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The reaction of the Orthodox Church to the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) arguably set a pattern that would persist until the end of Byzantium. While members of the hierarchy were mostly opposed to accepting invitations to attend the council, the Emperor Theodore i Laskaris saw it as an opportunity to open up a dialogue with the papacy in the hope of deriving some political advantage. This episode reveals that negotiations over the Union of Churches divided Byzantine society in a way that had not happened before 1204.
Perhaps Meg Alexiou has said all that needs to be said in her Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition about the famous lament for the fall of Constantinople, with which Nicetas Choniates concludes his narrative of the sack of the city by the Latins. Other treatments of this lament have had little to add. As one might expect from Nicetas Choniates, his lament is in literary terms a highly accomplished piece of writing interweaving a major theme – the parallel of the fall of Constantinople and the fall of Jerusalem – with a minor theme – the struggle of Hellenism against the forces of barbarism. He develops the latter more fully in his De Signis, as it is conventionally known, where he itemises the classical statuary destroyed by the crusaders. Normally, as Anthony Kaldellis has warned, it is a mistake to take anything that Nicetas Choniates writes at face value. However, the lament is not laughter in disguise. Choniates rebukes those who to the strains of the lyre make fun of Constantinople's plight. In this case, he means exactly what he says, which may be the reason why there is so little to say about it.
Choniates’ History contains another lament for the fall of Constantinople, which Nicetas Choniates purports to have extemporised as he passed through the gates of Constantinople into exile.
He reproached the walls of Constantinople, which stood as tall as ever, for failing to protect the Byzantines. He beseeches the city to intercede with God for them, but the main theme is what is going to happen to them now that they have been torn away ‘like darling children from their adoring mother’. This lament is far more emotional and personal than his earlier and much more formal lament. It has more in common with the other laments for Constantinople penned by Nicetas Choniates and others, such as his brother Michael, in the funeral orations which they delivered in the aftermath of the fall. These are of great value for the way they bring out the emotional response of a group of highly educated members of the Byzantine elite to the fall of Constantinople. It is this emotional response on which I shall concentrate.
I am guessing, but I suspect that Bryer's first introduction to Nicholas Mesarites was like mine through a very short article by A. A. Vasiliev, entitled ‘Mesarites as a source’,1 which was a footnote to his much more substantial ‘The foundation of the Empire of Trebizond’,2 which dominated the field for years. Vasiliev was responding to a criticism by Franz Dölger, who suggested that Vasiliev might have benefited from a perusal of the works of Nicholas Mesarites, which had been edited by his old master August Heisenberg.3 Vasiliev was adamant Nicholas Mesarites had little to contribute to the early history of the Empire of Trebizond. In his opinion, the Seljuq inscription from the walls of Sinope, which Heisenberg included in his commentary, was far more valuable than anything that could be gleaned from Mesarites’ writings. This rather explains why they remained a neglected source.
It comes as no surprise that the Synopsis Minor of the Basilics has been more or less neglected by modern scholars, for it is hardly an impressive monument of Byzantine jurisprudence. It is little more than a hack compilation of excerpts taken for the most part from the Synopsis Major of the Basilics and the Ponema Iuris of the eleventh-century historian Michael Attaleiates. Its main interest lies in the inclusion of some of Manuel I Komnenos’s (1143–80) legislation. This furnishes a terminus post quern for the date of the Synopsis Minor. A terminus ante quern is furnished by its earliest manuscript, which dates from the late thirteenth century. K. E. Zachariae von Lingenthal, the editor of the Synopsis Minor, ventured to suggest that it was compiled under the Emperors of Nicaea, most probably during the reign of John III Vatatzes (1222–54). Modern scholarship has followed him, with a greater or lesser degree of conviction.
The fall of Constantinople on the night of 13 April 1204 to the Venetians and the soldiers of the fourth crusade is taken as the crucial turning point of the history of the later Byzantine Empire. For many the final period of Byzantine history is nothing but the pathetic survival of a state built on the memories of its former greatness. This is in many ways far too gloomy a picture. Constantinople was to be recovered by the Byzantines in 1261; and we should not forget that the last centuries of Byzantium saw a flowering of Byzantine art and scholarship. This achievement naturally directs our attention to the period of exile, when the foundations of this ‘Last Byzantine Renaissance’, as it has been called, were laid. In exile the Byzantine Empire was re-established and the Byzantine heritage preserved, at a time when both appeared to be in danger of being recreated in a Latin image, for a Latin emperor and a Latin patriarch had been established in Constantinople in place of the Byzantine emperor and the Byzantine patriarch. The fall of Constantinople, indeed, produced a feeling of fatalism and despondency among the Byzantines. There was a tendency to accept the Latin conquest. The peasantry of Thrace even took pleasure in the discomfiture of the Byzantine aristocrats and intellectuals of Constantinople. Some Byzantine magnates attempted to organize resistance to the Latin conquest, but even this, at least in the aftermath of the fall of Constantinople, was probably done in the hope of securing a favourable bargaining position with the Latins. One of the great Byzantine magnates of Thrace, the Caesar Theodore Vranas, entered the ranks of the Latin aristocracy. Even Michael Angelos, the founder of what we have come to know as the Despotate of Epiros, was willing to submit for a short while to the authority of the Latin emperor.
