Empire Forever - Rediscover the incredible people of 9th Century New Rome
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Basil I - pauper to prince of power - fiction vs. history
Launch of Queen of Lies hypertext edition
Riots, economic stagnation and political malaise - what's new?
Is Byzantium a dirty word?
Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's tiara - Part 2


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Riots, economic stagnation and political malaise - what's new?

Does some of that sound familiar?
It should. It's a description of large parts of grief-stricken Europe today. But these problems are as old as humanity itself. And their solutions are pretty much the same too.
The 9th century saw a period in which the Byzantine empire had shrunk and with it the economy. Taxes claimed from distant territory diminished as the provinces oscillated between control by Constantinople and rule by outsiders. Michael III's choice of the scholar Photios as Patriarch was a catalyst for riots to break out across the Near East, even after Michael's mother, the Regent Theodora had re-established religious stability and focussed on war rather than campaigning. Thanks to her and the Eunuch Theoktistos, after nearly two centuries of conflict-driven Iconoclast rule, a period of prosperity emerged.
So is it time for a woman to speak sense to power again?Elena Panaritis would say that structural reform is the way forward: improved governance and institutional reform are necessary conditions for political and ecvonomic stability.
Everything moves in cycles. Just over a century later, after the second Basil had left the Empire exhausted but with much expanded territory, Constantinople was back in a mess again: here's a terrific article on the subject. The man who happened to be there to sort it out was the man above, Alexios Komnenos. And a lot of what we know about him we owe to his daughter.  But then again, who doesn't owe a lot to the great women of our lives.

1 Comment to Riots, economic stagnation and political malaise - what's new?:

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