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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The fall of Byzantium

General situation in the Empire 


The Original Greek New Testament

Foreign policy of the Paleologi


Constantinople, the Acropolis of the universe, the imperial capital of the Romans, which, by the will of God, was under the power of the Latins, has come again under the power of the Romans this has been granted them by the will of God through us. These are the words in the autobiography of Michael Palaeologus, the first Emperor of the restored Byzantine Empire.


General situation in the Empire. The territory of Michael's Empire was greatly reduced from the territory of Byzantium in the epoch of the Comneni and Angeli, especially after the First Crusade. In 1261 the Empire comprised the northwestern corner of Asia Minor, the major part of Thrace and Macedonia, Thessalonica, and several islands in the northern part of the Aegean Sea (Archipelago). Accordingly, the Bosporus and Hellespont, these exceedingly important strategic and commercial waterways, belonged to the restored Empire. The Despotat of Epirus came under the Empire's suzerainty. At the very beginning of his reign Michael received as ransom for the prince of Achaia, William Villehardouin, captured by the Greeks in the battle of Castoria, three strong Frankish fortresses in the Peloponnesus: Monemvasia, situated on the eastern coast, the great rock rising out of the sea near the ancient Epidaurus Limera, which is not only one of the most picturesque sites of the Peloponnesus, but has a splendid record of heroic independence which entitles it to a high place in the list of the world's fortresses; the well-known fortified castle of Mistra; and Maina, another castle erected by the Franks in the mountains of Taygetus to overawe the Slavs dwelling there. These three strongholds became the strategic bases of support from which the troops of the Byzantine emperors successfully fought the Frankish dukes.

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Cf. 3 Posts on the Fall of Byzantium / Pictures of Mistra



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