Two issues are addressed here: the status of Byzantine autobiography and the state of Byzantine literary culture in its last years. Autobiographical information was mostly a device used at all levels of Byzantine literature for immediacy, emphasis and to suggest personal involvement. It continued to function in this way in the last years of Byzantium, but there was also a degree of experimentation, as it extended its range into satire and comedy and, in the hands of Theodore Agallianos evolved from the rhetoric of apologia into fully-fledged autobiography.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
The importance of including developmental and environmental measures in genetic studies of human pathology is widely acknowledged, but few empirical studies have been published. Barriers include the need for longitudinal studies that cover relevant developmental stages and for samples large enough to deal with the challenge of testing gene–environment–development interaction. A solution to some of these problems is to bring together existing data sets that have the necessary characteristics. As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Gene-Environment-Development Initiative, our goal is to identify exactly which genes, which environments, and which developmental transitions together predict the development of drug use and misuse. Four data sets were used of which common characteristics include (1) general population samples, including males and females; (2) repeated measures across adolescence and young adulthood; (3) assessment of nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis use and addiction; (4) measures of family and environmental risk; and (5) consent for genotyping DNA from blood or saliva. After quality controls, 2,962 individuals provided over 15,000 total observations. In the first gene–environment analyses, of alcohol misuse and stressful life events, some significant gene–environment and gene–development effects were identified. We conclude that in some circumstances, already collected data sets can be combined for gene–environment and gene–development analyses. This greatly reduces the cost and time needed for this type of research. However, care must be taken to ensure careful matching across studies and variables.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is highly co-morbid with depression. Depression is associated with elevated levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP), cross-sectionally and over time. To date, no studies have looked at the association between CRP and GAD.
A total of nine waves of data from the prospective population-based Great Smoky Mountains Study (n=1420) were used, covering children in the community aged 9–16, 19 and 21 years old. Structured interviews were used at each assessment to assess GAD symptoms, diagnosis and cumulative episodes. Blood spots were collected and assayed for high-sensitivity CRP levels.
GAD was associated with increased levels of CRP in bivariate cross-sectional analyses. These bivariate associations, however, were attenuated after accounting for demographic, substance-use and health-related covariates. In longitudinal models, there was little evidence that CRP predicted later GAD. Associations from GAD to later CRP were attenuated in models adjusted for health-related coavariates and there was evidence that the GAD–CRP association was mediated by body mass index (BMI) and medication use.
Similar to depression, GAD was associated with elevated levels of CRP, but the effect of GAD on CRP levels was explained by the effect of GAD on health-related behaviors such as BMI and medication use. This study suggests differences in the association between inflammation and depression and GAD.
Rates of alcohol disorders peak in late adolescence and decrease substantially into the mid-20s. Our aim was to identify risk factors that predict alcohol problems that persist into the mid-20s.
Data are from the prospective, population-based Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS; n=1420), which followed children through late adolescence and into young adulthood. Alcohol persisters were defined as subjects with an alcohol disorder (abuse or dependence) in late adolescence (ages 19 and 21 years) that continued to meet criteria for an alcohol disorder at the mid-20s assessment.
The 3-month prevalence of having an alcohol disorder (abuse or dependence) decreased markedly from late adolescence into the mid-20s. A third of late adolescents with an alcohol disorder continued to meet criteria for an alcohol disorder in young adulthood (37 of 144 who met criteria in late adolescence). Risk factors for persister status included multiple alcohol abuse criteria during late adolescence but no alcohol dependence criteria. Risk factors for persister status also included associated features of alcohol dependence such as craving alcohol and drinking to unconsciousness. Persister status was also associated with depression, cannabis dependence and illicit substance use, but not with other psychiatric disorders. More than 90% of late adolescents with three or more of the risk factors identified met criteria for a young adult alcohol disorder.
Symptoms of alcohol abuse, not dependence, best predict long-term persistence of alcohol problems. The set of risk factors identified may be a useful screen for selective and indicated prevention efforts.