J. Haldon, The Empire That Would Not Die. The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640–740

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John Haldon, The Empire That Would Not Die. The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640–740, Cambridge [MA], 2016.

Éditeur : Harvard University Press
Collection : Carl Newell Jackson Lectures
432 pages
ISBN : 9780674088771
45 $

The eastern Roman Empire was the largest state in western Eurasia in the sixth century. Only a century later, it was a fraction of its former size. Surrounded by enemies, ravaged by warfare and disease, the empire seemed destined to collapse. Yet it did not die. In this holistic analysis, John Haldon elucidates the factors that allowed the eastern Roman Empire to survive against all odds into the eighth century.

By 700 CE the empire had lost three-quarters of its territory to the Islamic caliphate. But the rugged geography of its remaining territories in Anatolia and the Aegean was strategically advantageous, preventing enemies from permanently occupying imperial towns and cities while leaving them vulnerable to Roman counterattacks. The more the empire shrank, the more it became centered around the capital of Constantinople, whose ability to withstand siege after siege proved decisive. Changes in climate also played a role, permitting shifts in agricultural production that benefitted the imperial economy.

At the same time, the crisis confronting the empire forced the imperial court, the provincial ruling classes, and the church closer together. State and church together embodied a sacralized empire that held the emperor, not the patriarch, as Christendom's symbolic head. Despite its territorial losses, the empire suffered no serious political rupture. What remained became the heartland of a medieval Christian Roman state, with a powerful political theology that predicted the emperor would eventually prevail against God's enemies and establish Orthodox Christianity's world dominion.



List of Illustrations and Tables*
Note on Names
Introduction: Goldilocks in Byzantium
1. The Challenge: A Framework for Collapse
2. Beliefs, Narratives, and the Moral Universe
3. Identities, Divisions, and Solidarities
4. Elites and Interests
5. Regional Variation and Resistance
6. Some Environmental Factors
7. Organization, Cohesion, and Survival
A Conclusion

* Illustrations and Tables
1.1 The Umayyad caliphate, ca. 720
1.2 The Taurus and Anti-Taurus region, ca. 740
6.1 Anatolia: Seasonal rainfall régime zones
6.2 Agricultural production and land use, ca. 500–1000 CE
6.3 Location of Lake Nar region
6.4 Sources of grain in the seventh century CE
7.1 Seventh-century military commands and notional divisional strengths, overlain on late Roman provinces
6.1 Summary of vegetation, land use, and climate change, Nar Gólü, Cappadocia, 300–1400 CE
6.1 Varying estimated end dates for the BOP in Anatolia
6.2 Patterns of agrarian production from the seventh century CE in Anatolia
6.3 Summary interpretation of high-resolution pollen and stable isotope data, Lake Nar, 270–1400 CE


Source : Harvard University Press