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Contextualising Demetrius' Pro-Western Approach

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Chapter Summary

Byzantine society, as a human society, naturally had its share of negative human responsesfundamentalism, chauvinism, insularity, bigotry, xenophobia, jealousywhich played a part in attitudes towards the west. Specific problems arising from institutional division, theological disagreement and historical grievances also combined to make the situation difficult, and there certainly existed a strong tradition of vociferous Orthodox opposition to the west. This chapter looks at the context of Demetrius' ideas and activities in the 1350s and 1360s. It provides a brief rsum of Byzantine relations with the papacy and the west more generally in the period, before then examining how Demetrius' career relates to these developments. Finally, the chapter discusses tentatively how pro-western ideas might have fitted into wider Byzantine developments. Were such ideas restricted to a small group within Byzantine society, and generally out of step with Byzantine culture, or is it misleading to envisage the situation in such terms?.

Keywords: Byzantine culture; Demetrius' ideas; Orthodox opposition; papacy



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