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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 124: Political Reform in the Late Medieval World

Monday 6 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Balázs Nagy, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest / Eötvös Loránd University
Paper 124-aThe Restoration of the Hafsid Dynasty, 1370-1488: Recovering from Fragmentation
(Language: English)
Sébastien Garnier, European Research Council Project 'Imperial Government & Authority in Medieval Western Islam' (UMR 5648) / École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Military History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 124-bFailure or Renewal?: Tsar Boril, 1207-1218 - The Reorganization of Bulgaria and Its Relations with the Latin Empire of Constantinople
(Language: English)
Francesco Dall'Aglio, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici, Napoli
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Military History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 124-cAuxiliary Peoples and Military Reform by Hungary's Western Frontier in the 13th Century
(Language: English)
Sarolta Tatár, European Workshop, Budapest
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Military History, Social History

Paper -a:
The Ḥafṣid dynasty resulted from the patrimonialization process of the Almohad governorate in Ifrīqiya (beg. 13th c.). After the death of the second sultan (al-Mustanṣir, d. 1277), the political authority was slowly divided until two Merinid campaigns (mid. 14th c.), witnessed by Ibn Ḫaldūn himself. Then, the dynasty recovered surprisingly in the last quarter of this dark century and three long reigns formed a Golden Age, the Ifrīqiyan Quattrocento: Abū l-ʿAbbās (r. 1370-1394), Abū Fāris (r. 1394-1434), Abū ʿAmr ʿUṯmān (r. 1435-1488). In this communication, we shall analyze the highly unusual 'renewal' scenario of a dynastic restoration in a medieval Maghrebi context.

Paper -b:
The kingdom of Tsar Boril (1207-1218) has been usually interpreted as a period of decadence for Bulgaria. His typical portrait is that of a weak ruler, unable to replicate the success of his predecessor Kalojan (1197-1207), and forced to accept a peace settlement with the Latin Empire of Constantinople. This representation, while not completely inaccurate, must be however challenged: the establishment of peaceful relations with the neighbouring kingdoms was the result of deliberate planning, probably caused by the exhaustion of Bulgaria's resources after more than twenty years of warfare, and by the necessity of opposing the separatist tendencies of part of the Bulgarian aristocracy. Boril focused instead on the internal organization of the State, and his 'renewal' of Bulgaria paved the way for the triumphs of Ivan Asen II (1218-1241).

Paper -c:
After the Mongol invasion of 1241-1242, the Hungarian King Béla Ivth constituted a far-reaching military reform. Up to that point, the military frontier had been composed of several rows of frontier defenses and frontier guard villages, interspersed with fortifications (ditches, walls, obstacles on the roads, canalisations, fortresses). After the reform, the country relied more heavily on fortresses built in a modern style. Our project concerns the auxiliary people called Pechenegs in Sopron, Győr, Moson, Vas, and Zala counties. Their role presumably diminished with the reform. Our method consists of looking at frontier defense objects in the context of historical geography. The basis for this is that places were often named after the person who possessed it or the ethnicity that lived there in medieval Hungary. We compare the map to written sources, to determine what obstacles penetrating enemies met.