The Byzantine army or Eastern Roman army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy. A direct descendant of the Roman army, the Byzantine army maintained a level of discipline, strategic prowess. It was among the most effective armies of western Eurasia for much of the Middle Ages, over time the cavalry arm became more prominent in the Byzantine army as the legion system disappeared in the early 7th century. Since much of the Byzantine military focused on the strategy and skill of generals utilizing militia troops, heavy infantry were recruited from Frankish, restricted to a largely defensive role in the 7th to mid-9th centuries, the Byzantines developed the theme-system to counter the more powerful Caliphate. With one of the most powerful economies in the world at the time, after the collapse of the theme-system in the 11th century, the Byzantines grew increasingly reliant on professional Tagmata troops, including ever-increasing numbers of foreign mercenaries.
The Komnenian emperors made great efforts to re-establish a native army, the Komnenian successes were undone by the subsequent Angeloi dynasty, leading to the dissolution of the Empire at the hands of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Emperors of Nicaea managed to form a small but effective force using the structure of light and heavily armed troops. It proved effective in defending what remained of Byzantine Anatolia and reclaiming much of the Balkans, another period of neglect of the military followed in the reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos, which allowed Anatolia to fall prey to an emerging power, the Ottoman emirate. In the period after the Muslim conquests, which saw the loss of Syria and Egypt, despite this unprecedented disaster, the internal structures of the army remained much the same, and there is a remarkable continuity in tactics and doctrine between the 6th and 11th centuries. The Eastern Empire dates from the creation of the Tetrarchy by the Emperor Diocletian in 293 and his plans for succession did not outlive his lifetime, but his reorganization of the army did by centuries.
Rather than maintain the traditional infantry-heavy legions, Diocletian reformed it into limitanei, there was an expansion of the importance of the cavalry, though the infantry still remained the major component of the Roman armies, in contrast to common belief. In preparation for Justinians African campaign of 533-534 AD, the army assembled amounted to 10,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 mounted archers, the limitanei and ripenses were to occupy the limes, the Roman border fortifications. The field units, by contrast, were to stay well behind the border and move quickly where they were needed, whether for offensive or defensive roles, the field units were held to high standards and took precedence over Limitanei in pay and provisions. Cavalry formed about one-third of the units, but as a result of smaller units, about half the cavalry consisted of heavy cavalry. They were armed with spear or lance and sword and armored in mail, some had bows, but they were meant for supporting the charge instead of independent skirmishing.
In the field there was a component of some 15% of cataphractarii or clibanarii. The light cavalry featured high amongst the limitanei, being very useful troops on patrol, the infantry of the comitatenses was organized in regiments of about 500–1,200 men. They were still the heavy infantry of old, with a spear or sword, body armour, but now each regiment was supported by a detachment of light infantry skirmishers
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia. It is the political, cultural and academic center. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi, the territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC, remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress that overlooks the modern city centre. On the eve of the 1st century AD, the settlement was seized by the Romans, when the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in 395 AD, Scupi came under Byzantine rule from Constantinople. During much of the medieval period, the town was contested between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire, whose capital it was between 972 and 992. From 1282, the town was part of the Serbian Empire, in 1392, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks who called the town Üsküp. The town stayed under Turkish control for over 500 years, serving as the capital of pashasanjak of Üsküb, at that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture.
In 1912, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia during the Balkan Wars and after the First World War the city part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats. In the Second World War the city was conquered by the Bulgarian Army, in 1944, it became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia, which was a federal state, part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake, in 1991, it became the capital city of an independent Macedonia. Skopje is located on the course of the Vardar River. It is a center for metal-processing, timber, leather, industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of transportation and sport. Skopje is located in the north of the Republic of Macedonia, in the center of the Balkan peninsula, the city is built in the Skopje valley, oriented on a west-east axis, along the course of the Vardar river, which flows into the Aegean Sea in Greece.
