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Réflexions sur pouvoir et démesure à Byzance

Abstract : Byzantine monarchy may be defined as an autocracy of theocratic origin: the basileus was considered as God’s representative – hence the part ceremonial played in underlining the emperor’s sacred character. Nevertheless, several rituals existed in Byzantium to protect the basileus from hubris – rituals that reminded him of the transitory character of power and of his necessary subservience to the Almighty (uncrowning rite, memento mori, derision practices, mimesis Christou). The mirrors of princes express similar admonishing: they insist upon the emperor’s human frailty and solidarity with other men, and put emphasis on the Christian virtue of humility. These texts show how much Byzantine political theory was influenced by Holy Scripture: the Bible was read as a repertory of models and counter-examples, with which contemporary events were to be compared, according to a typological interpretation of history, prone to see hubris as the main dividing criterion between good and bad people.
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Contributor : Corinne Jouanno <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 22, 2019 - 8:33:01 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 2:11:56 PM

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Corinne Jouanno. Réflexions sur pouvoir et démesure à Byzance. Kentron. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde antique, Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2007, 23, pp.127-165. ⟨10.4000/kentron.1751⟩. ⟨hal-02377035⟩

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