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"The Decline of the Roman Army before Manzikert " Topic

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779 hits since 19 Dec 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2017 9:30 p.m. PST

"This comes under the category "You can find anything on the Internet".

By accident I found a paper from Leiden University in the Netherlands dealing with the conflict between the Eastern Roman Emperor and his landed nobility. Mixed with that conflict was a weakening of the Byzantine economy, coinage, corruption, invasions and attacks on the independent Farmer-Soldier who made up the backbone of the Roman Army.

By the 11th century the Roman Empire was again at the height of its power following campaigns in the East that restored much territory lost to the Arabs in the seventh and eighth century.

Following the Arab conquests the Roman Empire was greatly reduced in size and less secure than before. The main economic unit had become the independent farmer who lived in small communities and paid their taxes based on the land they owned. The civil aristocracy of the Roman period had mostly disappeared, but a new elite was forming on the fringes of the empire. They held military functions in the provinces where they enjoyed great power thanks to the thematic organisation of the empire; their military function was combined with civil duties and authority…"
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basileus66 Inactive Member19 Dec 2017 10:43 p.m. PST

Great finding, Raśl!

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

Good article. I found it very educational and heplful to understanding the end on the Emp;ire.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 11:47 a.m. PST

Happy you like it my friends!. (smile)


catavar20 Dec 2017 12:01 p.m. PST

My understanding is that the rich bought out many of the citizen soldiers who defended their local area. With no financial stake, or motive, locals didn't defend the borders where they lived. These were slowly lost to incursions. Mercenaries weren't the answer.

PaulByzantios21 Dec 2017 11:50 p.m. PST

There's grounds for disagreeing with a lot of the conclusions reached in the paper. However, the thing that amuses me the most is position of economic superiority modern historians assume by denigrating the Byzantine Empire for "debasing" the currency.

Based on the definition of "debasing" what the heck has the United States been doing to the dollar for nearly 50 years ie. the same thing as Byzantium did. And the ruination (mostly deliberate) of America's manufacturing base is completely analogous, if not worse, than what happened to Byzantium. Oh and the fact that the Byzantine rich put their own interests ahead of their loyalty to the Empire couldn't possible have any similarities to the current state of the wealthy in the US. :-)

Finally, the Manzikert debacle could easily have been avoided if Romanus IV had put a loyal ally in charge of the 2nd line and kept Andronikos Dukas next to him in the main battle line (with some Varangian Guards to keep him from being lonely).

The likely result would have been a drawn battle with the Emperor and Seljuq Sultan realizing they could not destroy the other followed by a peace treaty, thus staving off the internal Byzantine power struggle that directly led to the loss of Anatolia. After that who knows what would have happened.

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