The valley is approximately 20 kilometres wide and it is limited by several mountain ranges to the North and South and these ranges limit the urban expansion of Skopje, which spreads along the Vardar and the Serava, a small river which comes from the North. In its administrative boundaries, the City of Skopje stretches for more than 33 kilometres, Skopje is approximately 245m above sea level and covers 571.46 km2. The urbanised area only covers 337 km2, with a density of 65 inhabitants per hectare, Skopje, in its administrative limits, encompasses many villages and other settlements, including Dračevo, Gorno Nerezi and Bardovci. According to the 2002 census, the City of Skopje comprised 506,926 inhabitants, the City of Skopje reaches the Kosovo border to the North-East. Clockwise, it is bordered by the Macedonian municipalities of Čučer-Sandevo, Aračinovo, Studeničani, Sopište, Želino
The Janissaries were elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultans household troops and the first standing army in Europe. The corps was most likely established during the reign of Murad I and they began as an elite corps of slaves made up of conscripted young Christian boys, and became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order. Unlike typical slaves, they were paid regular salaries, forbidden to marry or engage in trade, their complete loyalty to the Sultan was expected. By the seventeenth century, due to a increase in the size of the Ottoman standing army. Civilians bought their way into the corps in order to benefit from the socioeconomic status it conferred upon them. Consequently, the corps gradually lost its character, undergoing a process which has been described as civilianization. The corps was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed, the formation of the Janissaries has been dated to the reign of Murad I, the third ruler of the Ottoman Empire.
From the 1380s to 1648, the Janissaries were gathered through the system which was abolished in 1638. This was the taking of non-Muslim boys, notably Anatolian and Balkan Christians, Jews were never subject to devşirme, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, in early days, all Christians were enrolled indiscriminately. Later, those from Albania and Bulgaria were preferred, the Janissaries were kapıkulları, door servants or slaves of the Porte, neither freemen nor ordinary slaves. They were subjected to strict discipline, but were paid salaries and pensions upon retirement, as such, they became one of the ruling classes of the Ottoman Empire, rivalling the Turkish aristocracy. The brightest of the Janissaries were sent to the palace institution, through a system of meritocracy, the Janissaries held enormous power, stopping all efforts at reform of the military. These boys were taken from their parents and given to Turkish families in the provinces to learn Turkish language and customs. The recruits were indoctrinated into Islam, forced into circumcision and supervised 24 hours a day by eunuchs and they were subjected to severe discipline, being prohibited from growing a beard, taking up a skill other than soldiering, and marrying.
As a result, the Janissaries were extremely well-disciplined troops, and became members of the askeri class, most were non-Muslims, because it was not permissible to enslave a Muslim. The Janissary system was introduced in the 14th century, the Janissary Corps was a trained and loyal group of slaves to the sultan. In the late 16th century, a sultan gave in to the pressures of the Corps and permitted Janissary children to members of the Corps. They became rent-seeking and sought protection of their special rights, according to paintings of the era, they were permitted to grow beards
A caponier is a type of fortification structure. The word originates from the French word caponnière, originally the term referred to a covered passageway that traversed the ditch between the walls of a fortress and a ravelin outside the wall. This was more simply a passage however as fire from this point could sweep the ditch between the ravelin and the curtain wall and inflict devastating damage on any attempt to storm the wall. Thus the passageway was equipped with ports and cannon ports that fired along the ditch. While fortifications were evolving to the polygonal style, the term was used to describe the blockhouses set in the corners of the ditch that provide the same function in that style of fort. The roof is vulnerable to plunging fire, and is thus usually exceedingly thick and curved to deflect falling shells, or covered with a thick layer of earth. The caponier is usually equipped with a step and rifle ports to allow troops to fire along the ditch. To clear the smoke and fumes from the firing the roof of the caponier is often provided with ventilation ports, the length of the straight sections of the ditch is chosen so that it can be covered by fire from a single caponier.
