Byzantium in the Year 1000 by Paul Magdalino (ed)

By Paul Magdalino (ed)

1000 years in the past, the Byzantine Empire was once attaining the peak of its revival as a mediaeval nation. the 10 contributions to this quantity by means of students from six eu nations think again key features of the empire's politics and tradition within the lengthy reign of the emperor Basil II.

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But in Italy the empire’s new-found standing and potentia offered an alternative pole of attraction to miscellaneous elites and individuals and this, in turn, made amicitia et pax between the western imperial masters of Rome and the basileus all the more desirable and hard to attain. The protean, often convoluted, nature of ‘east-west’ relations is reflected in the vicissitudes of John Philagathos. His, most probably, is the figure shown performing proskynesis beneath Otto II’s feet on the Musée de Cluny ivory.

96 Some leads in this trail are stronger than others, and a summary fails to do justice to the subtlety as well as the cogency and erudition behind Poppe’s reasoning. At all events, his contention that Boris, Gleb and Theophano were Anna’s children seems to me to carry conviction. Three general observations may be made on the strength of Poppe’s thesis. Firstly, the naming of children after maternal grandparents seems to have been more current in Byzantine than in Rus ruling circles and presumably Anna had a hand in choosing Romanos and Theophano as baptismal names; she could well have been minded to commemorate their imperial antecedents.

34 Liudprand, Legatio, 39, ed. Chiesa, p. 204; Brandes, “Liudprand”, 439–43. 35 Liudprand, Legatio, 39, ed. Chiesa, p. 204. 36 Liudprand’s mode of disparagement departs significantly from the more conventional indictment of Greek trickery and avoidance of pitched battle. 38 Thus eastern fighting strength is explicitly acknowledged. A reference to Byzantine martial prowess may also be discerned in a letter composed by Gerbert of Aurillac on behalf of Hugh Capet and addressed to Basil II and Constantine VIII.

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