Τετάρτη, 31 Αυγούστου 2016

The Roman and Medieval History of Greece : From the dominance Byzantine Empire to the foreign occupation by Venetians, Franks and Ottomans

Militarily, Greece itself declined to the point that the Romans conquered the land (168 BC onwards), though Greek culture would in turn conquer Roman life. Although the period of Roman rule in Greece is conventionally dated as starting from the sacking of Corinth by the Roman Lucius Mummius in 146 BC, Macedonia had already come under Roman control with the defeat of its king, Perseus, by the Roman Aemilius Paullus at Pydna in 168 BC. The Romans divided the region into four smaller republics, and in 146 BC Macedonia officially became a province, with its capital at Thessalonica. The rest of the Greek city-states gradually and eventually paid homage to Rome ending their de jure autonomy as well. The Romans left local administration to the Greeks without making any attempt to abolish traditional political patterns. The agora in Athens continued to be the centre of civic and political life. Caracalla's decree in AD 212, the Constitutio Antoniniana, extended citizenship outside Italy to all free adult men in the entire Roman Empire, effectively raising provincial populations to equal status with the city of Rome itself. The importance of this decree is historical, not political. It set the basis for integration where the economic and judicial mechanisms of the state could be applied throughout the Mediterranean as was once done from Latium into all Italy. In practic integration did not take place uniformly. Societies already integrated with Rome, such as Greece, were favored by this decree, in comparison with those far away, too poor or just too alien such as Britain, Palestine or Egypt. Caracalla's decree did not set in motion the processes that led to the transfer of power from Italy and the West to Greece and the East, but rather accelerated them, setting the foundations for the millennium-long rise of Greece, in the form of the Eastern Roman Empire, as a major power in Europe and the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages.
The history of the Byzantine Empire is described by Byzantinist August Heisenberg as the history of "the Christianized Roman empire of the Greek nation". The division of the empire into East and West and the subsequent collapse of the Western Roman Empire were developments that constantly accentuated the position of the Greeks in the empire and eventually allowed them to become identified with it altogether.
The leading role of Constantinople began when Constantine the Great turned Byzantium into the new capital of the Roman Empire, from then on to be known as Constantinople, placing the city at the center of Hellenism a beacon for the Greeks that lasted to the modern era. The figures of Constantine the Great and Justinian dominated during 324–610. Assimilating the Roman tradition, the emperors sought to offer the basis for later developments and for the formation of the Byzantine Empire. Efforts to secure the borders of the Empire and to restore the Roman territories marked the early centuries. At the same time, the definitive formation and establishment of the Orthodox doctrine, but also a series of conflicts resulting from heresies that developed within the boundaries of the empire marked the early period of Byzantine history. In the first period of the middle Byzantine era (610–867) the empire was attacked both by old enemies (Persians) as well as by new ones, appearing for the first time in history (Arabs, Bulgars). The main characteristic of this period was that the enemy attacks were not localized to the border areas of the state but they were extended deep beyond, even threatening the capital itself. At the same time, these attacks lost their periodical and temporary character and became permanent settlements that transformed into new states, like Bulgaria and Serbia, hostile to Byzantium. Slavic settlements were referred by the Byzantines as Sclavinias. Changes were also observed in the internal structure of the empire which was dictated by both external and internal conditions.
The predominance of the small free farmers, the expansion of the military estates and the development of the system of themes, brought to completion developments that had started in the previous period. Changes were noted also in the sector of administration: the administration and society had become immiscibly Greek, while the restoration of Orthodoxy after the iconoclast movement, allowed the successful resumption of missionary action among neighboring peoples and their placement within the sphere of Byzantine cultural influence. During this period the state was geographically reduced and economically damaged, since it lost wealth-producing regions; however, it obtained greater lingual, dogmatic and cultural homogeneity. From the late 8th century, the Empire began to recover from the devastating impact of successive invasions, and the reconquest of countryside regions of Greece began. Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor were brought in as settlers. The Slavs were either driven out or assimilated and the Sclavinias were eliminated. By the middle of the 9th century, Greece was in Greek Administration again, and the cities began to recover due to improved security and the restoration of effective central control.
