Who knew there was still nostalgia for the Byzantine Empire?
I came across the video below last night while searching for a clip from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
The profile of the person who put up this video, who goes by the name of Orthodox Dog, reads thusly:
I'm: Serb and Russian, Ultra Orthodox Christian, Slavic nationalist, White patriot, not fucking nazi!!!
Orthodox Dog evidently looks forward to a revived Byzantine Empire via a union of the Orthodox Christian countries of Russia, Greece and Serbia that will recover Istanbul, if the end of the video is any indication.
A number of commenters to the video also write of their lament for the fall of Constantinople as if May 29, 1453 was only yesterday. One of them bitterly decries the Hungarian engineer who designed the cannon used by the Ottomans to batter Constantinople's walls, asserting that if the "traitor" Hungarian had not done so, then the Turks never would have taken the city.
These people really need to chill out. Like all empires, the Eastern Romans, or Byzantines as they are more popularly known, had their time and then faded away. The Byzantines were living on borrowed time for the last five decades or so of their existence, and would have fallen fifty years earlier if the Ottomans did not have to end their siege of Constantinople to deal with Tamerlane. The Byzantines owe their decline and fall as much to their own internal disputes as they do to the sack of 1204 by Latin Crusaders sidelined from their journey to retake Jerusalem or to a Hungarian cannoneer offering his skills to the highest bidder.
But I couldn't help but overlook one really delicious piece of irony. Does Orthodox Dog realize that his beloved Serbs themselves, particularly during the reign of their mid-14th century ruler Stefan Dušan, played an important role in the decline of the Byzantine Empire and the ability of the Ottoman Turks to get a foothold in Europe? A few choice excerpts from the Wikipedia article linked to above:
In the first years of his reign, Dušan started to fight against the Byzantine Empire (1334), and warfare continued with interruptions of various duration until his death in 1355.
Dušan exploited the civil war in the Byzantine Empire between regent Anna of Savoy for the minor Emperor John V Palaiologos and his father's general John Kantakouzenos.
There has been speculation that Dušan's ultimate goal was no less than to conquer Constantinople and replace the declining Byzantine Empire with a united Orthodox Greco-Serbian Empire under his control.
Faced with Dušan's aggression, the Byzantines sought allies in the Turks whom they brought into Europe for the first time.
Yeah, what this world really needs is the revival of a Greek Orthodox theocratic empire. Heck, let's restore the Carthaginian Empire too while we're at it!