Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Byzantine Political Thought
We call Byzantines people who thought of their civilization as the seamless continuation of the Roman Empire. They called themselves Romans ( Rhomaioi ) and their monarch the emperor of the Romans (basileus ton Rhomaion , with variations). Their history is conventionally dated from the foundation of Constantinople (modern Istanbul) on the site of the old Greek city of Byzantium by the first Christian emperor, Constantine I in the fourth century CE. It ended definitively more than a millennium later with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, which claimed the life of the emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos (1449–1453). This entry briefly sketches certain key themes and broad outlines under the headings of Byzantine exceptionalism, the Roman imperial legacy, the imperial office, and relationships between emperors and subjects. Byzantines characteristically sought to demonstrate continuity with the past and to seek precedents and exempla that were adaptable to present circumstances. ...