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How the Past was UsedHistorical cultures, c. 750-2000$
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Peter Lambert and Björn Weiler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266120

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266120.001.0001

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Imagining Rome in Medieval Constantinople

Imagining Rome in Medieval Constantinople

Memory, Politics and the Past in the Middle Byzantine Period

Chapter:
(p.49) 2 Imagining Rome in Medieval Constantinople
Source:
How the Past was Used
Author(s):

Dimitris Krallis

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266120.003.0002

This chapter suggests that interest in the Roman past during the middle Byzantine period was not evidence of idle antiquarianism but rather a meaningful ingredient in the creation of the Byzantines’ imagined community. Focusing on the modulations of Roman themes within the context of Byzantine writing we may therefore better map medieval processes of identity formation. This chapter explores instances of such engagement with the Roman past, and more specifically with the history of the Republic in Byzantine texts from the early tenth to the mid-twelfth centuries. It thus looks at the ways in which distant history was woven onto the fabric of contemporary political narrative, becoming a newly familiar component of an evolving political and more broadly cultural identity.

Keywords:   Byzantine writing, Roman past, middle Byzantine period, Roman themes, cultural identity

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