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Lecture 19: Komnenoi, Crusaders, and Turks

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Jonathan Shea

on 31 March 2014

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Transcript of Lecture 19: Komnenoi, Crusaders, and Turks


Death of

Western Empire

Arab Siege of

of Icons

Fall of

Death of
Basil II

The Fourth

Death of Manuel II Komnenos

Recovery of

Death of
Andronikos II Palaiologos

Death of

Death of Leo VI

Komnenoi, Crusaders and Turks
Alexios Komnenos overthrows Nikephoros III
Michael VII
Alexios I and the new hierarchy
Since Alexios had promised the grant the title of
to Nikephoros Melissenos, it was necessary that Isaac, the

eldest of his brothers, be honored with some higher dignity. But because there existed no other rank [between emperor and caesar], Alexios created a new title, a combination of
, and he bestowed upon his brother this rank of
...At the same time, Taronites...was also honored with the dignities of
and protoverstiarios, and shortly thereafter raised to the rank of

Anna Komnene, Alexiad, pp.113-15
Doukes (Duke)

Pansebastos sebastos (All-august august one)

Megalodoxotatos (Great most glorious one)

Protopansebastohypertatos (First all-august most high one)

Paneutechestatos (All most noble one)

Megalepiphanestatos (The great most high-appearing one)

Demetrios Chomatianos, Synoptikon, early thirteenth century
Byzantium in 1081
Normans invade the Empire
Alexios defeated at Dyrrachion
Dyrrachion, NW Greece and Kastoria fall to the Normans
Alexios defeated by Bohemond at Ioannina, Ochrid and Arta
Venetian Trade Privileges of 1082
No one is ignorant of those things which have been done by the faithful Venetians, how after they had gathered together different types of ships, they came to Epidamnos, which we call Dyrrachion, and how they provided for our assistance numerous seaborne fighting men, how their fleet conquered by force the wicked expedition [of the Normans], and how they lost some men...

Wherefore, in recompense for their services of this kind, Our Majesty decrees through this present
, that the Venetians annually receive a gift of twenty pounds of gold...We honor their noble doge with the most venerable dignity of
...We also assign to their patriarch the title of
...We shall grant to them factories, as well as three docks...

It is also granted to the Venetians that they may
conduct business in every type of merchandise in all parts of the empire
, that is around great Laodikeia, Antioch, Mamistra, Adana, Tarsos, Attalia, Strobilos, Chios, Ephesos, Phkaiam Dyrrachion, Valona, Corfu, Bonditza, Methoni, Korone, Naufplion, Corinth, Thebes, Athens, Negroponte, Demetrias, Thessalonike, Chrysopolis, Perithorion, Abydos, Rhaidestos, Adrianople, Apros, Herakleia, Selymbria, and the megalopolis itself, and indeed in all other places which are under the authority of our pious clemency,
without their paying anything at all
for any favour of commerce or for any other condition on behalf of their business...

Alexios I, Chrysobull for the Venetians, 1082
Byzantium in 1082
Alexios recovers Dyrrachion, Kastoria and lifts the siege of Larissa
Robert Guiscard dies
Antioch falls to Seljuk Sultan
Edessa falls to the Seljuk Sultan
Alexios attacks and is defeated by the Pechenegs
Chaka, Emir of Smyrna, conquers Chios and Lesbos
Byzantium in 1090
Alexios and the Cumans defeat the Pachenegs at Levounion
John Doukas recovers Chios, Samos, Rhodes and Lesbos
John II Komnenos crowned
New coinage issued
Currency Reforms of Alexios I, 1092
hyperpyron, gold, 4.30g, 87% gold
Aspron trachy, electrum, 4.30g, 30-10% gold
Aspron trachy, billon, 4.30g, 6-2% silver
Tetarteron, copper, 4.0g
Half tetarteron, copper, 2.0g
1/3 hyperpyron
1/48 hyperpyron
1/16 Aspron trachy (electrum)
1/864 hyperpyron
1/288 Aspron trachy (electrum)
1/72 Aspron trachy (billon)
1/1,728 hyperpyron
1/576 Aspron trachy (electrum)
1/144 Aspron trachy (billon)
1/2 Tetarteron
Byzantium in 1092
Council of Clermont
People's Crusade massacred
Siege of Nicaea
Battle of Dorylaion
Capture of Antioch
Capture of Jerusalem
How should we interpret the Alexiad?
Reflecting the by himself he was unable to sustain this all-important combat [against the Turks], Alexios understood that it was necessary to make an alliance with the Italians; he did this by dissembling, shrewd manipulation and cunning. Indeed he found what he considered to be a heaven-sent pretext in that this people [the Latins] considered it intolerable that the Persians [Turks] controlled Jerusalem and the life-giving Sepulchure of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. He sent embassies to the bishop of the elder Rome and to those that are called kings and nobles in those regions and, through the use of appropriate arguments, he induced not a few of them to leave their homelands, and he succeeded in directing them by every means to this task...through...the aid of his allies, and his own efforts, he quickly forced the Persians to abandon the lands of the Romans; he freed the cities and restored Roman power in the East to its former glory. Such a man was this emperor: great in making plans and great in performing deeds.

