The Little Ice Age and Byzantium within the Eastern Mediterranean, ca. 1200–1350: An Essay on Old Debates and New Scenarios

Preiser-Kapeller, Johannes GND; Mitsiou, Ekaterini GND

This paper discusses written historical documentation and paleo- environmental evidence in order to explore connections between climatic and socio-economic change. It focuses thereby on the Byzantine Empire and the eastern Mediterranean more generally in the period between the collapse and “restoration” of Byzantine rule in Constantinople (1204–1261) and the beginning of Ottoman expan-sion in the Balkans in 1352, which roughly coincided with the outbreak of the first wave of the “Black Death” in 1347. The paper entails juxtaposing various older scenar-ios of “fatal” social and political developments in Byzantine history with new studies based on proxy data from regions across the Balkans and Asia Minor and comparing these events with developments in other polities of the region during the transforma-tion from the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” to the “Little Ice Age.”

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