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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Empire of Nicaea (1204-1261)

Foreign policy of the Lascarids and the restoration of the Byzantine empire 


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In 1216 the talented and energetic Henry died in the prime of life. He was admired and beloved even by the Greeks, and a Byzantine chronicler of the fourteenth century said that Henry was a real Ares. The historians of the twentieth century also estimate highly his personality and activities. Gerland declared: Of the (Latin) Empire Henry became the real founder. His institutions laid the basis upon which the Frankish dominion in Greece developed. Henry's death, wrote A. Gardner, was certainly a calamity for the Latins possibly for the Greeks likewise since his strong but conciliatory policy might have succeeded, if any policy ever could, in filling up the breach between East and West. In the person of Henry the most dangerous enemy of Nicaea passed away. His successors on the Constantinopolitan throne were distinguished neither for talent nor energy.

In 1222 the founder of the Empire of Nicaea died. Theodore I Lascaris had created a Hellenic center in Asia Minor, unified the state, and attracted to it the attention of the European Greeks. He had laid the foundation upon which his successor was able to build a vast structure. In his eulogistic letters to Theodore Lascaris, Michael Acominatus wrote: The capital hurled by the barbarian inundation out of the walls of Byzantium to the shores of Asia in the shape of a miserable fragment has been received by thee, guided, and saved. Thou ought to be called forever the new builder and peopler of the city of Constantine. Looking only to thee and calling thee a savior and universal liberator the people wrecked in the universal deluge take refuge in thy state as in a calm harbour. No one of the emperors who reigned over Constantinople I consider equal to thee, except, of those nearer in time, the great Basil Bulgaroctonus, and of the more ancient, the noble Heraclius.

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