Turkey 979 CE

Asia Minor is the main recruiting ground for the army of the Byzantine empire.

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What is happening in Turkey in 979CE

During the 9th and 10th centuries, Anatolia has experienced peaceful conditions. Trade and industry have revived and cities have flourished again. The “theme” system of military provincial government, introduced in the 7th century, and the militarized Anatolian peasantry on which it depends, has kept this region free from conquest by Muslim forces. Anatolia remains a key part of the Byzantine empire, and has continued as the main source of manpower for the Byzantine army.

Long-term social trends are at work which are undermining this situation, however. As time has gone on, local landowners have encroached on the land of independent peasants. This is undermining the ability of the Byzantine government to recruit soldiers from this source of manpower, and is forcing it to place greater reliance on foreign mercenaries. However, these trends have not yet totally ended the link between the tough Anatolian peasantry and the Byzantine army.

Next map, Turkey in 1215

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