), Nicaea and Nicomedia lay just on the Byzantine side of the Byzantine-Ottoman border (map in Nicolle 2008: 33). McEvedy and Jones (1978/1992) estimate that the entire Balkan region, from Croatia to Crete, contained about five million people at this time; thus Byzantium cannot have ruled more than about two million, indeed probably fewer. The Army of Andronicus Reading backwards from 1321, we can perhaps deduce that in 1320 the land forces of the ‘empire’ numbered no more than about 3,000 salaried soldiers, or say 4,000 if we add those troops dependent on landholdings. In 1320, as Treadgold relates (1997: 819, 841-43; cf Nicol p.162), Andronicus calculated that his revenues would allow him to enlarge his army by 1321 to perhaps 5,000 men: it would have consisted of (a) 500 troops of the imperial bodyguard (Varangian infantry); (b) about 3,000 cavalry in several regular or standing units (both foreign ‘mercenaries’ and native “pronoiar” soldier landtaxers, or more exactly: soldiers authorised to collect land taxes); and (c) some 1,500 others on hire for specific campaigns. (This was about half the number that Constantinople had been able to field in 1283.) But his grandson's revolt (1320) prevented this plan from being realised. Cf 1329. The plan for the navy was to acquire 20 galleys; again this was not realised. Numbers are indicative: 1,500 cavalry: up to 500 Frankish or Greco-Frankish mercenary knights,* about 500 Byzantine horse called stratiotai (pronoiars), and about the same number of lesser light-armed cavalry, including horse-archers. The pronoiars were considered inept and unenthusiastic.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (*) After 1315 some Frankish nobles reconciled themselves to their new overlords and served in the army as paid professionals. 1,500 infantry: say 500 Varangians (until 1329); 1,000 other infantry: ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) garrison spearmen and garrison archers [most of the full-time troops were assigned to garrisoning fortresses]; Byzantine farmer-archers, i.e. unsalaried small-holders; and finally irregulars called “hillmen” i.e. ethnic Slavs called Melingoi** and/or Tzakones, Greeks from the Morea; both prone to banditry. Cf 1321. (**) Slavic groups living in the Balkans esp. the Peloponnesus. - In 1204, the French invaders of the Peloponnesus had noted that, after more than three centuries of East Roman rule, there were still two independent Slav peoples, the Ezeritai and the Melingoi, in the fastness of Mount Taygetos in Laconia, west of Sparta and Mistras. Total say 3,000 – but built up to about 4,000 by 1329: see there. An icon of St Demetrios carved in steatite dated to the early 14th C takes the form of a Byzantine archer, probably a cavalryman as he also carries a lance. That a cavalryman is depicted is also suggested by his lamellar body armour. An apron or skirt of large scales, prpesumabaly leather, covers his hips and upper thighs. He carries a short, strung recurve bow that is about half his height, so perhaps 85 cm in length (short for a Byzantine bow).* He holds three arrows in his left hand that appear about 45 cm long; also very short, if depicted to scale. —Go here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Icon_Saint_Demetrios_Louvre_OA11 219.jpg. (*) Byzantine cavalry bows, at least in the 10th century, were normally longer than 117 cm, and infantry bows larger still: Leo’s Taktika and the Syllagoge, cited by McGeer p.213; Parani p.141. 1320: 1. Rebellion by Andronicus [III], the emperor's grandson. The young Andronicus was disinherited by his grandfather; but in 1321 a group of young nobles and landowners, led by John Cantacuzeus, came to the aid of the younger Andronicus. 2. Theodore Metochites, Byzantine scholar, became Grand Logothete or chief minister in 1320; he wrote on every branch of the 'Outer Learning' or nontheological studies and 'Inner Learning': philosophy (he favoured Plato), education, the sciences and astronomy. His histories show an honest objectivity. He cites over 80 classical authors whose works were presumably in his personal collection (Rautman p.289). Metochites is depicted in a famous mosaic (c.1310) in the Church of the Saviour in Chora (Kariye Camii). He wears a massive Turkish-style turban and a long kaftan-like full-sleeved tunic. The Church also has other fine mosaics of this period, e.g. "The Virgin Interceding with Christ" (pictures Rice, Art p.225, 229; Treadgold 1997: 831). Cf Ibn Battuta, visiting in 1332: “The inhabitants of the city, soldiers and 159
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 civilians, small and great, carry over their heads huge parasols, both in winter and summer, and the women wear large turbans.” Metochites’ residence, a lavish group of buildings, included a bathhouse (Rautman p.92). At a period when the structure of the state was steadily disintegrating and finances deteriorating, - when the Empire, torn by the quarrel between Andronicus II and his grandson Andronicus III, had to face incursions by the Turks, the Catalans and the Genoese, - a group of scholars flourished under Andronicus II. With their works on the classic authors and the exact sciences, these men sparked a new flowering of the letters and arts, known today as the ‘Palaeologan Revival’. The group included the well-known historian and tutor of Metochites's children, Nicephorus Gregoras, and the writer Nicholas Mesarites. — Thus an anonymous author, article ‘Istanbul Tours’, at http://coolistanbultours.com/eng/chora.htm; accessed 2008. Cf 1325 below. 3. The Aegean, off Rhodes: Just 10 Genoese and Rhodian (Hospitaller) galleys accompanied by 20 small boats “annihilated” a fleet of 80 Turkish (Menteshe) vessels - which possibly included a few small galleys. Only six Turkish vessels escaped. As noted earlier, the weakness of the Turkish naval forces during the 14th century was due to their lack of a long maritime tradition and the use of small boats; the Christians relied on large war-galleys. Among the Turks only the beylik of Aydin built some substantial galleys (Pryor 1988: 170; Zahariadou pp.214-15). See 1321: Ottoman boats Venice, 1320: The Arsenal Nuovo or “new dockyard” was built, much larger than the original. It enabled all the state's navy and the larger merchant ships to be both constructed and maintained in one place. The Arsenal incidentally became an important centre for rope manufacture, while housing for the arsenal workers grew up outside its walls. 1321: 1. The Ottoman fleet made its first landing, using small boats, in Thrace in southeastern Europe. 2. First phase of a series of civil wars: 1321-22 (or to 1327). Andronikos II will have to share the empire with his grandson, Andronikos III, when he fails to win the civil war. The general who led the grandson's forces was a young John Kantakouzenos, aged about 26, who received an appanage in Thrace with the promise of general exemption from taxation. See 1325. Kantakouzenos later recalled that, because of the civil war, already in 1322 some peasants were leaving their villages and no taxes could be collected from them (Laiou-Thomadakis p.261). 3. A small ‘Mongol’ contingent – troops of the Golden Horde or ‘Kipchak empire’ 160
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 - passed through Bulgaria and raided Thrace in 1321 and again in 1322 (Lippard p.211). Cf 1324. The Armed Forces [Cf above: 1318:] At this time, as we have said, the Byzantine army was tiny: of the order of perhaps 4,000; or just 2,000-2,500 men if we count only the regulars. The elite were several hundred “mercenaries”, meaning salaried professional knights, usually Latins or Byzantines of Latin descent. Heavy cavalry pronoiars— Greek-Romanic and Franco-Greek horsemen paid from diverted land taxes — numbered about 500. In addition there was an unknown number of lesser cavalry and infantry. Cf 1329: field army of some 4,000 men. - Kantakuzenos guessed that the army he assembled in 1321 to fight for Andronikos included “5,000” cavalry, but he had not counted them and this was purely a guess. The true number was probably more like 2,500 (says Bartusis in LBA p.223). - As pictured in Nicolle’s Eastern Europe 1988, a Byzantine infantryman wore a tall pointed brimmed war-hat or ‘chapel-de-fer’, mail to the elbows and thighs, and carried a sword and spear and medium-sized convex-triangular shield. The navy had perhaps 10 ships (fewer than 20), each manned by 154 men. This suggests they were probably Italian-style triremes, i.e. three rows each of 25 oars on both sides (see the discussion at pp. 842 ff in Treadgold, State, 1997, citing LBA: Bartusis). There is no known instance of mosaic decoration in Byzantium after 1320; only frescoes. This is probably to be explained by the negative economics of a small population fighting a civil war (Sevcenko in Treadgold‘s Renaissances, 1984 p.161).
1321-1357: THE ERA OF THE CIVIL WARS From the begining of John Kantacuzenus’s alliance with the younger Andronicus (III) Palaiologos to the year that John’s son and coemperor Matthew Kantakuzenus renounces his claim to the throne and John V Palaiologos becomes sole emperor. From 1321: Thessaly was governed by a young, 26 years old, Ioannes (John) Kantakouzenos the future John VI - son of the late Governor of the Peloponnesus. Born posthumously 1295, died Mistra, Peloponnese 10.6.1383, aged 88, buried there; m. before 1320 Irene of Bulgaria (+1363-79). Kantakouzenos was Megas Papias or senior palace official ca. 1320-1325 and 161
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Governor of Thessaly in 1321; then Grand Domestic or commander in chief of the army (II.1325-1340), Regent of Byzantium (14.6.1341-8.2.1347), Emperor for nearly eight years (2.2.1347-10.12.1354) – crowned in the Church of the Virgin, Blachernai 21.5.1347. He abdicated the throne at the Blachernai Palace 10.2.1354 and adopted the habit of a monk, under the name of Joasaph. Although domiciled in a monastery, Ioannes continued to remain politically active. 1321-25: NW Asia Minor: The Ottoman army under the command of the heir, Orhan Ghazi, aged about 37 in 1321, captures many towns and forts. For the first time they extend their rule to parts of the coast, taking Mudanya and Gemlik, both port-villages on the Marmara, north of Byzantine Bursa (in “1321”; Nicolle 2008: 37 places this after 1326); Akyazi east of the lower Sangarios and Ayankoy (both 1323); Karamursel on the southern coast of the Gulf of Nicomedia and Karacabey between the lakes west of Bursa (1324); and Orhaneli, south-west of Bursa (“1325”: in 1317 according to Nicolle 2008: 37). This effectively isolated Byzantine Bursa. Cf 1323: Yenisehir. —Source: ‘Dawn of the Ottoman Empire’, online at http://www.osmanli700.gen.tr/english/sultans/01estaplishment.html; accessed 2010. 1322: 1. Thrace: Taking advantage of the Byzantine civil war, the troops of George Terter II of Bulgaria invaded Byzantine Thrace and, encountering little, if any, resistance, conquered the major town of Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and part of the surrounding area in 1322 or 1323. A ‘large army’ [sic!] of 3,000 men - “1,000 picked cavalry of Alans and Bulgarians and twice as many foot shield-bearers” was stationed at Plovdiv to hold the town (large for this period: Kantakuzenos, quoted in LBA p.295). A Bulgarian garrison was installed under the command of a general named ‘Ivan the Russian’, while a court scribe praised George Terter II as a "possessor of the Bulgarian and the Greek [Romaike] sceptre". The defence of Philippopolis against the Greek-Romanics was led by Itiles or Itil and Temeres or Timur, Alan soldiers in service of Bulgarian Tsar George II Terter. A new campaign during the same year brought the subjugation of several fortresses around Adrianople, but the Bulgarians were now turned back and defeated by Andronikos III. See next. Then 2. Byzantine reconquest of Philippopolis and other Thracian towns: from Mesembria to Stilvno, inland from Varna. There must have been much more posturing than actual fighting: Kantakuzenus says that in the siege of Philippopolis just three [sic!] soldiers were killed on the Byzantine side, although “many” were wounded; while nil Bulgarians died despite “many” being wounded (!) (LBA p.268). The Romance-speaking ‘Rumanians’ of Wallachia are mentioned by Cantacuzenus under the name of Ungro-Vlachs, fighting on the Bulgarian side, in the battle waged by Mikhail III Shishman (1323-1330) against the Byzantines, 162
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 who were besieging the town of Philippopolis. 3. Civil war: The younger Andronicus besieged the town of Apros – inland, west of the Sea of Marmara - which was loyal to the older Andronicus. The garrison of the town comprised 100 soldiers (cavalry, archers and slingers) and a larger number of armed civilians. The older Andronicus sent reinforcements from Constantinople consisting of 220 cavalry, 200 archers and 30 crossbowmen. Thus the defenders numbered some 750 (Turnbull 2004: 35). 4. Crimea: Khan Ozbeg [Uzbeg] attacks the Genoese slaver entrepot of Kaffa [Feodosiya], sacks Sudak, and allows (1332) the Venetians back to Tana on the Sea of Azov. The Golden Horde Kipchaks sacked Sudak under Khan Ozbeg in 1322 as a result of a clash between Christians and Muslims in the city. The Genoese merchants in the other towns were not molested in 1322. The Pope intervened and asked Ozbeg to restore the Latin Catholic churches that were destroyed. Ozbeg was friendly towards the Pope and exchanged letters and gifts. Khan Ozbeg signed a new trade treaty with the Genoese in 1339 and allowed them to rebuild the walls of Kaffa. In 1332 he had allowed the Venetians to establish a colony at Tana on the Don. 1322-27: The two Andronikoi make peace in 1322; this lasts until 1327. c. 1323: Asia: Osman’s Turks found Yenihisar or Yenisehir (“new fort, new town”), south of Byzantine Nicaea on the road from Bursa to Nicaea. He moved his capital there. As the crow flies, less than 20 km separates Yenisehir from Nicaea, which from 1324 the Turks will blockade by land. The empire was not yet quite so impotent that no attempt could be made to attack Yenisehir. Cf next: expedition to Philadelphia, 1324, and attempt to relieve Bursa, 1325. 1324: 1. Byzantine science: For 10 centuries after Ptolemy we can distinguish only one European astronomer. namely Nicephoros Gregoras, 1295-1360. His teacher was Theodoros Metochites, one of the most significant scholars of Byzantium. The literary work of Gregoras is especially important, while Byzantine astronomy owes indisputable progress to him. Gregoras was the first to propose, in 1324, a correction to the calculation of the date of Easter, and to the Julian calendar similar to that adopted later, in 1582, by Pope Gregory XIII. — Theodossiou, et al., 2006. See below under 1330: solar eclipse. 2. The Balkans: The ‘Mongols’ (Kipchaks) of the Golden Horde raid into both Bulgaria and Byzantine Europe. Andronicus III could not quickly assemble an 163
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 adequate force to counter them because it was the ‘off-season’; his troops had returned to their respective towns (LBA p.236). Allegedly “12” tumens (sic: 120,000 men!) under the command of Taitakh and Toghlu invaded Thrace. A more likely figure would be 12,000. They pillaged the country for 40 days and encountered small-scale, sporadic resistance from the troops of Andronicus III. Kantakuzenus discounts the rumour that the older Andronicus (II) called in the Mongols to punish the Thracian population for having supported his grandson (Lippard p.211). Cf 1328. 3. SW Asia Minor: Andronikos II recalled the blind old general Alexios Philanthropenos from retirement and sent him to Asia. He led no army, but such was his reputation that the local Greek-Romanic militia managed to force back the Turks who were besieging Philadelphia, today’s Alasehir in central-western Asia Minor, the last 'Greek' outpost south of Bithynia, an island in a Turkishruled sea (LBA p.88, citing Akropolites). Cf 1325. 4. W Greece: The Angevins of Naples annex Greco-Italian Cephalonia, modern Kefallinia/Kephallenia, and attach it to the rule of Achaia/Akhaia.
