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The Palace Complex

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers palace sites as a distinctive institutional space, under two broad headings. First, did palaces form a "total institution", were they closed and specialised institutional spaces? Second, can they be seen as impersonal, which the author use to mean how did they act as monuments in a landscape even when the ruler was not present? While ranging from late antiquity to c. 1000, the chapter's assumed norm is all too often the palace of the Carolingian and Ottonian realms, but comments are at times deliberately general to provoke further discussion and potential comparison. In Byzantium when Michael II gained power and Michael III lost it, it was the palace that was the key battleground and prize. The chapter turns to features of objective existence, of permanence, as aspects of the institutionality of the palace.

Keywords: Byzantium; Carolingian ralm; Michael II; Ottonian realm; permanence; total institution



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