Talk:Manuel I Komnenos

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Normans of Sicily[edit]

Hi everyone, just a quick note to say I hope my contributions to this article are of use, and please write some comments! Any suggestions for improvements would be much appreciated. Thanks! Bigdaddy1204 23:26, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi Bigdaddy1204, thanks for you contributions to this page, but I have one problem: the paragraph beginning "After Manuel's death, the Normans of Sicily would invade Byzantium again in 1185, sacking Thessalonica..." I am not disputing the truth of the assertions in the rest of the paragraph because that is likely what would have happened, but it is, after all, rather speculative and meaningless. I didn't want to remove it entirely but I also couldn't figure out how to cut down on the speculation. It is not our place on Wikipedia to dicuss "what-ifs" in detail, I don't think. Is there any way we can fix this paragraph? Adam Bishop 18:18, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Hmmmm... I can see what you're saying about the 'what if' section, you may be right that it is going slightly beyond the necessary so I'm working on a solution to that at the moment. Thanks for not removing it outright, and if you do get any new ideas for further additions or improvements, I'd be glad to see them. Bigdaddy1204

P.S. In the last section, I put in a hyperlink to Myriokephalon, but was told that no page exists on it. Yet in an earlier chapter the same hyperlink does work and is connected to just such a page. How is this possible? I checked spelling but it's the same!

The earlier link is a hidden link to Battle of Myriokephalon. There is no article for the place. Adam Bishop 21:45, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

The Damietta image is supposed to depict the Seventh Crusade, I think. Damietta was attacked during one of the 12th-century invasions of Egypt, but that's not what the image represents. Adam Bishop 17:02, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

I fully accept the above comment on the Damietta image.

However I noticed that the image of the Danube has been removed, but there is no explanation given for this. I find it disapointing that someone has taken it upon themselves to remove an image which I think contributes to the article in a positive way. Perhaps there is a perfectly reasonable reason for this, but currently I feel this action is vandalism, not a constructive contribution to the article. I am not claiming to be an amazingly brilliant writer, but I made contributions to this article which were by no means insubstantial, because I wanted it to be as good as possible. I can see that it may be argued that if I did not want people to edit articles that I have been working on, then I shouldn't have got involved in wikipedia. But I do not think that is the issue here. I do not have a problem with people making changes. I just don't like it when people delete things without at least having the decency to briefly comment why. It really doesn't take much effort to do so.

Complaints aside, I wish you all a happy Christmas, and once again I would be very grateful to anyone who has any ideas or suggestions for improving this article still further. Thanks!

Bigdaddy1204 00:24, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

The image was deleted from Wikipedia, presumably because it was copyrighted somewhere else...I'm not sure. Did you upload it originally? Adam Bishop 01:18, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for explaining what happened to the image. I think it came from wikipedia, though I can't be completely certain of this. All the other images that I added, such as the image of the nile, are from wikipedia, and I do remember making an effort to find appropriate images from within wikipedia, rather than from elsewhere, so as to avoid this kind of problem. Perhaps the image has just been 'cleared out' as unnecessary clutter? In any case, I will look for a new image to replace the old one. Bigdaddy1204 15:29, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Oh, well, it must have been taken from another website originally...if it was used elsewhere on Wikipedia, it will have been deleted from those other articles as well, so it's nothing against this page specifically. Adam Bishop 16:40, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

The recent edits that have been made to this page have really improved it, and it seems to me that the article is getting very good indeed. Featured Article status, here we come! :-) Bigdaddy1204 11:57, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Who founded Manuel's Empire?[edit]

Hi Bigdaddy1204, I hope I didn't remove too much stuff the other day. Sometimes it just felt like the article was getting too off-topic and too verbose. I still have one problem though - can we really say the Empire was founded by Constantine the Great? That is a convenient date for modern historians, but Manuel himself wouldn't have thought that. Adam Bishop 18:48, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

lol no worries. At first I was a little shocked, but when I thought about it I could see that the changes probably are for the better because it made the article look more focused, more like a featured article. Interesting point about Constantine. I wanted to keep him in there somehow because I felt it was nice to have that context, that comparison, that 'setting of the scene, to really show what it meant when Manuel was crowned Emperor of Byzantium. Manuel wouldn't have thought the empire was founded by Constantine? I know the Romans had ruled Greece since about 200 BC, but who would Manuel have considered the founder of his civilisation? Bigdaddy1204 23:13, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, that's a good point...when did the Byzantines think the empire started? I assumed they would count all the way back to Augustus, but even that is a modern historical conceit. Did they start from Constantine because he was the first Christian emperor? Adam Bishop 00:59, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

It's certainly a difficult question. Part of the problem is that it's not completely clear when the people of the eastern roman empire would have stopped being a conquered population and identified with the empire as their 'state', part of their identity. I suppose it might be possible to argue that this happened in the third century AD, when citizenship was granted to most of the inhabitants of the empire. But I think Constantine has a good claim to be the founder of Byzantine civilisation. Because of the central importance of Christianity within the empire throughout its history, since Constantine was the first christian emperor his reign would undoubtedly have been seen as a major landmark. Another aspect of Constantine is that he founded Constantinople as a capital of the empire. I cannot think of any other Emperor who did as much to establish Byzantium as Constantine, though I suppose some historians do choose to date the start of the Empire to the fall of the west in 476 AD, or even the reign of Justinian in 527 AD. Would they have dated back to Augustus? He was the first emperor, but he certainly wasn't Christian and he was a long way removed from the Byzantine world of 1143, when Manuel ascended the throne. Bigdaddy1204 17:08, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Heraclius, emperor from 610 to 641, is another possibility. He is said to have changed it from a Latin to Greek Empire.Kauffner 10:53, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Sources need to be improved[edit]

There are several book citations that need cleaning up in the Sources section. Please could you provide details of the ISBN numbers for the sources cited. Also the formatting needs to be standardised, try http://www.qwikly.com/WikiBib.html#book_reference for standard book reference templates. Thanks

Bigdaddy1204 14:51, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I'll find the ISBNs for the books I added. Meanwhile, might I suggest you use the "preview" button more often? It can be hard to follow 70 edits in a row :) Adam Bishop 05:51, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

lol! Good idea, I did get a bit carried away moving things around yesterday... Incidentally, I emailed 'answers.com' yesterday about updating their page, which is based on ours but was quite out of date. Out of curiosity, I was just wondering, what is the relationship between wikipedia and other sites like answers.com? Bigdaddy1204 12:24, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes- you can help![edit]

I could really use a little help with the footnotes of this article. How do you get the numbers to appear properly instead of just the letter 'a'? Bigdaddy1204 16:27, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Pictures[edit]

I believe some people are over using pictures. For instance: 1) Satellite image of Greece and surroundings - this is only a part of the Empire. 2) The Nile.

On the other hand there are very good pictures such as: 1) Fresco of Manuel I - a must 2) Map of the Byzantine Empire under Manuel. a must 3) This image by Gustave Dore shows the Turkish ambush in action - Very nice 4) This 11th-century Trebizond Gospel was commissioned by Manuel's ancestors. Nice 5) Arrival of the Second Crusade before Constantinople. Nice

The rest of the pictures are more or less OK. Othervise, I think is a good article. Cudos to Bigdaddy1204. --Cigor 15:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

About the Egypt campaign - I don't think there is too much information here. The section itself is only a relatively short part of the article, and in Michael Angold's The Byzantine Empire 1025-1204 the coverage of the Egyptian campaign is quite extensive; certainly it is not 'barely mentioned'. I believe it is worth explaining the campaign because of the significant knock-on effects which I have pointed out, such as opening the door to the conquest of Egypt by Saladin, and also the misuse of precious Byzantine resources which were urgently needed in Asia Minor. As for the images, I believe illustration is very important to liven up what would otherwise be a boring looking section of text. More specifically, though, the Hagia Sophia is a highly relevant symbol of the religious issues of the time, and fits perfectly where it is. The map of Egypt has been removed and replaced. I suppose the image of the nile could be removed if you really want, but I feel it would be a pointless change that would only detract from the visual appeal of the article. Bigdaddy1204 18:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

You said "Satellite image of Greece and surroundings - this is only a part of the Empire." But if you look at the context again, you will notice that the section was only referring to Europe - thus, your objection to the picture on the ground that it is not the whole empire just does not stand up. Bigdaddy1204 19:27, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I agree.

