Greece Medieval Arts Part II

By | January 27, 2022

The desolate territories of Greece, on which autonomous administrations of the Slavic ethnic groups (Sklavinie) or extensive landed estates practically detached from central power had been established – emblematic appears the case of the rich widow Danelis, who by virtue of her wealth supported the rise of Basil I to the imperial throne -, were repopulated thanks to forced transplants of military and civilian contingents from Anatolia.The Byzantine recovery recorded successes in the control of the Mediterranean and the Balkan borders: in fact in 961 the future emperor Nicephorus Phocas (963-969) freed Crete, occupied between 824 and 828 by expatriate Arab contingents, and later, in the first decades of the century. 11th, Basil II (976-1025) obtained a landslide victory against the Bulgarians of King Samuel (976-1014), who had penetrated into Macedonia and Thessaly, conquering Larissa and threatening the Peloponnese. On this occasion the Byzantine emperor celebrated the outcome of his victorious campaign in Athens in the Theotokos Atheniotissa, church of the Parthenon, with particular ceremonies which, according to a recently refuted hypothesis (Prinzing, 1993), would find an iconographic echo in the depictions of the fabric preserved in Bamberg (Diözesanmus.) known as bishop Gunther silk. 11th and throughout the following century the Greece was the object in particular of the expansionist aims of the Norman kingdom: the attacks launched by Roberto il Guiscardo in 1081 and by Roger II of Sicily in 1146-1147 first and then in 1185 did not lead to permanent territorial occupations and are famous above all for the forced transfer to Palermo of the renowned silk manufactures of the cities of Corinth and Thebes, conquered by Roger in the campaign of 1146-1147 (Jacoby, 1991-1992). The brutal sacking and conquest of Thessalonica in 1185, however, were a clear announcement of what would happen in Constantinople twenty years later. The conquest of the Byzantine capital in 1204 led to profound changes in the political order of the Greece ‘Aegean (Lesbos, Chios, Samos) re-entered the domains of the Latin empire of Constantinople; other, including Crete and the Ionian islands, passed under the control of Venice, which also kept for itself some strongholds in Epirus and the Peloponnese; Boniface of Monferrato founded the kingdom of Thessalonica, including territories of Macedonia and Thessaly, and established the duchy of Athens, with Attica and Boeotia, which he gave as a fief to Ottone de la Roche; in the Peloponnese the principality of Achaea or Morea was formed under the joint action of William of Champlitte and Goffredo I of Villehardouin, grandson of the historical witness to the capture of Constantinople. Only in Epirus a member of the Byzantine imperial family, Michael I Angelo Ducas Comneno (1204-1215), managed to create a Greek despotate, based in Arta, which, like the Byzantine Empire of Nicaea, aimed at the restitution of Byzantine sovereignty. all over Greece. L’ Eastern Latin empire was, if possible, even more fragmented and convulsive than the previous one. The French presence had less weight, especially when the Company of Catalans, an army of fortune already under Constantinople, put an end to the Burgundian dynasty in Athens in 1311 and ruled the duchy in its stead for seventy-five years. Even in the Peloponnese, with the rise of the Greek power of Mistrà and the disintegration of the principality of Achaia, which passed into the hands of Charles I of Anjou in 1278, the French domination was essentially a formal fact. In Thessaly, in a territory strongly conditioned by the presence, since the century. 12th, of Wallachian ethnic groups with autonomist aspirations, Giovanni I Angelo Ducas (1267 / 1268-1289) assumed the title of sebastokrátor and established an independent principality which survived until 1318 and was later absorbed by Constantinople. Also in 1318 the Epirota dynasty of Angels came to an end due to a plot hatched by Nicola Orsini of Kefalonia, who obtained recognition and the title of despot from Byzantium. In Macedonia, where as early as 1242 with John III Ducas Vatatze (1222-1254) the Byzantine empire had regained control, Thessalonica returned to be the second city of the empire: the ups and downs of the century. 14 ° reaffirmed the crucial role, often as antagonist of the capital, that the city played in the context of the political events connected with the struggles between the paleologists Andronicus II (1282-1328) and Andronicus III (1328-1341), in the third decade of the century, and with the uprising of the zealots, the anti-aristocratic movement that ruled the city in the 1940s. The Serbian kingdom took advantage of the instability of the Byzantine empire, which, with Stephen Dušan (1331-1355), between 1345 and 1348 took over Epirus and Thessaly, regions that had only recently been reintegrated into the Byzantine empire. The Serbian invasion followed, starting from the second half of the century. 14 °, the constant pressure of the Ottomans exerted first on the eastern regions of Greece – Thessaly was conquered in 1383, Thessalonica in 1387 and definitively in 1430 – and then, after the crisis determined by the defeat of Ankara against the Mongols (1402), on the entire Greek territory with the conquest of Epirus in the first half of the century. 15th and finally of the whole Peloponnese.

Greece Medieval Arts 2