Dimiter G. Angelov
University of Birmingham, UK

A diverse and wide-ranging semantics characterizes the understanding of liberty
in Byzantium. A cursory glance at dictionaries and thesauri reveals that the words
ἐλευθερία (the noun freedom) and ἐλεύθερος (the adjective free) are part and parcel of
the discursive repertory of secular and religious authors. Modern historians have tra-
ditionally paid attention to new and unusual connotations of freedom in Byzantium,
mostly in documentary usage during the middle and late periods.1 There is, however,
scope for much wider analysis. Scholars have yet to examine the cultural and histori-
cal significance of the usages of the concept of freedom and the interplay of its dif-
ferent meanings. Such an investigation of Begriffsgeschichte and historical semiotics
would be complex and interdisciplinary, pertaining to history and political thought
as well as theology, law, literature, and the reception of the classics. Almost by neces-
sity, therefore, my focus here is restricted thematically and chronologically: liberty as
a political ideal from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. What I mean by “lib-
erty as political ideal” is not merely its descriptive application to the social realities,
such as governance and landed relations. Rather I am interested in cases and contexts
where liberty was politicized to the degree of becoming an ideological credo and a
catchword that encapsulated the interests of social groups and individuals. Here I
discuss some patterns and in the process raise questions for further study, especially
regarding earlier periods of Byzantine history.
The approach to liberty in which I am interested emerges from various texts
composed during an eventful period of historical change, which saw successive cycles
of reconstruction and consolidation of central authority (by the Komnenoi in the
twelfth century and the Laskarids and the Palaiologoi in the thirteenth) followed
by periods of rapid or gradual disintegration under external and internal pressures.
Epideictic and deliberative public oratory – mostly in the form of traditionally con-
ceived panegyrics of emperors and advisory speeches composed in high-style Greek
– is particularly revealing about the political uses of liberty. My method is to identify
interpretative currents and suggest ways in which divergent views of liberty were able
to converse with, or build on, one another. This diachronic approach privileges the
history of thought over the study of the agendas of individual authors, even though
often more can be said about the synchronic context than I can offer here.

A. Kazhdan, “The Concept of Freedom (eleutheria) and Slavery (duleia) in Byzantium,” in La
notion de liberté au Moyen Age: Islam, Byzance, Occident, Penn-Paris-Dumbarton Oaks Col-
loquia, IV, 12–15 October 1982 (Paris, 1982), 215–226; K. Khvostova, “K voprosu ob up-
otreblenii termina ‘elevter’ v vizantiiskikh opisiakh XIII–XIV vv.,” Vizantiiskii Vremennik, 44,
1983, 18–26. See also the contributions by Demetrios Kyritses cited in n. 19.

312 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies

The political views of liberty in the later centuries of Byzantium fed on tradi-
tional modes of understanding the concept. Three received traditions were, in my
opinion, particularly powerful and influential: the classical, the legal, and the scrip-
tural. As Kurt Raaflaub has demonstrated, liberty was initially conceptualized during
the 470s BC, when the ancient Greeks saw their recent wars with Persia as a strug-
gle between freedom and servitude. It is at that time that the noun ἐλευθερία is first
attested.2 In the same period, ἐλευθερία was understood as an antonym to tyranny,
in the sense of arbitrary and oppressive rule. The term acquired domestic political
meaning and became an ideological slogan of the Athenian democracy in Perikles’
era.3 Aristotle notes in the fourth century BC that “the basis of a democratic state is
freedom, which, according to the common opinion, can be enjoyed in such a state.”4
The dichotomy of freedom versus servitude (δουλεία) marked the origins of the con-
cept in the Greek tradition and persisted during the Byzantine centuries, as demon-
strated by specific examples below. At the same time, ancient as well as Byzantine
discourses of freedom, especially political ones, moved beyond the confines of binary
opposition, whether with δουλεία or with tyranny, and turned freedom into a posi-
tive, self-constituted, and reified value.
Byzantine law understands liberty as an individual status: the status of a free man
or a woman in contrast to that of a slave. Two ways of acquiring legal freedom are
envisaged in law. Ninth- and fourteenth-century legal collections classify free men
and women into those who are freeborn (εὐγενεῖς, literally “well-born,” “noble”) and
emancipated slaves (ἀπελεύθεροι).5 A late Byzantine manumission formulary is ti-
tled “Document of Liberty of a Slave.”6 Slaves were indeed a valuable commodity
in the later centuries of Byzantium, while an international slave trade, dominated by
Italian merchants, flourished in the eastern Mediterranean. In areas controlled by
the Byzantine empire, the use of slaves has traditionally been seen as confined to the
household after the twelfth century.7 The booming long-distance slave trade and
K. Raaflaub, The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece, trans. R. Fransiscono, Chicago, 2004,
58–67, 84–89. The study is a revised edition of idem, Die Entdeckung der Freiheit: Zur histo-
rischen Semantik und Gesellschaftsgeschichte eines politischen Grundbegriffes der Griechen, Mu-
nich, 1985.
Raaflaub, Discovery of Freedom, 96–102.
Aristotle, Politics, 1317a40–b2.
See the ninth-century Eisagoge XXXVII, 5 (attributed to Patriarch Photios) in Jus Graecoro-
manum, II, ed. P. Zepos and I. Zepos, Athens, 1931, 347; and Constantine Harmenopo-
ulos, Hexabiblos, I, 18, 6 (compiled in the fourteenth century), in Κωνσταντίνου Ἁρμενοπούλου
Πρόχειρον νόμων ἢ Ἑξάβιβλος, ed. K. Pitsakes, Athens, 1971, 92.
Κ. Sathas, Μεσαιωνικὴ Βιβλιοθήκη, VI, Venice, 1877, 617–618. The tenth-century Beneficial
Tales of Paul of Monemvasia refer to the manumission document as a “charter of freedom”
(χάρτης τῆς ἐλευθερίας). See J. Wortley, Les récits édifiants de Paul, Évêque de Monembasie, et
d’autres auteurs, Paris, 1987, 40.
On slavery in Byzantium in this period, see H. Köpstein, Zur Sklaverei im ausgehenden By-
zanz: philologisch-historische Untersuchung, Berlin, 1966, esp. 94–100, 103–118. The subject

9 See especially John 8:31–37. in La vie en Christ. 1–16. 170–172. 81–88.8 The followers of Jesus are presented as tru- ly free by virtue of their belief. 189. Laiou-Thomadakis. 1989. 2 Corinthians 3:17. I. John Lydos in the sixth century and John Zonaras in the twelfth considered freedom to have been an essential char- acteristic of the Roman republic and expressed nostalgia for a distant and lost past. “The Byzantine Economy in the Mediterra- nean Trade System: Thirteenth-Fifteenth Centuries. See also . 1 Corinthians 7:21–24. Dialogues with a Persian. 251–255. 180 n. On the role of non-Byzantine merchants in the in- ternational slave trade. The interpretation of the word liberty as free- dom from foreign domination is indeed amply attested in Byzantium after 1204 and merits detailed discussion. in Manuel II. ed. Purity Lost: Transgressing Boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean. 8.11 The classical Greek understanding of liberty may appear the most likely model for the politicization of the concept. 195. 12 On Lydos. for example. esp. Tübingen. “Freiheit. see A. Epstein. with a survey of the passages. 184. “Republican Theory and Political Dissidence in Ioannes Lydos. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 313 the domestic use of slaves may have imparted to the traditional dichotomy of free- dom versus slavery a renewed sense of realism and contemporary relevance. 1 Corinthians 10:29.10 Further research on Byzantine homiletic and theological literature may clarify the role and functions of this understanding of liberty. Galatians 5:1–22. 1972. 280–281. 43. 280–304. II. Baltimore. which is descended from the servant girl Hagar. 2007. Congourdeau. The Christian New Testament redefines the meaning of the words freedom and servitude by infusing liberty with spiritual and eschatological meaning and by para- doxically reversing the binary opposition. 8. 1980–1981. and freedom is associated with works of faith and indi- vidual responsibility.” Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum. S. Coppins. 11 See. and Manuel II Palaiologos. A. 191. 2005. Paul. 1000–1400. Byzantines throughout the centuries were aware that liberty had been an ideal of the Athenian democracy and the Roman re- public.” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. Palaiologos: Dialoge mit einem “Perser. M. 1 Peter 2:16. see A. 2009.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Life in Christ. 269–306. The truly free on earth are said to be God’s slaves – a positive reevaluation of the meaning of δουλεία that was influential in the Middle Ages. In works critical of contemporary emperors. IV. Less common – and not politicized in any meaningful way in the period of interest here – is the association of liberty with the rights of citi- zens in a communal form of government. Paris. 69–71. 57–59. although restricted to the Christian community. cols.12 could benefit from a fresh reexamination. originating from Abraham’s wife. Kaldellis. Nicholas Kabasilas. in contrast to the enslaved community on earth. Nestle. 1966. 334. 82. Vienna. XXI and XXIV.9 Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (4:24–26) represents “the upper Jerusalem” – the kingdom of God. Trapp. 8 D. 10 Romans 6:18–22. E. which was socially inclusive and universal. W.-H. The Interpretation of Freedom in the Letters of St. It is perhaps notable that authors of the late period who constructed a secular political ideal of liberty sometimes employed the same concept in a religious sense in theological writings. Sarah – as free. 29.” ed. 34.

