Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome, it was an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture"; the Hagia Sophia construction consists of masonry. The structure is composed of mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced evenly throughout the mortar joints; this combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time. From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt, it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".
The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act, considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose; the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, angels were destroyed or plastered over.
Islamic features – such as the mihrab and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015. From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul; the Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex. On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia is to be reverted to a mosque; the first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.
Inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, working on it in 346. A tradition, not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter; the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium, it was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John
Sack of Constantinople (1204)
The siege and sack of Constantinople occurred in April 1204 and marked the culmination of the Fourth Crusade. Mutinous Crusader armies captured and destroyed parts of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. After the capture of the city, the Latin Empire was established and Baldwin of Flanders was crowned Emperor Baldwin I of Constantinople in the Hagia Sophia. After the city's sacking, most of the Byzantine Empire's territories were divided up among the Crusaders. Byzantine aristocrats established a number of small independent splinter states, one of them being the Empire of Nicaea, which would recapture Constantinople in 1261 and proclaim the reinstatement of the Empire. However, the restored Empire never managed to reclaim its former territorial or economic strength, fell to the rising Ottoman Sultanate in the 1453 Siege of Constantinople; the sack of Constantinople is a major turning point in medieval history. The Crusaders' decision to attack the world's largest Christian city was unprecedented and controversial.
Reports of Crusader looting and brutality horrified the Orthodox world. The Byzantine Empire was left much poorer and less able to defend itself against the Turkish conquests that followed; the Massacre of the Latins, a massacre of the Roman Catholic or "Latin" inhabitants of Constantinople by the usurper Andronikos Komnenos and his supporters in May 1182, had a dramatic effect on the politics between Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire. Although regular trade agreements were soon resumed between Roman Byzantine and Latin states, many westerners sought some form of revenge. Following the siege of Constantinople in 1203, on 1 August 1203, the pro-Crusader Alexios Angelos was crowned Emperor Alexios IV of the Byzantine Empire, who tried to pacify the city, but riots between anti-Crusader Greeks and pro-Crusader Latins broke out that month and lasted until November, during which most of the populace began to turn against Emperor Alexios IV. On 25 January 1204, the death of co-Emperor Isaac II set off rioting in Constantinople in which the people deposed Alexios IV, who turned to the Crusaders for help but was imprisoned by the imperial chamberlain, Alexios Doukas, who declared himself Emperor on 5 February.
Emperor Alexios V attempted to negotiate with the Crusaders for a withdrawal from Byzantine territory, but they refused to abandon their old treaty with Alexios IV. When Alexios V ordered Alexios IV's execution on 8 February, the Crusaders declared war on Alexios V. In March 1204, the Crusader and Venetian leadership decided on the outright conquest of Constantinople, drew up a formal agreement to divide the Byzantine Empire between them. By the end of March, the combined Crusader armies were besieging Constantinople as Emperor Alexios V began to strengthen the city's defences while conducting more active operations outside the city. By the first week of April, the Crusaders had begun their siege from their encampment in the town of Galata across the Golden Horn from Constantinople. On 9 April 1204, the Crusader and Venetian forces began an assault on the Golden Horn fortifications by crossing the waterway to the northwest wall of the city, because of bad weather, the assault forces were driven back when the troops that landed came under heavy archery fire in open ground between Constantinople's fortifications and the shore.
On 12 April 1204 weather conditions favoured the Crusaders as the weather cleared and a second assault on the city was ordered. A strong north wind aided the Venetian ships near the Golden Horn to come close to the city wall, which enabled attackers to seize some of the towers along the wall. After a short battle 70 Crusaders managed to enter the city; some Crusaders were able to knock holes in the walls large enough for a few knights at a time to crawl through. The Crusaders captured the Blachernae section of the city in the northwest and used it as a base to attack the rest of the city, but while attempting to defend themselves with a wall of fire they ended up burning down more of the city. Emperor Alexios V fled from the city that night through the Polyandriou Gate and escaped into the countryside to the west; the Crusaders looted and vandalized Constantinople for three days, during which many ancient and medieval Roman and Greek works were either stolen or destroyed. The famous bronze horses from the Hippodrome were sent back to adorn the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, where they remain.
