Isaac II, Angelus 1185AD Byzantine Coin Archangel Michael Virgin i30692

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Seller: highrating_lowprice (20,574) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 231008096660 Item: i30692 Authentic Ancient Roman Coin of: Byzantine - Isaac II, Angelus - Emperor: 12 September 1185 - 8 April 1195 A.D. Billon aspron trachy 22mm (1.69 grams) Reference: Sear 2002 The Virgin enthroned facing, nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; She holds before Her nimbate head of the infant Christ facing; on either side of nimbus. Archangel Michael, beadless and nimbate on right and Isaac II on left, both standing facing; the Archangel wears military attire, holds jewelled scepter in left hand and with his right hand crowns emperor, who wears division and chlamys, and hilds criciform scepter and akakia; between their heads. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. Michael is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics , the Eastern Orthodox , Anglicans , and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael. Orthodox Christians refer to him as the Taxiarch Archangel Michael or simply Archangel Michael. In Hebrew, Michael means "who is like God" (mi-who, ke-as or like, El -deity), which is traditionally interpreted as a rhetorical question: "Who is like God?" (which expects an answer in the negative) to imply that no one is like God . In this way, Michael is reinterpreted as a symbol of humility before God. In the Hebrew Bible Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel , once as a "great prince who stands up for the children of your people". The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy. In the New Testament Michael leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation , where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as an "archangel". Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches . Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations. Guido Reni 's Michael (in Santa Maria della Concezione church, Rome , 1636) tramples Satan. A mosaic of the same painting decorates St. Michael's Altar in St. Peter's Basilica . In the Hebrew Scriptures , and hence in the Old Testament , the prophet Daniel experiences a vision after having undergone a period of fasting. In the vision in Daniel 10:13-21 an angel identifies Michael as the protector of Israel . Daniel refers to Michael as a "prince of the first rank". Later in the vision in Daniel 12:1 Daniel is informed about the role of Michael during the "time of the End" when there will be "distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations" and that: “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise." In view of this, Michael is seen as playing an important role as the protector of Israel, and later of the Christian Church . Although the three references to Michael in the Book of Daniel 10:13, 10:21 and 12:1 are to the same individual who acts in similar ways in all three cases, the last one is set at the "end times" while the first two refer to local time in Persia. These are the only three references to Archangel Michael in the Hebrew Bible. The references to the "captain of the host of the Lord" encountered by Joshua in the early days of his campaigns in the Promised Land (Joshua 5:13-15) have at times been interpreted as Michael the Archangel, but there is no theological basis for that assumption, given that Joshua then worshiped this figure, and angels are not to be worshiped, and the figure may refer to Yahweh himself..In the book of Joshua's account of the fall of Jericho, Joshua "looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand". When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, the response was, "neither...but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come". Christianity Early Christian views and devotions Statue of Archangel Michael at the University of Bonn , slaying Satan as a dragon. Quis ut Deus is inscribed on his shield. The early Christians regarded some of the martyrs such as Saint George , and Saint Theodore , as military patrons ; but to St Michael they gave the care of their sick and he was first venerated as a healer in Phrygia (modern-day Turkey ). The earliest and most famous sanctuary to Saint Michael in the ancient near east was also associated with healing waters. It was the Michaelion built in early 4th century by Emperor Constantine at Chalcedon , on the site of an earlier Temple called Sosthenion. A painting of the Archangel slaying a serpent became a major art piece at the Michaelion after Constantine defeated Licinius near there in 324, eventually leading to the standard iconography of Archangel Michael as a warrior saint slaying a dragon.The Michaelion was a magnificent church and in time became a model for hundreds of other churches in Eastern Christianity which spread devotions to the Archangel. In the 4th century, Saint Basil the Great 's homily (De Angelis) placed Saint Michael over all the angels. He was called "Archangel" because he is the prince of the other angels.Into the 6th century, the view of Michael as a healer continued in Rome, when after a plague the sick slept at night in the church of Castel Sant'Angelo (dedicated to him for saving Rome), waiting for his manifestation. In the 6th century the growth of devotions to the saint in the Western Church were manifested by the feasts dedicated to him, as recorded in the Leonine Sacramentary . The 7th century Gelasian Sacramentary included the feast "S. Michaelis Archangeli", as did the 8th century Gregorian Sacramentary . Some of these documents refer to a no longer extant Basilica Archangeli on via Salaria in Rome. The angelology of Pseudo-Dionysius which was widely read as of the 6th century gave Michael a rank in the celestial hierarchy .Later, in the 13th century, others such as Bonaventure believed that he is the prince of the Seraphim , the first of the nine angelic orders. According to Saint Thomas Aquinas (Summa Ia. 113.3), he is the Prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels. Roman Catholicism Archangel Michael reaching to save souls in purgatory , by Jacopo Vignali , 17th century Roman Catholics often refer to Michael as "Saint Michael", a title that does not indicate canonisation , any more than it does for Saint Peter and Saint Paul. He is generally referred to in Christian litanies as "Saint Michael", as in the Litany of the Saints . In the shortened version of this litany used in the Easter Vigil , he alone of the angels and archangels is mentioned, omitting Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. Orthodoxy accords him the title "Archistrategos", or "Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts." In the Roman Catholic teachings Saint Michael has four main roles or offices. His first role is the leader of the Army of God and the leader of heaven's forces in their triumph over the powers of hell. He is viewed as the angelic model for the virtues of the spiritual warrior, with the conflict against evil at times viewed as the battle within. The second and third roles of Michael in Catholic teachings deal with death. In his second role, Michael is the angel of death, carrying the souls of all the deceased to heaven. In this role, at the hour of death, Michael descends and gives each soul the chance to redeem itself before passing, thus consternating the devil and his minions. Catholic prayers often refer to this role of Michael. In his third role, he weighs souls in his perfectly balanced scales (hence Michael is often depicted holding scales). In his fourth role, St Michael, the special patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament, is also the guardian of the Church; it was thus not unusual for the angel to be revered by the military orders of knights during the Middle Ages. This role also extends to his being the patron saint of a number of cities and countries. Roman Catholicism includes traditions such as the Prayer to Saint Michael which specifically asks for the faithful to be "defended" by the saint. The Chaplet of Saint Michael consists of nine salutations, one for each choir of angels. It should be noted that the Roman Catholic traditions and teachings concerning St. Michael the Archangel are not required beliefs and practices but rather are strongly encouraged as a means of individuals and congregations increasing in spiritual strength against evil. Oriental Orthodoxy The place of Michael in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an saintly intercessor , where he is seen as the one who presents to God the prayers of the just, who accompanies the souls of the dead to heaven, who defeats the devil. He is celebrated liturgically on the 12th of each month. In Alexandria, a church was dedicated to him in the early fourth century on the 12th of the month of Ba'unah. On the 12th of the month of Hathor is the celebration of Michael's appointment in heaven, where Michael became the chief of the angels. Most Protestant Christians (excluding Anglicans ) generally reject the intercession of saints as a whole. However, the Anglican prayer of preparation before Mass includes a confession to "Michael the Archangel" as well as other saints such as John the Baptist . Protestant denominations generally recognize only two archangels, Michael and Gabriel , usually emphasizing Michael, unlike Judaism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy which may at times recognize seven (and in rare cases eight) archangels, with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael generally regarded with an elevated status, e.g. being the only archangels honored by name in Catholicism. Some early Protestant scholars identified Michael with the pre-incarnate Christ , basing their view, partly on the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Revelation 12, and partly on the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel.Similarly in 1751 Anglican bishop Robert Clayton held that Michael was the Logos and Gabriel the Holy Spirit , an extreme position which resulted in his prosecution, just before he died. The Baptist evangelist Charles Haddon Spurgeon and the Presbyterian author Matthew Henry , believed that rather than being a regular created angel, Michael had a significantly higher position Michael continues to be recognized among Protestants by key churches dedicated to him, e.g. St. Michaelis Church, Hamburg , a key Lutheran Church which appears on the coins of the European Union . Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses believe Michael to be another name for Jesus in heaven, in his pre-human and post-resurrection existence.