Prosperity and Life Expectancy before 1347 (i.) The Morea The island-fortress of Monemvasia developed into one of the most dynamic and wealthy ‘cities’ of Byzantium. Its difference from the other towns is best depicted by a list of 1324, containing the contributions of the metropolitan sees of the empire for the support of the patriarchate of Constantinople. The contributions, 3,108 hyperpera, were defined in proportion to the financial means of each see. The smallest amount is 16 hyperpera, offered by one see, and the largest is 800, offered by the ‘metropolis’ (metropolitan church) of Monemvasia, four times the contribution of Thessalonike and more than one-fourth of the total. Kalligas suggests that about 7,000 people, perhaps even 10,000, occupied the islandtown. The island is tiny, so the houses must have been very densely clustered or else the figure includes suburbs on the mainland. —Kalligas, ‘Monemvasia’, in Laiou ed., 2002. - See further 1330-34. Cf Morrisson and Cheynet: “The increase in the number of craftsmen in the countryside under the Palaiologoi constitutes a phenomenon familiar to economists as an indicator of growth. … in general terms, during the Byzantine period as a whole, or at least until the situation was reversed by the crisis in the 1350s [i.e. the Black Death followed by civil war and then the entry of the Turks into Europe], there occurred a relative rise in the living standards of the middle and lower social categories, excluding marginals.” — Morrisson and Cheynet 2002.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (ii.) Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy Gregory Clark, 2007: 95-95, presents some useful estimates for the ancient and late medieval periods. But all they show is that at every period and in every place in the pre-industrial world, including Byzantium, the broad picture was the same: death at a young age was more common and life was shorter than in our world. The Byzantine figures are presented last below. Where data allows it to be calculated, we find that life expectancy at birth was lowest in the towns of sub-tropical Antique Roman Egypt (data from before AD 250) and filthy Enlightenment-era London (late 1700s). Fully 30% of infants died in London at that time. Infant mortality, of course, and adult mortality too, were always higher in the cities, particularly because of infectious diseases. Cf Bousas: “Provincial Byzantine cities were usually small in area and densely populated, with all that that implied for the hygiene and comfort of the inhabitants”. —‘Aspects of the Byzantine City’, in Laiou ed., 2002: 507. Early modern England overall (1550-1799) had the highest figures for life expectancy at birth, indicating that rural England was the ‘least bad’ place to live as a child. Infant mortality was “only” 17% in the later 1770s. - For adult survival, clean rural Japan in the later 1700s and certain less urbanised Chinese provinces in the early 1800s were best. We will now look at ancient Rome, England in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy, before coming to Byzantium. (a) Ancient Roman Empire, 2nd and 3rd centuries AD For Antiquity, only Roman Egypt has yielded data – in papyri manuscripts and inscriptions - sufficient to allow life expectancy at birth to be estimated. Rural Egypt (28 years), was from this point of view a safer and healthier place to live than urban Egypt (24 years). The same data show that 55% of rural Egyptians made it to age 15, as against 52% in the cities. No surprise here. Anecdotally, of course, we know that cities were always unhealthy compared to the country, at least until the later 19th century. And both figures are entirely typical of the preindustrial era: a similar level of mortality was experienced in the clean and peaceful Japan of the later 1700s (rural areas: only 52% surviving to age 15). If you did make it to 15 in Roman Egypt, your life expectancy was 41 years in the country as against 37 in the towns. (Cf rural Japan, late 1700s: 57 years: adult mortality lower than in Roman Egypt.) The same measure - life expectancy at age 15 - for upper-class Italians in the Ancient Empire was 53 years, and for ex-slaves in Italy 48 years. The reasons for the differences between Egypt and Italy are not known: Egypt under the Romans was quite prosperous and entirely peaceful compared to most provinces. But the Egyptians all lived along the marshy Nile …
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 The point to be made is that, in ancient Italy, you would see plenty of people aged over 50 but very few as old as 70. (b) England before the Black Death, early 14 century AD In the early 1300s those English tenant-farmers—the rural middle or middling class—who made it to age 15 had a life expectancy of 48 years, similar to Antique Italy. After the Black Death: 52 years for tenants, similar to rich Italian-Romans in Antiquity. Clark offers no figures for life expectancy at birth, although for England somewhat later, i.e. in the early modern period (after AD 1550), estimates range from 35 to 38 years, noticeably higher than for Antique Egypt. (c) Renaissance Italy, early 15th century Clark 2007: 94 cites Herlihy’s analysis of data for the Tuscan town of Pistoia. Life expectancy at birth was 29 years, i.e. the same as rural Egypt in Antiquity. But only 44% made it to age 15, i.e. fewer than in Roman Egypt. Life expectancy at 15: 45 years, i.e. lower than in ancient Italy. It is a wild guess, but one guesses . . . malaria. (d) Medieval ‘Roman’ Empire (Byzantium), 14th century For the Greek-Romanics, Laiou 2002: 52 has posited a life expectancy at birth of 22.5 years for females and 22.295 [sic: 22.9?] years for males in about AD 1325. For those who survived their first year, life expectancy rose to 33 years, and at five years the life expectancy becomes 47.5 years. Presumably this translates to over 50 years at age 15. This estimate (he says) may, in fact, be too pessimistic. It is not possible to compare the data from the early and the late period, and thus any effort to trace differences in the life expectancy over the course of the empire must fail. The point remains clear that in both periods (before and after 1000) the life expectancy at birth was low by our standards. In the later period, life expectancy increases significantly for those who survive the first few hazardous years. Byzantine men of letters in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, very far from typical, died at the high average age of 71, which is at least as good as the figures for similar groups in the fourth century, the sixth century, and in western Europe of the late eleventh and twelfth centuries. —Laiou, citing A. Kazhdan, “Two Notes on Byzantine Demography of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,” Byzantinische Forschungen, 8 (1982): 117. (iii.) Lifespan and Stature According to L J Angel, who has studied skeletal remains, Byzantine life expectancy, or at least that in Constantinople, was superior to any before about 1800. On the other hand, his conclusions for male stature, average height being a 166
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 good correlate of diet, shows no great difference between Byzantium and the rest: Western Europe, Baroque period 172 cm [5ft 7.7in]; Byz C’ple 169.8; medieval Greece 169.3 and Antique Imperial Rome 169.2 [5ft 6.6in]. Median lifespan in years (males) based on skeletal remains: Byzantine Constantinople 46 years; Imperial Rome around 300-400 AD: 39 years; Byzantine Greece 38 years and Baroque Eastern Europe, 1500-1700, 43 years (Angel 1984). This seems to say that half of all males in the Byzantine capital died at ages older than 46; but in fact the datum would probably be life expectancy at age five. Evidently it comes from burials; dead infants would not normally be carefully buried. Thus it would seem that “46 years” is the median age at death of skeletal material that has survived in graves and in other burial sites, eg on the battlefield. 1324-29: The Ottomans invest Romaic Nicaea. Cf 1325. 1325: 1. Andronikos III, aged 28, is re-crowned co-emperor. The civil war between him and his grandfather had ended (in 1322) without serious fighting, but it had disrupted agriculture, particularly in Thrace, and had paralysed the economy. Due to the bad economic situation of the empire, Andronicos II the elder subjected its people to further ruinous taxation. By playing on their grievances, the young Andronicos III gained followers everywhere in Thrace. He promised immediate remission of taxes for all. On 2 February 1325 Andronicos III was crowned as emperor in his own right at a ceremony in St Sophia in Constantinople. It was probably now that John Cantacuzenus was promoted to the high rank and office of Grand Domestic or megas domestikos—general of the army—which he was to hold for the next 15 years. In his description of the marriage of Andronicus III Palaeologus in 1325, Cantacuzenus writes that the procession included “those having axes, called Varangians”, and eunuchs in charge of escorting the empress (vol I, 199; Bartusis p. 281). He also mentions the numerous eunuchs who surrounded the ministers of the empress regent Anna of Savoy (II, 223), and those who were present at the marriage of his own daughter Theodora Cantacuzenus to the Sultan Orkhan (II, 588). —Guilland 1943. 2. Traditional date for the Ottoman capture of: 1 Orhaneli, SSW of Bursa near Mt Olumpus [Uludag], and the fortresses of 2 Bolu = Gk Bythinion, in the NE, far to the E of Nicomedia: inland from coastal Heraclea on the Black Sea; 3 Kandıra: near the Black Sea coast to the west of the lower Sakarya River; 4 Ermenipazarı; and 5 Devehisarı (I have not located the latter two: MO’R). We must imagine, I suppose, a patchwork or sprinkling of forts, imperial and Turkish, scattered across the region – the Greeks holding a number of forts in Ottoman dominated districts and the Turks holding a number of forts on the edge of Imperial territory.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330
3. NW Asia Minor: General John Cantacuzenus / Kantakouzenos leads a vigorous offensive in Bithynia, but he fails to break through to the besieged Greek city of Bursa/Prusa (LBA p. 89). See 1326 – fall of Prousa (Bursa).
