Chapter

The beginning of prosperity (c. 900 to c. 1050)

Florin Curta and Siu-lun Wong

in The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748638093
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670741 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638093.003.0009
The beginning of prosperity (c. 900 to c. 1050)

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The early tenth century was a period of major military and political turmoil in Greece. The sack of Thessaloniki by Leo of Tripoli and the revolts of the Milingoi and Ezeritai in Peloponnesos created serious problems for the imperial administration. However, after the conquest of Crete by Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas (961), all Muslim raiding upon the Greek lands ended and the island in the Aegean, which had experienced depopulation and abandonment in the previous century, now witnessed population growth and monumental architecture. Further military turmoil followed in northern and central Greece during the wars between Emperor Basil II and the Bulgarian emperor Samuel. The movement of troops in connection with those conflicts explains the sudden increase in the number of coins found in Greece. It may also explain why the local aristocracy sported military and imperial titles, while sponsoring the building of churches in marble. In Mani, the great number of 10th- and 11th-century churches may be attributed to a relatively affluent aristocracy involved in the production of olive oil. By contrast, the foundation of the monasteries on Mount Athos is a primarily imperial initiative.

Keywords: John Kaminiates; Bulgarians; St. Nikon Metanoiete; coins; churches; monastery; Mt. Athos

Chapter.  17131 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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