The Australian Association for Byzantine Studies XVth Biennial Conference was held to honour Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys. This meeting’s theme was ‘Imperium and Culture’, looking at the relationship between imperial patronage and involvement in various aspects of cultural expression.
The Conference was held 8-10 February 2008 at New College at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
Deploying Heresy Against Imperium: The Synodical Letter of Sophronius of Jerusalem
Pauline Allen, Australian Catholic University
In this paper I will be giving an historical overview of the monoenergist controversy, which arose in the early part of the seventh century out of an imperial attempt to bring about ecclesiastical unity, and examining the function of synodical letters in this debate. These were letters composed by patriarchs and bishops on their accession which were intended to demonstrate the orthodoxy of the new hierarch. After providing an outline of the Synodical Letter of Sophronius of Jerusalem, written in 634, I will pay especial attention to the two heresiologies contained uncharacteristically in this document, concentrating on the patriarch’s sources, methodology and aims.
Court Poets: The Functioning of Literary Patronage in the Eleventh Century
Floris Bernard, University of Ghent
This paper aims to clarify and illustrate the role of poetry in the social relationships between and within the intellectual elite of the mid-11th century and the imperial court.
It is commonly known that after the death of Basil II social progress had become more easily attainable by climbing up the ranks of civil administration. This social progress had two peculiar features in the mid-11th century: firstly, personal skills were valued more than familial descent, which explains the increasing importance of education in this period; and secondly, acquired positions were extremely unstable, as different factions fought for prominence in the quickly shifting imperial favour. Therefore, building up a broad network including influential persons at court could offer protection and intercession in the struggle for rewarding positions. Literary culture served as a shared acquirement that strengthened the solidarity within such a network. At the same time the emperors, originating from this very elite, were willing to invest in literary culture, and specifically in poetry. During the reign of Constantine Monomachos an elite came to the fore that centred around the influential Michael Psellos. This powerful network included Psellos’ teacher John Mauropous, another important poet of this period, but did apparently not comprise Christopher of Mytilene, the third 11th-century poet of any renown.
This paper tries to elucidate the role of poetry as a means to foster personal relationships in order to fulfil social ambitions. Poetry could emphasize the education the members of this intellectual elite shared with one another. The personal dedications and addresses, and the ubiquitous panegyric tone of poetry point to its use as a prestigious personal gift, a generically stereotype expression of friendly (or inimical) feelings where just the name of the addressee could be changed to adapt it to an other social occasion. In this context, imperial patronage is not a matter of sheer payment per line (as maybe in later or earlier centuries), but the overarching power in a system where it was commonly accepted that the dedication of a literary work was a prestigious service that deserved some reward.
Based on these conceptions, this paper addresses some questions about the precise mechanisms of the imperial investment in poetry. On which aesthetic or cultural presumptions is the prestige of poetry founded? How did poets reuse and adapt poetry to the needs and tastes of different emperors? On which occasion could a poet deliver his poems to an emperor? Why did succeeding emperors feel the need to commission didactical works in verse? Furthermore, we draw attention to some inscriptions and unedited epigrams which point to a much wider practice of imperially promoted poetry than appears from the poetry collections of just the three ‘great’ poets.
Incubation, Icons and Imperium in Early Byzantium
Phil Booth, Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Post-Justinianic Byzantium produced several collections of miracles centred on the phenomenon of Christian incubatory healing: the Constantinopolitan Miracles of Artemius, the Thessalonican Miracles of Demetrius and the Alexandrian Miracles of Cyrus and John. Such collections took their literary inspiration from the various Miracles of Cosmas and Damian produced in late sixth-century Constantinople. The Cosmas and Damian cult had risen to prominence within the capital on the back of imperial patronage, enjoying the promotion of both Justinian and his successors. That promotion thus partook of a process by which sixth- and seventh-century emperors increasingly associated themselves with heavenly protectors.
Despite such associations, this paper contends that the incubatory experience could both reinforce and undermine imperial authority. By virtue of the dream experience, and the direct revelation of the divine which ensued, narratives of oneiric healing immediately raised the problem of supernatural access: who could experience the divine, what were the necessary pre-requisites, and how the experience was mediated.
Thus, in the Constantinopolitan collections, the cult is fully integrated into the structures of imperial and patriarchal authority. The patient must go through necessary ecclesiastical rituals before they can experience the saints; the patients are, furthermore, frequently civic notables and the saints themselves will appear as senators and bureaucrats. The oneiric experience is thus fully contextualised within the hierarchical rhythms of sacred and secular authority.
In contrast, the Miracles of Cyrus and John by Sophronius Sophista are antithetical in their emphases. In Sophronius’ text, the experience of the saints has no prerequisites beyond the adoption of strict ascetic virtue, and the ecclesiastical and ritual contexts of the shrine are consistently marginalised. The Miracles contain a complex but consistent ascetical, dyothelete cosmology which gives no acknowledgement to the structures of terrestrial authority. While that scheme is typically monastic, it nonetheless provides invaluable insight into Sophronius’ later emergence as an opponent of imperially-sponsored monotheletism and, indeed, imperialism itself.
In conclusion, this paper argues that incubation was a cultural development complementary to icon piety: cultic iconography conditioned oneiric experience; the latter, in turn, stimulated iconographic production. Both phenomena were, furthermore, grounded in the same ‘ideological reorientation’ (Haldon). The late sixth-century crisis of empire precipitated a broad cultural shift in religious sensibilities by which established patterns of spiritual authority were devolved. Within a context of periodic warfare and economic downturn, icons and incubation offered the opportunity for the direct and reassuring presence of a divine protector.
Emperors were complicit in the promotion of both phenomena. But contemporary incubation epitomised the same implicit tensions as pre-iconoclastic icon piety. In their local, public aspect, both provided a centripetal medium for the expression of cultural integration and of collective identity. But detached from the context of public ritual, both could come to promote an unimpeded centrifugalism which emphasised the unmediated revelation of the divine and the potential redundancy of the sacramental and hierarchical structures both of empire and of Church. Incubation thus contributed to an ‘over-production of the holy’ (Brown) which would eventually lead to iconoclasm.
