Power and Society under the Turkish Siege of Byzantine Thessalonica (1383—1387)
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Power and Society under the Turkish Siege of Byzantine Thessalonica (1383—1387)
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Tatiana Kushch 
Occupation: Head of the Department of Ancient and Medieval History
Affiliation: Ural Federal University
Address: Russian Federation, Ekaterinburg
The article is devoted to the problem of interaction between the government and society during the siege of the Byzantine Thessalonica 1383—1387 by the Ottoman Turks. The author analyses the measures proposed by the secular authorities to protect the city, the reaction of the urban population to the attempts of the ruler Manuel Palaeologos to organize defense, as well as the reasons for the failure of the plan of the city authorities to resist the Turkish aggression. The author studies also the question whether the local secular authorities could organize the protection of city and whether the urban community was ready to unite forces and defend itself in extreme situation. The answers to these questions permit us to assess the real capacities of the Empire to resist the enemy. The study is based on analysis of rhetorical and epistolary writings of Manuel II Palaeologos, Demetrios Kydones, Archbishop of Thessalonica Isidore Glabas. The article shows the internal and foreign policy of the ruler of Thessalonica (interaction with the city government, confiscation of Church property, providing of the garrison, diplomatic activity). The author of this article concludes that the political course of Manuel in Thessalonica was quite consistent and reasonable. However, he was lacked of flexibility in dealing with the Emperor, the capital and local elites and the urban population. He was unable to overcome the inner-city contradictions, to rally the inhabitants of Thessalonica and not to become their political leader. Lack of social support within the city caused the fall of the government of Manuel Palaeologos. One of the main reasons for the failure of the defense of Thessalonica was the strong inner-city contradictions and dissatisfaction of citizens with the policy of the ruler of the city. The urban population, exhausted by the war and divided by internal conflicts, preferred to hand over the city to the Ottomans.
Late Byzantium, Manuel II Palaiologos, siege of Thessalonica, Ottoman conquest, power and society, social conflicts
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