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State and Society in Byzantium

H. Hunger
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature
Vol. 82C (1982), pp. 197-209
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25506088
Page Count: 13
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State and Society in Byzantium
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Abstract

Earlier generations of scholars have had no feeling for the inextricable connection between state and ideology that we find everywhere in Byzantium, where ideology was an instrument of survival, as it was of the consolidation and continued existence of the Empire. Sınce the fourth century there had exısted a multifarious ideological programme according to which the emperor and his rule proceeded from God. The idea of a Christıan oikoumene, a community built on creed and culture organized as a state, prevented the rise of natıonalism. There was no clear concept of either caste or class, and an aristocracy based on descent as in the west was lackıng in Byzantium. The organization of Byzantine society was not static: revolts, usurpations, and the removal and liquidatıon of emperors were not uncommon, resulting sometimes in surprising changes in status for the followers of an emperor or of a powerful man.

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