Authority in Byzantium  book cover
1st Edition

Authority in Byzantium

Edited By

Pamela Armstrong

ISBN 9781409436089
Published March 18, 2013 by Routledge
388 Pages

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Book Description

Authority is an important concept in Byzantine culture whose myriad modes of implementation helped maintain the existence of the Byzantine state across so many centuries, binding together people from different ethnic groups, in different spheres of life and activities. Even though its significance to understanding the Byzantine world is so central, it is nonetheless imperfectly understood. The present volume brings together an international cast of scholars to explore this concept. The contributions are divided into nine sections focusing on different aspects of authority: the imperial authority of the state, how it was transmitted from the top down, from Constantinople to provincial towns, how it dealt with marginal legal issues or good medical practice; authority in the market place, whether directly concerning over-the-counter issues such as coinage, weights and measures, or the wider concerns of the activities of foreign traders; authority in the church, such as the extent to which ecclesiastical authority was inherent, or how constructs of religious authority ordered family life; the authority of knowledge revealed through imperial patronage or divine wisdom; the authority of text, though its conformity with ancient traditions, through the Holy scriptures and through the authenticity of history; exhibiting authority through images of the emperor or the Divine. The final section draws on personal experience of three great ’authorities’ within Byzantine Studies: Ostrogorsky, Beck and Browning.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Part I The Authority of the State: Aspects of moral leadership: the imperial city, and lucre from legality, Jonathan Shepard; Trial by ordeal in Byzantium: on whose authority?, Ruth Macrides; A case study: the use of the nominative on imperial portraits from Antiquity to Byzantium, Sergey Ivanov; Response, Susan Reynolds. Part II Authority in the Market-Place: Displaying the emperor’s authority and kharaktèr on the marketplace, Cécile Morrisson; The authority of the Eparchos in the markets of Constantinople (according to the Book of the Eparch), Johannes Koder; Response, Chris Wickham. Part III The Authority of the Church: Coming of age in Byzantium: agency and authority in rites of passage from infancy to adulthood, Jane Baun; The authority of the Church in uneasy times: the example of Demetrios Chomatenos, archbishop of Ohrid, in the state of Epiros, 1216-1236, Günter Prinzing; Response, Miri Rubin. Part IV Authority within the Family: Family ties, bonds of kinship (9th-11th centuries), Christine Angelidi; The limits of marital authority: examining continence in the lives of Saints Julian and Basilissa, and Saints Chrysanthus and Daria, Anne P. Alwis; Response, Janet Nelson. Part V The Authority of Knowledge: Knowledge in authority and authorised history: the imperial intellectual programme of Leo VI and Constantine VII, Paul Magdalino; The authority of knowledge in the name of the authority of mimesis, Charalambos Bakirtzis; On whose authority? Regulating medical practice in the 12th and early 13th centuries, Dionysios Stathakopoulos; Response, Alexander Murray. Part VI The Authority of the Text: Believe it or not: authority in religious texts, Albrecht Berger; From the workshop of Niketas Choniates: the authority of tradition and literary mimesis, Alicia Simpson; ’And many, many more’: a 16th-century description of private libraries in Constantinople, and the authority of books, Marc D. Lauxtermann. Part VII Exhibiting A

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Dr Pamela Armstrong is Director, Oxford Byzantine Ceramics Project, Member of the Sub-faculty of Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, and Member of Common Room, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK.


'This is a wonderful collection of papers.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'A prize for diversity of content can be awarded to the contributors.' English Historical Review