"Empire" or "empire"[edit]

Just a minor point: I think the upper (and lower) case in the word Empire/empire should be used in a more consistent way throughout the article.Tankred 20:57, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Which form do you think is best? Empire or empire? Bigdaddy1204 21:27, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I would personally prefer the "Empire". I checked some of the articles about Byzantine Emperors and the word "Empire" also seems to be more popular among other editors. However, the use is far from being consistent. As for other sources, both the Columbia Encyclopedia and the Chambers Biographical Dictionary use lower case. So I really do not know.Tankred 21:58, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Technically, I think its "empire" if preceded by something like "Byzantine" or "his [the emperor's]", but Empire if preceded by "the". --Grammatical error 06:11, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
It's Empire if it's a short form for 'Byzantine Empire', regardless of what precedes it. HenryFlower 20:29, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Jousting[edit]

I've had a quick look through the article, and can't find anything about this other than what's in the lead. Why was it "discomforting" to the spectators? HenryFlower 20:28, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Must have seen it as barbaric considering the Greek/Roman distrust of the Germanic kingdoms's ways in Europe.Tourskin 20:08, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The Byzantines had a high expectation of their emperors being dignified in public, it must have seemed rather shocking to see an emperor fighting as part of a public spactacle. Also for the more educated and those of a devout religious persuasion it may have reminded them of the various anathemas directed against gladiatorial combats by early Church Fathers (and the emperor Thodosius the Great - I think). Urselius 15:17, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

In response to 'Bill'[edit]

Significant similarites between this article and the history given at http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm. I realize it is possible for two people to come up with similar reactions to similar materials, but this looks like just a direct lift to me. -- Bill 23:12, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I strongly object to the above comment. First off, the sources used in this article are cited both in the bibliography and in the footnotes; the information used in this page comes from books, not from websites (which may not be a good source). The main sources used were:

  • Angold, Michael (1997). The Byzantine Empire, 1025-1204. Longman. ISBN 0582294681.
  • Norwich, John Julius (1998). A Short History of Byzantium. Penguin. ISBN 0140259600.
  • Harris, Jonathon (2003). Byzantium and the Crusades. Hambledon and London. ISBN 1852852984.
  • Ralph-Johannes Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States, 1096–1204. Trans. J.C. Morris and *J.C. Ridings. Clarendon Press, 1993.
  • Haldon, John (2002). Byzantium - A History. Tempus. ISBN 0752423436.

Far from being some kind of cheap copy and paste exercise, this article was actually the subject of a complete re-write by myself (with editing help from others) over a period of several months, mostly between december 2005 and march 2006. My prose is entirely original. As for the website you cited, you should know that I did not even refer to it when I was writing the article. The only explanation I can find for your seeing 'similarities' is the fact that I had read pretty much every internet source on Manuel's reign already some time before I came to start work on wikipedia, so the facts I read will have come to form part of my general knowledge on the subject before the time of writing. In this way it is conceivable that certain facts will have been presented in a similar way to that in which I originally read them, although even if this is so I hardly see how it would somehow magically make the article a copy of someone else's work, particularly as I was actually basing my work on a range of entirely different source books.

I would even dispute the suggestion that my conclusions are the same, or even broadly similar. In fact, as far as I can see the other page offers a quite different take on the reign altogether. Even at a glance, I noticed as I scrolled through that the description of the battle of Myriokephalon presents it in an entirely different light to the description here. I am sure a closer look at the site would just confirm my point; however I see no need to waste my time defending myself against baseless accusations. I don't mean to sound rude, but given the amount of time, effort and hard work that went into this article, the suggestion that it was 'just a direct lift' makes me very angry. I suggest you check the facts more carefully before making these kind of comments; they may be liable to cause offense. Bigdaddy1204 14:48, 17 May 2006 (UTC)


From the other site: "The emperor sent Michael Palaeologus and John Ducas with an army and gold to effect the reconquest of Apulia (1155). These two generals sought to involve the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa in the venture, since he was south of the Alps, but he declined due to the fact that his army wished to return home. " From the WP article: " Manuel sent Michael Palaeologus and John Ducas with Byzantine troops and large quantities of gold to invade Apulia (1155). The two generals were instructed to enlist the support of German emperor Frederick Barbarossa, since he was hostile to the Normans of Sicily and was south of the Alps at the time, but he declined because his demoralised army longed to get back north of the Alps as soon as possible."

Similar? I think so. Did you both read the same book and come to the same conclusion? Evidently.

I notice also that some passages from the Manuel article made their way directly to the Adrian/Hadrian IV article. I have no great problem with it, other than to say it is jarring to see a word for word copy like that. -- Bill 20:46, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that what Bigdaddy1204 wrote is no longer necessarily what is contained in the article, especially after the massive amount of editing it has received over the past few days when it was on the main paeg. I would not be surprised if someone added some copywritten text from that website, since this happens extremely frequently on Wikipedia. On the other hand, the passages Bill has quoted are not conclusive. Adam Bishop 03:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I must check the history page for the article. If I recall rightly, the section you quoted is indeed not the same as what I originally wrote. I will check up on this immediately, to find out exactly what it was I originally wrote. Perhaps Adam is right... Bigdaddy1204 11:18, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I have just checked the article history, and I have found the exact edit that I originally wrote for the article. It is the revision dated 'Revision as of 14:01, 27 October 2005'. Look it up for yourself - you will see the original text reads:

"In 1149 Manuel recovered Corfu and prepared to take the offensive against the Normans. With an army mainly composed of mercenary Italians he invaded Sicily and Apulia, and with the help of disaffected local barons including Count Robert of Loritello, achieved astonishingly rapid progress as the whole of southern italy rose up in rebellion against the Sicilian Crown."

It looks like Adam was right, and therefore I propose that the copywritten text be removed and replaced with the original version. I also noticed that one of the sources used by that website was 'M. Angold, The Byzantine Empire, 1025-1204: a political history, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1997.' This is the same book that I used when writing the Wikipedia article, so I am now going to check the actual section in the book that deals with this event, to see if both the website and the text in the article are actually derived from a section of text in the same book. Bigdaddy1204 12:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I have found the section in the book. It reads: "...Michael Palaiologus and John Doukas, two high-ranking Byzantine agents, [who] had been sent to Italy to stir up trouble. They had orders to co-operate, if they could, with Frederick Barbarossa. He claimed...that he would have liked to have accepted their proposal for an expedition against Sicily, but his army was tired of campaigning, and so he headed for home."

I donot know if Bigdaddy copied or not. For me that is a trivial thing ... The most important is that a young man shows such a great interest for the Byzantine Empire, something that deserves a praise. Now, I donot think that in our times exists anybody who can contest the absolute originality. Originality is dead, since so many generations of people during the past centuries have almost written and alalysed everything. The most important thing our generation can do is to try to be as much creative and analytical as it can be. So our edits have to be as much thorough as they can be and we should endeavor to introduce our personal style and to leave our unique "footprints". As far as I am concerned Bigdaddy has already achieved that in this excellent article and all the rest is useless talking ...--Yannismarou 19:28, 18 May 2006 (UTC)


climate change[edit]

Regarding the following:

climate change[1]

The link is to the "Center for Carbon Dioxode and Climate Change" based in Arizona. According to Sourcewatch [2] "The Center has links to the fossil fuel industry, both through personnel and funding" - it is not a reliable source, just one of many industry-funded groups out to discredit climate change. In the bigger picture, the issue of climate change and history is highly controversial, since this is a history article, it would be appropriate to use sources from historians, in particular historians who work at or publish through the mainstream historical bodies, such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, etc.. there is an lot of "junk science" out there. -- Stbalbach 18:07, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

More info about the source. [3].

