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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

(p.111) 5 The Collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the Twelfth Century
Margins and Metropolis

Judith Herrin

Princeton University Press

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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