As well as being stolen, works of immeasurable artistic value were destroyed for their material value. One of the most precious works to suffer such a fate was a large bronze statue of Hercules, created by the legendary Lysippos, court sculptor of Alexander the Great. Like so many other priceless artworks made of bronze, the statue was melted down for its content by the Crusaders. Despite their oaths and the threat of excommunication, the Crusaders systematically violated the city's holy sanctuaries, destroying or stealing all they could lay hands on; the civilian population of Constantino
Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople was an office established as a result of the Fourth Crusade and its conquest of Constantinople in 1204. It was a Roman Catholic replacement for the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, remained in the city until the reconquest of Constantinople by the Byzantines in 1261, whereupon it became a titular see; the office was abolished in 1964. Before the East–West Schism in 1054, the Christian Church within the borders of the ancient Roman Empire was ruled by five patriarchs: In descending order of precedence: Rome by the Bishop of Rome and those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. In the West the Bishop of Rome was recognized as having superiority over the other Patriarchs, while in the East, the Patriarch of Constantinople came to occupy a leading position. In the East the Pope was considered first among equals, but not a direct superior; the sees of Rome and Constantinople were at odds with one another, just as the Greek and Latin Churches as a whole were at odds both politically and in things ecclesiastical.
There were complex cultural currents underlying these difficulties, including the fact that in the West feudal models began to influence the way of viewing relations within the Church. The tensions led in 1054 to a serious rupture between the Greek East and Latin West called the East–West Schism, which while not in many places absolute, still dominates the ecclesiastical landscape. In 1204, the Fourth Crusade invaded and sacked Constantinople, established the Latin Empire; this was not the doing of the Bishop of the Pope. He spoke out against the fourth crusade. In writing to his legate the pope said, in part "How, indeed, is the Greek church to be brought back into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See when she has been beset with so many afflictions and persecutions that she sees in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs?" However the popes accepted the acts of the accompanying Catholic clergy who set up a patriarchate subservient in the Western manner to the Pope, in similar manner to what had occurred in the Crusader states of the Holy Land.
The pope recognised. Furthermore, those Orthodox bishops left in their place were made to swear an oath of allegiance to the pope; when the last Latin emperor Baldwin II fled from Constantinople he was well received in Rome by Pope Urban IV who promised him support to regain the throne. This threat of continued support prompted the new Greek emperor to seek out a reunion. Understanding the situation of 1204 helps with the context of the reunion council. By establishing communion with the Latin Patriarchs the Papacy in effect made official their position within the Roman Catholic Church; this act was part of a more general picture in which the Crusaders on the one hand established Latin Kingdoms acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Church, in the Middle East and in Greece and the Greek Islands, in parts of the Balkans. Included were a similar array of Latin episcopal sees. However, the Latin Empire in Constantinople was defeated and dispossessed by a resurgent Byzantium in 1261, since that time Latin Patriarch Pantaleonе Giustinian resided in the West, but continued to oversee the remaining Latin Catholic dioceses in various parts of Latin Greece.
After the Union of Lyon, John Bekkos was installed as a Greek Catholic Patriarch of Constantinople in 1275, but that did not affect the position of Pantaleonе Giustinian. His Greek Catholic counterpart was deposed in 1282 by Eastern Orthodox hierarchy, thus ending a short lived union. In 1286, Latin Patriarch Pantaleonе Giustinian was succeeded by Pietro Correr, the first holder of that office in a new form of a titular see. On 8 February 1314, Pope Clement V united the Patriarchate with the episcopal see of Negroponte, hitherto a suffragan of the Latin Archbishopric of Athens, so that the patriarchs could once more have a territorial diocese on Greek soil and exercise a direct role as the head of the Latin clergy in what remained of Latin Greece. For a time, like many ecclesiastical offices in the West, it had rival contenders who were supporters or protégés of the rival popes; as to the title Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, this was the case at least from 1378 to 1423. Thereafter the office continued as an honorific title, during the centuries attributed to a leading clergyman in Rome, until it ceased to be assigned after 1948 and was abolished in 1964.