[53] They assert that, because a definite article is used at Jude 9 when referring to "Michael the Archangel", and because the term "archangel" is used only in the singular in the Bible, never clearly in the plural, that therefore Michael is the only archangel, and therefore synonymous with Jesus, who is described at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as descending "with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet". They believe the prominent roles assigned to Michael at Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7; 19:14, 16 are identical to Jesus' roles, as the one chosen to lead God's people, and as the one who "stands up", identifying them as the same spirit person. Because they identify Michael with Jesus, he is therefore considered the first and greatest of all God's heavenly sons, God's chief messenger who takes the lead in vindicating God's sovereignty, and sanctifying his name, fighting the wicked forces of Satan, and protecting God's covenant people on earth. Jehovah's Witnesses also identify Michael with the "Angel of the Lord" who led the Israelites in the wilderness. Seventh-day Adventists Seventh-day Adventists believe that Michael is another name for the Heavenly Christ, and another name for the Word-of-God (as in John 1 ) before He became incarnate as Jesus. Archangel (meaning "Chief of the Angels") was the leadership position held by the Word-of-God as Michael while among the angels. So according to Adventist theology, Michael was considered the "eternal Word", and not a created being or created angel, and the one by whom all things were created. The Word was then born incarnate as Jesus. Seventh-day Adventists believe the name “Michael” is significant in showing who it is, just as "Immanuel" (which means "God with us") is about who Jesus is. They believe that name “Michael” signifies “one who is God” and that as the “Archangel” or "chief or head of the angels" He led the angels and thus the statement in Revelation 12:7-9 identifies Jesus as Michael. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the term 'Michael' is but one of the many titles applied to the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. But such a view does not in any way conflict with the belief in His full deity and eternal pre-existence, nor does it in the least disparage His person and work. In the Seventh-day Adventist view, the statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 : "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" identifies Jesus as Archangel, which is Michael.[59] And the Seventh-day Adventists believe that John 5:25-29 also confirms that Jesus and Michael are the same. Seventh-day Adventists believe there is and can only be one archangel and that one Archangel is named Michael and yet in Scripture is shown as doing what also applies to Christ even from the beginning, so is Christ pre-incarnate. There was a perception that Adventists were relegating Jesus to something less than divine or less than God but that is not valid since Seventh-day Adventism theology teaches and is expressly Trinitarian Latter-day Saints believe that Michael is Adam, the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7), a prince, and the patriarch of the human family and that Michael assisted Jehovah (the heavenly form of Jesus Christ ) in the creation of the world under the direction of God the Father Feasts, patronages and orders Feasts In the Roman Catholic calendar of saints , Anglican Calendar of Saints , and the Lutheran Calendar of Saints , the archangel's feast is celebrated on Michaelmas Day. The day is also considered the feast of Saints Gabriel , and Raphael or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. On the Western Christian calendar the feast is celebrated on 29 September. In the Eastern Orthodox Church , Saint Michael's principal feast day is November 8 (November 21 by most Orthodox churches since they use the Julian calendar ), where he is honored along with the rest of the "Bodiless Powers of Heaven" (i.e. angels ) as their Supreme Commander, and the Miracle at Chonae is commemorated on September 6. Patronages and orders In late medieval Christianity , Michael, together with Saint George , became the patron saint of chivalry and is now also considered the patron saint of police officers and the military Coat of arms of Kiev In mid to late 15th century, France was one of only four courts in Western Christendom without an order of knighthood. Later in the 15th century, Jean Molinet glorified the primordial feat of arms of the archangel as "the first deed of knighthood and chivalrous prowess that was ever achieved." Thus Michael was the natural patron of the first chivalric order of France , the Order of Saint Michael of 1469. In the British honours system , a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George . The Order of Michael the Brave is Romania's highest military decoration. Apart from his being a patron of warriors, the sick and the suffering also consider Archangel Michael their patron saint. Based on the legend of his 8th century apparition at Mont-Saint-Michel , France, the Archangel is the patron of mariners in this famous sanctuary.[24] After the evangelisation of Germany , where mountains were often dedicated to pagan gods, Christians placed many mountains under the patronage of the Archangel, and numerous mountain chapels of St. Michael appeared all over Germany.[24] He has been the patron saint of Brussels since the Middle Ages.The city of Arkhangelsk in Russia is named for the Archangel. Ukraine and its capital Kiev also consider Michael their patron saint and protector. An Anglican sisterhood dedicated to Saint Michael under the title of the Community of St Michael and All Angels was founded in 1851.The Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (CSMA), also known as the Michaelite Fathers, is a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church founded in 1897. Christendom A 12th-century icon of the Miracle at Chonae , from Saint Catherine's Monastery , Mount Sinai . The Orthodox Church celebrates the Miracle at Chonae on September 6. The legend states that the pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St Michael to destroy it, but Archippus (the custodian) prayed to Michael, the archangel appeared and split the rock to open up a new bed for the stream, directing the flow away from the church and sanctifying forever the waters which came from the new gorge.[24] The spring which came forth after this event is said to have special healing powers. The legend existed in earlier times, but the 5th-7th century texts that refer to the miracle at Chonae formed the basis of specific paradigms for "properly approaching" angelic intermediaries for more effective prayers within the Christian culture. There is a late 5th century legend in Cornwall , UK that the Archangel appeared to fishermen on St Michael's Mount .[84] According to author Richard Freeman Johnson this legend is likely a nationalistic twist to a myth.[84] Cornish legends also hold that the mount itself was constructed by giants and that King Arthur battled a giant there. Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, with Michael's statue atop. The legend of the apparition of the Archangel at around 490 AD at a secluded hilltop cave on Monte Gargano in Italy gained a following among the Lombards in the immediate period thereafter, and by the 8th century pilgrims arrived from as far away as England. The Roman Breviary then recorded it on May 8, the date on which the Lombards attributed their 663 victory over the Greek Neopolitan to the intercession of the Archangel.[24] The Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo at Gargano is a major Catholic pilgrimage site. According to Roman legends, while a devastating plague persisted in Rome, Archangel Michael appeared with a sword over the mausoleum of Hadrian , in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St Gregory I the Great (c. 590-604) that the plague should cease. After the plague ended, in honor of the occasion, the pope called the mausoleum "Castel Sant'Angelo" (Castle of the Holy Angel), the name by which it is still known. The Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy , France According to Norman legend, Michael is said to have appeared to St Aubert , Bishop of Avranches , in 708, giving instruction to build a church on the rocky islet now known as Mont Saint Michel In 966 the Duke of Normandy commissioned a Benedictine abbey on the mount, and it remains a major pilgrimage site. A Portuguese Carmelite nun, Antónia d'Astónaco , had reported an apparition and private revelation of the Archangel Michael who had told to this devoted Servant of God , in 1751, that he would like to be honored, and God glorified, by the praying of nine special invocations. These nine invocations correspond to invocations to the nine choirs of angels and origins the famous Chaplet of Saint Michael . This private revelation and prayers were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851. From 1961 to 1965, four young schoolgirls had reported several apparitions of Archangel Michael in the small village of Garabandal , Spain . At Garabandal, the apparitions of the Archangel Michael were mainly reported as announcing the arrivals of the Virgin Mary . The Catholic Church has neither approved, nor condemned the Garabandal apparitions . Isaac II Angelos or Angelus (September 1156 – January 1204) was Byzantine emperor from 1185 to 1195, and again from 1203 to 1204. His father Andronikos Dukas Angelos, a military leader in Asia Minor (c. 1122 – aft. 1185), married bef. 1155 Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa (c. 1125 – aft. 1195). Andronikos Dukas Angelos was the son of Konstantinos Angelos, Admiral of Sicily (c. 1085 – aft. July 1166, son of Manolis Angelos from Philadelphia ) and Theodora Komnene (b. January 15, 1096/1097) who was the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Eirene Doukaina , by her marriage c. 1120 to Thus Isaac was a member of the extended imperial clan. // Rising by revolt During the brief reign of Andronikos I Komnenos , Isaac was involved (alongside his father and brothers) in the revolt of Nicaea and Prousa . Atypically, the Emperor did not punish him for this disloyalty, and Isaac remained at Constantinople . On September 11, 1185, during Andronikos' absence from the capital, the latter's lieutenant Stephanos Hagiochristophorites moved to arrest Isaac. Isaac killed Hagiochristophorites and took refuge in the church of Hagia Sophia . Andronikos, in some ways a capable ruler, was hated for his cruelty and