How the Advanced Byzantine Empire Was Felled by an Inept Leader Who Owed Money to Crusaders

In a prescient Ted Ed lesson written by educator Leonora Neville and animated by Remus Buznea and Kyriaki Kyriakou, narrator Addison Anderson recounts the history of the Byzantine Empire, specifically how the society flourished artistically, technologically, mathematically and scientifically under the rule of Constantin. It also was during this time that the famous Hagia Sophia temple was built, the working class thrived in a variety of professions and women such as Anna Komnene, were respected as great intellectuals. It was the subsequent actions of Constantin’s nephew Alexios Angelos IV, who spawned a revolution by promising great riches to eager crusaders if they deposed his uncle and put him into power that took down the empire. Angelos never made good on his debt.

But their advances couldn’t protect the Empire forever. In 1203, an army of French and Venetian Crusaders made a deal with a man named Alexios Angelos. Alexios was the son of a deposed emperor, and promised the crusaders vast riches and support to help him retake the throne from his uncle. Alexios succeeded, but after a year, the population rebelled and Alexios himself was deposed and killed. So Alexios’s unpaid army turned their aggression on Constantinople.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.