All aspects of climate change and its predicted effects - from melting ice caps to species extinction, to more severe weather - are criticized by the Center and either refuted or presented as beneficial. Fred Palmer, head of Western Fuels, said about the center: "The Center's viewpoint is a needed antidote to the misleading and usually erroneous scientific claims emanating from the Federal scientific establishment and adopted by leading politicians, such as Vice President Al Gore."

-- Stbalbach 18:10, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

The page I linked to summarizes research published in mainstream scientific journals. You’re not even claiming CO2 Science misrepresents the research they summarize. I don’t know or care where they get their money from. The idea of looking at a site's budget before looking at it’s content strikes me as a bit bizarre. Am I to understand that Sourcewatch is your idea of reliable source? It’s certainly a very partisan site. I suspect it may not even be written by professional historians! Where do they get their money from, anyway?Kauffner 20:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
the effects of climate on civilizations in the medieval period is very controversial and you will find evidence and arguments on both sides of the debate in the historical community, there is no consensus on it. Climate scientists are quick to point to what they know best (climate) as an explanation, but how much do climate scientists know about other historical forces? And to really have a convincing argument, you need a book-length treatment. Also see Wikipedia:Reliable sources for what reliable source means. "Do the sources have an agenda or conflict of interest, strong views, or other bias which may color their report?" - in the case of co2science.org, yes. Sourcewatch or Exxonsources are not being used a source in Wikipedia, but for the purposes of determining if co2watch is a reliable source which is fine, unless you have evidence that Exxonsecrets has a history of lying and can't be trusted on even basic black and white facts like a direct quote from Fred Palmer. -- Stbalbach 22:52, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

None of this really matters - discussion of such a topic is out of place on such a specific article. Take it somewhere else if you must include it. Adam Bishop 06:47, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

This is an interesting topic, but I'd have to agree with adam that it doesn't really fit here. Still, if you want to connect climate change with the evolution of the Byzantine Empire, the best place to do so would be at the Byzantine Empire article. Bigdaddy1204 10:38, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Climate change is being debated today. To talk about Medieval Climate change is assumption based upon an almost proven assumption which isn't good enough. See Greenland and Iceland, some say the Vikings could colonize them cos at the time it was warmer. Tourskin 22:41, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Russia[edit]

Manuel interfered in Russian affairs, with Galicia and Kiev acknowledging some form of dependance or vassalage at various times. He also diplomatically chased his cousin Andronicus around the Russian principalities when Andronicus was in bad odour.

Might be useful to include some mention of this. Urselius 14:13, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

That is an interesting suggestion; I must confess I had never heard of this before. I can't recall ever reading anything about Manuel's dealings with the Russians. Where did you get this information? Bigdaddy1204 16:11, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I think some is in Angold, probably more in Obolenski's "Byzantine Commonwealth," and I might have read some more in Chalandon's "Les Comnenes," but that's in French, and I read parts of it many years ago. Most of Manuel's efforts seem to have been aimed at the Principality of Galicia (Galich), as it bordered Hungary to the north, and was obviously of strategic importance to Manuel in his wars with Hungary. His other diplomatic offensive was aimed at Kiev because of its traditional eminence in Russia and because he wanted to impose a Greek or Pro-Byzantine patriarch on Kiev.
The Russian princes often acknowledged some sort of theoretical dependance on Byzantium, Manuel seems to have wanted to make it a little more concrete though his abilities to influence politics at a the distances involved was fairly small. I seem to remember that the Prince of Galich supplied forces to aid Manuel's army when he raided Transylvania.

Urselius 09:43, 21 September 2007 (UTC)


I've added a new section (referenced) entitled 'Manuel and Russia.' Urselius 20:48, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

I semi-reverted to "Transylvanian Alps" (with the linked "Southern Carpathians" in brackets afterward) so that it is obvious to the reader that the armies were crossing two separate mountain chains from different directions. The construct "Southern Carpathians" followed by "Carpathian Mountains" doesn't emphasise that these are mountain ranges running east-west and northwest-southeast (in a curve) respectively. Urselius 20:37, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

I've unlinked Yaroslav, as Yaroslav Prince of Galicia was not the same person as Yaroslav II Grand Prince of Kiev. Urselius 19:23, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Surviving works?[edit]

I was wondering if perhaps it should be mentioned at some point in the article that Manuel's only surviving written work is a lengthy defense of astrology? I realize that this hasn't been widely addressed at this point in the scholarship on Manuel, but it seems important enough to warrant a mention somewhere. --Chris Brennan 04:00, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

(**Crickets chirping**) --Chris Brennan 14:04, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Patience is a virtue...also, where does this work survive? Are you sure it's the only one? If it is, is it relevant? What counts as "written work"? Are there no surviving letters, to western popes or emperors or whoever else? Adam Bishop 16:59, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. Manuel's defense of astrology was edited in the Greek in the Catalogus codicum astrologorum Graecorum (commonly known as the CCAG), edited by Franz Cumont and Franz Boll, Brussels, 1904, Tome 5, part 1, pgs. 106-125. Available online here: [4] Directly after Manuel's defense of astrology in the CCAG is the monk Michael Glykas' famous letter of refutation against astrology and against Manuel's arguments. This is in pages 125-140 of the above volume of the CCAG.
Apparently the only English translation of these works that has been done is by Demetra George in a journal called Culture and Cosmos, volume 5, number 1 & number 2.[5] According to George "While Manuel's astrological defense, aside from legislation and dialogues in which he is featured, is his only surviving document, this is the first time that both it and Glykas' refutation have been translated from the Greek since their composition in the twelfth century. The lack of academic interest in these two tracts points to the marginal position in which historians have placed the field of astrology as a body of knowledge in the Middle Ages. However, as Lemay asserts, 'It has always been a great mistake of historians of medieval thought to minimize or to totally overlook this field of inquiry as of no importance or as having negligible bearing on the intellectual outlook of the time'." I think that that answers a few of your questions to some extent. She cites another book to back up the only surviving document claim, pages 21 & 378 of this one:[6].
This stuff has direct relevance on certain portions of the current article already because Manuel relied upon astrology in making decisions concerning military matters, political matters and some personal matters such as the birth of his son. I wanted to talk this over before doing any editing though. What do you think? --Chris Brennan 00:54, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Gibbon[edit]

I don't know Paparrigopoulos, but surely we can do better than Gibbon? I don't see how his use as a source can be defended. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:29, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

See my remarks in the article's ongoing FAR. Yes, "better" sources are always welcomed but properly cited.--Yannismarou (talk) 14:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


"Yet the losses were made good"[edit]

This doesn't sound right - the fact is, Dorylaeum fell that year to the Turks - if the Turks can take a fortified and walled city in western Asia Minor, that says something about the Byzantine army - or whats left of it. Besides, Heraclea, Sozopolis and other cities fell to the Turks after Manuel's death - this article mentions nothing of these catastrophes and they were catastrophes because the Turks established principalities all around Nicaean cities in 1270 and onwards. Tourskin (talk) 22:32, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Hello Tourskin, can you provide sources for the fall of Dorylaeum? Also, you need to be a little more specific about Heraclea and Sozopolis. When were these cities lost? The city of Philadelphia, which is closely situated to the cities you mentioned, was still in Byzantine hands in 1300...
Also, events that took place in 1270, nearly a century after Manuel's death, can hardly be blamed on the emperor. That would be deeply anachronistic, and it would ignore the entire history of the Empire of Nicaea and the restored Byzantine empire after 1204 and 1261 respectively. Bigdaddy1204 (talk) 12:00, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Here's some information from Birkenmeier's book on the Komnenian army, which describes Myriokephalon:

"When the emperor left Dorylaion intact, the Turks raided to the Aegean coast, sacking Tralles, Antioch in Psidia, Louma and Pentacheir. An army under John Vatatzes in turn defeated this group of 24,000 Turks. So, although Manuel regarded his defeat as a second Manzikert, we should question whether it seriously affected the Komnenian strategic position in Asia Minor. Certainly the Turkish attempt to capitalize on Manuel's defeat ended in disaster."

