Why was it Important for the Byzantines to Read Latin? The Views of Demetrios Kydones (1324-1398)
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
Fourteenth-century Byzantium witnessed civil wars between cliques of the ruling elite, constant financial crisis and dramatic territorial reduction. It evolved into a small state which struggled to survive and defend itself against a large number of hostile neighbours, some of whom possessed military forces far superior to those of Byzantium. In the 1350s and1360s the Ottoman Turks began the conquest of European territories that belonged to the Byzantine empire. Realizing that it was impossible to face the Ottomans militarily, many Byzantines supported the idea of a Crusade against the Ottomans and the union of the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches. A staunch supporter of this policy was the prolific author and politician Demetrios Kydones. This article will discuss how Kydones promoted the policy of reconciliation and alliance with Western European powers against the Ottomans.
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