The subject of the emperor in the Byzantine world may seem likely to be a well-studied topic but there is no book devoted to the emperor in general covering the span of the Byzantine empire. Of course there are studies on individual emperors, dynasties and aspects of the imperial office/role, but there remains no equivalent to Fergus Millar’s The Emperor in the Roman World (from which the proposed volume takes inspiration for its title and scope). The oddity of a lack of a general study of the Byzantine emperor is compounded by the fact that a series of books devoted to Byzantine empresses was published in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Thus it is appropriate to turn the spotlight on the emperor.

Themes covered by the contributions include: questions of dynasty and imperial families; the imperial court and the emperor’s men; imperial duties and the emperor as ruler; imperial literature (the emperor as subject and author); and the material emperor, including imperial images and spaces.

The volume fills a need in the field and the market, and also brings new and cutting-edge approaches to the study of the Byzantine emperor. Although the volume cannot hope to be a comprehensive treatment of the emperor in the Byzantine world it aims to cover a broad chronological and thematic span and to play a vital part in setting the agenda for future work. The subject of the Byzantine emperor has also an obvious relevance for historians working on rulership in other cultures and periods.

chapter |10 pages


ByShaun Tougher

part I|101 pages


chapter 2|24 pages

The shifting importance of dynasty in Heraclian ideology

ByMike Humphreys

chapter 3|31 pages

Revisiting the bachelorhood of Basil II 1

ByMark Masterson

chapter 4|29 pages

Byzantine emperors and sultans of Rūm

Sharing power? ∗
ByDimitri Korobeinikov

part II|55 pages

The emperor’s men

chapter 5|20 pages

Celibacy and survival in court politics in the fifth century AD 1

ByMeaghan McEvoy

chapter 6|21 pages

The emperor’s ‘significant others’

Alexios I Komnenos and his ‘Pivot to the West’
ByJonathan Shepard

chapter 7|12 pages

Who was who at the court of Constantine XI, 1449–1453 1

ByJonathan Harris

part III|27 pages

The emperor as ruler

chapter 8|8 pages

‘Law is king of all things’? The emperor and the law

ByBernard H. Stolte

chapter 9|17 pages

The emperor at war

Duties and ideals
ByFrank R. Trombley, Shaun Tougher

part IV|81 pages

Imperial literature

chapter 10|17 pages

Imperial panegyric

Hortatory or deliberative oratory? 1
ByJohn Vanderspoel

chapter 11|19 pages

The iconoclast saint

Emperor Theophilos in Byzantine hagiography
ByOscar Prieto Domínguez

chapter 12|13 pages

Splendour, vigour, and legitimacy

The prefaces of the Book of Ceremonies (De cerimoniis) and Byzantine imperial theory
ByPrerona Prasad

chapter 13|16 pages

Ideological and political contestations in post-1204 Byzantium

The orations of Niketas Choniates and the imperial court of Nicaea *
ByNikolaos G. Chrissis

chapter 14|14 pages

The emperor in the History of John VI Kantakouzenos (1347–1354)

BySavvas Kyriakidis

part V|93 pages

The material emperor

chapter 15|41 pages

The emperor at the threshold

Making and breaking taxis at Hagia Sophia 1
ByAlicia Walker

chapter 16|19 pages

Taking it on the road

The palace on the move 1
ByLynn Jones

chapter 17|31 pages

Unveiling Byzantium in Wales

Connections and collections 1
ByMark Redknap