C. accused of tyranny after the discovery of weapons in his house. Kiessling. 4–5. accord- ing to Pachymeres. Leipzig. 2008. Rabe. vol.. 53–68. See also A. Boissonade. 606. “Freedom. On the teaching activities of Pachymeres.14 A native Byzantine view of freedom proved as capable of entering political dis- course as the classical Greek one. On Staseis and On Invention. is likely to have said that “one cannot find a better thing than democracy. When accused of tyrannical aspirations. 16 G. On the passages by Zonaras.’” . The rhetorical corpus of Hermogenes provides the theme of an imaginary defense speech by Perikles. 1848. 213. that of immunity from taxation. John Lydus and the Roman Past: Antiquarianism and Politics in the Age of Justinian. 330–347. I.” was ostracized. Miscellanea philosophica et historica. In his practice speeches on antique themes derived from the corpus of Hermogenes and composed most probably for the use of his students.” 215–217. Maas. 59.” in A. J. Khvostova. Leipzig.16 Helga Köpstein and Alexander Kazhdan have also pointed to a se- the more guarded approach by M. 23. 1954. Theodore Metochites (1270–1332) describes freedom (ἐλευθερία). 610. Brussels.314 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies Yet criticism of Byzantine governance was not the only occasion for a retrospective look at democratic or republican liberty. Metochites uses also a different meaning of freedom in the same es- say. 1985. 13. Ka- zhdan. pp. I. which he dismisses as a faction-ridden and dangerous form of politics practiced in ancient Athens and his contemporary Genoa. 83–96. Rome. 1983. and all are free. “Aspects of Twelfth-Century Byzantine Kaiserkritik. ed.15 Peasants not registered for taxation when settled on the properties of landlords. 58. W. ed. Müller and T. 1841. on how Themostikles. Magdalino. Pour l’histoire de la féodalité byzantine. 20–21.8–10. ed. 27–35. Paris. 1992. M. 1913. 14 G. Kazhdan and A. in Hermogenis opera. Golitsis. On the juxtapo- sition of freedom and tyranny in ancient Athens. London. See ibid.. Epstein. Change in Byzantine Culture in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. 1982.” in La civiltà bizantina dal XII al XV secolo: aspetti e problemi. 605. where the inequality of fortune is made equal and all people are without slavery.”13 In a well-known philosophical essay. “The Concept of Freedom. the speech of a philosopher requesting the prize for tyrannicide for persuading a tyrant to resign from power. 618. by the elev- enth century. ed. 58. George Pachymeres (1242–after 1309) presents democratic freedom as the antithesis to tyranny. and equality under the law (ἰσονομία) as essential characteristics of the democratic polity. Berkeley. essay 116. Kazhdan. the man most responsible for the “freedom of the Hellenes from the Persians. see Ioan- nis Zonarae Annales. see most recently P. 105. the adjective free (ἐλεύθερος) acquired a new technical meaning. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. see P.8–17.” Speculum. Pinder. 59–60.. As Alexander Kazhdan has shown. 804. 1821. 13 Georgii Pachymeris Declamationes XIII. A. “K voprosu ob upotreblenii termina ‘elevter. See also L. 608.” Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik. 94–100. 51. see ibid. 326–346. See Her- mogenes. were called “free” (ἐλεύθεροι) in tax documents and inventories from the thirteenth through the fif- teenth century. and some other categories of peasants. Washing- ton. Bonn. On Zonaras’s annals as a work of critique. Perikles. 1991. Mavrommatis. “Georges Pachymère comme didascale. and the speech of an indicted general who has won a victory despite burning the ships of his own navy. 15 Kazhdan. “La pensée politique à Byzance du XIIe au XIVe siècle. Ostrogorsky. H. free-spiritedness (ἐλευθεριότης). F.

that is. 169–172.29–30 (παρρησία.19 In his Advisory Speech to the Thessalonicans.20–25. a fascinating work dating to 1383 to which I will return. the humiliating δουλεία of the subjects of tyrants. II: 395. Laurent.. the word δουλεία refers both to service linked to conditional grants of land and to service to the state generally (usually military).17 Self-designated δοῦλοι were members of the social elite in the Palaiologan period: the imperial oikeioi. 1999. 215. Kyritses.4–8. II: 619. 1999. 65. 99. ibid. Harvard University. D. The Byzantine Aristocracy in the Thirteenth and the Early Fourteenth Centuries. Bartusis. 240. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 315 mantic shift in Byzantium of the words slave (δοῦλος) and slavery (δουλεία). in the midst of usurping authority from his colleague. Laourdas.6–7 (παρρησία καὶ ἐλευθερία). and the oppression of the Christian subjects of the impious barbarians. II: 363. 169 n. “The ‘Common Chrysobulls’ of Cities and the Notion of Property in Late Byzantium. 51. Philadelphia. 306. 1984.22 The Mongols are described as having “liberty of the soul” (ἐλευθερία τῆς ψυχῆς) in their simple lifestyle and the justice of their social organization. 1953–55. 24 Ibid.21 Sailors were said to have freedom and independence of mind. a large inner circle of trusted men that included holders of high court titles.. This figu- rative usage was common among high-style authors and deserves mention.” Symmeikta 13.” 219–220. ed. “Concept of Freedom.23 Political realities sometimes color Pachymeres’ use of the word freedom. vol. ed. and it is possible that the author used this paradox to subvert the views of its proponents. 240–241 n. 221–226.4–7. The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society. Failler. “taken away from the free people”).8–10. On military service as δουλεία. 22 Ibid. and trans.3. Failler. the Ottomans.. Late Byzantine Army. 23 Ibid. Kazhdan. 382. vols. the emperor Manuel II Palaiologos notes that “there are various kinds of δουλεία greatly differing from each other” and describes three of them without including slavery among them: the δουλεία of the well-treated subjects of lawful rulers. although they found it beneficial to relinquish their freedom and serve under a captain. trans. I: 71. I:109. Zur Sklaverei. 21 George Pachymeres. see Bartusis. 1992. I: 447.26. A. 18 M. Examples drawn from the History of George Pachym- eres illustrate the rich discursive phraseology and semantic breadth of both words. PhD diss. Thus one could be free in one’s mind and in manners and actions.. 33–34.” Make- donika 3. the underage co- 17 Köpstein.21. Paris..18 In documentary evidence from the Palaiologan period. V. 19 D. I: 79. “ Ὁ ‘συμβουλευτικὸς πρὸς τοὺς Θεσσαλονικεῖς’ τοῦ Μανουὴλ Παλαιολόγου. 20 B. I and II. Kyritses. signed their names as the emperor’s δοῦλοι. 1204–1453. Freedom is paired with freedom of speech (παρρησία).20 The adjective free and the noun freedom were also used metaphorically. Relations historiques.34–297. This is a reported opinion. A. . which acquired positive connotations under the influence of Christian ideology and came to signify imperial subjects and subject status under the emperor. “Liberties at the table” (τραπέζης ἐλευθερία) is an expression synonymous with sumptuous dining. III. even if it is not of immediate interest here.24 In 1259 the newly crowned emperor Michael VIII. 296. 1997. Paris. 237.

