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Sacking of Istanbul (Constantinople then)

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Argentum Draconis View Drop Down
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  Quote Argentum Draconis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sacking of Istanbul (Constantinople then)
    Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 08:02

In the 4th crusade crusaders sacked there, how bad they harmed the city? And like 60 years later Byzantines took the city back ( were they Niceans or Thessalonikians?) but how did they do that since the city was very well protected and how big their army was and how did they gathered the soldiers? Did many Greek people leave the city after sacking of crusaders? Pontus kingdom was found after the sacking of the city was it just ruled by Greeks or did it have Greek inhabitants too?

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 17:08
Firstly, the Fourth Crusaders caused enormous damage. The fires they lit destroyed vast sections of the city. In the immediate aftermath nearly everything of value was torn up or melted down to pay the armies. In the years following the hopeless Latin Empire was so destitute it further denuded the city of almost anything of value (ripping up marble floors and the copper from the roof is a good example).

The Byzantines retook the city because almost the whole Latin army was off on a campaign in the Black Sea, and stupidly left the city undefended. General Strategopoulos only had to lead a small detachment through a water conduit and the city was returned.

 Enormous amounts of Greeks left the city, unable to bear the haughtiness of the Crusaders and preferring the hospitality of one of the newer successor fragments. The psychological blow had been struck, the city which had never been conquered had fallen, so it no longer held that psychological value of being a place which no one could violate.

The Empire of Trebizond had a large Greek population along its northern coast and in Trebizond itself, but much of the rural population was considered barbarian. As far East as Paphlagionia most people living there were thought of as being so rustic as to have little in common with a "proper" Byzantine Greek. So in Trebizond Greeks were the ruling class (along with some Armenians) and had a substantial population which was not a majority.
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  Quote Perseas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 18:19

While Franks let themselves to be hooked on destroying everything they found in front of them i cant say the same for Venetians. Of course they looted too but didnt destroy like Franks did. All they could lay their hands on,  they sent it back to Venice thus Venetians were the real beneficiaries of the Fourth Crusade.

The recovery of Constantinople came almost byt accident. Alexios Strategopoulos was in Thrace with a small army when he learned that the Latin garrison was absent attempting to attack the Nicaean island of Daphnusia. The chance was too good for them to miss. In the same night a detachment slipped into the city, surprised the unsuspected guards and threw them from the ramparts. They opened one of the gates and Alexios Strategopoulos army came in. The rest was too easy.

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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 18:32

 All the Franks gained was a doomed Crusader Kingdom that was starved of support, money, men and the luxery i'm sure they expected to find. Much of the riches being shipped off to Venice and elsewhere to enhance the courts and churches of others.

 I can't say I feel sorry for the Crusaders when they found themselves in such a sorry state as its enemies closed in around it.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 19:28

The only real Crusader Emperor who deserves much credit was Henry I, who put up a good fight and proved to be very able.

It is true the Venetians shipped back much of the treasure to their home, which we can still see if we visit it today. Probably for that reason alone I will not go so far as to malign them completely, they at least possessed an appreciation of sophistication and culture when they encountered it.

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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 19:57

 Does anybody know if there is a website which has pictures and descriptions of what the Venetians have in their possession from 1204? or infact anything of interest that was taken back to the west after 1204 be it in Venice or elsewhere.

  I'd be very interested to see what they got other than the more famous items like the bronze horses from the hippodrome, also I asked this awhile ago but nobody seemed to have an answer, when the Byzantines pawned the crown jewels to Venice what became of them and where are they now? assuming they still exist.  



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  Quote Argentum Draconis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 05:46

You say it was the first capture of the city but didnt Romans and persians capture it when it was Byzantium?

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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 07:01
Originally posted by Argentum Draconis

You say it was the first capture of the city but didnt Romans and persians capture it when it was Byzantium?

