Discussion:
Can the Byzantines conquer the Levant down to Aqaba on Red Sea between 800-1200 AD?
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Rob
2017-09-18 22:32:22 UTC
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Why could they or could they not?

Would neo-Byzantine Levant have better long-term prospects than the Crusader states?

Would the Levantine or metropolitan portions of the wanted Byzantine Empire face western invasion and occupation anywhere?

If the Byzzies can pull off the Levant down to Gaza and Beersheba, can they keep going and do a conquest of Egypt?
Ned Latham
2017-09-18 23:12:18 UTC
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Post by Rob
Why could they or could they not?
I think the world could poswsibly have become a better place than
it is if they had restored the empire, but I don't see that they
could have done so. A massive proportion of their limited human
resources was poured, year after year, into the Black Hole of
Chrisatianity. Also, they wasted resources by inappriate allocation
and on unrealistic goals, their military keadership often wasn't up
to the jbb, and when it was, treachery brought them down.
Post by Rob
Would neo-Byzantine Levant have better long-term prospects
than the Crusader states?
No. Its borders were insecure.
Post by Rob
Would the Levantine or metropolitan portions of the wanted
Byzantine Empire face western invasion and occupation anywhere?
No reason to suppose that. There *was* the split in the Church,
but Urban's preaching of the Crusades came after Alexius
appealed for help against the Turks. I figure no appeal, no
Western invasion.
Post by Rob
If the Byzzies can pull off the Levant down to Gaza and Beersheba,
can they keep going and do a conquest of Egypt?
They would have to. Egypt and the Levant are too intimately linked
to take one and leave the other. Look at how difficult the region
has been for empires throughout history.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-19 11:06:00 UTC
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Post by Rob
Why could they or could they not?
It depends on when you are talking about. Before the explosion of Islam
the Eastern Empire controlled the whole Middle East including Egypt.
After Manzikert it was reduced to Europe. After the Fourth Crusade it was
reduced to two successor states and the Latin Empire. Even after
Constantinople was recaptured the Empire was still split. Now please
specify which period you are talking about. The Empire existed for over a
1000 years
SolomonW
2017-09-19 12:06:09 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Rob
Why could they or could they not?
It depends on when you are talking about. Before the explosion of Islam
the Eastern Empire controlled the whole Middle East including Egypt.
After Manzikert it was reduced to Europe. After the Fourth Crusade it was
reduced to two successor states and the Latin Empire. Even after
Constantinople was recaptured the Empire was still split. Now please
specify which period you are talking about. The Empire existed for over a
1000 years
But this is all the same Empire, Rob not specifying a date.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-19 12:16:00 UTC
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Post by SolomonW
But this is all the same Empire, Rob not specifying a date.
Well he should be, the military strength and the territory controlled
varied enormously. At one point it controlled the Levant and Egypt.
Alex Milman
2017-09-19 17:27:09 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by SolomonW
But this is all the same Empire, Rob not specifying a date.
Well he should be, the military strength and the territory controlled
varied enormously. At one point it controlled the Levant and Egypt.
At the time of Justinian the Empire stretched well beyond Levant and
Egypt (Loading Image...)
but this proved to be a weak point: wars in Italy were enormously expensive.
So what if Justinian was LESS ambitious and left Italy (and the Vandal Kingdom
in the North Africa?) alone? The Empire would be better off financially and
perhaps in a better position to retain Egypt and Levant in a long run.
Ned Latham
2017-09-19 21:22:52 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by SolomonW
But this is all the same Empire, Rob not specifying a date.
Well he should be, the military strength and the territory
controlled varied enormously. At one point it controlled the
Levant and Egypt.
The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert. Rob asked specifically
about it in comparison to the Levantine Crusader states.
Post by Alex Milman
At the time of Justinian the Empire stretched well beyond Levant
and Egypt but this proved to be a weak point: wars in Italy were
enormously expensive.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I#/media/File:Justinian555AD.png
Yje Empore's exyent under Justinian was *not* a weakness; Justinian was.
Post by Alex Milman
So what if Justinian was LESS ambitious and left Italy (and the Vandal
Kingdom in the North Africa?) alone? The Empire would be better off
financially and perhaps in a better position to retain Egypt and Levant
in a long run.
No perhaps about it. He wasted huge resources in the West and did
nothing whatever to secure the borders to the north and to the
southeast or to rationalise relations with Persia. The result was
devastating incursions from the north in his own lifetime and the
permanent loss of Egypt and the Levant when the Arabs exploded
out of the peninsula less than 70 years after his death.

With a statesman at the helm, instead of a jumped-up lawyer with
ego problems, the Empire would have handled the Bulgars fairly
easuly, and IMO would have been able to weather the storm out of
the Arabian peninsula. Without prescience on both their parts,
though, I don't see the two empires cooperating against the Arabs,
so Persia probably wouldn't survive. That would leave the Roman
Empire facing a ferocious and implacable enemy to its east and
southeast.

Could that focus the ruling class's minds?
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-20 09:31:00 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert. Rob asked specifically
about it in comparison to the Levantine Crusader states.
No mention of Manzikert in the original post. Anyway that still leaves a
period between 1071 and 1204 to be considered. By the way Byzantine
Empire is not a name that would be used by contemporise. The Eastern
Roman Empire refereed to itself as the Roman Empire after the fall of the
West, so did it's neighbours and successors which is how the Sultanate of
Rum got it's name.
Ned Latham
2017-09-20 11:00:54 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert. Rob asked specifically
about it in comparison to the Levantine Crusader states.
No mention of Manzikert in the original post.
I said Manzikert to give you focus. What Ron said is "Crusader States",
which is post-Manzikert.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-20 12:44:00 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
I said Manzikert to give you focus. What Ron said is "Crusader
States",
which is post-Manzikert.
The Eastern Empire lost Egypt and the Levant during the original Moslem
Expansion. What was lost after Manzikert was possessions in Asia Minor.
And I read his post as would an Eastern Empire be more secure in
possession which depends on when the reconquest happens. The First
Crusade was successful mainly due to the opposition being divided and was
heavily dependent on outside help, firstly from Alexis and then from the
Genoese. Now attempts at reconquest by the Empire would be affected by
which military system is used. How unified the opposition is and internal
politics.
The Horny Goat
2017-09-19 21:57:42 UTC
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On Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:27:09 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
At the time of Justinian the Empire stretched well beyond Levant and
Egypt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I#/media/File:Justinian555AD.png)
but this proved to be a weak point: wars in Italy were enormously expensive.
So what if Justinian was LESS ambitious and left Italy (and the Vandal Kingdom
in the North Africa?) alone? The Empire would be better off financially and
perhaps in a better position to retain Egypt and Levant in a long run.
I think it would be interesting if Justinian conquered the Mecca /
Medina era before the rise of Islam. The Sassanid Persians did
(roughly 25 years before Muhammed) so it's not totally ASB territory
to imagine Justinian or one of his successors doing so. Perhaps
Turtledove's "Saint Muhammed" stories aren'tt so crazy after all?
SolomonW
2017-09-20 07:38:34 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:27:09 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
At the time of Justinian the Empire stretched well beyond Levant and
Egypt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I#/media/File:Justinian555AD.png)
but this proved to be a weak point: wars in Italy were enormously expensive.
So what if Justinian was LESS ambitious and left Italy (and the Vandal Kingdom
in the North Africa?) alone? The Empire would be better off financially and
perhaps in a better position to retain Egypt and Levant in a long run.
I think it would be interesting if Justinian conquered the Mecca /
Medina era before the rise of Islam. The Sassanid Persians did
(roughly 25 years before Muhammed) so it's not totally ASB territory
to imagine Justinian or one of his successors doing so. Perhaps
Turtledove's "Saint Muhammed" stories aren'tt so crazy after all?
What would stop Muhammed picking another city, or overwelming the
Byzantines forces in Mecca?
Insane Ranter
2017-09-21 02:53:21 UTC
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Post by SolomonW
What would stop Muhammed picking another city, or overwelming the
Byzantines forces in Mecca?
In 800 to 1200? He's dead?
SolomonW
2017-09-23 08:45:40 UTC
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Post by Insane Ranter
Post by SolomonW
What would stop Muhammed picking another city, or overwelming the
Byzantines forces in Mecca?
In 800 to 1200? He's dead?
We are talking earlier then that.
pyotr filipivich
2017-10-01 17:34:12 UTC
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Post by SolomonW
Post by The Horny Goat
On Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:27:09 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
At the time of Justinian the Empire stretched well beyond Levant and
Egypt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I#/media/File:Justinian555AD.png)
but this proved to be a weak point: wars in Italy were enormously expensive.
So what if Justinian was LESS ambitious and left Italy (and the Vandal Kingdom
in the North Africa?) alone? The Empire would be better off financially and
perhaps in a better position to retain Egypt and Levant in a long run.
I think it would be interesting if Justinian conquered the Mecca /
Medina era before the rise of Islam. The Sassanid Persians did
(roughly 25 years before Muhammed) so it's not totally ASB territory
to imagine Justinian or one of his successors doing so. Perhaps
Turtledove's "Saint Muhammed" stories aren'tt so crazy after all?
What would stop Muhammed picking another city, or overwelming the
Byzantines forces in Mecca?
Muhammed was born and raised in Mecca. So if it is under the
"Romanoi" - he'll grow up in a nominally Orthodox area. "Saint
Mumammed" is plausible. Starting an uprising against the Empire is
also plausible. But also likely to end badly. Depends who is on the
throne at the time.
--
pyotr filipivich.
For Sale: Uncirculated Roman Drachmas, feature Julius Ceaser's Portrait,
several dated 44 BCE. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.
Rob
2017-09-19 23:52:26 UTC
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On Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 7:06:07 AM UTC-4, Kenneth Young wrote:
Now please
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
specify which period you are talking about. The Empire existed for over a
1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.