Archbishops, Generals and Governors in Early Byzantine Greece
Amelia Brown, University of California, Berkeley
The question of imperium in Early Byzantium is particularly vexed in the case of modern Greece. Between eastern and western emperors (and their high officials), between popes and patriarchs, sectarian strife repeatedly reared its head on the Greek peninsula between the fourth and seventh centuries. Flamboyant opportunists like Alaric were quick to exploit the rift between east and west, but the more ordinary practice of imperial and ecclesiastical authority and patronage in capital cities like Corinth and Thessaloniki has long been obscure. Modern historiography as ancient is more concerned with spectacular disasters; Byzantine excavations in Greece are a fairly recent phenomenon. However the epigraphic, sculptural and architectural evidence is now at last emerging for the struggles between east and west, local and imperial, secular and ecclesiastic. Over a century of excavation at Ancient Corinth has uncovered more imperial portraits and inscriptions there than anywhere else in the Balkans, along with the churches which record in stone the widening divide between eastern and western Christianity. Marble men in imperial uniform and their bases record terms of office, local patronage and continuity of sculptural production; they mark Corinth as the capital of Achaia, and answer questions of provincial authority and benefaction. Portraits from Thessaloniki, capital of Macedonia, echo the military men active in Corinth, and also reveal the slow shift in authority from decurions to governors to bishops. Some of the residences and offices of these imperial authorities have also been identified in Corinth as well as in Thessaloniki. Modern excavation methods and pottery chronologies contribute important new details, as does renewed recognition of Byzantine rhetoric regarding the region. Finally, with the scholarly renaissance in the countries north of Greece, archaeology in those regions provides important parallels for imperial officials and their activities farther south. In short the imperial and ecclesiastical struggles in the texts take on new dimensions, and reconstructing the activities and authority of archbishops, generals and governors in Greece sheds new light on local history and wider patterns of change.
The Alexiad and the Last Constantine
Penelope Buckley, The University of Melbourne
One standard move in imperial propaganda was to describe an emperor as a Second Constantine. Anna Komnene transforms this into a portrayal of ‘the emperor Alexius, my father’ as not just the Second Constantine – the only Second Constantine – but the Last. After Alexios there is, as it were, nothing.
One way of reading the Alexiad is to see it as a response to Psellos’s melancholy claim that none of the emperors in his time remained good throughout a whole reign. Komnene constructs her emperor as one whose virtuous character adapted and evolved to meet the changing demands of the imperial situation in an unprecedentedly difficult period. To do this, she makes him embody or resemble a series of archetypal predecessors, with especial focus on the most celebrated ones. She patterns her history on Basil I’s Life and brings her staple military narrative to a peak with a resemblance to Basil II. She evokes other emperors in carefully placed details – Theodosius I and John Tzimisces among them – and she examines Alexios’s likeness to the two archetypes in the Chronographia, the genial domestic icon Constantine IX and the soldier-emperor Isaac Comnenus. She finds that he can call on their strengths and virtues without succumbing to their weaknesses and she does this without naming them, her comparisons being evident through her cultural references and textual borrowings.
Only one comparison is explicit: his likeness to Constantine the Great. This is prepared for in great detail throughout the text but breaks the surface only near the end, when she calls Alexios ‘the thirteenth apostle’, a character assumed by Constantine in his funeral monument. Alexios himself is drawing towards his end. From being seen as a great warrior he is becoming an emperor who settles ‘by peaceful means all that is normally accomplished by war and strife’, while his character as a theocrat, always marked, is in a process of expansion. He is likened to Constantine ‘in both roles – as emperor and as apostle’. All the tacit points of likeness through the text are activated by the explicit comparison. The one point missing from the likeness is the prolonged deathbed confirmation of the succession. Instead, Komnene uses the comparison to metaphysicalize Alexios’s greatest achievements: his new army formation, his Last Judgment of heretics, his building of the Second City. As Christ fulfilled the prophecies and as the new heaven of the apocalypse will be a further fulfilment, so Alexios fulfils the Constantinian beginnings. Constantine founded a new Rome and constructed a new Jerusalem. Alexios builds his New Jerusalem within New Rome. Komnene realigns the elements of genre to take Alexios’s empire to the threshold of the next world and to make it clear that both this Christ-like emperor and the possibilities he realized vanish at his death. There can be no more Constantines and no more truly Roman empire. Among other things, the great Alexiad uses the Constantinian myth to serve the polemical thrust of Komnene’s anti-imperial counter-propaganda.
Some New Suggestions on Ceramic Art: Comparison of Late Byzantine and Turkish Periods
Muradiye Bursali, Anadolu University
With the arrival of the Turks into Anatolia, interaction began between the Turkish and Byzantine cultures. There was a significant influence of the Turk population, particularly after the eleventh century. On the other hand, a sharp alteration of Turkish culture generally didn’t actualize in daily life.
Motifs, styles and production techniques did change within the area of ceramic production and art, however. With the introduction and dominance of Aegean Incised Ware, new ceramic styles greatly influenced early Turkish pottery.
But in the eleventh through fourteenth centuries, Anatolia passed from Byzantine, to Seljuk, to early Ottoman domination. Accordingly, it becomes difficult to distinguish and classify ceramic styles. After the end of the production of Aegean Incised Ware, some different types of ceramics appeared with new decorative styles, but which still show a strong Byzantine influence.
The aim of this paper is to draw attention to Byzantine styles and production techniques with Anatolian samples, with the aim of classification and evaluation of ceramic art in this period.
Poetry and Propaganda: The Emperor Anastasius I as Pompey
Brian Croke, Catholic Education Commission of New South Wales
The emperor Anastasius I (491-518) was celebrated by the panegyrist Priscian as a modern Pompey who not only emulated the famous Roman general but who outperformed him by conquering the rebellious Isaurians then duly celebrated a triumph at Constantinople in 498. This paper explores the use of Pompey as a propaganda motif at the court of Anastasius by both Priscian and Christodorus of Thebes. It seeks to explain how the emperor exploited the name of ‘Pompeius’ in his own family to posit connections of blood and culture with Pompeius Magnus. Moreover, it will be argued that Anastasius’ Pompeian propaganda was inspired and sustained by the existence in 5th-century Constantinople of statues to Pompey which the Byzantines erected in 61 BC to commemorate their involvement in his victories over the Cilician/Isaurian pirates and the Pontic king Mithridates.