delivering his people from the danger of slavery. for valiantly confronting the Latin knights and putting his life in danger on behalf of “the com- mon liberty.22–24.”28 Choniates prayed for Laskaris to follow in the footsteps of the “lib- erator Moses” and become the “expected liberator” of Constantinople. 132.28–32. composed on behalf of Theodore I Laskaris). 28 Nicetae Choniatae orationes et epistulae. Yet what kinds of political and social credos did liberty express? “The Light of Liberty”: Freedom from Foreign Rule In a speech composed in 1206 or 1207. 170. The expression “freedom’s light” is found in Aeschylus.” a reference to the restoration of Thessaloniki to Byzantine possession after the Ottoman defeat by Timur in the battle of Ankara (1402).. IV.26 Pachymeres complains that the patriarch Athanasios (1289–93.1–2.. Hunger.-L. ed.. Liberty was a word that excited the imagination in multiple directions and pertained to power relations of various kinds. 26 Ibid.. Libation Bearers. shortly after the Latin conquest of Con- stantinople. The orator speaks of “the freedom of great cities.25 The Genoese are reported to have “freedom and immunity” (ἐλευθερία καὶ ἀτέλεια) from taxation when trading in Byzantine territory – a usage of the word freedom with fis- cal connotations. 27 Ibid. 147.27 With a few exceptions. which meant their right to adequate annual salary.31 25 Ibid. with an interesting play on the Christian idea of freedom and Roman law. and trans. vol.11–13. Ioannes Chortasmenos presents the ruler as “the light of free- dom” (φῶς ἐλευθερίας). 30 Ibid. Choniates exclaims: “Now we all have seen clearly the light of liberty (φῶς ἐλευθερίας). In a speech addressed to the emperor Manuel II Palaiologos on his return from Thessaloniki to Constanti- nople in 1408 or 1416. Gedichte und kleine Schrift- . the first emperor of the revived Byzantine state in Asia Minor. 31 H. Paris.5. Berlin.. a symbol of their freedom (ἐλευθερίας σύμβολον). Briefe. the diverse meanings of freedom examined above were not neutral but carried positive values.32–34 (an oration in praise of Theodore I Laskaris). Johannes Chortasmenos (ca. the phrase reappears in an imperial oration in the fifteenth century.316 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies emperor John IV Laskaris. I: 147. I find the possibility of direct quotation unlikely. II: 535. van Dieten. 29 Ibid. mostly in administrative usage.. ed.6. II: 221. 128. J.2. line 808.29 In a piece addressed to the same emperor and delivered after his spectacular victory over the Seljuk sultan at the battle of Antioch-on-the-Maeander in 1211. 1999. is said to have reminded his officials and courtiers about the gracefulness of earlier statesmen. 721. see also ibid. who had the habit of combing their beards and displaying openly their joy.1436/37). 175. Failler.24–26 (a speech to the troops.1370–ca. the historian and court orator Niketas Choniates praised Theodore I Laskaris. 1973. or selention. 1303–9) violated during his second term in office the “freedom” of the patriarchal officials of the Great Church.”30 Interestingly. A.

Herrin. In the twelfth century. a Byzantine semantic development. Metropolit von Athen. 455–456.2. and as tax privilege.5. 550. 1180–1205. 1993. 234.251–224. Kyriakidis. See Eustazio di Tessalonica.24–236. Athens. ed. G. Vienna. who sacked it in the same year. G. 235. Stadtmüller. people flocked to the side of the new emperor Isaac II Angelos in the hope that he would become the “liberator Moses and Zorobabal leading back the captives of Zion” and would reclaim Thessaloniki from the Sicilian Normans. 1969. see ibid. Palermo. the metropolitan of Athens. and by noting that Isaac II “granted liberty to cities not only as a tyrant-killer” but also through the abolition of taxes. . 232. Berlin. S. Michael Choniates subtly calls attention to Athens by comparing the liberator Isaac II to Thrasyboulos. Anna Komnene praises her father for restoring and salvaging lost lands without ever using the word freedom in this context. This is all the more remarkable because freedom was never among the common virtues associated with the emperor and imperial rule in Byzantine kingship literature. suggested 1187 as the likely date of the speech. ca. See J. 54–60.6–7. 1222. consistently comments on liberty as the aboli- tion of the tyranny of the previous emperor.28–36. 1879. in Michael Choniates. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 317 The appearance of the catchy phrase “light of liberty” in imperial panegyrics dat- ing to the early thirteenth and the early fifteenth centuries points to two different pe- riods when liberation from foreign rule was deemed a political value worth advertis- ing in the most solemn court oratory. Twelfth-century court oratory features references to freedom rarely and with varying meanings. esp. “La notion de liberté chez Anne Comnène. For references or allusions to Athens. 32 Εὐθυμίου τοῦ Μαλάκη μητροπολίτου τῶν Νέων Πατρῶν (Ὑπάτης) τὰ σωζόμενα. Euthymios Malakes’ imperial oration on Emperor Manuel I on Epiphany 1176.34 After 1204.. 1961. Lampros.”32 The word freedom here is synonymous with the restoration of Byzantine rule in Seljuk-held ar- eas. In a speech in praise of Isaac II Angelos (1185–95). 1934. van Dieten. ed.110–113. 220. 229. La espugnazione di Tessalo- nica. See J. 1949.14–22. 268. which celebrates the rebuilding of Dorylaion and Soublaion in Asia Minor. “immerse it in the blood of the barbarians. J. 1975.” in La notion de liberté. 3. ed. Andronikos I (1183–85). 234. 227–238. a success- ful rebel against the regime of the Thirty Tyrants in ancient Athens. Bones. and secure freedom for the Romans.-L. 236. On the date. Choniates’ orations expressed the idea of liberty from foreign rule with en. buttressed with classical allusions. Athens. 223.33 Michael Choniates thus juxtaposes two different understandings of liberty: as the antithesis to tyranny. See P. S. “Realities of Byzantine Provincial Government: Hellas and Peloponnesos. see ibid.. Bompaire. Niketas Choniates writes in his History that in 1185. the word freedom referred also to deliverance from west- ern invaders.258. A man con- cerned with the economic well-being of his bishopric. ed. Rome.2. The title of Eusta- thios of Thessaloniki’s account of the capture of Thessaloniki by the Normans attributes to Isaac II Angelos the epithet liberator. The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos (1143–80) Cam- bridge. I. Michael Choniates had tried unsuccessfully during the reign of Andronikos I to secure the remission of outstanding taxes due from his bishopric.18–20. 29. ends by urging the ruler to raise his sword.27–235. Michael Choniates. 246–247. 1975. 1138–ca. Κ. In the Alexiad. 231–232. 356. Magdalino.7–9.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Niketas’s brother. 34 Nicetae Choniatae Historia. 33 Μιχαὴλ Ἀκομινάτου τοῦ Χωνιάτου τὰ σωζόμενα.21.

