• Victoria 3 - Sign up now!

    The journey begins, sign up now and get a special in-game item when the game is released.


  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
  • Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


Ypestis26

Sergeant
76 Badges
May 16, 2013
61
2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Divine Wind
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Battle for Bosporus
The Foundation of the 2nd Komnenian Restoration: Byzantium in the Late Middle Ages
Dumbarton Oaks, 1975, Theodoros Melos

For the Byzantines, the 4th Crusade represented a truly cataclysmic event. Constantinople, the city which had not been sacked in its nearly thousand year history, was burned, pillaged, and desecrated. Notables streamed out of the city, some fleeing east into Anatolia, and others west into Macedonia and the relative safety of Epirus. Icons, jewels, and artwork filled the hulls of waiting Venetian ships and left for the Adriatic, never to return to the Bosphorus. Still, even in this desperate hour, the Byzantines found themselves ready to embark on another one of their habitual cycles of renewal.

The events leading up to the sack of Constantinople have already been discussed in length. The purpose of this article will instead be to discuss how the Byzantine successor states found themselves capable of mounting such dogged resistance to the Latins in the 13th century. The disintegration of imperial authority at Constantinople under the Angeloi, as damaging as it was to the empire’s long term prospects, nevertheless was a key factor in the rapid emergence of Byzantine successor states in the wake of 1204. Imperial authority in the outlying provinces had been weakening since the death of Basil II, and while this process continued under the Komnenoi, it rapidly accelerated under the Angeloi. Magnates and noble families established extensive power bases away from the capital, and became the center of authority in the provinces. The empire’s soldiers were increasingly drawn from the armed retinues of the magnates, and the economic life of the countryside became focused on vast noble estates.

fy5Q6xm.png

Imperial disintegration under the Angeloi
Broadly speaking, this feudalization meant that the power structures which the Komnenoi used successfully, and the Angeloi unsuccessfully, to maintain their power, were able to persevere largely uninterrupted once imperial government collapsed. After 1204, these magnates and nobles were rapidly able to fill the power vacuum left in the wake of the Fourth Crusade. This process is typified by the rise of the ambitiously named Empire of Trebizond in before the sack of Constantinople. Even as the city of Constantinople languished under siege, a scion of the Komnenoi proclaimed himself emperor at Trebizond. Similar processes followed at Nicaea and Arta after the crusader victory, where the Laskarids and Komnenoi-Doukids rapidly constructed crude state apparatuses, each contending to be the legitimate imperial successor. Elsewhere this process gave rise not to rival imperial claimants, but instead to independent states, seemingly ready to leave Byzantium in the past. In the far southwest of Anatolia and in Attica and the Peloponnese in Greece, petty principalities rose up, but were hardly able to exercise any level of influence outside of their own borders.

PW10Hqy.png

The situation in the Near East immediately following the Fourth Crusade.
Still, the power of the states at Trebizond, Nicaea, and Arta was limited. They were able to call on only a fraction of the limited resources which the empire enjoyed at the end of the 12th century and were frequently forced to react to events and not to direct them. It is unlikely that without outside intervention, or with a more competent Latin effort that a Byzantine revival would have been possible. Luckily for the Greeks, the Bulgarians proved ready to provide the former, and the Latin’s proved incapable of providing the latter. In 1205, after securing control of Macedonia and Thessaly, Emperor Baldwin turned his attention north, intent on securing the Bulgarian hinterland north of Thrace. Advancing north with the cream of his western retainers, he met Tsar Kaloyan at Nesebr, and was decisively beaten, losing the better part of his heavy cavalry and what remained of the crusader core that went east two years previously. So complete was the victory that the self-styled Michael VIII, an ally of Kaloyan, was able to occupy the whole of Thessaly and throw back the Latin relief force sent in 1206. Had Nicaea and Trebizond not been locked in a bitter struggle over Paphlagonia, it is possible that the Latin Empire would have been still-born.

z0JsWTE.png

Despite heavy losses on both sides, the Battle of Nesebr effectively broke Latin military power.

What is clear then is that only a combination of factors, and a good deal of luck, allowed the Greeks to sufficiently stabilize their positions to make possible the eventual restoration of their empire. Even with these, the remainder of the 13th century would prove that this was to be no easy task.

qFhpB3J.png

By 1207, Epirus and Nicaea were the two most viable Greek successor states.
 

High King Peredain

First Lieutenant
30 Badges
Nov 17, 2017
225
49
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Bulgaria once again on the rise to an empire. This time, though, it seems they may take the place of ERE.