Caponiers are often wedge shaped so that they can fire down both angles of the ditch, an alternative to the caponier is a counterscarp battery, dug into the outer face of the corner of the ditch, giving a similar field of fire. Again reached by a tunnel from within the fort, it not have the vulnerable roof that the caponier has. Both structures may be found in the same fort
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire, known as the Later Roman or Eastern Roman Empire. Byzantine architecture was influenced by Roman and Greek architecture and Sassanian. Early Byzantine architecture drew upon earlier elements of Roman architecture, stylistic drift, technological advancement, and political and territorial changes meant that a distinct style gradually resulted in the Greek cross plan in church architecture. Most of the structures are sacred in nature, with secular buildings mostly known only through contemporaneous descriptions. Prime examples of early Byzantine architecture date from Justinian Is reign and survive in Ravenna and Istanbul, secular structures include the ruins of the Great Palace of Constantinople, the innovative walls of Constantinople and Basilica Cistern. A frieze in the Ostrogothic palace in Ravenna depicts an early Byzantine palace, remarkable engineering feats include the 430 m long Sangarius Bridge and the pointed arch of Karamagara Bridge.
The period of the Macedonian dynasty, traditionally considered the epitome of Byzantine art, has not left a legacy in architecture. The cross-in-square type became predominant in the Slavic countries which were Christianized by Salonikas missionaries during the Macedonian period, only national forms of architecture can be found in abundance due to this. Those styles can be found in many Transcaucasian countries, such as Russia, Serbia and other Slavic lands, the Paleologan period is well represented in a dozen former churches in Istanbul, notably St Saviour at Chora and St Mary Pammakaristos. Unlike their Slavic counterparts, the Paleologan architects never accented the vertical thrust of structures, as a result, there is little grandeur in the late medieval architecture of Byzantium. Other churches from the years predating the fall of Constantinople survive on Mount Athos. Those of the type we must suppose were nearly always vaulted. The most famous church of this type was that of the Holy Apostles, vaults appear to have been early applied to the basilican type of plan, for instance, at Hagia Irene, the long body of the church is covered by two domes.
At Saint Sergius and San Vitale, churches of the central type, finally, at Hagia Sophia a combination was made which is perhaps the most remarkable piece of planning ever contrived. This unbroken area, about 260 ft long, the part of which is over 100 ft wide, is entirely covered by a system of domical surfaces. Above the conchs of the small apses rise the two great semi-domes which cover the hemicycles, and between these bursts out the vast dome over the central square. On the two sides, to the north and south of the dome, it is supported by vaulted aisles in two storeys which bring the form to a general square. At the Holy Apostles five domes were applied to a cruciform plan, after the 6th century there were no churches built which in any way competed in scale with these great works of Justinian, and the plans more or less tended to approximate to one type
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, lasted from October 1912 to May 1913 and comprised actions of the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies, as a result of the war, the League captured and partitioned almost all remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire. Ensuing events led to the creation of an independent Albania, despite its success, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, which provoked the start of the Second Balkan War. By 1867, Serbia and Montenegro had both secured independence, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Berlin, the question of the viability of Ottoman rule was revived after the Young Turk Revolution of July 1908, which compelled the Sultan to restore the suspended Ottoman constitution. Serbias aspirations to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina were thwarted by the Bosnian crisis, the Serbs directed their expansionism to the south.
Following the annexation, the Young Turks tried to induce the Muslim population of Bosnia to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire and those who took up the offer were re-settled by the Ottoman authorities in districts of northern Macedonia where there were few Muslims. The experiment proved to be a catastrophe for the Empire since the immigrants readily united with the population of Albanian Muslims. They participated in the series of Albanian uprisings before and during the spring Albanian Revolt of 1912, some Albanian government troops switched sides. Serbia, which had helped arm the Albanian Catholic and Hamidian rebels and sent secret agents to some of the prominent leaders, things got so far out of hand that no one was satisfied with the situation in Turkey in Europe. It became unbearable for the Serbs, the Greeks and for the Albanians, by the grace of God, I have therefore ordered my brave army to join in the Holy War to free our brethren and to ensure a better future. To all of them we bring freedom and equality, in a search for allies, Serbia was ready to negotiate a treaty with Bulgaria.