Plate Armour vs Lamellar Among élite Western knights, some plate armour was beginning to appear by 1325. Lamellar armour seems not to have been widely used in Western Europe. There the age of mail (ca 1066-ca 1250) was followed by the introduction of some auxiliary plate armour* (ca 1250-ca 1330: continuing to 1350) and an age of early full plate armour (ca 1330-ca 1410). (*) Brian Palmer’s illustration (in Dougherty 2008: 49) shows an English knight of 1350 whose main armour is still mail, worn all over, from head to finger and toe. Or rather the main hauberk extends not quite as far as the knee; this is complemented with mail leggings (chausses) up to the knee. Plates are added to (strapped over) the mail at vulnerable areas: the right arm and elbow and the legs from knee down to the toe. From the last decade of the 13th century, references in the West to the ‘coat of plates’ become more and more common, until after c. 1320 there is hardly an inventory, account, or will in which armour is mentioned that does not include an example (Claude Blair: European Armour circa 1066 to circa 1700. London: B. T. Batsford, 1958, p.40). A body-coat of metal platelets was now worn over the mail hauberk, and some plate armour was added to protect the upper arms, lower legs and feet. The cylindrical ‘great helm’ was still in use but also a close-fitting plain “bascinet” helmet. The shield is quite small and chevron-shaped, serving to protect just the arm rather than the whole body (Hopkins 1996; Palmer loc. cit.).
c.1325: 1. Mt Athos, Greece: Turkish incursions (sea-borne raids) cause those outside the fortified monasteries to flee. Gregory ‘the Sinaite’ and his disciples Isidore and Kallistos (future patriarchs) flee, as does a young Gregory Palamas, to Thessaloniki. They plan to go east to Jerusalem and Sinai, but only the Sinaite and Kallistos do so. Gregory and Isidore remain in Thessaloniki. 2. Constantinople: fl. Manuel Philes, ca. 1275-1345, Greek-Romanic poet and diplomat, author of many short occasional poems. Raised in Ephesus, he was a poet at the imperial court of Andronikos II and Andronikos III Palaiologos. He was a pupil of George Pachymeres and wrote poems of various kinds - didactic, panegyric, epitaphs, historic and others - which reflect his close relationship to the imperial family, the aristocracy (the 168
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Melissenoi, among others) and the patriarch. 3. Painting (icon) of the Archangel Michael, with massive wings: described by Rice, Art p.244, as "one of the most exquisite works of the Palaeologue age that has survived". Now in Pisa: Museo Civico. 4. Aragonese-ruled Sicily: Northeastern Sicily, and particularly the religious communities nestled in its wooded Nebrodi and Peloritan mountains, remained distinctly "Byzantine" into the 14th century, even while the rest of Sicily's Christians gradually embraced the "Latin" authority of Rome (the Vatican). Authors often refer to these monastic and parochial communities as "Basilian," which is to say "Orthodox". Their religious and artistic heritage was, and is, distinctly Greek. “Orthodox monasteries in places like San Marco d'Alunzio (which has a small but interesting museum of medieval Byzantine art) and Alcara Li Fusi* were somewhat remote, isolated even by Sicilian standards, reached by winding mountain trails. But there was also a political reason. For several decades during the fourteenth century, though Sicily was nominally ruled from afar [i.e. by Aragon], a period of feudal chaos at home, resulting in effective localized control by several prominent noble families (the Chiaramonte clan comes to mind), meant that abbots were relatively free from the direct influence of Rome.” — Antonella Gallo, ‘Byzantine Northeastern Sicily’, at http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art95.htm; accessed 2010. (*) Both located inland from the NE coast, about halfway between Cefalù and Milazzo. After 1325: Spread of rudimentary, and very unreliable, firearms in Western Europe. But sword, lance and bow will remain the dominant weapons for several centuries. 1325-29: W Aegean: Recounting the year 1325, the Venetian traveller and writer Marino Sanudo mentions “the raids by the Turks on the island of Negroponte [Euboea, modern Evvia, under Venetian rule]”, whence they deport the population as captives. In 1329 he reports that they “repeatedly raided the said island and the mainland of [Latin-ruled] Athens, destroying everything outside the fortified places and reducing the populace into slavery. Nicola Sanudo, the duke of Naxos and Andros, alone lost 15,000 people on his dominions, through death, abduction, and flight” (quoted by Friedrich Kunstmann (1855) Studien über Marino Sanudo den Älteren: mit einem Anhange seiner ungedruckten Briefe, at med-slavery.uni-trier.de:9080/.../bookreference.200611-17.9863511531. One imagines the two islands were effectively depopulated. Cf 1344. 1326: 169
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Asia Minor, 6 April 1326: Finally starved into capitulation, the city of Prousa (Tk: Bursa) surrenders to Osman's son and successor, Orkhan or Orhan. Osman dies immediately afterwards, and Orhan makes it his capital (Norwich, Decline p.278). Cf 1329. The Ottomans now ruled from Mt Olympus and Bursa NE to the environs of Nicaea (still in Byzantine hands) and thence NE to the lower-middle Sakarya River east of Nicomedia. They had access to the coast only at a couple of points (map in Nicolle 2008: 37). Cf Mudanya and Gemlik: above, 1321-25. Hopwood: “The emirate truly develops when a town with a fort is taken. This can be seen for the Ottomans with Yenisehir and then Bursa, for the Germiyanoglu with Kütahya, and for the Aydinoglu with Ephesos/Selçuk. . . . The urban centre, together with the skills of the refugees from the Mongols, formed the basis for the emirates” (“Frontiers” p.159). 2. Thrace: Andronicos II had employed Turkish mercenaries to fight his battles in Thrace, hoping that they could be relied upon to return in Asia Minor when they had earned their pay. But some stayed as brigands. In 1326, the pretender’s new grand domestic (army commander), John Cantacuzenus, was set upon by some of them, unhorsed and wounded in the foot while on his way to Didymoteicho (south of Adrianople/Edirne). 3. Andronicus, the future emperor A. III, marries Joanna or Anna of Savoy (13061359/60). One of the larger Franco-Italian lordships, the County of Savoy [Italian Savoia] extended from our SE France, near Lyon, to our NW Italy: near Turin. Once Were Warriors In 1326 Theodore Palaiologos, Marquis of Montferrat, a younger son of Andronikos II, wrote a treatise on military affairs. He writes of the Byzantines as a people “not at all accustomed to arms or the things necessary for war”, and of fortresses “small ... and badly equipped for defence” (quoted in Bartusis, LBA pp.10, 89). Presumably the contrast was with northern Italy, where he spent most of his life. Even if exaggerated, for Theodore was bitter at his father’s neglect of him, this shows the parlous position of the empire. Cf below (after 1328): Bartusis’s poor opinion of the pronoiars. 1326-62: Emir Orkhan (Orhan) rules in Bursa as the first leader of the “Ottomans” or Osmanli, so-called after his father. By 1337 he will take NW Asia Minor from the Byzantines. See 1331 etc. The first Ottoman silver coins (akche) are minted in Bursa in 1327. This 170
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 suggests that Orhan made it his capital almost immediately. —Freely 2008: 114. 1327: Latin studies in Byzantium: Maximus Planudes, the theologian, grammarian and rhetorician, lived in the early part of the 14th century; in 1327 he was appointed ambassador to the Venetian Republic by Andronicus II. Among his works were translations into Greek of Augustine's De Civitate Dei [‘City of God’] and Caesar's De Bello Gallico [‘Gallic War’]. 1327-28: Civil war breaks out again between the two Andronikoi. The Serbs declared for the younger Andronicus, the Bulgarians for the elder. See 1328: Thessalonica. We must not imagine that the fighting was very desperate. On the contrary, there was much posturing and many insignificant skirmishes. For example, at the battle of Mauropotamus on the Asian side of Constantinople in 1328, the number dead, counting both sides’ casualties, was . . . just 10 men (Gregoras I: 415, cited in LBA p.268; similarly tiny figures occur throughout Cantacuzenus’s memoirs). Defeat in Asia, 1327/28-1330: Bithynia: A large-scale Ottoman campaign in 1327/28 reached the outskirts of Üsküdar (Scutari) on the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople and captured several towns (Nicolle 2008: 37). The Greek-Romanics were defeated at Pelekanon: modern Pendik the following year [see under 1329] and at Tavsanclı (Philokrene, NE of modern Gebze: nearer Nicomedia) in 1330. Meanwhile, the Ottomans took control of the southern shore of the Gulf of Izmit/Nicomedia, leaving the major Byzantine city of Nicomedia virtually cut off, especially as Byzantine naval power was fading fast. 1328: 1. Asia Minor: The Greek towns still remaining in the Cyzicus district were again harassed by the Karassians [Turks of the Karesi beylik], and when the emperor made a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Artaki, he took the opportunity of interviewing the emir of Karasi at Pegae [Biga: SW of Cyzicus]; the latter received him with all courtesy and promised to desist (Hasluck 1910: 203). 2. Thrace: The Bulgarian tsar Michael Shishman led a force of about 3,000 cavalry - Bulgarians and ‘Mongols’ or better: Kipchaks from the Khanate of the Golden Horde - into Thrace, ostensibly to aid Andronicus II, but in reality to plunder. He penetrated as far as the very walls of Constantinople, before deciding to return home (Lippard p. 211; LBA p.91). Cf 1330. Michael Asen III of Bulgaria sent a detachment to ostensibly help Andronikos II, but intended to actually capture the emperor. Forewarned by his grandson, Andronikos II prudently kept the Bulgarian force of 3,000 cavalry away from the capital and his person.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 3. The Capital surrenders (24 May 1328) to the younger Andronicus. The dispirited citizens of Constantinople, tired of the fighting and (because of naval warfare between the Venetians and Genoese) short of food, let him and 800 troops of his general Cantacuzenus into the city (Powell 2001); the older Andronicus is deposed and becomes a monk. Cantacuzenus, aged about 33, declines an offer to be made co-emperor, but agrees to continue in the post of Grand Domestic or commander in chief. 4. ‘Thomas Magister’ (Theodulos Monachus), fl. 1328: ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) monk, scholar and man of letters. An associate of Metochites. Lexicographer and literary commentator. 5. Anatolia: In 1328 the Qaramanid Turkmens [mentioned above in the campaign of the Catalans: 1304] took Konya, and in 1335 Mongol power will collapse, clearing the way for the political fragmentation of the beylik (principality, marcher lordships) period in Anatolia. Moscow replaces Vladimir as the seat of the Metropolitan See in what is now Russia. -The Ukrainian steppe at this time was controlled by the ‘Khanate of the Golden Horde’ or Kipchak Empire; and what is nowadays north-west Russia-in-Europe was divided between several Russian principalities including Riazan. Provence: The Franciscan philosopher, English-born William of Occam, was imprisoned in Avignon on charges of heresy; he escaped to Munich where he died (1349). Often called "the last of the scholastics".
