1st Edition

Byzantium in the Eleventh Century Being in Between

Edited By Marc D. Lauxtermann, Mark Whittow Copyright 2017
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The eleventh century in Byzantium is all about being in between, whether this is between Basil II and Alexios Komnenos, between the forces of the Normans, the Pechenegs and the Turks, or between different social groupings, cultural identities and religious persuasions. It is a period of fundamental changes and transformations, both internal and external, but also a period rife with clichés and dominated by the towering presence of Michael Psellos whose usually self-contradictory accounts continue to loom large in the field of Byzantine studies. The essays collected here, which were delivered at the 45th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, explore new avenues of research and offer new perspectives on this transitional period. The book is divided into four thematic clusters: 'The age of Psellos' studies this crucial figure and seeks to situate him in his time; 'Social structures' is concerned with the ways in which the deep structures of Byzantine society and economy responded to change; 'State and Church' offers a set of studies of various political developments in eleventh-century Byzantium; and 'The age of spirituality' offers the voices of those for whom Psellos had little time and little use: monks, religious thinkers and pious laymen.

    List of Figures

    Notes on Contributors



    Marc D. Lauxtermann



    Section I The Age of Psellos

    1. Paul Magdalino

    From ‘encyclopaedism’ to ‘humanism’: the turning point of Basil II and the millennium

    2. Michael Jeffreys

    Michael Psellos and the eleventh century: a double helix of reception

    3. Floris Bernard

    Authorial practices and competitive performance in the works of Michael Psellos

    4. Jean-Claude Cheynet

    L’administration provinciale dans la correspondance de Michel Psellos


    Section II Social Structures

    5. James Howard-Johnston

    The Peira and legal practices in eleventh-century Byzantium

    6. Peter Sarris

    Beyond the great plains and the barren hills: rural landscapes and social structures in eleventh-century Byzantium

    7. Tim Greenwood

    Aristakēs Lastivertc‘i and Armenian urban consciousness


    Section III State and Church

    8. Mark Whittow

    The second fall: the place of the eleventh century in Roman history

    9. Jonathan Shepard

    Storm clouds and a thunderclap: east-west tensions towards the mid-eleventh century

    10. Dimitris Krallis

    Urbanite warriors: smoothing out tensions between soldiers and civilians in Attaleiates’ encomium to Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates

    11. Judith Ryder

    Leo of Chalcedon: conflicting ecclesiastical models in the Byzantine eleventh century

    12. Peter Frankopan

    Re-interpreting the role of the family in Comnenian Byzantium: where blood is not thicker than water


    Section IV The Age of Spirituality

    13. Dirk Krausmüller

    From competition to conformity: saints’ lives, typika, and the Byzantine monastic discourse of the eleventh century

    14. Barbara Crostini<


    Marc D. Lauxtermann is Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford University. He hails from Amsterdam. He has written extensively on Byzantine poetry and metre, and is the co-editor of a recent book on the letters of Psellos. Further research interests include translations of oriental tales in Byzantium, the earliest grammars and dictionaries of vernacular Greek, and the development of the Greek language in the eighteenth century.

    Mark Whittow is the University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at the University of Oxford. Recent or forthcoming publications include 'Byzantium’s Eurasian Policy in the Age of the Türk Empire', in Maas and Di Cosmo's Entangled Empires: Rome, Iran, China, and the Eurasian Steppe in Late Antiquity (2017); 'Byzantium and the Feudal Revolution' in Howard-Johnston and Whittow's The Transformation of Byzantium (2017); 'The End of Antiquity in the Lykos Valley' in Şimşek's, The Lykos Valley and Neighbourhood in Late Antiquity (2016).