The agreement provided that, in the event of victory against the Ottomans, serbias expansion was accepted by Bulgaria as being to the north of the Shar Mountains. The intervening area was agreed to be disputed, it would be arbitrated by the Tsar of Russia in the event of a war against the Ottoman Empire. After the successful coup détat for unification with Eastern Rumelia, Bulgaria began to dream that its national unification would be realized, for that purpose, it developed a large army, and identified as the Prussia of the Balkans. But Bulgaria could not win a war alone against the Ottomans and they wanted to reverse their defeat in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 by the Ottomans. An emergency military reorganization led by a French military mission had been started for that purpose, in the discussions that led Greece to join the Balkan League, Bulgaria refused to commit to any agreement on the distribution of territorial gains, unlike its deal with Serbia over Macedonia. Bulgarias diplomatic policy was to push Serbia into an agreement limiting its access to Macedonia, Bulgaria believed that its army would be able to occupy the larger part of Aegean Macedonia and the important port city of Salonica before the Greeks.
In 1911, Italy had launched an invasion of Tripolitania in present-day Libya, the Italians decisive military victories over the Ottoman Empire encouraged the Balkan states to imagine they might win a war against the Ottomans
Museum of Byzantine Culture
The Museum of Byzantine Culture is a museum in Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, which opened in 1994. To design the museum, an architectural competition was announced in 1977. The competition was won by the entry of Kyriakos Krokos. Construction of the began in March 1989, and was completed in October 1993. The museum finally opened on 11 September 1994, opening in 1994, the museum currently has three permanent exhibitions. The first, Early Christian Churches, focuses on the design, beginning in 1998, the museum has run educational programmes for schoolchildren. In 2005, the museum was awarded the Council of Europes Museum Prize, official website of the Museum Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism Museums of Macedonia www. hri. org
The Auspicious Incident was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Sultan Mahmud II on 15 June 1826. The Janissaries were first created by the Ottoman Sultans who employed captured prisoners as mercenary troops, the Janissary corps eventually consisted of enslaved young Christian boys who were given a strict military education. During the 15th and 16th centuries they were recognized as the best-trained and they became known for their discipline and professionalism. They were paid regularly and were expected to be ready to enter in battle at any time, many Janissaries were not soldiers, but still collected pay from the Turkish state as dictated by the corps. The corps held an effective veto over the government, contributing to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Any sultan who tried to diminish the status or power of the Janissaries was immediately either killed or deposed, as corruption continued, the Janissary corps began to undermine the Ottoman Empire. Over time it became clear that for the Ottoman Empire to be a power of Europe.
The number of Janissaries grew from 20,000 in 1575 to 49,000 and 135,000 in 1826, Turkish historians claim that the counter-Janissary force, which was great in numbers, included the local residents who had hated the Janissaries for years. Historians suggest that Mahmud II purposely incited the revolt and have described it as the coup against the Janissaries. The sultan informed them that he was forming a new army, the Janissaries saw their institution as crucial to the well-being of the Ottoman Empire, especially to Rumelia, and had previously decided they would never allow its dissolution. Thus, as predicted, they mutinied, advancing on the sultans palace, Mahmud II brought out the sacred standard of the Prophet from inside the treasury, intending all true believers to gather beneath it and thus bolster opposition to the Janissaries. In the ensuing fight the Janissary barracks were set ablaze by fire, resulting in 4,000 Janissary deaths. The survivors either fled or were imprisoned, their possessions confiscated by the Sultan, by the end of 1826 the captured Janissaries, constituting the remainder of the force, were put to death by decapitation in the Thessaloniki fort that soon came to be called the Blood Tower.
