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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The fall of Byzantium

The external policy of Byzantium during the reigns of the Andronicoi 


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The Ottoman Turks. The rise of the Ottoman Turks was the chief phenomenon in the East in the epoch of the two Andronicoi. Advancing toward Asia Minor, the Mongols had pushed back to the West, from the Persian province of Khorasan (Khurasan), a Turkish horde of the tribe of Ghuzz, who had come into the territory of the sultanate of Iconium, and been allowed by the sultan to stay and pasture their herds. After the defeat inflicted by the Mongols the Kingdom of the Seljuqs divided into several independent possessions (emirates) with separate dynasties, which harassed the Empire severely. Along with this disintegration of the Empire of the Seljuqs, the Turkish horde of Ghuzz also became independent. At the very end of the thirteenth century their leader was Osman (Othman), who began the dynasty of the Ottomans and gave his name to the Turks who were under his control; from that time on they were called the Ottoman Turks. The dynasty founded by Osman ruled in Turkey until 1923.

From the end of the thirteenth century on, the Ottoman Turks began to harass seriously the small possessions in Asia Minor which still remained in the power of Byzantium. The imperial troops held with difficulty the three most important points in Asia Minor; Brusa, Nicaea, and Nicomedia. The co-emperor Michael IX was sent against the Turks and defeated. Constantinople itself seemed in danger, and the Emperor seemed to sleep or be dead.

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