Why, and who constructed this fortress? In 1258, Mongols captured Baghdad, devastating ancient commercial centers of the eastern Mediterranean basin. The Asian Silk Route shifted northwards and the port city of Trebizond in northeastern Anatolia on the Black Sea became the new crossroad of East-West Asian Silk Route commerce. Greek and Italian merchants shipped merchandise from Trebizond to Constantinople and points West. After 1453 the "Trebizond Empire" came to an end in the centuries-old, war-torn wreckage that was Anatolia. This castle was one of the last few built to defend the territory and it's commerce. It was captured by Ottomans in the fifteenth century.
Historical Information and Excerpt
Chrysalis II: Carpathian Liberty, Chapter I - Adeptum Libertas: Death of Byzantium
A great Anatolian upheaval was the net result of the Vatican's failed Crusade policies begun by Pope Urban II - wars, pillage, conquests, and genocides - beginning with the First Crusade (1095–1099) and ending with the Last Crusade or Shepherds' Crusade of 1320. By this time, European monarchies were completely defeated in the Holy Land, and back home, utterly ruined financially. The supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church was drawing to an end. But what was the so-called Trebizond Empire? Well, as far as the Vatican was concerned, that great heretical Eastern Orthodox Church headquartered in Constantinople had to be destroyed along with the Muslim Church in the south. It meant the destruction of the Byzantines and the Caliphate. Romanticised, that is, Catholic (Western) history, however, does not tell it this way.
As the Northern Crusades raged, another campaign began in 1201. "Friends" of Byzantine Prince Alexios IV Angelos "broke him out" of his dungeon hellhole in Constantinople. They "smuggled him" to Germany. Here, he was re-civilised after living in a dark, damp, cold, pit like an animal for the past six years. Alexios found himself living in the splendour of German King Otto IV Welf's court as an honoured guest. By August of the following year, German military preparations for a crusader force and a Holy Roman invasion of the Byzantine Empire was ready. To the surprise of Alexios, Otto proclaimed the eternally grateful Byzantine Emperor Alexios IV Angelos on August 1, 1202, in Germany. Shortly after that Pope Innocent III unleashed the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). It should be called the "Byzantine Crusade (1202-1204)" because this is what it was. Precisely. But that would be breaking Christian historical protocols. Byzantium represented long-standing heresy concerning the Christological Trinity Principle and Christian universality. This Crusade had no plans whatsoever for the Holy Land. The crusade's destination, regardless of what 99% of history books have to say, that history commissioned by the 1% of 1% of Europe's ruling classes through the centuries. The objective of this holy imperial was the Byzantine Empire. Pope Innocent III's Crusaders, unleashed Hell.
Bulgarian Slavs recruited Turkic Cuman mercenaries from Crimea. They were instrumental to Bulgarian Slav Khan Kaloyan Asen's defence against crusaders who also attempted an invasion of his Bulgarian realm. Alexios III found himself out manned and isolated. Crusaders easily, and rapidly conquered most Byzantine territory. Crusaders deposed Ecumenical Patriarch John X Kamateros of Constantinople. He began his career as the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1198 and even had heated exchanges between himself and Pope Innocent III concerning the universality of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches - and the Holy Trinity - between 1198-1200. Early in 1203, however, his "ecumenical" title was removed by Alexios III in vain hope appeasing the Holy Roman Emperor and the pope. By July 11, 1203, crusaders prepared to lay siege to the city of Constantinople. Emperor Alexios III Angelos, confused, had not been prepared for this turn of events. He was an ally of the emperor. It took him four days to come to grips with reality before finally mounting a counterattack on July 17. By then it was too late. Constantinople surrendered without a fight. Alexios III and his family snuck out of Constantinople. Deposed, blinded Isaac II Angelos exited from his miserable dungeon where he had spent the last seven years and became reinstated as co-emperor with his son Alexios IV.
This Byzantine Crusade was the big story throughout Europe which distracted the likes of Imperial Ungarian King Emeric II Arpad from usual preoccupation and matters of state. And so, once again, Andrew II Arpad tried to usurp his brother. Andrew's last usurpation was in 1203. It was a dismal failure as well. If historical accounts are accurate, without bloodshed:
Emeric quelled a rebellion instigated by his brother Andrew without weapons of any kind for taking off his armour and putting on the crown and cloak of St Stephen he went coolly into the midst of his opponents with only his sceptre in his hand and there appealing to his insignia he easily persuaded them to throw down their arms and yield him homage and obedience. (1)
This time it cost Andrew II Arpad his freedom. He ended up in a dungeon hellhole to think things over.
German King Otto IV Welf's plans to capitalise on the success of the Byzantine Crusade, that is, to have Emperor Alexios IV Angelos rule Byzantium as a German vassal fell apart. It turned out Pope Innocent III has his plans too. Emperor Isaac II Angelos was assassinated on January 25, 1204. Emperor Alexios IV Angelos was assassinated on February 5, 1204. The perpetrator of these assassinations turned out to be Emperor Alexios V Doukas who reigned from February 5 to April 12, 1204, when crusaders deposed him, and ultimately murdering him around Christmas of 1204.
Back in Imperial Ungaria, somehow, Andrew II Arpad's "friends" managed to get to his brother. In August 1204, King Emeric II Arpad was poisoned, or as history books put it, he became "deathly ill." The two brothers reconciled again, however, as insurance against any further of his brother's treason, Emeric crowned his three-year-old son as Imperial Ungarian King Ladislav III Arpad on August 26, 1204. Emeric proclaimed Andrew as the boy king's regent. Emeric died on November 30, 1204. By all accounts, Andrew II Arpad behaved as though he was king and took no interest in the boy's education which was his duty at all from the very beginning. He seized Ladislaus' financial inheritance. Fearing for her and her son's life, Emeric's widow, Dowager Queen Constance Aragon, escaped to Wien (Vienna), Austria and the safety of Duke Leopold VI Babenberg, unwittingly, like a fly, straight into the spider's web, the most dangerous place to be.