Roughly 100 other Janissaries fled to the Cistern of Philoxenos where many drowned, the Janissary leaders were executed and their possessions confiscated by the Sultan. The younger Janissaries were either exiled or imprisoned, thousands of Janissaries had been killed, and thus the elite order came to its end. The Sufi Order of the Bektaşi Brotherhood, a core Janissary institution, was outlawed, a new modern corps, Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye was established by Mahmud II to guard the Sultan and replace the Janissaries. Many ordinary Janissaries, especially in the provinces, began rogue revolts, christians in the Balkans became very hostile to their Muslim convert neighbors and began to rally against the new Turkish armies sent from Constantinople. Some Janissaries survived by keeping a low profile and taking ordinary jobs, immediately after the Janissaries had been disbanded, Mahmud II ordered the court chronicler, Mehmet Esad Efendi, to record the official version of events
Republic of Venice
It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice. It was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages, the Venetian city state was founded as a safe haven for people escaping persecution in mainland Europe after the fall 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 Asia and North Africa, the Venetian navy was used in the Crusades. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea, the city became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the citys lagoons. Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe, the city was the birthplace of great European explorers, including Marco Polo, as well as the classical music composer Vivaldi. The republic was ruled by the Doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and aristocrats.
Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism, Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and 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 Venices decline as a maritime republic. The city state suffered defeats from the navy of the Ottoman Empire, in 1797, the country was colonized by Austria and France, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte. Venice became a part of a unified Italy in the 19th century and it was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the Most Serene Republics. He was the first historical Doge of Venice, whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea. Ursuss successor, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s and he was the son of Ursus and represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty.
Such attempts were more commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history. 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 mostly 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, 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 later, the Venetians claimed that the treaty had recognised Venetian de facto independence, but the truth of this claim is doubted by modern scholars
After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans the Ottoman Beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror, at the beginning of the 17th century the empire contained 32 provinces and numerous vassal states. Some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries. With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, while the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians. The empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy, however, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian Empires. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent.
Starting before World War I, but growing increasingly common and violent during it, major atrocities were committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks. The word Ottoman is an anglicisation of the name of Osman I. Osmans name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān, in Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı İmparatorluğu or Osmanlı Devleti, the Turkish word for Ottoman originally referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, and subsequently came to be used to refer to the empires military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term Turk was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond. In Western Europe, the two names Ottoman Empire and Turkey were often used interchangeably, with Turkey being increasingly favored both in formal and informal situations and this dichotomy was officially ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name.
Most scholarly historians avoid the terms Turkey and Turkish when referring to the Ottomans, as the power of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman, osmans early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River and it is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their neighbours, due to the scarcity of the sources which survive from this period. One school of thought which was popular during the twentieth century argued that the Ottomans achieved success by rallying religious warriors to fight for them in the name of Islam, in the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over Anatolia and the Balkans.
Osmans son, captured the northwestern Anatolian city of Bursa in 1326 and this conquest meant the loss of Byzantine control over northwestern Anatolia. The important city of Thessaloniki was captured from the Venetians in 1387, the Ottoman victory at Kosovo in 1389 effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, paving the way for Ottoman expansion into Europe
Yedikule Fortress is located in the Yedikule neighbourhood of Fatih, Turkey. It was built in 1458 by adding three new towers to a section of the Walls of Constantinople which included the Golden Gate, the Yedikule Fortress was frequently used as a state prison, and ambassadors of states currently at war with the Porte were usually imprisoned there. Among its most notable prisoners was the young Sultan Osman II, in 1768 the Russian ambassador Aleksei Mikhailovich Obreskov, and the entire Russian embassys staff was imprisoned here, marking the Ottoman’s declaration of war on Russia. The last prisoner was held in the Yedikule as late as 1837, except for the initial 11 and last 4 sentences, all of the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Ivo Andrićs novel Prokleta avlija happens in Yedikule Prison. A mescit and a fountain were built in the middle of the inner courtyard. The houses were torn down in the 19th century, and a school was built in their place. The outer gate was re-opened in 1838, and the forts towers functioned as gunpowder magazines for a while thereafter, an open-air theater has been built in more recent years, and is used for cultural festivals.
Like its namesake in Jerusalem, a Muslim cemetery now lies in front of the Golden Gate, meyer-Plath, Schneider, Alfons Maria, Die Landmauer von Konstantinopel, Teil II, Berlin, W. de Gruyter & Co. Media related to Yedikule Fortress at Wikimedia Commons