Byzantium in the Seventh Century: The Transformation of a by J. F. Haldon

By J. F. Haldon

This publication offers the 1st analytical account in English of significant advancements inside Byzantine tradition, society and the country within the an important formative interval from c.610-717. The 7th century observed the ultimate cave in of historical city civilization and municipal tradition, the increase of Islam, the evolution of styles of idea and social constitution that made imperial iconoclasm attainable, and the advance of country apparatuses--military, civil and fiscal--typical of the center Byzantine country. additionally, in this interval, orthodox Christianity ultimately grew to become the unquestioned dominant tradition and a non secular framework of trust (to the exclusion of other structures, which have been henceforth marginalized or proscribed).

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The accent in antiquity was clearly more on the discernment and the will of the local church, clergy and laity, than on the desires and wishes of the person under consideration for ecclesiastical promotion. In Ambrose’s case the people had determined, for whatever reason, that he was capable of the episcopate. Even if their clamor for him was not so spontaneous as Paulinus would have us believe but was somehow stage-managed, it was clear that the crowd had to be part of the decision. The laity did not always have such a strong voice in the election of their bishop, but there were certainly times when their views prevailed.

The deliberations of the Senate were understood by the pagans to occur under the influence of the goddess, and at certain times the senators were expected to sprinkle incense on the altar in honor of the goddess and to swear upon it. Toward the end of his reign the Emperor Constantius II removed the altar as being incompatible with the Christian tone that he was seeking to promote. ) There was little adverse reaction to this change. It was, anyhow, not long-lasting, since Julian restored the altar at the beginning of his reign.

As has been said earlier in this essay, accessibility was an important episcopal virtue in antiquity. 3) gives us an insight into the public character of Ambrose’s life: his residence, we are told, was open to whoever wanted to come in, and none of his visitors was announced beforehand. Sometimes, as visitors arrived, they might even have found him absorbed in his reading, trying to snatch a few moments of quiet from a busy schedule. Augustine relates that at such occasions he would not interrupt him, but most likely not everyone was so sensitive.

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