Byzantine Sorrow and Venetian Joy: The Failure of Byzantine Diplomacy and the Expansion of Trade in the Mediterranean, 700-1200
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From the seventh century to the twelfth century, the Byzantine Empire faced the threat of invasion and trading competition from allies in the West. In order to address these problems, the emperors used a variety of diplomatic strategies that stood in contrast to those employed by Western European polities. These strategies included: gifts and tribute, Christian conversion, imperial marriage, subterfuge and father-figure-diplomacy. However, the diplomatic relationship between Venice and Constantinople shows the limitations of these strategies and their failure to stop Venetian economic dominance. By describing each feature in turn, it can be shown how Byzantine diplomacy helped create expanded trade in Western Europe as well as weaken the Empire against the rise of Venice as a major trading power.