A recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of the Byzantine emperor asking Pope Urban to send a small contingent against the Turks and receiving instead vast armies over which he had no control
A piece of Byzantine hagiography from the fourteenth century which, in spite of its religious character, is a valuable source for the history of the Catalan Grand Company, Roger de Flor’s famous band of Spanish mercenaries hired by the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328) to fight the Turks in Anatolia.
The details of the siege remain, however, shrouded in mystery: its exact dates (670–7 or 674–8?) and length (4 or 7 years?) are a matter of controversy; it is disputed whether the Arabs subjected Constantinople to a regular siege or only to a naval blockade; and the overall logic of events is far from clear.
‘De civitatis utriusque, terrenae scilicet et caelestis’: Foundation Narratives and the Epic Portrayal of the First Crusade
The Lombard-Byzantine conflict was a defining moment in Byzantine history, and especially important for the future of Italy. The wars would not only lead to the end of Byzantine hegomony in Italy, but they also helped in widening the gap between the pope and Catholic Italy on the one hand, and the Emperor and Greek Constantinople on the other, thus paving the way for the emergence of new Romano-German Christian realms in the West.
The Patriarch Alexios Stoudites and the Reinterpretation of Justinianic Legislation against Heretics
Using normative legal sources such as law codes and imperial novels to illuminate Byzantine heresy is a very difficult proposition. One of the great problems in the analysis of Byzantine law in general is that the normative legal sources rarely were adapted to subsequent economic, political, or social conditions.
Latin Patrons, Greek Fathers: St Bartholomew of Simeri and Byzantine Monastic Reform in Norman Italy, 11th-12th Centuries
St Bartholomew of Simeri (ca. 1050-1130), a Greek monastic founder and reformer from Calabria, saw the effective end of Byzantine imperial power in southern Italy in 1071, the conquest of Muslim Palermo by Robert Guiscard the following year, and the rise of the Norman kingdom of Roger II at the end of his life.
Among scholars who have discussed Robert’s reign – however superficially – there appears to exist a relative consensus, with few exceptions, that the misfortunes that befell the empire of Constantinople during this period are largely to be attributed to his personal and utter incompetence. In this contribution I would like to challenge that view.