Territory in 1328 From map in LBA; also Times Atlas 1994: 92 and Nicolle 2008: 37 and 53. Byzantium still held substantial lands in Europe but it was nearly defunct in Asia. Large parts of Albania and northern Epiros [since 1318], all of Macedonia and Thrace still acknowledged the Greek emperor; and also about a third of the Morea (Peloponnesus). The Bulgarian-Byzantine border ran through the southern half of today’s Bulgaria. In Asia, however, Byzantium controlled only the Optimaton province and parts of Bithynia in the far NW, in other words the narrow littoral of the Sea of Marmara. See 1329 below – last offensive. The beyliks bordering Byzantium in Asia were: the Ottomans, Karasi and Germiyan. The Emirate of Karasi held parts of the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, as did the Ottomans (Bursa had been captured in 1326), but most of the littoral was still Byzantine. The Ottomans were pressing hard upon Byzantine Lopadion (Ulubad), Nicaea and Nicomedia. — In the farther SW of Asia Minor, there were three further beyliks: Sarukhan, 172
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 ruling from Manisa (old Magnesia: inland NE of Smyrna); Aydin: HQ at Birgi: inland SE of the Byzantine enclave at Smyrna, and Menteshe at Milas (old Mylas, further south near modern Bodrum). — Importantly, the sea routes were controlled by the Italian powers, Venice and Genoa. Venice ruled Crete and the S. Aegean Islands, while Genoa held Chios and dominated the routes in the eastern Aegean that ran from the Ionian or Asian coast into the Black Sea. The Palaiologan Army in about 1330 After Bartusis, Late Byantine Army [LBA], 1992. Size After 1204 it was unusual for a Byzantine army to number more than a few thousand men. Bartusis, LBA p.266, calculates that the state budget in the 1320s was large enough to hire at most about 1,700 full-time professionals or ‘mercenaries’. But there were in addition pronoiars and small-holder troops who were largely self-financing. Thus the men who could be called soldiers numbered over 3,000. The largest imperial field army mentioned in Kantakuzenus’s works [fl. 1345] numbered 5,000 men; the largest in Gregoras [fl. 1340] was 3,000 men (LBA p.260 ff). This covered all the campaign troops supported by the empire whether by salary or other means: small-holder troops, pronoiars and imperial ‘mercenaries’ of differing ethnicities. In addition, there were often ‘allied’ foreign troops deployed at no cost to emperor (or rather: no cash cost). They fought for booty. The median figure for Turks in several campaigns was 6-8,000 men, and the median for other allies 2-3,000. This on rare occasions an expeditionary force could exceed 10,000 men. Interestingly, in 1332, according to Ibn Battuta, who was a careful observer, fully “5,000” Byzantine cavalry or horsemen, all in armour, rode out to meet the Byzantine wife of the ‘Golden Horde’ khan (see below under 1332). One must assume that this included not only regular soldiers but also garrison troops and probably some civilians riding with them. Alternatively we should strike off a zero and read this as 500. Adding together imperial and (unpaid) allied troops, an expeditionary army of some 5,000 men was possible, and one as large as 10,000 men was exceptional but not unknown. Such are the figures when time allowed for a full muster of the army and allies. But when an emergency called for a scratch army, the force deployed must have numbered only in the hundreds!! (LBA p.269). Garrisons guarding major towns and fortresses tended to number around 2300 men per site, but figures as low as 30 men are reported. These troops were lower status amateur soldiers who did not go on campaigns (LBA pp.296, 299). Cf 1342. 173
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Small-holders, pronoiars and mercenaries To simplify, there were three categories of imperial troops who went on campaign: (1) Small-holder soldiers, mainly infantry, numbering as many as 2,500 in a very large army of 5,000. (2) The pronoiars, never numbering more than “several hundred”, who were seen as the ‘ideal’ soldiers, being in theory well-equipped and well-trained native ‘Greek’ cavalry. Finally (3) salaried troops, so-called ‘mercenaries’, mostly foreigners or foreign-born, who were the actual elite, and numbered up to 2,000 (LBA p.267). 1. Small-holder infantrymen This term applied to land-owners who were semi-professional unsalaried farmersoldiers. Or better: soldier-landlords, as they may not personally have done the farming. Many were native Greek-Romanics, but others were foreigners granted land in return for military service, e.g. the Cuman horse-archers transplanted to Asia Minor in 1241-42. Effectively all of the infantry (foot archers) would have been small-holder soldiers. Some were spearmen. Foot archers are referred to as ‘light’ infantry, but in one illustration in LBA we see them wearing both helmets and body armour and carrying large, flat, boxstyle quivers. Bow-cases are also shown in illustrations. Parani 2003: 142 notes that both flap-closed box-quivers (arrow tips upwards) and open types (feathers upwards) are seen in late Byzantine art, the former being more common. 2. Pronoiar cavalry These were the Byzantine professional cavalry armed with lance and sword. As pictured in Nicolle’s Eastern Europe 1988, a Byzantine pronoiar cavalryman wore a metal helmet in the form of a low dish-shaped brimmed war-hat; a shortsleeved mail hauberk extending from head (mail hood) to the knees; high boots; and he carried a medium-small convex triangular shield. The pronoiars were relatively high status town-dwellers who drew their income from a ‘pronoia’ (grant) of rural land-taxes. Most but not all were ethnically Greek; some would be Latins. They did not own the farms but rather were the payees of the peasant-farmers’ taxes. A grant of a pronoia was a grant of revenue, not a land grant. Instead of paying taxes to the central treasury, a nominated set of peasants paid money direct to the pronoiar. Thus Kantakuzenos writes of those soldiers “having incomes from villages” (quoted in LBA p. 163). Not only were they few in number, the pronoiars as a group seem to have been not very capable, often functioning just to bolster the elite mercenary units. Bartusis, LBA p.344, points outs unkindly that there was no occasion when they ever played a decisive role in battle. 174
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3. Foreign professionals As Bartusis uses it, ‘mercenaries’ simply means salaried full-time soldiers who are not Greeks. It is an unhappy term: cf the Gurkhas in the 20th C British army: salaried foreigners, but an elite and totally loyal. In the literature the elite imperial troops are called ‘mercenaries’ because nearly all were foreigners or at least of foreign descent: Alans, Cumans, Turks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Italians, Germans, French, Catalans, English and other Latins. Typically they were either Western ‘men at arms’ (heavy lancers) or Eastern horse-archers. The Varangian Guard of course were ethnic English guardsinfantry. - Ibn Battuta in 1332 reports that some horses in the Byzantine army wore horse-armour of mail. A notional field army might be composed as follows: 600: foreign knights, e.g. Germans (lancers). 1,000: horse-archers, e.g. Turks, Alans and/or Cumans. 400: Byzantine pronoiar cavalry (lancers). 1,250: Byzantine infantry, mostly archers. Also from 1329 [see there] a few Italian infantrymen, probably crossbowmen, served Byzantium. The Varangians in this period did not normally go on campaign, and not at all after 1329. -----Total: 3,250 Cavalry armour The following details refer to cavalry. As noted, the Varangians, who were armoured infantry, had ceased during the 1200s to be a field regiment (their appearance on campaign in 1329 is exceptional). The only remaining infantry serving on campaign were unarmoured light infantrymen, mainly archers. If they wore armour, it was quilt not metal. Head: The typical, perhaps even standard, cavalry helmet was the “war hat” or chapel de fer, a relatively tall, brimmed conical helmet. As noted above, some brimmed war-hats were low and dish-shaped. But conical helmets without brims are also shown in contemporary illustrations (LBA p.325; Heath 1995). Neck armour, aventails: Both plate and mail neck-guards were worn. Sometimes they were rigid or semi-rigid lamellar structures of metal or leather. But mail hoods were also in use. Body: Probably mail was the most common type of armour used by cavalry. There were short and long types, some sleeveless, some with sleeves, some with attached hoods, some without. Sometimes lamellar cuirasses (made of platelets of 175
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 metal or hardened leather) were worn over, or instead of, mail hauberks. Over this again, on top, was worn a quilted or padded cloth surcoat. In the fighting against Epirus in 1257, on one occasion the emperor’s uncle Michael Lascaris is said to have worn a corselet instead of a full breastplate “so that he could flee the more readily when caught in a hard plight” (Setton 1976: 75, citing Acropolites). This may imply that the better class of Byzantine cavalrymen ordinarily wore some plate armour*, but of a kind that did not cover the whole body. (*) Keen 1999: 191, 199 notes that Latin knights began using horse-armour (“barding”) from the middle 1200s: mostly in the form of hardened leather, with metal plates at first confined to the horse’s head and chest. The knight’s own armour remained mainly mail, although some iron-plate armour is seen from the mid 1200s, worn to protect the elbows, knees and shins. Full plate armour for man and horse did not appear until the mid-to-late 1300s. A good illustration of lamellar armour can be found in the monastery of the Forty Martyrs near Sparta. The wall paintings of the cave church are dated by one inscription to 1304/5. St Demetrios sits astride a white horse with his spear held across his chest. The saddle has a raised cantle and pommel, features also found on the Sinai portraits, ca. 1275, of Sergios and the images of St George at Nauplion and St John Chrysostom, Geraki. In Demetrios’ portrait, the saint wears a sleeveless waist-length lamellar corselet and a long surcoat over ornately patterned leggings. The upper arm protection is pteruges (wide strips) evidently of leather. His boots extend up to mid-calf. —Sharon E. J. Gerstel, ‘Art and Identity in the Medieval Morea’, http://www.doaks.org/LACR.html. Shields: The late Byzantine shield was the so-called ‘kite-shaped’ type, actually an elongated triangular shape and slightly curved: very slightly convex. It was medium to large in size: three to five feet (90-150 cm) high and quite narrow: about 45 cm or 18 inches wide at the top (LBA p.326; Heath 1995: 44). Cavalry horse armour: There is some evidence that on occasion horses wore mail or metal lamellar barding. Presumably this was rare, barding being used only by nobles and perhaps the most elite cavalry (LBA p.324). As we have said, Ibn Battuta in 1322 (see there) reports that in the Byzantine army many horses wore horse-armour of mail. Although the occasion was ceremonial, it can be believed that such armour was also worn in battle. Weapons Swords: The typical sword was straight and of medium length: perhaps up to 90 cm long, to judge from depictions in art. Some straight swords had a slightly curved tip and there were also curved sabres. Maces – are mentioned in texts and seen in illustrations. One illustration, in LBA 176
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 p. 326, suggests that maces could be quite long, perhaps 60 cm. —In a battle fought in 1211, emperor Theodore I Lascaris personally slew the sultan KayKhusraw with a mace. Spear: Spears or lances were the main weapon of the cavalry. Illustrations in art may be unreliable, but it would appear, see e.g. illustration in frontispiece of LBA, that the late Byzantine cavalry lance was shorter than the 12 ft or 3.5 metre kontarion (long pike) of earlier times. Heath 1995: 43 says the infantry spear was about 8 ft or 2.4 m long. The couched charge was used, having been adopted from the West in the Comnenian period. Bow: The Byzantines used the Eastern-style composite recurve bow. Amazingly (in view of earlier history), the bow was little used by the late Byzantine cavalry (pronoiars). Bartusis says that native Byzantine cavalry used the sword and lance “almost exclusively”. But this may be doubted. First, several of the contemporary illustrations in his book show military saints in the guise of well equipped armoured soldiers who can only be cavalrymen, and they definitely carry bows, bow-cases and quivers as well as swords and lances (LBA p.330). Second, hunting with the bow was a favourite sport of the Byzantine aristocracy; and Manuel Philes, aged about 25 in 1300, even wrote a poem about the emperor’s ornamental quiver (Parani 2003: 142). Third, Ibn Battuta mentioned cavalry carrying both bows and lances in 1332 (see there). Finally, as Heath remarks, 1995: 24, Byzantine archers were frequently brigaded alongside Cuman mercenaries and Turkish auxiliaries on the battlefield, and this probably indicates that some Greek-Romanic archers were horse-archers or multiweaponed horse-lancer-bowmen. But, however that may be, certainly the composite recurve bow remained an important weapon by virtue of its use by allied or mercenary horse-archers and the Byzantine infantry. One has to guess, but perhaps as many as 40% of an army carried bows. Cross-bows: The Latins made wide use of the cross-bow, but it was not much used by the Byzantines, except in the case of town garrisons. (This makes sense: accuracy is not important in the effect of an arrow-storm during a battle in the field, and the plain bow can be fired more quickly; the only real advantage of the crossbow is that untrained soldiers can learn to use it more quickly, whereas the plain bow demnds expertise and long years of practice.) Firearms – have not yet appeared. The first reference to guns (cannons) in the Balkans comes in 1378 [cf 1389: said to have been used by both sides at Kossovo]; but firearms would not decide field battles until the 1500s. The Genoese of Galata were using primitive bombards from 1392. The first siege in which the Ottomans used cannon was the 1422 siege of Constantinople (LBA p.337).
