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John Tzimisces Levantine Campaign

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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: John Tzimisces Levantine Campaign
    Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 14:18

As many know, John Tzimisces was a capable general, and was able to reclaim parts of the Near East as far as the Euphrates for the Byzantine Empire. He campaigned in Syria and Palestine against the weakened Abbasid Caliphate. However, my question is why the empire did not hold these newly conquered territories.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 16:55
Mostly the Levantine cities only recognised suzerainty of the Byzantine Emperor, their ethnicly much different populations were never integrated into the Byzantine state like the ones in Anatolia. The Fatimid Caliphate was still young and vigorous at this stage, they had a tendency to expand and the Levant was the first place to go.

After John left, the cities were left to themselves. I think John's intention here was more to form a coalition of buffer cities which would act as a screen against Byzantine enemies in Egypt and Northern Syria, giving Antioch some breathing room before it was attacked. Shortly after John returned home the civil war between Basil II and the Dynatoi raged, lacking the protection of their pre-occupied Byzantine conquerors the Levantines naturally didn't put up much of a fight when the Fatimids swooped.
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 23:29
Surely keeping the Levant would have been beneficial towards the empire's wealth? Perhaps a protectorate status would have been much better than simply leaving them to fend for themselves. An awful waste of John's talents, to leave his conquests unattended.
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  Quote Jazz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 23:44
At the same time, was there not a concern of waking up the slumbering (at that time) Arab world?  Surely a conquest of Jerusalem might have given the Abbasid Caliphate (who had just recently seen it's secular realm fragment) and impetus to call a Jihad or something and try to re-invigorate the Muslims.
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 23:48
Hard to say. At the time, the Abbasid Caliphate had seen much, much better days. Also, the center of the Islamic world was shifting from Baghdad to Cairo. I doubt the Abbasids really could have anything other than invade themselves. Even so, the Abbasids were nothing like what they were before and were really not equal to the Byzantine Empire's strength at the time.
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  Quote Jazz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2005 at 23:54
No, the Abbasids were themselves not going to stop them, but I was thinking more in terms of Baghdad (or even Cario) making a general call to all Muslims to try to recapture Jerusalem (kind of like a reverse Crusade).
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2005 at 10:50
The disunity of the Muslims at this time can be clearly seen with the fact that there three caliphs at this particular time, all claiming to be the leader of the Islamic world. A jihad at this moment seems impossible. The Christians were able to rally to a crusade because even though there were many kings and lords, there was only one pope.
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2005 at 11:47

 How realistic a possibly would you gentleman suggest a total reconquest of the ancient boundaries of the eastern Roman empire was? Had Johns conquests been secured and then advanced. By that I mean the below pink portions of this map.

 Obviously ignore the green portions which are clearly Justinians 6th century reconquests.

 It'd be of course a fascinating thought of the Byzantine empire reclaiming territory that my namesake had seemingly lost forever over 3 centuries earlier. No need for the Crusades to attempt to retake Jerusalam barely a century later if it was in the hands of the Eastern Christians again, though I wouldnt put it past the Latins to try it anyway

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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2005 at 12:53
If Basil had chosen the very capable Isaac Comnenus as his successor who then lives a full life, eventually passing the empire to his even more capable nephew Alexius and his successors, Byzantium might have avoided the deterioration of its power. The forecast for Byzantium at the death of Basil II was as bright as ever. I believe that it was entirely within its power to defeat the Fatimids. Then extension of its power throughout the entire Crimea, and perhaps in Italy as well would be possible.

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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2005 at 13:10

 The key is definately who succeeds Basil II, its striking how different Byzantiums future would of been had Basil been followed by somebody other than Constantine, somebody talented and commited instead of a hedonistic slob.

 I've a million "what ifs?" when it comes to this period.

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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2005 at 15:25
Yeah, this period is nice, but I'd much rather have Heraclius at the head of the Byzantine forces at Yarmuk.
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2005 at 10:36

 There's plenty of periods of Byzantine history where one man would of made a difference, for example I can't imagine Manzikert taking place had Alexius I been in charge certainly wouldnt have happened had someone like Isaac I still been around.