"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."

Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert and 130 years afterwards.

Given the time range and the use of the word "conquer" in the title, isn't it obvious the challenge is about a Byzantine reconquest of the area, rather than a challenge to have them never lose this territory, or a statement that assumes they never held the land (which it is not)?
The Horny Goat
2017-09-20 00:47:07 UTC
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On Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:52:26 -0700 (PDT), Rob
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Now please
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
specify which period you are talking about. The Empire existed for over a
1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.
"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."
Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert and 130 years afterwards.
Given the time range and the use of the word "conquer" in the title, isn't it obvious the challenge is about a Byzantine reconquest of the area, rather than a challenge to have them never lose this territory, or a statement that assumes they never held the land (which it is not)?
I got that time frame and figured it was completely implausible with
any conceivable POD in that time period. The catch is that even if
they overcome the local Muslim forces there are always the Mongols
waiting in the wings.

I don't see post-Manzikert how they could take AND HOLD the entire
Levant. I do think taking the entire Levant and being driven back is
plausible but I don't think that fulfills your challenge.

In a way it's a bit like the Russian campaign of 1941 - it's not
difficult to imagine a German capture of Moscow but that alone is not
enough to ensure "conquest" in any meaningful sense of the word.

Sorry - given OTL's Manzikert I don't see a crushing and permanent
conquest of the Levant either by the Byzantines alone, by Crusader
forces or both acting in tandem.
Ned Latham
2017-09-20 05:22:00 UTC
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Post by Rob
Now please specify which period you are talking about.
The Empire existed for over a 1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.
"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."
Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert and 130 years afterwards.
In 800 CE the Empire was a rump. It held Turkey, Mainkand Greece
and some Islands, and some lands north of Greece. Turkey was its
heartland, so Manizkert was its death-knell (I do not accept the
revisionist opinion that it wasn't a catastrophe). I cannot see
any way that the Empire, now a nere remnant, could take back the
land that had been its breadbasket, let alone the Levant and Egypt.

OTOH, in 600 CE and until Manzikert, it still had consideravle
strength, and defensible borders. With good management and
an absence of treachery such as that of Andronikos Doukas at
Manzikert, it could perhaps have held itself together more or
less indefinitely.

But for a lasting reconquest of the Levant and Egypt, they
would have to await the passing of the Mongol and Mameluke
threats, and to do that they'd have to be either prescient
or extremely lucky. I can't see it.
Post by Rob
Given the time range and the use of the word "conquer" in the
title, isn't it obvious the challenge is about a Byzantine
reconquest of the area, rather than a challenge to have them
never lose this territory, or a statement that assumes they
never held the land (which it is not)?
It is. But IMO the simple truth is that Justinian's misrule
is what paved the way for the empire's fall; his military
incompetence and lavish building program left it almost
defenceless and his successors never repaired the damage.

Perhaps if Diogenes had anticipared Doukas's treachery and
then won at Manzikert...
Ned Latham
2017-09-20 06:07:38 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
Post by Rob
Now please specify which period you are talking about.
The Empire existed for over a 1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.
"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."
Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert
and 130 years afterwards.
In 800 CE the Empire was a rump. It held Turkey, Mainkand Greece
and some Islands, and some lands north of Greece. Turkey was its
heartland, so Manizkert was its death-knell (I do not accept the
revisionist opinion that it wasn't a catastrophe). I cannot see
any way that the Empire, now a mere remnant, could take back the
land that had been its breadbasket, let alone the Levant and Egypt.
OTOH, in 800 CE and until Manzikert,
Date corrected from 600 CE.
Post by Ned Latham
it still had consideravle
strength, and defensible borders. With good management and
an absence of treachery such as that of Andronikos Doukas at
Manzikert, it could perhaps have held itself together more or
less indefinitely.
But for a lasting reconquest of the Levant and Egypt, they
would have to await the passing of the Mongol and Mameluke
threats, and to do that they'd have to be either prescient
or extremely lucky. I can't see it.
Post by Rob
Given the time range and the use of the word "conquer" in the
title, isn't it obvious the challenge is about a Byzantine
reconquest of the area, rather than a challenge to have them
never lose this territory, or a statement that assumes they
never held the land (which it is not)?
It is. But IMO the simple truth is that Justinian's misrule
is what paved the way for the empire's fall; his military
incompetence and lavish building program left it almost
defenceless and his successors never repaired the damage.
Perhaps if Diogenes had anticipared Doukas's treachery and
then won at Manzikert...
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-20 09:31:00 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
OTOH, in 600 CE
Constantinople was besieged by Moslems twice prior to Manzikert and both
times the Empire recovered it's territory. The Empire was broken in 1204
when the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople and set up the Latin Empire.
Alex Milman
2017-09-20 19:27:55 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
OTOH, in 600 CE
Constantinople was besieged by Moslems twice prior to Manzikert and both
times the Empire recovered it's territory. The Empire was broken in 1204
when the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople and set up the Latin Empire.
But well prior to that time the Empire lost most of the Asia Minor to the
Seljuks and never regained most of these lands with a resulting loss in
both economy (IIRC, the custom dues of Constantinople still provided a huge
source of income to the imperial treasury) and the military cadres (which were
much to harder to replace). In OTL (IIRC) under the Commines the Empire started
switching from the costly imperial army to the bands raised by the magnates
which was cheaper in a short run but proved to be rather "expensive" in a long
run.

So it seems that the plausible option could be one with the following
elements:

(a) The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of attracting
so many prominent personalities. Instead, it is something more modest and
closer to the goals of Alexis: fighting the Seljuks. As a result, the
Empire gets back Asia Minor with a complete destruction and reconquest of the
Sultanate of Rum with its territories getting back to the Empire. There
are few new Latin states on the Eastern/Southern border (including Armenian
Cilicia) and Trebizond on the North-East (it was already de facto independent
at that time). Jerusalem is NOT reached and conquered so these new princes
are not the vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and enormous efforts are not
being spent on maintaining it. The future expansions are strictly along the
coast (with a reasonable depth) capturing the important ports (income from the
trade routes allowing rulers of these states to attract mercenaries from the
West).


(b) The Byzantines are actively pursuing de-Islamization of the Asia Minor
(IIRC, by the time of the 1st Crusade there were still numerous Christians
left in the area).

(c) The Latin states are formally Byzantine vassals but they can eventually
expand Southward along the coast (to address "Levant" issue) IF they are
getting enough migrants from the West. At least formally, this may account
to Byzantine control of Levant (or its part), especially if these states
are not strong enough on their own and need Byzantine support for survival.

(d) Internal fighting among the Seljuk states is getting stronger than in
OTL.