Pope Zaccharias I (741- 52) and the Greek Translation of Gregory the Great’s Dialogues on the Miracles of the Italian Fathers in the Context of Eighth-century Byzantine Iconoclasm
Matthew J. Dal Santo, Jesus College, Cambridge
Zacharias I was the last of a long line of thirteen Greek-speaking popes who occupied the throne of St Peter since 607. His pontificate is usually associated with the liquidation by the Lombards of the imperial exarchate at Ravenna in 751 and the continuation of the Iconoclast controversy under the Emperor Constantine V ‘Copronymous’ (741-75) and Patriarch Anastasius. However, Zacharias was also remarkable for translating into Greek Pope Gregory the Great’s Dialogues on the Miracles of the Italian Fathers (c. 593), originally written in Latin. Containing the oldest Life of St Benedict of Nursia (author of the Benedictine Rule and ‘founder’ of western monasticism) and the clearest patristic endorsement of the Latin doctrine of ‘purgatory’, Gregory’s Dialogues have been considered fundamental to the formation of the worldview of Latin (‘Catholic’) Christianity throughout the medieval period. Thanks to Zacharias’s eighth-century translation, however, Gregory the Great’s Dialogues (essentially a discussion of the miracles of sixth-century Italian holy men in three dialogues and fourth designed to demonstrate the afterlife of the soul) were made available to generations of Greek-speaking Christians in the Byzantine world. Gregory’s eschatology (despite the distinctively Latin doctrine of purgatory it was taken by medieval western exegetes to teach) was lauded by the authors of the middle Byzantine Evergetinos as a model of orthodoxy. In fact, according to Photius, Gregory’s four dialogues were biôphelestatous; and Photius thus praised Zacharias’s philanthropy for making their wisdom available to the ‘whole world’. Nevertheless, the significance of Zacharias’s pontificate remains little known to Byzantinists; similarly, the role played early on by Rome in the developing Iconoclastic controversy remains surprisingly under-explored.
The present paper aims to consider the political context and theological purpose behind Zacharias’s translation of Gregory’s famous text. These have not been considered before. The paper will do this by engaging first with a revised interpretation of the meaning of Gregory’s original Latin text in the context of an early Byzantine controversy concerning the activities of the saints represented above all in the writings of Gregory’s contemporary, Eustratius of Constantinople († after 582). Crucially, a revised reading of the Dialogues reveals that Gregory the Great was a defender both of the cult of the saints and the legitimacy of Christian images for didactic purposes. In the fourth dialogue, Gregory assured his readers that ‘through images we discover the meaning of things’; in 599, Gregory rebuked the ‘proto-Iconoclasm’ of Serenus, bishop of Marseilles, who had removed images of the saints from his cathedral in southern Gaul. The paper will argue that Pope Zacharias understood the polemical relevance of Gregory’s text and sought to manipulate the Dialogues‘ enthusiastic defence of the saints and images in the context of the’‘first’ Byzantine Iconoclasm.
In other words, Zacharias’s translation, usually commemorated as a purely cultural product, was equally a political and theological act of deep contemporary significance, both for the local Roman and wider Byzantine world. By applying the insights of modern translation theory to compare Gregory’s original with Zacharias’s subsequent portrayal of the Italian fathers and apology for Christian images, the paper will seek to confirm the historical importance of the early Iconoclastic emperors’ attack on the cult of the saints in general in the setting of the debate on image-veneration. At the same time, it will challenge the teleological narrative dominant in modern historiography concerning the ‘rise of the medieval papacy’ and its supposedly crucial eighth-century ‘liberation’ from Byzantine ‘oppression’, classically embodied in the personal consecration of Pepin I as King of the Franks by Zacharias’s immediate successor, Pope Stephen II (III). Instead, the paper will stress the complex relationship between a Greek-speaking pope and emperor in the early eighth century, laying particular emphasis upon the conflicting cultural, theological and political imperatives of Byzantine Italy as a peripheral province of the empire dependent upon Constantinople for political survival and a unique ‘Byzantine-Latin’ cultural identity.
How a Greek Monk Helped his Norman King to Outsmart Two Emperors and a Pope: De Oeconimca Dei, a 12th-century Byzantine Piece of Art, Written Outside of Byzantium
Ilse De Vos, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
In the mid-twelfth century, Roger II, the first Norman king of Sicily, commissioned a Greek monk called Nilus Doxopatres to write a vast encyclopedia on orthodox theology. What inspired him, a man without a single drop of Greek blood running through his veins, to do so?
When Roger was crowned king in 1130 by the antipope Anacletus II, he incurred the hostility not only of the rightful pope Innocent II, but also of the German monarch Lothar III and the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos. All three of them had spotted the conveniently situated and flourishing melting pot Sicily was in those days, but had been passed over by this foreign intruder and now thirsted for revenge. Roger, however, outfoxed them all, both on the battlefield and in diplomacy, and Sicily remained in Norman hands for about two centuries.
Yet, Roger would not have been able to accomplish all this without the majority of the people of Sicily standing behind him. Both Greeks and Arabs as well as the increasing Lombard population supported their new king in gratitude for the stability and prosperity he had brought about and the feeling of oneness he had given them. Being a foreigner turned out to be rather a plus-point than a disadvantage in the multicultural anthill Roger ended up in. With only a few hundred Norman knights on his side, the young king was in the minority and Roger understood all too well he could never impose his own culture upon his subjects. Claiming neutrality and thus not favouring one community above another was truly a stroke of genius. This is the background against which we must read Nilus Doxopatres’ theological summa, De Oeconomia Dei. Indeed, by revering the individual character of each culture present in Sicily and, moreover, by ordering himself artistic and scholarly works with their most respected representatives, Roger earned respect and received support from the heterogeneous population of his newborn kingdom. This kind of royal patronage explains the apparently paradoxical boost in Byzantine art after Byzantine rule had come to an end in Sicily.
In this paper, I will discuss how this sponsorship functioned in a more concrete way. Was it merely a matter of generous payments or was there some sort of unanimity between Roger II and the artists and scholars he gathered around him? Nilus Doxopatres’ De Oeconomia Dei, a previously unedited text, will serve as a case study. Furthermore, I will raise the question how this theological anthology fits in the cultural policy of the king for whom it was written. In addition to this, I will consider another work Nilus created for Roger, namely his Notitia Thronorum Patriarchalium. This treatise, indeed, aims more openly at the preservation of an independent Sicily than his orthodox encyclopedia does. Some scholars have seized upon this cry for independence to label Nilus as a sternly anti-Latin author. I, however, do not consider it unimaginable for Nilus to be, so to speak, pro-Sicily without being manifestly against any of the realms surrounding it. Discussing these and other focusing points should lead me to shed a new light on instances of Byzantine, imperially inspired creativity outside the imperium.