his efforts to keep the aristocracy obedient. Isaac appealed to the populace, and a tumult arose which spread rapidly over the whole city. When Andronikos arrived he found that during his absence he had lost popular support, and that Isaac had been proclaimed emperor. Andronikos attempted to flee by boat but was apprehended. Isaac handed him over to the people of the City, and he was killed on September 12, 1185. First reign Isaac II Angelos strengthened his position as emperor with dynastic marriages in 1185 and 1186. His niece, Eudokia Angelina , was married to Stefan , son of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia . Isaac's sister, Theodora, was married to the Italian marquis Conrad of Montferrat . In January 1186 Isaac himself married Margaret of Hungary (renamed Maria), daughter of king Béla III . Hungary was one of the empire's largest and most powerful neighbours, and Margaret also had the benefit of high aristocratic descent, being related to the royal families of Kiev , the Holy Roman Empire , Italy , Provence , and earlier Byzantine dynasties. Isaac inaugurated his reign with a decisive victory over the Norman King of Sicily William II (on the banks of the Strymon , 7 September 1185), who had invaded the Balkans with 80,000 men and 200 ships towards the end of Andronicus I's reign. Elsewhere his policy was less successful. In late 1185, he sent a fleet of 80 galleys to liberate his brother Alexius III from Acre , but it was destroyed by the Normans of Sicily. He then sent a fleet of 70 ships, but it failed in its attempt to recover Cyprus from the rebellious noble Isaac Comnenus , thanks to Norman interference. The oppressiveness of his taxes, increased to pay his armies and finance his marriage, resulted in the Vlach-Bulgarian Rebellion late in 1185. The rebellion led to the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire under the Asen dynasty . In 1187, Alexios Branas , the victor over the Normans, was sent against the Bulgarians but turned his arms against his master, and attempted to seize Constantinople, only to be defeated and slain by Isaac's brother-in-law Conrad of Montferrat. Also in 1187, an agreement was made with Venice , in which the republic would provide 40-100 galleys at six months' notice in exchange for favorable trading concessions. As each Venetian galley was manned by 140 oarsmen, that means there were about 18,000 Venetians still in the empire even after Manuel I 's arrests. The emperor's attention was next demanded in the east, where several claimants to the throne successively rose and fell. In 1189 the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa sought and obtained permission to lead his troops on the Third Crusade through the Byzantine Empire ; but he had no sooner crossed the border than Isaac, who had meanwhile sought an alliance with Saladin , threw every impediment in his way. In retaliation, Barbarossa's army occupied the city of Philippopolis and defeated a Byzantine army of 3,000 men that attempted to recapture the city.[2] Thus compelled by force of arms, Isaac II was forced to fulfil his engagements in 1190. By 1196, Isaac II had allowed the once powerful Byzantine navy to decline to only 30 galleys. The next five years were disturbed by continued warfare with Bulgaria , against which Isaac led several expeditions in person. In spite of their promising start, these ventures had little effect, and on during one occasion in 1190 Isaac barely escaped with his life. The Byzantines suffered yet another major defeat in the battle of Arcadiopolis in 1194. While preparing for yet another offensive against Bulgaria in 1195, Alexios Angelos , the emperor's older brother, taking advantage of the latter's absence from camp on a hunting expedition, proclaimed himself emperor, and was readily recognised by the soldiers as Emperor Alexios III. Isaac was blinded and imprisoned in Constantinople. Second reign After eight years of captivity, he was raised from his dungeon to his throne once more after the arrival of the Fourth Crusade and the flight of Alexios III from the capital. But both mind and body had been enfeebled by confinement, and his son Alexios IV Angelos was associated on the throne as the effective monarch. Heavily beholden to the crusaders, Alexios IV was unable to meet his obligations and his vacillation caused him to lose the support of both his crusader allies and his subjects. At the end of January, 1204, the influential court official Mourtzouphlos Alexios Doukas took advantage of riots in the capital to imprison Alexios IV and seize the throne as Emperor Alexios V. At this point Isaac II died, allegedly of shock, while Alexios IV was strangled on January 28 or 29. Usurpers Isaac's reign saw a number of pretenders rise up and attempt to wrest the throne from him. These included: Alexios Branas Theodore Mangaphas Pseudo-Alexios II Basil Chotzas - initiated a rebellion at Tarsia, near Nicomedia . Initially he had some success, but before long he was seized, blinded and cast into prison. Isaac Comnenus (nephew of Andronicus I Comnenus ) - escaped from prison and fled to Hagia Sophia , where he proceeded to incite a mob. Eventually captured, he was suspended in the air and tortured in order to obtain the names of his accomplices. His internal organs suffered severe damage and he died the next day Constantine Tatikios - secretly established a group of 500 individuals who hid in Constantinople . Though they managed to escape detection for some considerable time, he was informed against, captured and blinded[3]. Historical reputation Isaac has the reputation of one of the most unsuccessful princes that occupied the Byzantine throne. Surrounded by a crowd of slaves, mistresses and flatterers, he permitted his empire to be administered by unworthy favourites, while he squandered the money wrung from his provinces on costly buildings and expensive gifts to the churches of his metropolis. During his reign the empire lost Lefkada , Kefallonia , and Zakynthos to the Normans in 1185. In the same year the Bulgarian Empire was restored after the rebellion of the brothers Asen and Peter and thus losing Moesia and parts of Thrace and Macedonia. After that Cilicia was retaken by the Armenians and Cyprus wrested from the empire by the Franks . Family The identity of Isaac II's first wife is unknown, but her name, Herina (i.e., Eirene), is found on the necrology of Speyer Cathedral , where their daughter Irene is interred. (It must be noted, however, that it would have been extremely unusual for a mother and daughter to bear the same name, unless the mother's name was monastic.)[4] Isaac's wife may have been a member of the Palaiologos family. A possible foreign origin is also given to her due to having the same name as her daughter. Their third child was born in 1182 or 1183 and she was dead or divorced by 1185, when Isaac remarried. Their children were: Euphrosyne Angelina, a nun. Irene Angelina , married first to Roger III of Sicily , and secondly to Philip of Swabia . Alexios IV Angelos . By his second wife, Margaret of Hungary (renamed Maria), Isaac II had two sons: John Angelos (b. ca. 1193 - d. 1259). He migrated to Hungary and ruled over Syrmia and Bacs (1227–42) as a vassal of king Béla IV of Hungary . Manuel Angelos (b. after 1195 - d. 1212) The Byzantine Empire was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally known as Byzantium. Initially the eastern half of the Roman Empire (often called the Eastern Roman Empire in this context), it survived the 5th century fragmentation and collapse of the Western Roman Empire and continued to thrive, existing for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms applied in later centuries; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, tr.Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum), and Romania. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, theemperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves.[3] Between 324 and 330,Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and Nova Roma ("New Rome"). Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. In summation, Byzantium is distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism. The borders of the Empire evolved a great deal over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. During the 10th-centuryMacedonian dynasty, the Empire experienced a golden age, which culminated in the reign of Emperor Basil II "the Bulgar-Slayer". However, shortly after Basil's death, a neglect of the vast military built up during the Late Macedonian dynasty caused the Empire to begin to lose territory in Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks. Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes and several of his predecessors had attempted to rid Eastern Anatolia of the Turkish menace, but this endeavor proved ultimately untenable - especially after the disastrous Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Despite a prominent period of revival (1081-1180) under the steady leadership of the Komnenos family, who played an instrumental role in theFirst and Second Crusades, the final centuries of the Empire exhibit a general trend of decline. In 1204, after a period of strife following the downfall of the Komnenos dynasty, the Empire was delivered a mortal blow by the forces of the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of a number of small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. This volatile period lead to its progressive annexation by the Ottomans over the 15th century and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Early history The Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to many different cultural groups, ranging from primitive to highly sophisticated. Generally speaking, the eastern Mediterranean provinces were more urbanised than the western, having previously been united under the Macedonian Empire and Hellenisedby the influence of Greek culture. The west also suffered more heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD. This distinction between the established Hellenised East and the younger Latinised West persisted and became increasingly important in later centuries, leading to a gradual estrangement of the two worlds. Divisions of the Roman Empire In order to maintain control and improve administration, various schemes to divide the work of the Roman Emperor by sharing it between individuals were tried between 285 and 324, from 337 to 350, from 364 to 392, and again between 395 and 480. Although the administrative subdivisions varied, they generally involved a division of labour between East and West. Each division was a form of