 Had Heraclius been in charge at Yarmuk, it could of been very different and is probably the most important "what if?" had the empire stunted the expansion of the Arabs there and then by scoring a major victory the empires may never have been in the trouble it was when the Arabs threatened the capital iself and the empire was crumbling.

 I'm still stunned the empire even survived that period, it seemed to defy the odds more times than random chance would allow, no wonder it was believed Constantinople was under divine protection.

 

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  Quote Basil II Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Feb-2011 at 17:29


I think John Tzimices meant to hold on to his new conquests. The problem is that he died very soon after his 975 campaign. Following his death, Basil II was confronted by civil war for the better part of thirteen years. This, of course, allowed the Fatimids to recapture a lot of what they had lost. After the internal strife had ended (around 989), Basil's attention was taken up by Bulgaria until 1018. And after that...it's hard to say. I guess Basil just wasn't interested in southern expansion. Post 1018, he certainly had the capacity to retake southern Syria and Palestine. 




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  Quote Basil II Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Feb-2011 at 17:30
Originally posted by Basil II


I think John Tzimices meant to hold on to his new conquests. The problem is that he died very soon after his 975 campaign. Following his death, Basil II was confronted by civil war for the better part of thirteen years. This, of course, allowed the Fatimids to recapture a lot of what they had lost. After the internal strife had ended (around 989), Basil's attention was taken up by Bulgaria until 1018. And after that...it's hard to say. I guess Basil just wasn't interested in southern expansion. It's a shame, since he certainly had the capacity to retake southern Syria and Palestine. 




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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Feb-2011 at 21:37
Originally posted by Heraclius

 The key is definately who succeeds Basil II, its striking how different Byzantiums future would of been had Basil been followed by somebody other than Constantine, somebody talented and commited instead of a hedonistic slob.


 I've a million "what ifs?" when it comes to this period.



Basil,

I would hope that you looked at the date the above posting was made?

Now, if you want to continue to persuse this little section, then I would request that you again re-read all of the postings made mostly by persons with which I am un-aquainted, and offer some new ideas?

If you could do so, then possibly myself, or others might well want to enter the banter?

Good to have you reading the past of this site! I oft find it rewarding to see the very intelligent words of our predecessors!

Regards,

Edited by opuslola - 13-Feb-2011 at 21:39
http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote Basil II Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2011 at 10:42

Opuslola, there's no reason to be aggressive. I was only trying to answer the initial question: why the Byzantine Empire not hold on to John Tzismices' Levantine conquests? Most of the posts on this forum, although very interesting, do not directly answer the question. That's why I didn't incorporate them into my answer.



Edited by Basil II - 14-Feb-2011 at 10:51
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2011 at 15:26
Originally posted by Basil II

Opuslola, there's no reason to be aggressive. I was only trying to answer the initial question: why the Byzantine Empire not hold on to John Tzismices' Levantine conquests? Most of the posts on this forum, although very interesting, do not directly answer the question. That's why I didn't incorporate them into my answer.



My dear Basil II!

I was in no manner of speech or method becoming "agressive!", perhaps your understanding of English might well be suspect! Here of course I am becomming agressive!

I am accused of something that is not apparent to any English first reader! I was, in fact, being grateful for your posting, and only pointing out that no one who had posted earlier on this thread was still arround to respond to you!

I do, however, accept your polite apology for your mistaken beliefs/understanding of English!

Regards,
http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote Basil II Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2011 at 16:34

Oh right, understood! I apologize.  I definitely misunderstood your post. 

Just out curiosity, though, what are you saying in your second sentence?

By the way, perhaps the people who made the initial posts will come back. It would be great to have some [additional] thoughts on the zenith of the Byzantine Reconquest. 
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2011 at 17:25
Do you mean this?

"I am accused of something that is not apparent to any English first reader! I was, in fact, being grateful for your posting, and only pointing out that no one who had posted earlier on this thread was still arround to respond to you!"

If so, then feel free to use any post of our past members and your ideas to promote some response from our current membership!

That is as simple as I can make it!

Regards,

http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote jafflen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Nov-2011 at 03:07
A brilliant and intuitive general, John's short reign saw the expansion of the empire's borders and the strengthening of Byzantium itself
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