The voices were now stronger and more numerous. 1973. Potsdam. 101. 37 Manuelis Holoboli orations. 19. the rest will drown. M.16–20.2. ed. See H. 1355–63) during his second term in office calls for the restoration of “the desolated and captivated 35 Georgii Acropolitae opera.318 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies the same Old Testament imagery of exile and redemption. the reconqueror of Constantinople.-J. vol. vol. A prayer composed by the patriarch Kallistos (1350–53. Demetrios Kydones (c. Wirth. 1956.”38 Not long afterward. Thessaloniki. 1970. R. . Correspondance. 95. Ιδεολογική αντιπαράθεση στην προσπάθειά τους να ανακτήσουν την αυτοκρατορία. vol. Kydones was to speak in a public oration about maintaining independence from the Ottomans. Asia Minor. F. Tinnefeld. 132–135. In 1354 the Ottomans captured the strategic town of Gallipoli and acquired a firm foothold in the Balkans. it reappeared prominently in the middle of the fourteenth cen- tury under vastly different historical conditions. Court speeches dating to 1204–61 consistently highlight the importance of lib- eration from Latin rule. Michael VIII Palaiologos. 38 Démétrius Cydonès. 1990. 1906–7. Treu. vol. In a letter to John VI Kantakouzenos around 1345. Ševčenko. Stavridou-Zafraka. dates the letter to October or November 1345 and identifies the barbarians as the Serbs (133 n.1. Leipzig. Hunger and I.”36 After 1261. Νίκαια και Ήπειρος τον 13o αιώνα.24–25. Vienna. II. A. I. attribute to their rulers the epithet “liberator. 1398) addresses him as a champion of freedom: “If you do not take care of freedom. which deplores inter- necine strife and barbarian devastations (alluding to the capture of Serres in 1345 by the Serbs). 1986. and the subject matter was mostly the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Des Nikephoros Blemmydes Βασιλικὸς Ἀνδριάς und dessen Metaphrase von Georgios Galesiotes und Georgios Oinaiotes. sources originating from the two main successor states established after the Latin conquest of Constantinople. 94. 136: εὐνομίαν ἐξήσκησαν. 34–35. ed. See also Jacob of Bulgaria’s speech to John III Vatatzes in S. 8.” The immediate context suggests that the au- thor has in mind the preservation of freedom against Persian aggression. Lay and ecclesiastical authors who observed these events responded by stressing the value of liberty. no. The thirteenth-century scholar and monk Ni- kephoros Blemmydes extolled in a mirror of princes the “Athenians of old” who “perfected the observance of laws and preserved freedom. was lauded as savior and liberator (ἐλευθερωτής) of the imperial city. For example. from the Italians during the early years of his reign. I. ἐλευθερίαν ἐφύλαξαν. in Demetrios Kydones: Briefe. Vatican City. ch. Heisenberg and P. Mercati. Stuttgart.35 Indeed. 1324–c.37 Although this understanding of freedom lost its force in the second half of the thirteenth century. encircling the Bosporus and posing a perceptible threat to Constantinople.21–24. ed. 36 A. 86. 65. 135. 18. 87. 1).11. II. pp. 84. Collectanea Byzantina. for they are unable to resist such great waves. Bari. the empires of Nicaea and Epiros-Thes- saloniki. George Akropolites’ funeral oration on the Nicaean emperor John III Vatatzes (1221–54) extols “the freedom and prosperity of all the Romans” established by Vatatzes and refers specifically to the liberation of “the eastern regions.” that is.12–13. Loenertz. 1981.

vol. col. Oratio de non reddenda Callipoli. D. 42 Demetrios Kydones. On the context of the prayers. the emir of Aydin. cols. 1028D. make liberty a prominent rhetorical theme. 965C. in J. 981D. Mich. ibid. vol. 154. vol. ed. “Another Advisory Speech when Murad Requested Gallipoli” (commonly known as “De non reddenda Callipoli”). 154.. 1730.44 In his historical memoirs. see now P. col. P. comments on the arrival in 1366 of the expeditionary force of Amadeo of Savoy and urges the audience to admit to Constantinople the Latin con- tingent that had succeeded in recapturing Gallipoli in a surprise attack. 992A. 154. the “Advisory Speech to the Romans” (commonly known as “Pro subsidio Latinorum”). vol. Goar. see J. 65. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 319 land” to its “former freedom” (πρότερα ἐλευθερία). Patrologia Graeca. 1341–54) also uses the word liberty in reference to warfare against 39 J. The Latins are also said to have saved “the fatherlands and freedom” of many people who had re- quested help from them. mentions that no one is aware of Latin slaves in Magnesia and Ephesos. . 1005CD. “From Constantinople to Moscow: The Fourteenth- Century Liturgical Response to the Muslim Incursions in Byzantium and Russia. 980CD. 997B. 44 Demetrios Kydones.39 Two advisory speeches of Deme- trios Kydones. vol. col. addressed in 1366 and 1371 to high imperial councilors and officials. I. Demetrios Kydones: Briefe. Patrologia Graeca. more than two centuries earlier.41 Kydones presents liberty as being of great value in and of itself. R. 154. argues that Gallipoli should not be handed back to the Ottomans. 968BC. 1000D. The Career and Writings of Demetrius Kydones: A Study of Fourteenth- Century Byzantine Politics. 2009). Migne. In a dramatic fashion. Graz. 57–81. 136–160. Kydones presents the foreign-policy dilemma as leading to either ἐλευθερία or δουλεία. 43 Demetrios Kydones. The two concepts are frequently paired antithetically. Patrologia Graeca.43 But Kydones refers also to an event “not long ago”: the capture in 1344 of the port of Smyrna by a crusader force that wrested it from Umur Beg. 961BC. vol. Oratio de non reddenda Callipoli. repr.. 154 (Paris. The second oration. On the context. 40 On the dating of the speeches. Religion and Society. when mentioning that the crusaders restored “freedom and piety” (ἐλευθερία καὶ εὐσέβεια) to “the Hellenes residing in Asia” as though “bringing back a refugee” and repulsed the barbarians as far as Syria and Palestine. Angelov (Kalamazoo. and the latter is understood as both subjection to the Ottomans and enslavement.1. Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum. 41 Demetrios Kydones.42 His agenda in the first speech was to demonstrate that the Latins were the best pos- sible allies of Byzantium and in fact had traditionally helped the Byzantines to pre- serve their freedom.” in Church and Society in Late Byzantium. Slavin. the ex-emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (r. Euchologion sive rituale Graecorum (Venice. 43–44. Patrologia Graeca (hereafter Patrologia Graeca). cols. col. The author calls attention to the First Crusade. 204 for the dating of this prayer. Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum. 1024AB. Leiden.. Ryder. ibid. see Tinnefeld. completed during the 1360s. Patrologia Graeca. see esp. 1960).. 650–651. 1004B.40 The first speech. See ibid. cols. 1866). 1020B. 2010. Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum. 891C. 201–229. Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum. Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum.

