Prologue; G. M. Aurelius, 1989, De vita Caesarum: The Reigns of the Emperors from Manuel II to Constantine XIV, (Constantinople) Chapter 7; The Century of Peace:~
With the eventual and hard won victory over the Ottoman-Venetian alliance the threat and danger of war that had reared its head in the lands of the Byzantines once again had been beaten back down into submission. Indeed throughout the reigns of the next three Emperors, Valentinian III, Theodosius III and Valentinian IV the Emperor was at peace. With trade booming with Western Europe and control of the Black Sea trade totally secure with the hard won possessions in Anatolia the Empire was never richer. Indeed the epithet of the Emperor Valentinian IV stated ‘Like Augustus before me, I cam to rule in a city of drab stone, and I died in a city of purest marble’, Constantinople and indeed the Empire as a whole became a centre of learning and of learned men.
With the continuing wars within Italy, Germany and the colonial scrapping in the New World many thinkers made their way to the Universities in Constantinople, Athens, Nicomedia and Thessaloniki. This ensured that the Empire stayed on the forefront of military and scientific advancement on a par with the other European countries if not ahead in some respects. This was in stark contrast to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, long a power in Eastern Europe and rivalling the Tsar of Russia in size and scope, indeed managing to heavily defeat Russia in war in several instances until at the close of the 17th century in the Eternal Peace of 1686 a truce was agreed with much of the possessions of Poland in the Crimean region passing into Russian hands, securing a proper port for Russian Trade via the Byzantine Empire and setting Russia up for its wars against Sweden.
All of these events went largely unnoticed in the Byzantine Empire due to the accession in 1673 of a popular young Emperor who took the name of Constantine XII, many contemporary historians would point to this as a portent of things to come and indeed with his vigorous policies as well as the build up of the Byzantine military machine including a formalised standing Imperial army and an expansion and modernisation of the navy it seemed it was only a matter of time before war would affect the Empire once more.
In the early spring of 1679 the assembled might of the Byzantine Empire marched from the city of Nicomedia aiming at the heart of the Ottoman Empire in their most recent capital of Iconium. The Ottoman’s totally unprepared for this and with their armies campaigning in the Levant reacted with horror, with an undignified peace agreed with the rebels in Egypt leading to the concession of many great priviladges to the Egyptian nobility their army marched north at all speed. By the time they past through the Syrian gates and onto the Anatolian plateau however, relatively small in number the campaigning season was over and cities throughout Anatolia had fallen with several more close to Syria already besieged over the winter.
Artists Impression of the Second Battle of Iconium
With the resumption of hostilities in the spring on 1680 a game of cat and mouse evolved with the Ottoman forces laying sieges to cities just fallen to the Byzantine forces and the main bulk of the Imperial army trying to chase them down. It was only 4 years later at Iconium once more that the Ottoman Sultan was trapped in his capital city, within a year the city had fallen for the second time and the Sultan captured. Constantine was unrelenting and pressed the Ottoman Sultan to accept his terms and would not negotiate. The Ottomans would be evicted fully from the Anatolian Peninsula and their lands would be centred on Egypt. With the border province being Antioch the lands surrounding Antioch the lands under the control of the Emperor once again increased in size exponentially, however unlike the earlier conquests the regions being annexed were heavily Islamified and Constantine would spend much of his later reign in conjunction with his son Diocles marching armies from one religious uprising to another, quelling the rebellious spirit with the edge of his sword. In January of 1714 his son Diocles ascended to the Imperial throne as Diocletian II.
Rough Map of Byzantium and Neighbours circa 1685: