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By John Haldon

With unique essays by way of top students, this booklet explores the social heritage of the medieval japanese Roman Empire and provides illuminating new insights into our wisdom of Byzantine society.Provides interconnected essays of unique scholarship in relation to the social heritage of the Byzantine empireOffers groundbreaking theoretical and empirical learn within the learn of Byzantine societyIncludes necessary glossaries of sociological/theoretical phrases and Byzantine/medieval phrases

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Sˇtaermann presented in many ways a Soviet precursor of Anderson’s thesis, which it pre-dated by many years: namely, that “feudalism” in the west was the result of a synthesis of the Roman “slave mode of production” with the barbarian tribalism or primitive communalism of the Germanic invaders. 30 Syuzyumov, in contrast, argued that this position denied the concept of revolutionary change altogether, erecting in its place a notion of mechanical synthesis. At the same time he argued that it broadened the concept of the feudal mode to include virtually all forms of dependency and rent-extraction, and rendered it as a result too general to be of any analytical value.

35 All seemed agreed on the crucial role of the state in the development of Byzantine “feudalism,” especially its role in patronizing and promoting what became by the tenth and eleventh century the aristocracy. All were likewise in agreement on the state’s ability to hold back the expansion of aristocratic landholding in the provinces – less through conscious 31 Syuzyumov 1973a: 3–18. Syuzyumov 1976. 33 Kazhdan 1968: 263ff. But for a critique of the “prime mover” theories, which underlies this purely internalized model of change, see McLennan 1986.

Yet this immediately brings with it a multiplicity of problems, if only because the generally accepted modern understanding of terms such as “law” and “legislation” tended in a medieval context to have somewhat, and often very, different significance. Imperial legislation aimed at both specific and generalizable decisions arising from particular moments, and at the production of general prescriptions about temporally and geographically specific issues. The practice of law, on the other hand – the process through which justice was achieved for the parties involved in litigation, for example – both rested on Roman tradition but was at the same time an intensely moral process, in which the concept of justice was itself determined by the framework of values generated and maintained by the symbolic universe.

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