The capture of Constantinople by the armies of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 did not prevent the successor states of the Byzantine empire from employing large numbers of western European soldiers. This paper assesses the role of western European mercenaries in the military operations led by the rulers of the so-called empire of Nicaea, which imposed itself as the legitimate successor of the Byzantine empire. Moreover, through the examination of the available sources this paper also investigates the views the Byzantine authors of the period expressed about the western European soldiers hired by the Nicaean state.
The so-called ‘Empire of Nicaea’ emerged as one of the Byzantine successor realms after the occupation of Constantinople in 1204, established by Theodore Laskaris at Nicaea. Apparently under John III Vatatzes the imperial court moved from Nicaea to Nymphaion, an otherwise unknown settlement near Smyrna, where a three-floored ruin still bears witness to Laskarid architecture. This paper argues that the moving of the court was connected to the setup of an imperial estate, based on animal husbandry. A stronger rural economy contributed to the success against their hostile surrounding powers and to the final aim, the reconquest of Constantinople.
Wooden mosques reflect an original constructional tradition, the origins of which date back to the Pre-Anatolian Architecture. The interior structure of these mosques was formed of wood works with floral compositions all unique to the ornamentations in Islamic Architecture. Besides these mostly painting compositions, the carpets and the rugs for prayer in these mosques which were weaved with themes using natural madders, are the reminiscent of an authentic image of nature that can be associated with pre-Islamic Turkish culture. In this study, the examples from the architectural and ornamental traditions of Medieval Anatolian wooden mosques, the earliest practices of which from the 13th century will be introduced and the relations with Turkish culture and mythology will be established. At this point, the impacts of the traditions in pre-Islamic-nomadic life are critically important.