LYSIKOV P.I. Social and Political Destabilization in Byzantium in the Early 14th Century: Causes and Consequences

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.17

Pavel I. Lysikov

Senior Lecturer, Department of Service and Tourism,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7484-798X


Abstract. Introduction. For the considerably weakened Byzantine state the reign of emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328) was mainly a time of foreign policy failures and internal contradictions. These latter became noticeably aggravated at the very early 14th century against the background of the Turkish conquest to which Asia Minor was subjected and the simultaneous Catalan mercenaries’ revolt which hit the European part of the empire. During this period seven internal conflicts different in character and form are recorded. Our goal is to determine the content of these movements, specificity of their genesis and development, their consequences for Byzantium as well.

Analysis and Results. As a result of the study we found out that the Turkish attacks and the Catalan revolt launched important economic, social and political processes which caused deepening of tension in relations between society and the state in Byzantium during this period. Among them we indicate: 1) the process of out-migration from Asia Minor to the European parts of the empire which was accompanied by extreme pauperization (and even lumpenization) of people who moved to Constantinople and its environs; 2) the process of destruction and marginalization of military contingents deployed in the east resulting in the loss of income and combat capability by soldiers; 3) the process of significant weakening of the centralized state control over remote regions worsened by the compelled circumstance of the war on two fronts. The effects of these processes directly reflected on the authority of the ruling emperor, weakened the position of power in the empire and took shape of numerous internal conflicts that had arisen and received (or had not received) development in this time. These conflicts had a significant impact on the destabilization of the domestic and foreign political situation in which the Byzantine state was during the first years of the 14th century. They touched many social groups to varying degrees, so that the period of time under study can justly be described as “society against power”.

Key words: Byzantium, early Palaiologan period, Andronikos II Palaiologos, Turkish conquest of Asia Minor, Catalan revolt, internal conflicts, Byzantine society.

Citation. Lysikov P.I. Social and Political Destabilization in Byzantium in the Early 14th Century: Causes and Consequences. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 206-230. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.17.

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Social and Political Destabilization in Byzantium in the Early 14th Century: Causes and Consequences by Lysikov P.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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