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Conflict and rivalry in Thirteenth Century Byzantium: a comparison of Trapezuntine and Nicaean political ideologies and propaganda

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis explores how the Empires of Nicaea, located in Bithynia, and Trebizond, located on the Pontic coast, formed and developed following the fall of Constantinople to the armies of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Although the rulers of each state claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the pre-1204 Byzantine emperors, the Empire of Trebizond has often been overlooked in Byzantine scholarship, depicted as a culturally strange and insignificant state situated on the margins of the Byzantine world. Nicaea, on the other hand, has benefited significantly from detailed studies, which represent it as the legitimate continuation of Byzantine culture and political power in exile. However, this thesis provides evidence for the inclusion of Trebizond on equal footing with Nicaea. Through an extensive study of the surviving literary, architectural, numismatic and sigillographic evidence, this thesis aims to compare the development of imperial ideology in each state. In so doing, it will be made clear that although there were some differences in how the rulers of Nicaea and Trebizond approached the problems of exile, both states developed largely similar answers to the idea of Byzantine imperial power without Constantinople. Ultimately, it will be shown that the study of Trebizond is invaluable to the understanding of the thirteenth century Byzantine world, and that it must be considered an important and equal partner of Nicaea in modern scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Feb 2020

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