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The Political Sphere

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Chapter Summary

Demetrius, a Byzantine politician educated in the Byzantine tradition, at times deals with emperors and the imperial office in standard rhetorical terms. His basic approach to the theory of imperial rule is unexceptionable: the emperor, as the ruler appointed by God, is in a unique position, and can be expected to exercise rule accordingly, and demonstrate suitable virtues. The theory of imperium is not something he discusses or develops: it is a backdrop, a part of the structure of his surroundings which is largely assumed. There are two particularly important aspects of Demetrius' treatment of Kantakuzenos. The first concerns the relationship between them. Demetrius' family was evidently closely associated with Kantakuzenos in Thessalonica prior to Andronikos Ill's death in 1341. This relationship between Kantakuzenos and Demetrius' family leads to a second important aspect of Demetrius' treatment of Kantakuzenos: that Demetrius accepts the legitimacy of Kantakuzenos' imperial claims.

Keywords: Byzantine politician; Demetrius; Kantakuzenos' personal qualities; Ottoman Turks; political sphere



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