(e) On a wake of the "alt-1st Crusade" the Empire and Georgia are engaged in
the anti-Seljuk war resulting in a further destruction of the Seljuk emirates.
In OTL the Seljuk-Georgian Wars happened in the early 1200's ending with the
Seljuk defeat and a loss of the Caucasus territories. Let's assume that this
happens few decades earlier and strengthens Byzantine hold of Asia Minor.

How about an alliance with the Fatimid Caliphate against Baghdad? This
could weaken the Byzantine opponents even more. Not sure if the Red Sea is
a practical goal and even less sure why would they bother if control of Asia
Minor (in addition to Constantinople) would keep them in the "loop" of the
main trade routes.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-20 21:49:00 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of
attracting
so many prominent personalities
The crusaders had sworn a form of allegiance to Alexis swearing to
return territories previously held by the Eastern Empire in return for
help in transport and supplies. This agreement broke down when Bohemund
<sp> set himself up as Prince of Antioch and Tancred became ruler of
Cicilia. This was not really a surprise to anyone, both were related to
Robert Gisguard who had been expanding his holdings in Italy by seizing
towns nominally controlled by the Eastern Empire.
Alex Milman
2017-09-20 22:12:05 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Alex Milman
The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of
attracting
so many prominent personalities
The crusaders had sworn a form of allegiance to Alexis swearing to
return territories previously held by the Eastern Empire in return for
help in transport and supplies. This agreement broke down when Bohemund
<sp> set himself up as Prince of Antioch and Tancred became ruler of
Cicilia. This was not really a surprise to anyone, both were related to
Robert Gisguard who had been expanding his holdings in Italy by seizing
towns nominally controlled by the Eastern Empire.
Yes, this was not a surprise which is why I changed OTL. Creation of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem also was a serious factor and it is changed as well so
there is no need to get back to "how it did NOT happen". :-)
Rich Rostrom
2017-09-22 03:33:52 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
So it seems that the plausible option could be one with the following
(a) The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of attracting
so many prominent personalities. Instead, it is something more modest and
closer to the goals of Alexis: fighting the Seljuks. As a result, the
Empire gets back Asia Minor with a complete destruction and reconquest of the
Sultanate of Rum with its territories getting back to the Empire. There
are few new Latin states on the Eastern/Southern border (including Armenian
Cilicia) and Trebizond on the North-East (it was already de facto independent
at that time).
_Latin_ Trebizond? Or is that just an unintended implication?
(I.e. Armenian Cilicia is also mentioned but of course would not
be Latin.)
Post by Alex Milman
Jerusalem is NOT reached and conquered...
Perhaps the 1st Crusade is overwhelmed and destroyed by
Kerbogha at Antioch. The survivors retreat north of the
Taurus Mountains, and become Byzantine vassals on lands
won from the Turks.
Post by Alex Milman
(b) The Byzantines are actively pursuing de-Islamization of the Asia Minor
(IIRC, by the time of the 1st Crusade there were still numerous Christians
left in the area).
There were still numerous Christians left in Asia Minor
in _1914_ (Greeks and Armenians); even in 1920 (millions
of Greeks were deported after the Turkish victory). It's
highly plausible that ca 1100, the Moslem presence was
still small enough to be eliminated completely if the
Byzantines work at it.
Post by Alex Milman
(e) On a wake of the "alt-1st Crusade" the Empire and Georgia are engaged in
the anti-Seljuk war resulting in a further destruction of the Seljuk emirates.
In OTL the Seljuk-Georgian Wars happened in the early 1200's ending with the
Seljuk defeat and a loss of the Caucasus territories. Let's assume that this
happens few decades earlier and strengthens Byzantine hold of Asia Minor.
That would be plausible and useful.
Post by Alex Milman
How about an alliance with the Fatimid Caliphate against Baghdad?
Also perhaps plausible.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-09-22 19:03:35 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
So it seems that the plausible option could be one with the following
(a) The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of attracting
so many prominent personalities. Instead, it is something more modest and
closer to the goals of Alexis: fighting the Seljuks. As a result, the
Empire gets back Asia Minor with a complete destruction and reconquest of the
Sultanate of Rum with its territories getting back to the Empire. There
are few new Latin states on the Eastern/Southern border (including Armenian
Cilicia) and Trebizond on the North-East (it was already de facto independent
at that time).
_Latin_ Trebizond?
Or is that just an unintended implication?
I was not quite clear when formulating. The intended schema looks as following
(North to South):

Trebizond - a vassal state or a semi-independent province of the Empire with
its own ruler (pretty much as in OTL) on the Black Sea coast.

Armenian Cilicia - either fully independent of Byzantine vassal (but in both
cases looking for Byzantine help)

The Latin principalities WITHOUT Kingdom of Jerusalem. These states can be
formally Byzantine vassals (as was initially intended) but pretty much
independent.
Post by Rich Rostrom
(I.e. Armenian Cilicia is also mentioned but of course would not
be Latin.)
Post by Alex Milman
Jerusalem is NOT reached and conquered...
Perhaps the 1st Crusade is overwhelmed and destroyed by
Kerbogha at Antioch. The survivors retreat north of the
Taurus Mountains, and become Byzantine vassals on lands
won from the Turks.
Good scenario. Or they simply "run out of steam" while crossing Anatolia
and the best thing they can do is to establish few peripheral principalities
that depend on Byzantine by various reasons: Edessa does not have a sea
access so the new arrivals 9necessary for survival) can come either through
Antioch (by sea) or through Byzantine territory. Antioch and Tripoli may
need Byzantine military help, especially if they want to expand, and Antioch,
AFAIK, is a part of the trade route going to Constantinople.

In both cases we have to assume that whatever stopped the Crusaders took place
AFTER Asia Minor is cleared from the Seljuks (either completely or almost
completely) and the Empire is capable of holding these territories. How about
one or two more Latin states along the Eastern edge of the Anatolia (to the
North from Edessa)? Or, say, significant expansion of Edessa, Antioch and
Tripoli comparing to OTL?
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
(b) The Byzantines are actively pursuing de-Islamization of the Asia Minor
(IIRC, by the time of the 1st Crusade there were still numerous Christians
left in the area).
There were still numerous Christians left in Asia Minor
in _1914_ (Greeks and Armenians); even in 1920 (millions
of Greeks were deported after the Turkish victory). It's
highly plausible that ca 1100, the Moslem presence was
still small enough to be eliminated completely if the
Byzantines work at it.
AFAIK, the Sejuks in Anatolia amounted even need in a COMPLETE
de-Islamization, just in re-conversion of a significant majority:
it does not look like the Byzantines had been excessively fanatical
in their dealings with the Muslim neighbors: they had been routinely
establishing alliances and used them as the mercenaries. As a side
thought, if they had been half as flexible with the Catholics, they
could avoid quite a few problems (could they survive the Ottomans?
I'm not sure).
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
(e) On a wake of the "alt-1st Crusade" the Empire and Georgia are engaged in
the anti-Seljuk war resulting in a further destruction of the Seljuk emirates.
In OTL the Seljuk-Georgian Wars happened in the early 1200's ending with the
Seljuk defeat and a loss of the Caucasus territories. Let's assume that this
happens few decades earlier and strengthens Byzantine hold of Asia Minor.
That would be plausible and useful.
Prior to the Mongolian conquest Georgia managed to kick the Seljuks out the
Caucasus with a resulting territory (including the dependent areas) few times
bigger than a modern state (just out of curiosity, look at the map:
https://www.google.com/search?q=georgia+xii+century+map&tbm=isch&imgil=yFy47G-FkBSOIM%253A%253Bk45Vde4Zdi5fzM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.conflicts.rem33.com%25252Fimages%25252FGeorgia%25252Fgeor_histr%252525252021.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=yFy47G-FkBSOIM%253A%252Ck45Vde4Zdi5fzM%252C_&usg=__FJ4WvTeap3o9q8aSbxhRrNJkGng%3D&biw=1179&bih=542&dpr=1.5&ved=0ahUKEwjb2vWLqrnWAhVB4oMKHTvWBt8QyjcIMw&ei=z0nFWZu3CsHEjwS7rJv4DQ#imgrc=yFy47G-FkBSOIM:)
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
How about an alliance with the Fatimid Caliphate against Baghdad?
Also perhaps plausible.
Now comes one more interesting factor. In OTL by the time of the 1st Crusade
Caliphate was pretty much a toy of the Seljuk sultans but starting from the
early XII century the Caliphs began to build up their own military force
and eventually regained independence. In ATL the Seljuks are greatly weakened
by the defeat in Anatolia which provides opening to (at least) couple scenarios:

(a) Byzantines and Latin states are allying with the Fatimids, squeezing the
Seljuks and Baghdad Caliphate from North and South. By that time Fatimids were
losing their positions in Levant to the Seljuks so the alliance is quite natural
(and did exist in OTL, at least in X century). If the Fatimids manage to
regain control over the "Holy places", there always can be arrangements for
a secure pilgrimage (as after the 3rd Crusade). If the schema is successful,
the Seljuks are squeezed to the territories of modern Iraq and eastward
(Iran, Transoxiana, etc.). As a byproduct, Shirkuh (Seljuk general of Kurdinsh
descent) is not invited to Egypt in 1167 (the Seljuks are already out of the
area), does not become a vizier and is not succeeded in that position by his
nephew who made himself a Sultan of Egypt and Egypt and Egypt a part of the
Abbasid Caliphate.


