By John Haldon
With unique essays via prime students, this e-book explores the social heritage of the medieval jap Roman Empire and gives illuminating new insights into our wisdom of Byzantine society.Provides interconnected essays of unique scholarship when it comes to the social historical past of the Byzantine empireOffers groundbreaking theoretical and empirical learn within the examine of Byzantine societyIncludes important glossaries of sociological/theoretical phrases and Byzantine/medieval phrases
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Additional resources for A Social History of Byzantium
Works in Russian by scholars such as Alexander Kazhdan did attempt a more sociological approach, but this is vitiated both by the political-ideological context in which they were working and the fact that they remain for the most part untranslated (see, for example, Social’nyj sostav gospodstvujusˇcˇego klassa v Vizantii XI–XII vv. [The social structure of the Byzantine ruling class in the 11th and 12th centuries], Moscow 1974; K. V. ). Of the older literature, Ostrogorsky’s work, such as Quelques problèmes de l’histoire de la paysannerie byzantine (Brussels 1956), or that of H.
One useful approach to the thought-world, the mentalité, of the Byzantine world, is to conceptualize it as a “symbolic universe” (perhaps equivalent to “Weltanschauung”), meaning the totality of cultural 11 For some orientation, see Haldon 1984–5; 1986; 2002. 10 JOHN HALDON knowledge (both implicit knowledge as well as explicit knowledge)12 and practice in a society or social formation, within which and through which regular everyday life is carried on. While the relationship between consciousness and practice must be understood as a dialectic through which individuals receive their subjective awareness of self and their personal environment, it also provides them with the conceptual apparatus through which they can in turn express what they know about the world, act back upon it, and yet at the same time sets limits to what they can know and how they can know, limits within which what we might call “the culturally possible” can be thought.
10 What we refer to as “Byzantine society,” therefore, must necessarily be understood in its widest sense, and as just one of a number of social systems which overlapped and intersected at various points, not just in terms of physical space – around the edges, so to speak – but also in terms of social practice, household organization, and so forth. Eastern Roman or Byzantine society grew up out of the late Roman world just as did the societies around it, in particular the social worlds of Italy and the Balkans and the Near and Middle East, and in consequence had evolved together, shared certain characteristics but diverged in many others, perceived itself as very different yet at the same time functioned in many respects in much the same way, and in which the relationship between human beings and their physical environment represented a constant, determining the patterns and seasonality of life from bottom to top.
A Social History of Byzantium by John Haldon