Procopius and Justinian’s Propaganda
Sarah Gador-Whyte, The University of Melbourne
Using his legal writings, Justinian claimed that victories over Persians, Vandals and Goths were God-ordained. This paper investigates the ways in which Procopius uses the word tyche to counter Justinian’s propaganda in the Wars. I argue that tyche as a divine agent in the Wars refers to the Christian God and that by making the divine tyche act against the Romans, Procopius subverts imperial propaganda.
Joseph the Philosopher, An Outstanding Outsider: Philosophy and Rhetoric at the Court of Andronicus II
Erica Gielen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
During the last decades of the 13th and the early 14th centuries, the Byzantine Empire encountered serious social, political and economic upheavals. Yet, the very same period was also an age of imperial patronage, characterized by a real revival of ancient Greek culture. This paper aims to clarify the particular role the learned monk Joseph the Philosopher, author of a – hardly studied – encyclopedia entitled Synopsis Variarum Disciplinarum, played in the cultural ‘program’ of the emperor Andronicus II.
It is well known that the latter gathered philosophers, poets and the like around him at his court in Constantinople. Organizing intellectual discussions, he created a ‘breeding ground’ for ‘elite-clubs’ of distinguished literati, who often combined a career in the imperial administration or the church with scholarly and literary ambitions. Joseph seems to have been one of those, yet in a particular way.
Firstly, whereas others, like Theodorus Metochites, climbed to the top of the imperial bureaucracy, Joseph deliberately rejected the privileges and actual power of a high-ranking ecclesiastic that had been offered to him several times. According to him, the political life was not completely worthless, but for several reasons Joseph vigorously preferred the theoretical life, focusing on study and knowledge. Yet, probably just because of this particular Weltanschauung, his devotion to it and his great wisdom, he was highly esteemed by all. Andronicus II honored him by awarding just to him the title of pater – an indication that he was one of the key figures at court and its scholarly ‘club’. Another indication may be, among other things, the many letters written to him by several other protégées of Andronicus, in which, e.g., he was asked to regain the emperor’s favor for one of them. Moreover, he seems to have inspired several of them to literary and philosophical activities.
Secondly, besides his privileged position, Joseph seems to have advocated particular, high principled ideas about the relation between rhetoric, ethics and imperial power.
In Byzantine times, rhetoric was one of the most important disciplines of the so-called eukuklios paideia and higher education. Whereas both juridical and political rhetoric gradually lost their importance, the (imperial) panegyric greatly flourished in the Byzantine state, as dominated by the central power of the emperor. At his court, Andronicus II offered young as well as well-renowned literati, among whom was Joseph, the opportunity to present their scholarly and literary skills and knowledge by giving such oral presentations.
Moreover, in his popular Synopsis of Rhetoric, the first part of his encyclopedia, Joseph pays much attention to the basilikos logos. According to him, this rhetorical genre, considered by him as model of any sort of epideictic work, should be a combination of an epideictic speech and a philosophical treatise. Also, its structure should be based on a discussion of the emperor’s virtues. Although this principle goes back to (late-) antique rhetorical handbooks, Joseph may have set greater store by it. The virtues concerned are, indeed, the cardinal virtues discussed by Joseph in his Treatise on Virtue as prerequisites for the complete life of the truly wise man.
Ties That Bind: Culture and the Language of Diplomacy after Imperium
Andrew Gillett, Macquarie University
The fragmentation of the Roman empire in the fifth century, into the Byzantine eastern empire and the shifting autonomous western European kingdoms, was a significant development in political terms, reducing a long-lived monolith and its attendant social structures into a series of parallel states; and also in economic terms, terminating a vast single fiscal system that had determined trade and land use for centuries. But in cultural terms – the belief system of Christianity, the literary and visual media used for cultivating and expressing political and religious ideologies – the post-imperial period was strikingly coherent, if not unified. Ferocious theological disputes – the Three Chapters, Iconoclasm – rippled back and forth from Constantinople to Carthage to Aachen to York, in almost as sprightly a fashion as early Arianism had under the Constantinian empire; increasing Christianisation of rulership can be traced in Toledo as much as in Constantinople, often with the same motifs being adopted in tandem. These commonalities were not necessarily parallel and discrete, separate Nachleben of shared cultural fossils; or second-hand imitations by a western periphery of advances in the cultural centre of Byzantium. They are signs of a living organic culture that straddled political and economic boundaries. It is in these terms, of an evolving, multi-centred culture, that the concept of ‘Late Antiquity’ as a meaningful historical periodisation has been argued, against ‘terminal’ perspectives that see the ‘Fall of Rome’ or the rise of Islam as marking absolute barriers between post-classical and medieval societies.
In this paper I would like to investigate this theme, of the collective cultural systems of Late Antiquity, within the circumscribed compass of diplomatic language. The post-imperial world remained demonstrably a ‘diplomatic bloc’ – a zone within which communication and negotiation between elites was carried out according to practices developed by cities of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, with ‘diplomatic’ embassies, letters and audiences cast according to norms of forensic literary declamation. My foci will be two short collections of letters from the late fifth- to early seventh-century West, the Gallic Epistolae Austrasicae and the Spanish Epistolae Wisigoticae. These dossiers gather together examples of correspondence between a wide variety of authors – emperors, kings, bishops, and generals – arguably to serve as reference works, like formulae, for later officials also charged with preparation of missives between the powerful. Undistinguished in the history of letters, these compositions are nonetheless linguistically sophisticated, complex – to the point of obscurity – and, most significantly, stylistically coherent, despite great distances in time and place of composition. They represent practical means by which post-classical culture was cultivated to sustain modes of communication throughout the Late Antique polities.
Byzantine Coin Finds in Yalvaç and Isparta Archaeology Museums in Turkey
Zeliha Demirel Gökalp, Anadolu University
The subject of this study is to examine Byzantine coin finds from the Yalvaç and Isparta Archaeology Museums in Pisidia. Through continuous study between the years 2004-2007, 1343 coins were catalogued; all of these examples were examined and they were included into the catalogue recently published.
The coin finds from Yalvaç and Isparta Archaeology Museums are, above all, the first major find from the area of Pisidia – representing various periods – catalogued and presented fully.
Pisidia played a major role in ancient times historically, politically or an economically. Thus, the coin finds represent, numismatically, much of the trade and economic life of the region. Moeover, many examples of the datable finds fall into statistical data groups. All of the coin find groups were evaluated within these groups, and have been compared with those from other sites in Asia Minor.
