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byzantine army recruitment

Discussion in 'Research' started by valiant12, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    I need information on how the byzantine empire recruited its soldiers.
    The periods that i'm most interested are 1204—1453 (particularly 1261-1453) and the first crusade era.
     
  2. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    You could check the Wikipedia entry for the Byzantine army and follow the links.

    The period in question seems to have been a period of military decline, and a lot of foreign mercenaries were used, then not used, and used again. Here's the Wikipedia entry on "Byzantine army (Palaiologan era)" that describes some of what happened during the period.

    The system of Pronoia also played a role in funding and organizing non-mercenary, local forces, although its effect varied by time period. It was a vaguely feudalistic system, but aristocrats and institutions would be granted some fiscal revenues normally granted to the empire, and although aristocrats couldn't be forced to fight in return for this, the revenues could be used to fund military forces.

    Mind you, all of the above is just a quick summary from what I've read today at those links; I'm no expert!
     
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  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    FifthView's summary is fair enough. If you want authoritative details, consult Mark Bartusis, The Late Byzantine Army.

    A couple things, though. The First Crusade was 1095-1099, about a hundred years before the period you ask about begins. The period you indicate is really two eras: the Latin Empire and the Paleologoi. For fifty years (1204-1254) the Byzantine Empire was in the hands of Westerners. They had their own (highly fractured) system. Then came the Paleologoi family, who ruled until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. That's the system FifthView summarized.

    And no, I'm not a Byzantine scholar. But I've taught the Crusades for thirty years, so I am at least somewhat familiar with that territory.
     
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  4. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    I know. I'm interested in bouth periods.

    1254? Why this year. The Bizantine sucsesor state of Nicea conqured Constantinopol in 1261. What happened in 1254?
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Got the year wrong. It was the year Louis went home after his crusade. Does that count? *blush*
     
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