Byzantine war against Christians – an “emphylios polemos”?

Byzantine war against Christians – an “emphylios polemos”?

By Ioannis Stouraitis

Βyzantina Symmeikta, Vol. 20 (2010)

Introduction: The Byzantine perception of civil war (emphylios polemos), as well as of war against other Christian peoples, is part of the wider issue of Byzantine war ideology. In the course of recent research on this subject, I noticed that some Byzantine authors after the ninth century define or present Byzantine wars fought against other Christian peoples as emphylios polemos. The central role of Christian religion and Christian identity in the Byzantine perception of war against all foreign enemies motivated me to undertake a separate study of the perception of Byzantine emphylios polemos2, focusing on the question of ideological and political similarities or differences between Byzantine civil war and wars fought between the Byzantines and other Christian peoples. The main goal of this study is to further clarify the role played by religious identity in the Byzantines’ perception of the enemy when at war.

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