Imperial Propaganda and Accession in Early Byzantium
Pam Hutcheson, The University of Melbourne
This paper considers the way early Byzantine emperors used propaganda to legitimise their accession. In particular, it examines the propaganda demonstrating divine favour of emperors.
Several emperors during the fifth and sixth centuries rise to power at a time of uncertainty in the imperial succession. The enormous cultural value of dynasties in the Later Roman Empire was a major obstacle that such emperors had to overcome in order to legitimise their rule. As a result, tales and propitious events demonstrating divine favour of their accessions appear in contemporary as well as later literature. Furthermore, depictions of the inauguration ceremony begin to involve more ecclesiastical elements, notably the inclusion of the patriarch from Marcian onwards, and claims of support by Mary Theotokos in that of Justin II.
Purple Prose? The Emperor and Literature
Elizabeth Jeffreys, Exeter College, Oxford
What is meant by ‘literature’ in Byzantium is a question that has no easy answer. From the time that study of Byzantine culture developed as an academic discipline – with the work, for example, of Du Cange, Fabricius or Krumbacher – scholarship has favoured an all-inclusive definition, resulting in some uncomfortable juxtapositions and discussion by rigid categories. More recently, urged on by Alexander Kazhdan, scholarly approaches have favoured the breaking down of formalistic divisions and have sought to analyse texts rather than describe them, a mini-revolution of the sort undergone in Classical Studies over the last few decades. Yet there still remain some issues about the production of literature, however defined, in Byzantium that need further debate. One involves the role of patronage in the creation, and then preservation, of pieces of literary creativity: this will have had an impact on the shape of the Byzantine literary heritage. The patron at the top of the social pyramid is the emperor. This paper will explore some of the areas in which imperial literary patronage was exercised, taking as examples Justinian, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Manuel Komnenos and Andronikos III Palaiologos. The way in which imperial patronage transcends the boundaries imposed by modern scholarship supports the need for a holistic approach to the definition of literature.
The Comnenian Emperor in his Versified Press Releases
Michael Jeffreys, Oxford, London
The rhetorical works written to praise John II and especially Manuel I Komnenos are among the literary productions which give rhetoric a bad name. They are long, but short on the kind of hard historical information for which modern scholars try to use them. They seem at first to be empty of meaning, ‘mere’ encomia of the ruler, using a wide range of strategies which, from the historiographical point of view, are each as meaningless as the next. The same encomiastic ideas are shamelessly repeated from poem to poem.
But as one reads more and more of this genre (as Elizabeth and I have done, in editing the longest example, ‘Manganeios’ Prodromos), it becomes increasingly clear that the first impression is false. The poems are designed to give news of imperial activities, from the point of view of the emperor, who moves from victory to victory and success to success, even in cases where the historian would speak of failure and defeat. But their major purpose is a more developed form of what we would now call ‘spin’, linking current events with a Byzantine universe of concepts, exploiting every period of history which the Byzantines recognised as their own, as well as Greek mythology and Christian theology. The poems build up a picture of the Komnenian emperor in general, together with the particular characteristics of the individual rulers, each sanctified by reference, direct and indirect, to all that was holy, traditional and admired in Byzantine civilisation. This conceptual rhetoric is clothed in rhetorical forms of expression, emphasising important points and making frequent little word-plays to keep up the concentration of the literate. The poems, which at first seemed vacuous, can be shown to be quite tightly-written, with few wasted words.
The talk will discuss what is general in the imperial encomia and what is particular, linked with specific emperors. The twelfth-century imperial persona will be contrasted with that of preceding centuries. There will be a little about the parameters of the profession of encomiast, as seen from within the poems and from other sources. Finally, we shall look at ideas shared between the speech encomia and encomiastic history, which suggest that both are using the same basic texts: these have not survived, but they must have been a kind of press release, publishing simple facts of imperial activities with some guidance about the way they should be presented, challenging the emperor’s literary supporters and employees to publish them in an effective way.
Lactantius, the Culture Wars and the Jovian Line
Bill Leadbetter, Ministry for Heritage, Western Australia
Lactantius’ tract, ‘On the Deaths of the Persecutors’ (de mortibus persecutorum) is a major source for the politics and history of the early fourth century, in particular with reference to the rise of Constantine. It has long been recognised that this document is a deeply polemical pamphlet, not a sober narrative of contemporary events. Nevertheless this document has been relied upon quite heavily – and has had serious defenders – principally because it remains our most discursive and contemporary narrative source for the period. Lactantius’ Christian bias is obvious and evident. But he is also a writer who considers himself profoundly Roman. His work must, then, be seen in the context of the (ultimately successful) venture by Christian writers to align Christian faith and ideology with the Roman state. In order to do so, Lactantius develops depictions of the three Jovian Emperors – Diocletian, Galerius and Maximinus Daza – in which they appear as either un-Roman or actively anti-Roman. As Timothy Barnes demonstrated many years ago, Lactantius cannot be dismissed as a political propagandist. I will argue in this paper that, instead, Lactantius was an active participant in a culture war which was being waged between Christian and pagan intellectuals in the late third and early fourth centuries, as were his villains, in this instance the emperors of the Jovian line.
Gallipoli before Gallipoli – Kallipolis (Gelibolu) Between Byzantium and the Catalan Grand Company
Sam Lieu, Macquarie University
The city of Kalliopolis which commanded the crossing of the Hellespont to Lampsacus had occupied an important place in the strategic history of Europe and Asia long before the famous ANZAC and Allied campaign of 1915. This paper looks at the history of Kalliopolis or Kallipolis or simply Kalliou from the Athenian Tribute Lists through to Attila and Justinian and above all the period after the 4th Crusade (1204) when it became the focus of contention between the Palaeologi and the Grand Catalan Company. It will also survey the early Ottoman occupation of the peninsular and the use of Gallipoli as a crossing for Turkish troops into Europe, the attempts by later Crusades to wrest it from the Turks and its role as a naval base by Mehmet the Conqueror for the final capture of Constantinople.
Imperial Largess and the Churches of Antioch
Wendy Mayer, Australian Catholic University
The site of imperial residence for portions of the fourth century and an economically, administratively and militarily strategic city in the Byzantine world until at least the late sixth century, Syrian Antioch offers an opportunity to study the connection between imperium and culture from a number of perspectives. One of the more obvious of these is the largesse bestowed upon the city by emperors in the form of public works. Prominent among the buildings with which they endowed the city were a number of churches. This paper documents the churches that were built, altered, or endowed in Antioch from the time of Constantine to Justinian. In the process it examines the motives behind these particular examples of benefaction and seeks to situate them within the religious and political climate of the time.
