Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BYZANTINE FIRE SHIPS,see cup shape byzantine coins

The Greek fire SHIP was first used by the Byzantine Navy during the Byzantine-Arab Wars (from the Madrid Skylitzes,

Biblioteca Nacional de EspaƱa, Madrid).
The Arabs, now firmly in control of Syria and the Levant, sent frequent raiding parties deep into Anatolia, and

between 674 and 678 laid siege to Constantinople itself. The Arab fleet was finally repulsed through the use of

Greek fire, and a thirty-years' truce was signed between the empire and caliphate. The Anatolian raids

continued unabated, and accelerated the demise of classical urban culture, with the inhabitants of many cities

either refortifying much smaller areas within the old city walls, or relocating entirely to nearby fortresses.

The void left by the disappearance of the old semi-autonomous civic institutions was filled by the theme

system, which entailed the division of Anatolia into "provinces" occupied by distinct armies which assumed

civil authority and answered directly to the imperial administration. This system may have had its roots in

certain ad hoc measures taken by Heraclius, but over the course of the seventh century it developed into an

entirely new system of imperial governance.


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