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With the death of Basil II in 1025 there came to an end the most brilliant period in the history of Byzantium. During this period of roughly one and a half centuries, beginning with 867 when Basil I ascended the throne and ending with 1025 when Basil II died, the Byzantine empire had reestablished itself as the great power of the Christian and Moslem worlds. Its armies had humbled the Saracens, subjugated the Bulgaria virtually cleared the Mediterranean of corsairs, and strengthened its hold in southern Italy. Its missionaries, aided by diplomats and sometimes by armies, spread the gospel among the southeastern Slavs, a development of the greatest significance, Byzantium was the center of Mediterranean civilization.

In less than sixty years after the death of Basil II this great political and military structure was no more. The armies of the empire had been decimated; internal order had broken down; hordes of barbarians, the Selchukids in Asia Miner, the Pechenegs and Uzes in the Balkans, were ravaging its territories; and in southern Italy a new power, the Normans, had arisen which not only had engulfed what possessions the empire still had in that peninsula, but threatened its very existence. It is this disintegration of the Byzantine empire which created the conditions without which the crusading movement would not have taken place, at least not in the form which it assumed.

One living at the time of the death of Basil II might very well have felt that no external power could disturb the internal security and peace of the empire. For the first time in its long existence Byzantium had no well organized and powerful states on its borders. The eastern caliphate still existed to be sure but it had been greatly weakened by internal divisions, while the more powerful emirs had been defeated and humiliated by the Byzantine armies. The Saracens might still make incursions into Byzantine territories, but they had been so deeply impressed by the might of the Byzantine armies that they were ready to accept humiliating terms the moment they heard that an army was marching against them.

Farther north, in the regions south of the Caucasus, the frontiers of the empire had been rounded off by the annexations Which Basil II had made. The annexations included the domain of David (East Armenian, Davit) of Taik, acquired by Basil in 1000, which extended from Manzikert, north of Lake Van, to Erzurum, near the upper Euphrates, and northward to the district of Kola and Arran (Ardahan) northwest of Kars, and the realm of Vaspurkan, ceded to Basil in 1021 by its king, who had found himself unable to protect it against the incursions of the Turks. The acquisition of Vaspurkan extended the frontiers of the empire from Lake Van eastward to the chain of mountains which today separates Turkey from Iran. About the same time (1022) Sempad (East Armenian, Smbat) of Ani, king of Greater Armenia, yielded his kingdom to the Byzantine emperors on conditions that he remain its ruler until his death. These regions were inhabited predominantly by Armenians and some Georgians. The dispossessed Armenian princes were given lands elsewhere in the empire whither they were followed by other Armenians. It is said for instance, that the prince of Vaspurkan, who was given important domains in Cappadocia, was followed there by 14.0oo of his compatriots, in addition to their women and children. Other Armenians were forcibly evacuated and settled in other provinces.

If in the east the Saracens no longer offered a serious threat, the situation in the Balkan peninsula was still more favorable, for the state which had so often challenged the empire was no more. Ever since its foundation in the second half of the seventh century, the Bulgarian kingdom had been a thorn in the side of Byzantium and at times a serious menace to its very existence. But Basil II put an end to this kingdom and annexed its territories. The territories were inhabited by masses of Slavs who would not always be happy with their new status and would at times rebel, but whatever disturbances these Slays might thus cause could not be as dangerous as the devastating attacks for which the Bulgarian kingdom had so often been responsible. The destruction of the Bulgarian kingdom extended the frontiers of the empire to the Danube and the Drava. On the Dalmatian coast its control, direct or indirect, extended as far as Istria and as Venice was still a semi-dependency of the empire, this made the Adriatic a Byzantine lake.

The prestige of the empire was also high in southern Italy. Calabria and Apulia were firmly under its control, and its influence in the Lombard principalities of Benevento, Capua, and Salerno was not insignificant. The rebellion which had broken out in Apulia in 1017 under the leadership of Melo, a wealthy citizen of Bari, and in which Norman mercenaries participated —the first known appearance of Norman mercenaries in southern Italy — was decisively put down. Basil Bojoannes, the Byzantine governor who had defeated Melo gave to the country a wise administration and assured its defenses by the foundation of a number of fortified towns, of which the most famous was Troia in the plains between the Ofanto and the Forbore river. The effectiveness of these fortifications was demonstrated in 1021 when Henry II, the German emperor, failed to occupy Troia and had to give up his invasion of Apulia. So impressed were the Byzantines by the work of Bojoannes that they attributed to him the subjugation of "all Italy as far as Rome".

Basil II transmitted to his successors an empire whose prestige, power, and territorial extent had never been greater since the days when Heraclius triumphantly entered the Persian capital. The men who succeeded Basil were neither statesmen nor military leaders; nevertheless, the empire was able to keep its prestige and position substantially unimpaired for some time after his death.

In the east the Saracens still made incursions and in 103o the emir of Aleppo defeated the emperor Romanus III Argyrus. His victory, however, was not decisive and he was soon forced to put himself again tinder the suzerainty of the empire as did the other emirs along the frontiers. The city of Edessa (Urfa) was ceded to Byzantium and this put its frontiers beyond the Euphrates, Farther north, the attempt made in 1038 to annex Ani and Greater Armenia did not succeed, but the annexation was achieved a few years later during the reign of Constantine IX. On the sea, several piratical expeditions, one in 1027, another in 1032, and still another in 1035, launched by the Saracens of Sicily and North Africa, were successfully dealt with. In the Balkan peninsula, the Slavs, discontented over the transformation of the taxes from levies in kind to levies in money, rallied around Peter Deljan, apparently a descendant of Samuel, the last great Bulgarian king, and a formidable revolt broke out in 1040. The rebels besieged Thessalonica and sent an army which devastated Greece, but the dissensions which soon broke out among the leaders enabled the Byzantines to suppress the rebellion, In 1043 the Russians, aroused apparently by some misunderstanding concerning their trade privileges in the Byzantine capital, a misunderstanding which had already resulted in the death of a high-ranking Russian, attacked Constantinople, but their expedition, headed by the prince of Novgorod, Vladimir, was broken up and their fleet virtually destroyed. In Italy the situation had somewhat deteriorated as a result of the recall of Bojoannes in 1028, but the position of the empire was not yet definitely compromised. In 1o38 an expedition, commanded by the redoubtable George Maniaces, was launched for the conquest of Sicily in order to bring to an end the piratical depredations of the Saracens of this island as well as of North Africa. The Byzantine forces oc­cupied a considerable part of the island, but the recall of Maniaces as a result of a quarrel with the brother-in-law of the emperor, who commanded the sea forces, and the incompetence of his successor, enabled the Saracens to reestablish themselves.

This record of the Byzantine armies during the two decades which followed the death of Basil II, if not brilliant, is by no means wanting in success. Byzantine forces suffered reverses here and there and incursions by the enemy at times disturbed the internal security of the empire, but on the whole the frontiers were well protected and even expanded. But while the old enemies were kept at bay new and more vigorous enemies appeared along the frontiers. Their apparently insignificant raids in the period immediately following the death of Basil II became increasingly more frequent and devastating until finally they shattered the political and military power of the empire. Among these enemies the most important were the Pechenegs, the Normans, and the Selchukids Turks.

The Pechenegs, called Patzinaks by the Byzantines, a nomadic people of Turkish origin, were not unknown to the Byzantines before the eleventh century. They had made their appearance sometime in the ninth century and occupied the territory roughly between the lower Danube and the Dnieper, which today is. Rumania and southwestern Russia. The emper0rs of the tenth century pursued a friendly policy toward them and sought to use them to keep Russians, Magyars, and Bulgars at bay. “So long as the emperor of the Romans is at peace with the Pechenegs”, writes Constantine Porphyrogenitus, "neither Russians nor Turks [Magyars] can come upon the Roman dominions by force of arms, nor can they exact from the Romans large and inflated sums in money and goods as the price of peace, for they fear the strength of this nation which the emperor can turn against them while they are campaigning against the Romans… To the Bulgars also the emperor of the Romans will appear more formidable, and can impose on them the need for tranquility, if he is at peace with the Pechenegs." But with the annexation of Bulgaria the situation changed. The Pechenegs now became the immediate neighbors of the empire along the Danube and, as they were pressed from behind by other Turkish tribes, the Kumans (elsewhere called Kipchaks or Polovtsy), they turned their eyes toward the empire and began a series of raids which lasted almost throughout the eleventh century.

There was virtually no reign from the accession of Constantine VIII in 1025 to the end of the eleventh century which did not witness some Pecheneg invasion of the territories of the empire in the Balkan peninsula. Pechenegs crossed the Danube during the reign of Constantine VIII and were driven back only after they had caused considerable damage, killed many people, including high-ranking officers, and carried with them numerous prisoners who ware ransomed only during the reign of Romanus III Argyrus. In July 1032 there was another destructive raid upon Bulgaria and during the reign of Michael IV there were no less than four different invasions which spread desolation and death and resulted in the taking of many captives. including five generals, It was however, with the reign of Constantine IX Monomachus, which witnessed one of the most devastating Pecheneg invasions, that the Pecheneg menace became very serious, as we are told by the Byzantine historians themselves.