Some Expressions of Imperium on Byzantine Coinage
John Melville-Jones, University of Western Australia
Numismatists usually date the beginning of Byzantine coinage to the reign of Anastasius I (who reintroduced a coin denomination known as the follis). By his time the propaganda language which we associate with Roman coinage from the time of Augustus had disappeared. Coinage was, however, still used to reinforce the cult of the emperor and to communicate certain ideas, even if did not carry any messages of immediate topical significance.
The introduction by Justinian II of the portrait of Jesus the Christ on his gold coins should be considered in relation to the subsequent Iconoclastic movement. The beginning of the regular use of the title Basileus on Byzantine coins from 812 onwards can be explained by current events. In addition, some examples of imperial portraits will be surveyed which, although they are to a great extent stereotyped, nevertheless seem to be intended to convey a message to the viewer.
The Medieval Town of Prilep
Robert Mihajlovski, Latrobe University
The medieval fortress of Prilep (Republic of Macedonia) was built on the top of a rocky hill later known as Marko’s towers with its suburbia Varosh. The modern town of Prilep, two kilometres further down on the plain was an Ottoman creation established after 1385. The Slavo-Byzantine suburbia of Varos was a place of commerce, but also a cultural and religious centre with its churches and monasteries. They were erected or renewed during the fourteenth century and most of the church buildings are treasure houses of mural painting and architecture. Examples are the monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael from the 10th century, the church of St Nicholas of 1299, the church of St Demetrius rebuilt in the period between the 10th and 14th centuries, the church of St Peter of the 14th century, the church of Sts Theodore Tironos and Theodore Stratelatos, the church of Sveta Petka of 1343/44, the church of St George, the church of St Athanasios, the church of Sts Cosmas and Damianos, the chapel of St Barbara, and the church dedicated to St John the Forerunner in 1343/1344, which was in use as Metropolitan cathedral in the period between 1343 and the last decades of the 15th century. Yet there were another two Imperial monasteries in vicinity of Prilep: the Dormition of the Virgin at Treskavec and the Zrze Monastery dedicated to the Transfiguration.
Demonstrations of Imperium with Byzantine Influences in the Late Eighth and Tenth Centuries in the West
Penelope Nash, University of Sydney
Charlemagne at his imperial court at Aachen wanted to promote an imperial image. For his exemplar, he looked to a Roman past as he perceived it. Yet, he also consciously included Byzantine influences. Byzantine influences are visible in the original Chapel architecture. The dedication of the Chapel to the Virgin is a Byzantine custom. The great bronze doors have marked classical features but are cast in a single sheet technically not feasible if produced by northern artists of the time and were, if made at Aachen, cast under Greek supervision. The Coronation (or Vienna) Gospels, associated with art at Charlemagne’s court and with his tomb, have a purple and gold imperial Roman colour scheme and script reflecting an ancient Roman way of writing together with Insular influence. However, the full modeling of the form and drapery (rather than the linearism and schematic forms of northern or Roman artists), the soft colours, the architectural background set in the open air and the absence of the Evangelists’ symbols all are representative of a strong eastern Greek tradition. Indeed, Falkenstein attributes to Charlemagne an infatuation with things Byzantine citing as evidence the domination of the Palace Chapel by Greek paintings and that the Chapel influenced other workshops in the ninth century.
Two hundred years later, the Ottonian court included fewer Roman influences in its constructs of imperium. Byzantine influences were now more prominent in contributing to the imperial image. Both the Ottonianum, drawn up by Otto I and giving the pope all the privileges that he had already had since Carolingian times, and the marriage charter of Theophanu, drawn up for her wedding to Otto II, draw on previous decorated Byzantine imperial charters. The influence of Theophanu, regent for her son the future western emperor Otto III, is examined.
This talk will be illustrated by architecture, sculpture and art from both periods.
The Vienna Dioscorides’ dedicatio to Anicia Juliana: A Usurpation of Imperial Patronage?
Geoffrey Nathan, University of New South Wales
Anicia Juliana possessed a unique status in the city of Constantinople. Scion of one of the great aristocratic families of late antiquity, the daughter and grand-daughter of emperors and the wife of a consul and would-be emperor, made her a figure of greatness and of suspicion.
We are also fortunate to have a portrait of her surviving in a sixth century uncial codex, the Materia Medica of Dioscurides. The text was commissioned by her and dedicated to her. The image is more than a stiff formal depiction of the lady: it had specific political and propagandistic implications. The context of the dedicatio presents Anicia Juliana as more than a wealthy and great woman. The question is what is being articulated in this image?
The interpretation of the meaning and nature of this portrait has been greatly discussed. I have suggested earlier that the dedication is one of the idealized patron, visible in the iconography of the image. More recently, Bente Killerich and others have argued that it was in fact a portrait with imperial pretensions, visible especially in the artistic caprices.
This paper will suggest that there is in fact an ambiguity of intention, reflected by the ambiguity of Anicia Juliana’s status in the imperial city and in her relations with emperor Anastasius.
Imperium and Christian Culture: Imperial Benefactions to the Fifth-Century Roman Church
Bronwen Neil, Australian Catholic University
This paper considers the relationship between imperial patronage and one particular form of cultural expression: the building, adornment and repair of churches in the fifth century. The provision of churches in fifth-century Rome was largely undertaken in the presence of the emperor resident in the city and at imperial expense. However, imperial contributions to the church were always considered private rather than public benefactions, a form of monumental evergetism. This set up a curious patronage relationship between the western emperor and the bishop of Rome. While bishops of Rome could exercise their authority over questions of where and how to spend imperial money, it will be argued that they had very few resources of their own to spend on the building and refurbishment of churches and what money was available to them from the imperial purse was steadily decreasing.
Theft and destruction accompanying Alaric’s sack of Rome in 410 had left the church’s wealth severely depleted. In the 440s Leo I (440-461) followed the lead of his predecessor Sixtus III (432-440) in accepting aid from the western emperors for rebuilding purposes and new church constructions. Other popes’ Lives in the Liber Pontificalis conclude with long lists of the gold and silver plate and precious stones that were presented to various basilicae – for example, Sixtus III decorated the confessio of St Peter with 400 pounds of silver and requested Emperor Valentinian to replace the silver fastigium stolen by barbarians from the Constantinian basilica (St John Lateran). Sixtus’ pontificate points to a level of luxury that was fast disappearing from the Roman church.
