Saturday, September 04, 2010

Fourth Crusade - Twilight of Byzantium (Part five: The Consequences of The Fall of Constantinople.)

After the conquest of Constantinople, the Crusaders will share the lands of Byzantium with Venetians and establish short-lived Latin Empire, which will disappear after just a few decades. Although restored with its return to Constantinople in 1261 the Roman Empire will never be the same. Until the fall by the hand of Turks, Constantinople will just be a shadow of its shadow. And the emperor and autocrat of Romans will remain just in name only. Constantinople, in reality,  will no longer play a leading political role, even in the Balkans, but the Byzantine civilization will once again, like a dying star, shine at the time of "Renaissance Palaeologus" in the 14th century, and then fold like a dark dwarf - Empire reduced to the area of a city. Like being in agony, Constantinople will provide a last, desperate, heroic resistance to Turkish attacker in 1453, and then immerse in the eternal silence from which will emerge Turkish Istanbul.

Equally serious consequences the fall of Constantinople had on relations between the two Christian churches - Orthodox and Catholic. Although for more than a century the official division of the Christian Church dominated ("Schism" from 1054), only the wanton violence of Catholic Christians against the Orthodox Constantinople finally deepened the gap between the two churches, which has not yet been overcome. To this is certainly contributed and the conduct of Pope Innocent III, who, after the conquest of Constantinople, confirmed the election of a new, "Latin", or the Catholic Patriarch, and thus become subsequent complicit in the foray on Constantinople, something to which he previously opposed. Pope’s pressure on the eastern "schismatic" did not, however, have any results. Pope John Paul II, eight hundred years later, during his visit to Athens, in May 2001, asked on behalf of the Catholic Church for forgiveness - for everything the Latins committed eight centuries earlier in Constantinople.

In addition to material damages, the conquest of Constantinople had and other consequences on international and regional relations of that period. Instead of one empire, in its place it was created a larger number of countries, whether Latin, or Greek, "empires", "Despotates", "Kingdoms" and "principalities"... and finally, in the Balkans and Asia Minor many Latin and Greek states waged war for the succession of Byzantium.

To read Part one: Angels of Vanity, click HERE.

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