A quarrel between two Pecheneg chieftains was the first in a series of events which led to the devastation of the Balkan peninsula by the Pechenegs during the reign of Constantine. Tirakh (or Tirek), a man of noble birth, was the khan of the Pechenegs, while Kegen, a man of humble origin, was their military leader, Kegen had risen to this position through his own merits, but the reputation which he enjoyed among his fellow tribesmen alarmed Tirakh, who plotted to put him out of the way. Kegen, however, learning of the plot escaped, and after many adventures found refuge on a small island near the mouth of the Danube with 20,003 of his followers. He then appealed to the Byzantine emperor for permission to settle on imperial territory. Kegen was granted this permission, was honorably received in Constantinople, and was given the tide of patrician. In return he accepted Christianity and promised to have his followers do likewise. The latter were settled along the Danube where they were given lands and assumed the obligation of defending the frontier against the incursions of their fellow tribesmen who had remained on the other bank of the river. But Kegen and his followers were not content to remain on the defensive; they took the offensive and began a series of raids across the river. These raids aroused Tirakh. He protested to the emperor, but as his protests remained unheeded, he countered by launching a terrible invasion of the empire, He crossed the Danube, which had frozen thickly, in December 1048 with a force estimated by a Byzantine historian, no doubt with gross exaggeration, at 800.000, and spread terror and death everywhere. The barbarians, however, were not accustomed to the rich food of civilization and overindulgence proved fatal. Dysentery soon broke out among them and this together with the extreme cold carried thousands away. At the same time the armies of the European provinces concentrated against the Pechenegs. Tirakh, with what remained of his forces, finally capitulated. The khan and the other chieftains were taken to Constantinople where they were well received and accepted Christianity. Their followers were settled in the deserted regions of Sofia (Sardica) and Nish (Naissus) to cultivate the land, pay taxes, and furnish recruits to the army.

In the meantime the frontier regions of the empire in Asia Minor were threatened with another invasion by the Selchukid Turks. To help meet this invasion an army of 15,000 men was raised among these Pechenegs and was sent to Asia Minor under the command of four of their own chieftains. Their destination was the province of Iberia, but before they had gone very far in Bithynia they revoked and, forcing their way back, they continued on to cross the Bosporus, whence they marched to the region of Sofia and induced their fellow tribesmen to rebel also. They were soon joined by those who had been settled around Nish and they all retired toward the Danube, where they established themselves in well protected places and then began to raid the Thracian regions of the empire. To meet this new danger the emperor turned to Kegen and summoned him to Constantinople together with his followers. But while the forces of Kegen were encamped before the capital waiting for orders, an unsuccessful attempt was made to take the life of their leader. The conspirators were themselves Pechenegs, however, and when they were brought before the emperor, they declared that Kegen planned to join the rebels. Kegen was arrested, and when the news of his arrest reached his followers, they immediately joined the rebels. The emperor now released Tirakh, who promised upon oath that he would reduce the rebels to obedience. But once Tirakh regained his freedom, he ignored his oath, and put himself at the head of the rebellion. In the meantime the army of the western provinces was defeated near Adrianople. The whole Pecheneg world was in an upheaval, and all the country from the Danube to Adrianople was at their mercy.

The emperor combined the armies of the Asiatic and European provinces under one command and sent them against the Pechenegs beyond the Balkan mountains. The combined armies, however, were routed and their camp was taken by the nomads. This took place in 1049. In the following year, as the Pechenegs continued to plunder the country at will, another army, again drawn from the eastern and western provinces, was sent against them. The encounter with the barbarians took place in June 1050, near Adrianople, but the barbarians were again victorious and, although the timely arrival of reinforcements forced them to flee northward, they continued to ravage the country without fear. The emperor now tried diplomacy and sent Kegen to the Pechenegs. But Kegen, whose object was to create dissension among them and thus bring about their submission, was killed by them.

In the meantime, however, an army under the command of Nicephorus Bryennius defeated three detachments of Pechenegs in three different engagements, two near Adrianople and the other near Chariopolis. These defeats made them more cautious, but did not stop their incursions, which continued throughout 1051 and 1052. In 1053 the emperor made another all-out effort against the Pechenegs, but his army, which attempted to dislodge them from the Bulgarian city of Preslav near the Danube, was again defeated. Despite their victory, however, the Pechenegs now asked for peace, and an agreement to that effect which was supposed to last for thirty years was concluded. The Pechenegs, showered with gifts and titles, remained south of the Danube.

The peace was not kept. To be sure, Constantine IX had no further trouble with the Pechenegs, and there is no evidence that they made any incursions during the short reigns of Theodora and Michael VI, but in 1059 they "crawled out of the caves in which they were hidden," and joined the Hungarians in an attack upon the empire. Isaac I Comnenus immediately took the field. While he was at Sofia the Hungarians, who had sent an embassy to him, concluded peace and he was free to direct his attention against the Pechenegs. But before any encounter took place, the Pecheneg chieftains, with the exception of one named Selte, asked for, and obtained, peace. Isaac now turned against Selte, defeated him, and destroyed his stronghold. Selte fled into the marshes of the Danube. While campaigning against Selte, the emperor Isaac barely escaped a stroke of lightning and, upon returning to Constantinople shortly afterwards, he fell ill and abdicated,

During the reign of Constantine X Ducas, Isaac’s successor, the Pechenegs returned their incursions, extending their activities as far as Sofia where they were defeated by Romanus Diogenes, the future emperor. But more destructive than the ravages of the Pechenegs during this reign were those of the Uzes, another nomadic people of Turkish origin, a "race," according to a Byzantine historian, "more noble and numerous than the Pechenegs, but distantly related to them". The Uzes crossed the Danube in 1065, defeated the Byzantine garrisons that were opposed to there and took their generals, Basil Apokapes and Nicephorus Botaniates prisoners. It was a mass migration, the fighting strength alone of the barbarians being said to have numbered six hundred thousand. As the Uzes entered the empire, they divided into groups, one group going as far as Thessalonica, and even beyond into Greece. They destroyed and killed, and took whatever booty they could carry. Their ravages were so terrible, and their numbers so overwhelming, that the native inhabitants of the European provinces of the empire despaired of safety and began to think of emigrating. Meanwhile the emperor, although much distressed, was slow in taking any measures either, as some thought, because he was too parsimonious to raise an army, or, in the opinion of others, because he felt that the barbarians were too strong to be met successfully in the field. He tried at first to win the barbarian chieftains by means of gifts and other inducements, but finally left the capital, presumably in order to take the field. By that time, however, the backbone of the Uzes' invasion had been broken. Famine, disease, and cold had decimated their ranks, and as they moved northward, Bulgars and Pechenegs fell upon them and further reduced their numbers. Some of them surrendered to the imperial authorities and were settled in Macedonia to cultivate the land and furnish recruits to the army. Leading members among these settlers were honored with the rank of senator and other dignities. The disaster suffered by the barbarians was attributed by the Byzantines to divine intervention.

Pechenegs and Uzes again invaded the empire in 1073, during the reign of Michael VII. On the advice of his minister, the clever but unprincipled Nicephoritzes, Michael VII had failed to make the payments which were due to the garrisons of the fortified towns of the Danube, This put the soldiers in a state of rebellion and they all flocked to the standard of the Byzantine governor of the region, a former slave of Constantine X, Nestor by name, who took advantage of the situation to rebel against the emperor. But beside the garrisons of the towns, which were doubtless composed of barbarians, Nestor obtained also the assistance of Pechenegs and Uzes from across the river. Nestor directed his forces straight to the capital and demanded the dismissal of Nicephoritzes; his rebellion finally collapsed and the Pechenegs returned beyond the Danube, but before they did so they plundered the country all the way from the capital.

During the struggle for the possession of the throne following the overthrow of Michael VII, the Pechenegs and Uzes were busily engaged in ravaging the country. Pechenegs were in the army of the rebel Basilacius, and Pechenegs and Kumans, another Turkish people, plundered the regions of Adrianople while the armies of the rivals for the throne were engaged with each other. Nicephorus Botaniates made peace with the Pechenegs and the Uzes, but the Pecheneg menace remained undiminished. It was one of the most serious problems that Alexius Comnenus would have to face.

The conquest of southern Italy by the Normans, which was to have such an important effect on the relations between Byzantium and the west, has been treated in more detail in an earlier chapter. It may, however, be noted here that the Norman campaign was brought to a successful end in 1071 when, under the leadership of Robert Guiscard, the Normans captured Bari. The capture of Bari made Guiscard the unquestioned master of southern Italy, but already before this event the Byzantines had reconciled themselves to the loss of their Italian possessions and adopted a policy designed to win the friendship of the Norman leader. This policy was initiated by the emperor Romanus IV Diogenes, who proposed the marriage of one of his sons to one of Guiscard’s daughters. The proposal, which must have been made either immediately before or during the siege of Bari, was rejected by Guiscard.

Diogenes' policy was revived by his successor, Michael VIII. In the hope that he might use the Normans to check the Selchukid Turks in Asia Minor, and at the same time protect the empire from further attacks by Guiscard, Michael VII definitely abandoned his claims to the former possessions of the empire in southern Italy and sought the friendship of the Norman leader. This we are told by Cedrenus, and the two letters in which Michael VII asked for the alliance of Guiscard and the chrysobull to Guiscard, by which he confirmed the conditions of the alliance which he succeeded in concluding with him, have survived. The first letter was most probably written late in 1071 or early in 1072; the second letter was written either in 1072 or 1073 and the chysobul bears the date August 1074.

The subject of the two letters is a proposal for the marriage of the emperor's brother, Constantine, to one of Guiscard's daughters in return for Guiscard's friendship and alliance. Of the two letters the first is rather general. It puts the emphasis on the common religion of the two leaders; praises the greatness and intelligence of Guiscard; recognizes by implication Guiscard's con­quest of southern Italy; and declares that the two rulers should in the future identify their interests. The second letter is more specific. In return for the marriage of one of his daughters to the emperor's brother, Guiscard was to become the rampart of the Byzantine frontiers, spare the princes who were vassals of the empire, furnish aid to Byzantium in all things, and fight with the Byzantines against all the enemies of the empire. Guiscard rejected both proposals.

