The best proof of Byzantium’s underlying strength is that Byzantine states survived for more than two and ahalf centuries after the seemingly fatal Fourth Crusade. Strong and unified leadership was certainly not the reason. When the Crusaders stormed Constantinople, the deposed Alexius III Angelus still held the region of Thessalonica, while his son-in-law Theodore Lascaris held the northwest part of Byzantine Anatolia, supposedly in Alexius’ interest. The fugitive Alexius V held most of eastern Thrace. Alexius Comnenus, a grandson of the late emperor Andronicus, had seized the northern coast of Anatolia and declared himself emperor at Trebizond. Yet though he claimed to be the Byzantine emperor, Alexius, whom today we call the Emperor of Trebizond, was merely a local potentate. The rebels in southern Greece and southwest Anatoliahad purely local ambitions.
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