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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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Βιβλίο: Βρυώνης Σπύρος: Η παρακμή του Μεσαιωνικού Ελληνισμού στη Μικρά Ασία και η διαδικασία του εξισλαμισμού (11ος-15ος αιώνες.), Εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ., επανέκδοση 2008.

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Η απώλεια της Μικράς Ασίας θεωρείται συχνά ως ο αποφασιστικότερος παράγοντας που επέφερε την πτώση της Βυζαντινής Αυτοκρατορίας. Η Μικρά Ασία υπήρξε ο εδαφικός πυρήνας της αυτοκρατορίας κατά τη Μεσοβυζαντινή Εποχή. Ήταν μια πλούσια και πολυάνθρωπη χώρα αρκετών εκατομμυρίων κατοίκων, η κύρια πηγή πόρων, πρώτων υλών, ανθρώπινου δυναμικού, υπαλλήλων και στρατιωτών για το Βυζάντιο. Η απώλεια της υπήρξε, πράγματι, σημαντικότατο αίτιο της κατάρρευσης της αυτοκρατορίας. Ωστόσο, αυτή η κατάρρευση οφειλόταν σε απώτερες και ευρύτερες πολιτικές, κοινωνικές, οικονομικές, στρατιωτικές, θρησκευτικές, εθνολογικές κ.α. αρνητικές παραμέτρους που επέφεραν καταρχήν την πτώση της βυζαντινής Μικράς Ασίας και έπειτα των υπολοίπων αυτοκρατορικών εδαφών και τελικά της ίδιας της πρωτεύουσας.

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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part III

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Shang Dynasty warriors with shields and bronze masks (reconstruction by the archaeologist A.I. Colovbeva)

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CONTINUED FROM PART II

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In this last part, I go on with modern reliable images of Chinese troops bearing shields from the Shang Dynasty Era up to the 19th century in order to demonstrate specifically the evolution of the Chinese shields. There are also a few examples of Korean and Japanese shields which are closely related to the Chinese ones, sometimes being almost identical with them.

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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part II

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A clash between Tang Chinese (on the left) and Koreans (The Tang Army, Montvert publications). Note the shield of the Chinese infantryman on the left.

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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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I go on with modern reliable images of Chinese troops bearing shields from the Shang Dynasty Era up to the 19th century in order to demonstrate specifically the evolution of the Chinese shields. There are also a few examples of Korean and Japanese shields which are closely related to the Chinese ones, sometimes being almost identical with them.

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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part I

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I chose to start with a Japanese example: Yayoi princess/queen Himiko with her guards, c.230 CE (Osprey publishing). Note the shield of the Yayoi warrior.

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            The question of the limited presence of shields or evidence of them in the archaeological finds of China, Korea and Japan, and in the artistic depictions of any kind of the respective cultures is well known to the researchers of ancient and pre-modern warfare of these nations [actually the European historical terms “ancient”, “medieval” etc cannot be applied adequately to the Chinese-Korean-Japanese History but the Western historians have to use them for convenience].

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Æthelred the Unready – The Lost King

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Republication from Heritagedaily

Battle of Assandun, showing Edmund Ironside (left) and Cnut the Great. (Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS. 26, fol. 80v)

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Æthelred II, also dubbed the Unready was King of Saxon England during 978–1013 and 1014–1016.

Under his father Kind Edgar, England had experienced a period of peace after the reconquest of the Danelaw in the mid-10th century. However, beginning in 980, small bands of Danish invaders carried out coastline raids testing defences across England that included Hampshire, Thanet, Cornwall, Dorset and Cheshire.

After several successful Danish raids such as the Battle of Maldon, where a sizable Danish fleet defeated Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex, Æthelred turned to paying tributes to hold off the invaders and keep the peace in his realm.

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