power-sharing (or even job-sharing), for the ultimateimperium was not divisible and therefore the empire remained legally one state—although the co-emperors often saw each other as rivals or enemies rather than partners. In 293, emperor Diocletian created a new administrative system (the tetrarchy), in order to guarantee security in all endangered regions of his Empire. He associated himself with a co-emperor (Augustus), and each co-emperor then adopted a young colleague given the title of Caesar, to share in their rule and eventually to succeed the senior partner. The tetrarchy collapsed, however, in 313 and a few years later Constantine I reunited the two administrative divisions of the Empire as sole Augustus. Loss of the western Roman Empire After the fall of Attila, the Eastern Empire enjoyed a period of peace, while the Western Empire deteriorated in continuing migration and expansion byGermanic nations (its end is usually dated in 476 when the Germanic Roman general Odoacer deposed the titular Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus). In 480 Emperor Zeno abolished the division of the Empire making himself sole Emperor. Odoacer, now ruler of Italy, was nominally Zeno's subordinate but acted with complete autonomy, eventually providing support of a rebellion against the Emperor. Zeno negotiated with the conquering Ostrogoths, who had settled in Moesia, convincing the Gothic king Theodoric to depart for Italy as magister militum per Italiam ("commander in chief for Italy") with the aim to depose Odoacer. By urging Theodoric into conquering Italy, Zeno rid the Eastern Empire of an unruly subordinate (Odoacer) and moved another (Theodoric) further from the heart of the Empire. After Odoacer's defeat in 493, Theodoric ruled Italy on his own, although he was never recognised by the eastern emperors as "king" (rex). In 491, Anastasius I, an aged civil officer of Roman origin, became Emperor, but it was not until 497 that the forces of the new emperor effectively took the measure of Isaurian resistance.[29]Anastasius revealed himself as an energetic reformer and an able administrator. He perfected Constantine I's coinage system by definitively setting the weight of the copper follis, the coin used in most everyday transactions.[30] He also reformed the tax system and permanently abolished the chrysargyron tax. The State Treasury contained the enormous sum of 320,000 lb (150,000 kg) of gold when Anastasius died in 518. Reconquest of the western provinces Justinian I depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna. Justinian I , the son of an Illyrian peasant, may already have exerted effective control during the reign of his uncle, Justin I (518–527). He assumed the throne in 527, and oversaw a period of recovery of former territories. In 532, attempting to secure his eastern frontier, he signed a peace treaty with Khosrau I of Persia agreeing to pay a large annual tribute to the Sassanids. In the same year, he survived a revolt in Constantinople (the Nika riots), which solidified his power but ended with the deaths of a reported 30,000 to 35,000 rioters on his orders. In 529, a ten-man commission chaired by John the Cappadocian revised the Roman law and created a new codification of laws and jurists' extracts. In 534, the Code was updated and, along with the enactements promulgated by Justinian after 534, it formed the system of law used for most of the rest of the Byzantine era. The western conquests began in 533, as Justinian sent his general Belisarius to reclaim the former province of Africa from the Vandals who had been in control since 429 with their capital at Carthage. Their success came with surprising ease, but it was not until 548 that the major local tribes were subdued. In Ostrogothic Italy, the deaths of Theodoric, his nephew and heir Athalaric, and his daughter Amalasuntha had left her murderer,Theodahad (r. 534–536), on the throne despite his weakened authority. Heraclian dynasty The Byzantine Empire in 650 - by this year it lost all of its southern provinces except the Exarchate of Africa. After Maurice's murder by Phocas, Khosrau used the pretext to reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia.Phocas, an unpopular ruler invariably described in Byzantine sources as a "tyrant", was the target of a number of Senate-led plots. He was eventually deposed in 610 by Heraclius, who sailed to Constantinople from Carthage with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship. Following the ascension of Heraclius, the Sassanid advance pushed deep into Asia Minor, occupying Damascus andJerusalem and removing the True Cross to Ctesiphon. The counter-attack launched by Heraclius took on the character of a holy war, and an acheiropoietos image of Christ was carried as a military standard (similarly, when Constantinople was saved from an Avar siege in 626, the victory was attributed to the icons of the Virgin that were led in procession byPatriarch Sergius about the walls of the city). The main Sassanid force was destroyed at Nineveh in 627, and in 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony. The war had exhausted both the Byzantines and Sassanids, however, and left them extremely vulnerable to the Muslim forces that emerged in the following years. The Byzantines suffered a crushing defeat by the Arabs at the Battle of Yarmouk in 636, while Ctesiphon fell in 634. Siege of Constantinople (674–678) The Arabs, now firmly in control of Syria and the Levant, sent frequent raiding parties deep into Asia Minor, and in 674–678 laid siege to Constantinople itself. The Arab fleet was finally repulsed through the use of Greek fire, and a thirty-years' truce was signed between the Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate. However, the Anatolian raids continued unabated, and accelerated the demise of classical urban culture, with the inhabitants of many cities either refortifying much smaller areas within the old city walls, or relocating entirely to nearby fortresses. Constantinople itself dropped substantially in size, from 500,000 inhabitants to just 40,000–70,000, and, like other urban centres, it was partly ruralised. The city also lost the free grain shipments in 618, after Egypt fell first to the Persians and then to the Arabs, and public wheat distribution ceased. The void left by the disappearance of the old semi-autonomous civic institutions was filled by the theme system, which entailed dividing Asia Minor into "provinces" occupied by distinct armies that assumed civil authority and answered directly to the imperial administration. This system may have had its roots in certain ad hoc measures taken by Heraclius, but over the course of the 7th century it developed into an entirely new system of imperial governance.[59] The massive cultural and institutional restructuring of the Empire consequent on the loss of territory in the 7th century has been said to have caused a decisive break in east Mediterranean Romanness and that the Byzantine state is subsequently best understood as another successor state rather than a real continuation of the Roman Empire. The Greek fire was first used by the Byzantine Navy during the Byzantine-Arab Wars (from theMadrid Skylitzes, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid). Isaurian dynasty to the ascension of Basil I Leo III the Isaurian turned back the Muslim assault in 718 and addressed himself to the task of reorganising and consolidating the themes in Asia Minor. His successor, Constantine V, won noteworthy victories in northern Syria and thoroughly undermined Bulgarian strength. Taking advantage of the Empire's weakness after the Revolt of Thomas the Slav in the early 820s, the Arabs reemerged andcaptured Crete. They also successfully attacked Sicily, but in 863 general Petronas gained a huge victory against Umar al-Aqta, the emir of Melitene. Under the leadership of emperor Krum, the Bulgarian threat also reemerged, but in 815–816 Krum's son, Omurtag, signed a peace treaty with Leo V. Macedonian dynasty and resurgence (867–1025) The Byzantine Empire, c. 867. The accession of Basil I to the throne in 867 marks the beginning of the Macedonian dynasty, which would rule for the next two and a half centuries. This dynasty included some of the most able emperors in Byzantium's history, and the period is one of revival and resurgence. The Empire moved from defending against external enemies to reconquest of territories formerly lost.[70] In addition to a reassertion of Byzantine military power and political authority, the period under the Macedonian dynasty is characterised by a cultural revival in spheres such as philosophy and the arts. There was a conscious effort to restore the brilliance of the period before the Slavic and subsequent Arab invasions, and the Macedonian era has been dubbed the "Golden Age" of Byzantium. Though the Empire was significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it had regained significant strength, as the remaining territories were less geographically dispersed and more politically, economically, and culturally integrated. Wars against the Arabs The general Leo Phokas defeats the Arabs atAndrassos in 960, from the Madrid Skylitzes. In the early years of Basil I's reign, Arab raids on the coasts of Dalmatia were successfully repelled, and the region once again came under secure Byzantine control. This enabled Byzantine missionaries to penetrate to the interior and convert the Serbs and the principalities of modern-dayHerzegovina and Montenegro to Orthodox Christianity. An attempt to retake Malta ended disastrously, however, when the local population sided with the Arabs and massacred the Byzantine garrison. By contrast, the Byzantine position in Southern Italy was gradually consolidated so that by 873 Bari had once again come under Byzantine rule,and most of Southern Italy would remain in the Empire for the next 200 years.On the more important eastern front, the Empire rebuilt its defences and went on the offensive. The Paulicians were defeated and their capital of Tephrike (Divrigi) taken, while the offensive against the Abbasid Caliphatebegan with the recapture of Samosata. The military successes of the 10th century were coupled with a major cultural revival, the so-called Macedonian Renaissance. Miniature from the Paris Psalter, an example of Hellenistic-influenced art. Under Michael's son and successor, Leo VI the Wise, the gains in the east against the now weak Abbasid Caliphate continued. However, Sicily was lost to the Arabs in 902, and in 904 Thessaloniki, the Empire's second city, was sacked by an Arab fleet. The weakness of the Empire in the naval sphere was quickly