When Constantinople fell to the crusaders in 1204, Byzantium came under Latin occupation for years. One of the consequences of the Fourth Crusade was the fragmentation of the Byzantine Empire. There were many successor states, including the weak and short-lived Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond in Asia Minor, and the Despotate of Epiros. It was only in the fifth century that the Byzantine Empire was united once again, courtesy of the Ottomans. The Despotate of Epiros, the Empire of Nicaea, and the Bulgarian state, especially under John II Asen (1218-41), all made it their policy to recover Constantinople. This article surveys the political history of the Byzantine Empire in the period 1204-1453, focusing on the Empire of Nicaea, the restored empire under Michael VIII Palaiologos (1261-82), the reigns of Andronikos II and Andronikos III Palailogoi (1282-1341), the outbreak of civil war in 1341-54, and the empire's final collapse (1354-1453).
Keywords: Byzantine Empire; political history; Empire of Nicaea; Despotate of Epiros; Bulgarian state; Constantinople; Michael VIII Palaiologos; civil war; Andronikos III Palailogoi; Fourth Crusade
Article. 6060 words.
Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages
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