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Byzantine Imperial Thought in Theory and Practice in Vladimirian-Jaroslavian Rus’

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Chapter Summary

The formal reception of Eastern Christianity from Byzantium exposes Kievan Rus' to a political and cultural efflorescence. Christianity, the Rus' annalists and literary apologists believed, had effaced the primitive Kievan Rus' political traditions and pagan religious legacy. Byzantine imperial thought has its foundation in the Greco-Roman notions of the powers of the basileus and autokrator. Byzantine written sources furnish images of Vladimir and Jaroslav that portray them as rulers of inferior rank in contrast to their emperors. Byzantine concepts of Roman administration and their practical application of granting court titles were demonstrated in 1043. The period encompassing the rules of Vladimir and Jaroslav illustrates the inculcation, though unevenly, into Kievan Rus' of the Byzantine religious and political thought world. Only the Byzantines consistently believed that the Rus' were their subject allies and came under the authority, both religious and political, of the emperor.

Keywords: Byzantine imperial theory; Christianity; Kievan Rus'; Vladimir



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