Also this, from the same section:

"The imperial units at Myriokephalon fought well. The battle resulted in no wholesale collapse of the frontier. Although defeated, the Byzantine army was not destroyed, but appears within a year inflicting a defeat upon a force of 'picked Turks'." Bigdaddy1204 (talk) 12:18, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Look at teh article for Dorylaeum. It uses the Catholic Encyclopedia to reference the fall in 1177. However, all over wikipedia nothing is mentioned of a recapture. So either the catholic encyclopedia is wrong on this matter and all Dorylaeum related articles should be editted or else it was recaptured and in any case we must add that in. The impression given is Turk biased, because it is assumed that Myriokephalon cost Manuel his predecessor's gains. Other ridiculous sites talk of the annihalation of Byzantium's armies. Anyways, check out the catholic encyclopedia, which i imagine that since war is not the church's speciality, it probably doesn't know too much and so shouldnt be used as a source for this. Tourskin (talk) 17:57, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Myriokephalon mutilation[edit]

I have a partial memory that when the van of Manuel's army moved back through the pass after the settlement with the sultan, they found that the faces and genitals of the dead had been mutilated. This was supposedly done so that the Byzantines would not be able to tell Christian from Muslim and therefore calculate how many casualties the Turks had suffered.

Does anyone have a source for this?

Urselius (talk) 16:43, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Yes, Niketas Choniates is the source for this. He says that the scalps and genitals were removed, so that the uncircumcised could not be differentiated from the circumcised, as many had fallen on both sides. Bigdaddy1204 (talk) 18:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Thanks, nice to know the memory works from time to time!

Urselius (talk) 22:26, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Konya Campaign[edit]

I can't see any mention of Manuel's early, just after his accession, campaign against Konya. In a way it was much more successful than the Myriokephalon campaign as Manuel reached the city of Konya, though he could make no impression on its defences.

I think an important military expedition of this sort should be included somewhere, perhaps before the crusade section.

Urselius (talk) 11:06, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

As a Byzantine fan it sounds great but we need references for it. Tourskin (talk) 03:26, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143-1180 By Paul Magdalino, Cambridge University Press (1993) ISBN 0521526531 p. 42. (this page can be seen online as part of a preview).

I imagine it's in Angold, poss. Runciman (Crusades Vol II), certainly Cinnamus.

The campaign was in 1146, if memory serves.

Urselius (talk) 09:53, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I have added a new (very short) sub-section to cover this campaign.

Urselius (talk) 10:27, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Transliteration madness[edit]

I have changed the authorship of a book: Comnena, Anna (1969). "XLVIII-The First Crusade", The Alexiad translated by Edgar Robert Ashton Sewter. Penguin Classics (1969), from "Comnene" to "Comnena." It is the second version which is the one on the book's cover, and is recorded in bibliographies.

OK, fads in the transliteration of Medieval Greek names into the Roman alphabet have changed since the book was printed, but this doesn't change the spelling on the book itself. A bibliographic reference should reference the book in whatever the spelling of the book's title or authorship was at the time the book was printed. For example the book "Animadversions of Warre" of 1632 should not be labelled in a reference "Advice on Warfare" even though English usage and spelling has changed.

Urselius (talk) 12:44, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Gibbon again[edit]