Meanwhile, back in Byzantium hostilities of the Byzantine Crusade ended by the carving up of Byzantium into Pope Innocent III's Latin domains of: the Roman Empire (sometimes referred to as the Latin Empire of Constantinople, imperium Romaniae, 1204-1261); (2) Kingdom of Thessalonica (regnum Thessalonica, 1205-1224); Principality of Achaea (principium Achaea, 1205-1432); Lordship of Argos and Nauplia (dominium Argues et Nauplia, 1212-1388); Duchy of Athens (ducatus de Atenes, 1205-1458); Margraviate of Bodonitsa (marcha Bodonitsa, 1204-1414); Duchy of Naxos (ducatus de Arcipelago, 1207-1579); and Duchy of Philippopolis (ducatus Philippopolis, 1204-1230). Deposed patriarch. John X Kamateros managed to flee to Didymóteicho, Greece where he died two years later. Emperor Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris salvaged what was left of Byzantium to establish its successor state - Empire of Nicaea (1204-1261). His domain lay along the eastern and northeastern coasts of Anatolia, sharing the border with the Pope Celestine III's "Latin Empire" - crusader Roman Empire (Latin Empire of Constantinople) - which controlled the Dardanelles - both east and west sides.
Back in Imperial Ungaria, Andrew had his late brother's five-year-old son, King Ladislav III Arpad assassinated on May 7, 1205, in Wien (Vienna). Dowager Queen Constance fled into exile in Spain to be with her mother, Dowager Queen Sancha Castille of Aragon, in the Abbey of Nuestra Senora, at Villanueva de Sigena (Villanova Sigenensis) which Sancha had founded after her husband's death, and lived there in retirement. The boy King Ladislav III Arpad was technically king for six months and five days. King Andrew II Arpad, as first in the line of succession again, was crowned on May 29, 1205. (3) In the Holy Land, Queen Isabella I Anjou died on April 5, 1205, and was succeeded by her daughter Queen Maria Aleramici of Jerusalem.
Pope Innocent III was now the One ruler of a universal Christian Church as the pontiff of the Holy See and its vast Holy Roman Empire - 839 years after the first Pope Damasus I came to office! Pope Innocent III ended the Byzantine Empire and defeated the Eastern Orthodox Church! Who said papal suzerainty under a Holy Roman Emperor had no merit? This spiritual defeat came with the instalment of a new Latin Patriarch Thomas Morosini of Constantinople. And "no." He was not an "ecumenical" or "universal" patriarch of Christianity, just the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church which came under the suzerainty of the pope in Rome. Rome's eastern Nemesis which used to be the Eastern Roman Empire, the Ostrogoth-Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and now - nothing, just subservient Crusader states. Pope Innocent III had achieved what no pope had ever achieved before - rule over all of Europe. He achieved it with efficient brutality and without mercy. Conquered territories of Livonia became an ecclesiastical state called Terra Mariana on February 2, 1207.
After the 1204 defeat and dismantling of the Byzantine Empire into Catholic Crusader states, the Catholic world once again refocused on destroying Muslim civilization in the south. Naturally, Crusaders would once again have to traverse Anatolia to get there. European monarchies had been severely weakened from the previous crusades, and therefore, as astounding as it may seem, the Vatican actually enlisted Mongol aid against its heretic Slav enemies in the east and Muslim enemies in the south. Mongol elites were, after all, not Catholic, but more Christian than anything else. Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris's Empire of Nicaea was only one of three small states left over. The other two were the Trebizond Empire ruled by Alexios I Megas Komnenos and the Despotate of Epirus ruled by Michael I Komnenos Doukas. All three claimed the Byzantine emperorship. Greater Anatolia remained Muslim and ruled by the Sultanate of Rûm, or Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate (1077-1308) which was decimated by a Mongol invasion in 1243. Afterwards, this Sultanate was a Mongol vassal until Mongols were expelled from Muslim lands a few years later. This expulsion gave rise to the Ottoman Empire which eventually absorbed all of Anatolia and beyond. A smaller Byzantine Empire which had been reborn was defended by a fledgling Ottoman Empire. Relentless pressure by Catholic Europe eventually caused the Ottoman invasion of Europe. It began with the conquest of another Catholic Constantinople in 1453 and the real birth of a vast Ottoman Empire.
Thus, historically speaking, the Roman Catholic Church had destroyed the Byzantine Empire in 1204. It was not the Ottomans as history loves to tell us in 1453. That was another era, and the second incarnation of the so-called "Byzantines." The "1453 version of history" serves to keep historical mythology by the Habsburg Holy Roman Empire in line with that of the Roman Catholic Church alive. They succeeded.
Video: Zil Fortress Shrouded in Mist
Historical Place: Zil Fortress, Firtina Valley, Çamlihemşin, Rize Province, Turkey
Location: 40°57'32.94"N, 40°57'48.46"E.
- Taylor I., Beginnings of European Biography. The Middle Ages. From the revival of learning under Charlemagne to the invention of printing. (1844) p. 48
- Also known as the Latin Empire, although this description is inaccurate - it depends on whose history one reads.
- Engel, Pálosfalvi, & Ayton. Realm of St. Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895 - 1526. (2005) p. 89.