classics paper - Alexandra Williams Kaldellis Classics 226...

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Alexandra Williams Kaldellis Classics 226 January 31, 2008 Government and Power in the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire had an elaborate and complex system of checks and balances within the government. Though the emperor was the main ruler and had the final say on any disputes within the territory, the Byzantine Empire was largely a militaristic state with much power granted to the strategos ; generals granted governor power over themes, military districts throughout the empire. However, the Byzantine Empire is most known for the power bestowed upon its clergy, as the Eastern Orthodox Church reached its height during this time, as the art, buildings and writings from the empire came mostly from the church. Imperial power in Byzantium has been stated as absolute; however, most emperors left trivial matters to either the military or clergy. It is true though that it was believed that the emperors were chosen by God, and the coronations were held in Hagia Sophia, the largest cathedral in the world at the time. In George Majeska’s article “The Emperor in His Church: The Imperial Ritual of Hagia Sophia,” Majeska describes the coronation ritual in detail, how both the patriarch and the congregation shout how the emperor is “Worthy, Worthy, Worthy” of his position and how he partakes of the Eucharist “not like a layman…but like a priest or deacon.” (Majeska 6) The two things Byzantine emperors mainly concerned themselves with was building large, beautiful buildings and conquering new territories, and counted on the extensive
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course CLASSICS 226 taught by Professor Kaldellis during the Spring '08 term at Ohio State.

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classics paper - Alexandra Williams Kaldellis Classics 226...

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