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Spotlight : Emperor Manuel II Paleologos.

By Combined news reports Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and "a Persian scholar" are now made world-famous by Pope Benedict XVI across the world. The pope, in an academic lecture in Germany on September 12, quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam. The dialogue, reputed to have taken place during the siege of Constantinople--the capital of Byzantine empire--between 1394 and 1402 by the Muslim Ottoman Turks, evolved a particular comment by the Emperor: Obviously, the beleaguered emperor was under a bit of pressure in so much as the last vestiges of the Eastern Roman Empire, a small area surrounding Constantinople, was being besieged by the Turks, Manuel had spent his life under threat from the Islamic siege and conquest of Byzantium. He devoted several years to a European tour in order to raise a crusade of western nations to counter the Islamic threat. Manuel II was the second son of Emperor John V Palaiologos and his wife Helena Kantakouzena. His maternal grandparents were Emperor John VI Kantabouzenos (1347-1354) and Eirene Asanina.Created despot?s by his father, the future Manuel II traveled west to seek support for the Byzantine Empire in 1365 and in 1370, serving as governor in Thessalonica--known today as Greece's second-largest city and the capital of Macedonia. The failed attempt at usurpation by his older brother Andronikos IV Palaiologos in 1373 led to Manuel being proclaimed heir and co-emperor of his father. In 1376-1379 and again 1390 they were supplanted by Andronikos IV and then his son John VII, but Manuel personally defeated his nephew with help from the Republic of Venice in 1390. Although John V had been restored, Manuel was forced to go as an honorary hostage to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, after Bayezid laid siege to Constantinople. On urgings of the Byzantine emperor John V a new crusade was organized to defeat him. This proved unsuccessful, in 1396 the Christian allies, under the leadership of the Hungarian King and Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, were defeated in the Battle of Nicopolis. During his stay, Manuel was forced to participate in the Ottoman campaign that reduced Philadelpheia, the last Byzantine enclave in Anatolia-- which corresponds today to the Asiatic portion of Turkey. Hearing of his father's death in February 1391, Manuel II fled the Ottoman court and secured the capital against any potential claim by his nephew John VII. Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I besieged Constantinople from 1394 to 1402. After some five years of siege, Manuel II entrusted the city to his nephew and embarked on a long trip to western courts (including those of the Kingdom of England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, and Aragon) to seek assistance against the Ottoman Empire. A*Spotlight : Emperor Manuel II Paleologos

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Sep 24, 2006
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