Not technically, since they were not "captured" but simply "allied" with the most powerful side. It was the sensible thing to do, since Byzantium was a city almost entirely depended on commerce.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 08:08
Well we tend to distinguish Constantinople from Byzantium for important reasons. Constantinople was the centre of the Roman world for a long time, Byzantium was really just a prosperous trading town. First Constantine, and later Theodosius' prefect Anthimus, adorned the city with spectacular defences which made attacking Constantinople massively more difficult than classical Byzantium.
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 08:47
Originally posted by Heraclius

I'd be very interested to see what they got other than the more famous items like the bronze horses from the hippodrome, also I asked this awhile ago but nobody seemed to have an answer, when the Byzantines pawned the crown jewels to Venice what became of them and where are they now? assuming they still exist.



The crown jewels were pawned for 30.OOO ducats by Empress Anna in 1343 and never redeemed. They remained in the treasury of St.Mark Cathedral, but where they are now is a mystery to me. The French plundered the treasury in 1797, maybe they took them.
Let's make this the quest, for the lost crown jewels of Byzantium.
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 10:31
Originally posted by Heraclius

I'd be very interested to see what they got other than the more famous items like the bronze horses from the hippodrome,...



The Venetians didn't take much else, apart from:

After the killing, after the city had been subdued, there began a slow and steady removal of treasures out of the Orthodox temples and into the cathedrals, churches, monasteries, convents, cities and towns of Latin Europe. Some of these items had been venerated, cherished, and protected for centuries, others for a millennium. Now they were being carted away from over a hundred and fifty churches: altars, altar screens, tabernacles, antimins, icons, icon frames, processional, pectoral and altar crosses, gold and silver chains, panagias, mitres, croziers, chalices, patens, star covers and spears, Gospels, Epistle books, ladles, church plate, censers, votive lights, relics, candelabra, epitaphia, fans, reliquaries, vestments, banners, manuscripts, miniatures, ivories, carvings, mosaics, thrones, tapestries, furniture and architectural items. Cartloads of gold and silver from Santa Sophia found their way into the Vatican treasury. Constantinople had become the gold mine which supplied Latin Christendom.

The wealth was so great that the looting continued for sixty years. A century earlier, after the First Crusade, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Edessa were similarly stripped for a period of forty years. Now it was happening to the imperial city. A scandalous traffic in relics was started. The head of St. John the Baptist was carried off to Amiens. Amalfi, Italy took the head of St. Andrew the First-Called from the Church of the Holy Apostles, along with a set of heavy bronze doors. The bishop of Soissons shipped home the head of St. Stephen and a relic of St. John. The remains of St. Clement, pillaged from the Church of St. Theodosia, were taken to Cluny. St. Albans received the relics of St. Marina. Halbstadt claimed the relics of St. James. The True Cross was divided up among the barons, with a portion sent to the pope, and another fragment taken to Paris. A priceless gold and enamel reliquary encrusted with jewels, containing a fragment of the Wood wound up in a nunnery in Steuben. King Louis IX of France paid 10,000 silver marks for the "true" Crown of Thorns, for which he built St. Chapells in Paris.

Gone was the maphorion of the Theotokos, as was her zone and the wonder-working icon. Gone or destroyed--the relics of St. Luke and St. Timothy; no trace of the relics of St. John Chrysostom. An altar cloth with the relic of St. Paul was missing. Nothing is known of the stone seat of St. Mark.

The Venetians were the most discriminating--they knew exactly what to take. From the Monastery of the Pantacrator they appropriated a group of exquisite gem-crusted enamel cameos, (a vast collection of panagias), to enhance the Palo D'Oro, an elaborate Byzantine bejeweled gold screen which was used in the Cathedral in Venice to cover the relics of St. Mark. (We will recall that St. Mark was stolen from Alexandria in the ninth century). They also carried off the Icon of the Theotokos of Nikopeia, as well as a relic of St. Stephen (the feet already were in Venice). The golden tabernacle from the Church of the Holy Apostles, a replica of the church itself, was added to their booty. Venice's prized possessions are the four magnificent glided bronze horses, cast in Constantine's time, which once stood in the Hippodrome; today, except when removed for cleaning, they stand atop the gallery of St. Mark's basilica. The porphyry statue of four tetrarchs, taken from a palace, stands in a corner of St. Mark's treasury.