(b) Byzantines are supporting Caliphate of Baghdad against the Seljuk Empire.
IMO, this would be a much riskier schema both militarily and geographically
but it could have certain advantages, if successful, by pitting Caliphate of
Baghdad against the shrunken Seljuk Empire. Something of the kind happened in
OTL when Caliphate was at war with the Khwarazm Empire in the early XIII; caliph
refused to recognize Muhammad II as a shah, and MII launched an expedition that
failed due to a blizzard. The fun would most probably continued if not a new
factor called "Genghis Khan".

Now, when we have this framework, there are few obvious questions:

Would it prevent the future crusades?

After the Seljuks are squeezed out and generally weakened Byzantine Empire may consider the future alliance with the Fatimid Caliphate unnecessary so it
is OK to maintain a land route to the alt-Outremer and support crusading
activities there all the way to a possible conquest of Jerusalem. It is a big
question if the already existing Latin principalities are going to declare
themselves vassals of the newly created Kingdom of Jerusalem (or whatever) but
they may be interested in their own expansion (and a resulting hold on the
important trade routes and ports bringing as the sources of steady income) in
which case they'd need to find some ideological and/or "economic" reasons for
the armed pilgrims coming their direction. Looting of the rich areas Eastward
may be quite attractive (OTOH, Jerusalem was a purely "ideological" point of
interest". However, "Drang Nach Osten" in this scenario has serious limitations:
the further Eastward the crusaders go, the more problems they have with all
types of logistics.

OTOH, advancement Southwards along the coast seems to be more logical
ideologically, economically and logistically: it happens in a coastal area so,
if the Venetians and/or Genovese are cooperating (for trade privileges), there
is a naval support for the operations and the sea routes for supplies and
reinforcement which make Byzantine help not too critical. And the ports are
an important source of income so you are going to get some profits to support
the further activities.

Potentially, the crusaders MAY end up with the possession of the coastal part
of Egypt (if they are led by someone with more brains than St. Louis had) but
what about their ability to maintain their possession? One of the important
factors: control of the ports will mean control of the slave trade which means
control of ability to get new Mamelukes, which means control (to a certain
degree) of the ability to resist.
The Horny Goat
2017-09-23 02:46:00 UTC
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On Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:03:35 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Potentially, the crusaders MAY end up with the possession of the coastal pa=
rt
of Egypt (if they are led by someone with more brains than St. Louis had) b=
ut
what about their ability to maintain their possession? One of the important
factors: control of the ports will mean control of the slave trade which me=
ans
control of ability to get new Mamelukes, which means control (to a certain
degree) of the ability to resist.=20
It would be relevant to note that the Romans had a canal from the Nile
to the Red Sea and that by the time of the early Byzantines it had
been abandoned and silted up. Is there any reasonable WI that would
have left it operational or at least easily restoreable by the time of
the early Italian naval powers like Venice?

For sure having a secure resupply route from Italy to the central Red
Sea would have made the scenario of crusaders advancing south along
the Arabian peninsula more plausible. (Though such an invasion route
by Justinian or his successors would have completely bollixed the
early days of Islam if not destroyed it altogether)
Alex Milman
2017-09-23 14:20:31 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:03:35 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Potentially, the crusaders MAY end up with the possession of the coastal pa=
rt
of Egypt (if they are led by someone with more brains than St. Louis had) b=
ut
what about their ability to maintain their possession? One of the important
factors: control of the ports will mean control of the slave trade which me=
ans
control of ability to get new Mamelukes, which means control (to a certain
degree) of the ability to resist.=20
It would be relevant to note that the Romans had a canal from the Nile
to the Red Sea and that by the time of the early Byzantines it had
been abandoned and silted up. Is there any reasonable WI that would
have left it operational or at least easily restoreable by the time of
the early Italian naval powers like Venice?
Highly unlikely but there was no need: AFAIK, for centuries the routine of
unloading, carrying to another sea and loading was working just fine.
Post by The Horny Goat
For sure having a secure resupply route from Italy to the central Red
Sea would have made the scenario of crusaders advancing south along
the Arabian peninsula more plausible.
I'm not sure why would the crusaders develop any intention to march anywhere
in the Arabian peninsula. No holy places and no loot there.
Post by The Horny Goat
(Though such an invasion route
by Justinian or his successors would have completely bollixed the
early days of Islam if not destroyed it altogether)
Rich Rostrom
2017-09-23 04:26:13 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
In both cases we have to assume that whatever stopped the Crusaders took place
AFTER Asia Minor is cleared from the Seljuks (either completely or almost
completely) and the Empire is capable of holding these territories.
This is tricky - the Crusaders were willing to cross Asia Minor,
and smash any paynim that got in their way or challenged them;
but their definite interest was to press on to Jerusalem. So I
don't see them spending much time north of the Taurus, once the
Seljuks have been thrashed.
Post by Alex Milman
How about one or two more Latin states along the
Eastern edge of the Anatolia (to the North from
Edessa)?
AIUI, the Taurus is the bound of Anatolia - across it
is Mesopotamia.
Post by Alex Milman
Or, say, significant expansion of Edessa,
Antioch and Tripoli comparing to OTL?
There really isn't much room for expansion unless the
Crusaders take Aleppo or Damascus/
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
There were still numerous Christians left in Asia Minor
in _1914_ (Greeks and Armenians); even in 1920 (millions
of Greeks were deported after the Turkish victory). It's
highly plausible that ca 1100, the Moslem presence was
still small enough to be eliminated completely if the
Byzantines work at it.
AFAIK, the Sejuks in Anatolia amounted even need in a COMPLETE
de-Islamization...
I'm afraid this sentence is garbled.
I would disagree - any Seljuk presence is a "camel's
nose", both politically and demographically.
Post by Alex Milman
it does not look like the Byzantines had been excessively fanatical
in their dealings with the Muslim neighbors: they had been routinely
establishing alliances and used them as the mercenaries. As a side
thought, if they had been half as flexible with the Catholics, they
could avoid quite a few problems (could they survive the Ottomans?
I'm not sure).
As was often the case, the Byzantines feared rival
Christianity more than an entirely different faith.
In the final days of the Eastern Empire, the Pope
offered to summon a new Crusade to save Byzantium.
There was just one little condition - the Greeks had
to accept the supremacy of Rome and conform to Roman
theological dogma. The offer was indignantly rejected:
one prominent Byzantine cried "Better the turban of
the Turk than the tiara of the Pope!"
Post by Alex Milman
...Looting of the rich areas Eastward may be quite
attractive However, "Drang Nach Osten" in this
scenario has serious limitations: the further
Eastward the crusaders go, the more problems they
have with all types of logistics.
AFAICT, the Crusaders had no hope of venturing further
from the Mediterranean. Aside from Edessa, which didn't
last long, all their holdings were on the coast. (They
pushed east to the Jordan and a little beyond it, but
east of there is barren desert, which meant no threats
from that direction.)
Post by Alex Milman
Potentially, the crusaders MAY end up with the
possession of the coastal part of Egypt (if they are
led by someone with more brains than St. Louis had)
but what about their ability to maintain their
possession?
I have grave doubts about their taking it, and even
more about holding it. Egypt's population is massive
compared to the rest of the region. The one possibility
would be if they could make common cause with the
Coptic Christian population. But the Crusaders don't
seem to have been very good at _allying_ with Eastern
Christians.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-09-23 16:55:28 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
In both cases we have to assume that whatever stopped the Crusaders took place
AFTER Asia Minor is cleared from the Seljuks (either completely or almost
completely) and the Empire is capable of holding these territories.
This is tricky - the Crusaders were willing to cross Asia Minor,
and smash any paynim that got in their way or challenged them;
but their definite interest was to press on to Jerusalem. So I
don't see them spending much time north of the Taurus, once the
Seljuks have been thrashed.
Well, this is why I introduced change at the very beginning:

"The 1st Crusade is not as successful as it was in the terms of attracting
so many prominent personalities. Instead, it is something more modest and
closer to the goals of Alexis: fighting the Seljuks."