7. PRELUDE TO THE FALL: the 1300s 177
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At this time the major cities of the greater Mediterranean world, with over 50,000 people, were (from east to west): Tabriz in the Mongolo-Persian Ilkhanate; Mameluke Cairo; Byzantine New Rome or Constantinople; Venice; Florence; Milan (nominally part of the German empire); Genoa; Paris; and the French-ruled woollen cloth-making city of Ghent in Flanders (thus McEvedy, New Atlas 1992). It will be noticed that of the 10, only two are Muslim. Mamluk Cairo, with probably 300,000 people in 1315, was possibly the world's largest city; it was overtaken by Hangzhou/Hangzhou, China, when the Black Death hit the cities of western Eurasia in 1348: Hangchow would reach ‘432,000’ in 1350. Then Nanking/Nanjing, China, by 1358: ‘487,000’ people (AD 1400). According to Matschke 2002, the population of Constantinople may still have exceeded 100,000 during the early Palaiologan period, though shortly before the city fell to the Turks (in 1453) the number was barely half that. Runciman 1965: 9 agrees; he offers “100,000 and . . . still shrinking” in the year 1400. Old Rome, with perhaps 35,000 people, had now recovered to second-rank status. * * * The resurgent Turks overcame the remaining imperial territories in Asia Minor. Under Orhan, the Ottomans took Bursa in 1326, Nicaea (Iznik) in 1331, and Nicomedia (Izmit) in 1337. Some years later they will cross into Thrace and eastern Macedonia (from Gallipoli, 1352-54). Ottoman architecture, which had its origins in Iznik, showed a development which reached a monumental scale in the early Ottoman capital Bursa. The mosque constructed for Osman Gazi’s son, Alaeddin Bey, in 1326, and the Orhan Bey Mosque, constructed in 1339, have both been restored several times over the years.
1328-41: ANDRONIKOS III Palaiologos Andronicus III Palaeologus, aged 32 at acc.: grandson of Andronicus II, who he deposed after a series of civil wars. 1st wife: Adelaide [Adelheid] von Brunschweig [Brunswick], renamed Irene, d. 1324. 2nd wife: marr. 1326: Joanna/Giovanna/Anna of Savoy. His youngest sister was married to successive tsars of Bulgaria. His chief minister and general was John Cantacuzene, later Emperor John VI. During this reign the Ottoman Turks gained almost complete control of NW Asia Minor, while Stephen (Stefan) Dushan of Serbia conquered large parts of Macedonia and Albania.
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 1328: At age 70 Andronicus II abdicated (i.e., was deposed) and retired to a monastery; his grandson assumed the throne as Andronicus III. The Venetian and Genoese traders of Constantinople were at this time engaged in a naval war being fought around the city. A Venetian fleet of 40 ships was blockading the Genoese colony of Galata (Pera) and the mouth of the Golden Horn. This meant that Genoese food ships carrying grain and fish from the Black Sea could not get through to the harbour and the Byzantine population was short of food. “During the campaign of the Venetians against the Genovese [sic: Genoese] in 1328, a number of Genovese and Byzantine merchant ships were taken as hostage to secure a ransom. Upon release of these ships, the urban population [of Constantinople] was relieved to see that their cargoes of grain and salted fish originating from the shores of the Sea of Azov and the deltas of the Don and Kuban rivers had survived intact. At a time when the wheat-growing fields of Thrace and Macedonia were destroyed by incessant hostilities and warfare, the helpless capital had turned more than ever to these supply zones on the northern littoral of the Black Sea. However, the era of 1325-28 marked also the disintegration of the Byzantine monopoly over the Black Sea grain trade as well as the control of Constantinople over the grain exports to the West. The Genovese had the upper hand in the trade of the Black Sea grain.” —Eyüp Özveren, at www.eh.net/xiiicongress/cd/papers/6%d6zveren48. Evidently what is meant, however, is that the proportion of Genoese ships increased relative to Greek-Romanic. The Genoese had been bringing grain to Constantinople from the Black Sea littoral for many decades. Matschke has underlined that “native (Byzantine) ships with native merchants and a variety of native products are attested between Thessalonike and Constantinople and between various Black Sea ports, independent of the Italians and with no connections to them. Their presence reveals that one cannot speak of a true monopoly of Genoese and Venetians on either side of the straits” (in Laiou 2002: 790).
Western Eurasia in 1328 (Times Atlas 1994: 93, and map in Nicolle 2008: 53). In the Muslim East the leading powers were the Mamelukes of Egypt ruling as far north as Syria; the Ilkhans of Persia who dominated as far as eastern Anatolia (Rum); and the Golden Horde or Kipchak Empire, ruling east of Hungary. Among the Christian powers, the strongest on paper look to be: Castile, now controlling the European side of the Gibraltar Strait; Aragon, whose power entended to Sardinia and Sicily; France; and Hungary, which dominated Croatia and Bosnia. And although small on land, Vencie asnd Genoa are all powerful at sea. Byzantium, with the loss of nearly all its Asian lands, has fallen from among the most powerful states. Cf Ibn Battuta’s list of the strongest monarchs (below: after 1331). 179
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Turning to the Aegean region, we will begin with the sea-trade routes and the islands. Byzantium still held both sides of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. So there was no impediment—except Turkish pirates [see under 1330-34]—to Christian: Venetian and Genoese: galleys sailing to Constantinople; the Genoese also operated in the Black Sea. Cf 1329: leasing of Venetian galleys. Genoa held several trading enclaves inside the Black Sea: two on the Wallachian coast above the Danube delta; one in the Crimea; and another on the Turkish/Trebizond coast at Amastris. In the Balkans Byzantium still ruled from Albania and Epirus through Macedonia to Thrace. The empire’s longest land transect was from Albania east to the capital. The Aegean islands were broadly divided west-north-east between Venice, Byzantium and Genoa. Lesbos is Byzantine, while Chios is Genoese [see 1329]. Genoa also controls an enclave on the Turkish coast at Phocaea. Cf 1329: Smyrna. Crete is Venetian; the Venetians trade east to Rhodes and further. In Asia Minor, the interior Germiyanid state appears as the strongest of many Turkish beyliks, with the small land-locked Ottoman state perhaps in second place. (Cf evidence from Doria, Al-Umari and Ibn Battuta: below, after 1331.) Byzantium rules the whole southern littoral of the Sea of Marmara, controlling it against the Karesi and Ottomans. Cf 1329: battle of Pelekanon. The Byzantine empire still looks on the map like the strongest state in the Aegean region (setting aside Bulgaria and the Germiyan beylik), but as we will see, it is weakening in relation to the still inferior but fast-rising powers of Serbia and the Ottomans. The empire extends, as we have said, west across the Balkans to the Adriatic Sea (Albania and Epirus), and south to Thessaly. Constantinople also controls the SE third of the Peloponnesian peninsula called ‘the Morea’. Thus Byzantium has become an essentially ‘European’ realm. The Orthodox Bulgarians rule north of a notional line from Philippopolis to Burgas. The former town is Byzantine, the latter Bulgarian. Orthodox Serbia extends not much further south than Skopje. Cf 1330: Serbians defeat Bulgarians. There are still two Catholic (Latin) states in lower Greece: the Catalan Duchy of Athens and the ‘Greco-French’ (Angevin) Principality of Achaea in the Peloponnesus. Cf 1330: the Greeks take Kalavryta. To the west the other Latin powers are: Venice, the Kingdom of Naples (S Italy), and Aragonese Sicily. 1329: 1a. Planning to proceed against rebellious Chios, Emperor Andronikos III negotiated a peace agreement with the Turks of Saruhan (Manisa) in 1329. 1b. Eastern Aegean: Andronikos III effected the recovery of Phocaea and Lesbos and Chios (the two largest eastern islands) from Benedetto Zaccaria in 1329, but this did little to stem the Ottoman advance in Asia Minor. The Greek inhabitants of Chios, led by Leo Kalothetos, rebelled against Zaccaria rule in 1329. The emperor intervened, captured Martino Zaccaria and imprisoned him in Constantinople. —Nicol 1972: 176. 180
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Zaccaria had a standing army of two galleys, 100 cavalrymen and 1,000 (or “800”) infantrymen, according to the Wikipedia authors (under ‘Chios’ 2010, citing Benjamin Arbel, Bernard Hamilton and David Jacob, Latins and Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean after 1204 ). Miller 1921: 292 says Zaccaria had 800 men. The island’s revenues amounted to the surprisingly large sum of 120,000 hyperpyra (gold coins) - equivalent to more than a 1/10th of the state budget of the empire at its highest in this period (Treadgold, State p.839). Presumably the income from the alum mines of Phocaea is included here. Andronicus III declared Martino Zaccaria deposed. With a fleet of 105 [sic!] ships and boats, the Byzantines invaded Chios (Miller 1921: 292; Wikipedia, 2009, ‘Martino Zaccaria’). One imagines the large majority were small boats rather than large galleys. Martin was taken prisoner to Constantinople. And Andronicus compelled the subordinate governor of Phocea, Andreolo Cattaneo, to swear fealty to him. When the Genoese Martino Zaccaria surrendered Chios to Andronicus, the former’s 800 Italian soldiers were given the choice of leaving or “taking mercenary pay to serve the emperor”. Most chose to become mercenaries and either stayed on Chios or “numbered themselves among the servants of the emperor”, i.e. joined the imperial army (Kantakuzenos, quoted in LBA p.209). 2a. Asia: The Aydin-oglou Turks had held the upper fortress at Smyrna since 1317; in 1329 under Umur Pasha they took its lower harbour from the Genoese. – Nicol B&V p.252; also ‘Aydin-oglu’, in Encyclopedia of Islam, Leiden, Brill 1960, I:783. 2b. The N Aegean: Sailing from Smyrna and Ephesus, the fleet of the Aydin-oglou under Umur Pasha attacks Christian ships off the Dardanelles (Pryor 1988: 167). According to Lemerle, Umur’s men also attacked Chios around this time, perhaps in early 1330, after the withdrawal of Zaccaria’s Genoese from that island. As related in the later Turkish chronicle Dusturname by Enveri, the Turks “took innumerable boys, virgins and young women and gold and silver beyond reckoning” . . . “moon-faced virgins …. (and) beautiful Frankish [Italian] boys” (quoted in Paul Lemerle, L’Emirat d’Aydin, Paris 1957).
4. NW Asia Minor, 10 June: The last eastern offensive by Byzantium. At Pelecanus or Pelekanon, which is possibly modern Pendik*, on the road from Constantinople to Nicomedia, the second and last major battle is fought between the Empire and the Ottomans in Asia (cf earlier Bapheon, 1301 or 1302). Andronicus, accompanied by Cantacuzenus, makes a last valiant attempt to recover some of Asia Minor: unsuccessful attempt to force back the Ottomans who were besieging Byzantine Nicomedia and Nicaea. The emperor himself was wounded by a Turkish arrow (Bradbury 2004: 11). (*) Pryor and Nicolle say the battle was fought, after a march of more than two 181
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 days, at Pendik, 30 km from the capital, which is just NW of Gebze (Pryor 2006: 285; Nicolle 2008: 37; also Freely 2008: 114). Liakopoulos says Pelekanon is modern day Eskihisar, also near Gebze in Bithynia, on the N shore of the Sea of Marmara, more than halfway from Byzantine Nicomedia to Constantinople, specifically about 45 km from the latter (in his ‘Ottoman Conquest’, www.thesis.bilkent.edu.tr/0002131). Norwich says, which seems most unlikely, that Pelekanos is today’s Manyas, i.e. well west of Bursa.
