By A. P. Kazhdan
Byzantium, that darkish sphere at the outer edge of medieval Europe, is usually considered as the immutable residue of Rome's decline. during this hugely unique and provocative paintings, Alexander Kazhdan and Ann Wharton Epstein revise this conventional picture by means of documenting the dynamic social alterations that happened throughout the 11th and 12th centuries.
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Additional info for Change in Byzantine Culture in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
Minor and the subjugation of Serbia and Hungary. Until the late twelfth century, the Byzantine Empire remained an important political power between Catholic Europe and the Islamic Near East. The interpretation of the economic evidence for Byzantium during this period is more ambiguous. The debasement of Byzantine coinage during the eleventh century has traditionally been seen as an expression of economic decline. The Byzantine nomisma-solidus, struck of highquality gold (twenty-four carats), had remained stable until the mideJeventh century; around the second and the third quarters of the cen2 tury, gold coinage was debased to eight carats.
Why? Iconoda m of the eighth and ninth centuries was directed, first and foremost, against monastic institutions. Leo III and Constantine V, th great Iconoclast emperors, along with their followers, did not seek to acquire monastic lands, since there was no extensive mona tic landownership at the time. Nor did they desire the accrued wealth of the monasteries. New regulations were not directed at the confiscation of gold, ilver, and precious stones but rather were aimed at the abolition 13. D. M.
Copy r gt'tea 'T a '" From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages 9 minished as well, suggesting that Byzantine country life from the seventh to the ninth centuries was based more on a barter economy than on money. The peasant were both the taxpayers and the protectors of the frontier. The Roman fiscal machine seems to have decayed by the seventh century; how taxes were collected after that time j unclear. At any rate, municipia ceased to be centers of fiscal organization, and repre entatives of the Constantinopolitan administration assumed the responsibility of gathering taxes.