In 1074 the Byzantine court tried again. This time the emperor proposed, as the basis of the alliance which he sought, the marriage of his own son with one of Guiscard's daughters. Guiscard accepted this proposal, and in August 1074 Michael VII issued a chrysobull which he addressed to the Norman leader and by which he confirmed the conditions of the alliance the two leaders had reached. The agreement provided for the marriage of the emperor's son Constantine to Guiscard’s daughter, who subsequently took the name Helen; it gave imperial titles to the young couple; granted to Guiscard the title of nobillissimus; allowed him to name one of his sons curopalates; and put at his disposal eight other titles of varying rank which he was free to grant to anyone among his followers. Some of these titles carried with them an annual payment. Guiscard, in return, agreed not to violate the territories of the empire, but to defend them against its enemies. The agreement was, as far as the Byzantine empire was concerned, a defensive and of offensive alliance. The Turks are nowhere mentioned, but we are told by Cedrenus (or rather Skylitzes) that Michael’s motive was the hope that with the assistance of the Normans he might be able to drive the Turks out of Asia Minor.

Guiscard concluded the alliance with the Byzantine emperor at a time when his relations with the papacy were bad, and it is indeed extremely probable that he decided on this course in order to prevent any agreement being reached between Byzantium and the Papacy. For while they approached Guiscard the Byzantine authorities carried on negotiations also with the papacy, and it is significant that these negotiations stopped as soon as the alliance with the Norman leader was concluded. But Byzantium derived no benefit from its treaty of alliance with Guiscard. Guiscard was restlessly ambitious, and it was not long before he began to focus his eyes upon the imperial title itself. In the overthrow of Michael in 1078 he thought he saw an opportunity to realize his ambition and used the treaty which he had concluded with Michael as an excuse to justify his action. Meanwhile Guiscard had settled his differences with the papacy, and pope Gregory VII, who had been bitterly disappointed over the failure of his negotiations with Byzantium, sanctioned his aggressive plans against the Byzantine empire. On July 25, 1080, Gregory wrote to the bishops of Apulia and Calabria, asking them to lend all possible help to Guiscard, in the expedition which he was about to undertake against Byzantium. Giscard, with the pope's blessing, was on the point of invading the empire as Alexius Comnenus ascended the throne. The issue at stake was no less than the very existence of the empire.

While Pechenegs and Turks roamed within and devastated the Balkan provinces of the empire, and the Normans in Italy threatened the very existence of the state, the situation in Asia Minor had so deteriorated that one did not know precisely what regions still belonged to the empire. This situation was created by the advance of the Turks known as Selchukids, a name born by the family which furnished them their leaders. Like the Uzes, to whom they were related, the Selchukid Turks were nomads, but they could easily adapt themselves to the ways of civilization. Already converted to Islam and accustomed to the life of the frontier regions, they were motivated both by the desire for booty and by religious fanaticism. The men who led them showed remarkable qualities of statesmanship. The aim of those men was to conquer the more advanced regions of Islam — Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt —but they allowed the nomad, whose movements they could not really effectively control, to penetrate the Byzantine provinces of eastern Asia Minor. It was this penetration, which the Byzantines utterly failed to stop, that undermined the position of the empire in Asia Minor and created conditions which were to determine the history of the Near East for centuries.

The Armenians of Vaspurkan were the first to feel the pressure of the movement of the Selchukid Turks toward Asia Minor. It is said that it was because the king of Vaspurkan felt himself unable to check this pressure against his realm that he ceded it to the Byzantines (1021), receiving in return important domains in Cap­padocia as well as the governorship of that province. Against the Byzantine empire itself no serious Selchukid incursions are recorded until the reign of Constantine IX Monomachus. It is indeed with that reign that Byzantine historians date the beginning of the Selchukid menace and the eventual loss of the major part of Asia Minor.

Two major Selchukid raids in Byzantine territory took place during the reign of Constantine IX, one in 1048 under Inal (or Yinal) and the other in 1o54 under the sultan, Tughrul-Beg himself. Both times the situation was favorable to the invaders, for they found the eastern provinces stripped of the major part of their troops: in I048, because these troops had been recalled in order to suppress the revolt of Leo Tornicius, which had broken out in Adrianople in 1047; and in 1o54, because they were being used in an effort to stop the Pechenegs.

Ibrahim Inal ravaged the province of Iberia and the back country of Trebizond, but it was on Erzurum, a city of commerce, wealth, and population, that he inflicted the greatest disaster. The city was burned to the ground; the major part of its population —one hundred and forty thousand, according to one Byzantine historian — was destroyed; and its wealth was plundered and carried away. The Byzantine governors of Vaspurkan and Iberia at first hesitated as to what action to take, but when they were joined by the Iberian prince Liparites, vassal of the empire, they came to grips with Ibrahim Inal only to be defeated. Liparites himself was taken prisoner. An exchange of ambassadors between the Byzantine emperor, who was in no position to send reinforcements to the east, and the Turkish sultan followed, and Liparites was liberated; but there was no stop to the Turkish raids, and in 1054 it was the sultan himself who led the expedition into Byzantine territory. His forces plundered the regions between Lake Van, Erzerum, and the mountains of the back country of Trebizond; they also laid siege to Manzikert, but failed to take it. The sultan withdrew, but not all of the marauders left the territory of the empire. Three thousand under a certain Samuk remained to continue their pillaging; they were active during the reign of Michael VI (1o56-1o57).

These incursions under Ibrahim Inal and Tughrul-Beg were the beginning of a series of raids which became increasingly more frequent. On this fact all the Byzantine historians agree. In 1057, when the troops of the Armenian provinces were withdrawn in order to support Isaac Comnenus in his rebellion against Michael VI, the Turks under Samuk ravaged the regions where the two branches of the Euphrates join. But it was especially during the reign of Constantine X Ducas that the Turkish raiders roamed far and wide. In 1059 Sebastia (Sivas) was pillaged; in 1064 or 1065 Alp Arslan, the successor of Tughrul-Beg, took Ani; from 1065 onward both Edessa and Antioch were continuously on the defensive; in 1067 Caesarea in Cappadocia was ruined. About the same time we find Samuk active as far as Galatia and Phrygia. The Byzantine emperor meanwhile made no serious effort to counteract these raids.

The death of Constantine X Ducas, however, brought to the Byzantine throne Romanus IV Diogenes, a soldier by profession. The desires of the widow of Constantine X no doubt had something to do with the choice of Diogenes, but the Selchukid menace was the primary consideration. Romanus was a brave, if somewhat rash, soldier who had already distinguished himself against the Pechenegs near Sofia. He ascended the throne in January 1068; a few months later he was in the field against the Selchukids, but his army, which was hastily brought together, was neither well armed nor well organized. He achieved some success, but nothing decisive. He succeeded indeed in intercepting a Turkish band which had sacked Pontic Neocaesarea (Niksar), and forced it to abandon its booty, and in the southeast he was able to take Artah near Antioch and Manbij northeast of Aleppo, thus assuring communications between Edessa and Antioch. But while he was active in Syria a fresh band of Selchukids penetrated into the heart of Asia Minor and pillaged Amorium. Diogenes returned to Constantinople, but in 1o69 he again took the field. He first defeated the Norman chieftain Crispin, who had rebelled with his troops, and then proceeded to clear the regions around Caesarea in Cappadocia which were inundated with Turkish bands. Near Melitene he left a part of his army with Philaretus, a general of Armenian descent, with instructions to bar the passage of the Turks, while he himself proceeded toward the Armenian provinces in order to assure their defenses. But Philaretus was defeated and Turkish bands broke into Asia Minor to pillage Iconium (Konya). When Romanus heard of the sack of Iconium he turned back in order to intercept the raiders, but neither he nor his lieutenants were able to destroy them, although they forced them to give up their booty. Romanus then returned to the capital where he remained throughout 1o7o, entrusting the campaign against the marauders of the east to his youthful general Manuel Comnenus. But, after a minor success, Manuel was defeated near Sebastia and taken prisoner, while another Turkish band penetrated deep into Asia Minor and sacked Chonae. Meanwhile Alp Arslan, who was preparing an expedition against the Fatimids of Egypt, was willing to come to some agreement with the Byzantines, and a truce seems to have been concluded. But Alp Arslan was in no position to stop the Turkish raids into the territory of the empire, for they were often made without his knowledge and sometimes even against his will. Under such con­ditions the truce, if indeed there was a truce, could have no lasting effects. But Alp Aslan seems to have been taken by surprise when in the spring of 1071 Romanus Diogenes launched his third and last campaign against the Selchukids.

The campaign of 1071 was the greatest effort made by Byzantium to stop the incursions of the Selchukids. Oriental sources put the strength of the army which Romanus led deep into Armenia at 30o,000 and say further that it was well equipped with various weapons and siege engines. This is, of course, an exaggeration. This army, no doubt, was numerically superior to the previous armies that Romanus had led into Asia Minor. In morale, cohesiveness, and equipment, however, it was no better than they. It was a motley force composed of Greeks, Slavs, Alans, Uzes, Varangians, Normans, Pechenegs, Armenians, and Georgians. Some of these groups, as for instance, the Greeks and the Armenians, did not trust each other; others, the Uzes, for example, were Turks related to the Selchukids to whom they might, as in the event they did, desert. But even the numerical strength of the army had been considerably reduced by the time of the decisive engagement; for the Normans under Roussel of Bailleul and a contingent under the Georgian Joseph Tarchaniotes had been dispatched to take Akhlat (or Khilat) on Lake Van, while others had been sent elsewhere to seek provisions. These troops were recalled, to be sure, but they failed to arrive. Then too at a critical moment of the campaign a contingent of the Uzes deserted to the enemy, and this defection introduced doubts and distrust into the camp of the Byzantines. It is said that at the time of the engagement Romanus had no more than one third of the army which he had brought with him. Still the Byzantine forces made a powerful impression and Alp Arslan, who commanded the Turkish troops, made an effort to avoid a battle, but his overtures for peace were rejected by the Byzantine emperor. He had made too great an effort to return without meeting the enemy. The decisive battle took place on August 26, 1071, near Manzikert. Romanus fought bravely, but his forces were completely routed and he himself was taken prisoner, the first Byzantine sovereign to be captured by a Moslem opponent. After Manzikert there was no effective force to stop the penetration of the Turks, who now came not only to raid, but to stay.

