The Arab Invasion
ROME WAS THE GREATEST EMPIRE IN THE WORLD. ITS CAPITOL WAS ROME. Emperor Constantine built a new city between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and gave it his name – Constantinople. Profiting from the trade with Russia, the Mid-east and Africa, this new trading centre became the wealthy capitol of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire consisting of Greece, Southern Russia, Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, and much of North Africa. It was far more profitable and powerful than the Western half of the Roman Empire whose capitol was Rome.
The furtherest limits of Crusader’s Latin Kingdom, c. 1128. After conquering Turkey the Crusaders were forced to give it up to Constantinople because of earlier agreements between the Catholic Pope and the Emperor of Constantinople, who was also head of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
With the passage of time, the population of Greece, Macedonia, and Southern Russia changed as a peaceful migration of Slavic immigrants settled vacant land in Macedonia and Greece. The empire of Constantinople gradually became predominately Slavic. Even the royal family changed as marriages were made with some of the more powerful Slavic and Turkish rulers of their eastern and northeastern neighbours. In the Roman manner, Constantinople’s emperor was also its religious head. He led what is now known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. It had became a state religion – the church of the Slavs. It still is.
Then, out of the forbidding deserts of Arabia came mounted invaders. These fierce warriors quickly conquered Palestine, Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and then Turkey. All that was left of the vast territories of Constantinople’s empire was the city of Constantinople, Greece, some land in Southern Russia, and a beachhead in Turkey. The land that was lost had produced bountiful rents and tithes to the church. It was a disaster.
Constantinople’s religious and temporal emperor saw that he could not regain the lost portion of his empire by himself, so he humbled himself and begged his western counterpart, the Roman Pope, to come to his aid. The actual arrangements between these two holy men were secret, and not confided to those who were to do the actual fighting.