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The Byzantine Empire's Most Serious Loss

What do you think was the Byzantine Empire's most serious defeat?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think was the Byzantine Empire's most serious defeat?

    • Yarmuk:Islamic forces conquer Syria 636 A.D.
      1
    • Pliska: Forces of Nicephorus I are defeated 811 A.D.
      0
    • Manzikert: Byzantines lose Asia Minor 1071 A.D.
      13
    • Myriokephalon: Seljuk Turks defeat Byzantine army,1176AD
      2
    • Constantinople's fall to 4th Crusade, 1204 A.D:
      13
    • Other:
      2


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G'day everyone, this is my first poll, i hope to get some interesting thoughts on the topic. The Byzantines suffered many defeats, so which one was the worst for the Empire?

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I inclined to believe that Manzikert was the beginning of the Byzantine Empire end. It was big misfortune for Empire and it opened the run of bad luck.

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I choose Manzikert...After this defeat i guess it begun The byzantine empires downfall as the Emperor asked the west for help. This Ulimately led to the sack of constantinople and the fall of Constantinople in 1453

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Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I thought Manzikert as well, because the Empire could never again raise the kind of numbers of troops it needed to defend the empire from external foes, as well as inspiring a large amount of confidence in the Empire's defeat.

The Fourth Crusade's sacking of Constantinople was one of the most mortal blows to the Empire i think though. It never recovered, never could recover, from this blow.

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I think that the general crusades were its biggest loss, and the great schism had a great effect on the feelings towards the Greeks in the East from the Latin West.

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I'm currently reading the chapter in 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' dealing with the Crusades and Gibbon reckons that the sacking and destruction caused on Constantinople by the Crusaders was far worse than caused by the Turks.

 

Three fires were caused in Constantinople by the Crusaders. One of the fires burnt down an area equivalent to the size of the three largest cities of France. All the Churches and palaces were completely looted, and all the ancient and amazing and historic bronze statues were melted down by the Crusaders. The wealthy inhabitants of the city lost all their properties and their wealth and those that weren't massacred or enslaved by the Crusaders were forced to flee.

 

Gibbon suggests that countless libraries were burnt down and mentions that many farmlands and buildings were still left abandoned until 1453. The damage to the capital was therefore immense, not to mention that the government was basically destroyed even though they were in exile, and the capital they reclaimed was unfortunately reduced to a shadow of it's former self. The Eastern Roman Empire would never fully recover from this disaster.

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I thought Manzikert as well, because the Empire could never again raise the kind of numbers of troops it needed to defend the empire from external foes, as well as inspiring a large amount of confidence in the Empire's defeat.

 

Exactly my thoughts. Once Asia Minor was compromised as a source of manpower and wealth, the Empire was never the same again. If this battle had been won or never fought, it is entirely possible that present day Greece (or maybe it would still be called the Byzantine Empire) would comprise the present day nations of Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Bulgaria, Albania and Cyprus.

 

Actually, that would make a cool plot for an alternative history book.

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Ummmm, after much thought and reflection, I would have to say the Siege of Mehmed II was the most disasterous for the Byzantines.... think about it. :blink:

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It's pretty hard to recover from being totally wiped out, though there are still families who claim descent from Byzantine Royal bloodlines even today, a few even have websites!

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Ooh I think I'll plump for the battle of Myriokephalon.

 

The Empire which Manuel led to war against the Seljuks was similar in terms power and prestige as that of Romanus Diogenes. And the Seljuks were just as suprised to win the battle. In fact when John bequeathed him the Empire it was probably in better shape than it had been 100 years before. Sure, things had gotten a whole lot more complicated to the East than they had been in times gone by, but Byzantium was still easily the major player in the region, dominating the Crusader states and Muslim emirates alike. The damage from Manzikert was, in my opinion, largely repaired.

 

The fact that Manuel was simultaneously able to invade Hungary and Italy ( after a fashion ) while bullying the states of East shows the unmatchable resources and military power the Empire still had. Problem was, of course, that in doing all this he had streched even the Empires huge resources awful thin. The Comnenii had recovered Byzantium's preeminence in the East and even to a certain extent the West, but Manuel, genius that he was in many ways, had tried for too much too quickly and left the Empire overreaching itself. This meant the reign of the next Emperor was going to be crucial to the long term future of the Empire. Someone of exceptional ability was going to be needed to keep things going - either someone of Manuels mecurial temperament to keep juggling the various wars and intrigues they had committed themselves to or, preferrably, someone of John's more reliable ability, to selectively deal with the most critical issues and disentangle themselves from the more spurious of Manuels projects.

 

Of course what they got was an unhinged phsychopath. But was it inevitable that Andronicus would be such a disaster? Maybe not. With the resources to direct his angers elsewhere he could possibly have been a successful Emperor, at least on the battlefield. A proven warrior and an obviously intelligent bloke, had he inherited a more secure state and the means with which to deal with his external enemies things might have turned out differently. Sometimes a cruel and vindictive lunatic is just the man for the job, as long as its outsiders taking the punishment.

The defeat at Myriokephalon, however meant that whoever Manuels successor was to be, he would not have the resources need to fend off the almost comical amount of enemies he had made ( considering what a likeable dude he was, I sometimes wonder why ). And with no prospect of being able to make head nor tail of the precarious, duplicitus and contradictory diplomatic web ( oh yeah, maybe that

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Well maybe talk about Constantinople's fall in 1204 A.D: lol. My examination will soon.

 

I was reading a book the other day concerning the Fall of Constantinople to Mehmet II. This book shows the battle from the point of view of the Byzantines intially and then the Ottomans later. I was surprised in this book how high Byzantine enthusiasm was during the siege. They were convinced that they were in the right, and that the barbaric heretic Turk was in the very worst of the wrong side. Some of the people say that the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders did not "count", as it had been treachery that had led to the fall, and had not lasted. It was this book that has made me wonder whether to start a thread on if the Byzantines could have recovered and rebuilt had they beaten Mehmet or at least caused him to withdraw. It really was a lot closer than most think :rolleyes:

Thank you John Norwich Julius for that !

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