Why Byzantine decline is inevitable.

Tytalus

Pelican
They were also extremely competent at a utilizing spies and avoiding potential catastrophes from what I've read.
Yes, agreed.

Another answer [email protected] for the decline of the Roman & East Roman Empire's as a whole is that of taxes.

Simply put, there was a continuous problem in Old Rome and in Constantinople where the wealthy would corrupt, suborn, replace, co-opt the local tax collectors. Not to mention, whenever there was a palace coup the new emperor would reward his supporters with massive tax breaks.

This has a distinct analogue in modern times - the wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes. The more they avoid taxes, the more the West declines, which is exactly what happened with Rome.
 
Byzantium's decline lies in betrayal. Our primary function was to repel Muslim invasion, but once the Franks started salivating over our riches and backstabbed us, it was game over for Europe. Rome stabbed Constantinople in the back, Europe lost her Hajnalian defense, and the Decline everyone on the Right has been noticing as of late has been writing on the wall since 1453.
 
Last edited:
Byzantium's decline lies in betrayal. Our primary function was to repel Muslim invasion, but once the Franks started salivating over our riches and backstabbed us, it was game over for Europe. Rome stabbed Constantinople in the back, Europe lost her Hajnalian defense, and the Decline everyone on the Right has been noticing as of late has been writing on the wall since 1453.

The lack of resillience is very evident from the Byzantine Empire. Gone were the days when they would be able to muster Men to replace the armies lost at Cannae and Trebia or the battles of King Phyrrus.
 

Polyhistor

Pigeon
There were so many ups and downs in Byzantine history that I am reluctant to say that decline was inevitable. However, it seems to me that the Byzantines were never able to overcome those shortcomings which already had destroyed the western Empire in the 5th century:
  • The eastern Empire always depended on a small number of well trained foreign mercenaries. The loss of a rich province immediately resulted in delayed payments for the troops. Since they had little loyalty beyond their contracts, unpaid troops frequently left or stopped fighting or even invaded Byzantine territory themselves, as happened in Italy in the 11th century.
  • There was no clear rule concerning the succession of emperors. The 5 civil wars in the 13th century mentioned by Tytalus were not the exception - they were the rule. At the same time, Europeans were usually successful in transferring power peacefully.
  • Byzantine taxes were quite high (not as high as Western taxes today, but higher than in most neighbouring countries). AND, when the Byzantine army reconquered a city, Byzantine tax collectors sometimes required the "liberated" people to pay their tax debt for several decades - after all, when the city had been governed by Goths/Vandals/Arabs etc., the due taxes to the emperor had not been paid. Thus, "liberation" by the Byzantines could become extremely expensive.
  • Technical progress stopped sometimes during the early days of imperial Rome, and was never resumed by the Byzantines (with the Greek fire as a remarkable exception). The pictures by La Aguila Nera (thank you, by the way - I had not known how medieval Byzantine troops looked like!) show this very clearly: the horsemen are wearing scale armour, when chain mail was already the state of the art in Europe.
 
There were so many ups and downs in Byzantine history that I am reluctant to say that decline was inevitable. However, it seems to me that the Byzantines were never able to overcome those shortcomings which already had destroyed the western Empire in the 5th century:
  • The eastern Empire always depended on a small number of well trained foreign mercenaries. The loss of a rich province immediately resulted in delayed payments for the troops. Since they had little loyalty beyond their contracts, unpaid troops frequently left or stopped fighting or even invaded Byzantine territory themselves, as happened in Italy in the 11th century.
  • There was no clear rule concerning the succession of emperors. The 5 civil wars in the 13th century mentioned by Tytalus were not the exception - they were the rule. At the same time, Europeans were usually successful in transferring power peacefully.
  • Byzantine taxes were quite high (not as high as Western taxes today, but higher than in most neighbouring countries). AND, when the Byzantine army reconquered a city, Byzantine tax collectors sometimes required the "liberated" people to pay their tax debt for several decades - after all, when the city had been governed by Goths/Vandals/Arabs etc., the due taxes to the emperor had not been paid. Thus, "liberation" by the Byzantines could become extremely expensive.
  • Technical progress stopped sometimes during the early days of imperial Rome, and was never resumed by the Byzantines (with the Greek fire as a remarkable exception). The pictures by La Aguila Nera (thank you, by the way - I had not known how medieval Byzantine troops looked like!) show this very clearly: the horsemen are wearing scale armour, when chain mail was already the state of the art in Europe.

Western Rome won against Hannibal and Pyrrhus because they relied on their own people to do the fighting aside form the population and other advantages that allowed for replenishing lost Men. It seems foreign mercenaries is a huge factor that always led to lack of resilience and subsequent disaster.
 
I always wondered how a country like Mongolia came to have the largest land contiguous empire in human history, this is why. Firstly, dairy products, second animal domestication, specifically horses, thirdly craftsmanship of leather. Genghis Khan tore through Eastern Europe, capturing territory and pillaging as far into as Poland, the man also had many wives and many children. Mongolia is one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of 3 million, landlocked, and cold as well. Truly a powerful people, I think a lot of the reason Turkic people get hate is because of this power and their lack of alcohol in their culture, and also great languages. The Turkish language is an agglutination language, and I personally find Turkish to be a easy language to pronounce. Even the Dothraki language in Game Of Thrones is based of Turkish and it is wonderful sounding.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
I always wondered how a country like Mongolia came to have the largest land contiguous empire in human history, this is why. Firstly, dairy products, second animal domestication, specifically horses, thirdly craftsmanship of leather. Genghis Khan tore through Eastern Europe, capturing territory and pillaging as far into as Poland, the man also had many wives and many children. Mongolia is one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of 3 million, landlocked, and cold as well. Truly a powerful people, I think a lot of the reason Turkic people get hate is because of this power and their lack of alcohol in their culture, and also great languages. The Turkish language is an agglutination language, and I personally find Turkish to be a easy language to pronounce. Even the Dothraki language in Game Of Thrones is based of Turkish and it is wonderful sounding.
It sounds barbaric and like a language Tolkien would invent for his orcs.

Remember the mongols eventually LOST and will lose again.
 
It sounds barbaric and like a language Tolkien would invent for his orcs.

Remember the mongols eventually LOST and will lose again.
The steppes always proved difficult to supply from the native country of China. Who were never able to completely dominate the Steppe permanently despite decisive victories against the Xiongnu by the Han Dynasty:

And the campaign was enormously expensive to execute. Then those Xiongnu eventually transformed into the Huns who decisively caused the collapse of the Roman Empire:

As they moved closer to the Roman Empire. Their practices of intermarriage made them more and more White European. Likewise similar things happened with the Magyars(Hungarians) who later moved into Europe who are partially Central Asian nowadays.

And at one time they completely won over China who had various fortified cities because they were just next door to the core homelands of the Mongols unlike Europe.

They did eventually lose decisively. But that's due to firearms technology and modern organization finally outdoing the organization, tactics and training of the Steppe Nomads.

By that time the Russian colonizations and the Chinese confined them into a limited landmass in inner Mongolia
 
Top