Emergent Elites and Byzantium in the Balkans and East-Central Europe: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Emergent Elites and Byzantium in the Balkans and East-Central Europe

1st Edition

By Jonathan Shepard


434 pages

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Hardback: 9781409403647
pub: 2011-02-28

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According to Byzantium's leaders, their imperial order anchored in Constantinople was the centre of excellence - spiritual, moral, material and aesthetic. They rewarded individuals willing to join, and favoured outside groupings prepared to cooperate militarily or politically. Interactions with outsiders varied over place and time, complicated by the sometimes differing priorities of Byzantine churchmen and monks on or beyond Byzantium's borders. These studies consider the dynamics of such interactions, notably the interrelationship between the Bulgarians and their Byzantine neighbour. The Bulgarians' reaction to Byzantium ranged from 'contrarianism' to the systematic adaptation of Byzantine religious orthodoxy, ideals of rulership and normative values after Khan Boris' acceptance of eastern Christianity. For their part, Byzantine rulers were readier to do business with their Bulgarian counterparts than official pronouncements let on, occasionally even adopting aspects of Bulgarian political culture. Byzantium's interrelationship with other ruling elites was less intensive, but the process of Christianisation and the need to format this in readily comprehensible terms could make even distant potentates look to the template of effective Christian sole rulership which Byzantium's rulers embodied. Hungarian and Rus leaders were of abiding geopolitical interest to imperial statecraft, and the studies here show how during the generations around 1000 Byzantine political imagery resonated throughout the region.


'Having read this book, the researcher will have a fresh understanding of the way in which the Emperor spread the Word of Christianity: with the zeal of a real Apostle (at least apparently), but doing it only upon the request of the potentate.' Byzantinoslavica

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Centres old and new, the uses of Byzantium to emerging elites; Spreading the word: Byzantine missions; Slavs and Bulgars; Symeon of Bulgaria - peacemaker; The ruler as instructor, pastor and wise: Leo VI of Byzantium and Symeon of Bulgaria; A marriage too far? Maria Lekapena and Peter of Bulgaria; Tzetzes' letters to Leo at Dristra; Byzantine writers on the Hungarians in the 9th and 10th centuries; Byzantium and the steppe-nomads: the Hungarian dimension; Crowns from the basileus, crowns from heaven; Otto III, Boleslaw Chobry and the 'happening' at Gniezno, A.D. 1000: some possible implications of Professor Poppe's thesis concerning the offspring of Anna Porphyrogenita; Conversions and regimes compared: the Rus' and Poles ca. 1000; Manners maketh Romans? Young barbarians at the emperor's court; Addenda and corrigenda; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Jonathan Shepard is a British historian specializing in early medieval Russia, the Caucasus, and the Byzantine Empire. Formerly University Lecturer in Russian History at the University of Cambridge, he is regarded as a leading authority in Byzantine studies and on the Kievan Rus.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at Michael.Greenwood@informa.com

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Medieval