The year 1204 marks the beginning of the late Byzantine period, when probably the most important event for the Empire occurred. Constantinople was lost for the Greek people for the first time, and the empire was conquered by Latin crusaders and would be replaced by a new Latin one, for 57 years. In addition, the period of Latin occupation decisively influenced the empire's internal development, as elements of feudality entered aspects of Byzantine life. The Frankish Principality of Achaea was founded in 1205 by William of Champlitte and Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, who undertook to conquer the Peloponnese on behalf of Boniface of Montferrat, King of Thessalonica. With a force of no more than 100 knights and 500 foot soldiers, they took Achaea and Elis, and after defeating the local Greeks in the Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros, became masters of the Morea. The victory was decisive, and after the battle all resistance from the locals was limited to a few forts, that continued to hold out. The fort of Araklovon in Elis, was defended by Doxapatres Boutsaras and withstood the attacks until 1213, when the garrison finally surrendered. The fort of Monemvasia, and the castles of Argos, Nauplia and Corinth under Leo Sgouros held out until his suicide in 1208. By 1212, these too had been conquered, and organized as the lordship of Argos and Nauplia, and only Monemvasia continued to hold out until 1248. The Stato o Domini da Mar was the name given to the Republic of Venice's maritime and overseas possessions, including Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Negroponte, the Morea, the Aegean islands of the Duchy of the Archipelago, and the islands of Crete and Cyprus. It was one of the three subdivisions of the Republic of Venice's possessions, the other two being the Dogado, i.e. Venice proper, and the Domini di Terraferma in northern Italy. The creation of the Venice's overseas empire began around 1050 AD with the conquest of Dalmatia and reached its greatest nominal extent at the conclusion of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, with declaration of the acquisition of three octaves of the Byzantine Empire. However, most of this territory was never actually controlled by Venice, being held by the Greek Byzantine successor states and much of the rest was soon lost as the Byzantine Empire of Nicaea reconquered Constantinople(1260). However, for many centuries the "Stato da Mar" survived in the Balkans, mainly in the Adriatic sea that was even nicknamed "Mare di Venezia" on maps of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In 1261 the Greek empire was divided between the former Greek Byzantine Comnenos dynasty members (Despotate of Epirus) and Palaiologos dynasty (the last dynasty until the fall of Constantinople) ruling the Despotate of the Morea. After the gradual weakening of the structures of the Byzantine state and the reduction of its land from Turkish invasions, came the fall of the Byzantine Empire at the hands of the Ottomans. The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 is considered the end of the Byzantine period.
The Despotate of Epirus was one of the successor states of the Byzantine Empire established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 by a branch of the Angelos imperial dynasty. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along the Empire of Nicaea and the Empire of Trebizond. The Despotate was centred on the region of today Epirus, encompassing also most of Albania and the western portion of Greek Macedonia and also included Thessaly and western Greece as far south as Nafpaktos. Through a policy of aggressive expansion under Theodore Komnenos Doukas the Despotate of Epirus also briefly came to incorporate central Macedonia, with the establishment of the Empire of Thessalonica in 1224, and Thrace as far east as Didymoteicho and Adrianopolis, and was on the verge of recapturing Constantinople and restoring the Byzantine Empire before the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230. After that, the Epirote state contracted to its core in Epirus and Thessaly, and was forced into vassalage to other regional powers. It nevertheless managed to retain its autonomy until conquered by the restored Palaiologan Byzantine Empire in ca. 1337.
Its independence was restored in 1356, but with the onset of Arvanites migration south it fractured into competing principalities under Serbian, Arvanite, and Italian rulers. In the 1410s, the Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos Carlo I Tocco managed to reunite the core of the Epirote state, but his successors gradually lost it gain to the advancing Ottoman Empire, with the last stronghold, Vonitsa, falling to the Ottomans in 1479.
The Despotate of the Morea or Despotate of Mystras was a province of the Byzantine Empire which existed between the mid-14th and mid-15th centuries. Its territory varied in size during its 100 years of existence but eventually grew to include almost all the southern Greek peninsula known as the Peloponnesos. It was called Morea during the medieval period. The territory was usually ruled by a close relative of the current Byzantine emperor, who was given the title of despotes. Its capital was the fortified city of Mystras, near ancient Sparta, which became an important centre of Byzantine culture and power. As Latin power in the Peloponnese waned during the 15th century, the Despotate of the Morea expanded to incorporate the entire peninsula in 1430 with territory being acquired by dowry settlements, and the conquest of Patras by Constantine. However, in 1446 the Ottoman Sultan Murad II destroyed the Byzantine defences the Hexamilion wall at the Isthmus of Corinth. His attack opened the peninsula to invasion, though Murad died before he could exploit this. His successor Mehmed II "the Conqueror" captured the Byzantine capital Constantinople in 1453. The despots, Demetrios Palaiologos and Thomas Palaiologos, brothers of the last emperor, failed to send him any aid, as Morea was recovering from a recent Ottoman attack. Their own incompetence resulted in an revolt against them, during which they invited in Ottoman troops to help them put down the revolt. At this time, a number of influential Moreote Greeks and Albanians made private peace with Mehmed. After more years of incompetent rule by the despots, their failure to pay their annual tribute to the Sultan, and finally their own revolt against Ottoman rule, Mehmed came into the Morea in May 1460. Demetrios ended up a prisoner of the Ottomans and his younger brother Thomas fled. By the end of the summer the Ottomans had achieved the submission of virtually all cities possessed by the Greeks.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Greece

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