Alp Arslan treated Romanus Diogenes generously and liberated him at the end of eight days. The Byzantine emperor, however agreed to pay a huge ransom and an annual tribute. It is said also that he promised to cede the cities of Manzikert, Edessa, Manbij, and Antioch, but this is extremely doubtful. For the moment at least, Alp Arslan did not envisage the annexation of Byzantine territory, while the Byzantine emperor would have preferred to die rather than agree to anything that was not worthy of his dignity. The two men agreed to keep the peace and to exchange prisoners. Diogenes was then given a Turkish guard and was allowed to return. to his country. But in the meantime the authorities in Constantinople had declared him deposed and had replaced him by the eldest son of Constantine X Lucas, Michael VII. The result was civil war during which Diogenes called the Selchukids to his assistance. He was finally defeated and captured; he died, shortly afterwards as a result of having been blinded. Alp Arslan vowed to avenge his death and gave his bands freedom of action. They soon inundated Asia Minor, where they were destined to remain. They were helped in this, as will be seen later in this chapter, by the military anarchy which broke out in the empire during the reign of Michael VII.

In less that twenty-five years after they had began their activ­ities in earnest, the nomads from the east and the adventurers from the west had reduced the empire to impotence and had threatened its very existence. How this came about is a question that cannot be easily answered, but an examination of the internal conditions of the empire during this period may yield at least a partial explanation.

Between 1025 and 1081, when Alexius Comnenus ascended the throne thirteen sovereigns, two of them women, occupied the throne. This gives an average of little more than four years for each reign, but this figure is less revealing than the actual duration of each reign. Eight emperors occupied the throne for not more than three years. And only one ruled for more than ten years, a fact which contemporaries did not fail to notice. Of the remaining four reigns two lasted for seven years, one for six, and the other for nine. Five emperors were overthrown by force, one died under questionable circumstances, and another abdicated, probably under pressure. Moreover, virtually every reign was troubled by some uprising aimed at the overthrow of the emperor. Among the emperors who ruled during this period, four owed the throne to Zoe, daughter of Constantine VIII; Romanus III Argyrus, Michael IV, and Constantine IX Monomachus married Zoe and Michael V was adopted by her.

The emperor, with one or two possible exceptions, were persons of no ability, of a caliber greatly inferior to what the situation required. Constantine VIII was an old man when he became sole emperor, but at no time in his life had he shown any interest in government. The pursuits which attracted him the most were horse-racing, hunting, dice-playing, and eating luxurious dishes. In his scant three years on the throne he managed to dissipate the vast surpluses which his frugal brother, Basil II, had accumulated. Romanus III Argyrus had many pretensions, but nothing in his record shows that they were founded in fact. He was neither a good general nor a good administrator. Nor did he have strength of character, as his indifference to the infidelities of his wife, which were to cost him his life, shows. His reign is noted for the favors he bestowed upon the aristocracy to which he belonged. Michael IV, a Paphlagonian upstart, had a sense of duty and was not incapable of action, but he was subject to epilepsy, which sapped his strength and in the end deprived him of his life. Michael V was certainly mentally unbalanced, and Zoe and Theodora could not rise above the foibles and petty interests of their sex. Constantine IX Monomachus was a sick man, coarse and uncouth in his tastes and pleasures, more disposed to seek the embraces of his mistresses than the hardships of the camp or the cares of government. Michael VI was an old man, simple and inoffensive, a tool of his ministers. Isaac I Comnenus and Romanus IV Diogenes were soldiers of the old school, active and ready to take the field, men who saw dearly what the empire needed, but neither the one nor the other was able to withstand the pressure of intrigue. Constantine X Lucas was educated and not intemperate in his habits, but he failed utterly to grasp the gravity of the situation. Michael VII was considered by his contemporaries as insignificant and there is not much that can be said in favor of Nicephorus Botaniates.

These men, while enjoying the privileges of power, generally shied away from its responsibilities, which they entrusted to their ministers. Some of the ministers, as, for instance, Leichudes, who served under Constantine IX Monomachus and again under Isaac I Comnenus, or Leo Paraspondyles, who guided Theodora and Michael VI, were honest and conscientious, but they were not always sound — this is especially true of Paraspondyles —their judgment as to the policy that would best serve the interests of the state. Others, men like John the Orphanotrophus under the Paphlagonians, the eunuch John who served Constantine IX during the last years of his reign, or Nicephoritzes under Constantine X and Michael VII, sought their own aggrandizement or that of their families; still others, as, for instance, Michael Psellus, who served virtually every one of these emperors, intrigued and maneuvered in order to stay in power. Byzantium, at one of the gravest moments of its existence, lacked what it most needed — the guiding hand of a soldier-statesman.

The factor which lay at the bottom of the political instability in Byzantium in the eleventh century was the conflict between the landed aristocracy as a military class and the imperial court. The antecedents of this conflict go back to the tenth century. Basil II had met and defeated the aristocracy in the field and had then proceeded, by a series of measures, to undermine the sources of their power. Among these measures the severest was that of 1002, the law concerning the allelengyon, which required the landed aristocracy to pay the tax arrears of peasants too poor to meet their own obligations. After the death of Basil his measures were not enforced and the law concerning the allelengyon was actually repealed, but a certain distrust of the military magnates persisted. This is strikingly illustrated by the fact that under the patriarch Alexius of Studium in 1026 a synodal decision was obtained pronouncing an anathema against all rebels and excommunicating priests who might admit them to communion. It was, however, during the reign of Constantine IX that opposition to the military magnates took a systematic form. A political faction, composed principally of members of the civil bureaucracy, emerged during the reign of this emperor. It had as its aim the elimination of the military from the administration of the empire. But the effort to achieve this aim plunged the empire into a series of civil wars which squandered its resources and manpower at a time when they were needed to cope with the new enemies.

Constantine IX was no soldier emperor; he preferred, as we have noted, the comforts and pleasures of the palace to the hardships of the military camp. This no doubt, was a factor in his anti-military bias, bat it was not the principal factor. If he made peace the keynote of his foreign policy, as he did, it was not primarily because of his aversion to the military life; it was because of the general feeling that there was no longer any need to follow a policy of expansion. The great military triumphs of the tenth and eleventh centuries, the crushing of the Saracens and the Bulgars and the pushing of the frontiers to the Euphrates and the Tigris in the east, and to the Danube in the Balkans, seemed to have assured the external security of the empire. Here and there, as in the case of Greater Armenia, it might be necessary to make further annexations in order to round off the frontiers, but these were not major operations. The protection of the frontiers might be assured by the maintenance of a mercenary force under the direct control of the capital. Continued expansion was not only unnecessary, but too expensive for the empire to support. The maintenance of peace on the other hand would reduce the financial burdens of the state; it would also reduce the influence of the army in the administration and eliminate the danger of revolts. Constantine took into his service a number of intellectuals, men like Constantine Leichucles, John XiphilinusMachael Psellus and John Mauropus, and with their help refunded the University of Constantinople, one of whose objectives must have been, no doubt the training of civil functionaries for the state. Constantine did not retain the services of these men, however, although to the end of his reign he relied principally on his Civil servants and ignored the generals, many of whom he retired from service. Moreover, he deprived the soldiers of the frontier regions of the payments which they were accustomed to receive, diverting these funds to other purposes. These acts of the emperor created wide discontent among the military leaders. Two serious rebellions broke out during his reign. One, headed by the redoubtable George Maniaces, had as its cause the private grievances of that general, but the other, under the leadership of Leo Tornicius, was the work of generals who had been deprived of their posts. The failure of both rebellions strengthened the party of civil officials. This party kept its hold upon the government to the end of the reign of Constantine, and when Theodora, who had succeeded him, died in 1056, it was instrumental in putting on the throne Michael VI (1056-1057), "a simple and inoffensive man", who was already advanced in years. Neither Constantine no his advisers seem to have realized the significance of the incursions of the new enemies of the empire. The Byzantine historians who wrote after the battle of Manzikert, however, attributed the beginnings of the misfortunes of the empire to the reign of this emperor, mentioning especially his extravagance and his neglect of the army.

The struggle between the civil and the military factions came to a head during the reign of Michael VI. The influential generals men such as Michael Bourtzes, Constantine and John Ducasn Isaac Comnenus, Catacalon Cecaumenus — all of them great magnates of Asia Minor — openly resented the favoritism shown by this emperor to his civil servants. The generals demanded that some consideration be given to them also. But, as the emperor paid no attention to them, and continued to treat their remonstrances with derision, they countered by conspiring to bring about his overthrow. The revolution which put Isaac Comnenus on the throne in 1057 had the support of important elements in Constantinople, including the patriarch Cerularius, but it was primarily the work of the generals who had become exasperated by the anti-military policy of Michael VI. It may be recalled that it was at the time of this revolt, when the troops of the Armenian provinces were withdrawn in order to support Isaac Comnenus, that the Turk Samuk made a devastating incursion into the territory of the empire.