History of the Peloponnesian War. “Thukydides bei Johannes Kantakuzenos: Beobachtungen zur Mimesis. 3 vols. 100. Nicol. ed. Bonn. Kantakouzenos quotes directly from Thucydides. 48 H. for the author faced reproach during his lifetime for the alliances he made as emperor with the Ottoman ruler Orhan and with Umur Beg of Aydin.45 This is the sense found in his reports of speeches by other histori- cal figures that he constructed with great rhetorical craft. 3–4. Washing- ton. III: 346. although the reference to freedom appears to be the author’s own addition. II. has shown that Kantakouzenos completed his historical work before Decem- ber 1369. where the Byzantines were routed by the Ottomans: “Do not think that you are fighting against the barbarians for a land which does not belong to you. 87. 1829–55. 49 Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia. 25.46 Kantakouzenos puts the following words into the mouth of the emperor Andronikos III in a rousing speech to the army on the eve of the battle of Pelekanos (1329). I. 1968.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers.22 (speech of the ambassador of Pope Clement VI). 47 Ibid. According to the his- torian Gregoras. 87. but rather that you are fighting for free- dom (ἐλευθερία) and each [of you] for his own fatherland.” Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik.20–22.. 1961. called attention to a section of the speech showing awareness of Byzantium’s decline. If the negotiations failed.320 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies the Ottomans. II. The occasion for this interesting work is the demand of the Ottoman commander Hayreddin Paşa of the Çandarlı family that Thessaloniki should pay a tribute of vassalage or face military assault.2–10. 181–93. Dennis. who similarly failed to halt the Ottoman incursions.4–15 and 346. I: 345. III: 56. III: 242.1–4) is lifted from the address of the Lacedomonian generals Knemos and Brasidas in Thucydides. composed dur- ing his reign in Thessaloniki (1382–87)..”49 In his historical work. the Thessalonicans would have to fight for liberty until the end. 1831–1832. 15. 3 vols. 46 Ioannis Cantacuzeni eximperatoris historiarum libri IV.14–17 (speech of Kantakouzenos’s son and coemperor Matthew). 18. 50 On the context and for a useful summary of the speech. Manuel II ap- pears to have appealed to a circle of the city’s elite not to allow Thessaloniki to sur- render but to engage the Ottomans in negotiations. Hunger. 1976. Kantakouzenos acknowledges the importance of freedom through the words of his “brother” An- dronikos III. Schopen.. the popu- lace of Constantinople accused him of having transgressed ancestral laws and of “tak- ing away the freedom (ἐλευθερία) of the remaining Romans and giving them to serve (δουλεύειν) barbarians and impious enemies. when Kantakouzenos stepped down from power in 1354. The Reign of Manuel . T. 9. A part of the speech of Andronikos III (345. Schopen. Ševčenko.50 Manuel II took suf- 45 D. L. L. in “The Decline of Byzantium Seen through the Eyes of Its Intellectuals. The preservation of liberty against the incursions of the Ottomans is the main subject of an advisory speech of the emperor Manuel II Palaiologos.”47 Herbert Hunger has demonstrated that in this speech. see G. 172 n.48 A certain amount of apology can probably be read in Kantakouzenos’s employ- ment of the idea of freedom in his description of warfare against the Ottomans. 1100–1460. The Byzantine Family of Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus) ca. ed. Bonn.

9. T. Panegyrics of Manuel II after 1402 present him as a liberator. 265). to see other cities. he asks. see The Letters of Manuel Palaeologus. R. For Kydones’ re- sponse. 51 For the letter with which Manuel II Palaiologos sent his speech to Kydones. ed. have never been debtors to the rulers themselves.24–297. 81–84. Ky- dones observed that “through speeches you lift the spirit of the citizens and persuade them hold on to their freedom. but he failed in the long term: in 1387 the city surrendered. 11. doubtless fed this image.. 55 In 1379 John V Palaiologos. Cambridge. Loenertz. καὶ τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἔχεσθαι πείθεις. 1971. and even in Asia Minor near the enemies’ base.” Revue des études sud-est européennes. 128–129. even if there are many heights and many free people. Manuel II’s father. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 321 ficient pride in this literary piece to send it to Demetrios Kydones in Constantinople and ask for his critical judgment. Byzantium. see Démétrius Cydonès. worse even than death itself. vol. has pointed out the relationship between the speech and the privileged tax status of the Thessalonicans.53 Manuel II Palaiologos links the idea of freedom as nonsubjection to the Otto- mans with the Thessalonicans’ tax-exempt status: “You who are renowned and most distinguished for freedom as much as there is height in the sky. II. 112–118 (no.4–7. 53 Ibid.21–24. Manuel II presents submission to the non-Christian barbar- ians as the worst choice. 1960. Rome. III (Stuttgart. 44–45.-J. “ Ὁ ‘συμβουλευτικὸς πρὸς τοὺς Θεσσαλονικεῖς. G. not only with regard to what the enemies now are requesting to impose on you..”54 By invoking the fiscal liberty that the Thessalonicans enjoyed through- out the Palaiologan period. 297.’ ” 298. 2009. but also with regard to the taxes that Romans and all the free people sometimes owed to the emperors. 1977. vol. 296. Vatican City. no. Iliescu. See O. enjoy greater freedom than Thessaloniki did?52 In outlining three types of δουλεία. was obliged to pay a heavy annual tribute to the Ottomans. The disastrous defeat of the Ottomans at Ankara in 1402. . Dennis. 1999). 427–32. 262. Tinnefeld. Commenting on the leitmotif of the speech. For how could they bear. See also F. 167–168. 28–30 nο. which led to the restoration of Thessaloniki and other areas under Byzantine rule. and a funerary oration composed in 1425 by an anonymous Thessalonican praises Manuel for having secured the freedom of Thessaloniki: “It II Palaeologus in Thessalonica.3. Necipoğlu. 299. 1382–1387.24–39. N. from the Danube to the Eubea. Demetrius Kydones: Briefe. Necipoğlu. Byzantium between the Ottomans and the Latins: Politics and Society in the Late Empire. “Le montant du tribut payé par Byzance à l’Empire Ottoman en 1379 et 1424. and urges his audience to bear everything on behalf of freedom. ed. Correspondance.”51 Manuel II’s advisory speech indeed stresses that freedom is a value particularly dear to the Thessalonicans. Manuel II further disparages the Ottoman demand for tribute. 302. 54 Ibid. Manuel II created an image of himself in court rhetoric as a ruler passionately concerned with liberty and liberation. with which he was amply familiar. 1960.55 He appears to have succeeded in con- vincing the Thessalonican elite not to accept Ottoman suzerainty on this occasion. 52 Laourdas.32–33: δημηγορίαις τὰ φρονήματα τῶν πολιτῶν ἀνορθοῖς.2–7. Washington.

“The ‘Common Chrysobulls’ of Cities. that is.322 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies seemed that the freedom of the Hellenes was allotted to Fortune and the deeds of the emperor. Melnik. 57 Kyritses. Kroai. see C. ed.58 Ak- ropolites here employs the word freedom as a synonym of the tax-exempt status of the Thessalonicans. on fulfillment of this re- quest.”56 Liberty as Communal and Individual Rights So far we have seen that the ideal of liberty advertised in post-1204 court rhetoric was synonymous with the preservation and restoration of Byzantine rule in the face of foreign aggression. Aldershot. 1973. C.1–6. and Monemvasia) enjoyed fiscal immunity from the main land tax imposed on their urban and rural real properties by virtue of the so-called common chrysobulls. 1926. J. §45. “L’im- munité des Thessaloniciens. 447. III. whom Manuel II encouraged to hold on to their liberty. 447. the conspirators secured a peaceful and bloodless transfer of authority. es- pecially once we look beyond court rhetoric and into polemical texts composed on themes pertaining to internal politics and administration. 178. A.204–207. Dendrinos. E.195–202. Παλαιολόγεια καὶ Πελοποννησιακά. 58 Georgii Acropolitae opera. 2003.10: ἐλευθερωτής of the city. Constantinople. Harris. Residents of a number of late Byzantine cities (such as Thessaloniki. vol. Lampros. . “An Unpublished Funeral Oration on Manuel II Palaeologus (†1425). however. the only understanding of liberty. Patlagean. Athens. In the same vein. ed.” On Thessaloniki. George Akropolites’ account of the reincorporation of Thessaloniki in 1246 into the growing empire of Nicaea describes a plot hatched by members of the city elite who planned to switch their al- legiance to the emperor John III Vatatzes. Paris. see E. 31 above and Isidore of Kiev’s speech in S. Wirth. This privileged status dates back to the 56 See n. Verroia. these authors interpreted and further developed no- tions of privilege. 1998.57 The text of an imperial privilege granted to the citizens of Thessaloniki. sometimes expressed in the language of liberty in contemporary official documents. does not survive.” in Porphyrogenita: Essays on the History and Literature of Byzantium and the Latin East in Honour of Julian Chrysostomides. They sent a delegate to the Nicaean ruler to obtain “a common chrysobull granting the former customs and rights belonging to the Thessalonicans as well as their freedom (ἐλευθερία)”. In so doing. Dendrinos.” ΕΥΨΥΧΙΑ: Mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler. I. Manuel II’s “Advisory Speech to the Thessalonicans” reveals how a narrowly domestic view of liberty was politicized: the privileged economic status of a “free” city fed into the idea of free- dom as the preservation of independence. 80. vol. Harvalia-Crook.and fifteenth-century authors extolled liberty as an ideal pertaining to the rights of cities and individuals. yet the testimony of the historians and extant common chrysobulls to other urban commu- nities show that the word ἐλευθερία was widely used. other fourteenth. On the fu- neral oration. which he calls a custom. and J. This was not. Leipzig. Herrin. II: 591–601. Heisenberg and P.

