1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781409403647
Published February 27, 2011 by Routledge
434 Pages

USD $225.00

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Book Description

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.

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.

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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.


'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