Isaac Comnenus was a soldier-emperor, the first soldier-emperor since Basil II had passed away. That there should be no mistake as to where he stood on the issues of the day, he had himself represented on coins with sword in hand. But the task which he faced was overwhelming. The army was disorganized, the treasury empty, and the enemies of the empire many and active. He put himself to work with diligence and took the field in person, something which no emperor had done since Michael IV. The reorganization of the army he considered his most pressing problems but this reorganization could not be done without money. In order to find this money he practiced the strictest economy, collected all taxes with care annulled land grants that his predecessors had made to various persons, and confiscated properties of the monasteries. These measures were applauded by some as most desirable, but they aroused the opposition of powerful elements. Isaac might have successfully resisted the intrigues of these elements, but when in addition to these intrigues he had to cope with a serious illness, he decided to abdicate. He designated Constantine Ducas as his successor. This was perhaps his most serious mistake.

Constantine X Ducas belonged to an illustrious family of military chieftains, but he himself disliked the life of the soldier. He had come under the influence of the civil party, and this combined with his own inclinations to bring about a reaction against the military policy of his predecessor. During his reign the disorganization of the army became complete. Its expenditures were cut, and its leaders removed from the rolls. Constantine freely distributed dignities and honors, but these dignities and honors did not go to the soldiers; they went to the civil functionaries. The profession of the soldier which in the great days of Byzantium carried with it prestige, honor, and position had no longer any value and so, as Skylitzes says, "the soldiers put aside their arms and became lawyers or jurists." But the empire did not need lawyers and jurists; it needed soldiers. The Selchukid Turks in Asia Minor and the Pechenegs and Uzes in the Balkans roamed freely, and there was no one to stop them. That Constantine X had gone too far in his neglect of the army even some of the most intimate among his civil advisers realized. Psellus declares that the most serious fault he committed was to ignore the disorganized state of the army at a time when the empire was hard pressed by enemies from every side.

Romanus Diogenes, who succeeded Constantine X in 1068, tried to rebuild the army. The task was overwhelming and the new emperor had neither the means not the time required to bring it to a successful completion. His failure at Menzikert enabled the civil party to get control of the government and to replace him with Michael VII, the eldest son of Constantine X Ducas. Educated according to the best literary standards of the period, a pupil of Psellus, Michael VII was more interested in rhetoric, philosophy, and poetry than in governing the empire. His reign marked the complete disintegration of the state. Rebellions broke out everywhere. In the European provinces Nicephorus Bryennius, the governor of Dyrrachium (Durazzo), threatened with disgrace, proclaimed himself emperor; the magnates of Asia Minor declared for Nicephorus Botaniates, himself a magnate of Asia Minor; Botaniates overthrew Michael VII, and then his soldiers under the command of Alexius Comnenus defeated Bryenaius. But Botaniates himself was shortly overthrown by Alexius; in the meantime Nicephorus Melissenus had rebelled in Asia Minor. Order was reestablished with the triumph of Alexius in 1081. But these civil wars enabled the Selchukids to establish themselves in western Asia Minor.

Thus between 1042, when Constantine Monomachus became emperor, and 1081, when Alexius Comnenus became emperor, a period which saw the appearance of new and formidable enemies, the imperial government, with the exception of the two short reigns of Isaac Comnenus and Romanus IV Diogenes, had made it a point of policy to curtail the power of the army (and had weakened its efficiency). The ultimate objective of this policy was to lessen the power and influence of the great military magnates. In the end this objective was not achieved, but the effort to achieve it had plunged the empire into a series of civil wars. But more serious still was the increasingly depressed condition of the enrolled soldiers, men who held small estates granted to them by the state in return for their services, and who had played such an important role in the great military triumphs of the tenth century. Writing of the army that took the field in one of the expeditions which Romanus IV Diogenes commanded against the SelchukidsSkylitzes states: "The army was composed of Macedonians and Bulgars and Cappadocians, Uzes, Franks, and Varangians and other barbarians who happened to be about. There were gathered also those who were Phrygia [the theme Anatolikon]. And what one saw in them [i.e., in the enrolled soldiers of the theme Anatolikon] was something incredible. The renowned champions of the Romans who had reduced to subjection all the east and the west now numbered only a few, and these were bowed down by poverty and ill treatment. They lacked weapons, swords, and other arms such as javelins and scythes. They lacked also cavalry and other equipment, for the emperor had not taken the field for a long time. For this reason they were regarded as useless and unnecessary, and their wages and maintenance were reduced." The enrolled soldiers, depressed and forgotten, became more and more a minor element in the Byzantine army. The bulk of this army in the eleventh century came to be composed almost entirely of foreign mercenaries: Russians, Turks, Alans, English, Normans, Germans, Pechenegs, Bulgars, and others. These mercenaries were swayed more by their own private interests than by those of the empire. The harm which they did was much greater than the services they rendered.

Among these mercenaries the most turbulent and insatiable were the Normans. Their chiefs were given important positions in the army and were even given land, but the slightest provocation was enough to make them rebel. The Byzantine historians single out three of these chiefs for their turbulent, warlike, and sanguinary spirit: Hervé, Robert Crispin, and Roussel of Bailleul." Hervé deserted to the Turks in 1057 and Crispin openly rebelled in 1o68. But more ambitious and more terrible in his devastations was Roussel of Bailleul, who seems to have passed into the service of the Byzantines about 1070 with a large group of his compatriots. At Manzikert he played a doubtful role; two years later he openly rebelled against the government and sought to play the role of emperor-maker. Defeated in this, he retired into the interior of Asia Minor where he tried to carve out a principality for himself, to do what his compatriots had done in Italy. It was only by treachery that he was finally delivered into the hands of the Byzantines. His captor was the youthful Alexius Comnenus, who was then in the service of Michael VII.

Besides the Normans, there were in the service of the empire other foreign troops whose loyalty was doubtful. The Uzes, for instance, deserted to the enemy at Manzikert, a desertion which greatly contributed to the final defeat of the Byzantine forces. But the foreign troops in the Byzantine forces which profited most from the disturbed conditions in which the empire found itself after Manzikert were the Selchukid Turks, who had entered the service of the various Byzantine generals. It was with Turkish auxiliaries that Romanus IV Diogenes tried to regain his throne after he had been liberated by Alp Arslan, his captor at Manzikert. His example was followed by almost all his successors. When Roussel of Bailleul openly rebelled, Michael VII called upon Turkish auxiliaries to track him down. The same emperor tried to suppress the rebellion of Nicephorus Botaniates with the help of the bands of Mansur and Sulaiman, two brothers related to the Selchukid sultan Alp Arslan. It was indeed this use of Turkish Auxiliaries that enabled the Selchukids to establish themselves in western Asia Minor. Mansur and Sulaiman had agreed to come to the assistance of Michael VII, but they were ready at the same time to listen to the highest bidder, and they soon transferred their services to Botaniates. Botaniates installed them in Nicaea, and there they established themselves as masters. It was in this way that Nicaea was lost to the empire. In this way also were lost the cities of Galatia and Phrygia. Nicephorus Melissenus, who rebelled against Botaniates, was supported almost entirely by Turkish mercenaries. The cities of Galatia and Phrygia opened their gates to him; he installed Turkish garrisons in them, but while he never became emperor, the Turkish garrison took over the cities in which he had installed them. The Byzantines, in using the Turks as mercenaries, thus made them masters of western Asia Minor between 1078 and 1081.

Besides its serious effects upon the military position of the state, the decline of the enrolled soldiers also had serious consequences for the social structure of the empire. The establishment of the military estates in the seventh and eighth centuries had contributed greatly to the growth of the class of the small peasant proprietors. For, while the eldest son of an enrolled soldier inherited his father's plot, together with the obligation of military service, the rest of the family were free to reclaim and cultivate land that was vacant, thus adding to the number of the free peasant proprietors. But now the depression of the enrolled soldiers reduced the free element in the agrarian structure of the empire and helped to bring about the decline of the small peasant proprietors. The fundamental cause, however, for the decline of the free peasantry in Byzantium was the greed and love of power of the aristocracy, which used its wealth and official position to absorb the holdings of the peasantry. The decline of the free peasantry and the growth of the large estates constitute the characteristic features of the social history of Byzantium in the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The great emperors of the tenth century had realized the dangerous social and political implications of this development and tried to check it: "Every major emperor from Romanus Lecapenus up to and including Basil II, with the exception of John Tzimistes, issued more than one novel for this purpose. These emperors sought to preserve the free peasantry because they considered it an essential element in the health of the state. As Romanus Lecapenus put it in one of his novels (in 934): "It is not through hatred and envy of the rich that we take these mea­sures, but for the protection of the small and the safety of the empire as a whole.... The extension of the power of the strong — will bring about the irreparable loss of the public good, if the present law does not bring a check to it. For it is the many settled on the land, who provide for the general needs, who pay the taxes and furnish the army with its recruits. Everything falls when the many are wanting." The strictest among the measures taken for the protec­tion of the free peasantry was that taken by Basil II concerning the allelengyon, to which reference has already been made. But with the death of Basil the effort to stop the growth of the large estates Came to an end. His law concerning the allelengyon was repealed, and the other measures, although kept on the hooks, were not enforced. The fate of the free peasantry was thus definitely decided. The struggle which in the eleventh century the cen­tral government waged against the military magnates was not fought for the protection of the free peasantry. Indeed, the gov­ernment, by the grants which it made to its partisans, promoted the further growth of the large estates. Henceforth the large estates were to constitute the dominant feature of the economic landscape of Byzantium. These estates were worked by tenant farmers, the paroikoi of the Byzantine texts, people who were personally free, but who were tied to certain obligations and corvées which curtailed their movement. Some free peasant proprietors continued to exist, but they had become hardly distinguishable from the paroikoi. Besides working for the lord, the paroikoi had allotments of their own for which they paid rent and performed various obligations and from which, after the passage of a number of years, they could not be evicted. These allotments were transmissible from father to son.