Yannismarou, I find it baffling that you keep defending Gibbon. Sure he was a great historian for his time, and he's fun to read now, but there's no way he can be considered an impartial source for, well, anything, but especially anything Byzantine. Any quotes from or references to Gibbon seem embarrassingly out of place on what is supposed to be an example of Wikipedia's best articles. I just don't get it. What's your deal with Gibbon? Adam Bishop (talk) 19:39, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I endorse this posting by Adam. Please Yannismarou, defend your take here. I did not remove Gibbon, dated as he is, the last time but only relegated him to a place equal to others. Str1977 (talk) 11:18, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
What is my dealing with Gibbon?! I really don't like your tone Adam, especially when you refer to somebody who has worked so much (more than you as a matter of fact) for this article. And I'm disappointed that expressions like "What's your deal with Gibbon?" come from a user like you with the laudable history in Wikipedia we know. But I have to answer sincerely to your question: I have no dealings with Gibbon. We lived in different centuries! It is difficult to have any dealings with him! And if you search my genealogical tree, you'll find that I am no relative of him!
Now, to the point of my "baffling" attitude. I don't see why it is embarrassing to mention one of the most important historians of all ages. If any of my citations, Adam, is disputed by you, please mention it here, say where the citing is inaccurate and I or Str1977 or anybody else can replace it. And if any user wants to add more modern sources where Gibbon is mentioned, please do it, but why this incomprehensible insistence on erasing any mentioning to him? But, when you add your sources Str19777, please do it properly: do not forget that this is a FA, and thus add pages.
As far as the box itself is concerned, I'll repeat the arguments I presented in the FAR an anonymous user initiated, in order to harm the article's status: "Now let's speak about the box itself: The box constitutes part of a whole section, so it cannot be examined separated from it. The second paragraph of the section analyzes Manuel's contradictions: his pros and cons. And to this direction works also Gibbon's box, which I strongly believe that it is not POV. Gibbon's style is vivid, exciting and adds a lot to the section and to the article as a whole. And when he says that "The most singular feature in the character of Manuel is the contrast and vicissitude of labour and sloth, of hardiness and effeminacy", he makes a very interesting remark. We should we lose that? Wouldn't the article be poorer without such exciting and witty comments by prominent scholars?"
But, as I also mentioned in the FAR, I'm willing to remove the box, if there is such a consensus, although I'll still disagree with such a decision and I'll regard it as wrong. But I'll definitely won't accept unilateral actions like the ones initiated by Str1977. In any case, I would like to have the opinions of more users here, e.g. the opinion of Bigdaddy, the creator of the article who has devoted his efforts to its creation and upgrading.--Yannismarou (talk) 13:21, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Yannismarou,
indeed I think your attitude strange as you obviously think you can address Adam's question with jokes, think that there is an owner of this article who has to approve of changes, think that a FA status makes the status quo sacrosant.
Asking me for sources is nonsensical as we are not dealing with the issue of adding or removing sources but with the question of how to present the information. Given an outdated, pre-critical author who only survives because the copyright has expired, such a special treatment is no way to go. Str1977 (talk) 13:38, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I see that there is presently no boxed-out quote, so I am not too concerned anymore...I still don't think it's necessary to use the quote at all, though. In an "assessment" section it is marginally appropriate, since you are including the opinions of various historians, but Gibbon is still strikingly out-of-date. He is not really so important as an historian - in the 18th century, yes, but in the 21st we can safely ignore his works as a useful reference while still acknowledging him as a father of Roman historiography. He is representative of the way 18th century westerners thought of the Byzantine Empire (of course he thought Manuel was lazy and effeminate), but is this an article written in the 21st century. The other way that he is being used, as a source for the most basic events of Manuel's accession, is also unnecessary - that will be covered by any history dealing with Manuel, and it is better to use the most up-to-date ones. Adam Bishop (talk) 16:33, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I therefore removed the Gibbon quote entirely in my first edit. Since Yannismarou objected to it, I retained the quote but relegated it to its proper place in the text body to at least ensure that it is not endorsed via a box. Str1977 (talk) 20:23, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Enough. Adam and str1977, I suggest you stop your small-minded attacks on Yannismarou. He has done more for this article than the rest of you put together. You should feel ashamed of yourselves, treating him in such a way. Have some respect. Now, I agree that Gibbon shouldn't be used as a source for Manuel's accession - that's fine. But his assessment of Manuel's reign is concise, well-written, and perfectly acceptable. I therefore object to any attempt to remove it. Gibbon may be used to assess Manuel. It is only as a source for specific events, e.g. names and dates, etc, that he is inappropriate. Bigdaddy1204 (talk) 19:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Bigdaddy, I really do not understand your comment. What are we doing to Yannismarou? What are our "small-minded attacks". Are we not allowed to disagree with him about such a detail as whether Gibbon should be placed in a box or simply included in the common body of the text? I for my part am not attacking Yannis. However, he is the one that shoots down criticism in an unacceptable manner. Where's the respect in this? Ah, and it doesn't really matter whether he "has done more for this article than the rest of (us) put together" as nobody is taking anything away from him. But still, WP policies clearly state that there is no ownership in articles so he shouldn't behave like such an owner. Str1977 (talk) 23:21, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I hope that Str1977 will respect the rules of Wikipedia, and won't remove again unilaterally the box until a consensus here is achieved.--Yannismarou (talk) 19:08, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Urgh, let's not go down this road again, obviously I am not attacking Yannismarou. I just don't understand why Gibbon needs to be singled out, among all the other historians of the past 300 years. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:39, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
He is not "singled out". But it is my opinion that this box adds to the article, makes the narration more vivid, interesting and exciting for the leader, and, at least IMO, it is not POV. And I have also said that if anybody wants to add more modern sources, he/she is free to do it, but properly per FA rules. And I repeat again that if per consensus' rules most Wikipedians express their dislike for the box, I will definitely respect their opinion, although I'll still disagree. But I'll definitely won't accept the unilateral actions of Str1977 or of any other anonymous users shares the same code of conduct with him.--Yannismarou (talk) 20:19, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Yannismarou,
please do not invent Wikipedia rules to lord it over others. Your reinstating the Gibbon-box is just as unilateral as my removing it. You claim there is no consensus for the removal but this discussion is evidence enough that there is not consensus for the box either.
Sure, the box singles out Gibbon, who is hardly a representative source on anything Byzantine (quite apart from the fact that he is outdated). Thus it violates the policies of NPOV and Undue Weight. I know of no "vividness policy" and if "vividness" is bought at the price of accuracy and neutrality, we can all do without.
Finally three things:
  • I do not remove Gibbon's view but only the box giving him special treatment.
  • Obviously, I am not the first to complain about the box (see the talk above).
  • What is "The box stays" supposed to be? A valid argument. An announcement by the owner of this article? I could just as well say "The box goes". Str1977 (talk) 23:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
No, you could not, because you are the one who wants to change the article status, and wants to remove the box. So, you are the one who proposes a change, and who must seek consensus for its acceptance. As far as I am concerned, I have explained why I regard the box as useful. And I repeat: Unless consensus supporting your view is achieved, the article's status on this issue does not change. The fact that another user agrees with you does not give you the right to do whatever you want; and drop these tiring repetitions about ownership: it is not a matter of ownership, but a matter of common sense; changes in the article and especially removal of material should be first discussed and agreed in the talk page, and not introduced unilaterally. This is no "ownership"; this is common sense. I do not argue, of course, that I have done a lot more than you for this article (which is true, by the way; your only contribution until now to the article is the removal of useful material and the initiation of an edit war [unintentionally I believe of course]; I am sure you can do a lot better than that), but that you "intrude" (don't take it literally) in the article, as if it is your land, and you think you can introduce any changes you can without asking anybody, and without taking into consideration other users' opinions. This is outrageous! And, yes, you like it or not, according to Wikipedia's policy on consensus and changes in the text of the articles (I have explained why IMO the policies of NPOV, Verifiability and Undue Weight are not violated, and I'll not repeat myself), the box stays! Yannismarou (talk) 10:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes I could. Last time I looked Wikipedia was the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Last time I looked there was no Owner of this article. You are gravely mistaken that policy in any way supports your view. There is no consensus regarding this box. You may not repeat yourself as you have done so all to often already. You also seem to not understand what NPOV means - it does not merely mean to attribute views to authors, it also means that the article does not endorse a view. The box is an endorsement. Finally, this is not merely Adam and me - if you browse through the history you will see that there were quite a few editors who wanted to remove the box, everytime meeting your hostile and unilateral opposition. Str1977 (talk) 10:52, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
In response to your later additions: you are straining good faith by your claims that I removed "useful material" - I did (apart from the first edit) only move the material from the box to the normal text body. And how useful an outdated 18th century writer really is is disputed - no, actually it is not disputed among historians, who do not hold Gibbon in high esteem.
You say this is not about ownership, but evidently it is: you say I "intrude". It is not my land but it is not your land either or anyone's land. You also seem to claim the authority to allow or disallow other edits and call that "common sense". I never disputed your contribution to this article but that doesn't give you any special position (apart of knowledge about the article that can be used in arguments). Your behaviour is indeed outrageous.
Str1977 (talk) 10:59, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Since you claim that only Adam and I objected (though I could just as much say that only your Bigdaddy object to our objection):
Most of these want to remove Gibbon alltogether which is more than I am asking for. Why stonewall any compromise by your insistence on highlighting him in a box? Str1977 (talk) 11:15, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Ha! Ha! It is really illarious you present as supporters of yours 5 anonymous users whose only contribution to Wikipedia was the revert of the particular parts of the article you also want to revert, and whose ephemeral presence in Wikipedia coincided with the promotion of a single-purpose edit. Check and compare first those "Wikipedians"' contributions (as well their edit summaries) and then present them as "supporters" of your views. Be careful because the invocation of these single-purpose accounts (who might well be just one and the same person) exposes you irreparably in the eyes of any Wikipedian. And this is a sincere advice for your own shake, so that you are not unjustly confused or connected with such single-purpose accounts, which I never expected you to invoke, and I am really shocked you did it as a matter of fact.--Yannismarou (talk) 11:45, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Yannis, with every posting your behaviour is becoming more intolerable. This is no joke.
I certainly have checked their contributions and I know that they are meagre. Still, you cannot claim that no one ever challenged your version before - also you have no basis of disqualifying them. Whether they (all or some) are all one and the same we do not know so unless you want to request checkuser, we may as well drop the point. I for my part have no link whatsoever to them or to Adam. I only encountered him and them after I made my valid edits against the endorsement of Gibbon.
Also, I have checked their edit summaries and while some words seem to be written in rage, one can understand where that is coming from after "discussing" with you.
May I conclude by saying that my "shake" is none of your business. Str1977 (talk) 12:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

It is your choice to list as supporters of your views any accounts you want. But it is my duty to present to everybody here your "supporters", and do the research anybody invoking such accounts should have done. Read carefully:

  • On December 3, 2007 and then on December 4 Josh1245 and User:86.134.129.169 will initiate this useless chore concerning Gibbon. They replace Gibbon with indeed more modern sources, but do not respect the article's FA status, since they fail to provide pages. From the first moment, I propose two things: Do not remove Gibbon and the box; add new sources if you want [modern sources are always useful, but why impoverish the bibliography and the sources of the article: my opinion is add whatever source you want, but do not remove anything], but list them and cite them properly. Josh proves to be a single-purpose account, since he disappears after this first edit. Strangely, other single purpose accounts will succeed him in his insistence to downgrade the article's quality level. This is his edit summary, in order to compare it with the other ones: "replaced Gibbon and Paparrigopoulos with more modern scholarly sources". User:86.134.129.169 was also the user who officially strove for the downgrading of the article in FAR with arguments nobody took seriously. See his rage when his efforts to harm an article's status failed: "# 12:30, 30 January 2008 (hist) (diff) Talk:Manuel I Komnenos‎ (What's the Wikipedia criterion for considering a FAR "finished" (other than "contributors"'s rudencess? ). Who decides the outcome???)" His language and attitude speak for themselves.
  • Pinkhageo will appear more frequently in the article(4 edits in total of 11 in Wikipedia), but again he will strangely disappear some time ago, again adopting the same counter-productive tactics.
  • User Mediev 21: Just one contribution to Wikipedia. Read the edit summary: "21:38, 26 December 2007 (hist) (diff) Manuel I Komnenos‎ (suggested compromise: KEEP Papar. and Gibb., ADD the modern standard references and remove the boxed quotation of Gibbon's because highlighting his view this way DOES suggest POV)"
  • User:87.184.74.241: Again just one contribution to Wikipedia. Surprise! Surprise! Manuel! He edits just after User:Mediev, raising question or avoid the violation of 3R rule? Edit summary: " 14:14, 27 December 2007 87.184.74.241 (Talk | block) (82,378 bytes) (Is Yannismarou the owner of Wikipedia???? S/he should at least be informed about what s/he writes with so much arrogance! Start by reading the Wiki articles on Gibbon and Papar.!!)"
I want also to point out that none of these users opened a discussion here, but just concentrated their strategy in reverts. Dialogue was probably not one of their strong points! They did not even raise the case when Adam first opened a section concerning Gibbon. Or at least in they way Str1977 now participate in a tense, but I hope productive dialogue.
Anybody now can make his own thoughts about these users. And a kind request: Don't put in my mouth things I never said. I never argued that they are connected with you or with Adam. I just said that you shouldn't allow to anybody to shape such impression (Adam was never mentioned!!!). After all, you have a long and respectable presence in Wikipedia. So, read carefully my words and do not distort them. And this is no joke as well! Please!--Yannismarou (talk) 12:31, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Yannis, you can stick it. Unless you request checkuser there is no use for speculating about one or the other being the same. Also do not try to deflect from the fact that YOU are claiming OWNership. My point is not to defend these editors (they should have come back, they should have come to talk, they should have provided page numbers) but to show that this issue is not new, not restricted to Adam and me. Nobody can know the reasons for their staying away. Str1977 (talk) 12:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I am happy you admit the wrongdoings of these accounts, and I expect from now on the invocation of most credible "voices". As far as I am concerned, I intend to insist on what I did from the first moment: Be willing to discuss any change in the text, under the condition that these changes make the article better and do not impoverish it, and that the principles of dialogue and consensus are respected. For me, Wikipedia's shake, the strict compliance with its policies, and the avoidance of any unilateral actions like the ones Str1977 initiated are above anything else. As the article's creator and me as well said the box is no wrong for the article. Str1977 and Adam have a different opinion. I respect that, and I expect further input with the adequate respect to one another and without distorting one's words as well as one's motives as Str1977 just did with his above edit.--Yannismarou (talk) 12:54, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Yeesh, this isn't even about Gibbon at all, is it. It seems to me that claiming strict compliance to policy is usually the last refuge of someone who is utterly and intractably wrong (and someone who forgets that it is Wikipolicy to ignore all rules). Forget it, keep Gibbon, who cares, it could be worse. Adam Bishop (talk) 13:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I didn't expect such comments from your part Adam. But it is your right to believe whatever you want. For my part, I want to believe that everybody here wants the best for the article. And, yes, it could be worst for the article. It could be defeatured, as well as the Treaty of Devol, an article that you created and I kept its FA status, without wanting any ownership rights. Just trying to keep the quality of these article high and make Wikipedia a "better place". Adam, despite your bitter comments, I do feel proud that both Devol and Manuel remained featured, and that I helped along with other users for that.--Yannismarou (talk) 14:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Hello Yannis, hello Adam,
Though I can understand Adam's frustration who has been concerned with this longer than I have, I am just now not prepared to leave this as it is at a moment that Yannis seems to open up for a more productive approach.
I agree that we all want to keep the quality high and make Wikipedia "a better place". No one wants to see this article defeatured. However, I hardly think that my proposed change could in any way result in that. Is that article really hanging by a thread so that changing from a box to normal text would cost it is FA status?
I want to engage this discussion even though I thoroughly disagree with Yannis' take on wiki-rules. I think there is nothing in the policies forcing a changes like that to be approved beforehand BUT I think the discussion right now is preferable to the back and forth of an edit war. Str1977 (talk) 19:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Hello there. Sorry for butting in like that but I just thought why not come in (uninvited though I may be) and try my bit to resolve this. I want to summarize the salient points of this discussion the way I understand them:

  1. The Gibbon box: A really contentious piece of Wikipedia real estate. It is alleged that the box provides undue weight to Gibbon's view
  2. Gibbon himself: Everyone agrees that Gibbon is outdated
  3. The historical facts: Everyone agrees that Gibbon's statement in the box is factually accurate and non POV
  4. Everyone agrees that Gibbon's statement is colourful
  5. FA status of the article must be preserved

Conclusion:

  1. The box highlights Gibbon's opinion, not Gibbon himself. Given that Gibbon's opinion, under point 3 above is sound, highlighting a sound opinion does no harm to the article.
  2. Given point 4 above, adding colour to the article subject to point 3 above (historical accuracy and non POV) is not a bad idea since it enhances otherwise dry prose and makes the readers happier.
  3. Conclusion 2 coupled with point 5 above means that we must avoid spectacular changes when not needed. Preservation of FA status means conservation, thus we must avoid spectacular changes if at all possible. Busting a box in the article is a spectacular change. Dr.K. (talk) 16:25, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Any fresh voice is welcome. As for your points:
1. + 2. Agreed.
3. That's not the case. To say that a view is NPOV is a contradiction in terms. It cannot by its nature never be NPOV as it is G(ibbon)POV, just as a comment by Norwich would be NorwichPOV. There's nothing wrong with that but we cannot endorse it.
4. Sure, but I cannot see how my change could affect FA.
As for your conclusion:
1. Sure it is about Gibbon's view on the topic - a picture of EG himself would certainly worsen the article. But I do not accept your point 3, hence highlighting it is problematic. Even without looking at the content, it seems strange to highlight a dated author('s view) like that, especially if the author's take on Byzantium is notorious.
2. Agree in principle but as the basis for your conclusion is disputed, so will be the outcome.
3. Absolutely not. Changing a box to normal article text is not a spectacular change. IMHO it is not the change to normal text (as opposed to simple deletion) but the box that must be justified. "Preservation of FA status means conservation" is a fallacy - the correct conclusion would be "Preservation of FA status means conservation of FA status". FAs are not edged in stone or made for eternity. Str1977 (talk) 19:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your gracious welcome. Your points are well made. I disagree on the point of making the box disappear. Without going into semantics making something as big as a box disappear that's as spectacular as it gets. The reader comes one day to read the article and sees it rearranged and the box gone. Suddenly he feels insecure. That's not a very good way to keep the readers happy. I'm not saying we must keep the box at all costs. But if everything else remains equal then removing the box it's not a good thing if it can be avoided because it destroys continuity. Now I agree completely about your POV statement. Everything is POV. I couldn't agree more. Is Gibbon's POV so egregious? Was Manuel effeminate? Was he a man who lived in peacetime like there was no tomorrow and likewise during war? Never mind Gibbon's notoriety about things Byzantine. Let's not throw the baby with the bathwater. Gibbon's intellect produced this colourful statement. Let's not dismiss it solely on the basis that his intellect was flawed in other areas but let's judge it on its own merits. Was any other historian in the habit of producing colourful 10 second clips like that? Because this small (flawed?) pearl of wisdom, if rare among historians and if not particularly offensive, should be preserved because colour is a good thing and serving it on a nice platter in the form of a coloured box makes the average reader happy. If not we can emphasize some other but less flawed statement. Maybe we can even qualify it. Something like Gibbon's statement on Manuel typical of the liberties taken by 19th century historians with Byzantine historical analysis or something to that effect. It would surely add some couleur temporale to the narrative. Dr.K. (talk) 22:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I would like to throw in my opinion here. At first I had a mixed opinion here. I thought that any historical opinion from a respectable man was good. However, the last thing we need is for anti-Byzantine historian making a silly comment such as "not good at peace in war and not good at war in peace". I mean, come on!!! Is there any Byzantine Emperor who was as good as Manuel in waging war and in diplomacy? I mean, sure he had a few defeats, notably in Italy against the HRE and in the second expedition to Konya. I therefore do not like the quote - I still think that Gibbon is ok to use sometimes, as BigDaddy said, you know for certain things. But I would like to see it gone because its an unfair assessment of Manuel and quite misleading. Tourskin (talk) 18:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
As described by you it really sounds silly. But he didn't say that. He said: In war he seemed ignorant of peace, in peace he appeared incapable of war. which has more complex structure than you suggest. Dr.K. (talk) 18:22, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
My apoligies - does it actually make a difference? The meaning of the sentence is difficult to decipher completely without going on, and I don't want to go on. My point is, as you have identified, is that the quote is silly because it puts negative light on parts of Manuel Komnenus' life that don't merit it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tourskin (talkcontribs) 18:51, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No apology necessary Tourskin. I agree with you on two points: Not wanting to go on and on ad infinitum and on the point that I do not like any negative light on Manuel, except if he was really like that. I leave this up to the rest of you capable historians to address that point. Dr.K. (talk) 19:12, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't see how the slight inaccuracy makes a difference - both are quite opinionated and polemic ways of qualifying Manuel's rule. That doesn't mean we may not include them - but we should be careful that it is just one view among others. And - given the outdated status of Gibbon's work - not even the primary one. Str1977 (talk) 19:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

P.S. Many thanks to Str1977 for his great job at fixing the outline of my comments with this edit . Dr.K. (talk) 18:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

No problem. ;-) Str1977 (talk) 19:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Good show. Dr.K. (talk) 19:12, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Adam's rather bitter comments earlier in this thread are an excellent example of poor netiquette. There's no need to go into a childish sulk, just because you can't get your way. It is not becoming for 'adult' posters to behave in such a way. I too would expect much better from a poster with a history such as his.