rectified, so that a few years later a Byzantine fleet had re-occupied Cyprus, lost in the 7th century, and also stormed Laodicea in Syria. Despite this revenge, the Byzantines were still unable to strike a decisive blow against the Muslims, who inflicted a crushing defeat on the imperial forces when they attempted to regain Crete in 911. Wars against the Bulgarian Empire Emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025). The traditional struggle with the See of Rome continued through the Macedonian period, spurred by the question of religious supremacy over the newly Christianised state of Bulgaria. Ending eighty years of peace between the two states, the powerful Bulgarian tsar Simeon I invaded in 894 but was pushed back by the Byzantines, who used their fleet to sail up the Black Sea to attack the Bulgarian rear, enlisting the support of theHungarians. The Byzantines were defeated at the Battle of Boulgarophygon in 896, however, and agreed to pay annual subsidies to the Bulgarians. Leo the Wise died in 912, and hostilities soon resumed as Simeon marched to Constantinople at the head of a large army. Though the walls of the city were impregnable, the Byzantine administration was in disarray and Simeon was invited into the city, where he was granted the crown ofbasileus (emperor) of Bulgaria and had the young emperor Constantine VII marry one of his daughters. When a revolt in Constantinople halted his dynastic project, he again invaded Thrace and conquered Adrianople. The Empire now faced the problem of a powerful Christian state within a few days' marching distance from Constantinople, as well as having to fight on two fronts. A great imperial expedition under Leo Phocas and Romanos I Lekapenos ended with another crushing Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Achelous in 917, and the following year the Bulgarians were free to ravage northern Greece. Adrianople was plundered again in 923, and a Bulgarian army laid siege to Constantinople in 924. Simeon died suddenly in 927, however, and Bulgarian power collapsed with him. Bulgaria and Byzantium entered a long period of peaceful relations, and the Empire was now free to concentrate on the eastern front against the Muslims. In 968, Bulgaria was overrun by the Rus' under Sviatoslav I of Kiev, but three years later, John I Tzimiskes defeated the Rus' and re-incorporated Eastern Bulgaria into the Byzantine Empire. The extent of the Empire under Basil II. Bulgarian resistance revived under the rule of the Cometopuli dynasty, but the new emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025) made the submission of the Bulgarians his primary goal. Basil's first expedition against Bulgaria, however, resulted in a humiliating defeat at the Gates of Trajan. For the next few years, the emperor would be preoccupied with internal revolts in Anatolia, while the Bulgarians expanded their realm in the Balkans. The war dragged on for nearly twenty years. The Byzantine victories of Spercheios and Skopje decisively weakened the Bulgarian army, and in annual campaigns, Basil methodically reduced the Bulgarian strongholds.[84] At the Battle of Kleidion in 1014 the Bulgarians were annihilated: their army was captured, and it is said that 99 out of every 100 men were blinded, with the hundredth man left with one eye so he could lead his compatriots home. When Tsar Samuil saw the broken remains of his once gallant army, he died of shock. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered, and the country became part of the Empire.[84] This victory restored the Danube frontier, which had not been held since the days of the emperor Heraclius. Relations with the Kievan Rus' Rus' under the walls of Constantinople (860). Between 850 and 1100, the Empire developed a mixed relationship with the new state of the Kievan Rus', which had emerged to the north across the Black Sea.[85] This relationship would have long-lasting repercussions in the history of the East Slavs, and the Empire quickly became the main tradingand cultural partner for Kiev. The Rus' launched their first attack against Constantinople in 860, pillaging the suburbs of the city. In 941, they appeared on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, but this time they were crushed, an indication of the improvements in the Byzantine military position after 907, whenonly diplomacy had been able to push back the invaders. Basil II could not ignore the emerging power of the Rus', and, following the example of his predecessors, he used religion as a means for the achievement of political purposes. Rus'–Byzantine relations became closer following the marriage of the Anna Porphyrogeneta to Vladimir the Great in 988, and the subsequent Christianisation of the Rus'. Byzantine priests, architects, and artists were invited to work on numerous cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding Byzantine cultural influence even further, while numerous Rus' served in the Byzantine army as mercenaries, most notably as the famous Varangian Guard. Even after the Christianisation of the Rus', however, relations were not always friendly. The most serious conflict between the two powers was the war of 968–971 in Bulgaria, but several Rus' raiding expeditions against the Byzantine cities of the Black Sea coast and Constantinople itself are also recorded. Although most were repulsed, they were often followed by treaties that were generally favourable to the Rus', such as the one concluded at the end of the war of 1043, during which the Rus' gave an indication of their ambitions to compete with the Byzantines as an independent power. Apex Constantinople became the largest and wealthiest city in Europe between the 9th and 11th centuries. By 1025, the date of Basil II's death, the Byzantine Empire stretched from Armenia in the east to Calabria in Southern Italy in the west. Many successes had been achieved, ranging from the conquest of Bulgaria to the annexation of parts of Georgia and Armenia, and the reconquest of Crete, Cyprus, and the important city of Antioch. These were not temporary tactical gains but long-term reconquests. Leo VI achieved the complete codification of Byzantine law in Greek. This monumental work of 60 volumes became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law and is still studied today. Leo also reformed the administration of the Empire, redrawing the borders of the administrative subdivisions (the Themata, or "Themes") and tidying up the system of ranks and privileges, as well as regulating the behavior of the various trade guilds in Constantinople. Leo's reform did much to reduce the previous fragmentation of the Empire, which henceforth had one center of power, Constantinople. However, the increasing military success of the Empire greatly enriched and empowered the provincial nobility with respect to the peasantry, who were essentially reduced to a state of serfdom. Under the Macedonian emperors, the city of Constantinople flourished, becoming the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, with a population of approximately 400,000 in the 9th and 10th centuries. During this period, the Byzantine Empire employed a strong civil service staffed by competent aristocrats that oversaw the collection of taxes, domestic administration, and foreign policy. The Macedonian emperors also increased the Empire's wealth by fostering trade with Western Europe, particularly through the sale of silk and metalwork. Split between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism (1054) Mural of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 19th century, Troyan Monastery, Bulgaria. The Macedonian period also included events of momentous religious significance. The conversion of the Bulgarians, Serbs and Rus' to Orthodox Christianity permanently changed the religious map of Europe and still resonates today. Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, contributed significantly to the Christianization of the Slavs and in the process devised the Glagolitic alphabet, ancestor to the Cyrillic script. In 1054, relations between the Eastern and Western traditions within the Christian Church reached a terminal crisis, known as the Great Schism. Although there was a formal declaration of institutional separation, on July 16, when three papal legates entered the Hagia Sophia during Divine Liturgy on a Saturday afternoon and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar, the so-called Great Schism was actually the culmination of centuries of gradual separation. Crisis and fragmentation The Empire soon fell into a period of difficulties, caused to a large extent by the undermining of the theme system and the neglect of the military. Nikephoros II Phokas (reigned 963–969), John Tzimiskes and Basil II changed the military divisions (τάγματα, tagmata) from a rapid response, primarily defensive, citizen army into a professional, campaigning army increasingly manned by mercenaries. Mercenaries, however, were expensive and as the threat of invasion receded in the 10th century, so did the need for maintaining large garrisons and expensive fortifications.[95] Basil II left a burgeoning treasury upon his death, but neglected to plan for his succession. None of his immediate successors had any particular military or political skill and the administration of the Empire increasingly fell into the hands of the civil service. Efforts to revive the Byzantine economy only resulted in inflation and a debased gold coinage. The army was now seen as both an unnecessary expense and a political threat. Therefore, native troops were cashiered and replaced by foreign mercenaries on specific contract. Komnenian dynasty and the crusaders Alexios I , founder of the Komnenos dynasty. The period from about 1081 to about 1185 is often known as the Komnenian or Comnenian period, after the Komnenos dynasty. Together, the five Komnenian emperors (Alexios I, John II, Manuel I, Alexios II and Andronikos I) ruled for 104 years, presiding over a sustained, though ultimately incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial, economic and political position of the Byzantine Empire. Though the Seljuk Turks occupied the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, it was against Western powers that most Byzantine military efforts were directed, particularly the Normans. The Empire under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, which Alexios I had helped bring about, while also exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea under John and Manuel. Contact between Byzantium and the "Latin" West, including the Crusader states, increased significantly during the Komnenian period. