The Byzantine Empire: A Long-Lasting State with Unique Functioning

TLDR The Byzantine Empire, often misunderstood, played a crucial role in preserving the languages and libraries of the western classical world after the fall of Rome. It raises questions about the rise and stability of empires, their response to pandemics and climate change, and their handling of trade and military intelligence.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 To understand the Ottomans, one must first look at the Byzantines and the world they transformed, as they were repositories of all that had been salvaged from the fall of classical civilization and preserved the languages and libraries of the western classical world after the fall of Rome.
04:31 The Byzantine Empire is often misunderstood and misused as a term, but studying it reveals a long-lasting state that had its own unique way of functioning, similar to other long-lasting empires such as the Mongols and Ottomans.
08:27 Leucprand of Cremona, a 10th century archbishop, goes on two visits to Constantinople and writes unflattering descriptions of the emperor, highlighting the use of body-shaming and height-shaming as a way to discredit powerful individuals in exotic kingdoms.
12:44 Byzantium is interesting from both an anecdotal and historical perspective, as it raises questions about how empires rise and stay stable, how societies deal with major structural problems like pandemics and climate change, and how they navigate issues of trade and military intelligence, and it is important to correct the lack of knowledge about this empire in order to understand its significance in history.
16:51 Constantine refounds a new city, Constantinople, which becomes the great queen of cities and survives until the present day, known as Istanbul, and the Eastern Roman Empire reaches its peak under Justinian in the 500s.
21:05 By the 7th century, the bureaucrats in the Byzantine Empire start using Greek instead of Latin, which is seen as a significant turning point, although scholars debate its importance.
25:25 The Byzantine Empire is in a strong position by 1025, but then the Seljuk Turks start to become a problem for them, leading to the Battle of Manzikot in 1071.
30:13 The Battle of Manzikert in 1071, where the Byzantine Emperor was defeated and captured by the Turkish Sultan Alparslan, is a highly symbolic event that is celebrated in Turkey and used by President Erdogan to emphasize Turkish nationhood and success, but at the time it didn't have a significant impact on the invasion of Anatolia by the Turks and may have actually helped contain them.
34:22 The origin of the Turks is difficult to pinpoint, as movement and fluidity are normal, and the idea of an ancestral homeland is not accurate; instead, the Great Plains and Steps of Central Asia, stretching from the northern parts of the Black Sea to the Korean Peninsula, are home to many nomadic peoples who work alongside cities and exploit the natural environment for animal herding.
38:30 The Turks establish themselves as political supremos over a wide federation, including the Celtics, who become masters of the political system in the world that connects most of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, leading to a threat to Constantinople and the need for a crusade for reinforcements.
43:02 The Seljuks face the challenge of maintaining control over conquered cities while also trying to stimulate trade and economic growth, and they are known for their impressive architectural structures, but they are not particularly interested in building civic institutions or Roman-style cities.
Categories: History

The Byzantine Empire: A Long-Lasting State with Unique Functioning

22. Byzantium and the Rise of the Turks
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