Remilitarising the Byzantine Imperial image: a study of numismatic evidence and other visual media 1042-1453

Saxby, Michael Stephen (2018). Remilitarising the Byzantine Imperial image: a study of numismatic evidence and other visual media 1042-1453. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The messages in the imagery on Byzantine coins, although often neglected by scholars, were a key means of projecting imperial power. Emperors could project power via dress, ceremonial, and displays, but these methods would not have reached all subjects. Byzantine coins had the advantage of reaching all subjects, as the Byzantine economy was fundamentally monetized. Military symbols (figures, dress, and weapons), whose study has been rather overlooked, formed an important part of this imagery. Whilst military symbols disappeared from Byzantine coins in the early eighth century, and were absent for some three centuries, they were reintroduced in the mid-eleventh century and appeared until 1394/5. Their importance is indicated by the fact that military types comprised over half the overall total of types for some emperors. This study examines military symbols on Byzantine coins from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, and notes also imperial representations in other media. The numismatic sources for this study are the collections in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and Dumbarton Oaks. The general conclusions are that military symbols were used most frequently from 1204 to 1261, less frequently from 1261 to 1394/5, and least frequently from 1042 to 1204. The variety of military saints portrayed increased at first, but declined in the fourteenth century, until only St Demetrios remained, but in the highest status: riding with the emperor.

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, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CJ Numismatics
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World


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