The Battle of Pelekanon, 1329 In the battle of Pelekanon, about 8,000 Ottoman troops, or better: armed retainers, under Orkhan defeated about 4,000 Byzantine soldiers under Andronicus and the grand domestic John Cantacuzenos. There were perhaps as few as 3,000 on the imperial side of whom 2,000 were regulars (LBA p.91; Norwich 1996: 285; Freely 2008: 114). Cantacuzenos commanded the right wing. The lower totals are credible because they are fully consistent with the figures offered for the number of dead and wounded: see details below. As noted, Andronicus himself was wounded in the battle, as was Cantcuzenos (Nicol, Cantacuzene 2002: 32). In the time available, Andronicus was able to draw troops only from the capital and Thrace; the troops of Macedonia and “the rest of the west” (i.e. our Albania) did not participate (Bartusis, LBA p.236). He managed to assemble some 2,000 regulars, so we may deduce that the whole professional land forces in 1329 totalled no more than about 3,000. Adding irregulars, he may have commanded as many as 4,000 men at Pelekanon. The 2,000 regulars on the Greek-Romanic side were mainly cavalry - say 1,500 but also included the elite Varangian infantry guard, say 500 men. They were bolstered by an equal or larger number of irregulars: inferior ‘peasant’ infantry, i.e. farmers who were given a sword or spear (LBA p.214, 236, citing Gregoras). Noting that initially the imperials held their own against the Turks, we must imagine that many of these Byzantine farmer-infantrymen were archers. This (1329) is the last time we hear of the Varangians as a campaigning unit; after about 1329, or even earlier, they become or became palace guards normally serving only in the capital or escorting the emperor when he travelled. The very last reference to axe-bearing soldiers “of British race” comes in 1404 (Heath 1995: 23; Bartusis p.275). Cf 1341, 1355. The first phase of the battle went in the empire’s favour. In a battle that took up most of the day, the Byzantines beat off two Turkish attacks. If we may believe Kantakuzenus—and his modest figures are consistent with other data from this period—then the Byzantines sustained just “two” dead and a “few” wounded, as against nearly 700 (sic) dead on the Turkish side, in the opening phase of the battle. Noting the small numbers on the imperial side, we may imagine that the 182
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Turks were not always very fearsome in this era. Indeed one writer (see below under 1330) described the Ottoman horsemen as mediocre (“not good”) and the infantry as more warlike in appearance than in reality. In any event, the Byzantines thought they had won and, as evening approached, began returning to their ships. But the fighting was renewed, and in the second phase “127” Byzantines were killed. Andronicus himself was lightly wounded. The Turkish casualties in this second phase are not recorded but presumably were fewer than 127 (Kantakuzenos I: 347 ff, cited in LBA p.269; Norwich 1996: 285 gives a slightly different account). The Ottomans gave the Greek-Romanic troops no chance to retreat in an orderly fashion. Having made its way back to its ships, the dispirited imperial army was led safely back to Chrysopolis (Skoutari, Üsküdar) and then ferried to Constantinople. Lindner: “Orkhan's force consisted of nomad [horse] archers. A series of brief encounters was indecisive, but the Byzantines were able to repulse two larger Turkish attacks. It would seem as though the two armies had fought to a draw, although the Byzantines began to return to camp as victors. It was only during the undisciplined retirement of the Byzantine infantry [towards their ships on the coast] that the Turks were able to sow panic and turn an indecisive encounter into a rout. It was the aftermath of the battle, not the direct encounter itself, which furnished Orkhan with victory” (thus Lindner; also LBA p.91). It would seem that either the imperial troops were well led, or the average Turkish light cavalryman, a ‘gifted amateur’, was not yet as capable as the average professional or semi-professional soldier serving Byzantium, or both. Moreover many Turks were light infantrymen, or better: mere unarmed herdsmen with a bow and dagger. None were full-time professional troops, as were so many of their opponents. 4. Venice: The Pregadi (the Senate) decided in 1329 to auction the state galleys and offer them on lease to the highest bidder voyage by voyage, on a given route and under binding conditions. The experiment began with the trade to and from the Eastern Empire, and the success of the operation led to its being extended to the galleys bound for the other destinations. This system ensured work for the Arsenal, the largest state industry even in time of peace. —‘Veneto’ website: www.veneto.org/history/serenissima2.htm; accessed 2009. 1330: 1000th anniversary of the founding of Constantinople. c.1330: 1. fl. Demetrius Triclinius, a writer of commentaries on classical lyric and dramatic poetry. 2. Asia Minor: “In about 1330”, says Inalçik, “Al-'Umari's [d. 1349] two sources estimated that the 16 Turcoman principalities established by that time could mobilise over half-a-million cavalrymen—the figure given by Balaban the 183
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Genoese [the Genoa-born mamluk Domenico Doria]—or over a quarter-of-amillion according to Haydar al-Uryan [Shaikh Haidar].'' The latter figure yields an average of about 17,000 men. In addition, they mentioned an unspecified number of infantry. The figures (writes Inalcik) were obviously greatly exaggerated [but Balaban’s total is perhaps not incredible if it comprised all able-bodied men aged 15 to 50 . . . - MO’R]. However, if we remember that the majority of these forces consisted of Turcoman tribesmen, the figure given for each individual principality can be interpreted as the relative number of fighting tribesmen dependent upon a particular lord or ruler. It is noteworthy that the highest figures in these accounts were given for the Mentese-oghlu (100,000 in Caria) [10,000 would be more credible: MO’R], the Aydin-oghlu (70,000 in lonia), the Osman-oghlu (Ottomans - 40,000 in Bithynia) [cf below: 1331], the Karasi-oghlu (over 40,000 in Mysia), and the Sarukhan-oghlu (18,000 in Lydia) - all of whom were operating in the area captured from the Byzantines in western Anatolia between 1260 and 1330.” –Inalçik 1980. Cf Ibn Battuta’s figures in the table below, afer 1331. “The geographer al-Umari, whose sources provide information on the Ottoman domains ca. 1331, presents a … critical assessment of Orkhan's strength. According to his informants, Orkhan had 25,000 or 40,000 mediocre horse and an almost innumerable infantry, more warlike in appearance than in reality” (Lindner, emphasis added: cf Doria’s judgement below). If 8,000 of them could be held to a draw by 3 or 4,000 Byzantines (above: 1329), then certainly the quality of the Turkish forces must have been limited. Nicolle, Janissaries 1995: 7, notes that Orhan first enrolled a corps of fulltime infantry at around this time, i.e. by 1338. The Janissaries as such were formed somewhat later. — The figure of 25,000 Ottoman cavalry comes from al-Umari, ca. 1331: see the table below, after 1331. The judgment that they were “not good” is that of the Italian mamluk Domenico Doria (‘Balaban’); he says “40,000” were cavalry (Lippard 1984). — In the case of Aydin, Cantacuzenus reports that on a later occasion (in 1343) Umur came to help leading 29,000 men (or 15,000) transported by 380 (or 300) boats, some of whom may have been volunteers from other emirates as well men from the Aydin emirate (Zachariadou p.217). That is an average of 76 men per boat. Presumably all were warriors who also rowed and sailed, i.e. none were specialist oarsmen. — Doria (Balaban) says Aydin had “70,000” cavalry enrolled; but this figure probably included all troops including the poorest infantry; al-Umari more plausibly says Aydin could field “10,000” cavalry. Emergence of plate armour in Western Europe: After c. 1330 illustrations of knights armoured entirely or almost entirely in mail are rare (Claude Blair, European Armour Circa 1066 to Circa 1700. London: B. T. Batsford, 1958, p. 41). Armour was expensive and only the very rich could afford to keep up with changes in style. Almost to the end of the 14th 184
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 century, many knights made do with armour composed mainly of mail, supplemented by a few pieces of plate (David Edge and John M Paddock, Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight. Hong Kong: Crescent Books, 1998, p.93). 1330: 1. Asia Minor: Orhan defeats the Byzantines in the battle of Philokrene in the Mesothynian peninsula (entry under ‘Orkhan’ in Brill’s Encyc. Islam, 1936, ed. Houtsma, citing Cantacuzenus and Gregoras; inexplicably Nicolle 2008: 37 lists it as an Ottoman defeat). Others say this was just a sequel to the battle of Pelekanon, fought in 1329 (Heath & McBryde 1995: 8; Freely 2008: 115). The modern-day location is variously given as either Bayramoglu or Tavsanclı; both are near Gebze, about half-way between Constantinople and Nicomedia. It was now clear that Nicaea could not survive. 2. North-central Morea: The Greek-Romanics capture Kalavryta from the Franks. Kalavryta lies between Patras and Corinth. 3. Low-point in Bulgarian power: the Serbs under prince Stefan Dushan defeat and capture the Tsar Michael Shishman, who was being aided by Byzantium. The western Bulgarian domains were absorbed by Serbia which was now the rising power. Cf 1336. The Bulgarians under Michael III, although aided by 3,000 ‘Mongols’ (Kipchaks and Ossetians), were heavily defeated by the Serbs at Velbuzhd or Velbazhd, a pass near Kyustendil*, and large parts of Bulgaria came under Serbian domination. Michael's army was estimated by contemporaries to be 12,000 strong. Stefan Urosh strengthened his army by more Spanish and German mercenaries (1,000 soldiers each), who were the elite in a force that comprised a total of 18,000 troops (numbers as given by Cantacuzenus and Gregoras). If these figures may be believed, they suggest that both these states were significantly stronger than Byzantium.** As Runciman notes, 1965: 37, Bulgaria never recovered from this defeat; later in the century, following the Serbian defeat at Kosovo (1389), the rump of Bulgaria fell to the Turks. (*) Located near the present-day ‘corner-point’ of Serbia, FYROM and Bulgaria. (**) McEvedy & Jones’ guesstimate for the population of Bulgaria [present-day borders] in 1300 is around 1,000,000. The number of able-bodied men might have numbered some 150,000; so the figures are possibly credible. Stefan Decanski (Dushan) of Serbia, after defeating a Bulgarian army at Velbuzd —modern Kustendil in the far west of modern Bulgaria—expanded his dominion down the Vardar valley (past Skopje) in 1330. “The Serbian army, 15,000 strong 185
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 [sic], included 1,000 Spanish mercenaries, reflecting the increasing importance mercenaries had on warfare during the period and the value of Serbian mines to pay for them. Decanski took advantage of the victory to extend Serbian control over [part of] Bulgaria but did not attack the Empire. The Serbian nobility, as usual, were more anxious [just] to gain booty from the rich Byzantine lands”. — Thus ‘Balkan Military History’, at balkanhistory.com/medieval.htm, accessed March 2010. See 1331: raids into Byzantine Macedonia. 4. 16 July: Solar eclipse predicted (calculated) by Nikephoros Gregoras, and described in his Ekthesis psephophorias ekleipseos heliou, ed. and French trans., Calcul de l'eclipse de soleil du 16 juillet 1330, by J. Mogenet, Amsterdam: Gieben, 1983. 1330-34: Turkish power is asserted across the Aegean. Raids are made as far as Venetian Euboea and the Greek mainland. The inhabitants of Byzantine Lesbos in about 1330 and those of Byzantine Monemvasia in the Morea in 1333-34 were reduced to the status of tributaries by Umur, the future bey of the Aydin-oglu. Cf 1332 and 1333. The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta (see next) admired the few galleys that Aydin, unlike the other ‘maritime emirates’, managed to build. 1331: 1. Thrace: A ‘Mongol’ (Uzbek) raiding party clashes with the Byzantine army. The Bulgarian leader John (Ivan) Alexander, Michael Shishman’s nephew and successor, was born a ‘Tartar’ (Kipchak); he led 2,000 ‘Mongols’ and some Bulgarians into Thrace; they recaptured the Black Sea ports of Mesembria and Anchialus (Lippard p.211). A mere “102” Greeks were killed or captured (Kantakuzenos, cited in LBA p.269). This was regarded as a major defeat. So, in view of the modest size of the losses, we may guess the Byzantine force numbered not more than about 1,000. Cf 1337. 2. To their north, the Ottomans attack and annex the tiny beylik of Göynük (east of Geyve) (Nicolle 2008: 37). 3. Offered generous terms, Nicaea surrenders to the Turks. Following an Ottoman victory over the Byzantines at Philokrene, on the road from Constantinople to Nicomedia: just west of the latter, in 1330, the Ottoman Turks under Candarli Kara Halil Pasha, a military judge from Bilecek, finally enter imperial Nicaea (Tk: Iznik) on 1-2 March 1331 (Nicol 1993: 170). Those Greeks who wished could leave unmolested, taking their holy relics; the claim that most chose to stay seems unlikely (see next: Ibn Battuta). Candarli Kara Halil Pasha is supposed, but this is doubtful, to have founded the Janissary corps of professional infantrymen thereafter. 186