A Vicariate Apostolic of Istanbul has existed from 1742 into the present day. Tommaso Morosini vacant Gervasio vacant Matteo Jean Halgrin, declined office Simone vacant Niccolò Visconti da Castro Arquato vacant Pantaleonе Giustinian. S. A. Bishop of Rimini Giacomo da Itri, archbishop of Otranto Paul Palaiologos Tagaris vacant Angelo Correr Pope Gregory XII Louis of Mytilene
Henry of Flanders
Henry was the second emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He was a younger son of Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut, Margaret I of Flanders, sister of Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders. Having joined the Fourth Crusade in about 1201, he distinguished himself at the sieges of Constantinople and elsewhere. During the July 1203 siege, Henry was one of eight division generals, the others including Boniface of Montferrat, Doge Enrico Dandolo, Louis of Blois, Henry's own brother, Baldwin of Flanders, who controlled the largest division. During the 1204 siege, Henry led a chevauchée expedition to gain supplies and raided a castle in Philia, near the Black Sea with, according to Robert de Clari, about 30 knights and an unspecified number of mounted sergeants. An ambush was laid for him by Emperor Alexius V "Murzuphlus" Ducas, but Henry and his force routed the Greeks soundly, captured a revered icon containing relics of Christ, returned to the crusader camp, he soon became prominent among the princes of the new Latin Empire.
When his elder brother, the emperor Baldwin I, was captured at the Battle of Adrianople in April 1205 by the Bulgarians, Henry was chosen regent of the empire, succeeding to the throne when the news of Baldwin’s death arrived. He was crowned 20 August 1206. Upon Henry's ascension as Latin Emperor, the Lombard nobles of the Kingdom of Thessalonica refused to give him allegiance. A two-year war ensued and after defeating the Templar-supported Lombards, Henry confiscated the Templar castles of Ravennika and Zetouni (Lamia. Henry was a wise ruler, whose reign was passed in successful struggles with Kaloyan, Tsar of Bulgaria, with his rival, Theodore I Lascaris, emperor of Nicaea, he fought against Boril of Bulgaria and managed to defeat him in the Battle of Philippopolis. Henry campaigned against the Nicean Empire, expanding a small holding in Asia Minor with campaigns in 1207 and in 1211–1212, where he captured important Nicean possessions at Nymphaion. Though Theodore I Laskaris could not oppose this campaign, it appears that Henry decided it best to focus on his European problems, for he sought a truce with Theodore I in 1214, amicably divided Latin from Nicean possessions to the favour of Nicea.
Domestically, Henry appears to have a different character than many of the other Crusader nobles as seen in his even-handed and pragmatic treatment of the Greeks. George Akropolites, the contemporary 13th century Greek historian, notes that Henry "though a Frank by birth, behaved graciously to the Romans who were natives of the city of Constantine, ranked many of them among his magnates, others among his soldiers, while the common populace he treated as his own people." Indeed, when a Papal legate arrived in Constantinople in 1213 and began to imprison Orthodox clergy and to close churches on the orders of Pope Innocent III, Henry countermanded the orders on the request of the city's Greek clergy. Henry appears to have been brave but not cruel, tolerant but not weak, possessing "the superior courage to oppose, in a superstitious age, the pride and avarice of the clergy." The emperor died, poisoned, it is said, by Oberto II of Biandrate, ex-regent of Thessaloniki, on 11 June 1216. Gardner suggests this happened at the instigation of Maria of Bulgaria.
