Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

2. Phthonos: A Pagan Relic in Byzantine Imperial Acclamations?

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

The spoken word is of eminent importance for most rituals. Ritual speech normally is highly formulaic and symbolic, whereas in the context of ceremonies words unfold an even greater power than in everyday communication. This chapter investigates the semantic shift that words of special significance for certain imperial rituals underwent, and analyses the meaning of the rituals concerned, which was also changed as a consequence. It examines closely the concept of phthonos, which occurs in several imperial acclamations in similar ceremonial contexts. The author has chosen the imperial acclamation at the iconoclastic Council of Hieria, because this is the latest occurrence of the word phthonos in the context of an imperial acclamation. The investigation of the meaning of phthonos in the context of imperial acclamations also demonstrates how Byzantine attitudes about dangerous supernatural powers threatening the emperor and the empire itself are reflected in imperial ceremonies.

Keywords: Byzantine text; council of Hieria; imperial ceremonies; phthonos; ritual speech



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation