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The Central Elite

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Chapter Summary

In order to find an explanation for the shift in imperial policy circa 1217-1219 in the direction of a less centralist and less Byzantine inspired government, this chapter analyses the group of persons surrounding the Latin emperor who, together with him, determined governmental policy and to whom we shall refer further as the central elite. When endeavouring to ascertain the concrete composition of the consilium and of the imperial familia, the problem arises that in the sources almost no one is indicated explicitly as a member of one or other of these groups. From this point of view it is necessary to introduce a number of criteria for selection such as fulfilling important diplomatic, military or advisory tasks in imperial service, and holding a prominent function in the central governance. In the prosopographical research of the central elite of the Latin Empire the authors applied the above-mentioned criteria quite stringently.

Keywords: Byzantine inspired government; central elite; consilium; imperial familia; imperial policy; Latin Empire



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