310. Purple Prose: Byzantine Political Philosophy

Posted on 21 October 2018

Byzantine political thought from the time of Justinian down to the Palaiologos dynasty wrestles with the nature and scope of imperial power.

Further Reading

• P.N. Bell (trans.), Three Political Voices from the Age of Justinian (Liverpool: 2009).


• D. Angelov, “Plato, Aristotle, and ‘Byzantine Political Philosophy,’” Mélanges de l’Université Saint-Joseph 57 (2004), 499-523.

• D. Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium, 1204-1330 (Cambridge: 2007).

• E. Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium from Justinian I to the Last Palaeologus (Oxford: 1957).

• J. García-Huidobro, “Michael of Ephesus and the Byzantine Reception of the Aristotelian Doctrine of Natural Justice,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 94 (2012), 274-95.

• D.J. O’Meara, “Political Philosophy in Michael Psellos: the Chronographia Read in Relation to his Philosphical Work,” in B. Bydén and K. Ierodiakonou (eds), The Many Faces of Byzantine Philosophy (Athens: 2012), 153-70.

• T. Shawcross, “‘Do Thou Nothing without Counsel’: Political Assemblies and the Ideal of Good Government in the Thought of Theodore Palaeologus and Theodore Metochites,” Al-Masāq 20 (2008), 89-118.

• P. Wood, “We Have No King but Christ”: Christian Political Thought in Greater Syria on the Eve of the Arab conquest (c. 400-585) (Oxford: 2010).

The cheeseburger sketch from Saturday Night Live


Hermes 22 October 2018

It is kind of surprising that this otherwise informative segment does not draw on the latest work on the practice and thinking Byzantine politics, The Byzantine Republic by Anthony Kaldellis. Highly recommended. 

Oh actually that is coming right up - I talk about this issue in an episode about Byzantine historians, in the context of discussing their attitude towards ancient Rome (will be episode 312). But maybe I should add it to the bibliography here too, thanks!

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