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Measured along a line Constantinople-Nicomedia-Nicaea, the last is 120 km (75 miles) from the first as the crow flies, about the same distance as from Sydney to Newcastle or London to Dover or Southhampton. The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta arrived in Nicaea in October 1331, seven months after its surrender. He found the city ". . . in a mouldering [decaying] condition and uninhabited except for a few men in the sultan's service." Inside the city walls there were orchards, farms and cultivated fields. By contrast, the Ottoman seat of Bursa, taken from Byzantium half a decade earlier, was a thriving city (Lippard 1984: 5). Cf 1334. Ibn Battuta: “The sultan of Bursa is Orkhan Bek [sic: bey], son of Othman Chuk. He is the greatest of the Türkmen kings and the richest in wealth, lands, and military forces, and possesses nearly 100 fortresses which he is continually visiting for inspection and putting to rights. He fights with the infidels and besieges them. It was his father who captured Bursa from the Greeks, and it is said that he besieged Yaznik [Nicaea] for about 20 years, but died before it was taken. His son Orkhan besieged it 12 years before capturing it, and it was there that I saw him.” The Roman (Rum, Byzantine) emperor had consistently figured in earlier Muslim lists of the world’s greatest rulers. Now he is finally omitted. For Battuta, the seven mightiest kings are: 1. the Marinid sultan of Morocco, Battuta’s own sovereign; 2. the Mamluk sultan of Egypt; 3. the Mongol Ilkhan in Iraq; 4. Uzbek, the Khan of the Golden Horde or Kipchak Empire in present-day Ukraine and west Central Asia; 5. the Jagatai Khan of Turkestan-east Central Asia; 6. India; and 7. China (cited in El Cheikh 2004: 213). The Latin kingdoms such as Castile and Germany are not noticed, or at least not rated. Quote: “The illustrious Sultan Muhammad Uzbeg Khan [of the Golden Horde] is the ruler of a vast kingdom and a most powerful sovereign, victor over the enemies of God, the people of Constantinople the Great, and diligent in warring against them. He is one of the seven mighty kings of the world, to wit: [first], our master the Commander of the Faithful, may God strengthen his might and magnify his victory! [i.e. the sultan of Morocco]; [second] the [Mamluk] sultan of Egypt and Syria; [third], the sultan of the Two Iraqs [Ilkhanate]; [fourth], this Sultan Uzbeg; [fifth], the sultan of Turkistan and the lands beyond the Oxus [the ‘Chagatai’ or Jagatai khanate]; [sixth], the sultan of India [Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi]; and [seventh], the sultan of China [i.e. the Yuan or Mongol emperor].” 3. Acc. Stephen (Stefan) Dushan, Serbian king: he will bring Serbia to the height of its power. See 1336. 4. Byzantine Macedonia: Serbian raids in the neighbourhood of Berrhoea [Verria: west of Thessalonica] disrupted monastic life, so Gregory Palamas returns to 187
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Mount Athos. The Ghazi Emirates in 1330-33 Ibn Battuta travelled east from Nicaea to Sinope on the Black Sea coast in 133032; later (1333) he proceeded south from Bursa as far as Ephesus. — He describes Orhan of the Ottomans, perhaps too generously, as already the “greatest of the kings of the Turkmens and the richest in wealth, lands and military, possessing nearly 100 fortresses” (cf Nicolle, Ottomans 2008: 35). As noted below, Doria (Balaban) and al-Umari more credibly place Germiyan in the first place. — He calls Balikesir (Gk Akhyaous), the principal town of the Karesi emirate, “populous”, yet it had no working mosque (only a roofless one); one can only guess that most of the town was Greek. Most of its major products, laudanum and silk, were exported to Greek Constantinople. — Bergama, also part of the Karesi beylik, was in ruins except for a large and mighty fortress on a hill. — Phocaea was held by the Genoese Zaccaria family. Turkoman Forts and Cavalry Forces According to Doria [Balaban], al-Umari and ibn Battuta; cited in Lippard 1984: 5 ff; listed from largest to smallest We assume the troop numbers are just counts of able-bodied men. These cavalry would be mostly “amateurs” , i.e. herders with useful archery skills. Largest cavalry force (Doria): Germiyan, Aydin, Menteshe. Ditto, al-Umari: Germiyan, Antalya, Karaman. Most forts (Doria): Germiyan, Aydin, Menteshe. The ranking below is based on the average of Doria and al-Umari for cavalry. Column b. = Doria (cavalry), c. = Doria (forts), d. = Al-Umari, citing Shaikh Haidar (ca. 1331)
b. Most Horsemen (Doria) 100,000 cavalry
c. Most Forts (Doria)
d. Haidar - horse
(1) Germiyan: capital at Kutahya;
40,000 cavalry Germiyan
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 according to Doria, the most powerful of the Turkmen chieftains. Ibn Battuta said Orhan of the Ottomans was ‘greatest of the kings of the Turkmens’: with almost 100 fortresses. (2) Aydin-oglu, capital at Birgi: Ibn Battuta 2nd, with 55 K: Aydin. (3) Menteshe: Ibn Battuta’s 3rd, with 36 K: Ottoman. (4) Emirate of Karasi/ Baliksehir; plus others at Bergama. Ibn Battuta’s 4th, with 30 K: Karasi. (5) Ottoman (Bursa segment only): Ibn Battuta’s 5th, with 27 K: Kastamonu. (6) Kastamonu: 40,000 and “50+” forts. + 8,000 cavalry at the subemirate of Nicaea with “30” forts. 25,000 and 40+ 50+ forts Ottomans of Bursa, ie Doria’s figure is half that of Ibn Battuta. 50+ forts: Balikesir 25,000 cavalry “Larger army” than the Ottomans, ie 40,000+ “over 50” forts. 30,000+ Kastamonu; 150 forts in the Karaman byelik ?50,000+ 200 forts – Menteshe.
Ibn Battuta’s 1st in terns of cavalry numbers: Germiyan, with 70 K.
Haidar’s equal 1st: 40,000 – Antalya 300 forts – Aydin. 40,000 – Karaman
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 (Ibn Battuta’s 6th: 24 K: Antalya.) (7) Karaman: (Ibn Battuta’s 7th strongest: 18 K : Saruhan.) (8) Emirate of Bergama: Karasi family: Bergama itself was in ruins except for a large fortress on a hill. (9) Saruhan: 20,000 and “15” fortresses. 3,000 – Goynuk: the garrison of a single town east of Geyve; subject to the Ottomans. 30 - Nicaea (Ottoman beylik of) 3,000 – Kerdele/Gerede: small beylik in NE Anatolia; west of Kastamonu. fortresses. 25,000 (Karesi) 40+ 10,000 – Birgi (Aydin-oglu)
18,000 ie 10,000 at Manisa plus 8,000 at Kas Berdik; and “20” fortresses. 8,000
(10) Nicaea (Ottoman subemirate): (11) Antalya:
25 forst in the 3,000 – Mentehse beylik of Antalya
20 forts: Saruhan
200 [sic] – Malikkesri (Balikesir/Karasi) – presumably just the size of the garrison. Geyve has 10 fortresses, concurring with Doria.
(12)– Geyve: 50 km east of Nicaea; presumbaky an Ottoman vassal (13) Denizli: (14) Tavas, south of Denizli:
7,000 and “10” forts.
15 forts: Bergama
10 Geyve 4 forts- Tavas
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1331-32: 1. Aegean region: Narrative sources mention high numbers that imply a large population before the Black Death. Sanudo, for example, tells of 25,000 Greeks (Byzantines) taken slaves during the Ottoman raids of 1331 and 1332 (Fleet 1999, chapter 4, “Slaves”) . Cf 1332 below. In Fleet’s book, the following places are noted as having slave markets on the period 1300-1350: Aydin: Sultanhisar (Nyssa), Ania. Angevin Naxos – much used as a sales stop by Turks. Foca (Phocaea) – slaves exported to Sicliy. Geneose: Black Sea, Pera, Chios. Karesi: unspecified. Menteshe: Theologus, Magnesia. Rhodes of the Hospitallers. Saruhan: unspecifed. Venetian: Crete. According to Lane, 1973: 133, as noted earlier, most of the slaves bought or sold by the Venetians around 1300 were Greeks, but during the 1300s the view developed that fellow Christians should not be trafficked, and the Black Sea, i.e. the Kipchak Empire (Khanate of the Golden Horde) became the main source of supply. 2. The writer Nikephoros Gregoras, 1293/94–1360/61, began his career as an astronomer and ended it as a theological controversialist. Some of his letters and a few passages of his Roman History touch upon philosophical subjects: especially noteworthy is the vehement criticism of Aristotle in the dialogue Phlorentius, ostensibly an account of the author's debate with fellow theologian Barlaam of Calabria (c. 1290–1348) in 1331–32. —Stanford Encyc. of Philosophy, at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/byzantine-philosophy/; accessed 2009. 1331-72: Serbian control of Bulgaria will be ended by Ivan IV (Ivan Alexander 1331-72), but Bulgaria will be left divided into rival states; the two largest, one was based at Veliko Turnovo and the other at Vidin, will be ruled by Ivan's two sons. See next. 1332: 1. Thrace: Last-ever major clash between Byzantines and Bulgarians. The Byzantines overran Bulgarian-controlled northeastern Thrace. In response, Ivan Alexander, who was dealing with rebels in the north, rushed southward with a strong army and swiftly caught up with Andronikos III at Rusokastro, a fortress-village south of Aytos, west of Karnobat, in the Burgas region. After giving the impression that he wished to negotiate, Ivan Alexander, reinforced by Mongol or Kipchak cavalry (“8,000” Bulgarians and “3,000” 191
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Mongols), overwhelmed the smaller but better organised Byzantine army (“3,000” men) in the three-hour Battle of Rusokastro. The contested ‘cities’ surrendered to Ivan, while Andronikos III sought refuge within the walls of Rusokastro. The war ended with Ivan Alexander meeting Andronikos and agreeing to a peace based on the status quo (Wikipedia, 2010, under ‘Ivan Alexander’). 2. The Aegean: The Emirs of Aydin (Smyrna) and Menteshe (Miletus) began to exact tribute from the island of Negroponte [Euboea], the Duchy of the Archipelago (Naxos) and a number of other islands under Venetian lords. The Rhomaniyans too were forced to pay annual tribute. Cf next. Also 1333: Ottoman treaty. A Turkish armada of 70 (small) vessels that sailed against the Christian islands in 1332 included more than 300 renegade Christians. Sanudo* calls them perfidi Christiani (Zacharidou p.216; also Pryor 1988: 171). At an average of just four men per boat, we may guess that the Christians were the pilots or navigators while the Muslims rowed and fought. (*) Chronicle of Marino Sanudo (Istoria del Regno di Romania): the story of the Frankish states of Greece, written in the period 1326-1333 by the Venetian Marino Sanudo Torsello. 3. First Balkan expedition by Umur, bey of Izmir [Smyrna]: a failed attack on Gallipoli and Thrace. Cf 1334. First European alliance against the Turks: a five-year agreement of cooperation was signed by Venice, Byzantium and the Hospitallers of Rhodes (see A. Laiou, 1970: Marino Sanudo Torsello, Byzantium and the Turks: The Background to the Anti-Turkish League of 1332-1334). The relative weakness of the Turks as mariners is illustrated the size of the proposed fleet: the plan was to create a Christian fleet of just 20 galleys, of which 10 would be contributed by Constantinople. This was considered enough to defeat the many small boats of the weaker Turkish fleets. - Cf 1333 and 1334. 1333: Bithynia: Andronicus in person took a relief ship to Nicomedia to bring food to its starving inhabitants. While there he arranged to meet Orhan, and a settlement was agreed, the first formal treaty between a Byzantine emperor and an Ottoman emir. Andronicus promised to pay 12,000 gold coins in return for peace and the continued rule of the little of Bithynia that still remained in Christian hands (Nicol, Cantacuzene p.33). Small Turkish Boats vs Large Christian War-Galleys Alone among the emirs of the Asian coast, Umur Pasha Aydinoglu constructed a few modestly-sized war galleys. Including small boats, Umur dispatched at different times naval expeditions of 75, 170 and 250 vessels. The other emirs relied wholly on small boats which they deployed in fleets of 192
