It is needless to mention that the Byzantine Empire survived, centuries after the fall of Rome. It also grew to become the largest and most powerful European State at that time. During this time, it emerged that Byzantines found it hard to contain people from the West. This is because they found pleasure in fighting and were good in trade. Because of this, Byzantine Empire developed a diplomatic system, to allow signing of agreements with towns Venice, which was highly favored for allowing traders from different friendly cities in the region.
Following these arrangements, the Italians spread expansively, even though they hardly accepted that Byzantines belonged to a different religion. This was because at that time of Crusades, the Greek Orthodox Church would easily become a target for attacks. Since the separation of West and East and been initiated by the former, it had significant leadership influence. For example, monarchs from the west ruled the Byzantine Empire for almost half a century. While this was the case, it was never possible to gain total control of the region. There were local rulers who spread the Byzantine traditions, under the western rule. This largely contributed to the decline of Byzantine Empire. It continued to lose it territories until when Ottoman Empire overpowered Constantinople in 1453 CE and oust the government. Following these developments, Trapezus surrendered after eight years.
It is important to note the Byzantine Empire face a wide range of external enemies. Nonetheless, its poor internal organization largely contributed to its decline and collapse. Even though the empire registered political and economical stability by 1000AD, this was later to become Byzantine Empire’s downfall. The stability led to the emergence of joint feedback cycles, which destroyed the empire, taking away its success and glory. Firstly, the government of the day depended on free peasantry, for taxes and recruits.
During the days of constant battles and invasion, there was poor investment in farming, making land less productive. With the return of political stability during the eighth century, many nobles went for farmlands, which were under free peasantry. This led to endless battles between the nobles and peasants, who were not ready to part with their lands. Seeing that free peasantry was the pillar of the government, it did everything to protect it from greedy nobles. Basil II is remembered for steering this campaign, even though he could not overcome the powerful nobles, who were determined to end free peasantry.
Another factor that led to the decline of the Byzantine Empire is that not all leaders that rose to power were interested in protecting peasantry. This was much evident in 1025, after the death of Basil II who had the interests of farmers at heart. Because of the stability of the empire, many people did not see the essence of having a strong military. This saw weak rulers succeed Basil, some of whom had no military experience. Consequently, greedy nobles took the advantage and always attacked peasants during hard times like famine. Because of this, free peasantry declined, weighing heavily on the size of the army, since it was largely supported by peasant taxes. To remain strong and stable, Byzantine Empire resorted to employing the services of foreign mercenaries. The result was a weakened economy, which could not even support the military, resulting into its collapse.
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