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History 2

A History of the Middle Ages 284–1500 by Sidney Painter

By Sidney Painter

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Saurian and Macedonian emperors were obliged to devote most of their attention to their enemies in Eastern Europe and THE BYZANTINE EMPlRE AND ITS FOES 45 Asia, they could not neglect entirely their relations with Western Europe. saurian thought of himself as a Roman Emperor, and he held Venice, parts of southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia. Moreover, although the patriarch of Constantinople was independent for all practical purposes, he and the emperor usually recognized the pope as the head of the Christian church.

The infantry was of two sorts, light and heavy. The light infantry were archers who wore no protective armor but carried bows that could outrange those borne by horsemen. The heavy infantry wore helmet, shirt of mail, and often gauntlets. They also carried a shield and were armed with sword, lance, and battle-axe. The empire was divided into districts called themes. In each theme a strategos or general was both military commander and civil governor. The number of troops at the disposal of the strategos depended on how exposed was the position of the theme, but he usually had from 8,ooo to 1o,ooo men.

Some emperors tried to wipe out the monophysites by persecution, while others attempted to concoct compromise formulas that would bring them back into the fold. The persecutions only made the heretics more determined, and the attempts at compromise annoyed the orthodox, and resulted in serious quarrels between the emperors and the popes. One of the reasons for the comparatively easy conquest of Syria and Egypt by the Persians in the early seventh century was the fact that the monophysites rather preferred them to the imperial government.

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