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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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Towards a Renewed Vision of Imperial Authority

Towards a Renewed Vision of Imperial Authority

(p.237) 7 Towards a Renewed Vision of Imperial Authority
Imperial Visions of Late Byzantium

Florin Leonte

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter discusses how Manuel Palaiologos’ texts reveal not only the emperor’s standpoints in his attempts to answer political challenges, but also a long-term imperial project that sought to establish a system of effective political communication by exhibiting his fatherly concern for his son and co-emperor. This project involved two stages with changing approaches. In the first stage, the emperor strengthened his connections with the literati and frequently chaired theatra. The letters and the dialogic mode of his text on marriage point to the fact that during the last decade of the fourteenth century, the emperor did not have at his disposal too many possibilities of circulating his political messages except for the rather informal meetings in the framework of theatra. In a second stage, which chronologically coincided with the years following the emperor’s return from the West, Manuel attempted to consolidate his ruling position by highlighting in the Foundations and the Orations that he appointed his son, John, as successor. In the absence of a more substantial body of court rhetoricians, the emperor undertook the role of a social-political commentator and accordingly put forward a personal discourse on imperial authority.

Keywords:   Imperial ethos, political authority, Manuel Palaiologos, ideology, rhetorical communication

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