War writing in Middle Byzantine historiography: sources, influences and trends

Sinclair, Kyle James (2013). War writing in Middle Byzantine historiography: sources, influences and trends. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines literary and cultural influences upon descriptions of warfare in Byzantine historiography, focusing on events of the ninth to twelfth centuries. Its main aim is twofold: to account for the appearance in historiography of more ‘heroic’ accounts of battle from the late tenth century, and to identify the sources Middle Byzantine historians employed for military events, particularly since this material appears to have had a significant role in the aforementioned development. Study of Middle Byzantine historical works grants insight into general features of war writing. Moreover, it also reveals much about the working methods of historians and the written sources they employed for military episodes. These sources, now lost to us, are determined to have primarily been campaign reports and biographical compositions. Once an understanding of the nature of such texts is reached, one may demonstrate that they presented their military subject according to contemporary ideals of valour and generalship. It is suggested that the appearance of promotional literature of the military aristocracy in the tenth century was instrumental in the development of a more ‘heroic’ form of war writing, with Homeric-style descriptions of battle, cunning military stratagems, and courageous displays more evident in historiography from this time.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3977


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