The Fall of an Empire – The Lesson of Byzantium

Video is quite relevant to modern Europe; best watch it yourselves.

4 thoughts on “The Fall of an Empire – The Lesson of Byzantium

  1. Magnificent documentary in some ways, pretty biased in others. The Eastern empire had several lives, and several near-death experiences… but ultimately it died from intellectual fascism. Western Europe, a place of strife, had no fascism of that kind. The Franks are despised in the documentary, but an Archdeacon such as Beranger in middle Eleventh Century, said, all his life, that “God was reason… thus reason was God.” He got in trouble with the Vatican, but the Duke Of Normandy let him preach his reason based faith. Same duke believed the earth went around the sun, BTW…. Simultaneously, the Franks, Normans, Angevins, not Byzantium, were expelling the Muslims from Italy and Sicily. Byzantium by then was a spent force.

    By the end of the Eleventh Century, the Romans (they didn’t know themselves as “Byzantium”, an insult) called their good allies the Franks to the rescue.
    The seizure of Constantinople by a rogue Frankish army in 1204 was regrettable, but not the cause of the decay. OK, let me listen to the rest…

    The documentary claims that Rome lasted only 800 years… but actually the Roman Senate met for around 14 centuries we know of…. Moreover, the Frankish empire, the Imperium Francorum, whose core was “Francia” was the official successor regime, refurbished with the Justinian code after 550 CE, on top of the non-sexist “Lex Salica”… and that’s still around, with its successor regimes: Britain and the USA (plus all of Western Europe). Rome didn’t die, we are it.

    The Eastern Empire survived, just so, several times, thanks to great innovations. However, although allied to the Franks for… seven centuries (!), it also antagonized them, on religious grounds (invention of Cyrillic and other anti-Frankish maneuvers in Eastern Europe).

    The Imperium Francorum was more creative than the Eastern Empire, only thus, did it survive: the Franks, under their queen Bathilde, an ex-slave, outlawed slavery in 655 CE… Mental creativity is how the Franks survived the terrible invasions of the Ninth and Tenth century, by Arctic savages reproducing like lemmings (Vikings), Steppe savages (Avars, finally crushed by emperor Otto I), and desert savages (multiple Muslims invasions from 711 CE, for three centuries…) All three groups were secularly assimilated… They became Franks. Whereas Constantinople, driven by religious bigotry, just a bit too much, kept on shrinking….


    1. At time of Charlemagne maybe, but there was plenty of fascism to go around not much later, and today’s Western Europe has intellectual fascism in droves (“Progressivism”).

      Roman (“Byzantine”) Empire was NOT a “spent force” until the Fourth Crusade. They had long tradition, and they respected that tradition, which gave them resillience achieved never before (or again). The Empire protected Europe from Islam; it was Frankish and Roman Empires that acted as a bulwark which allowed Europe to survive instead of falling into permanent darkness of Islamic fascism.

      Seizure of Constantinople was actually a cause of decay, or at least it significantly sped it up. You see, Constantinople was extremely important strategic point, but it was also a cultural and spiritual center of the Empire. As a result, Roman Emperors spent too many resources trying to get Constantinople back, which prevented them from mounting an effective defense against the Seljuks. Further, after Constantinople fell, the Empire fragmented into several successor states (Trebizond etc.), which naturally limited the defensive abilities.

      As for Roman relationship with the Franks, they had been allies from before the Western Empire fell. Problem was when the Pope crowned Charlemagne an Emperor, something that only the Pope wanted (Charlemagne didn’t, Roman Emperor definitely didn’t). To Emperor (Empress) in Constantinople, there could be only one Christian Emperor, and crowning of Charlemagne was a sign of pretensions towards ERE… fact that Pope crowned an Emperor indicated that Pope placed himself above the Emperor in Constantinople as well.

      You will probably disagree, but I am of the opinion that had the Frankish Empire faced the same screwed-up strategic, geostrategic and geopolitical situation as the Eastern Rome, it would not have survived half the time ERE did. ERE was also capable of assimilating people, but Muslims could not be assimilated, and neither could Bulgars (ironically, Christianization of Bulgars made them less, not more, prone to assimilating into the Empire…). Frankish Empire never assimilated Muslims, it kicked them out. And neither is it capable of properly assimilating them today.


  2. Let’s call it for what it was, an Empire. It was defeated because it’s subjects, at least on european side, overtaxed among others, favored white “barbarians” ,their brothers (getae/goths), and, later, even turkic “barbarians” (bulgars, ottomans).
    The turkic bulgars vanished due to Basil II, known under the name of Bulgar Slayer, and to their low number, assimilated by local population.What is known the Second Bulgarian Empire has nothing to do with turkic bulgars. It is just an unfortunate toponym.
    Who will defend UE or USA if are in trouble, without mercenary’s army?


    1. It is an Empire, yes, and multiculturalism (empires are multicultural by definition) as well as bad position, internal squabbling among selfish nobility and eventual marriage of state with the interests of the rich doomed it in the end.


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