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Leo VI and the Transformation of Byzantine Christian Identity
Writings of an Unexpected Emperor


  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107053076

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • The Byzantine emperor Leo VI (886–912), was not a general or even a soldier, like his predecessors, but a scholar, and it was the religious education he gained under the tutelage of the patriarch Photios that was to distinguish him as an unusual ruler. This book analyses Leo's literary output, focusing on his deployment of ideological principles and religious obligations to distinguish the characteristics of the Christian oikoumene from the Islamic caliphate, primarily in his military manual known as the Taktika. It also examines in depth his 113 legislative Novels, with particular attention to their theological prolegomena, showing how the emperor's religious sensibilities find expression in his reshaping of the legal code to bring it into closer accord with Byzantine canon law. Meredith L. D. Riedel argues that the impact of his religious faith transformed Byzantine cultural identity and influenced his successors, establishing the Macedonian dynasty as a 'golden age' in Byzantium.

    • Explores important developments for the middle Byzantine period with respect to the increasing focus on Christianity and religion as key identifiers of East Roman imperial rule and society
    • Shows the increasing emphasis placed on the differences between Christianity and Islam, and the deployment of Christian identity by the Byzantine emperor
    • Highlights the political and ideological strategies employed by Leo VI in his literary output, with discussions of his most important works
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107053076
    • length: 236 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The reign of Leo VI
    2. Romans imitating Saracens?
    3. The Byzantine Christian approach to war
    4. The ideal Christian general
    5. A new Solomon
    6. Imperial sacrality in action
    7. Leo VI as homilist
    8. Byzantines as 'chosen people'
    9. Byzantine Christian statecraft.

  • Author

    Meredith L. D. Riedel, Duke University, North Carolina
    Meredith L. D. Riedel is an Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity at Duke University, North Carolina. She is a historian of early medieval Byzantine political thought and comparative religion, and is currently writing a book on the first five hundred years of interaction between Byzantium and the Caliphate. She serves on the Governing Body of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America.

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