The free peasantry, as Romanus Lecapenus declared, had constituted the principal element of the strength of the empire. This class cultivated the land, provided for the general needs, paid the taxes, and furnished the army with recruits. But, as the holdings of the free peasantry decreased and the large estates increased, this element of strength was undermined. All land in Byzantium was in theory subject to taxation, but it was not always easy to collect from the great magnates, whose influence in the administration enabled them to obtain important exemptions. Throughout the eleventh century there was a continuous cry for money, prompted in part no doubt by the extravagances of some of the emperors, but in part by the reduction in the revenues resulting from the granting of various exemptions and from the failure to collect all the taxes. The things with which Isaac Comnenus was reproached and which rendered him unpopular were his cancellation of privileges and grants made by his predecessors and his careful collection of the taxes. But if large magnates could escape the payment of taxes, it was otherwise with the peasants, the vast majority whom were now tenants. They had to bear the ever-increasing burden of taxation and, in addition, numerous corvées. The welfare of the state no longer had any meaning for them. The peasantry of the interior of Asia Minor offered no resistance to the Turks. The military class which might have offered the necessary resistance had also been undermined both by the expansion of the large estates and the struggle between the military and civil parties in the eleventh century. The enrolled soldiers, neglected and reduced to poverty, had neither the will nor the equipment to fight. The mercenaries who replaced them helped to complete the disintegration of the state.

The growth of the large estates and the consequent depression of the peasantry resulted also from the development of what has been called, by some scholars, Byzantine feudalism. This feudalism was based on institutions which had their origin or became fully developed in the eleventh century. These institutions were the pronoia, the charistikion and the exkousseia.

The pronoia, which consisted in the assignment by the government of a revenue-yielding property to a person in return for certain services, usually but not always military, rendered or to be rendered, made its appearance about the middle of the eleventh century. The grant consisted usually of land, but it could be a river or a fishery; its holder was known as a pronoiarios, The size of the grant varied from a territory of considerable extent to a single village or estate sufficient to take care of one family. The grant was made for a specific period, usually but not always for the lifetime of the holder. It could he neither alienated nor transmitted to ones heirs, and it was subject to recall by the imperial treasury. The pronoriarios served in the army as an officer and was expected, upon call, to furnish some troops, the number of them depending upon the size of his pronoia. But at the beginning the pronoia was not granted primarily for military service; it became primarily military under Alexius Comnenus and his successors. Its extensive use contributed greatly not only to the growth of the large estates but to the development of the appanage system, and thus weakened the central administration.

The charistikion was a development associated with the management of monastic properties. In Byzantium the monastic and ecclesiastical properties were very extensive. It has been estimated by a competent authority on the internal history of Byzantium that at the end of the seventh century about one third of the usable land of the empire was in the possession of the church and the monasteries. Much of this property had been confiscated by the iconoclastic emperors in the eighth century, but with the defeat of iconoclasm it began to accumulate again. The attempt made by the emperors of the tenth century, Nicephorus Phocas in particular, to check this growth met with no success, about the middle of the eleventh century the monastic properties "were in no way inferior to those of the crown."

The financial difficulties into which the empire had fallen in the eleventh century led Isaac Comnenus to envisage the confiscation of monastic properties. Isaac was primarily interested in finding the funds which he needed for the military rehabilitation of the empire, but it was hoped that this measure would also help to ameliorate the condition of the peasantry. The historian Attaliates, who reports this measure, writes that “it appeared to be profitable in two ways: -1- it freed the ... peasants from a heavy burden, for the monks, relying upon their extensive and wealthy estates, were wont to force them to abandon their lots ... ; and -2- the public treasury which was forced in diverse ways to spend its resources obtained an addition and relief which were not inconsiderable without doing any harm at all to others”. But the measure rendered Isaac unpopular and was no doubt one of the factors involved in the intrigues which brought about his abdication. His immediate successors abandoned the policy of direct confiscation, but at the same time they did not refrain from the use of monastic properties. They used these properties, however, not for the financial rehabilitation of the empire, bur in order to reward friends and favorites. They did this by exploiting an old Byzantine institution, the charistikion, an institution not unlike the western beneficium.


The charistikion was a grant which consisted of one or more monasteries and their properties. Monasteries thus granted remained monasteries and did not lose title to their properties, but their management was put under the direction of the persons to whom they were granted, who, while undertaking to support the monks and maintain the buildings, appropriated for themselves what remained of the revenue. The charistikion seems to have developed as early as the fifth century and may have been invented by the ecclesiastical hierarchy itself in order to get around the canons of the church, which did not permit the alienation of monastic properties. It was greatly exploited by the iconoclastic emperors in their efforts to weaken monasticism, but with the defeat of iconoclasm it fell into disuse. It appeared again in the tenth century and reached its widest prevalence in the eleventh. Originally only monasteries which had fallen into decay were involved in such a grant, the aim being to have them restored. Gradually, however, prosperous monasteries came to be included, and they were granted not for their benefit and upkeep, but for the profit of the who obtained them. This was so in the eleventh century. Many of the charistikia granted in this century were granted by the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but there were not a few which were granted by the emperors. The emperors made their grants to friends and favorites. In this way they assured themselves of the momentary support of those persona, but they added to the landed aristocracy whose growth in wealth and power threatened to undermine the central government. The holder of a charistikion was known as a charistikasios, and the grant was usually made to him for life.

Monastic and other large properties, although theoretically subject to taxation and other obligations, were in actual fact the beneficiaries of numerous exemptions. These exemptions were made by a specific grant; they constitute the exkousseia of the Byzantine documents.

The date of the origin of the exkousseia is still a matter of dispute, but the institution already existed in the tenth century and it was widely used in the eleventh. The term itself is no doubt the hellenized form of the Latin excusatio (excusare); as an institution it comprised the exemptions from taxes and corvées and meant independence from the judicial administration (this independence being limited); such grants were made by the government to monasteries and large estates. Most of the documentation concerning the exkousseia dates from the second half of the eleventh century, and this may mean that it was during this period that this institution became crystallized. Thus, by the second half of the eleventh century it became a regular practice to grant immunities, especially from taxation, and this at a time when the treasury needed all the resources that it could command.

The battle of Manzikert decided the fate of Asia Minor and determined much of the subsequent history of the Byzantine empire. Bet Manzikert was only a battle, and what was lost there might have been retrieved had the society of the empire been healthier and more vigorous. Despite its wide territorial extent, however, and its seemingly great power the empire, such as it was in the eleventh century after the death of Basil II, was not a healthy organism. The depression of the peasantry deprived it of a strong pillar of support; the struggle between the military and the civil parties dissipated its energies and consummated the decay of that group of soldiers which had been its stoutest defenders. The mercenaries who replaced them pursued their own interests and did infinitely more harm than good. At the same time the extensive use of the institutions of the pronoia, the charistikion, and the exkoussia planted the seeds of further disintegration.

The most significant fact affecting the Byzantine church in the eleventh century was the quarrel with Rome. The ecclesiastical events of 1054 have come down in history as marking the definite separation of the Greek and Roman churches. In actual fact, however, these events only accentuated and made worse a sit­uation which already existed. Rome and Constantinople had not been in communion with each other for at least thirty years when the quarrel between cardinal Humbert and the Byzantine patriarch took place. In 1054 no one knew when and under what circumstances the break had come about, and modern research has not been able to throw much light on this problem. One thing is certain, however, the break took place before 1024, for in that year the patriarch of Constantinople offered to resume relations with Rome, provided Rome recognized Constantinople as the head of the churches in the east. Rome apparently refused, but her refusal did not affect in any practical way the actual position of the Byzantine church in the east. The church of Constantinople was in fact the head of the orthodox churches in the east and what Rome thought made little difference.

This state of affairs might have continued indefinitely if the situation in southern Italy had not provoked a new crisis. For some time past the Normans had been conquering the country and threatened to occupy all the territories which Byzantium still held there. To check their advance the Byzantine emperor, Constantine IX Monomachus, resolved to enter into an alliance with the papacy and appointed a new governor for his Italian possessions with instructions to form such an alliance. The new governor was Argyrus, the son of that Melo who in 1017 had hired the Normans to help him in his rebellion against the Byzantines.

Argyrus was Italian by birth, of Lombard origin, and Latin in religion and tradition. He had not always been a royal subject, but the ruthlessness of the Normans had led him definitely to embrace the Byzantine cause. He came to Constantinople and there exerted his influence in favor of the alliance with the papacy as the means of checking the Normans. Argyrus was the first native Italian to become Byzantine governor in Italy. But if he won the confidence of the emperor, there were important elements in the Byzantine capital, especially among the clergy, who were hostile to him and looked upon his appointment with suspicion. The patriarch himself had on several occasions exchanged bitter words with Argyrus when the latter was in Constantinople and had more than once refused him the communion of his church. Argyrus arrived in Apulia in 1051 and soon entered into negotiations with the papacy.

The pope with whom Argyrus sought alliance was Leo IX. Leo, who, as is well known, belonged to the party of reform, had no sooner been elected pope than he began a vigorous campaign in southern Italy for the elimination of simony and the enforcement of clerical celibacy. His activities, to be sure, were directed against the offenders among the Latin clergy under his jurisdiction, but the campaign for reform, especially the drive for the celibacy of the clergy, was bound eventually to affect the Greek clergy as well. For with the Greek clergy in southern Italy continuing to marry, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to impose celibacy on their Latin colleagues. But this was a matter which affected seriously the interests of the Byzantine patriarchate since the Greek clergy in southern Italy were under its jurisdiction.