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in Constantinople and the empire in large numbers (there were an estimated 60,000 Latins in Constantinople alone, out of a population of three to four hundred thousand), and their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel helped to spread Byzantine technology, art, literature and culture throughout the Latin West, while also leading to a flow of Western ideas and customs into the Empire. In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Komnenian period was one of the peaks in Byzantine history, and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in terms of size, wealth, and culture. There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek. Byzantine art and literature held a pre-eminent place in Europe, and the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the west during this period was enormous and of long lasting significance. Alexios I and the First Crusade After Manzikert, a partial recovery (referred to as the Komnenian restoration) was made possible by the efforts of the Komnenian dynasty. The first emperor of this dynasty was Isaac I (1057–1059) and the second Alexios I. At the very outset of his reign, Alexios faced a formidable attack by the Normans under Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemund of Taranto, who captured Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid siege to Larissa in Thessaly. Robert Guiscard's death in 1085 temporarily eased the Norman problem. The following year, the Seljuq sultan died, and the sultanate was split by internal rivalries. By his own efforts, Alexios defeated the Pechenegs; they were caught by surprise and annihilated at the Battle of Levounion on 28 April 1091. Having achieved stability in the West, Alexios could turn his attention to the severe economic difficulties and the disintegration of the Empire's traditional defences. However, he still did not have enough manpower to recover the lost territories in Asia Minor and to advance against the Seljuks. At the Council of Piacenza in 1095, Alexios' envoys spoke toPope Urban II about the suffering of the Christians of the East, and underscored that without help from the West they would continue to suffer under Muslim rule. Urban saw Alexios' request as a dual opportunity to cement Western Europe and reunite the Eastern Orthodox Churcheswith the Roman Catholic Church under his rule. On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont, and urged all those present to take up arms under the sign of the Cross and launch an armed pilgrimage to recover Jerusalem and the East from the Muslims. The response in Western Europe was overwhelming. John II, Manuel I and the Second Crusade Medieval manuscript depicting the Capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. Alexios's son John II Komnenos succeeded him in 1118, and ruled until 1143. John was a pious and dedicated Emperor who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered at the Battle of Manzikert, half a century earlier.[114] Famed for his piety and his remarkably mild and just reign, John was an exceptional example of a moral ruler, at a time when cruelty was the norm.[115] For this reason, he has been called the ByzantineMarcus Aurelius. In the course of his twenty-five year reign, John made alliances with the Holy Roman Empire in the West, decisively defeated the Pechenegs at theBattle of Beroia, and personally led numerous campaigns against the Turks in Asia Minor. John's campaigns fundamentally changed the balance of power in the East, forcing the Turks onto the defensive and restoring to the Byzantines many towns, fortresses and cities right across the peninsula. He also thwarted Hungarian, and Serbian threats during the 1120s, and in 1130 allied himself with the German emperor Lothair IIIagainst the Norman king Roger II of Sicily. In the later part of his reign, John focused his activities on the East. He defeated the Danishmend emirate of Melitene, and reconquered all of Cilicia, while forcing Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, to recognise Byzantine suzerainty. In an effort to demonstrate the Emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of the Empire and the Crusader states; yet despite the great vigour with which he pressed the campaign, John's hopes were disappointed by the treachery of his Crusader allies. In 1142, John returned to press his claims to Antioch, but he died in the spring of 1143 following a hunting accident. Raymond was emboldened to invade Cilicia, but he was defeated and forced to go to Constantinople to beg mercy from the new Emperor. 12th-century Renaissance 'The Lamentation of Christ' (1164), a fresco from the church of Saint Panteleimon in Nerezi near Skopje. It is considered a superb example of 12th century Komnenian art. John and Manuel pursued active military policies, and both deployed considerable resources on sieges and on city defences; aggressive fortification policies were at the heart of their imperial military policies. Despite the defeat at Myriokephalon, the policies of Alexios, John and Manuel resulted in vast territorial gains, increased frontier stability in Asia Minor, and secured the stabilisation of the Empire's European frontiers. From circa 1081 to circa 1180, the Komnenian army assured the Empire's security, enabling Byzantine civilisation to flourish. This allowed the Western provinces to achieve an economic revival that continued until the close of the century. It has been argued that Byzantium under the Komnenian rule was more prosperous than at any time since the Persian invasions of the 7th century. During the 12th century, population levels rose and extensive tracts of new agricultural land were brought into production. Archaeological evidence from both Europe and Asia Minor shows a considerable increase in the size of urban settlements, together with a notable upsurge in new towns. Trade was also flourishing; the Venetians, the Genoese and others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods from the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer and Fatimid Egypt to the west and trading with the Empire via Constantinople. In artistic terms, there was a revival in mosaic, and regional schools of architecture began producing many distinctive styles that drew on a range of cultural influences. During the 12th century, the Byzantines provided their model of early humanism as a renaissance of interest in classical authors. In Eustathius of Thessalonica, Byzantine humanism found its most characteristic expression. In philosophy, there was resurgence of classical learning not seen since the 7th century, characterised by a significant increase in the publication of commentaries on classical works.In addition, it is during the Komnenian period that there occurs the first transmission of classical Greek knowledge towards the West. Decline and disintegration Dynasty of the Angeloi Manuel's death on 24 September 1180 left his 11-year-old son Alexios II Komnenos on the throne. Alexios was highly incompetent at the office, but it was his mother, Maria of Antioch, and her Frankish background that made his regency unpopular.[131] Eventually, Andronikos I Komnenos, a grandson of Alexios I, launched a revolt against his younger relative and managed to overthrow him in a violent coup d'état. Utilizing his good looks and his immense popularity with the army, he marched on to Constantinople in August 1182, and incited a massacre of the Latins. After eliminating his potential rivals, he had himself crowned as co-emperor in September 1183. He eliminated Alexios II, and took his 12-year-old wife Agnes of France for himself. Iconium was won by the Third Crusade. Andronikos began his reign well; in particular, the measures he took to reform the government of the Empire have been praised by historians. According to George Ostrogorsky, Andronikos was determined to root out corruption: Under his rule, the sale of offices ceased; selection was based on merit, rather than favouritism; officials were paid an adequate salary so as to reduce the temptation of bribery. In the provinces, Andronikos's reforms produced a speedy and marked improvement. The aristocrats were infuriated against him, and to make matters worse, Andronikos seems to have become increasingly unbalanced; executions and violence became increasingly common, and his reign turned into a reign of terror. Andronikos seemed almost to seek the extermination of the aristocracy as a whole. The struggle against the aristocracy turned into wholesale slaughter, while the Emperor resorted to ever more ruthless measures to shore up his regime. Despite his military background, Andronikos failed to deal with Isaac Komnenos, Béla III of Hungary (r. 1172–1196) who reincorporated Croatian territories into Hungary, and Stephen Nemanja of Serbia (r. 1166–1196) who declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire. Yet, none of these troubles would compare to William II of Sicily's (r. 1166–1189) invasion force of 300 ships and 80,000 men, arriving in 1185. Andronikos mobilised a small fleet of 100 ships to defend the capital but other than that he was indifferent to the populace. He was finally overthrown when Isaac Angelos, surviving an imperial assassination attempt, seized power with the aid of the people and had Andronikos killed. The reign of Isaac II, and, still more, that of his brother Alexios III, saw the collapse of what remained of the centralised machinery of Byzantine government and defence. Although, the Normans were driven out of Greece, in 1186 the Vlachs and Bulgars began a rebellion that led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The internal policy of the Angeloi was characterised by the squandering of the public treasure, and fiscal maladministration. Imperial authority was severely weakened, and the growing power vacuum at the center of the Empire encouraged fragmentation. There is evidence that some Komnenian heirs had set up a semi-independent state in Trebizond before 1204. According to Alexander Vasiliev, "the dynasty of the Angeloi, Greek in its origin, ... accelerated the ruin of the Empire, already weakened without and disunited within." Fourth Crusade The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix (1840). In 1198, Pope Innocent III broached the subject of a new crusade through legates and encyclical letters.The stated intent of the crusade was to conquer Egypt, now the centre of Muslim power in the Levant. The crusader army that arrived at Venice in the summer of 1202 was somewhat smaller than had been anticipated, and there were not sufficient funds to pay the