“L’immunité des Thessaloniciens. Müller. “Μία νομική βιβλιοθήκη στή Μονεμβασία τό 15ο αἰώνα. I: 397. see P. 60 On Monemvasia. On Kroai. bearing the Latin royal title of reges. 83. the future metropolitan of Kiev and cardinal of Rome.64 He writes that the governors of Monemvasia. Acta et diplo- mata graeca.62 Isidore adduces historical and mostly legal arguments. II.103–104 (immunitas et libertas). Giving credence to Isidore’s petition. Kroai (the document dated by scholars to 1288 survives only in Latin translation). Lampros: “Δύο ἀναφοραὶ μητροπολίτου Μονεμβασίας πρὸς τὸν πατριάρχην. to lend support to the claims raised by the metropol- itan bishopric of Monemvasia. 12. on the other hand. “Isidore de Kiev et la métropole de Monembasie. preserving the ancestral and ancient freedom and nobility (ἐλευθερία τε 59 See the hypothesis of Patlagean. Die byzantini- schen Kleinchroniken.59 The common chrysobulls issued by Andronikos II Palaiologos on behalf of Mon- emvasia in 1284. see F.10–17 (“full freedom [ἐλευθερία] and ἐξκουσσεία according to its former custom”). 436–37. 154–55.” Neos Hellenomnemon. 272–318. 63 E. which has been dated to 1428. 258–272. Papagianni and S. Isidore calls Monemvasia “a noble and free city” that had resisted invasions and nev- er submitted to δουλεία. This pairing also appears in the works of some late Byzantine histori- ans who refer to immunity from taxation as ἐλευθερία and ἀτέλεια. Kalligas. 86–94. “Δύο ἀναφοραί. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 323 Latin takeover of the city after 1204 and possibly even to the twelfth century. 318.13–16. see A.29–34.” 288. had been allies of “the empire of the Rhomaioi and free in everything. 62 Two petitions by Isidore were published by S.34 (ἐλευθερία and ἀνενοχλησία of the Jews of Ioannina). Vienna. 1959. 26 above. V: 81. has recently redated the event to 1252–53. see V. On the dating. I: 319. Belgrade. polemical petition to the patriarch of Constantinople composed by Isidore. a technical term for tax exemption. in the thirteenth century. 1936. The petition. complements the ad- visory speech of Manuel II by offering a political interpretation of the liberty of a privileged Byzantine city. On Isidore and Monembasia. 1915. vol.60 It appears that the imperial chancery preferred to use the word in the company with another.61 Akropolites. 150–57. Acta et diplomata graeca medii aevi sacra et profana. less equivocal term that served to clarify its meaning. considers the term liberty to be sufficiently clear to stand on its own when it refers to the tax-exempt status of the Thessalonicans. 61 Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia. A lengthy. n. 82. deals with a complicated dispute between the metropolitans of Monemvasia and Corinth over ecclesiastical jurisdiction. H.” Byzanti- nai meletai. Byz- antine Monemvasia: The Sources. 17. Monemvasia. Mošin. rather than 1248 as hypothesized earlier.” 598. cit- ing laws and official documents.” Revue des études byzantines. See also Pachymeres. 1989. William II Villehardouin. see Miklosich and Müller. 2. 1977.99–10. . and Ioannina in 1319 pair liberty (ἐλευθερία) with ἐξκουσσεία.63 When giving an account of the fall of Monemvasia to the Latin prince of Achaia.15 (ἀνενοχλησία and ἐξκουσσεία). 1887). On Ioannina. 19–34. V (Vienna. 1990. Troianos. Miklosich and J.7–12. 64 Lampros. Solovjev and V. Grčke povelje Srpskih vladara (Diplomata graeca regum et imperatorum Serviae). Schreiner. 318. Laurent.

“Δύο ἀναφοραί. and ec- clesiastical taxation. The circumstances of composition of this text.10–11.12–88. H. 1957.68 The most probable historical context. Die Gesellschaft im späten Byzanz. On the confiscation of monastic properties after the battle of Maritsa. 369–376. 1971. Charanis. 66 Kalligas. 9. see K. Monemvasia: A Byzantine City State (London.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers. therefore. Ševčenko.67 In the fourteenth century. liberty was not only an ideological slogan raised by cities enjoying fiscal privileges but was also seen as pertaining to the property-hold- ing rights of Byzantine subjects generally. Byzantine Family of Kantakouzenos. “The Author’s Draft of Nicolas Cabasilas’ ‘Anti-Zealot’ Discourse in Parisinus Graecus 1276. the Land. His critique addresses mostly the government’s policy of secularizing monas- tic landholdings. simony. Smyrlis. When a Peloponnesian lord by name of Lampoudes (Lampoudios) rebelled not long after 1349 against the imperial authorities in the area (the despot Manuel Kantakouze- nos). idem. 1960. 19–25. “Nicolas Cabasilas’ ‘Anti-Zealot’ Discourse: A Reinterpretation.324 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies καὶ εὐγένεια) of the Spartans and the Doric order.” 289.23. Church and . to which Isidore gives an elaborate historical justification. and Private Property: Confis- cating Monastic and Church Properties in the Palaiologan Period. he is said to have traversed villages and cities. is a measure 65 Lampros. and he could have composed it either then or earlier in his literary career. against the sale of offices. 16. the invocation of liberty is worthy of note. 187–188. 2001. Byzantine Monemvasia. Nicol. 407–408. too. Kalligas. 2010). The pairing of the words liberty and nobility derives from Byzantine law. See also P. 14. III: 176. have proved elusive.”65 This passage of Isidore’s petition has been interpreted as reporting a legend cir- culating in Monemvasia about the foundation of the city by refugees from Sparta during the sixth century. idem. Matschke and F. Kabasilas inveighs. Cologne.” Revue des études sud-est européennes. 1962.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Isidore describes the Peloponnese as enjoying “ancestral and Roman freedom. In a different context (an oration in praise of Manuel II).66 While the intriguing question of historicity is not of in- terest to us here. 67 The historian Kantakouzenos on one occasion uses the word liberty to refer to such aspirations to autonomy. “The State. 1324–after 1391). Παλαιολόγεια. “A Postscript on Nicolas Cabasilas’ ‘Anti-Zealot’ Discourse. 161–170. III: 87. where the freeborn are called “well-born. 123. K. Kabasilas certainly revised the work during the last three decades of the four- teenth century. including its date.” See Lampros.-P. 1–7. See Ioan- nis Cantacuzeni eximperatoris historiarum libri.” in Angelov. accusing their inhabitants of voluntary subjection (ἐθελοδουλία) and urging them to prefer the freedom of their ancestors. The words of Isidore provide another example of a creative combination of the multiple traditions of the understanding of liberty and of the allusiveness and heavy semantic load of the con- cept. Tinnefeld.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers.” The liberty of the Monamvasiots in the specific context can be seen as a reference to their tax-exempt status and more broadly to the autonomous aspirations of Monemvasia under the aegis of the Byzantine empire.19–24. 355. 68 I. 11. “Observations on the ‘Anti-Zealot’ Discourse of Cabasilas. This interesting interpretation of liberty emerges from the highly polemical “Discourse concerning Illegal Acts of Officials Daringly Committed against Things Sacred” by Nicholas Kabasilas (c.