Venetians valued craftsmen, and they took away the best: goldsmiths, silversmiths, jewel workers, iconographers, woodcarvers, stone and glass workers. Much of the Venetian glass technique so famous today originated in Constantinople. St. Mark's contains the finest collection of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world. It includes 32 Byzantine chalices, plus assorted relics, reliquaries, altar pieces, Gospels, Jewels, vestments, manuscripts and church plate. The collection includes the Veroli casket, the finest Byzantine carved ivory in the world, and the Psalter of Emperor Basil.

Dandolo sent home shiploads of mosaics, panels, stones, pillars, precious marbles, columns of rare stones and the many building components which have gone into creating the texture of the city which today is Venice.



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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2005 at 11:03
Originally posted by Heraclius

 also I asked this awhile ago but nobody seemed to have an answer, when the Byzantines pawned the crown jewels to Venice what became of them and where are they now? assuming they still exist.  



I came across this source the other day if you are interested, Heraclius.  It has a good deal of info on the pawning of the crown jewels.

Paul Hetherington. "The Jewels from the Crown: Symbol and Substance in the Later Byzantine Imperial Regalia." Byzantinische Zeitschrift 96, no. 1 (2003): 157-168.
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  Quote violentjack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 14:03
They ruled from 1204-1261 Latin kingdom of Konstantinople under Baldwin.Crusaders were famous for sacking christian towns like  Zara in 1202,todays Zadar in Croatia,and towns heavily catholic on Portugal coast during 4 crusades..Just one word was sufficient enough for town to be sacked.Thats where Thomas de Torquemada will grow up later environment




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  Quote RomiosArktos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 15:04
Originally posted by Constantine XI


The Empire of Trebizond had a large Greek population along its northern coast and in Trebizond itself, but much of the rural population was considered barbarian. As far East as Paphlagionia most people living there were thought of as being so rustic as to have little in common with a "proper" Byzantine Greek. So in Trebizond Greeks were the ruling class (along with some Armenians) and had a substantial population which was not a majority.


Do you have any sources to support this?
I believed that by that time the  term barbarian was not  used anymore and that the population of the pontic empire was only greek with some Armenian minority. These pontic Greeks were possibly not  different from the other byzantines.



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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 19:56

Here's a site of Constantinople in 1200 and it mentions what happened to the buildings: http://www.byzantium1200.com/index.html

0884021017 - Russian Travelers to Constantinople in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries by George P. Majeska. It's filled with desriptions of the then city and mention of what was in ruins. 

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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 21:48

Originally posted by condotierre

0884021017 - Russian Travelers to Constantinople in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries by George P. Majeska. It's filled with desriptions of the then city and mention of what was in ruins.

This is an excellent collection of primary sources in translation - thanks for mentioning it! 

It is a bit sad (and at the same time fascinating) to read about these Russian travelers' perceptions of Constantinople in its dilapidated state of the 14th and 15th centuries.  They look on the churches and priceless relics with amazement, but on the other hand they lament at the condition of the civic buildings and the walls.

An interesting side note for you Byzantine military enthusiasts.  There is one source in Majeska's book that describes the civil war between Manuel II Palaiologos and John V and John VII.  The witness says that the younger usurpers and their forces used gunpowder artillery to bombard the tower that Manuel II was taking refuge in (inside Constantinople).  It is striking because it is a rare instance where the Byzantines utilized gunpowder weapons in the late period.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 00:19
Originally posted by RomiosArktos

Originally posted by Constantine XI


The Empire of Trebizond had a large Greek population along its northern coast and in Trebizond itself, but much of the rural population was considered barbarian. As far East as Paphlagionia most people living there were thought of as being so rustic as to have little in common with a "proper" Byzantine Greek. So in Trebizond Greeks were the ruling class (along with some Armenians) and had a substantial population which was not a majority.


Do you have any sources to support this?
I believed that by that time the  term barbarian was not  used anymore and that the population of the pontic empire was only greek with some Armenian minority. These pontic Greeks were possibly not  different from the other byzantines.



