During the early era of Christianity, many kingdoms were forged on religious foundation. Similarly, religion played a critical role in the demise of many kingdoms. This is because the state and the church were not separate while some rulers doubled up as religious figure heads. They built their kingdoms through war to safeguard their political and religious beliefs. Two of the renowned kingdoms which constantly engaged in wars were the Byzantine and Ottoman kingdoms. Despite their squabbles, these two kingdoms had connectivity, which determined their lifespan. This paper seeks to highlight the relationship between these two ancient kingdoms.
The Byzantine-Ottoman War was a continuous conflict that occurred between the Ottoman Turks and the Byzantines; two of the world’s greatest empires at the time. The war finally ended with the destruction of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. It started in 1204 when the capital of Byzantine, Constantinople, was invaded and occupied by the fourth Crusaders. Emperor Constantine had converted the empire to Christianity, which made it a target of the Islam-leaning Ottoman Empire. The downfall was as a result of the splitting of the Roman Catholic Church of Italy and the Greek Orthodox Church of Constantinople which led to the weakening of the kingdom and vulnerable to attacks by other European kingdoms. The fall of Byzantine Empire was further accelerated by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century.
However, the rise of the Ottoman Empire played a critical role in the fall of the Byzantine Empire. The rise of Islam gave the Arabs the morale and the desire to take over from the empire. The Ottoman family rose to prominence to form a powerful empire. The first leader of the Ottoman attracted the Ghazi warriors and collaborated with the minority of Asia. The Ottoman took over the territory in 1453 after the fall of Constantinople (Ochsenwald and Fisher pp. 56).
The Byzantine and Ottoman empires had some similarities and common customs. Both of them had highly centralized multiethnic subjects. Constantinople was the center of power of the Christian-leaning Byzantine empire. The Ottoman Empire was founded on Muslim culture while the empire of Byzantine was founded on Christianity. The empire of Byzantine was marked by luxurious lifestyle of the leaders to hatred and discontent by many surrounding kingdoms. After the seventh century, Byzantium became a medieval state that had a history that was closely entwined Middle Ages’ culture and politics, for instance, the Crusaders and the spread of ancient Greek philosophy to the Muslims and the west. The history of the Ottoman Empire extends the early modern and the current periods after a short and late medieval phase. The Byzantium went through a period of change that took place between the fourth and seventh century. The transformation changed the empire completely into a Christian and medieval society. One of the main turning points was the attack on the capital city Constantinople, and the introduction of Christianity as the only religion in the empire (Ochsenwald and Fisher pp. 107).
The Ottoman Empire was founded by a series of attacks as they fought for the rights of the Islamic faith which was being interfered with by the Byzantine Empire. The empire was ruled by Osman and his successor during the fourteenth century expanded into Christian lands. The conquering of the empire left the surviving princes with no option but to pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire. The Christian soldiers were made to join the Ottoman Empire to help in conquering other kingdoms. The soldiers were not forced to change their religion, though; they were allowed to fight alongside the Ottoman soldiers as Christians. The Empire conquered new territories but bypassed the capital of Byzantine Empire, Constantinople.
The success of the Ottoman Empire was due to its military power, strength, size and good economy. The empire had the desire to expand and increase its popularity. The empire was able to gain its popularity among the people after conquering Byzantine because unlike the Byzantine rulers, they let the people and the soldiers of the Orthodox Church to keep their autonomy and land. The only obligation they were entitled to was to accept the authority of Ottoman. Due to the bad reputation that the Western Europe kingdoms and the Byzantine Empire had, a lot of orthodox followers agreed to follow the rules of the Ottoman. The empire flourished economically because it took control over the major trade routes that existed between Europe and Asia and the effective sultans they had. The military, political and diplomatic expansion of the Ottoman Empire led to the collapse of the Byzantine (Ochsenwald and Fisher pp. 200).
In conclusion, the Ottoman Empire succeeded the Byzantine Empire through suave diplomatic approach to leadership. Despite being founded on religious basis, the Ottoman allowed the newly conquered areas to retain their religious and political autonomy but swearing their allegiance to the Emperor. However, the Byzantine focused on complete domination leading to resistance and eventual weakening of the kingdom.
Ochsenwald, William and Fisher, Sydney Nettleton. The Middle East: A History (7th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.