On his death his brother-in-law Peter Courtenay was crowned emperor in Rome, but never arrived in Constantinople. In the years 1217 to 1219, the Latin Empire was ruled by Yolanda, Henry's sister and Peter's wife, in regency; the last two Latin emperors were Yolanda's sons. Henry first married Agnes of Montferrat, daughter of Boniface of Montferrat, the Crusade leader, but she had died before her father's death in 1207. Henry's only child by his first wife Agnes died in childbirth with his motherSome contemporary historians say that Henry made a peace with Bulgarians after the death of Kaloyan, a marriage was arranged in 1213 between Henry and Maria of Bulgaria, daughter of Kaloyan and stepdaughter of Boril, Tsar of Bulgaria. Henry had a daughter with an unnamed mistress; this daughter, whose name is not recorded married Alexii Slav who established his own state in the Rodophe mountains. He was given the title of despot. Akropolites, George; the History. Translated by Macrides, Ruth. Oxford University Press.
Coureas, Nicholas. "The Latin and Greek Churches in former Byzantine Lands under Latin Rule". In Tsougarakis, Nickiphoros I.. A Companion to Latin Greece. Brill. Fine, J. V. A.. The Late Medieval Balkans, A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. Gardner, A.. The Lascarids of Nicæa, The Story of an Empire in Exile. Methuen. Harris, Jonathan. Byzantium and the Crusades. Bloomsbury. Joinville and Villehardouin. Chronicles of the Crusades. Translated by Shaw, M. R. B. Penguin. Nicol, Donald M.. The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453. Cambridge University Press. Sturdza, M. D.. Dictionnaire Historique et Généalogique des Grandes Familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople. Chez l'auteur
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the prosperous city of Venice, was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; the Venetian city state was founded as a safe haven for the people escaping persecution in mainland Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire. In its early years, it prospered on the salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city state established a thalassocracy, it dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. Venice became home to an wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the city's lagoons.
Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was the birthplace of great European explorers, such as Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello; the republic was ruled by the Doge, elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament. The ruling class was an oligarchy of aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens supported the system of governance; the city-state employed ruthless tactics in its prisons. The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic; the city state suffered. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, the Ionian French departments of Greece.
Venice became part of a unified Italy in the 19th century. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the "Most Serene Republics". During the 5th century, North East Italy was devastated by the Germanic barbarian invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy; these communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire. At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus, confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux, he was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon.
Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea. Ursus's successor, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s, he represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty. Such attempts were more than commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history, but all were unsuccessful. During the reign of Deusdedit, Venice became the only remaining Byzantine possession in the north and the changing politics of the Frankish Empire began to change the factional divisions within Venetia. One faction was decidedly pro-Byzantine, they desired to remain well-connected to the Empire. Another faction, republican in nature, believed in continuing along a course towards practical independence; the other main faction was pro-Frankish. Supported by clergy, they looked towards the new Carolingian king of the Franks, Pepin the Short, as the best provider of defence against the Lombards. A minor, pro-Lombard faction was opposed to close ties with any of these further-off powers and interested in maintaining peace with the neighbouring Lombard kingdom.
The successors of Obelerio inherited a united Venice. By the Pax Nicephori, the two emperors had recognised that Venice belonged to the Byzantine sphere of influence. Many centuries the Venetians claimed that the treaty had recognised Venetian de facto independence, but the truth of this claim is doubted by modern scholars. A Byzantine fleet sailed to Venice in 807 and deposed the Doge, replacing him with a Byzantine governor. During the reign of the Participazio family, Venice grew into its modern form. Though Heraclean by birth, the first Participazio doge, was an early immigrant to Rialto and his dogeship was marked by the expansion of Venice towards the sea via the construction of bridges, bulwarks and stone buildings; the modern Venice, at one with the sea, was being bor
The Fourth Crusade was a Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first conquering the powerful Egyptian Ayyubid Sultanate, the strongest Muslim state of the time. However, a sequence of economic and political events culminated in the Crusader army sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Greek Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire. In late 1202, financial issues led to the Crusader army sacking Zara, brought under Venetian control. In January 1203, en-route to Jerusalem, the Crusader leadership entered into an agreement with the Byzantine prince Alexios Angelos to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and restore his deposed father as Emperor; the intent of the Crusaders was to continue to Jerusalem with promised Byzantine financial and military aid. On 23 June 1203, the bulk of the Crusaders reached Constantinople, while smaller contingents continued to Acre. After the siege of Zara the pope excommunicated the crusader army.
