Imperial City-state and "Civil War": Typologizing Byzantine internal armed conflict

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Nador u. 13
Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 6:00pm
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Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

If warfare is to be considered as a structural element of the Byzantine socio-political order, this is primarily reflected in the consistent recurrence of the phenomenon of internal armed conflict in the realm of the Christianized imperial city-state of Constantinople between the fourth and the twelfth century. In this period, at least 90 small-scale and large-scale war conflicts that emerged from within the imperial state-frame can be documented. For an answer to the question as to why the allegedly non-warlike Christian Roman society fought so many "civil wars", we should rather look at the Roman notion of the centralized state and the fundamental role of military power in the reproduction of the system of empire. In the current paper I shall argue that present-day analytical models of civil war can be heuristically applied to provide an insightful typology of the phenomenon of Byzantine internal armed conflict.

Ioannis Stouraitis defended his PhD in Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna, 2007. Since 2008 he is a research associate and lecturer at the Institute for Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies of the University of Vienna. Research interests: War ethics in comparative perspective, ideology and social identity, army and society in the Byzantine Empire. Some important publications: Krieg und Frieden in der politischen und ideologischen Wahrnehmung in Byzanz (7.-11. Jahrhundert) (Byzantinische Geschichtsschreiber, Ergänzungsband 5), Vienna 2009, 400pp.; Byzantine War Ideology between Roman Imperial Concept and Christian Religion, co-edited with J. Koder (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, Denkschriften 452), Vienna 2012; Just War and Holy War in the Middle Ages: Rethinking Theory through the Byzantine Case-Study, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 62 (2012) 227-264.