Whose war ethic? Dominant versus Subaltern ideas about just war in Byzantine society

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Abstract / Description of output

Studies on the perceptions of “just war” or “holy war” in Byzantine society tend to attribute such perceptions collectively to the “Byzantines”, that is to all members of the society, even though the written material predominately reflects the perceptions, ideas, and beliefs of a social minority we heuristically conceptualize as elite, aristocracy, or ruling class.1 Such a collective attribution of perceptions and ideas to the whole of an organized society is not without problems from a socio-historical point of view. My aim in the current article is to problematize that approach by focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the evidence of the sources from the period between the seventh and the tenth centuries, the time in which the empire experienced a transition from defeat and territorial contraction to triumph and territorial expansion. I shall make use of a comprehensive theoretical-methodological framework drawn from sociological research on ideology in order to suggest an interpretation of the written evidence that will highlight different ideological attitudes towards just war by various social groups according to social status, social function, and geographical location within the empire
Original languageEnglish
JournalDumbarton Oaks Papers
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 May 2023


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