Leo I, on the other hand, with the help of private imperial donations, renewed St Peter’s and St Paul’s after they had been damaged by fire and constructed an apse-vault in St John Lateran. He built a single basilica dedicated to St Cornelius on the Appian Way and established a monastery at St Peter’s, with no donations of precious metals or gems. The Liber Pontificalis informs us that after ‘the Vandal disaster’ Leo had to replace all the consecrated silver services throughout all the endowed churches (tituli) by melting down six silver water-jars: two each for St Peter’s basilica, St Paul’s and St John Lateran. The fact that the bishop of Rome was forced to melt down large silver plate for this purpose points to what we might call a severe ‘cash-flow problem’, later exacerbated by the necessity of paying ransom and tribute to the Goths and Huns. The expense of restoring churches stretched the already scanty resources that were available to the poor. Using the pontificates of Sixtus III and Leo I as case studies, I will examine the implications of imperial sponsorship on the activities of the bishop of Rome in this period.
Church and Society: A Bishop at Work?
Alanna Nobbs, Macquarie University
We have a number of Greek papyrus documents from Egypt in the late third and early fourth centuries dealing with the activities of Sotas, Bishop of Oxyrhynchus. This paper argues that these papyri form a cohesive archive and give us an insight into the day-to-day functions of an Egyptian bishop at this time. They also allow us to discuss issues of literacy and written communication in the early Egyptian church and their importance to the communities.
Neither a ‘Dark Age’ nor a ‘Crisis’: Rethinking Imperium and Culture During Iconoclasm
Ken Parry, Macquarie University
It is more than thirty years (1973) since Peter Brown published his article ‘A Dark Age Crisis: Aspects of the Iconoclastic Controversy’. The description ‘Dark Age Crisis’ used by Brown and others has hung over the Byzantine iconoclastic period ever since and it is time it was abandoned. It depends on how we define ‘Dark Age’ of course, but at the very least we would expect intellectual and cultural stagnation and a lack of access to education and learning. On close examination, however, we find that the age of iconoclasm was far from backward with regard to intellectual development and educational opportunity. It was certainly a period of introspection and re-evaluation, but the suggestion of a ‘crisis’ belongs more to iconophile rhetoric than to historical reality. I intend in this presentation to revisit the question of how we should designate this important period in Byzantine history, and I want in particular to look a the evidence relating to education and learning, especially because the phrase ‘Dark Age Crisis’ promises so much and yet delivers so little. This paper is part of a larger project I am undertaking to reassess the cultural and intellectual history of Byzantium in the eighth and ninth centuries.
Imperial Propaganda, Good Stories and the Writing of History
Roger Scott, The University of Melbourne
Story-telling is central to Byzantine culture. It is through the popularity of stories that Byzantines knew their history, with their equivalents of William Tell and the apple, King Canute and the waves or George Washington and the cherry tree. (Thus the story of Andrew and his dog is an essential part of the history of Justinian, and the Phrygian apple essential for Theodosius II.) So the same basic story gets told and then retold in chronicle after chronicle, but the stories can be adapted to meet new circumstances. An awareness of this leads to the exploitation of stories for imperial propaganda and counter propaganda. It is this technique that needs noting for any study of Byzantine histories as literature and helps explain patronage of History (whether by emperors or others) and the prominence of History as a genre in Byzantine culture.
Imperial Types in High Byzantine Panegyric
Andrew Stone, University of Western Australia
This paper will show how four representative emperors were described by Byzantine orators of the 11th to 12th centuries, and illustrate the range of topoi developed for the purpose, The four emperors are Constantine IX Monomachos (described by Michael Psellos); Alexios I Komnenos (praised by Theophylact of Ochrid); Manuel I Komnenos (among his many encomiasts I shall concentrate on Eustathios of Thessaloniki and Euthymios Malakes); finally Isaac II Angelos (most worthily Eustathios and John Syropoulos). Are the encomia delivered for these emperors, as it is commonly believed, all the same, or did the emperor sanction individualised portraits of himself? For example, are some emperors praised for their peaceful natures, whereas in other portraits they have a much more martial aspect? Is the emperor largely a patron of learning, or does he prefer to devote much of his time to prayer? Thus I will also be looking cursorily to the evolution of the genre.
Cave Churches in the Phrygian Region
B. Yelda Olcay Uçkan, Anadolu University
Constituting the present day provinces of Eskisehir (Dorylaion) , Kütahya (Kotyaion) and Afyon (Akronium), ancient Phrygia is important for its geological formation and archeological monuments from the Phrygian up through the Byzantine era. The aim of this paper is to examine the establishment of cave churches and to draw attention to the region in the medieval period. Among the cave churches, two different styles have been noted. One of them exposes a plan-shape that is well known in Byzantine architecture, while the other has a different plan-shape that is formed of some special analytic structures.
Montanism appeared with Christianity, which was founded by the monk Montanus. As a Christian sect, Montanism survived for a long period of time in the Phrygian region with extraordinary ideas and beliefs inconsistent with orthodoxy. This survival in the region has been dependent on the traditionally pagan practices, especially the cult of Cybele – the great nature goddess of ancient Phrygia in Asia Minor – which was aslo strong during these eras. This sect attracted attention with two women (Priskilla and Maksimilla), believed to be prophets and also who protested certain orthodox practices. These features reflected the region’s religious practices before the rise of Christianity.
Montanism also brought up alternatives in the structure of religious buildings. Therefore, it is possible that they were built differently from church forms known in the Byzantine Period. During our research, we have detected two different plans. Among them, there are huge cave blocks which consist of building complexes. It is possible that they are monastery complexes. These complexes include interconnecting chambers well as connections to identifiable churches. It is possible that to suggest all these structures have served for daily life alongside with religious functions too.
This natural and cultural heritage links physical and social history and needs to be protected. The study draws attention to the importance of such protection.