The man who then occupied the see of Constantinople was Michael Cerularius. Cerularius was a powerful personality and a clever and ambitious politician. He had come near, at one time, to occupying the imperial throne, and when he became patriarch (1043), his ambition was to render his church independent of the state. Already disturbed by the appointment of Argyrus, Cerularius saw in the Alliance with the papacy and the activities of the pope in southern Italy a definite threat to the interests of the patriarchate, and this threat he determined to eliminate. His plan was to provoke a crisis calculated to render ineffective, at least in so far as it might involve his church, the alliance with the papacy. He began by closing the Latin churches in Constantinople (1052 or 1053), and then issued, through Leo, archbishop of Ochrida, a manifesto against certain usages of the Latin church, particularly the use of unleavened bread in the celebration of the Eucharist. This manifesto was addressed to John, bishop of Trani, who, although Latin, was friendly to the Byzantines, and through him to all the bishops of the west, including the pope. Subsequent developments in Italy, the failure of the Byzantines and of Leo IX to stop the Normans, together with the captivity of Leo IX, made it more imperative for pope and emperor to cooperate. And Cerularius wrote the pope a more conciliatory letter in which he said nothing of the Latin usages which he had previously criticized, but in which he implied that he was the pope's equal. The pope now set aside the sharp rejoinder which he had prepared against the manifesto of Leo of Ochrida and drew up a reply to the letter of Cerularius. But if in this reply he toned down the sharpness of his rejoinder to the manifesto of Leo of Ochrida, he made it dear that on the fundamental issue, the Subordination of Constantinople to Rome, he was offering no compromise. The papal delegation which carried the letter of the pope to the Byzantine patriarch was headed by cardinal Humbert. No less suitable a man could have been found to head this delegation. Humbert was a man of limited learning, obstinate, arrogant, tactless, and easily given to polemics. No sooner had he arrived in Constantinople than his behavior completely alienated the Byzantine patriarch. Humbert made matters worse by raising the question of the filioque, a question to which the Byzantine patriarch had not referred, and charged that the Byzantines had tampered with the Nicene creed by suppressing that phrase, when in, truth it was the western church that had done the tampering by inserting the controversial phrase. In the meantime Leo died (April 13, 1054), and his successor, Victor II, a creature of the German emperor Henry III, did not take office until April 3, 1055. It is questionable whether Humbert still had the authority to keep up his activities in Constantinople. But he continued to make charges against the Byzantine patriarch, and, as the latter refused to listen or enter into any negotiations, he resolved to hurl against him and his followers the sentence of excommunication. On Saturday, July 16, 1054, at the moment when the clergy of Hagia Sophia were about to celebrate the holy liturgy, the Roman delegation, with Humbert at the head, marched toward the principal altar and there deposited the Sentence of excommunication while the Byzantine clergy and people looked on. The sentence of excommunication was couched in language which could hardly have been more arrogant and libelous.

It was now the turn of the. Byzantine patriarch to act. He had been shocked and angered by the contents of the sentence of excommunication and determined to obtain satisfaction. He straightway transmitted the document to the emperor and declared that he could not endure to have such audacity and effrontery go unpunished. Meanwhile the papal legates had left the capital to return to Rome. They had reached Selymbria (Silivri) when a message reached them from the emperor, urging them to return, and indicating that Cerularius was ready to have an interview with them. The legates returned, but no interview with the Byzantine patriarch ever took place. What actually happened is difficult to determine since only the accounts of Humbert and Cerularius have survived, and they are contradictory. This much seems certain, however. When Cerularius turned to the emperor, he did not intend to make amends to the papal legates he demanded amends instead. But when the papal legates were asked to return, they were not informed of the true temper of the Byzantine patriarch. It was only after they had returned to the capital that they learned that what he wanted from them was a retraction and an apology for the sentence of excommunication. This they would not give, and, as the populace was in an uproar in support of its patriarch, they decided to leave. The emperor himself, who seems finally to have realized the seriousness of the situation, urged them to go.

The situation in the capital had indeed become very serious. The populace, angered by the sentence of excommunication against Cerularius, was in a riotous mood, and the refusal of the papal legates to make amends accentuated its temper. A tumult broke out, which forced the emperor to yield to the demands of the patriarch. Cerularius now proceeded to take formal action against Humbert and his associates. On July 20, 1054, in the presence of twenty-one bishops and an embassy from the emperor, he cast the anathema upon the impious document of excommunication, its authors, and all those who had participated in any way in its composition and circulation. He decreed further that all copies of the document were to be burned. The original, however, was to be kept in the archives of the patriarchate "to the everlasting dishonor and permanent condemnation of those who had cast such blasphemies against God". Four days later, on Sunday, July 24, the same bishops sitting in synod renewed the condem­nation in an atmosphere of greater solemnity. It was then read to the public.

Scholars have tended to attribute the schism of 1054 to the Byzantine patriarch. This is because Cerularius was responsible, by his sponsorship of the manifesto of Leo of Ochrida, for provoking the controversy. That the manifesto of Leo of Ochrida was provocative there can be no doubt, but Cerularius, as his letter to Leo IX shows, was not indisposed to compromise. Any compromise, however, had to take into account the actual position of the Byzantine patriarchate. Cerularius presided over the Byzantine church at a time when the see of Constantinople had achieved the widest territorial extent in its history, and its prestige and power bad reached their highest point. The failure of the papal legates to realize this was what made all negotiations impossible. As Jugie writes: "the Roman legates were under illusions concerning the sentiments of the Byzantines on the whole toward the Latins. They had wished to separate the cause of the patriarch and his clergy from that of the emperor and the people, to treat Cerularius like a black sheep of St. Peter's flock, to act in Constantinople as they would have acted in a city of the west. And they did not notice that in Constantinople they cut the figures of arrogant strangers with insupportable airs. It was enough for their sentence to be known to provoke a popular tumult." The same scholar writes with reference to the sentence of excommunication against the Byzantine patriarch: "from every point of view this theatrical act was deplorable; deplorable, because it could be asked whether the legates were duly authorized to take a measure so serious at a time when the Holy See was vacant; deplorable, because useless and ineffectual, for Humbert and his companions had no means of having the sentence executed; deplorable especially by the contents of the sentence itself and the tone in which it was drawn up. Besides the well founded grievances, it reproached Cerularius and his partisans, and indirectly all the Byzantines, with a series of imaginary crimes and heresies."

The Greek chroniclers of the period make no mention of the schism of 1054. This is somewhat puzzling, although there are other events in the history of Byzantium which contemporary historians do not record. Quite possibly this schism was not considered significant enough to be recorded. Unlike previous schisms, that of 1054 did not involve any division in the Greek church itself. The exchange of anathemas between Humbert and Cerularius no doubt left some bitterness in its wake, but it did not greatly affect the actual state of the relations between the two sees. The names of the popes, which for some years before to 1054 had not been in the diptychs of the Constantinopolitan church, sim­ply remained off, and the Byzantine church continued in its own independent way. There is some evidence that Leichudes, who succeeded Cerularius, communicated with the pope, Alexander II, in 1062, but it is not known what prompted him to do so. The point of the communication was to ask the pope to furnish irrefragable proof of the doctrine of the Filioque." Ten years later pope Alexander II made an effort to end the schism, but the Greeks showed no desire to enter into negotiations."

The deterioration in the external situation of the empire finally induced the Greeks to try to establish better relations with the papacy. In 1073 Michael VII addressed a letter to Gregory VII which was supplemented by an oral message imparted to the pope by those who brought the letter. Neither the letter nor a record of the oral message has survived but a careful. study of Gregory's reply and his various letters relating to the east indicate that the problem of the union of the churches and the need of the empire for military assistance in order to check the Turks constituted the subject matter of the imperial message. Gregory was very much impressed by the emperor's messages and sent his representative to Constantinople for further investigation, but nothing came out of the negotiations. A few years later the relations between Rome and Constantinople actually became worse as a result of Gregory’s open support of Guiscard's invasion of the Byzantine empire. On July 25, 1080, Gregory wrote to the bishops of Apulia and Calabria asking them to lend all possible help to the expedition which Guiscard was about to undertake against Byzantium. Guiscard attacked the Greeks as schismatics. Thus, as Alexius Comnenus ascended the throne, the empire faced, in addition to its other enemies, the active enmity of the papacy. The reason for was the refusal of the Greeks to agree to the union of the churches on conditions dictated to them by the papacy.

The civil wars which followed Manzikert ended in 1081 when Alexius Comnenus ascended the throne. The empire which the youthful Alexius now undertook to rule was on the brink of dissolution. Its treasury was empty; its armies were still disorganized; its enemies were many and active. In the Balkan peninsula, Guiscard, with the blessings of Gregory VII, was on the point of invading the territories of the empire; the Serbs were restless and hostile; and the Pechenegs and Kumans were ready to launch new attacks. In Asia Minor the effective control of the empire was restricted to localities on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, including Nicomedia, but even these were threatened by the new Turkish state which was arising in Nicaea. At the same time the Turkish adventurer Chaka established himself in Smyrna (Izmir), built a fleet, seized some of the islands of the Aegean, and threatened Constantinople itself.

That the empire was able to survive was due primarily to the remarkable ability and almost inexhaustible energy of Alexius. He found the funds which he needed immediately by the confiscation of the valuables of the church; he improvised an army by enrolling numerous mercenaries; he neutralized, by overtures and concessions, some of his enemies in order that he might deal with them singly. Alexius was well versed in the technique of Byzantine diplomacy and used very expertly the principle of divide and rule.

