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Latins and Franks in Byzantium: Perception and Reality from the Eleventh to the Twelfth Century

Latins and Franks in Byzantium: Perception and Reality from the Eleventh to the Twelfth Century

Kazhdan, Alexander

The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection Washington, D.C. (2001)

Abstract

When scholars write about relations between the West and Byzantium in the Middle Ages, they naturally emphasize the contrasts between the two societies: Catholicism versus Orthodoxy, feudalism versus “totalitarian” regime, predominantly oral culture versus consistent textuality, barter economy versus uninterrupted circulation of coins, poetization of warfare versus the ideology of peace, a list of oppositions that could be continued almost to infinity. It is unclear whether these contrasts are in fact part of the reality of the medieval world or were spawned by the confessional intolerance of nineteenth-century historiography. Fortunately, this problem lies far beyond the limited tasks of this study. At first sight, the political and ecclesiastical events of the eleventh and twelfth centuries confirm the traditional opinion: this period begins with a theological clash and the so-called division (schism) of the church in 1054, and it ends with the sack of Constantinople by the Crusader army in 1204. Who could deny that the two worlds stood in opposition to each other?

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