Map of the Byzantine Empire 1278 AD

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The closing decades of the 13th Century mark Byzantium's last period as a significant player in european and middle-eastern affairs. Following the Byzantine recapture of Constantinople in 1261, the brilliant and unscrupulous Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos had dealt with multiple threats to the restored Empire.

Byzantine diplomatic and espionage activity supplemented the Empire's rather meagre military resources, culminating in 1282 with the bankrolling of a major revolt in Sicily against Byzantium's chief adversary and threat - Charles of Anjou, who had threatened to lead a so-called crusade against Constantinople.

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