When Guiscard invaded the empire in the spring of 1081, Alexius was engaged with the Selchukids of Nicaea, but he quickly came to terms with them. About the same time he entered into negotiations with Henry IV of Germany and tried to sow dimension among the Normans in southern Italy. He also concluded a treaty with the Venetians whereby he obtained their naval support in return for commercial privileges (1082). The essential element of these privileges consisted in the right to buy and sell in certain stipulated localities of the empire free front all duties. The granting of these privileges was destined to undermine the economic prosperity of the empire, but for the time at least it obtained for Alexius an important source of support in his struggle against the Norman leader. Alexius's first encounter with Guiscard near Dyrrachium ended in disaster; Dyrrachium soon fell to the enemy and the way was opened to Thessalonica and thence to Constantinople. But the negotiations of Alexius with Henry IV and his intrigues among the Normans in southern Italy now bore fruit. While Henry IV marched upon Rome to resolve his differences with Gregory VII, a revolt broke out in southern Italy against the authority of Guiscard. These events forced Guiscard to return to Italy, leaving his son, Bohemond, to carry on the war against the emperor. Bohemond met with initial successes, but Alexius kept after him with remarkable tenacity and succeeded in breaking the backbone of the invasion. In 1083 Bohemond returned to Italy. In the following year Guiscard organized another expedition; it won some successes at first, but, when Guiscard suddenly died in 1085, it was abandoned. The Norman danger, for the present at least, was over.

But not so the tribulations of Alexius. For it was now the turn of the nomads from the north, the Pechenegs and Kumans, to try their fortunes against the forces of the empire. This time they had the cooperation of the Bogomiles, adherents of a heretical sect, who dwelt in the region of Philippopolis and whose hostility to the Greeks was no secret. Urged by the Begomiles, the Pechenegs and Kumans broke into Thrace in 1086, defeated one Byzan­tine general, but were stopped by another. They returned in 1087 only to be driven beyond the Balkans. But in the autumn of the following year they inflicted, near Dristra (Silistra) on the lower Danube, a terrible defeat on the Byzantine emperor, who had taken the offensive against them. Alexius barely escaped with his life. The situation was momentarily saved by the quarrel over the spoils which broke out between the Pechenegs and the Kumans. This momentary relief was further extended by a treaty of peace which Alexius concluded with the Pechenegs but the respite thus gained was only of short duration. The crisis came in the winter of 1090/1091, provoked this time by the adventurer Chaka, who conceived the grandiose plan of making himself emperor of Constantinople. He induced the Pechenegs to attack the empire by land while he himself besieged the capital by sea and abu-l-Qasim, the sultan of Nicaea, attacked Nicomedia in Asia Minor. Chaka had forged a ring around the Byzantine capital.

The Pechenegs broke into Thrace, defeated the Emperor, and fought their way to the environs of the capital. The diplomacy of Alexius saved the situation. Alexius entered into negotiations with the Kumans and induced them to take up arms against their former confederates. The decisive encounter took place on April 29, 1091. The Pechenegs were literally cut to pieces and as a people, almost disappeared from history.

Chaka still remained active, but the diplomacy of Alexius eliminated him also. The peaceful relations which Alexius had established with the Selchukids of Nicaea at the time of the invasion of the empire by Guiscard were disturbed following the death of Sulaiman, the sultan of Nicaea, who had been killed in 1085 while trying to extend his rule over Syria. His successor at Nicaea was abu-l-Qasim, the man who cooperated with Chaka by attacking Nicomedia. Abu-l-Qasim, following the annihilation of the Pechenegs, planned to attack Constantinople itself, but he was beaten by the Byzantine forces and decided to accept a treaty of alliance which Alexius offered to him. Meanwhile his relations with the great sultan Malik-Shah, ruler, in theory at least, of all the Selchukids were not cordial, and this led to his death in 1o92. Shortly after this event Nicaea fell into the hands of Kilij Arslan, the son of Sulaiman. Alexius, who sea and land forces were making some progress against Chaka, pointed out to Killj Arslan that the growth of the power of Chaka would endanger his own lands and induced him to accept the alliance which he offered him. Chaka went to see Arslan, but the latter murdered him after a banquet. Constantinople was now free from any immediate danger.

Meanwhile Alexius consolidated his position inside the empire. He did this by the creation of a coterie of friends, with the members of his family as the nucleus, upon whom he could rely and to whom he could entrust the administration and defense of the empire. To keep their loyalty he compensated these men by land grants and other favors. "To his relatives and favorites," writes Zonaras, "Alexius distributed the public goods by wagon loads; he granted to them sumptuous annual revenues. The great wealth with which they were surrounded and the retinue which was assigned to them were more becoming to kings than to private individuals. The homes which they acquired appeared like cities in size and were no less magnificent than the imperial palace itself." More detailed and precise information about this is given in documents which Alexius himself issued. These documents deal with the land grants that Alexius made to his partisans. For instance, in 1084 Alexius granted the entire peninsula of Cassandria to his brother Adrian. But in this Alexius made no radical innovations. He exploited more extensively institutions which were already in existence. This was particularly true of the pronoia and the charistikion.

Alexius also established better relations with the papacy. The initial step in this was taken by Urban II, but the matter was really pushed by Alexius. In 1089 Alexius received a letter from Urban II in which the pope urged the establishment of peace and harmony in the church, complained that the papal name had been removed from the diptychs of the Constantinopolitan church, without canonical justification, and made the request that it be restored. In order that the papal request might be considered, a synod was held in Constantinople in September 1089. It was attended by the patriarch of Constantinople, the patriarch of Antioch, eighteen metropolitans, and two archbishops, and was presided over by Alexius.

When the synod met, Alexius submitted to it the papal proposal, asked for the documents attesting the separation of Rome from Constantinople, and inquired whether it was because of these documents that the name of the pope was not in the diptychs of the church of Constantinople. The ecclesiastics present replied that no such documents existed, but that there were between the two churches important differences of a canonical nature which it was necessary to regulate. Alexius then expressed the view that, since there was no official record of the separation of Rome from Constantinople, the papal name had been uncanonically removed from the diptychs and it should be put back. To this the ecclesiastics replied that too much time had elapsed since the removal of the papal name from the diptychs to put it back before the elimination of the objections which they had against the Latins. The synod, with Alexius agreeing, finally reached the following compromise.

Urban II should first of all send to Constantinople his profession of faith. If the pope's profession of faith were found to be sound, if he accepted the seven ecumenical councils and the local synods which the latter had approved, if he condemned the heretics and the errors which the church condemned, and if he respected and accepted the holy canons which the fathers of the church had adopted at the sixth ecumenical council, then his name would be put back in the diptychs of the church of Constantinople. This arrangement was to be temporary, pending the holding of a council in Constantinople which was to regulate and eliminate the differences between the two churches. This council was to be held within eighteen months after the receipt of the papal profession of faith and was to be attended either by a papal delegate or by the pope himself. The synod urged the patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem to accept this compromise.

At the same time a message from the patriarch of Constantinople, Nicholas III, was sent to Urban II. In this message the patriarch expressed his joy over the receipt of the papal letter, apparently the letter which Urban had sent to Alexius requesting that his name be reentered in the diptychs. He was pained to hear, however, that he had been represented to the pope as indisposed towards the Latins and as excluding them from the churches. The Latins, he declared, were free to enter the churches and to celebrate their religious services, and he was aware that the same freedom was enjoyed by the Greeks of southern Italy. But the pope would have acted well if he had sent him, as was the custom of old, the announcement of his elevation to the papal see together with his profession of faith. He could still do it however. The patriarch himself desired, with all his heart, the unity of the church. But if the patriarch desired the unity of the church on the fundamental questions which separated Rome from Constantinople he was far from willing to yield. This is quite clear from a letter which he addressed to the patriarch of Jerusalem. The letter in question is without title, signature, date, or address, but Grumel has produced sufficient evidence in support of his view that it was written in 1o89 by the patriarch of Constantinople, Nicholas III, to Symeon II, patriarch of Jerusalem. In this letter the patriarch of Constantinople defended the position of the Greek church on the question of the filioque, the azyme, and the primacy of the papacy. He wrote to the patriarch of Jerusalem in order to counteract the effects of a letter which the pope had sent to the patriarch of Jerusalem in which he expressed his desire for the unity of the churches, urging that there should be one head for the church, and that the pope of Rome, as the successor of St. Peter, should be that head.

It is not definitely known what the reaction of Urban II was to the compromise offered to him by Alexius and the Byzantine clergy. There is some evidence that he accepted it and that as a consequence the communion between the two churches was provisionally reestablished. But the step which was to make this communion permanent was never taken. The realization of the union on a permanent basis was indeed a most difficult task. For the crucial points the fundamental difference between the two churches, was the primacy of Rome, and on that the Byzantine clergy, as is shown by the attitude of the patriarch of Constantinople, were in no mood to compromise. Yet Alexius did succeed in removing some of the differences which separated him from the papacy and in establishing good personal relations with the pope.

Thus by 1095 Alexius had removed the dangers which had threatened Constantinople, had consolidated his own position in the empire, and had established better personal relations with the papacy. He was now ready to undertake the offensive which he hoped would enable him to recover Asia Minor from the Turks. This task was difficult indeed, but he hoped to accomplish it with the aid. of the west. It was for this reason that in 1095 he appealed to Urban II for help. And to succeed in obtaining this help he used the argument that it was necessary to liberate the Holy Land from the Turks. The result was the First Crusade