And good old Rum. Also ready to gobble up the remnants. What a time to be Greek.
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
75 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.630
2.822
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Falling on hard times. Ready to soar.
 

Jedevari1

Corporal
30 Badges
Mar 1, 2020
30
4
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Once Byzantium is reunited, i would recomend to forge an alliance with bulgaria, and focus on the turks, you know, just in case
 

Ypestis26

Sergeant
76 Badges
May 16, 2013
61
2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Divine Wind
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Battle for Bosporus
The Empire that Never Was: Baldwin I and the End of the Latin Empire: 1207-1234
University of Michigan, 2018, Elizabeth Marks
It was likely unclear to Emperor Baldwin himself or his contemporaries just how disastrous the Battle of Nesebr had been for Latin fortunes. Despite the defeat, and the subsequent loss of certain outlying territories, Baldwin could still lay claim to controlling both the first and second cities of the former empire, and given time would be able to muster enough men to compete with both the Epirotes and Nicenes. Even at the most desperate hour of the Bulgarian campaign, Baldwin could call upon 5,000 men to be put into the field, if we are to believe the chroniclers.

However, for Baldwin a respite never came. The two and half decades from the Bulgarian debacle to the dissolution of his empire would see him attempt to manage crisis after crisis. The first, and perhaps most serious one, arrived in 1210 in the heart of Baldwin’s territories: Thrace. Thrace and Constantinople, ostensibly the heart of whatever Latin power existed around the Aegean, had been continuously ravaged since 1204, first by the Latins themselves and then by the Bulgarians. Understandably, resentment grew towards the Thracians’ occupiers. The countryside may have been willing to tolerate western schismatics after the disaster of the Angeloi, but it was increasingly becoming clear that Baldwin was even less capable of providing stability than they were. Resentment continued to boil over until by 1210 roving bands of Greeks, supported by local magnates, scoured the countryside of any Latins they could find. Baldwin, trapped in Thessalonica, and under siege by Tsar Kaloyan’s army, was powerless to stop them.
qFhpB3J.png

The Latin Empire before losing control of Thrace. The Bulgarian occupation around Thessalonica is shown in stripes.

H1K3NF5.png

The devastation of Thrace has led some modern archaeologists to postulate that the region lost more than two-thirds of its agricultural output.
It was only a matter of time before some particularly ambitious magnate attempted to fill the vacuum of power left in Thrace. While the major fortresses and cities were still held by small garrisons, they would have been unable to resist any sort of concerted assault. It is one of history’s twists that the first Greek to resume control of Constantinople did not belong to either the Laskarids nor the Komnenoi-Doukids, and certainly complicates any sort of narrative of heroic Greek revival. Thus, when Duke Theodore Synadenos, the potentate of Euboea arrived in Thrace at the head of an army,quickly found himself in possession of the whole region, and crowned himself emperor.[1]

lVz4Rfc.png

"Emperor" Theodore's realm stretched from Korinth in the south to Constantinople in the north, yet controlled little in between.
To the matter at hand, Baldwin now found himself ruling a rump state. Stretching from Thessalonica to Mosynopolis, and encompassing a handful of Aegean islands, the Latin Empire had rapidly become a bit player in the politics of the Near East. The empire’s primary backers, the Venetians, were occupied with matters closer to home, and thus Baldwin found himself without support. It did not take long for the vultures to circle. In 1217, while Baldwin was engaged in an ill-fated venture to restore Latin control over Thrace, Despot Michael I of Epirus took the opportunity to establish a loyal vassal in Thessalonica. At the same time, Theodore Laskaris, finally turning his attention west, seized the Latin held islands of the Aegean and occupied the abandoned Gallipoli peninsula. After being defeated in Thrace, Baldwin returned to an “empire” which was scarcely a hundred kilometers in length. For its last fifteen years, from 1219-1234, Baldwin continued with some of the trappings of imperial dignity, but rarely left his new capital at Mosynopolis. After a final Epirote campaign against the Latins in 1234 seized several important border fortresses, and left Mosynopolis scarcely inside Latin borders, the empire was dead. Baldwin renounced his title and sailed for home, leaving a handful of Latin counts to rule over what was left of his empire. [1]

tl4Zn5X.png

The Near East in 1220. The expansion of Epirote and Nicene power left them major players in the Aegean basin.
It is easy to view the collapse of Latin rule at Constantinople as an inevitability, but Baldwin began his reign with significant advantages over nearly all of his neighbors. The Greeks were divided and trying to organize resistance to the Crusaders. The Bulgarians were involved in a war to the north. Had Baldwin played his hand even slightly better, his realm could have survived longer than 30 years. As it stood, three major powers now stood poised to take on the mantle of Byzantium: Bulgaria, Epirus, and Nicaea.

