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Theodoros Metochites. En lärd statsman i 1300-talets Bysans

Magazine article
Authors Karin Hult
Published in Dragomanen. Årsskrift utgiven av Svenska Forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul och Föreningen Svenska Istanbulinstitutets Vänner
Volume 3
Pages 31-47
ISSN 1402-358X
Publication year 1999
Published at Department of Classical Studies
Pages 31-47
Language sv
Subject categories Classical Greek language, History of Ideas, Byzantinology


Theodore Metochites: A Learned Statesman in 14th-Century Byzantium.

The Byzantine statesman and scholar Theodore Metochites (1270–1332) lived in a period of political decline. After the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Latins ruled the City for nearly sixty years. Although a Byzantine emperor was reinstalled in 1261, the impoverished empire had declined to a second-rate power, which continued to lose territories to the advancing Turks. Paradoxically, the period saw a revival of science, art and literature. This flourishing intellectual activity is sometimes termed ”the Palaiologan Renaissance” after the ruling dynasty.

Theodore Metochites was one of the most prominent figures of this revival. He wrote commentaries on Aristotle, an astronomical handbook, orations, autobiographical hexameters, and essays on various subjects, including history, philosophy and literature. Metochites’ name is associated with the Chora (present-day Kariye Camii, in Turkish), an old imperial monastery in Constantinople. As mesazon, i.e. chancellor, of the emperor Andronikos II, he was entrusted with the restoration of the monastery in 1316–1321. Metochites contributed to the restoration from his personal estate and was particularly ambitious for the monastery’s library, which he made the most well-endowed in the capital. The mosaics and frescoes in the church are outstanding examples of Palaiologan art. After his fall from power and his exile to Thrace in 1328–1330, Metochites spent his final years in the Chora, where he was also buried.

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