In that scenario Jerusalem is out of the Crusadres' reach but they are still
capable of fighting the Muslims (which was a right thing to do as far as the
Catholic Church was involved).
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
How about one or two more Latin states along the
Eastern edge of the Anatolia (to the North from
Edessa)?
AIUI, the Taurus is the bound of Anatolia - across it
is Mesopotamia.
(
https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=AHedy%2fc6&id=4541C040E0947AB9A3CB0417C7DA18CA842D696D&thid=OIP.AHedy_c6k7Y9fAo8h_YpxAEsDB&q=turkey+map&simid=608034377195589210&selectedIndex=7&ajaxhist=0 )

Judging by the map, the Taurus Mountains are on the Southern
border of Anatolia with a lot of space to the East if we are
talking about the Sultanate of Rum (all the way to Armenia).
The fact that "oops, we are in Mesopotamia" was hardly a serious stopping
point to any of the conquerors. :-)
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
Or, say, significant expansion of Edessa,
Antioch and Tripoli comparing to OTL?
There really isn't much room for expansion unless the
Crusaders take Aleppo or Damascus/
Aleppo was within a spitting distance from Principality of
Antioch with a possibility of a further expansion all the way
to Euphrates.
County of Edessa can expand along the left bank of Euphrates.

Damascus is more or less irrelevant in alt-Outremer because there is no
Kingdom of Jerusalem and its closest neighbor, County of Tripoli,
is far away. The natural way of expansion for Tripoli (resources permitting)
would be conquest of the important ports to the South: Sidon, Tyre, Acre.
Besides improved logistics, they could provide income from trade/piracy.

If we "create" couple more principalities to the North from Edessa, they could
expand Eastward or Northward. Of course, the obvious issue would be resources:
they are too far from any coast and would need a permanent flow of the newcomers
through the Empire: unless there is something truly valuable on these
territories, the stimulus is simply not there. OTOH, if the region East from
Anatolia descends into a complete mess, then the small entities can survive
for a while just by having a reasonably powerful military elite. Something of
the kind happened after the Sultanate of Rum disintegrated into the small
beyliks out of one of which eventually grew the Ottoman Empire (of course,
this happened in Anatolia but why couldn't it happen to the East of it?)
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Rich Rostrom
There were still numerous Christians left in Asia Minor
in _1914_ (Greeks and Armenians); even in 1920 (millions
of Greeks were deported after the Turkish victory). It's
highly plausible that ca 1100, the Moslem presence was
still small enough to be eliminated completely if the
Byzantines work at it.
AFAIK, the Sejuks in Anatolia amounted even need in a COMPLETE
de-Islamization...
I'm afraid this sentence is garbled.
Yes, my <whatever> sometimes behaves in the mysterious ways and I missed this
one until it was too late.

It should be:

"AFAIK, the Sejuks in Anatolia amounted mostly to a ruling military elite
so there would not be even need in a COMPLETE de-Islamization..."
Post by Rich Rostrom
I would disagree - any Seljuk presence is a "camel's
nose", both politically and demographically.
You are soooo cruel. :-)

Most of the Muslims in the area were not the Seljuks so, while a complete
extermination/expulsion of the Seljuks would make certain sense, the same
may not necessarily apply to the not-Seljuk Muslims, providing they are a
clear minority. Actually, keeping in mind the habits of the time, there is
a distinct possibility (well, in ATL) of leaving SOME Seljuk leaders and
their bands in approximately the same position as later the "service" Tatars
in the Muscovite state: they are given the lands on the condition of service.
Demographically, they are too few to make a serious trouble but are a valuable
military asset and, IF the analogy is applicable, can be quite reliable even
against other Turks.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
it does not look like the Byzantines had been excessively fanatical
in their dealings with the Muslim neighbors: they had been routinely
establishing alliances and used them as the mercenaries. As a side
thought, if they had been half as flexible with the Catholics, they
could avoid quite a few problems (could they survive the Ottomans?
I'm not sure).
As was often the case, the Byzantines feared rival
Christianity more than an entirely different faith.
Yes. The same applies to the Russian Orthodoxy: the Muslims were
OK but the "heretics" had been looked upon with an extreme
suspicion. Not sure how and if this was the case with the Catholics
as well.
Post by Rich Rostrom
In the final days of the Eastern Empire, the Pope
offered to summon a new Crusade to save Byzantium.
There was just one little condition - the Greeks had
to accept the supremacy of Rome and conform to Roman
one prominent Byzantine cried "Better the turban of
the Turk than the tiara of the Pope!"
Much later this slogan had been picked up by the
Dutch Geuzen: LIVER TVRCX DAN PAVS ("Rather Turkish than Papist")
and they even used a crescent as their badges (
Loading Image...
)

From a purely practical point of view, outside of the initial loot, the
Greek Church had been loosing very little and even gained because the Ottomans
fully subdued the Bulgarian Church to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
OTOH, acceptance of the Latin Creed would mean that Patriarchate of
Constantinople is subdued to the "Bishops of Rome", which was a serious loss
of prestige.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
...Looting of the rich areas Eastward may be quite
attractive However, "Drang Nach Osten" in this
scenario has serious limitations: the further
Eastward the crusaders go, the more problems they
have with all types of logistics.
AFAICT, the Crusaders had no hope of venturing further
from the Mediterranean.
They did not in OTL because the Seljuks remained too powerful.
In ATL we are assuming that they suffered a major blow and
pushed out of a much greater territory than in OTL (where they
lost very little territory-wise). Also, in OTL the Crusaders had
been somewhat stuck with the area of Jerusalem which, as I understand,
was a dead end in all senses besides a purely religious one (no trade
routes anywhere close, not too much of an agricultural land, etc.).

If this is not a major consideration (freedom of travel and Christian
ownership of the holy places being guaranteed by the Fatimids), they
are more free to concentrate on just killing the Muslims (and looting).
With Byzantine empire regaining all Anatolia and Seljuks being
weakened, the crusading push to the East could be a reality, within
reasonable limits. IIRC, at least some of the important trade routes
had been passing not far away even from OTL Outremer (Aleppo being
an important city, AFAIK) and their capture would mean steady income
(besides the immediate loot).

Of course, it would be unrealistic to imagine the crusaders marching all
the way to Baghdad and even Damascus is a questionable goal.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Aside from Edessa, which didn't
last long, all their holdings were on the coast. (They
pushed east to the Jordan and a little beyond it, but
east of there is barren desert, which meant no threats
from that direction.)
Indeed, because their push was too far to the South leading
absolutely nowhere. As I already said, fixation on the Jerusalem
area was a dead end.

More resources devoted to the North may provide possession of the
cities on the important trade routes with a resulting income allowing
to attract the newcomers (short and long term).
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
Potentially, the crusaders MAY end up with the
possession of the coastal part of Egypt (if they are
led by someone with more brains than St. Louis had)
but what about their ability to maintain their
possession?
I have grave doubts about their taking it, and even
more about holding it.
Welcome to the club. :-)

However, if the option realistically existed (aka, did not require the ASBs)
it can be considered even if its chances had been slim.

Members of the 5th Crusade and after them St. Louis started with Damietta. As I
understand, the 5th people were marching there from the Holy Land so it did make some sense while St. Louis landed there which did no make sense. In both
cases they had problems with marching toward Cairo through the Nile River
Delta due to the combination of a rising Nile and a summer heat and in both
cases ended up being defeated and captured.

Needless to say that most of the Nile-related problems could be avoided if
St. Louis studied military history and followed Napoleon's example by landing
in Alexandria (:-)) after which he could keep marching upstream along the bank
all the way to Cairo (or wherever) having his left flank secured by the river
with a possible support of at least some of his ships rowing upstream.