70 The official who takes care of soldiers. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 325 enacted by the government of John V Palaiologos after the Ottoman victory at the battle of Chernomen (Çirmen. 72 Ibid. §24–26 (on govern- ment).”72 The author plays here on the traditional antithetical pairs of tyranny versus legitimate rule (which he never refers to as “imperial rule. he understands liberty as constituting secure property ownership.. the measures of the earth. 104. 66–72.” βασιλεία) and tyranny versus liberty.”73 Society. providing security for the monks.”71 Kabasilas bolsters his case by claiming that rulers in the best polity prefer “the weapons to be neglected rather [than] that the laws . an economic inter- pretation that is more profound than the tax concessions marking liberation from tyranny mentioned in the twelfth-century oration by Michael Choniates.1–4. even if you should mention gold.69 Kabasilas demolishes this argument in variety of ways. he presents private property as inviolable and elaborates on this point in a discussion of the differences between good rulers and tyrants. 71 Ibid. See ibid. whereas good magistrates seek military strength “in order to preserve for the subjects the laws and liberty befitting a human being. Kabasilas notes. The proponents of the confiscation of monastic properties are said to have based their argument on the “public benefit”: the monks could live with less. . and the ultimate honors. The excursus on legitimate rule and tyranny leads Kabasilas to make a general ob- servation about the political role and importance of liberty. 103.” 93.. Most notably. be destroyed and liberty be affronted.9–10.. Setting up a government without freedom is self-defeating. and military equipment by “transgressing the laws” and “betraying liberty” is no different from a tyrant. In this situation. knowing that the work of their own labor would benefit someone else. . The discourse juxtaposes two different views of liberty. 94–95. and commerce. farming.30: καὶ τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας αὐτῶν ἀγωνιζομένους. if there is poverty?” This is the reason why provident rulers pursue a policy “of maintaining liberty along with justice for those who are ruled. Ormenio) on the Maritsa River in 1371: the confis- cation of half of the landed properties of the Byzantine monasteries. §24. §6. which were used to fund the army. the state would also be at disadvantage: “From where will tax revenue come. 69 Ševčenko.” For when people are not masters of their own possessions and fear lest they lose them.. Kabasi- las claims.1–16. 73 Ibid. The soldiers are described as “fighting on behalf of their freedom.. for “nothing is equal to and as precious as [lib- erty].18–21. 152. §26. At the same time. for a full translation of this paragraph of the discourse.” that is. 70 Ibid. §24. §10 (on the inviolability of private property). . 103–104. “Nicolas Cabasilas’ ‘Anti-Zealot’ Discourse. 103. §25. they will not occupy themselves with money-making business. and resources taken from them could be used to equip soldiers. ships.

I suggest.77 This interpretation is a modern one. 1911. Kabasilas’s opposition to 74 A. Free and freedom refer mostly to immunity from taxation. Thus an imperial chysobull dat- ing to 1324 grants a status described as “free” and “without service” (ἐκτὸς δουλείας) to the estate of an imperial oikeios. Public and private acts of the Palaiologan period employ the adjective free and. L. and donate the property without any constraint.74 Although Kabasilas’s thesis. who could sell. 203–204. the defense of private owner- ship. ed. Ὀρλάνδον. less commonly. the noun freedom in several senses.75 A fiscal inventory of 1342 describes the estates granted to Ioannes Margarites as “free in every way and without any service. 281: νέμηται ταύτην [sc. The document plays on the word δουλεία: the oikeios Dragon is said to have displayed “diligence in his δουλεία” to the emperor. vol. for his was a dissident and ineffective voice. “Economic Concerns and Attitudes of the Intellectuals of Thessalonike. Lemerle. The importance of Kabasilas’s ideal of liberty should not be exaggerated.326 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies The late Byzantine social context is essential for the proper understanding of this passionate defense of property ownership. and it is remarkable that already in the fourteenth century Nicholas Kabasilas appears to have arrived at this conclusion. and besides (ἔτι τε καί) above any tax and levy. its articulation as liberty is an interpretation. 1965. I. . ποσότητα] ἐλευθέραν παντ(η) καὶ ἀκαταδούλωτον ἔτι τε (καὶ) ἀνωτέραν τέλους καὶ βάρους παντός. Demetrios Kyritses has suggested that the notion of freedom in the documentary evi- dence is synonymous with private property holding. Kabasilas worked out a notion of liberty that was implicit and largely undeveloped in the bureaucratic language of the imperial government. is one enshrined in law. St. derived from a specific way liberty was understood in documents pertaining to land- holding.” Dumbar- ton Oaks Papers. 76 P. “The ‘Common Chrysobulls’ of Cities. As Angeliki Laiou has noted. Petit and B. 77 Kyritses. 96.”76 The conjunction besides reveals that the land granted is made free not in the sense of being tax exempt but because it is to be held without restrictions.” Χαριστήριον εἱς Ἀναστάσιον Κ. Athens. turning it into an ideologi- cal slogan of liberty directed against rapacious policies of the same government.” 240–242. Korablev. 207–208. while his estate Melintzianis on the Strymon River is ἐκτὸς δουλείας. The imperial authorities succeeded in confiscating monastic lands in the second half of the fourteenth century. 57. Petersburg. “Un praktikon inédit des archives de Karakala (janvier 1342) et la situation en Macédoine orientale au moment de l’usurpation de Cantacuzène. Laiou. no. On the basis of this usage and in light of the occasional claims of the Palaiolo- gan government to have discretionary control over the landed wealth of the empire. bequeath. 75 Actes de Chilandar. A property was also called free after the imperial govern- ment removed restrictions on the alienation of conditional landholdings by lifting the obligation to service (δουλεία) attached to them. 2003. replacing a largely obsolete legal notion. the ideas of Kabasilas are heterogeneous: they incorporate concepts from Byzantine law and notions arising from interlocking rights over property that were characteristic of con- temporary land relations.