7KJOALd.png

The End of an Empire

[1] Without some sort of complete collapse of authority it would be nearly impossible for the Doux of Euboea to conquer Constantinople on his own, so I got creative.
[2] This was my attempt to explain the "End of an Empire" event, since it seems unlikely Baldwin would give up his title, yet remain in Greece.
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
75 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.630
2.822
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Quite the misfortune for the once Emperor.
 

Ypestis26

Sergeant
76 Badges
May 16, 2013
61
2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Divine Wind
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Battle for Bosporus
Bulgaria once again on the rise to an empire. This time, though, it seems they may take the place of ERE.

And good old Rum. Also ready to gobble up the remnants. What a time to be Greek.
I've played a bit ahead, and both Rum and Bulgaria have had some rough times without my interference, which for a Byzantine player is never a bad thing.

I've had some good games as Nicea. The Byzantine interregnum is such an interesting and rarely talked about point in history. I'm going to keep up with this thread.
It's one of my favorite periods of Byzantine history. The Laskarids are a criminally underrated dynasty. Glad to have you on board!

Once Byzantium is reunited, i would recomend to forge an alliance with bulgaria, and focus on the turks, you know, just in case
My plan was originally to use the Bulgarians to maintain order in the Balkans, though things have since gotten complicated. Here's hoping a place can be found for them in the Byzantine orbit.

Quite the misfortune for the once Emperor.
Indeed! The speed of the Latin collapse surprised me. Guess there won't be any dramatic showdown over Constantinople.
 

Crimson Lionheart

The House Always Wins.
62 Badges
Jun 21, 2015
761
233
25
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
And so misfortune befalls upon the former imperial legacy that once existed in the region
 

guillec87

Field Marshal
61 Badges
Dec 25, 2009
5.332
538
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
subbed
 

Ypestis26

Sergeant
76 Badges
May 16, 2013
61
2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Divine Wind
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Battle for Bosporus
Epirus from 1204-1226: An Unlikely Power
For much of Byzantine history, Epirus was something of a backwater. Located on the western extremity of the empire, it was a prime target for raids from foreign powers. As late as the 11th century, the entire region had nearly been subdued by Robert Guiscard. Yet, the region’s rugged hills would serve as the site of some of the most determined resistance to Latin rule. In 1204 however, Epirus was merely one power among many. In Greece, a handful of independent Greek realms had emerged after the Sack of Constantinople, and while Epirus was undoubtedly the largest geographically, it still had to contend with independent principalities based at Thessalonica, Athens, and Korinth. Luckily for Epirus, and its new ruler, the Despot Michael I, several factors allowed it to outlast its neighbors.​

Perhaps most critically for Epirus is that their dynasty contained a modicum of imperial legitimacy which their neighbors lacked (aside from the hated Angeloi in Thessalonica, but at any rate that was more of a liability in their case). Michael’s father, John, had served as Sebastokrater under Isaac II Angelos, and could trace his lineage to three imperial dynasties, the Doukids, Komnenoi, and Angeloi. John’s later split with the Angeloi, and his death before the events of the Fourth Crusade ensured that his name, and that of his bastard son, Michael, were not tarnished by those events. Once Michael had enthroned himself as emperor at Arta and Despot of Epirus in 1204, the local Greek rulers began to naturally gravitate towards him. The seizure of Thessalonica by the Latins in 1205 left the Komnenoi-Doukids the only family in the region with a legitimate claim to the imperial throne.

As wealth and men began to consolidate around Arta, Michael recognized the opportunity he had to unify Greek resistance in the area. Promising to respect their suzerainty in the Peloponnese, Michael successfully convinced the Kantakouzenoi of Lakonia to recognize the authority of Arta. He likewise arranged the marriage of his younger brother to Tsar Kaloyan’s daughter, securing his northern border from any Bulgarian attacks. His frontiers secure, Michael turned his attention to the Latins, who had recently expanded their realm to the borders of Epirus. Taking advantage of Latin preoccupation with the Bulgarians, he seized Thessaly in 1206, and crucially for his legitimacy, defeated a substantial relief force at Larissa in 1207. In a few short years, Michael had transformed Epirus into the leading power in Greece, though with several caveats.

d612HPL.jpg

The Battle of Larissa was another stinging defeat for Baldwin I.

