The subject of the emperor in the Byzantine world may seem likely to be a well-studied topic but there is no book devoted to the emperor in general covering the span of the Byzantine empire. Of course there are studies on individual emperors, dynasties and aspects of the imperial office/role, but there remains no equivalent to Fergus Millar’s The Emperor in the Roman World (from which the proposed volume takes inspiration for its title and scope). The oddity of a lack of a general study of the Byzantine emperor is compounded by the fact that a series of books devoted to Byzantine empresses was published in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Thus it is appropriate to turn the spotlight on the emperor.
Themes covered by the contributions include: questions of dynasty and imperial families; the imperial court and the emperor’s men; imperial duties and the emperor as ruler; imperial literature (the emperor as subject and author); and the material emperor, including imperial images and spaces.
The volume fills a need in the field and the market, and also brings new and cutting-edge approaches to the study of the Byzantine emperor. Although the volume cannot hope to be a comprehensive treatment of the emperor in the Byzantine world it aims to cover a broad chronological and thematic span and to play a vital part in setting the agenda for future work. The subject of the Byzantine emperor has also an obvious relevance for historians working on rulership in other cultures and periods.
Table of Contents
List of figures; Foreword; List of contributors; List of abbreviations; Note on spelling of names; Introduction, Shaun Tougher; Part I: Dynasty: Imperial families; 1. Family, dynasty, and the construction of legitimacy from Augustus to the Theodosians, Mark Humphries; 2. The shifting importance of dynasty in Heraclian ideology, Mike Humphreys; 3. Revisiting the bachelorhood of Basil II, Mark Masterson; 4. Byzantine emperors and sultans of Rūm: Sharing power?, Dimitri Korobeinikov; Part II: The emperor’s Men: Court and empire; 5. Celibacy and survival in court politics in the fifth century AD, Meaghan McEvoy; 6. The emperor’s ‘significant others’: Alexios I Komnenos and his ‘Pivot to the West’, Jonathan Shepard; 7. Who was who at the court of Constantine XI, 1449-1453, Jonathan Harris; Part III: The emperor as ruler: Duties and ideals; 8. ‘Law is king of all things’? The emperor and the law, Bernard H. Stolte; 9. The emperor at war: Duties and ideals, Frank R. Trombley and Shaun Tougher; Part IV: Imperial literature: Emperor as subject and author; 10. Imperial panegyric: Hortatory or deliberative oratory?, John Vanderspoel; 11. The iconoclast saint: Emperor Theophilos in Byzantine hagiography, Oscar Prieto Domínguez; 12. Splendour, vigour, and legitimacy: The prefaces of the Book of Ceremonies (De cerimoniis) and Byzantine imperial theory, Prerona Prasad; 13. Ideological and political contestations in post-1204 Byzantium: The orations of Niketas Choniates and the imperial court of Nicaea, Nikolaos G. Chrissis; 14. The emperor in the History of John VI Kantakouzenos (1347-1354), Savvas Kyriakidis; Part V: The material emperor: Image, space and empire; 15. The emperor at the threshold: Making and breaking taxis at Hagia Sophia, Alicia Walker; 16. Taking it on the road: The palace on the move, Lynn Jones; 17. Unveiling Byzantium in Wales: Connections and collections, Mark Redknap; Index
Shaun Tougher is Reader in Ancient History at Cardiff University. He specialises in late Roman and Byzantine political and social history. His publications include The Reign of Leo VI (886–912) (1997), Julian the Apostate (2007), The Eunuch in Byzantine History and Society (2008), Emperor and Author: The Writings of Julian the Apostate (2012, co-edited with Nicholas Baker-Brian), and Approaches to the Byzantine Family (2013, co-edited with Leslie Brubaker). He is a Series Editor for Palgrave Macmillan’s New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture.
"The Emperor in the Byzantine World is coherent and mostly quite readable... it is a welcome contribution" - Mike Markowitz, The NYMAS Review
"This book is very useful, as it allows us to draw up an idea of the functioning of the State around the emperor. What remains to be studied is who was the emperor himself, but further research will certainly help us understand more in the future."- Paolo Odorico, Sehepunkte