The Freshfield Folio View of the Hippodrome in Istanbul and the Church of St John Diipion
Nigel Westbrook, University of Western Australia
The so-called ‘Freshfield Folio’ view of the Hippodrome in Istanbul is a rare 16th-century drawing, apparently based on direct observation, of Byzantine buildings in Constantinople/ Istanbul. It depicts the Hippodrome, its monuments, including the serpent column and two obelisks, and the church of Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya). This paper will focus on a monumental, ruinous structure structure to the left of the great church, the identity of which has given rise to various interpretations, such as the rotonda of the so-called ‘Palace of Lausos’ (Mango) and the church of St. Stephen (Freshfield). Other monumental structures that could be considered include the so-called ‘Palazzo Rotondo di Costantino’ (a structure thus-labelled in the Vavassore aerial view of Constantinople, but probably the remains of the Baths of Zeuxippus, later the prison of Noumera) and a portion of the Carceres, or starting gates of the Hippodrome. More recently, Bardill has proposed an identification with the church of St John Diippion, without identifying a site upon which to place the building. It has been previously assumed that the Freshfield drawing is of limited value as a topographical document because of several factors, notably that the well-known obelisks have been placed incorrectly in relation to the other buildings. It will be proposed that the view is not a single, framed representation, but rather constitutes several studies, made over a duration on the same two-dimensional surface. It is furthermore conditioned by the subjective perception of its author, an artist who could hardly be stated to be in control of his view, or to have necessarily understood what he was drawing. Through an analysis of the overlapping viewing cones, the artist’s viewing position will be determined and the unknown building scaled and spatially located. It is the hypothesis of this paper that the view can be used with certain constraints to reconstruct both the topography and the architectural character and identity of this vanished building, which will be tentatively identified as St John Diippion, otherwise known as the church of St John the Evangelist. The architectural character of the building is proposed to be a galleried dome-on-cross plan. The paper will test my hypothesis that the site of the church should be associated with the remains excavated by the Casson team from the British Academy in 1928, ‘Building 1′, and attributed by them to the complex of the Baths of Zeuxippus. This identification, if secure, will contribute to reconstruction of the topography of the other adjoining monuments in Constantinople, such as the Carceres of the Hippodrome, the gate of Monothyros into the Hippodrome, the Baths of Zeuxippus and the Great Palace.
Protecting ‘Imperium’ and ‘Culture’ in the Accounts of Byzantine Conversions
Genevieve Young, Macquarie University
The relationship between the Byzantine Empire and those nations which were converted by Byzantine missionaries must have been a tricky one to negotiate. Emperors and clergymen were not only burdened by the need to fulfill the universal claims and mission of the church but also the demands of imposing Byzantine orthodoxy. Equally important were the potential political, economic and strategic benefits of establishing diplomatic relationships with other nations, strengthened, at least in theory, by a shared faith. The nation considering conversion might be anxious to reap the benefits of association with the empire and its clergy, whose traditions both imperial and religious, might add to their own prestige. Then again, a newly converted nation’s interest in preserving its own autonomy while accepting some Byzantine intervention and adjusting ancestral customs to absorb the new faith could be problematic. The relationship between the empire and the converted was a difficult one to negotiate as both parties would have to consider the benefits and disadvantages of the new association. Narratives concerning the conversion of nations in the Byzantine chroniclers frequently contain parts for women, captives, slaves and clergymen who surround the emperor and foreign ruler assisting in the process of conversion. Considering the role of these individuals throughout the chronicles may suggest how some of the more awkward aspects of the relationship between a patron state and a newly converted nation were tackled, at least by those recording events.
A Clash of Cultures: Late Roman Elites and Julian’s Imperial Restoration
Hartmut Ziche, University of the Antilles and Guyana
Given the shortness of Julian’s imperial career and the great amount of writing it inspired – both contemporary and modern – it might appear difficult to fit in a new analytical angle. The intent of this paper therefore is to put Julian and his political and cultural programme into a more general framework analysing the potentially divergent developments of elite and imperial ideology in the fourth century.
Given the limited coercive resources at the disposal of a preindustrial imperial government, it is evident – since the gradual replacement of a more or less oligarchical political system by a more or less monarchical government in the first century CE – that the functioning of the Roman imperial state depends on the cooperation of elites, senatorial as well as curial, and emperor. This practical political cooperation is reinforced by shared culture and cultural practices, such as elite lifestyle and conspicuous consumption, religion, artistic and literary preferences or shared views on appropriate social stratification. The very name of the imperial system, the Principate, underlines the fact that emperor and elites belong to one economic, social and cultural class.
In the late third century and during the fourth century the character of the Roman empire changes: Diocletian and his tetrarchic colleagues formalise the shift to a bureaucratic state, centred on an increasingly elevated imperial persona. Constantine and his successors add to this a new ‘state religion’ which further increases ideological centralisation, and further separates emperors and imperial elites. This second ‘Roman Revolution’ is normally assumed to be driven by the emperor and the imperial centre, subduing and dragging along a reluctant and resisting elite.
Based on this model of transformation, one would assume that when Julian becomes sole emperor in 360, with an overt programme of restoration, relations between the emperor and the imperial elites should improve. Julian should be one of the ‘good’ emperors of elite historiography, a new Augustus or a new Trajan, emperors on whom Julian explicitly models himself. Like Augustus Julian endeavours to restore Rome’s pagan religion, and affects imperial austerity and collegiality with the senators. Like Trajan Julian attempts to restore the glory of Rome through foreign conquest. And like all ‘good’ emperors Julian stresses common culture and paideia, shared by the emperor and curial elites throughout the empire.
As a detailed analysis will show, much of Julian’s policies are not as traditional as he may himself believe, but emperor and elites share the understanding that there is a restoration in progress. Despite all this (or rather, because, as this paper will argue) Julian is not generally seen as a ‘good’ emperor by his elite contemporaries. This is perhaps self-evident for Christian contemporaries, but pagans also have serious difficulties with Julian’s ideological and cultural programme. Julian is Ammianus’ ‘hero’, but the historian does not refrain from pointing out the failings the emperor shows, especially in the domain of cultural policy. Mamertinus delivers a panegyric to Julian, but at several instances it rather reads like a defence of Julian from elite criticism.
The mixed reviews Julian receives thus show two things: on a very general level we can see that late Roman elites resent imperial interference into their cultural practices – and thus hardly are a subservient class in a Dominate-style political system. More specifically the interaction between Julian and the imperial elites reveals that the elites have been to a large extent voluntary and active participants in the fourth century transformation of the empire and approve of the increasing political and cultural distance between emperors and elites. A potential clash of cultures in the fourth century seems to be less between the elites and innovative or reforming emperors than between the elites and consciously backward looking emperors.