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Shared solutions to common problems: A comparative study of Byzantine treaties and English treaties, c. 900-1200

Morris, Ben 2022. Shared solutions to common problems: A comparative study of Byzantine treaties and English treaties, c. 900-1200. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The study of medieval diplomacy has been divided into two schools, one focused on the Greek-speaking world of Byzantium, and the other on the Latinized powers of Western Europe. While this linguistic divide existed in the Middle Ages, it is frustrating that it persists in scholarship, Jenny Benham having shown that a linguistic division does not usually indicate different diplomatic practice. Furthermore, the study of medieval diplomacy has often focused on the rituals surrounding treaties, with little work analysing the treaty clauses. As treaties reflect how polities saw a shared problem and a shared solution, they provide the best evidence for studying diplomacy and its connection to surrounding laws and customs. This project will re-align the disparity in the historiography, by analysing and comparing the treaties of two of the most bureaucratic entities of the medieval world, being the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of England, at the earliest point from which there are enough treaties for comparison, c. 900-1200. This comparison allows me to answer three vital questions: which clauses were essential to treaty-making; which were unique to each power; and which were common responses to particular circumstance? In order to answer these questions, I have highlighted six prominent themes that recur in the treaties of this period, each being a chapter of my thesis, including ecclesiastical authority, the movement of military service, and the movement of goods. This project highlights similarities and differences in the pragmatic approaches that these entities took to particular issues, while also shedding light on the legislative infrastructure that each of these powers had access to. For instance, Chapter 1 examines the role of hybrid legal culture in making redress clauses in treaties accessible, something both peoples utilised in common. While there were differences in approach, particularly to trade and ecclesiastical authority, ultimately, this thesis demonstrates significant similarities in the issues approached and methods used by each of these powers within their treaties.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Funders: SWW DTP
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: 24 January 2023
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 10:48

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