Of course, such an operation would require an active cooperation of at least
one of the naval power and of some serious European power (France?) to
supply the necessary numbers and a reasonably unified leadership under a
figure of the unquestionable authority (preferably not a complete moron).
If by that time the County to Tripoli already captured the coastal ports of
Levant (or rather made an agreement with these cities), the additional naval
forces may come from there.

Then, the intended goal of the expedition should be made reasonably clear
because it is one thing to capture one or two major ports in the Delta
(and perhaps Cairo as well) and keep them for a while and quite different to
try to conquer the whole country. OTOH, holding to the territory between
Delta and Cairo would mean a de facto control of Egypt.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Egypt's population is massive
compared to the rest of the region.
True, but let's not get confused with the current realities.

In context of this ATL we are talking about the Fatimid Caliphate
which included territories outside Egypt but this does not tell us
too much about the size of its army.

Military system of the Caliphate had been based on the ethnic groups:
"the Berbers were usually the light cavalry and foot skirmishers, while the Turks were the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks). The black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatimid_Caliphate#Military_system

Between 1060 and 1070's there was a prolonged war between these groups which
ended with an ascendency of the Turkish faction and a serious weakening of
the Caliphate. By the time we are talking about (probably late XI - early
XII century), the main forces would be the Mamluks, contingents from Syria
and perhaps some Berbers (the Sudanese were on a wrong side of the war).
As you understand, none of those had too much to do with the population of
Egypt (except that some of the Mamluks were enslaved Copts). Can't say how
many of these military groups had been REALLY available by the early
XII. At the Battle of Al Mansurah (1250, 7th Crusade, St.Louis) they
presumably had 4,600 cavalry including Mamluks and approximately 6K of infantry.
Post by Rich Rostrom
The one possibility
would be if they could make common cause with the
Coptic Christian population. But the Crusaders don't
seem to have been very good at _allying_ with Eastern
Christians.
The Crusaders rarely were very good at anything besides the headlong
attacks. Among other things, they missed a perfect opportunity to
join forces with the Mongols, chose the wrong side to support and
had been exterminated afterwards (as a show of gratitude).

However, to be fair, there had been rather interesting political twists
showing that they could do "interesting" things: During the 5th Crusade the Crusaders formed an alliance with Kaykaus I of the Seljuk sultanate of Rum. Kaykaus attacked the Ayyubids in Syria so that the Crusaders wouldn't have to fight on two fronts. Of course, when being offered to exchange Damietta (which
they were besieging) for Jerusalem they refused and ended up being surrounded
and forced to surrender.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-23 17:36:00 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
unless there is something truly valuable on these
territories, the stimulus is simply not there.
I think you may have underestimated the desire for landholdings there
was among younger sons of nobles. There were limits on the opportunities
available for them.
Alex Milman
2017-09-23 21:58:37 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Alex Milman
unless there is something truly valuable on these
territories, the stimulus is simply not there.
I think you may have underestimated the desire for landholdings there
was among younger sons of nobles. There were limits on the opportunities
available for them.
Of course, there were limits for them in Europe. However, possession of a
sand dune or a piece of a rock hardly was something they aspire to get
which, among other things, eventually cut off the flow of enthusiasts into
OTL Outremer because most of the area was falling into either sandy or rocky
category.

So, there could be 2 types of the attractive options for those who wanted to
settle:

1st, a good chance to get a piece of a land with some peasants on it (meaning
the land capable of producing some agricultural products).

2nd, get into the service of a local ruler capable to provide a regular pay.
In this case expansion of ruler's principality may improve chances of payment
if it involved control over some important trade route of city.

There was, of course, an additional option of simply looting the caravans
but this option may not be very rewarding for the free lancers because they
most probably would be chased both by the Christian and Muslim rulers, and
by the native competitors. Not to mention that they'd need some place to
stay and to be supplies, connections for selling the loot and a good knowledge
of the area.

These options were important for those willing to settle. For those just
visiting, an important thing would be a looting potential (we are talking
about the areas away from the holy places), which means that they'd willingly
participate in the expedition against some rich city or a densely populated
(and relatively rich) area which most often would imply something related to
the trade routes and/or centers.
The Horny Goat
2017-09-21 00:35:56 UTC
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On Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:22:00 -0500, Ned Latham
Post by Ned Latham
OTOH, in 600 CE and until Manzikert, it still had consideravle
strength, and defensible borders. With good management and
an absence of treachery such as that of Andronikos Doukas at
Manzikert, it could perhaps have held itself together more or
less indefinitely.
I'm not at all convinced of that since something like a Manzikert type
disaster could have occured pretty much any time during the period of
200 years earlier or 200 years later and the Byzantines would have
little ability to recover.

Sure the Byzantines could have "rolled 6's" for a thousand years but
the first time they have a catastrophic failure (for instance such as
Rome suffered several times from Julius Caesar through Justinian - I
would argue the whole issue of Palmyra was as least as great a
disaster for Rome as Manzikert much later) they are in an economic
death spiral.

Obviously I could cite several other historical parallels but the
career of Justinian is pretty much the only time in Byzantine history
where a major comeback took place.
Ned Latham
2017-09-21 01:46:13 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
OTOH, in 800 CE and until Manzikert, it still had consideravle
strength, and defensible borders. With good management and
an absence of treachery such as that of Andronikos Doukas at
Manzikert, it could perhaps have held itself together more or
less indefinitely.
I'm not at all convinced of that since something like a Manzikert
type disaster could have occured pretty much any time
Rubbish. There were plenty of disasters, but the Doukas family, and
treachery such as Andronikos's, were absent for most of Rome's history.

----snip----
Post by The Horny Goat
Sure the Byzantines could have "rolled 6's" for a thousand years but
the first time they have a catastrophic failure
Manzikert was more than just a catastrophic failure. Arslan's use of
the capture of Diogenes was a master stroke, destabilising the Roman
government and resulting in the permanent loss of Rome's heartland.
The nearest thing to that in Rome's history is Cannae. Even that pales
in comparison.
Post by The Horny Goat
(for instance such as
Rome suffered several times from Julius Caesar through Justinian - I
would argue the whole issue of Palmyra was as least as great a
disaster for Rome as Manzikert much later)
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Post by The Horny Goat
they are in an economic death spiral.
After Manzikert, not before.
Post by The Horny Goat
Obviously I could cite several other historical parallels but the
career of Justinian is pretty much the only time in Byzantine history
where a major comeback took place.
It was no such thing. It was illusory, a misuse of resources so
profound that its wastage almost brought the empire down.
Alex Milman
2017-09-21 02:42:23 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
Manzikert was more than just a catastrophic failure. Arslan's use of
the capture of Diogenes was a master stroke, destabilising the Roman
government and resulting in the permanent loss of Rome's heartland.
The nearest thing to that in Rome's history is Cannae. Even that pales
in comparison.
Well, based strictly on what you wrote, Manzikert would be a relatively
minor thing beyond a purely military aspect which, as everybody knows, was
the case with the Cannae: a military defeat was terrible but its effects
except for a short run were negligible. The Roman state was not shaken,
the army structure did not pass through any serious changes, the new armies had been raised, Hannibal kept hanging around for a while but he was becoming less
and less important and the whole thing ended up with the Roman victory and
increased hegemony over the Mediterranean World.

If anything, a "catastrophic failure" was a Battle of Arausio because it
triggered reforms of Gaius Marius and opened which paved the way to the Empire
(not sure if this could be considered as a catastrophic event but at least it
started the fall of the Roman Republic).

Or the Battle of Adrianople (9 August 378) is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century
(even if it was fought by the Eastern Empire with an emperor being killed).

