Politics and Society in the Late Empire
Examines Byzantine political attitudes towards the Ottomans and western Europeans during the critical last century of Byzantium.
This is the first detailed analysis of Byzantine political attitudes towards the Ottomans and western Europeans during the critical last century of Byzantium. The book covers three major regions of the Byzantine Empire - Thessalonike, Constantinople, and the Morea - where the political orientations of aristocrats, merchants, the urban populace, peasants, and members of ecclesiastical and monastic circles are examined against the background of social and economic conditions. Through its particular focus on the political and religious dispositions of individuals, families and social groups, the book offers an original view of late Byzantine politics and society that is not found in conventional narratives. Drawing on a wide range of Byzantine, western and Ottoman sources, it authoritatively illustrates how late Byzantium was drawn into an Ottoman system in spite of the westward-looking orientation of the majority of its ruling elite.
Part I. Introduction and Political Setting: 1. The topic and the sources; 2. The shrinking Empire and the Byzantine dilemma between East and West after the Fourth Crusade; Part II. Thessalonike: 3. Social organization, historical developments, and political attitudes in Thessalonike: an overview (1382-1430); 4. Byzantine Thessalonike (1382-1387 and 1403-1423); 5. Thessalonike under foreign rule; Part III. Constantinople: 6. The Byzantine court and the Ottomans: conflict and accommodation; 7. The first challenge: Bayezid I's siege of Constantinople (1394-1402); 8. From recovery to subjugation: the last fifty years of Byzantine rule in Constantinople (1403-1453); Part IV. The Despotate of the Morea: 9. The early years of Palaiologan rule in the Morea (1382-1407); 10. The final years of the Byzantine Morea (1407-1460); Conclusion; Appendix 1. Archontes of Thessalonike (14th-15th cents.); Appendix 2. 'Nobles' and 'small nobles' of Thessalonike (1425); Appendix 3. Constantinopolitan merchants in Badoer's account book (1436-1440); Appendix 4. Members of the Senate of Constantinople cited in the synodal tome of August 1409; Appendix 5. Some Greek refugees in Italian territories after 1453.