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Open Access Court And Capital In Byzantium

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Court And Capital In Byzantium

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Chapter Summary

The relationship between court and capital is perhaps what best defines the structural singularity of any court society, since it is infinitely variable. The Byzantine imperial court, which lasted over one thousand years, did not have a static relationship with the empire's capital, Constantinople. The courts in northern Greece and Trebizond survived the recovery of Constantinople by their western Anatolian rival in 1261. The court's day at the races as described by the Book of Ceremonies was a very tame, ritualised and infrequent affair compared with what had happened in imperial Rome, or in Constantinople four centuries earlier. Court ceremonial involved the capital, moreover, by including the city's residents in exclusive Palace events. The Magnaura, like the Kathisma, was a Palace building, but it lay at the outer entrance to the Palace complex, opening onto a freely accessible public space, and it was not used for very exclusive functions.

Keywords: Book of Ceremonies ; Byzantine imperial court; Constantinople; Magnaura; palace; Rome

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