Political-Historical Survey, 800–1204

Catherine Holmes

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Political-Historical Survey, 800–1204

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In the centuries between the deposition of the empress Eirene (802) and the Fourth Crusade (1204), Byzantium underwent profound changes. The first half of the period 800-1204 was marked by expansion, with the empire able to regain provinces lost in earlier centuries and missionaries traveling far beyond its territorial frontiers. An artistic revival followed the end of iconoclasm. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Byzantium had to defend itself once again against new external enemies until it finally collapsed in 1204, when Constantinople was sacked by Latin Crusaders. The fall of the Byzantine Empire can be attributed in part to its own political fragilities, but also, paradoxically, to its commercial vitality and rich material culture, which attracted strong external predators. This article discusses the political history of Byzantium in the period 800-1204, focusing on the reigns of various emperors from Nikephoros I to Michael III (802-67), from Basil I to Basil II (867-1025), from Constantine VIII to Nikephoros III Botaneiates (1025-81), and from Alexios I Komnenos to Alexios IV Angelos (1081-1204).

Keywords: Byzantine Empire; political history; Nikephoros I; Michael III; Basil I; Basil II; Constantine VIII; Nikephoros III Botaneiates; Alexios I Komnenos; Alexios IV Angelos

Article.  6667 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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