In August, following clashes outside Constantinople, Alexios was crowned co-Emperor. However, in January 1204, he was deposed by a popular uprising; the Crusaders were no longer able to receive their promised payments from Alexios. Following the murder of Alexios on 8 February, the Crusaders decided on the outright conquest of the city. In April 1204, they plundered the city's enormous wealth. Only a handful of the Crusaders continued to the Holy Land thereafter; the conquest of Constantinople was followed by the fragmentation of the Empire into three rump states centred in Nicaea and Epirus. The Crusaders founded several Crusader states in former Byzantine territory hinged upon the Latin Empire of Constantinople; the presence of the Latin Crusader states immediately led to war with the Byzantine successor states and the Bulgarian Empire. The Nicaean Empire recovered Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire in 1261; the Crusade is considered to be one of the most prominent acts that solidified the schism between the Greek and Latin Christian churches, dealt an irrevocable blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire, paving the way for Muslim conquests in Anatolia and Balkan Europe in the coming centuries.
Ayyubid Sultan Saladin had conquered most of the Frankish, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the ancient city itself, in 1187. The Kingdom had been established 88 years before, after the capture and sack of Jerusalem in the First Crusade, a Byzantine holding prior to the Muslim conquests of the 7th century; the city was sacred to Christians and Jews, returning it to Christian hands had been a primary purpose of the First Crusade. Saladin led a Muslim dynasty, his incorporation of Jerusalem into his domains shocked and dismayed the Catholic countries of Western Europe. Legend has it that Pope Urban III died of the shock, but the timing of his death makes that impossible; the crusader states had been reduced to three cities along the sea coast: Tyre and Antioch. The Third Crusade reclaimed an extensive amount of territory for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the key towns of Acre and Jaffa, but had failed to retake Jerusalem; the crusade had been marked by a significant escalation in long standing tensions between the feudal states of western Europe and the Byzantine Empire, centred in Constantinople.
The experiences of the first two crusades had thrown into stark relief the vast cultural differences between the two Christian civilisations. The Latins viewed the Byzantine preference for diplomacy and trade over war as duplicitous and degenerate, their policy of tolerance and assimilation towards Muslims as a corrupt betrayal of the faith. For their part, the educated and wealthy Byzantines maintained a strong sense of cultural and social superiority over the Latins. Constantinople had been in existence for 874 years at the time of the Fourth Crusade and was the largest and most sophisticated city in Christendom. Alone amongst major medieval urban centres, it had retained the civic structures, public baths, forums and aqueducts of classical Rome in working form. At its height, the city held an estimated population of about half a million people behind thirteen miles of triple walls, its planned location made Constantinople not only the capital of the surviving eastern part of the Roman Empire but a commercial centre that dominated trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, China and Persia.
As a result, it was both a rival and a tempting target for the aggressive new states of the west, notably the Republic of Venice. One of the leaders of the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa plotted with the Serbs, Byzantine traitors, the Muslim Seljuks against the Eastern Empire and at one point sought Papal support for a crusade against the Orthodox Byzantines. Crusaders seized the breakaway Byzantine province of Cyprus. Barbarossa died on crusade, his army disintegrated, leaving the English and French, who had come by sea, to fight Saladin. In 1195 Henry VI, son and heir of Barbarossa, sought to efface this humiliation by declaring a new crusade, in the summer of 1197 a large number of German knights and nobles, headed by two archbishops, nine bishops, five dukes, sailed for Palestine. There they captured Sidon and Beirut, but at the news of Henry's death in Messina along the way, many of the nobles and clerics returned to Europe. Deserted by much of their leade
The Byzantine Greeks were the Greek-speaking Christian Romans of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They were the main inhabitants of the lands of the Byzantine Empire, of Constantinople and Asia Minor, the Greek islands and portions of the southern Balkans, formed large minorities, or pluralities, in the coastal urban centres of the Levant and northern Egypt. Throughout their history, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Romans, but are referred to as "Byzantine Greeks" in modern historiography; the social structure of the Byzantine Greeks was supported by a rural, agrarian base that consisted of the peasantry, a small fraction of the poor. These peasants lived within three kinds of settlements: the chorion or village, the agridion or hamlet, the proasteion or estate. Many civil disturbances that occurred during the time of the Byzantine Empire were attributed to political factions within the Empire rather than to this large popular base. Soldiers among the Byzantine Greeks were at first conscripted amongst the rural peasants and trained on an annual basis.
