Matthew Tanton (KCL) - 2015-16 Students

Conflict and Rivalry in 13th and 14th Century Byzantium: a comparison of Trapezuntine and Nicaean political ideologies and propaganda

After Constantinople’s fall to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Byzantine Empire disintegrated into a handful of successor states ruled by individuals claiming to be the legitimate heirs of the imperial throne. However, two of these successor states, the ’empires’ of Trebizond and Nicaea, can be seen to have developed substantial ideological differences concerning what form imperial power should take. Through extensive comparisons of the existing literary, architectural, numismatic and sigillographic evidence, this project will show that such ideological differences were not only indicative of political rivalry, but also of fascinating developments in what it meant to be ‘Byzantine’ during this period. Ultimately, as the empire of Trebizond has received little scholarly attention in comparison to Nicaea, I hope that this project will draw attention to Trebizond and contribute to elevating its study as an equal partner of Nicaea in the critical and formative period of post 1204 Byzantium.

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