So it is anything but clear in which sense your parallel is applicable.
Ned Latham
2017-09-21 06:53:56 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
Post by Ned Latham
Manzikert was more than just a catastrophic failure. Arslan's use of
the capture of Diogenes was a master stroke, destabilising the Roman
government and resulting in the permanent loss of Rome's heartland.
The nearest thing to that in Rome's history is Cannae. Even that pales
in comparison.
Well, based strictly on what you wrote, Manzikert would be a relatively
minor thing beyond a purely military aspect
Where were you taught logic? Behind the bicycle shed?
Post by Alex Milman
which, as everybody knows, was the case with the Cannae: a military
defeat was terrible but its effects except for a short run were
negligible.
That's why I said that it "pales in comparison".
Post by Alex Milman
So it is anything but clear in which sense your parallel is applicable.
It's not a parallel. It's a statement that there is *no* parallel.
Adrianopolis also pales in comparison.
Alex Milman
2017-09-21 16:12:24 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Ned Latham
Manzikert was more than just a catastrophic failure. Arslan's use of
the capture of Diogenes was a master stroke, destabilising the Roman
government and resulting in the permanent loss of Rome's heartland.
The nearest thing to that in Rome's history is Cannae. Even that pales
in comparison.
Well, based strictly on what you wrote, Manzikert would be a relatively
minor thing beyond a purely military aspect
Where were you taught logic?
The "logic" is yours: you compared Manzikert to the Cannae, which was quite silly on more than one account.
Post by Ned Latham
Behind the bicycle shed?\
You'll well advised to watch your manners and language.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by Alex Milman
which, as everybody knows, was the case with the Cannae: a military
defeat was terrible but its effects except for a short run were
negligible.
That's why I said that it "pales in comparison".
Nice try but the idiocy stays: "pale in comparison" means pretty much nothing
because there is a long list of things that "pale in comparison" while not
being a major disaster.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by Alex Milman
So it is anything but clear in which sense your parallel is applicable.
It's not a parallel. It's a statement that there is *no* parallel.
As a statement, it is, to use your own word, a rubbish.
Post by Ned Latham
Adrianopolis also pales in comparison.
It is your opinion but based on what you already wrote your opinions do not
amount of too much.
Ned Latham
2017-09-21 21:13:16 UTC
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----posaturing idiocy snipped----
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Ned Latham
Where were you taught logic?
Behind the bicycle shed?\
You'll well advised to watch your manners and language.
You don't have the wgerewithal to figve adice.

----morew posturubf idiocty xnipped----
Alex Milman
2017-09-22 19:11:13 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
----posaturing idiocy snipped----
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Ned Latham
Where were you taught logic?
Behind the bicycle shed?\
You'll well advised to watch your manners and language.
You don't have the wgerewithal to figve adice.
----morew posturubf idiocty xnipped----
There was no need to confirm the obvious fact that you are illiterate moron.
Ned Latham
2017-09-22 20:39:07 UTC
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Alex Milman wrote:"
Post by Alex Milman
----posturing idiocy snipped----
Post by Alex Milman
Post by Ned Latham
Where were you taught logic?
Behind the bicycle shed?\
You'll well advised to watch your manners and language.
You don't have the wherewithal to give adice.
----more posturing idiocty xnipped----
There was no need to confirm the obvious fact that you are illiterate moron.
Pffft.
kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
2017-09-21 09:28:00 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose name I forget where an
Eastern Roman army was wiped out. Also the Teutenberger Wald had three
legions being totally destroyed.
Ned Latham
2017-09-21 14:55:21 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose name I forget
Some parallel.
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
where an Eastern Roman army was wiped out.
Wipeouts happen. In no other was a consecrated emperor captured
then used as a pawn to destabilise Roman government and thus help
with the conquest of the Roman heartland.
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Also the Teutenberger Wald had three legions being totally destroyed.
And Audustus was safe in Rome.
The Horny Goat
2017-09-21 16:38:32 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose name I forget where an
Eastern Roman army was wiped out. Also the Teutenberger Wald had three
legions being totally destroyed.
This is why I specifically compared Manzikert as something the Eastern
Roman Empire no longer had the strength to recover from while Rome in
its prime had repeatedly recovered from major disasters - Cannae, the
Teutenberger Wald, Palmyra and more.

Later disasters like Manzikert and the Crusader sack of 1204 just were
simply brutal to recover from and in the end led directly to 1453
(which could have happened pretty much any time during the previous 50
years)
Alex Milman
2017-09-21 17:54:37 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose name I forget where an
Eastern Roman army was wiped out. Also the Teutenberger Wald had three
legions being totally destroyed.
This is why I specifically compared Manzikert as something the Eastern
Roman Empire no longer had the strength to recover from while Rome in
its prime had repeatedly recovered from major disasters - Cannae, the
Teutenberger Wald, Palmyra and more.
Well, you used the magic words "Rome in its prime". :-)

Manzikert and Adrianopolis became so prominent because in both cases the
state (Eastern or Western Empire) was already NOT in its prime and the defeat
(in the terms of significance) was more of a symptom than a cause. Needless to
say that the Western Empire fell much faster after Adrianopolis than the
Eastern after Manzikert (so which one would be more "catastrophic"?).

So the key question is: was Byzantine Empire "in its prime" before Manzikert?
By 1067 it already lost Armenia and Georgia to the Seljuks and in 1068 their
army was defeated in Syria (and its commander captured) and Byzantine campaign
that ended at Manzikert was an attempt to recover Armenia (in violation of a
truce) while Alp Arslan was attacking Fatimid-held Aleppo.

As far as the territory is involved, the Empire hold, even after Manzikert,
modern Greece, Bulgaria, most of the former Yugoslavia, a part of Romania
and most of the coastal part of the modern Turkey plus some islands on the Med
(Loading Image...).

The fact that the Empire relied (allegedly) so heavily on recruiting from
Asia Minor is probably indicative of the general problems within the Empire.
Why not upon the Greeks?

But at Manzikert number of the professional troops from the Western provinces
(5K) was seemingly approximately the same as those from the Eastern provinces.
It also looks like the army included numerous foreign mercenaries: 500 Frankish
and Norman mercenaries under Roussel de Bailleul; some Turkic (Uz and Pecheneg) and Bulgarian mercenaries, and a contingent of Georgian and Armenian troops.
If the total numbers amount to 40K (I have doubts about 70K), proportion of
the mercenary troops of various types has to be quite high while their
reliability was probably quite low: the Turkic tropps, IIRC, defected, and
de Bailleul refused to join a battle. Not only didn't this disqualify him
from a further service but soon afterwards he was sent into Asia Minor again with a force of 3,000 Franco-Norman heavy cavalry. There Roussel conquered some territory in Galatia and declared it an independent state in 1073 (with the
capital in Ankara), with himself as prince after which he went against the
Empire and Michael VII persuaded the Seljuk warlord Tutush I to remove
Roussel by formally ceding lands that the Seljuk Turks had actually conquered.
Later he was again on Byzantine service, behave treacherously again, was
captured again, released again, given command again, joined rebellion, defeated
with the help of Seljuks and eventually executed.

Now, the very fact that a reasonably small number of the Western cavalry was
an important part of the imperial army and a heavy reliance upon the nomadic
mercenaries tells a lot about general quality of that army ("declining" would be a generous assessment).
Post by The Horny Goat
Later disasters like Manzikert and the Crusader sack of 1204 just were
simply brutal to recover from and in the end led directly to 1453
If the state is healthy, it can recover from the major disasters and keep
growing. Look at the Ottomans after defeat at Ankara.
Post by The Horny Goat
(which could have happened pretty much any time during the previous 50
years)
Well, an "agony" that lasted for 2.5 centuries... :-)

Then again, the final fall involved a factor that was not there in the XI
century, the Ottomans, and taking into an account that by 1453 the Ottomans
already managed to conquer all immediate Byzantine neighbors and scored the
major victories over the "West" at Nikopolis and Varna and kept growing all
the way to the XVII century, the "fall" does not look too pathetic (Loading Image.... )
The Horny Goat
2017-09-21 22:45:35 UTC
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On Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:54:37 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Well, you used the magic words "Rome in its prime". :-)
Manzikert and Adrianopolis became so prominent because in both cases the
state (Eastern or Western Empire) was already NOT in its prime and the defeat
(in the terms of significance) was more of a symptom than a cause. Needless to
say that the Western Empire fell much faster after Adrianopolis than the
Eastern after Manzikert (so which one would be more "catastrophic"?).
So the key question is: was Byzantine Empire "in its prime" before Manzikert?
By 1067 it already lost Armenia and Georgia to the Seljuks and in 1068 their
army was defeated in Syria (and its commander captured) and Byzantine campaign
that ended at Manzikert was an attempt to recover Armenia (in violation of a
truce) while Alp Arslan was attacking Fatimid-held Aleppo.
As far as the territory is involved, the Empire hold, even after Manzikert,
modern Greece, Bulgaria, most of the former Yugoslavia, a part of Romania
and most of the coastal part of the modern Turkey plus some islands on the Med
(https://www.istanbulclues.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Selcuk-Empire.jpg).
In my personal opinion "Rome in its Prime" was pretty much from the
end of the Second Punic War till the death of Constantine. As someone
said a couple of days ago the gains of Justinian were fairly
unsustainable and overstretched the Roman economy. Not sure I'd
describe the Justinian's reign as a disaster as some have but it
didn't last long-term. Notwithstanding the present AHC, in my personal
opinion the best chance for the Byzantines to take and hold the entire
east coast of the Red Sea (e.g. as far south as Yemen the idea being
to nip Islam in the cradle) it's in Justinian's time not in the 11th
century. Even a "Cannae" at Manzikert is probably too late.