Yannismarou, I commend you for keeping calm through these arguments. You have done well to argue the case for the box sensibly and prevent this turning into yet another flame war of the sort that frequently occurs on forums/online encyclopaedias, when people's anger easily gets the better of them...

Dr K, I salute you. Don't be concerned about being 'uninvited'; I think your contributions have helped the discussion move to a somewhat more positive place.

Tourskin, I understand what you mean. Gibbon was not exactly impartial, as you say. If you've read J.J. Norwich, you'd get the impression that he almost single-handedly condemned Byzantine history to obscurity and mockery for centuries. So I understand why you don't want to see him in this article. But Dr K has made a very, very good point. His quotation adds colour and life to the article. This is something I believe in strongly. There is a very powerful tendency in academic writing to make history as dull, dry and boring as possible. The end result is something highly accurate, factual, and utterly devoid of any life or interest whatsoever. Therefore, wherever possible, so long as it does not distort the truth, I am strongly in favour of making the language as interesting and lively as possible. It is difficult to do this without adding in any opinion at all, since, if you analyse it, it is often precisely this that makes the text enjoyable to read. The Gibbon box is a good way of doing this in a way that is historically acceptable. Therefore I am in favour of keeping the box. Bigdaddy1204 (talk) 00:28, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

First of all, let's not fight strawmen: the dispute is not about including the quote (though a case can be made for deleting it alltogether) but about whether to include it in a box, thereby highlighting and IMHO endorsing it, or in the text along with everything else.
I am all for colour and life but not at the expense of being "highly accurate" and "factual". Remember, this is no narrative history book or case study but an encyclopedia and that kind of literature doesn't tend to be entertaining. WP is even worse in that regard as we MUST conform to a NPOV policy. Still we need not be dull - but are really saying that without Gibbon in a box this article would be dull? I don't think so.
As for the box being acceptable. I think it's not - given the rather extreme view contained in it. Extreme in its anti-Byzantine bias, extreme in comparison to modern historians.
Finally, please let's not talk about editor's real or alleged poor nettiquette. Adam has explained himself further down. Especially we should not condemn anyone for his comments while turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of others just because we happen to agree with their position. I am happy that this has somewhat changed and also happy to keep quiet about past transgressions as long as nobody else paints an uneven picture of this issue. Str1977 (talk) 11:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Mmmm... your arguments are convincing, both BigDaddy's and Yannis' have also been the more understanding. The source of my protest is Gibbon's POV and I also stated earlier that Gibbon's quotes are not to be thrown out all the time, it just depends. Now I am beginning to see this quote as one of those "maybe quotes". I like boxed quotes for one thing, but don't like anti-Byzantine attacks, especially when its from the same treacherous Wesern Europeans - even though I see myself being culturally Western. If perhaps we could insert a comment somewhere in the assessment section of Gibbons POV towards Byzantium then I think it should stay, something like I see there is already a comment on Gibbon's stance. Very well then, I am convinced of the quote staying. Tourskin (talk) 00:59, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem is we cannot include such a comment in a boxed quoted. Another reason for dispensing with the box and including it into the text.
PS. I wonder what makes Gibbon a treacherous Western European? I think, he is a writer big in style, small in content but "treacherous"? Or are all Western Europeans treacherous by definition= Str1977 (talk) 11:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm having a shitty week and I probably shouldn't be editing. I don't mean to take it out on you guys. I'll stay away until I am clearer in the head again. Adam Bishop (talk) 01:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

(edit conflict: Reply directed to Bigdaddy just above): Thanks Bigdaddy. I appreciate your kind comments about my analysis and I'm all the more pleased that you find it helpful, since this was precisely my intention. I think as long as Gibbon's comment does not cast unfair or misleading aspersions on Manuel's character, a good case can be made about keeping it in a box because Gibbon's prose combined the historical with the dramatic with a touch of the theatric. This can go a long way to enliven a rather dry topic such as Byzantine history. I am not saying we have to convert this to Las Vegas but using a historian with an appreciation of drama sometimes transcends time. As far as Adam's comments, Adam has been in this business for a long time. I have seen him in action and even engaged in the beginning in a few reverts with him. I am a fan of his. His sense of humour and his fairness always inspired me. He even allowed me, while a newbie, to have my way with an edit. His generosity inspired me ever since. I never told him because I didn't have the chance to do so. Today he expressed disappointment. Who among us hasn't done so, and maybe in worse form than he did. It is a hazard of this business and it's simply no big deal. Dr.K. (talk) 01:50, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
For those who wonder here is the edit, in this very same article. It was my third month in Wikipedia and I didn't even know Adam was an admin. He just let it go. Dr.K. (talk) 04:52, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I was asked to comment here by Str1977. After reviewing the discussion and the Gibbon quotation under dispute, I have concluded that it is not useful to the article at all, but especially not in a box. The reason is simple: it just doesn't seem to say much. We learn what exactly about Manuel if we take this quote at face value? That he was laborious/slothful and hardy/effeminate? We learn that he was both/neither? And how could Gibbon really know much about a 12th-century figure's "character" anyhow? Conduct is readily apparent in every source, but character? If we are going to "spice things up" with Gibbon (and this is not a particularly enlivening quote, in my opinion), we could do better than this. Srnec (talk) 23:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I think we need to define utility here. No one here has any delusions with regards to how un-Byzantine and hence biased Gibbon is. But Gibbon is not useless. And Gibbon is right with regards to Myriokephalon; after 1160 Manuel used only peace to deal with the Turks, after 1175 he used only war and rejected the peace of the Sultan before the humiliating battle. Tourskin (talk) 00:05, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
But the quotation says nothing of Myriokephalon. If that is what we mean, then that is what we ought to say, instead of letting Gibbon talk for us about Manuel's "vicissitude". Srnec (talk) 01:38, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Well as earlier said, I dont think the quote has much right stuff saying, but depending on how you view it. And it does add spice to the article!Tourskin (talk) 02:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it brings a 19th century historiographical flair to the article. It gives an evolutionary perspective to the rest of the article analysis. Dr.K. (talk) 03:58, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I just want to inform anybody that I'll not further participate in this discussion, not because I don't want to, but for the reasons I expose, announcing my wikibreak. I just re-state that I stand firm to my expressed opinions here, but that I will also respect any decision you adopt. If you're still discussing the issue, when the exams are over (successfully or not), I'll be back! And this is a threat (with a considerable quote of humor!).--Yannismarou (talk) 12:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
My apologies for coming in late in the discussion and without a wiki account, but I'd like to contribute my opinion of said controversial "boxed quotation" of Edward Gibbon's assessment of Manuel Komnenos. After having read through the discussions above (and ignoring the edit war flaming), I have to agree with Str1977's arguments. Certainly, it is a "stylish" quotation, a powerful and confidently conclusive statement that a famous historian bestowed on the historical subject, but it is also strongly in opposition to the vast majority of modern Byzantine scholarship: which, in my opinion, should mean that Gibbon's view should -not- be highlighted. As a neutral reader to the article, with the assumption that I knew nothing about this Manuel person before at all, a highlighted box in the "assessment" headline implies that it is the majority and/or modern view on the subject, something which simply is not correct at all.
Gibbon's relevance on the subject, in my view, is only in terms of the historiography nowadays. For example, it is ill-advised, even counter-productive, for a complete novice to begin his or her study of Roman Empire and its many subjects from his works, since he or she will be fed an 18th century view, framed in 18th century cultural framework, and unsupported by more modern and recent evidences and methods. Similarly, an encyclopedia article should follow the same mindset, and, should an editor decides to emphasize the viewpoint of Edward Gibbon anyway, for stylistic purposes or other reasons, he or she should take great pains to make sure that the reader is aware of this inherent problem. This is not a put-down of the historian, by all means he -is- the most important early modern historian to deal with the subject at all, and his views, regardless of accuracy, are extremely influential; but this is the article on Manuel Komnenos, not an article on the historiography of the study of Manuel Komnenos/the Era of the Komnenids.
Simply put, it is not a big deal at all in the overall scope of the article, and I think people have done excellent work on the article; but the contrast between the attitude within highlighted quotation (complex and rather literary, but clearly hostile) and the overall tone of the article (a relatively mild viewpoint, even positive) simply produces an unfavorably dissonant effect. Perhaps a compromise could be reached: anyone has a better, but still cool-sounding quote, from a more recent distinguished Byzantine historian to put in? Despite justified allegations that modern scholarly historical writings tend to be horribly dry, they're not always so. 68.104.62.41 (talk) 10:27, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Good points. I also admit that Gibbon's quote seems so un-scholar and outdated today to be highlighted. But if Dr.K. is right (see below), Gibbon's language would immediately alert an native English reader. But what about non-native readers with an adequated understanding of modern English? Are we admitting that a Wikipedia article is not for them and they have to go elsewhere for reading or buy a book? I don't think so. And how would they be alerted on that? So, finally, I would prefer the box to be removed unless another more neutral would be added. What do you think on the following from W. Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society, Stanford, 1997, p.650 :