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 sometimes over 200. On one occasion the emirs are said to have combined their forces into a large fleet of “800” boats (Zachariadou pp.215 ff, and Ozturkler, “Umur” at http://www.ozturkler.com/data_english/0003/0003_01_17.htm; accessed 2007). While the light vessels of the Turks allowed them to transport significant numbers of warriors to the Aegean islands, they were unable to confront the large galleys with their high central fire-platforms (or “castles”). Also, until about 1400 the Turks remained most uncertain at sea due to their lack of experience (or better: lack of a maritime tradition) and were generally easy to defeat. The naval forces of the Genoese, Venetians and Byzantines are widely reported in our sources as superior to the Turkish fleets (Zachariadou pp.215 ff). See references to Christian victories under 1319, 1320 and 1334. Ibn Battuta describes Byzantium and the Byzantines The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta, aged 28, visited Constantinople in 1332. He recorded, as would be expected, that Greeks (Byzantines) were still to be found in large numbers in Turkish western Anatolia. In one passage he recounts a visit home to Constantinople by the Byzantine wife of Uzbek, Khan of the Tatars or Kipchak Turks (‘Golden Horde’), in whose party he was travelling. Note: Uzbek was the khan’s name; ethnically he was a Mongol. Reign: 1313-41. Most of his subjects were Turkic-speaking groups. Uzbek islamicised the formerly shamanist Horde, or at least its western regions. The capital was at Sarai, on a tributary of the Volga River. “The amir [i.e. Kipchak army commander] Baydara with 5,000 troops travelled with her [one of the khan’s wives, the khatun ‘Bayalan’, a Byzantine noblewoman: an illegitimised (adopted) natural daughter of Andronicus III], and her own troops numbered about 500 horsemen, 200 of whom were her attendant slaves and Greeks [Byzantines], and the remainder Turks. She had with her also about 200 maidens, most of whom were Greeks, and about 400 carts and about 2,000 draught and riding horses, as well as 300 oxen and 200 camels. She had also 10 Greek youths and the same number of Indians, whose leader-in-chief was called Sunbul the Indian; the leader of the Greeks was a man of conspicuous bravery called Michael … The Greeks had heard that this khatun was returning to her country, and there came to this fortress [in Thrace, at the Byzantine border] to meet her the Greek Kifali [i.e. Greek kephale, meaning ‘head, chief, governor’] Nicholas, with a large army and a large hospitality-gift, accompanied by the princesses and nurses from the palace of her father, the king* of Constantinople . …. [At the Danube or perhaps further south:] The commander Baydara returned [to Khan Uzbeg] with his troops, and none travelled on with the khatun but her own people.” The Rhomaniyan princess quickly reverted to Christian habits: “She left her mosque behind at the fort and the practice of calling to prayer was abolished. As part of her hospitality-gifts she was given intoxicating liquors [i.e., wine], which she drank, and swine, and I was told by one of her suite that she ate them. . . . 193
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 Sentiments formerly hidden were revealed because of our entry into the land of the infidels, but the khatun charged the amir Kifali to treat us honourably, and on one occasion he beat one of his guards because he had laughed at our prayer.” (*) Emperor Andronicus III was aged 35 in 1332; his wife Anna of Savoy was aged about 26. But this daughter was either the daughter of Andronicus’s first wife, Irene (d. 1324) or else an adopted daughter … . Bayalan is met by her Brother A significant point in the following text from Ibn Battuta is that some cavalrymen carried both bows and lances and rode horses with some sort of barding (horse armour). It may be implied that one in 20 rode armoured horses. (In inner Thrace, some 10 miles from Constantinople:) “ . . . her brother, whose name was Kifali Qaras, arrived with 5,000 [sic!]* horsemen, fully accoutred in armour. When they prepared to meet the princess, her brother, dressed in white, rode a grey horse, having over his head a parasol ornamented with jewels. On his right hand he had five princes and the same number on his left hand, all dressed in white also, and with parasols embroidered in gold over their heads. In front of him were 100 foot soldiers and 100 horsemen, who wore long coats of mail over themselves and their horses, each one of them leading a saddled and armoured horse carrying the arms of a horseman, consisting of a jewelled helmet, a breastplate, a bow, and a sword, and each man had in his hand a lance with a pennant at its head. Most of these lances were covered with plaques of gold and silver. These led horses [that] are the riding horses of the sultan's [emperor’s] son. His horsemen were divided into squadrons, 200 horsemen in each squadron. Over them was a commander, who had in front of him 10 of the horsemen, fully accoutred in armour, each leading a horse, and behind him 10 coloured standards, carried by 10 of the horsemen, and 10 kettledrums slung over the shoulders of 10 of the horsemen, with whom were six others sounding trumpets and bugles and fifes.” (*) This must surely have represented all the cavalry enrolled in or hired for the Byzantine army, which at this time was tiny. —See the discussion of the army under 1310, 1313-28, 1318, 1321 and 1328 earlier. In 1322 an expeditionary force of 3,000 men was called a “large” army. Ibn Battuta enters the City “When we reached the first gate of the king's [emperor’s] palace we found there about 100 men, with an officer on a platform, and I heard them saying "Sarakinu, Sarakinu" ["Saracen, Saracen"], which means Muslims. They would not let us enter, and when those who were with the khatun [the Greek wife of the Khagan] said that we belonged to their party, they answered, "They cannot enter except by permission". So we stayed at the gate. One of the khatun's party sent a messenger 194
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 to tell her of this while she was still with her father [the emperor]. She told him about us and he gave orders that we should enter, and assigned us a house near the khatun's house. He wrote also on our behalf an order that we should not be abused wheresoever we went in the city, and this order was proclaimed in the bazaars.” The Greek monarch receives Ibn Battuta “I reached a great pavilion, where the king (Emperor) was seated on his throne, with his wife [?or mistress], the mother of the khatun, before him. At the foot of the throne were the khatun and her brothers,* to the right of it six men and to the left of it four, and behind it four, every one of them armed. The Emperor signed to me, before I had saluted and reached him, to sit down for a moment, in order that my apprehension might be calmed. After doing so, I approached him and saluted him, and he signed to me to sit down, but I did not do so. He questioned me about Jerusalem, the Sacred Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the cradle of Jesus, and Bethlehem, and about the city of Abraham [Hebron], then about Damascus, Cairo, Iraq, and Anatolia, and I answered all his questions about these, the Jew interpreting between us. He was pleased with my replies and said to his sons, "Treat this man with honour and ensure his safety". … I requested him to designate someone to ride in the city with me every day, that I might see its marvellous and rare sights and tell of them in my own country, and he appointed a man as I had asked. They have a custom that anyone who wears the king's robe of honour and rides his horse is paraded round with trumpets, fifes and drums, so that the people may see him.” (*) This is curious. Andronicus’s eldest son, the future John V, was aged just two years in 1334. Also it is said that Bayalun was Andronicus’s illegitimate or legitimised (adopted) daughter, and not the daughter of his wife Anna of Savoy. 13 Villages within Constantinople At Constantinople: "At dawn (he writes) the drums, trumpets and fifes were sounded; the troops mounted, and the king [emperor] with his wife, . . . came out, accompanied by the high officials of state and the courtiers. Over the king's head there was a canopy, carried by a number of horsemen and men on foot, who had in their hands long staves, each surmounted by something resembling a ball of leather, with which they hoisted the canopy. In the centre of this canopy was a sort of pavilion which was supported by horsemen [carrying] staves". "The city lies at the foot of a hill which projects about nine miles into the sea, its breadth being the same or greater. On the top of the hill there is a small citadel and the Emperor's palace [meaning the disused ancient palace in the eastern sector rather than the Blachernai in the far NW sector]. Round this hill runs the city-wall, which is very strong and cannot be taken by assault from the sea front. Within its circuit there are about 13 inhabited villages.* The principal church [Hagia Sophia] is in the midst of this [main] part of the city." 195
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(*) Arable lands within the city had been cultivated at least since the time of Michael Palaeogus (1260s) and no doubt earlier, during the period of Latin rule: Pachymeres 187, II.6-14, cited by Geanakoplos 1959: 130. More fully: “The part of the city on the eastern bank of the river [sic: southern side of the Golden Horn] is called Istambul, and contains the residence of the Emperor, the nobles and the rest of the population. Its bazaars and streets are spacious and paved with flagstones; each bazaar has gates which are closed upon it at night, and the majority of the artisans and sellers in them are women. The city lies at the foot of a hill which projects about nine miles into the sea, its breadth being the same or greater. On the top of the hill [near the city’s eastern point] there is a small citadel and the Emperor's palace. Round this hill runs the city-wall, which is very strong and cannot be taken by assault from the sea front. Within its circuit there are about 13 inhabited villages. The principal church is in the midst of this part of the city.” "The second part [of the city], on the western [i.e., north of the City proper] bank of the river, is called Galata, and is reserved to the Frankish Christians who dwell there. They are of different kinds, including Genoese, Venetians, Romans [sic: ?other Italians] and people of France; they are subject to the authority of the king of Constantinople …. They are all men of commerce and their harbour is one of the largest in the world; I saw there about 100 galleys and other large ships, and the small ships were too many to be counted." Ibn Batutta visits a Convent and (perhaps) meets the Retired Emperor “I entered a monastery [nunnery] with the Greek whom the king had given me as a guide. Inside it was a church containing about 500 virgins [nuns] wearing hairgarments; their heads were shaved and covered with felt bonnets. They were exceedingly beautiful and showed the traces of their austerities [presumably fasting: M.O’R]. A youth [?eunuch] sitting on a pulpit was reading the gospel to them in the most beautiful voice I have ever heard; round him were eight other youths on pulpits with their priest, and when the first youth had finished reading another began. The Greek said to me, "These girls are kings' daughters [i.e. nobles] who have given themselves to the service of this church, and likewise the boys who are reading [are kings' sons]." Ibn Battuta met the retired emperor-monk Andronicus II (1258-1332), or rather, someone who was represented to him as the retired emperor: “When the Greek [Battuta’s guide] saw him he dismounted and said to me, "Dismount, for this is the king's [emperor’s] father". When my guide saluted him the king asked him about me, then stopped and sent for me. He took my hand and said to the Greek (who knew the Arabic tongue), "Say to this Saracen (meaning Muslim), 'I clasp the hand which has entered Jerusalem and the foot which has walked within the Dome of the Rock and the great church of the Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem,'" and he laid his hand upon my feet and passed it over his face. I was astonished at their good opinion of one who, though not of their 196
O’Rourke: BYZANTIUM, RECOVERY AND RUIN 1220-1330 religion, had entered these places. Then he took my hand and as I walked with him, asked me about Jerusalem and the Christians who were there, and questioned me at length.” Now, as Ross Dunn has pointed out, Andronicus senior had died in 1332, so could not have been met by Ibn Battuta in 1334; possibly his Greek guide was having a bit of fun. —Dunn 2004: 72. The Ghazi Beyliks In the early 14th century western Asia Minor was divided between as many as nine Turkish beyliks or "ghazi emirates". The four western-most beyliks were those of the Ottomans (at Bursa); Sarukhan (at Manisa); Aydin-oglu (at Ephesus and Birgi) and Menteshe (at Milas). It was not until the reign of Bajazet or Bayezid, 1389-1402, that the Ottomans would finally removed the last of their Turkish rivals and establish their rule over all of Asia Minor. During the 1320s and 1330s the Ottomans swallowed up their western neighbour, the emirate of Karasi/Qarasi, with its seat at Pergamos, SW of Bursa. To the north, the last years of Osman's reign and the first decade of Orkhan's rule saw Ottoman expansion down the Sakarya/Sangarius River as far as the Black Sea. These campaigns were against Muslim, not Christian, beys.
* * *
From Recovery to Ruin It is instructive to compare the restored empire’s size in 1261 with its position 80 years later. The era began with Byzantium dominant in the Balkans, and much stronger than the then minor states of Serbia and Bulgaria. But within a generation the empire was so weak that it could no longer afford, or belived it could no longer afford, a blue-water navy. And after 1300, when the Serbs asserted themselves by encroaching on imperial lands as far as the Aegean, and Bulgaria expanded into northern Thrace, Byzantium did not have the money or men to expel them. It is no surprise that large scale mosaic artworks were no longer produced after 1320. In Asia, Constantinople still ruled between a quarter and a third of Asia Minor in 1261. Eighty years later this had all been lost, except for several islands in the eastern Aegean. The Türkmen first of all, having been pushed westward by the Mongols, and then a powerful new local sultanate, the Ottomans, steadily took it all. Thus, having begun as the strongest power in the region between Hungary and Persia in 1261, and still recognised as a major power, by the 1340s Byzantium was nearly the weakest. Sources and References
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