My personal view is such a decisive Roman victory there would be as
likely as a successful 1940 Sealion base on Charleton Heston as Moses
(from the 10 Commandments) parting the English Channel to let the
paners cross on dry ground - that is to say most unlikely at all!
Rich Rostrom
2017-09-22 04:10:03 UTC
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Post by Alex Milman
If the state is healthy, it can recover from the
major disasters and keep growing. Look at the
Ottomans after defeat at Ankara.
Or Hungary after Sajo River.

Or France after Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-09-22 19:09:23 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Alex Milman
If the state is healthy, it can recover from the
major disasters and keep growing. Look at the
Ottomans after defeat at Ankara.
Or Hungary after Sajo River.
Or France after Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt.
Exactly.

But if state is in a decline even a victory is just a postponement of the
inevitable crash like Battle of the Catalaunian Plains for the Western
Empire.
Rich Rostrom
2017-09-22 03:38:31 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose
name I forget where an Eastern Roman army was wiped out.
In 1400, there was no Eastern Roman field army,
AFAIK. The Byzantines could only garrison their
last few strongholds. The City would have fallen
a few years later if Timur had not invaded the
Ottoman realm.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Alex Milman
2017-09-22 20:24:40 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Ned Latham
Again, rubbish. Manzikert was unique in Roman history.
Actually no, about 1400 there was a battle whose
name I forget where an Eastern Roman army was wiped out.
In 1400, there was no Eastern Roman field army,
AFAIK.
Perhaps Ken was thinking about the battle of Nicopolis in 1396?
Of course no Byzantine troops participated but it was the end of
Crusade called by Manuel II.
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Byzantines could only garrison their
last few strongholds. The City would have fallen
a few years later if Timur had not invaded the
Ottoman realm.
As a result of which the Byzantines were able to recover Thessalonika and
much of the Peloponnese (which they lost as soon as the Ottomans recovered).
Rob
2017-09-21 22:30:10 UTC
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Post by Ned Latham
Post by Rob
Now please specify which period you are talking about.
The Empire existed for over a 1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.
"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."
Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert
and 130 years afterwards.
In 800 CE the Empire was a rump. It held Turkey, Mainkand Greece
and some Islands, and some lands north of Greece. Turkey was its
heartland, so Manizkert was its death-knell (I do not accept the
revisionist opinion that it wasn't a catastrophe). I cannot see
any way that the Empire, now a nere remnant, could take back the
land that had been its breadbasket, let alone the Levant and Egypt.
There seemed to be some substantial recovery though after 800 CE though.

I was inspired to launch this thread because looking at the Byzantine section of atlas of world history there there was Byzantine conquest of all coastal Syria and Lebanon, tantalizingly close to Damascus, Tiberias and Acre, that occurred in 975. And while the frontiers shown for the ERE in 1025 AD are less extensive, they show the Byzantines still holding all of what is today Syria's coast and Alawite heartland,Latakia and Tartus provinces.
Ned Latham
2017-09-22 00:46:25 UTC
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Post by Rob
Post by Rob
Now please specify which period you are talking about.
The Empire existed for over a 1000 years
Kenny & SolomonW, I specified the time range in the thread title.
"The OP was about the Empire after Manzikert."
Ned - the date included approximately 270 years before Manzikert
and 130 years afterwards.
In 800 CE the Empire was a rump. It held Turkey, Mainland Greece
and some Islands, and some lands north of Greece. Turkey was its
heartland, so Manizkert was its death-knell (I do not accept the
revisionist opinion that it wasn't a catastrophe). I cannot see
any way that the Empire, now a nere remnant, could take back the
land that had been its breadbasket, let alone the Levant and Egypt.
There seemed to be some substantial recovery though after 800 CE though.
I was inspired to launch this thread because looking at the
Byzantine section of atlas of world history there there was
Byzantine conquest of all coastal Syria and Lebanon,
tantalizingly close to Damascus, Tiberias and Acre, that
occurred in 975.
Didn't know about that. Looked it up. Seems that in 975 they actually
took Damascus and Palestine, but the region was isolated and they
couldn't hold them. Later, they held Antioch and Edessa, but those
were in salients: not *completely* isolated, but not strongly
defensible either.
Post by Rob
And while the frontiers shown for the ERE in 1025 AD are less
extensive, they show the Byzantines still holding all of what
is today Syria's coast and Alawite heartland, Latakia and
Tartus provinces.
Yet those holdings were eroded away from them.

Hindsight is easy, but with it, what I see is that they should
have done to the Arabs what the Arabs were doing to them (the
difference being that it should have been a deliberate policy,
not just the result of implacable proselytising by the sword);
ie, entice them into huge efforts for minor indefensible and
temporary gains, and on the odd occasion when the Arabs were
exhausted or distracted, take something large, strategic and
defensible. Over a period of many patient, careful centuries,
that could have restored much of the empire...

Especially if, instead of asking the West for help, they sent
diplomatic missions (spies) to the West, then at opportune
times offered no-strings help to, say, Aragon, for attacks
on the Moors, or to Italy for attacks on Sicily and Malta.

But like the Arabs, they organised well only occasionally. Too
much of that very Latin vice 'ambitio'; too little patriotism,
and too little imagination.
Phil McGregor
2017-09-21 06:36:36 UTC
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Post by kenney@ cix.co.uk (Kenneth Young)
Post by Rob
Why could they or could they not?
It depends on when you are talking about. Before the explosion of Islam
the Eastern Empire controlled the whole Middle East including Egypt.
After Manzikert it was reduced to Europe. After the Fourth Crusade it was
reduced to two successor states and the Latin Empire. Even after
Constantinople was recaptured the Empire was still split. Now please
specify which period you are talking about. The Empire existed for over a
1000 years
Republic, founded. Rome, 753 BC.

Principate, founded, Rome, 27 BC (arguable)

Dominate, rose from ashes of Principate, mid 3rd Century AD.

Destroyed (arguable). Constantinople, AD 1453

That's in excess of 2000 years for the Roman *State*, close to 1500 years from the founding of the Principate or, if you differentiate
between the Principate and Dominate (I am not sure I do), it's, yes, 'over 1000 years'

The Emperors styled themselves as "Basileus kai autokrator Rhomaion" (King and Emperor of the Romans) right to the end ... which is
interesting as it implies continuity back *before* the founding of the Republic.

But there were legitimate pretenders, ending with Andreas Palaiologos who died in 1502 ... but he'd sold his title, variously, to the HRE or
the Kings of Spain ... but does one man and a title represent an Empire?

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU); RBB #1 (FASA); Road to Armageddon;
Farm, Forge and Steam; Orbis Mundi; Displaced (PGD)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@tpg.com.au
SolomonW
2017-09-19 12:07:06 UTC
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Post by Rob
If the Byzzies can pull off the Levant down to Gaza and Beersheba, can they keep going and do a conquest of Egypt?
Byzantines did conquer Egypt.
pyotr filipivich
2017-09-20 16:24:56 UTC
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Post by SolomonW
Post by Rob
If the Byzzies can pull off the Levant down to Gaza and Beersheba, can they keep going and do a conquest of Egypt?
Byzantines did conquer Egypt.
From the Musslemen? No.

But the Roman Empire had - from the Egyptians.
--
pyotr filipivich.
For Sale: Uncirculated Roman Drachmas, feature Julius Ceaser's Portrait,
several dated 44 BCE. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity.
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