When Andronicus Comnenus marched on Constantinople from his base in Anatolia, I understand the Greek chroniclers refered to the Paphlagonians in his army as barbarians and distinguished them from Greek troops. I read that in Norwich's Byzantium: the Decline and fall.
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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 01:41

Originally posted by Constantine XI

The Empire of Trebizond had a large Greek population along its northern coast and in Trebizond itself, but much of the rural population was considered barbarian. As far East as Paphlagionia most people living there were thought of as being so rustic as to have little in common with a "proper" Byzantine Greek. So in Trebizond Greeks were the ruling class (along with some Armenians) and had a substantial population which was not a majority.

Some of the more "rustic" and less urbanized of the Empire's inhabitants served the emperors well during the late period.  In the Nicaean exile, the emperors subsidized the mountain dwellers in Asia Minor to stay on their lands and conduct raids against the Seljuks.  Eventually they were even honored with grants of pronoia (military or otherwise) and acted as a border guard.  The Nicaean emperors prized them for their toughness, which was borne of living in harsh conditions in the highlands of Anatolia.  Bartusis traces their careers in his The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453.

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  Quote RomiosArktos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 05:44
Originally posted by Constantine XI



When Andronicus Comnenus marched on Constantinople from his base in Anatolia, I understand the Greek chroniclers refered to the Paphlagonians in his army as barbarians and distinguished them from Greek troops. I read that in Norwich's Byzantium: the Decline and fall.

In Paflagonia  you are right.Maybe the hellenisation process of the natives there didn't make the native languages extinct.The ancient population of Paflagonia may have managed to preserve their distinct character from the Greek settlers
Anyway I will chech this book out,Thanks!
.However along the northern coast of Pontus where the cities were situated most of the population must have been Greek.The Laz(who was a native people of the Caucasus) and the the other native people must have been living on the Pontic Alps and not  along the coast.In Pontus the Laz people  were  also used for the the frontier defense.
The Pontic cities however like Trebzond and Sinope had a substantial Greek population since the time of the classical antiquity.In fact these cities were founded as greek colonies,so there the majority of the population was Greek.

The Paflagonians maybe had a bad reputation as uncivilised people that's why they were used by Andronicus in the pogrom that took place in Constantinople against the latin population of the city.




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  Quote Digenis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-May-2006 at 04:36
Originally posted by RomiosArktos

Originally posted by Constantine XI



When Andronicus Comnenus marched on Constantinople from his base in Anatolia, I understand the Greek chroniclers refered to the Paphlagonians in his army as barbarians and distinguished them from Greek troops. I read that in Norwich's Byzantium: the Decline and fall.


The Paflagonians maybe had a bad reputation as uncivilised people that's why they were used by Andronicus in the pogrom that took place in Constantinople against the latin population of the city.


Its probable that the Paphlagonians had a really bad reputation since ancient era.
Aristophanes ,in "Hippeis"(knights) in order to critisize Cleon's government of Athens during earlt Peloponesian war,uses the name "Paphlagonian" instead of the real name of the general.
He is presenting him as  extremely warlike and brutal.
Its known the dedication of Byzantines scholars to the ancient writers,and the copy-paste by them
Also the adjective Paphlagonian was used for emperor Michael IV (1034-1041).He was literaly from this region,but hi sopponents,the educated of the palace and the aristocracy used it more,probably to mark his ancestry ,which was not gentle.
He was the first merchant who achieved to be an emperor.
He is described by them as "hydaios kai triobolimaios" (vulgar) although there were many "from gantle race" to get the throne. (history of the greek nation-vol H')
Finally "Paphlagonians" was used by the scholars of Nicean empire ,which ideology was that was the real continuer of Byzantium,against the Trebizond empire ,during the period 1204-1282.
At first the 2 states compete for the recapture of Constantinoupolis and claimed to be the legal descendants of the Empire,and opposed by diplomacy and on the battle-field.

So i think,"Paphlagonians" was used more as an insult,derived from the ancient witers,rather than an ethnic definition.
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