By Jonathan Shepard
Byzantium lasted one thousand years, governed to the tip by means of self-styled emperors of the Romans. It underwent kaleidoscopic territorial and structural adjustments, but recovered again and again from catastrophe: even after the near-impregnable Constantinople fell in 1204, variation sorts of the empire reconstituted themselves. The Cambridge background of the Byzantine Empire tells the tale, tracing political and army occasions, non secular controversies and monetary switch. It bargains transparent, authoritative chapters at the major occasions and sessions, with extra distinctive chapters on specific outlying areas, neighbouring powers or elements of Byzantium. With aids akin to a word list, another place-name desk and references to English translations of assets, it is going to be useful as an creation. in spite of the fact that, it additionally deals stimulating new techniques and significant new findings, making it crucial examining for postgraduates and for experts.
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Additional info for The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c.500-1492
Meanwhile, and less spectacularly, ruling families and local communities adopted Christianity in the Arabian peninsula, Abyssinia and the Sudan for a variety of reasons, sometimes thanks to proselytisation by sects which operated in rivalry with missionaries sponsored by the emperor (see below, pp. 180, 188–9, 308–11). These movements and cross-currents among other societies and powers posed anomalies and challenges to an empire purporting to embody Christianity on earth. 12 They put in perspective the church councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon and those of the sixth century,13 and also the tug of culturoreligious forces working on imperial decision-making from east and west.
258. i. 35 And a century earlier the sons of an Armenian kom¯es in the imperial armed forces had transmuted into leaders of a Bulgarian insurrection against Byzantine occupation, the Kometopouloi (see below, p. 522). 36 It is by considering some of the other elites with which the imperial court had so much to do that one may hope to understand the workings of the Byzantine empire. If this attention to ‘foreign relations’ appears excessive, such is the price of prying into the human, and not very institutionalised, organs of that empire.
Besides, there was always the possibility that a visiting ethnikos would opt to remain at Constantinople, becoming the emperor’s doulos, even ultimately a Roman. 32 The princely and noble families among the Armenians offered particularly rich pickings for talent-spotters at Constantinople, and lower-born individuals could rise through merit, usually initially military, in the emperor’s service. The families of the Kourkouases and the Lekapenoi are examples of such recruitment. 33 The Armenian lands and their multifarious links with Byzantium were to an extent a special case, but similar processes were underway on most approaches to Byzantium other than central and south-eastern Anatolia in the era of the jihad.
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