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European Kingdoms

Eastern Mediterranean


Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire
Dynasty of the Comneni / Komneni (AD 1081-1185)

In AD 395, the Roman empire finally split permanently, creating formal Eastern Roman and Western Roman empires, acknowledging what had existed in practise for many years.

Eastern Roman Emperor Basil II in iconography

(Information by Peter Kessler, and from External Link: History of the Byzantine Empire (Live Science).)

1081 - 1118

Alexius I Comnenus

First successor to the Ducas dynasty.

1082 - 1085

A 'Golden Bull' is agreed with the Venetians, establishing new commercial privileges. In 1085, Alexius formally declares Venice to be independent of the Eastern Romans.

1085 - 1086

Antioch (now Antakya) is taken from the Eastern Romans and held for just thirteen years before it is lost to the Crusader principality of Antioch. Sulaymān of Rum is killed here in 1086 by his relative, Tutush of the Syrian branch of the Seljuqs in Damascus and Aleppo, who is loyal to Malik-Shāh.

The siege of Antioch in 1098
Antioch may have been held by the sultanate of Rum for the thirteen years between 1085-1098, but the siege of Antioch depicted here saw it captured by Crusader forces, following which a semi-independent Crusader principality was formed around it


The conquest of Sicily is completed with the removal of local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah. He is deposed peacefully, and with due deference for Arab custom, with the result that Butera and Noto, on the southern tip of Sicily, are firmly in Christian hands.

Much of Malta is captured in the same year, with the island's Christian population welcoming the Normans as liberators. The generally Eastern Roman Orthodox tradition on the island is gradually replaced by that of Latin Catholicism due to Lombard and Norman immigration.

Norman-Sicilian tombstone 1148
Occupation by Byzantine Greeks, Islamic Moors, and Christian Italians left Sicily with a rich cultural vein which is reflected in this tombstone of a Norman-Sicilian woman in 1148, inscribed in Latin (left), Greek (right), Hebrew (top), and Arabic (bottom)


The First Crusade is called by Pope Urban II in 1095 during a momentous speech in Clermont-Ferrand in France. Having traversed Europe from west to east, the nobles, soldiers, and camp followers of the First Crusade assemble in Constantinople.

At last Emperor Alexius feels that his continued call for help from Europe against Islam has been answered. Nicaea in western Anatolia is the first Islamic town to fall to the Crusaders, who cross the Bosphorus alongside Eastern Roman forces.

The Christian soldiers briefly besiege the town before it falls. Islam is divided and in conflict with itself, and the ruling Seljuq Turks are in no position to offer immediate retaliation. The Crusaders move on into what becomes known to them as Outremer.


Having only claimed his throne in 1110 after having been imprisoned in Esfahan by the 'Great Seljuq', Malik Shah of Rum now has to face an Eastern Roman empire which has been buoyed by Crusader successes in Anatolia.

Emperor Alexius I Comnenus defeats him in a series of engagements over several days which forms the Battle of Philomelion. Shortly afterwards he is deposed and blinded - and soon to be murdered - by his brother, Mesut, who succeeds him.

1118 - 1143

John II Calojohannes


Returning from the Holy Land, Domenico Michiel conquers Tyre, Spalato (Split), Sebenico (Šibenik), and other Eastern Roman cities for Venice.

1143 - 1180

Manuel I

1163 - 1180

The Serbs and Bosnians fall to the Eastern Romans.


Manuel Comnenus orders the arrest of all Venetians living in Constantinople.


The Eastern Romans are defeated by the Seljuqs of Rum at the Battle of Myriocephalon (generally held to be near to Çivril in Denizli Province, western Anatolia). The empire enters a period of uncertainty and gradual decline which also affects its allies.

Kyiv is especially weakened by the continuing drop in trade goods, reducing its own wealth and importance even further than has already been the case.

1180 - 1183

Alexius II

1183 - 1185

Andronicus I


Andronicus I is succeeded by Isaac II, founder of the Angeli dynasty.

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