Venetians, whose fleet was hired by the crusaders to take them to Egypt. Venetian policy under the ageing and blind but still ambitious Doge Enrico Dandolo was potentially at variance with that of the Pope and the crusaders, because Venice was closely related commercially with Egypt. The crusaders accepted the suggestion that in lieu of payment they assist the Venetians in the capture of the (Christian) port of Zara in Dalmatia (vassal city of Venice, which had rebelled and placed itself under Hungary's protection in 1186). The city fell in November 1202 after a briefsiege. Innocent, who was informed of the plan but his veto disregarded, was reluctant to jeopardise the Crusade, and gave conditional absolution to the crusaders—not, however, to the Venetians. Map to show the partition of the empire following the Fourth Crusade, c. 1204. After the death of Theobald III, Count of Champagne, the leadership of the Crusade passed to Boniface of Montferrat, a friend of the HohenstaufenPhilip of Swabia. Both Boniface and Philip had married into the Byzantine Imperial family. In fact, Philip's brother-in-law, Alexios Angelos, son of the deposed and blinded Emperor Isaac II Angelos, had appeared in Europe seeking aid and had made contacts with the crusaders.Alexios offered to reunite the Byzantine church with Rome, pay the crusaders 200,000 silver marks, join the crusade and provide all the supplies they needed to get to Egypt. Innocent was aware of a plan to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and forbade any attack on the city, but the papal letter arrived after the fleets had left Zara. Crusader sack of Constantinople (1204) The crusaders arrived at the city in the summer of 1203 and quickly attacked, started a major fire that damaged large parts of the city, and seized control of it (first of two times). Alexios III fled from the capital, and Alexios Angelos was elevated to the throne as Alexios IV along with his blind father Isaac. However, Alexios IV and Isaac II were unable to keep their promises and were deposed by Alexios V. Eventually, the crusaders took the city a second time on 13 April 1204 and Constantinople was subjected to pillage and massacre by the rank and file for three days. Many priceless icons, relics, and other objects later turned up in Western Europe, a large number in Venice. According to Choniates, a prostitute was even set up on the Patriarchal throne.[144] When Innocent III heard of the conduct of his crusaders, he castigated them in no uncertain terms. But the situation was beyond his control, especially after his legate, on his own initiative, had absolved the crusaders from their vow to proceed to the Holy Land. When order had been restored, the crusaders and the Venetians proceeded to implement their agreement; Baldwin of Flanders was elected Emperor and the Venetian Thomas Morosini chosen as Patriarch. The lands divided up among the leaders included most of the former Byzantine possessions, however resistance would continue through the Byzantine remnants of the Nicaea, Trebizond, and Epirus. Fall Empire in exile After the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by Latin crusaders, two Byzantine successor states were established: the Empire of Nicaea, and the Despotate of Epirus. A third one, the Empire of Trebizond was created a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople by Alexios I of Trebizond. Of these three successor states, Epirus and Nicaea stood the best chance of reclaiming Constantinople. The Nicaean Empire struggled, however, to survive the next few decades, and by the mid-13th century it lost much of southern Anatolia. The weakening of the Sultanate of Rûm following the Mongol Invasion in 1242–43 allowed many beyliks and ghazis to set up their own principalities in Anatolia, weakening the Byzantine hold on Asia Minor. In time, one of the Beys, Osman I, created an empire that would eventually conquer Constantinople. However, the Mongol Invasion also gave Nicaea a temporary respite from Seljuk attacks allowing it to concentrate on the Latin Empire only north of its position. Reconquest of Constantinople The Byzantine Empire c. 1263. The Empire of Nicaea, founded by the Laskarid dynasty, managed to reclaim Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 and defeat Epirus. This led to a short-lived revival of Byzantine fortunes under Michael VIII Palaiologos, but the war-ravaged Empire was ill-equipped to deal with the enemies that now surrounded it. To maintain his campaigns against the Latins, Michael pulled troops from Asia Minor, and levied crippling taxes on the peasantry, causing much resentment. Massive construction projects were completed in Constantinople to repair the damages of the Fourth Crusade, but none of these initiatives was of any comfort to the farmers in Asia Minor, suffering raids from Muslim ghazis. Rather than holding on to his possessions in Asia Minor, Michael chose to expand the Empire, gaining only short-term success. To avoid another sacking of the capital by the Latins, he forced the Church to submit to Rome, again a temporary solution for which the peasantry hated Michael and Constantinople. The efforts of Andronikos II and later his grandsonAndronikos III marked Byzantium's last genuine attempts in restoring the glory of the Empire. However, the use of mercenaries by Andronikos II would often backfire, with the Catalan Company ravaging the countryside and increasing resentment towards Constantinople. Rise of the Ottomans and fall of Constantinople The siege of Constantinople in 1453 according to a 15th-century French miniature. Things went worse for Byzantium during the civil wars that followed after Andronikos III died. A six-year long civil war devastated the empire, allowing the Serbian ruler Stefan IV Dushan (r. 1331–1346) to overrun most of the Empire's remaining territory and establish a short-lived "Serbian Empire". In 1354, an earthquake at Gallipoli devastated the fort, allowing the Ottomans (who were hired as mercenaries during the civil war by John VI Kantakouzenos) to establish themselves in Europe. By the time the Byzantine civil wars had ended, the Ottomans had defeated the Serbians and subjugated them as vassals. Following the Battle of Kosovo, much of the Balkans became dominated by the Ottomans.[151] The Byzantine emperors appealed to the West for help, but the Pope would only consider sending aid in return for a reunion of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the See of Rome. Church unity was considered, and occasionally accomplished by imperial decree, but the Orthodox citizenry and clergy intensely resented the authority of Rome and the Latin Rite.[152] Some Western troops arrived to bolster the Christian defence of Constantinople, but most Western rulers, distracted by their own affairs, did nothing as the Ottomans picked apart the remaining Byzantine territories.[153] Constantinople by this stage was underpopulated and dilapidated. The population of the city had collapsed so severely that it was now little more than a cluster of villages separated by fields. On 2 April 1453, Sultan Mehmed's army of some 80,000 men and large numbers of irregulars laid siege to the city.[154] Despite a desperate last-ditch defence of the city by the massively outnumbered Christian forces (c. 7,000 men, 2,000 of whom were foreign),[153]Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans after a two-month siege on 29 May 1453. The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, was last seen casting off his imperial regalia and throwing himself into hand-to-hand combat after the walls of the city were taken.[155] Culture Economy The Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, was unable to match Byzantine economic strength until late in the Middle Ages. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia andNorth Africa, in particular being the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. Until the first half of the 6th century and in sharp contrast with the decaying West, Byzantine economy was flourishing and resilient. The Plague of Justinian and the Arab conquests would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of stagnation and decline. Isaurian reforms and, in particular, Constantine V's repopulation, public works and tax measures, marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204, despite territorial contraction.[160] From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury and travellers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital.[161] The Fourth Crusade resulted in the disruption of Byzantine manufacturing and the commercial dominance of the Western Europeans in the eastern Mediterranean, events that amounted to an economic catastrophe for the Empire. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces. Gradually, it also lost its influence on the modalities of trade and the price mechanisms, and its control over the outflow of precious metals and, according to some scholars, even over the minting of coins. One of the economic foundations of Byzantium was trade, fostered by the maritime character of the Empire. Textiles must have been by far the most important item of export; silks were certainly imported into Egypt, and appeared also in Bulgaria, and the West. The state strictly controlled both the internal and the international trade, and retained the monopoly of issuing coinage, maintaining a durable and flexible monetary system adaptable to trade needs. The government exercised formal control over interest rates, and set the parameters for the activity of the guilds and corporations, in which it had a special interest. The emperor and his officials intervened at times of crisis to ensure the provisioning of the capital, and to keep down the price of cereals. Finally, the government often collected part of the surplus through taxation, and put it back into circulation, through redistribution in the form of salaries to state officials, or in the form of investment in public works. Science, medicine, law The frontispiece of the Vienna Dioscurides, which shows a set of seven famous physicians. The writings of Classical antiquity never ceased to be cultivated in Byzantium. Therefore, Byzantine science was in every period closely connected with ancient philosophy, and metaphysics. Although at various times the Byzantines made magnificent achievements in the application of thesciences (notably in the construction of the Hagia Sophia), after the 6th century Byzantine scholars made few novel contributions to science in terms of developing new theories or extending the ideas of classical authors. Scholarship particularly lagged