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Imperial Visions of Late ByzantiumManuel II Palaiologos and Rhetoric in Purple$
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Florin Leonte

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474441032

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474441032.001.0001

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The Deliberative Voice: The Dialogue with the Empress-Mother on Marriage

The Deliberative Voice: The Dialogue with the Empress-Mother on Marriage

(p.113) 3 The Deliberative Voice: The Dialogue with the Empress-Mother on Marriage
Imperial Visions of Late Byzantium

Florin Leonte

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter deals with Manuel’s Dialogue with the Empress-Mother on Marriage, corresponds to a strategy of conveying political messages that is characterised by a sense of conversationalism and intimacy between the two interlocutors, the emperor and his mother Helena. It is argued that the Dialogue features a rather informal approach to the problems of dynastic succession during a period of prolonged Ottoman blockade. Notably, the author combines deliberative and demonstrative topics on the basis of which he outlines several traits of the representation of imperial power in late Byzantium. Thus, here he presents a dramatised version of his political messages whereby the emperor pictures himself as defending his choices and arguing against possible criticisms regarding his social responsibility. The analysis of the demonstrative and the deliberative approaches in the text allows for a partial reconstruction of Manuel’s political strategies and, ultimately, of his style of government. In terms of style, praise was left aside in favour of a deliberative stance and a more applied discussion of concrete situations that provide suggestions for future action.

Keywords:   Marriage, dialogues, rhetoric, debates, motherhood

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