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Book Review: The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the 11th through the 15th Century by S. Vryonis, University of California Press

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The loss of Asia Minor is often seen as the most decisive factor in the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Asia Minor was the territorial core of the empire during the Middle Byzantine Era. It was a wealthy and populous country of many millions of inhabitants, the main source of resources, raw materials, human resources, employees and soldiers for the Byzantine Empire. Its loss was, indeed, a major cause for the collapse of the Empire. However, this collapse was due to higher and wider political, social, economic, military, religious, ethnological and other negative parameters which in the first place led to the fall of Byzantine Asia Minor and then to the fall of the other imperial territories and eventually of the capital itself. More

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Assos, Hellenic city in Asia Minor: Architecture

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Architectural reconstructions of Assos, a significant Greek city of Asia Minor.

Above: the Temple of Athena in Assos.

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Post-Hittite “Little empires” in Asia Minor: Phrygia and Lydia

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These are some political maps of the Phrygian and Lydian kingdoms at their greatest extent in the 8th and 6th centuries BC respectively. These two kdms were a kind of “Little empires” of the Anatolian Iron Age that appeared some centuries after the fall of the main Bronze Age empire of Asia Minor that is the Hittite Empire (the last map). The Phrygians were actually invaders from the Balkan Peninsula, kinsmen of the Thracians, the Greeks and possibly the Homeric Trojans. In the Balkans they were known as ‘Brygae’. They were actually a group of tribes, one of which was probably the Proto-Armenians. The main body of the Phrygians settled in an area that included the old Hittite heartland. Gordion and Midas city were their capital cities, and their main sanctuary was at Pessinus.

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Hittite Empire: a prelude map

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A map of the Hittite Empire as a prelude to an upcoming article . In red colour, the core territory of

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Evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations

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Republication from biorxiv.org

67984563454[Map credit: armenica.org]

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Marc Haber, Massimo Mezzavilla, Yali Xue, David Comas, Paolo Gasparini, Pierre Zalloua, Chris Tyler-Smith

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The Armenians are a culturally isolated population who historically inhabited a region in the Near East bounded by the Mediterranean and Black seas and the Caucasus, but remain underrepresented in genetic studies and have a complex history including a major geographic displacement during World War One. Here, we analyse genome-wide variation in 173 Armenians and compare them to 78 other worldwide populations. We find that Armenians form a distinctive cluster linking the Near East, Europe, and the Caucasus. We show that Armenian diversity can be explained by several mixtures of Eurasian populations that occurred between ~3,000 and ~2,000 BCE, a period characterized by major population migrations after the domestication of the horse, appearance of chariots, and the rise of advanced civilizations in the Near East.

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