In the south, independent Greek states continued to persist in Attica, parts of the Peloponnese, and of course Euboea. Before Michael could hope to make true his claim to imperial rule he would have to temper the ambitions of these petty dukes. At home, Michael also ruled a realm resembling less a state, and more an amalgamation of interests held together only by hatred of the Latins, and some affinity to the Komnenoi-Doukid name. In Thessaly, governance of the region fell to Michael’s half-brother Constantine, and in Albania the most prominent duke was another of Michael’s half-brothers, Theodoros. In fact, of the leading lords of the realm, only two did not belong to the Komnenoi-Doukid clan. One, a certain Kreshnik, ruled in the highlands of Albania, and operated effectively at will from the court at Arta, and would with time lead his family to great prominence in the politics of the Adriatic seacoast. The others were of course the Kantakouzenoi in the Peloponnese, who carried on as minor potentates while still acknowledging the authority of Arta.

For a time, Michael proved to be willing to tolerate this arrangement. He had no desire to undertake reforms which could upset his momentum in southern Greece. Instead, Michael set about securing his borders, and expanding the territories recognizing him as emperor as best he could. In 1211, southern Thessaly was rested from the hands of the Duke of Attica after he refused to recognize Michael as Emperor, and in the Peloponnese, with the Duke of Euboea engaged with matters in Thrace, Michael managed to occupy Korinth with little bloodshed in 1214, though he was obliged to transfer the territory under Duke Theodoros Kantakouzenos to avoid a crisis.

His position relatively secured from foreign enemies, Michael set about securing his position domestically. Evidence suggests that it was rumors of a plot in Albania from his younger brother which led him to change his view on centralizing the realm. Whatever the reason, he resolved to tie the dukes closer to the crown, particularly those in the heartland of his nascent realm north of the Isthmus of Korinth. Importantly for the military development of Epirus, levies provided by the Dukes were standardized, as were financial obligations of the various Epirote vassals to the crown. Epirus had taken a first tentative step towards fashioning a true state.

HJlsdB0.png

Michael’s reforms were crucial for the growth of Epirote power.
In the meantime, Michael turned his attention north towards Baldwin’s ailing realm. Since the Latin setbacks from 1205-1207, their border with the Epirotes had been porous, and Epirote raiding parties were able to regularly move north. In 1217, Michael, taking advantage of his reforms was able to raise a significant host and marched north, investing Thessalonica and beginning the occupation of key points in Macedonia. Baldwin, distracted with an attempt to secure Thrace, did not manage to send a relief force and soon enough, after a brief rebellion of a local Greek family, the entire region had fallen into Epirote hands under a loyal duke. Small border adjustments followed in the last years of Michael’s reign, such as the annexation of Attica after Michael's brother Constantine swept into the region with his own personal forces. Constantine's foray into Attica would serve as a harbinger of the limits of Michael's reforms on tempering the power of his vassals.

4H7Hj7V.png

Epirus in 1226.

Even so, by the 1220s Michael could look on his accomplishments with pride. Epirus had become a major power in the region, and along with Bulgaria, had broken Latin power in the Aegean. Moreover, Michael had managed to have a son, another Michael, securing the succession. With the rise of Nicaea as the preeminent power in Anatolia, it seemed that an imperial restoration was imminent, the question was, who would lead it? That question would hang heavy in Arta when on June 2, 1226, Michael I “The Able” of Epirus was found dead in his bed at the age of 56.
 

Ypestis26

Sergeant
76 Badges
May 16, 2013
61
2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Divine Wind
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Battle for Bosporus
Seems like the Komnenos have been exiled to Crimea, I was kinda rooting for them. I switch my allegiance to Epirus now :p
It was a shame to see them fall apart so quickly, they are a favorite of mine. It was interesting to see Nicaea effectively partition the northern coastline of Anatolia with the Turks. There is an interesting balance of power developing in Anatolia.

And so misfortune befalls upon the former imperial legacy that once existed in the region
Needless to say the Greeks will not forget these slights.

Happy to have you aboard!

Komnenos are my favourites too, but I certainly want to see ERE rise again.
There is still one pseudo-Komnenoi dynasty kicking around, maybe they will surprise you.

Anyhow, there's the update! My next one will cover the rise of Nicaea and then we will return to Epirus to see how the erstwhile empire handles its first succession. So far three powers still seem able to inherit the mantle of Byzantium, so we'll see if its the Greeks or the Bulgarians who prevail.