Our final batch of questions for this century includes queries about the Hippodrome, diplomatic marriages, national identity and political legitimacy. We also enjoy an update on the Crimea, the Jewish communities of Byzantium and the Varangian Guard. I also talk about the perception of time and rank some dynasties.
Pic: Augustus. Does his dynasty compare favourably to the Komnenoi?
Nathan Websdale is a PHD candidate at Oxford University and President of the Oxford University Byzantine Society.
His work is focussed on ethnic identification, social inclusion and self-determination in the Byzantine World, c.1200-c.1230.
Nathan graduated with a BA (First Class) in History from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016 and an MA (Merit) in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies from the Intercollegiate University of London in 2017.
I talk to Nathan about the thorny issue of provincial separatism before and after the Fourth Crusade.
Picture: A map showing the areas which were not under Byzantine control before the sack of Constantinople in 1204. The shaded areas were being held by provincial rebels or foreign powers. From the article ‘La decomposition de l‘empire byzantin’ by Nicolas Oikonomides (from the book Byzantium from the Ninth Century to the Fourth Crusade)
I’m sure you’ve heard about the horrific earthquake which struck Turkey on the 6th February. As I’m recording this over 25,000 people have been confirmed dead. Many, many more will be reported so in the coming weeks. Tens of thousands have been injured. And the UN is now saying that at least 870,000 people need food urgently. While millions of people across Turkey and Syria have been made homeless.
This is an appeal for you to donate to one of the various charities who are rushing to the scene at this moment to help the survivors. You have a number of options. You may have campaigns being run in your country by reputable organisations. So here in the UK the Disaster Emergency Committee have launched an appeal that has raised millions. This is an organisation which brings a group of charities together. In this case Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and Islamic Relief amongst many others.
AHBAP an independent civilian organisation who offer disaster relief to communities in need across Turkey. This is the organisation that the kind listener who prompted me to make this appeal recommends.
‘The Taking of Constantinople’ by Palma Le Jeune (1544–1620)
‘Conquest of Constantinople’ by David Aubert (1449-79)
Fire Damage at Constantinople 1203-4 from Michael Angold’s book ‘The Fourth Crusade Event and Context’
The Latins assault the city and Alexios Angelos Komnenos flees. Alexios Angelos becomes Emperor and empties the treasury into the Crusaders’ hands. But when he runs out of money the two sides face an inevitable confrontation.
Pic: Alexios V Doukas – “Mourtzouphlos.” (Miniature portrait from a 15th-century codex containing a copy of the Extracts of the History by Joannes Zonaras))
The Crusaders camped opposite the Blachernae Palace (above)
Pope Innocent calls for a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem. A group of French Knights decide to form an expedition to Egypt and make a deal with Venice to transport them. But when they can’t pay the bill the mission goes awry and ends up at Constantinople.
Pic: Dandolo brings the plan for the Fourth Crusade to the people of Venice (by Gustave Dore)
Alexios Angelos faces down one internal rebellion after another as the Roman Empire continues to contract. The biggest threat to his throne comes from disgruntled aristocrats and the people of Constantinople.
Pic: Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who demanded money from the Romans to fund his Crusade (from the Codex Manesse, c. 1304)
Frederick Barbarossa leads his contingent across Anatolia. He must confront the Turks along the way and capture Iconium. Meanwhile the Kings of England and France land in the Holy Land and take on Saladin.
Pic: The death of Frederick Barbarossa by H.Vogel (19th century)
The routes of the German, French and English Kings during the Third Crusade (from erenow.net)
As soon as news reached the West that Jerusalem had fallen a new Crusade was called. The German, French and English Kings all led armies East but only Frederick Barbarossa went by land. He led a large army across the Balkans towards Constantinople and Isaac Angelos had to decided whether to treat him as friend or foe.