Social structure and relations in fourteenth century Byzantium

Malatras, Christos (2013). Social structure and relations in fourteenth century Byzantium. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Byzantine society was highly stratified in the fourteenth century. The main division was understood as one between rich and poor or the archontes and the demos, a division which represented both inequalities in the social status of an individual and in the distribution of material wealth and political power. Elements outside this division, namely the middle class, can be identified, yet they could not be introduced into the schema. Social inequality would be expressed through a number of gestures and the exhibition of deference towards a social superior, who in turn showed his snobbery.

Moreover, there existed social networks of different types. Most importantly, the patronage system of social relations, which dominated Byzantine society, seriously hindered the development of other horizontal social groups, including class divisions. This system is identified as having contributed to the lack of direction of late Byzantine society.

This picture of Byzantine society is collaborated by three case studies: a) a thorough analysis of the social structure and relations in a provincial society, Serres, b) the analysis of two social networks, the two factions of the second civil war, having as a main question the degree of class consciousness in Byzantine society, c) the analysis of the social structure and relations in the besieged Constantinople at the very end of the fourteenth century.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History


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