The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the by Angeliki E. Laiou, Roy Parviz Mottahedeh

By Angeliki E. Laiou, Roy Parviz Mottahedeh

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Although religious rhetoric and ritual were prominent and pervasive, subsequent Byzantine wars, those of Nikephoros Phokas in the tenth century, for example, or those of the Komnenian emperors in the twelfth, were first and foremost imperial wars. That their objectives sometimes coincided with religious ones did not alter that basic characteristic. Finally, it should be noted that the same religious practices were observed by the Byzantine armed forces whether they were facing a non-Christian or a Christian enemy.

33 The Byzantines were not a warlike people and, in fact, this led the Crusaders to accuse them of cowardice. Their entire attitude toward war was colored by their emphasis on defense and, in this respect, certainly differed from the crusade and the jiha¯d, both of which were aggressive by nature. Even the offensive campaigns into enemy territory of Herakleios, Nikephoros Phokas, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II were aimed at recovering and protecting regions that rightfully belonged to the Roman Empire.

2 (Paris, 1961), ep. 188, 13, p. 130. ”33 The Byzantines were not a warlike people and, in fact, this led the Crusaders to accuse them of cowardice. Their entire attitude toward war was colored by their emphasis on defense and, in this respect, certainly differed from the crusade and the jiha¯d, both of which were aggressive by nature. Even the offensive campaigns into enemy territory of Herakleios, Nikephoros Phokas, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II were aimed at recovering and protecting regions that rightfully belonged to the Roman Empire.

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