His had been a long and brilliant reign, and the gains he were made were more evident than his failures. On the whole he maintained empire's prestige...he left the treasure depleted but not empty...If the army's performance was uneven, it had been so for a long time. If corruption was a problem, it was little worse than before. Byzantium remained slightly stronger than any of its neighbors

Dipa1965 (talk) 18:08, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

(Unindent) Anonymous, welcome to our discussion. It is obvious that your contribution is both eloquent and well considered. It is therefore my pleasure to reply to it. I quote from your statement above: As a neutral reader to the article, with the assumption that I knew nothing about this Manuel person before at all, a highlighted box in the "assessment" headline implies that it is the majority and/or modern view on the subject, something which simply is not correct at all. Assuming that a reader knows nothing about Manuel and also about Gibbon this statement is correct. But assuming they can click on Gibbon's name they'll discover that Gibbon is an 18th century historian and then they will experience an aha! moment, as in: "Aha! colourful eighteenth century description!" (This is of course in addition to the dead giveaway of the 18th century vocabulary, with words such as sloth, vicissitude, effeminate etc.). This can be informative as well as fun because it can open up a tiny window to a bygone era of scholarship and illuminate an old fashioned school of historiography, thus giving us a temporal perspective on the evolution of scholarship on the subject. Now for the reader who is clueless to linguistic cues and doesn't know who Gibbon is or can't click on his name to find out we also have simpler versions of Wikipedia or he can look up the equivalent to "Manuel for Dummies" in the nearest bookstore. Dr.K. (talk) 15:12, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Anna Komnene or Comnena[edit]

In the primary sources, Urselius changed "Komnene" to "Comnena" (see his arguments in his edit summaries, I think he'll expose them again here). Urselius, I do not dispute what you say about your book's title! What I say is about the Wikipedia article which is Anna Komnene. Therefore, I reverted back to "Komnene" for two reasons:

  • This is the title of the Wikipedia article.
  • There must be some consistency about how we spell all the Komnenians. We can't have a Manuel Komnenos and an Anna Comnena! Same family - same spelling!

Anyway, this is my opinion, but maybe my rationale is not convincing enough, and that is why, although this is a trivia issue, I brought the matter in the talk page for more input.--Yannismarou (talk) 13:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

As per Template:Cite book the fields you filled Yannis refer to the author of the book not the title. We have the unusual case here where the author and part of the title are the same. But:
  • The name of the author should be rendered according to the current convention: Anna Komnene, because the name of the author is not to be confused with the name on the title of the book.
  • The title, of course, should be rendered verbatim as Anna Comnena, which it already is. Dr.K. (talk) 15:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Since the current bibliography refers to the alternate spelling I took the liberty to include it. If anyone disagrees let me know. Dr.K. (talk) 16:05, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Transliteration madness[edit]

I have changed the authorship of a book: Comnena, Anna (1969). "XLVIII-The First Crusade", The Alexiad translated by Edgar Robert Ashton Sewter. Penguin Classics (1969), from "Comnene" to "Comnena." It is the second version which is the one on the book's cover, and is recorded in bibliographies.

OK, fads in the transliteration of Medieval Greek names into the Roman alphabet have changed since the book was printed, but this doesn't change the spelling on the book itself. A bibliographic reference should reference the book in whatever the spelling of the book's title or authorship was at the time the book was printed. For example the book "Animadversions of Warre" of 1632 should not be labelled in a reference "Advice on Warfare" even though English usage and spelling has changed.

Urselius (talk) 12:44, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

The title of the book will remain unchanged. What you were filling were the author fields. The Author Fields are not related (normally) to the title fields. In this unique case the title remains the same as the original and the author is rendered according to the existing convention. Dr.K. (talk) 15:39, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

In this very particular case, where the full title of the book is "The Alexiad of Anna Comnena" the 'mixed citation' works.

However, the general rule I stated still applies. For example the 1963 film (movie) "55 Days in Peking" remains just that, no one referencing the film would call it "55 Days in Beijing." The "Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus" by Cinnamus, remains just that, it isn't transformed by later usage into "The Deeds of John and Manuel Komnenus" by "Kinnamos" UNTIL a new translation into English is made under that specific title, and even then anyone referencing the older book will have to use the older title.

I disagree totally with a bibliographic reference on a wikipedia page being first and foremost a link to another page, no it is first and foremost a guide to find a book. Anyone searching the Penguin back catalogue, or in second-hand bookshops, will be somewhat lead astray if they try to find a book published in 1969 authored by 'Anna Komnene.'

Like Mussolini, I am always right ;)

Urselius (talk) 15:13, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Your comments about the title are implicitly correct. As far as Benito, he's a special case. Since he ruled by decree he could decree himself always right even though he may have been always wrong. So you are, technically, right ;) Dr.K. (talk) 15:50, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Doctrinal controversies (1156–1180)[edit]

The last sentence about the ransoms Manuel paid doesn't belong to this section. Dipa1965 (talk) 06:45, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Too long intro[edit]

This might be a featured article and I can only raise hat to people who helped to create it - alas, I belive that there is one thing that should be improved; the intro. It is too long for what it is; an intro. Intro should only include basics about something, and I belive that the intro as it is now has more than most basic information of Manuel I. --Kurt Leyman (talk) 15:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I beg to differ - take a look at Byzantine Empire for example, whoe lead was expanded. Manuel's life is both notable and well known. As such, it is only natural that a relatively long intro is needed for an article of this calibre. Tourskin (talk) 16:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I also disagree. Per WP:LEAD a lead should be a comprehensive summary of the whole article. And, in an article of more that 80 kbs length (prose must be about 55 kb I suppose), a two-paragraphs lead is nothing but long; I would find a rationale in the opposite objection, that it is a bit short!--Yannismarou (talk) 06:43, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Intro is well done. It covers in one or two sentences every important aspect of rule of Manuel I. In whole article those themes are exposed and explained whicj is, in my opinion, good way to write encyclopedic article.--Vojvodae please be free to write :) 11:00, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

I have added a bit about the aftermath of Myriokephalon to the lead. Since this is a featured article, I am a bit nervous about the edits. hope it's an useful addition! Cliniic (talk) 02:19, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Black Soul Brother[edit]

How come there is no section speaking about this emperor having been a clear-cut black man? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.91.26.152 (talk) 16:44, 3 June 2012 (UTC)