As the Byzantine Empire entered the 11th century, more of the soldiers within the army were either professional men-at-arms or mercenaries. Until the twelfth century, education within the Byzantine Greek population was more advanced than in the West at primary school level, resulting in comparatively high literacy rates. Success came to Byzantine Greek merchants, who enjoyed a strong position in international trade. Despite the challenges posed by rival Italian merchants, they held their own throughout the latter half of the Byzantine Empire's existence; the clergy held a special place, not only having more freedom than their Western counterparts, but maintaining a patriarch in Constantinople, considered the equal of the pope. This position of strength had built up over time, for at the beginning of the Byzantine Empire, under Emperor Constantine the Great, only a small part, about 10%, of the population was Christian. Use of the Greek language was widespread in the eastern parts of the Roman empire when Constantine moved its capital to Constantinople, although Latin was the language of the imperial administration.
From the reign of Emperor Heraclius, Greek was the predominant language amongst the populace and replaced Latin in administration. At first, the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character, but following the loss of the non-Greek speaking provinces with the 7th century Muslim conquests it came to be dominated by the Byzantine Greeks, who inhabited the heartland of the empire: modern Cyprus, Greece and Sicily, portions of southern Bulgaria and Albania. Over time, the relationship between them and the West with Latin Europe, deteriorated. Relations were further damaged by a schism between the Catholic West and Orthodox East that led to the Byzantine Greeks being labeled as heretics in the West. Throughout the centuries of the Byzantine Empire and following the imperial coronation of the King of the Franks, Charlemagne, in Rome in 800, the Byzantines were not considered by Western Europeans as heirs of the Roman Empire, but rather as part of an Eastern Greek kingdom; as the Byzantine Empire declined, the Byzantines and their lands came under foreign domination Ottoman rule.
The designation "Rûm" for the Greek-speaking Orthodox subjects of the Ottomans and "Rum millet" for all the Eastern Orthodox populations was kept both by Ottoman Greeks and their Ottoman overlords and lived on until the 20th century. During most of the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Rhōmaîoi, a term which in the Greek language had become synonymous with Christian Greeks; the Latinizing term Graikoí was used, though its use was less common, nonexistent in official Byzantine political correspondence, prior to the Fourth Crusade of 1204. While this Latin term for the ancient Hellenes could be used neutrally, its use by Westerners from the 9th century onwards in order to challenge Byzantine claims to ancient Roman heritage rendered it a derogatory exonym for the Byzantines who used it in contexts relating to the West, such as texts relating to the Council of Florence, to present the Western viewpoint; the ancient name Hellenes was synonymous to "pagan" in popular use, but was revived as an ethnonym in the Middle Byzantine period.
While in the West the term "Roman" acquired a new meaning in connection with the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome, the Greek form "Romaioi" remained attached to the Greeks of the Eastern Roman Empire. The term "Byzantine Greeks" is an exonym applied by historians like Hieronymus Wolf. Despite the shift in terminology in the West, the Byzantines Empire's eastern neighbors, such as the Arabs, continued to refer to the Byzantines as "Romans", as for instance in the 30th Surah of the Quran; the signifier "Roman" was used by the Byzantines' Ottoman rivals, its Turkish equivalent Rûm, "Roman", continues to be used by the government of Turkey to denote the Greek Orthodox natives of Istanbul, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Among Slavic populations of southeast Europe, such as Bulgarians and Serbs the name "Rhomaioi" in their languages was most translated as "Greki"; some Slavonic texts during the early medieval era also