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Friday, 28 June 2013

John Tzimiskes: The First Crusader

The barbaric Crusades done by the Franks, which saw anyone who was non-Catholic Christian, killed or persecuted have left an indelible mark on Humanity.

However, 124 years ealier, before those fateful incursions into Anatolia, Syria and the Holy Land, Christian armies had campaigned into Syria and the Holy Land, and if events had been different there may never have been a reason for the Franks to invade.

In 975 A.D. the Byzantine emperor, John Tzimiskes, led contingents from the Byzantine Themes and allied cavalry from the Bagratuni kingdom of Armenia, into Syria and the Holy Land.

The catalyst for the invasion was the fierce invasions of  Syria and the Holy Land by the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, which was resisted by not only the Sunni communities but by the Christian as well.
The Fatimids objective has to conquer the entire Islamic world or bring it into subjection.
They had conquered Egypt in 969 A.D.

Seldom mentioned in online sources is the fact that Syria and the northern Holy Land was occupied by the armies of John Tzimiskes by 976 A.D. and even after his mysterious death, the lands remained under Byzantine control for another 19 years.

By 987 A.D. the Fatimids had retaken the lands, a seven year truce was drawn between the emperor Basil II and the Caliph al-Aziz Billah, though peace would not last long.

Read John Julius Norwich's "Byzantium: The Apogee" to learn in an entertaining way to life of John Tzimiskes.

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