Ethnicity and statehood in Pontic-Caspian Eurasia (8-13th c.): Contributing to a reassessment

Feldman, Alex (2018). Ethnicity and statehood in Pontic-Caspian Eurasia (8-13th c.): Contributing to a reassessment. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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What is the line between the “ancient” world and the “medieval” world? Is it 476? 330? 632? 800? Most historians acknowledge there is no crisp line and that these are arbitrary distinctions, but they are made anyway, taking on lives of their own. I believe they are much the same world, except for the pervading influence of one flavor of monotheism or another. This thesis endeavors to study top-down, monotheistic conversions in Pontic-Caspian Eurasia and their respective mythologizations, preserved both textually and archaeologically, which serve as a primary factor for what we might call “state formation.” These narratives also function, in many cases, as the bases of many modern nationalisms, however haphazard they may be. I have attempted to apply this idea to Christian Rome (Byzantium)’s diachronic missionary policy around the Black Sea to reveal how what we today call the “Age of Migrations” (the so-called “Germanic” invasions of the Roman Empire), was actually in perpetual continuity all the way up to the Mongolian invasions and perhaps even later. In this way, I hope to enhance the context by which we understand the entirety of not only Western history, but to effectively bind it to a broader context of global monotheization.

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 > CB History of civilization
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CN Inscriptions. Epigraphy.
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History


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