during the dark years of plague and the Arab conquests, but then during the so-called Byzantine Renaissance at the end of the first millennium Byzantine scholars re-asserted themselves becoming experts in the scientific developments of the Arabs and Persians, particularly in astronomy and mathematics. The Byzantines are also credited with several technological advancements, particularly in architecture (e.g. the pendentive dome) and warfare technology (e.g. Greek fire). In the final century of the Empire, Byzantine grammarians were those principally responsible for carrying, in person and in writing, ancient Greek grammatical and literary studies to early Renaissance Italy. During this period, astronomy and other mathematical sciences were taught in Trebizond; medicine attracted the interest of almost all scholars. In the field of law, Justinian I's reforms had a clear effect on the evolution of jurisprudence, and Leo III's Ecloga influenced the formation of legal institutions in the Slavic world. In the 10th century, Leo VI the Wise achieved the complete codification of the whole of Byzantine law in Greek, which became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law, generating interest to the present day. Religion The survival of the Empire in the East assured an active role of the Emperor in the affairs of the Church. The Byzantine state inherited from pagan times the administrative, and financial routine of administering religious affairs, and this routine was applied to the Christian Church. Following the pattern set by Eusebius of Caesarea, the Byzantines viewed the Emperor as a representative or messenger of Christ, responsible particularly for the propagation of Christianity among pagans, and for the "externals" of the religion, such as administration and finances. As Cyril Mango points out, the Byzantine political thinking can be summarised in the motto "One God, one empire, one religion". The imperial role in the affairs of the Church never developed into a fixed, legally defined system. With the decline of Rome, and internal dissension in the other Eastern Patriarchates, the Church of Constantinople became, between the 6th and 11th centuries, the richest and most influential center of Christendom. Even when the Empire was reduced to only a shadow of its former self, the Church continued to exercise significant influence both inside and outside of the imperial frontiers. As George Ostrogorsky points out: The Patriarchate of Constantinople remained the center of the Orthodox world, with subordinate metropolitan sees and archbishoprics in the territory of Asia Minor and the Balkans, now lost to Byzantium, as well as in Caucasus, Russia and Lithuania. The Church remained the most stable element in the Byzantine Empire. The official state Christian doctrine was determined by the first seven ecumenical councils, and it was then the emperor's duty to impose it to his subjects. An imperial decree of 388, which was later incorporated into the Codex Justinianus, orders the population of the Empire "to assume the name of Catholic Christians", and regards all those who will not abide by the law as "mad and foolish persons"; as followers of "heretical dogmas". Despite imperial decrees and the stringent stance of the state church itself, which came to be known as the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Christianity, the latter never represented all Christians in Byzantium. Mango believes that, in the early stages of the Empire, the "mad and foolish persons", those labelled "heretics" by the state church, were the majority of the population.Besides the pagans, who existed until the end of the 6th century, and the Jews, there were many followers – sometimes even emperors – of various Christian doctrines, such as Nestorianism,Monophysitism, Arianism, and Paulicianism, whose teachings were in some opposition to the main theological doctrine, as determined by the Ecumenical Councils. Another division among Christians occurred, when Leo III ordered the destruction of icons throughout the Empire. This led to a significant religious crisis, which ended in mid-9th century with the restoration of icons. During the same period, a new wave of pagans emerged in the Balkans, originating mainly from Slavic people. These were gradually Christianised, and by Byzantium's late stages, Eastern Orthodoxy represented most Christians and, in general, most people in what remained of the Empire. Jews were a significant minority in the Byzantine state throughout its history, and, according to Roman law, they constituted a legally recognised religious group. In the early Byzantine period they were generally tolerated, but then periods of tensions and persecutions ensued. In any case, after the Arab conquests, the majority of Jews found themselves outside the Empire; those left inside the Byzantine borders apparently lived in relative peace from the 10th century onwards. Art and literature Miniatures of the 6th-century Rabula Gospeldisplay the more abstract and symbolic nature of Byzantine art. Surviving Byzantine art is mostly religious and with exceptions at certain periods is highly conventionalized, following traditional models that translate carefully controlled church theology into artistic terms. Painting in fresco, illuminated manuscripts and on wood panel and, especially in earlier periods, mosaic were the main media, and figurative sculpture very rare except for small carved ivories. Manuscript painting preserved to the end some of the classical realist tradition that was missing in larger works.Byzantine art was highly prestigious and sought-after in Western Europe, where it maintained a continuous influence on medieval art until near the end of the period. This was especially so in Italy, where Byzantine styles persisted in modified form through the 12th century, and became formative influences on Italian Renaissance art. But few incoming influences affected Byzantine style. By means of the expansion of the Eastern Orthodox church, Byzantine forms and styles spread to all the Orthodox world and beyond. Influences from Byzantine architecture, particularly in religious buildings, can be found in diverse regions from Egypt and Arabia to Russia and Romania. In Byzantine literature, therefore, four different cultural elements must be reckoned with: the Greek, the Christian, the Roman, and the Oriental. Byzantine literature is often classified in five groups: historians and annalists, encyclopaedists (Patriarch Photios, Michael Psellus, and Michael Choniates are regarded as the greatest encyclopaedists of Byzantium) and essayists, and writers of secular poetry (The only genuine heroic epic of the Byzantines is the Digenis Acritas). The remaining two groups include the new literary species: ecclesiastical and theological literature, and popular poetry. Of the approximately two to three thousand volumes of Byzantine literature that survive, only three hundred and thirty consist of secular poetry, history, science and pseudo-science. While the most flourishing period of the secular literature of Byzantium runs from the 9th to the 12th century, its religious literature (sermons, liturgical books and poetry, theology, devotional treatises etc.) developed much earlier with Romanos the Melodist being its most prominent representative. Legacy King David in robes of a Byzantine emperor. Miniature from the Paris Psalter. Byzantium has been often identified with absolutism, orthodox spirituality, orientalism and exoticism, while the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantinism" have been used as bywords for decadence, complex bureaucracy, and repression. In the countries of Central and Southeast Europe that exited theEastern Bloc in late 80s and early 90s, the assessment of Byzantine civilisation and its legacy was strongly negative due to their connection with an alleged "Eastern authoritarianism and autocracy." Both Eastern and Western European authors have often perceived Byzantium as a body of religious, political, and philosophical ideas contrary to those of the West. Even in 19th-century Greece, the focus was mainly on the classical past, while Byzantine tradition had been associated with negative connotations. This traditional approach towards Byzantium has been partially or wholly disputed and revised by modern studies, which focus on the positive aspects of Byzantine culture and legacy. Averil Cameron regards as undeniable the Byzantine contribution to the formation of the medieval Europe, and both Cameron and Obolensky recognise the major role of Byzantium in shaping Orthodoxy, which in turn occupies a central position in the history and societies of Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia and other countries. The Byzantines also preserved and copied classical manuscripts, and they are thus regarded as transmitters of the classical knowledge, as important contributors to the modern European civilisation, and as precursors of both the Renaissance humanism and the Slav Orthodox culture. As the only stable long-term state in Europe during the Middle Ages, Byzantium isolated Western Europe from newly emerging forces to the East. Constantly under attack, it distanced Western Europe from Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and for a time, the Ottomans. From a different perspective, since the 7th century, the evolution and constant reshaping of the Byzantine state were directly related to the respective progress of Islam. Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II took the title "Kaysar-i-Rûm" (the Turkish equivalent of Caesar of Rome), since he was determined to make the Ottoman Empire the heir of the Eastern Roman Empire. According to Cameron, regarding themselves as "heirs" of Byzantium, the Ottomans preserved important aspects of its tradition, which in turn facilitated an "Orthodox revival" during the post-communist period of the Eastern European states. Frequently Asked Questions How long until my order is shipped?: Depending on the volume of sales, it may take up to 5 business days for shipment of your order after the receipt of payment. How will I know when the order was shipped?: After your order has shipped, you will be left positive feedback, and that date should be used as a basis of estimating an arrival date. After you shipped the order, how long will the mail take? USPS First Class mail takes about 3-5 business days to arrive in the U.S., international shipping times cannot be estimated as they vary from country to country. I am not responsible for any USPS delivery delays, especially for an international package. 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