By Donald M. Nicol
The Byzantine empire within the final centuries of its lifestyles needed to rebuild itself after its conquest and dismemberment by means of the Fourth campaign in 1204. Its emperors in exile recovered Constantinople in 1261 and this e-book narrates their empire's struggles for survival from that date until eventually its ultimate conquest through Ottoman Turks in 1453. First released in 1972, the ebook has been thoroughly revised to take account of contemporary scholarship. It continues to be the easiest synthesis of the political, ecclesiastical and historic occasions of the interval.
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Extra resources for The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453 (Second Edition)
Vatatzes proved that it could in many ways do even better. The very fact that his empire lacked the great city of Constantinople, on whose upkeep and defence so much of its wealth might have been consumed, seemed to make for a more even distribution of the resources available. The economy was based not on the needs and the traffic of great cities but upon the land, on agriculture and the breeding of cattle. The Emperor himself encouraged his subjects to be self-sufficient by taking a personal interest in the management of his imperial estates.
He was one of the upstarts whom the late Emperor had raised from humble status. The aristocracy had been summoned to the Emperor's deathbed and made to swear an oath of loyalty to a regent they despised. Only ten days later their pent-up bitterness broke out. A conspiracy was formed and, during a memorial service for the Emperor in September 1258, George Mouzalon and his brother were murdered at the altar. 5 By common consent of the disprized nobility the regency for the infant John Laskaris now passed to a young and vigorous member of their own class, Michael Palaiologos.
The Venetians, wise from the long experience of their merchants in the eastern Mediterranean, appropriated most of the red meat of the carcass of the Empire. The dry bones were left for the crusaders to fight over. The Venetians claimed their share as their inalienable property. The crusaders, however, agreed to hold their prospective conquests by terms of feudal tenure, acknowledging the Latin Emperor in Constantinople as their sovereign lord. The Latin Empire of Constantinople lasted for 57 years, from 12°4 to 126 I.