High Middle Ages (1000-1200)

Key People

Muawiya -  · First Ummayad Caliph, comes to power by defeating Ali in 661. Starts naval incursions into Byzantium.
Bulgars -  · Pagan people that moved southwest from Caspian are and began raiding Byzantium from 500s. Created state in 700-800s. Destroyed by Basil II.
Leo the Isuarian -  · Byzantine Theme General who took power in 717 and then fought off the second Muslim siege. Inaugurated Iconoclasm.
Irene -  · Byzantine Empress at end of 9th century. Rejected Iconoclasm and was financially profligate. Overthrown in 802.
John Tzimisces -  · Brilliant Byzantine general, on December 10, 969 murdered Nicephoras Phocas. Major concerns dealt with his neighbors to the north and east, such as Sviatoslav of the Russians, who was finally defeated at Dristra on the Danube, in July 972. In 975, John turned his full attention to the East, campaigns here would represent the furthest extent of Byzantine reconquest for all the state's history. By the fall of that year, most of Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon were under Byzantine control.
Sviatoslav -  · Russian leader and general, led men south of the Danube in 970s. Imperial forces utterly defeated the Russians at Arcadiopolis. In 972, John Tzimisces led armies to the old Bulgarian capital of Preslav and engaged the Russians in a fierce battle. The Russians broke, and so Preslav was later occupied by Greek forces around Easter 972. Sviatoslav fled and was finally defeated at Dristra on the Danube, in July 972.
Fatimid -  · Shi'i Muslim dynasty emerging from Tunisia to conquer Egypt in 969. Controlled Palestine during Crusades to 1170s.
Basil II -  · Byzantine Emperor, 976-1025. Destroyed Bulgars, held up eastern defenses. Most glorious ruler of Byzantium after Heraclius.
Vladimir of Rus -  · Head of Russian Kiev state. Helped Basil II retain power early on; married Basil's sister in return for conversion to Greek Orthodoxy.
Otto I (r. 936-973) -  · Saxon emperor of Germany. Defeated Magyars, settled Papal matters, was crowned emperor. Ruled without feudal relations.
Henry III (r. 1039-1056) -  · German Emperor descending into Rome to install mostly reform popes.
Pope Leo IX (1048-1054) -  · Pope installed by Henry III, supported papal autonomy from secular rulers and was a reforming bishop.
Henry IV (1056-1106) -  · German Emperor during Investiture Controversy. German nobles had gained power during his long minority, and as emperor he faced a revolt of nobles in league with the papacy. Eventually put both down, but the effort weakened the German monarchy.
Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) -  · Hildebrand, reforming pope, and chief Church protagonist in Investiture Controversy. Died as a Norman hostage. Began many ideas that later emerged in Crusades.
Pope Urban II (1088-1099)  -  · Had been a secretary to Gregory VII. Brought Papacy back to Rome. Was a Cluniac Prior. Articulated Crusader idea, launched the first one. Established a better central papal bureaucracy.
Alexius Comnenus  -  · Byzantine Emperor from 1080-1118. Appealed to West for help post-Manzikert. Reclaimed western Asia Minor lands after First Crusade.
Godfrey of Bouillon -  · Crusading leader in First Crusade, became king of Jerusalem for one year in 1099.
Bohemond -  · Norman adventurer-crusader from First Crusade. Became Count of Antioch in 1098.
Zengi -  · Seljukid Amir of Mosul who began Muslim comeback in Crusades. Took Edessa in 1144.
Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi -  · Overthrew Fatimids in Egypt, setting up Ayyubid dynasty and uniting Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. Defeated crusader armies at Hattin in 1187 and took Jerusalem back in 1188. Muslim personage of great chivalry value to western medieval legend.
Seljuks of Rum -  · Turkic principality focused on Anatolia. Under nominal suzerainty of Great Seljuks in Baghdad. Defeated Byzantine forces under Manuel Comnenus in 1071 and 1176.
Manuel Comnenus (1143-1180) -  · Byzantine Emperor, insisted on Crusader states recognizing his imperial status. Allowed more privileges to westerners in empire. Was defeated by Seljuks at Myriocephalum in 1176.
Philip I (1060-1108) -  · French king, began turning the tide of feudal decomposition in France by insisting on his crown rights and using all means to increase his power.
Philip II Augustus -  · French king, 1180-1223. Saw to institutional growth of French monarchy; reined in feudal nobles. Fought Angevins and beat John of England at Bouvines, bringing much of France back to crown control. Participated in Third Crusade.
Louis IX  -  · St. Louis, French king 1226-1270. French monarchy at strongest relative to nobles. Known for piety, justice. Crusaded twice, got all Plantagenet lands back except for Gascony.
Ferdinand I of Leon -  · Important Reconquista personage. Began appointing French monks as Spanish bishops from the 1050s. These monks were not as impressed with Muslim grandeur as the Spaniards had been, and the Church reformation gave the Spaniards a reinvigorated Christian identity, highlighting confessional differences from the Muslims.
Barbarossa -  · German emperor, 1152-1190. Attempted over twenty years to reassert German control in Italy, over towns and Popes. Extremely activist, but was unable to control the independent Italian towns. Died during Third Crusade.
Arnold of Brescia -  · Leader of Italian commune in 1050s. Anti-sacerdotal, called on Church to return to apostolic poverty. Captured and executed by Barbarossa.
Frederick II -  · German Emperor (1215-1250), king of Sicily through mother. Highly cultured and of eclectic interests, knew Arabic, more Sicilian than German, espoused feudal laissez faire policies in Germany but aspired to close central control in Italy. Opposed by Pope for his Italian interests, and excommunicated when negotiated return of Jerusalem in 1229 rather than its military liberation. Fought the resurrected Lombard league, was never able to pacify north-central Italy.
Robert Guiscard -  · Norman leader in Sicily, agreed to protect Popes.
Alfonso VI of Leon -  · Began serious Reconquista in late eleventh century. Defeated by Almoravids at Sagrajas, 1086.
Louis VII -  · Important French king able to build a central bureaucracy and begin the taming of French nobles.
Almoravids  -  · Revivalist Muslim dynasty from North Africa. Crossed over to Spain in 1080s and shored up defenses against Christians until early 1100s.
Alfonso VIII of Castile (1158-1214) -  · Victor at Las Navas de Tolosa, opened way for thirteenth-century Reconquista thrust.