Imperial Legitimacy and Usurpation in Early Byzantium
This chapter shifts the focus to the Eastern empire, examining the evolution of perceptions of tyranny in Byzantium from the late Roman period to the eighth century. The chapter shows that these constitute the inverse of crucial concepts in Byzantine imperial ideology, particularly with regard to issues of religious orthodoxy, moral integrity, military efficiency, and administrative competence. Furthermore, it argues that the nature and scope of these perceptions can be better understood when examined in conjunction with the discourse of tyrannicide and usurpation as deployed in a broad spectrum of historical, hagiographic, and propagandistic works. The discussions commonly surrounding cases of legally precarious coups d’état offer insights into when, how, and why political actors came to be considered as tyrants in the first centuries of the Byzantine millennium.
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