Theodore Skoutariotes, thirteenth century chronicle
Now here is the cause of this mass movement. A certain Celt named Peter, with the surname Koukoupetros, went off to worship at the Holy Sepulchure, and after suffering many frightful things at the hands of the Turks and Saracens who were plundering all of Asia, barely and only with great difficulty succeeded in reaching home. But he could not bear to have failed in his plans. And so he wished to make a second journey, but realising that it was not wise for him to himself to make the trip to the Holy Sepulchure, he worked out a clever scheme. It was to preach in all the lands of the Latins: "A divine voice has called me to proclaim before all the counts of France, that all should leave your homes and go off to worship at the Holy Sepulchure and with all your might and soul should strive to free Jerusalem from the hands of the Agarenes." And he actually succeeded.

Anna Komnene, Alexiad, pp. 206-9
I pass my time in obscurity and devote myself to my books and the worship of God. Not even the less important persons are allowed to visit us, let alone those from whom we could have learnt news they happened to have heard from others, or my father’s most intimate friends. For thirty years now, I swear it by the souls of the most blessed emperors, I have not seen, I have not spoken to a friend of my father; most of them of course have passed away, but many too are prevented by fear because of the change in our fortunes. For the powers-that-be have decided that we must not be seen – an absurd decision – and have condemned us to a general execration.

Anna Komnene, Alexiad, p. 460-1
Then the nation of the Franks in commotion from the western parts advanced on the Queen of Cities, in order to cross over from there to the east... Crossing over, then, and attacking Nicaea in Bithynia, which was held by the Turks, with time and much loss on both sides, they eventually however captured the city. And they gave this over to the emperor for much money, then they proceeded onwards. And while some of them captured Antioch on the Orontes with much toil and slaughter, the others gained possession of Jerusalem with great struggles.

John Zonaras, Epitome, p. 6
Alexios captures Cilicia
Bohemond invades Byzantium
Turkish raiders reach Ephesos
Turkish raiders reach Nicaea, sack Kyzikos and Adramyttion
Alexios defeats the Turkish Sultan at Philomelion
Alexios I dies
Byzantium in 1118
John Komnenos conquers Laodikeia and Sozopolis
John defeats the Cumans
Venetians raid the Aegean
Black Sea coast rebels, Venetian privileges renewed
Hungarians sack Belgrade and Nis, defeated by John
John invades Hungary
John recovers Paphlagonia
John attacks Danishmendids
Monastery of Christ Pantokrator built
Byzantium in 1143
John recovers Cilicia, captures Anazarbos, besieges Antioch
John campaigns in Syria
Danishmendids conquer Paphlagonia, Trebizond in rebellion
John fails to take Neocaesarea, recovers Paphlagonia and Trebizond
John returns to Antioch, Alexios dies
John II dies
Byzantines attack Antioch, Zangi conquers Edessa
Crusaders arrive at the Danube
Roger II sacks Thebes, Corinth and Athens
Conrad III defeated at Dorylaion
Manuel recovers Kerkyra, conquered Ras
Hungarians attack Byzantium, Manuel sacks Semlin and Sirmium and invades Hungary
Geza II invades Byzantium, driven out by 1155, Edessa falls to Nureddin
Roger II dies
Byzantines invade Norman Italy
Byzantines lose Battle of Brindisi, driven from Italy
Manuel recovers Cilicia
Manuel enters Antioch in triumph
Manuel marries Maria of Antioch
John Kontostephanos defeat Kilij Arslan II who sues for peace
Manuel adopts Bela of Hungary as his heir
Manuel conquers Sirmium, Dalmatia and Bosnia
Church council in Constantinople, Hungarians conquer Sirmium, Manuel drives them out
Manuel and Amalric invade Egypt
Nureddin conquers Egypt
Manuel's son Alexios born
Manuel arrests all of the Venetians in Byzantium
Venetians conquer Dalmatia
Bela becomes king of Hungary, Manuel recovers Dalmatia
Mleh conquers Cilicia
Isaac Komnenos recovers Cilicia, Manuel conquers Dorylaion, Siblia and Kotyaion
Manuel defeated at Myriokephalon
Two Seljuk armies destroyed
Seljuk army defeated by Manuel
Manuel dies
The Komnenian Empire
Byzantium in 1143
At the height of the western nation's incursion into the Romans' lands, he pillaged Corinth and Euboia and Boiotian Thebes.

John Kinnamos, The Deeds of John and Manuel Komnenos, p. 76
[Manuel put a garment decorated with precious stones...and a crown and other things customary for the emperor...Then there met him the bishop of the city garbed in a priestly robe, with the whole order of priests. They held in their hands crosses, and bore the Holy Scriptures, so that the entire foreign and outland populace [of Antioch] was astonished, observing in addition to these things Reginald and the nobles of Antioch running on foot around the imperial horse, and Baldwin, a crowned man, parading a long way behind on horseback, but without insignia. After the triumph had been celebrated in this way, the emperor remained in the city for eight days, then departed.

John Kinnamos, The Deeds of John and Manuel Komnenos, p. 143
Byzantium in 1180
Byzantium in 1180
Conducting him [Kilij Arslan II] to the palace, the emperor received him with magnificent banquets and entertained him in entire amity. Then he charmed him with horseraces, and according to custom set alight some boats and skiffs with liquid fire, and absolutely gorged the man with spectacles in the hippodrome, whereby the grandeur of cities is particularly likely to appear.

John Kinnamos, The Deeds of John and Manuel Komnenos, p. 157
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