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Margins and MetropolisAuthority across the Byzantine Empire$
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Judith Herrin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153018

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153018.001.0001

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The Collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century

The Collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century

A Study of a Medieval Economy

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 The Collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century
Source:
Margins and Metropolis
Author(s):

Judith Herrin

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153018.003.0005

This chapter examines the collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the twelfth century. Between the tenth and twelfth centuries, the Byzantine state machinery was extremely sophisticated. It directed a systematic foreign policy and maintained a developed network of diplomatic relations with neighboring powers, controlled the minting and circulation of a stable gold currency, and ran a complex bureaucratic administration. However, the empire's economic organization was primitive. The chapter analyzes the fiscal and commercial aspects of the economic organization of a provincial area of the Byzantine Empire under the Angeloi during the period 1185–1204. It suggests that the conquest and sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade constitutes a collapse and disappearance of the empire in 1204, and that the establishment of a Latin Empire on Byzantine territory signals a definite break with the former Byzantine organization.

Keywords:   diplomatic relations, Byzantine Empire, foreign policy, bureaucratic administration, economic organization, Angeloi, Constantinople, Fourth Crusade, Latin Empire

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