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Byzantium: Giving up Brotherly Love

A few years ago Sultan Murad made a deal with Emperor John the 5th of Constantinople to help him with his financial troubles but while the Emperor was working with the Sultan, the Sultan's son, Sauji, and the Emperor's son both led revolts to overturn their fathers. The Sultan had his rebellious son blinded and Emperor John imprisoned his son, Andronikos the 4th (pronounced: an-DRONE-ee-kos), and crowned his younger son, Manuel the 2nd as co-Emperor. Andronikos escaped and had his father and brother locked in a tower for three years. They have now escaped and apparently Manuel is a fast talker because he makes a deal with the Sultan to take back Constantinople... in exchange for an increase in tribute (cash) and the last Eastern Roman city in Asia Minor... Philadelphia... the city of brotherly love. The Emperor enters Constantinople, chasing his son, Andronikos, out. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) has been disintegrating for some time now, mostly due to cash flow problems and devaluing their currency. They have confiscated the Greek Church's monasteries for cash and now they are the vassals of the Sultan. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But remember that the Latin Church is also in poor shape. Rome is in chaos. Because of the Great Schism the Church has more Popes than they know what to do with. The title of Holy Roman Emperor is without real power beyond the lands he would have ruled as king had he not been named Emperor. The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) will hang on until Constantinople falls in 1453.

Tamerlane: A Man-to-Man Challenge

The Khwarezm [KWA-reh-zam] oasis had been split between the Mongols of the White Horde and the Mongols of Golden Horde but as Tamerlane was consolidating his position amongst the Mongols, Husain Sufi moved south and took the city of Urganch [UR-gahnk]. When Tamerlane demanded its return, Husain refused and was killed in the inevitable war. His brother, Yusuf Sufi, negotiated a deal that included giving over his daughter in marriage to Tamerlane's son... but... she never showed. With this sort of insincere negotiation (known in the modern day by various vulgar phrases) Tamerlane has had enough. Now he's going to take it all but something strange happens... Yusuf challenges Tamerlane to a duel, a man-to-man battle for all the marbles. Tamerlane shows up at the gates of Urganch [UR-gahnk] in his battle armor ready for a fight. Yusuf backs down. Tamerlane has unmanned Yusuf and by extension, the entire city of Urganch [UR-gahnk]. A real siege ensues and Yusuf will die in bed of disease along with many of people of the city. Tamerlane will sack the city and when they city defies him again, he will level it and plant grain over the remains. He will also leave the customary monument of skulls. (That is real. He really does that, over and over again.)

[7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to know what Yusuf Sufi was thinking when he challenged Tamerlane to a duel. Even if Yusuf lost, he might have saved the city from many deaths but when one considers that the city defied Tamerlane even after the sacking of the city... the duel probably wouldn't have made a difference. Nevertheless, the challenge reminds me of the Teutonic Knights ravaging Lithuania and the pagan Prince Margiris of Lithuania challenging King John of Bohemia to one-on-one combat to save his people. (See the year 1329: 6,000 Instant Christians.) Prince Margiris was a better man in losing that challenge than Yusuf Sufi ever was.

Double Archdukes

With the early death of their brother, Rudolf the 4th, the self-proclaimed Archduke of Austria, the two younger brothers, Leopold III and Albert III split up the Habsburg holdings between them. The exact holdings are set out in the Treaty of Neuberg. As the years pass, their lands will become further subdivided amongst their sons and thus subdividing their overall power. Albert's line won't last very long though and the Habsburg lands will be reunited by 1490. [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You can follow the Habsburg line all the way to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who was assassinated in 1914. His death sparked a war between Austria-Hungry and Serbia that grew into World War I. Oddly enough there is a fascinating children's series of books by Scott Westerfeld that imagines what must have happened to the Archduke's son after the Archduke was murdered. Total fiction. It is "alternate history" or a "reboot" and the story is pretty good but don't take it too seriously. It does include Tesla and his "superweapon" to end all wars, though. The three-book series begins with "Leviathan". [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1379, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Norwich, John Julius. (John J. Norwich, bio). Byzantium: Volume 3: Decline and Fall. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1995. pp. 337-339. (BOOK) quote="Once there, Manuel-who seems to have done the negotiating-promised the Sultan, in return for the reinstatement of himself and his father, an increased tribute, additional military assistance as necessary and, most humiliating of all, the city of Philadelphia, the last remaining Byzantine outpost in Asia Minor."
  2. Alasehir (Philadelphia) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Byzantium - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. John V Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Manuel II Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Andronikos IV Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Rickard, John. Siege of Urganch, Spring 1379. . 1-Sep-2010. () quote="The siege of Urganch of 1379 was the key victory during Tamerlane's fourth war in Khwarezm, and saw the city fall after a siege of three months."
  8. Khwarezm - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Sufi Dynasty: Husain Sufi - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Golden Horde - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Treaty of Neuberg - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. House of Habsburg - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan (Book 1). Simon Pulse. 2009. ISBN=978-1416971733 (NOVEL)

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