The best proof of Byzantium’s underlying strength is that Byzantine states survived for more than two and a half centuries after the seemingly fatal Fourth Crusade. The reason was certainly not strong and unified Byzantine leadership. 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. A grandson of the late emperor Andronicus, Alexius Comnenus, had seized the northern coast of Anatolia and declared himself emperor at Trebizond. Yet though Alexius claimed to be the Byzantine emperor, he was merely a local potentate and is best called the Emperor of Trebizond. The rebels in southern Greece and southwest Anatolia had purely local ambitions.
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