ABSTRACT

If the chronicles of the First Crusade and so forth leave a desolate impression of the interior of Asia Minor, the fact is that the travellers who saw it in the thirteenth century carried away, on the contrary, a memory of prosperity by the standards of their time. Evidently it was to a large extent a reconstructed prosperity, yet one should not ascribe to the first Turcoman invasion effects that perhaps it did not have. Certainly the Turcomans killed, hunted down or subjugated not a few, relative to the existing population, and the inevitable result was the abandonment of much cultivated land, failure to maintain works of art and so on. But it must be repeated that from the start of this period, in the first place, the economy of the interior of Asia Minor before the Turcomans was one of sparsely peopled latifundia\ in the second place, the Turcomans did not behave in the same way everywhere; they had no reason to destroy plantations of trees, some of which would probably recover; it was no longer to their interest, or that of any nomad, to do away with the oases of sedentary cultivation. These are indeed unwarranted general suppositions, since there is practically no evidence of the beginnings of their occupation, but they are likely enough. The arrival of sheep-grazing on a large scale no doubt accentuated the steppelike character of various central regions, but the sheep-nomads should not simply be represented as necessarily hostile to the vicinity of sedentary cultivators. The forests, which remained important in most of the zones of the mountain-fringe, must also be taken into consideration. In any case the picture changes completely after some generations. It must also be clearly understood that, independently of the merits or faults in the behaviour of the incoming Turcomans, there was in the structure of the Turkish principalities and then of the Turkish state in Asia Minor an inherent positive element. Byzantine Asia Minor of the late period, a detached margin of

the West, was largely an external property of great absentee landlords, who were interested in its exploitation only insofar as it brought them in revenues which they could spend outside it, whereas the new centres, established or re-established by the Turks, created a profitable demand of whatever size on the spot.