byzantine diplomacy

The Ostromir Gospel, a masterpiece of the book art of Kievan Rus’, is an item of exceptional magnificence. It is the oldest East Slavic manuscript dated by its colophon, which also bears the name of a copyist. According to the Greek reckoning of biblical chronology, it was executed in 6564–6565 after Creation, i.e., in 1056–1057; it marks the first burgeoning of the early Christian state of Rus’ and the weight of the Byzantine inheritance in the genesis of its art. It was commissioned by Posadnik (governor) Ostromir (Prince Iziaslav’s powerful representative in Novgorod), whose influence extended throughout northwestern Rus’. The luxurious book he had copied and painted was intended for the recently built cathedral of St. Sophia in Novgorod, which must have given the manuscript the privileged status of a state emblem.“

From the page of the Louvre for the exhibition Holy Russia.

anonymous asked:

No love for Alexios Komnenos? Had it not been for his reforms and military victories, John II would have had less to work with. Not to forget the impact he had on calling the for First Crusade.

Well, for those, I tried to limit the choices to one emperor from each of the major dynasties to spread the love around, so no Alexios and Manuel, no Basil the Bulgar-Slayer. That’s not to say I didn’t like them, but when I get questions like this, I try to pick from a different variety of eras so that when people look into them on their own, the net is cast wide.

Heck, Alexios, John, and Manuel were, all three excellent, capable, and positively fascinating emperors. In Imperium Sine Fine Dendi, the Komnenni form a key part of establishing Byzantine strength and tricky diplomacy to handle the Normans in Italy, the Bulgars and Croats in the Balkans, and the Turks and Arabs to the Empire’s east.

Thanks for the question, Anon.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King