97–122. however. 62. Athana- sios composed and presented to the emperor Andronikos II a document obliging the emperor to support an ambitious program of reforms. 144.” See Nicephori Gregorae Historia. and n. Before agreeing to resume his post. 1303). .182–185. Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium. 1204–1330. 1975. no. Washing- ton. where Athanasios refers to the law and the canons “liberating” the church. Laiou. Angelov.78 Among the various arguments.2–4. which refers mostly to the eradica- tion of uncanonical practices and the expulsion of the bishops from Constantinople. “Le débat sur les droits du fisc et les droits régaliens au début du 14e siècle.70–74. In August 1353 the permanent synod in Constantinople discharged the patriarch Kallistos.. Imperial Ideology. 23 1965. lors de sa seconde accession au trône oecuménique (sept.” Revue des études byzantines. 400–408. 80 The Correspondence of Athanasius I. “Le serment de l’empereur Andronic II Paléologue au patriarche Athanase Ier. see Talbot. In his historical memoirs. mend the ways of the clergy (especially the bishops residing in Constantinople. On freedom of the church as referring to tax-exempt status. 69.21. 58. 172. 156. the liberty of the church. In September 1303 the patriarch Athanasios I was recalled from the monastery in Constantinople where he was residing and rein- stalled as head of the Byzantine church. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 327 this policy demonstrates.” Revue des études byzantines. ed. was circulating among Byzantine churchmen during Nicholas Kabasilas’s lifetime. A. D. and oppose heresy. liberty was invoked to defend the rights of individuals. The historian Gregoras uses the expression “liberty of the canons. The concept reappears on two later occasions in the Pal- aiologan period. no. According to the promise. mostly on account of his refusal to crown John VI Kantak- ouzenos’s son Matthew after the latter was proclaimed emperor in April 1353.80 The patriarch Athanasios is the only Byzantine ecclesiastic known to me to ar- ticulate so zealously. an ideal of ecclesiastical liberty. 286–309. but he does not insist on the general application of this poli- cy. II: 916.-M. and prohibited marriages. but to render servile submis- sion to it and subordinate himself to its every legal and God-pleasing wish. Talbot. For further discussion. Correspondence of Athanasius I. Cambridge. 136. 90 below. Athanasios elaborates on the meaning of liberty. Patriarch of Constantinople. magic. the emperor committed himself “to keep the church not only without subjection in eve- ry way and free (ἀκαταδούλωτον πάντη καὶ ἐλεύθερον). no. Liberty of the Church A third idea of liberty.79 In his letters to Andronikos II. 79 V. This concept of liberty was removed from the sphere of economic claims. a trend among Thessalonican as well as other late Byzantine intellectuals: a vehement challenge to the economic claims of the impe- rial government. See also ibid. Laurent. The patriarch also exploits the idea of ecclesiastical freedom as tax-exempt status of ecclesiastical properties.” The em- peror was to aid the patriarch in his efforts to enforce the canons. 2007. 2000. the ex-emperor John VI Kantakouzenos writes that he encour- 78 A. away from their sees). both in the promissory document and his correspondence. see Angelov. 66.

in contrast to the customary actions of emperors who “violated the divine grace. an interpretation not dissimilar to Athanasios’s view of observance of the canons. 1964. esp.11–12.328 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies aged the synod to elect three patriarchal candidates without his interference. See also D. 27–40. 84 V. 1953. Laurent. III: 272–274. It is clear that both John Kantakouzenos and the Apology use “liberty of the church” in order to put a justifying gloss on a contestable action. 1996. with a different and more radical meaning. Joseph II is reported to have said that the Roman pontiff received him well and blamed “us only for having subjected the church in great servitude to secular authority. 1295–1383.”82 The members of the synod are reported to have complied with the divine canons and with ecclesiastical and histori- cal tradition. 1364–76) as consistent with canons and tradition. 82 A. .10–14. Nicol. 274.536–8. “La déposition du patriarche Calliste Ier (1353). including himself.747–748. they also upheld the freedom given to the church from the beginning (τὴν δεδομένην ἄνωθεν ἐλευθερίαν αὐτῇ). The privileges of 1416 and the dynamics between emperor and pa- triarch during the Council of Ferrara-Florence have been analyzed by B. a high patriarchal functionary and partici- 81 Ioannis Cantacuzeni eximperatoris historiarum libri IV. Paris. had ignored. The idea of the liberty of the church was also floated during the Council of Fer- rara-Florence (1438–39). the patriarch Joseph II (1416–39) explained to some of his associates that he wished to use the forthcoming meeting with the pope to further an item on his domestic agenda. Kantakouzenos describes his benevolent action as a bestowal on the synod of its “ancient freedom” (τὴν ἀρχαίαν ἐλευθερίαν). 41. Personalities of the Council of Florence and Other Essays. 123–124.” Revue des études byzantines. Kantakouzenos is said not to have interfered in the electoral process. Gill. 31. Stephanides in “ Ὁ ἀκραῖος σταθμὸς τῶν σχέσεων Ἐκκλησίας καὶ πολιτείας τοῦ Βυζαντίου καὶ τὰ ἄμεσα ἀποτελέσματα αὐτοῦ (1416–1439). Cambridge. who strives to present the dismissal of Patriarch Kallistos and the election of Philotheos Kok- kinos (1353–54. a prac- tice which many emperors in the past. 55. 230. 23–24. See also J.” Ἐπετηρὶς Ἑταιρείας Βυζαντινῶν Σπουδῶν. Failler. He hoped that the pope would “free the church from the servitude imposed on her by the emperor by means of the privileges. 240.83 “Liberty of the church” is thus understood as adherence to received tradition.22–24 (διὰ τοῦ πάπα ἐθάρρει ἐλευθερῶσαι τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐπιτεθείσης αὐτῇ δουλείας παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως διὰ τῶν προνομίων).” On subsequently meet- ing the pope. Yet it is still remarkable that the idea helped to construct separate spheres of responsibility for the church and the imperial office. The Reluctant Emperor: A Biography of John Cantacuzene. 23. c.81 The language of liberty is made relevant to the same epi- sode in the Apology composed by an anonymous member of the synod. 83 Ibid. Les “Mémoires” du grand ecclésiarque de l’Église de Constantinople Sylvestre Syro- poulos sur le concile de Florence (1438–1439). Oxford. In his memoirs of the council. 1973.286–292. Sylvester Syropoulos reports that while staying in Venice on his way to Ferrara.. Byzantine Emperor and Monk. 1971.”84 Our information on the meaning of ecclesiastical liberty in this context comes solely from the account of Syropoulos. 67.

and to require from newly ordained bishops a formal promise to be “the emperor’s friends” and remain loyal to “the empire and Rhomania” (chapter 7). Laurent. to keep in Constantinople or send away bishops without asking for the patriarch’s consent (chapter 6). Un grand procès canoni- que à Byzance au début du XVe siècle. See V. The emperor was given the right to veto the election of a metropolitan before his ordination by the patriarch (chapter 1). The agreement of 1380–82 tightens imperial control over the bishops in a period of civil war and Ottoman conquests. 1955. 5–20.” Revue des études byzantines.” Revue des études byzantines. 631–32. the emperor selected his succes- sor by arranging beforehand that the patriarchal synod and select imperial officials convened in the church of the Holy Apostles and agreed on the emperor’s privileges (προνόμια) in the church. The thirteenth-century canonist Demetrios Chomatenos recognized the transferral of bishops as an imperial right. Euthymios II (1410–16). points to the nature of the emperor’s rights over the church. The reported words of the patriarch refer to an event at the beginning of Syropoulos’s memoirs. was challenged both by Patriarch Euthymios II and a contemporary. just as had been done on an earlier occasion. Pitra. signed by the synod and granted to the emperor John V Palaiologos in 1380–82. 86 This document. ed. col.85 The text of the document of 1416 has probably been lost. 1891. 13. Insofar as we can judge from Syropoulos’s ac- count. Displeased with the way the emperor Manuel II managed church affairs and transferred bishops from one see to the other. Paris. This issue. J. although a similar document. as in the Apology. some Byzantine ecclesiastics viewed the emperors’ assertive claims of control 85 Laurent. It was fur- ther accentuated by the controversial case of the triple transfer of Patriarch Matthew I. openly voiced his dissat- isfaction. has survived and seems to be the one to which Syropoulos refers. Les “Mémoires. the right of the emperor to transfer bishops between sees. vol. 1972. always a disputed one in canon law. 30. which is called “a privilege of old” (chapter 2). See Analecta sacra et classica spicilegio solesmensi parata. . 5–166. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 329 pant in the Council of Ferrara-Florence. unlike the one raised by Patriarch Athanasios. even though the agreement of 1380–82 calls it a traditional privilege and it had been recognized as such in the past. “Les droits de l’empereur en matière ecclésiastique. therefore. in nine chapters. De Sacris Ordinationibus. in Patrologia Graeca. One of these provisions. the previous patriarch. which were considered ecclesiastical “servitude” by Patriarch Joseph II.” 102–104. Laurent. curiously omitting to mention the emperor’s traditional and evidently uncontested right to select the patriarch from three candidates elected by the synod. cols. 433A. to transfer bishops from one see to another. 155. 87 Symeon of Thessaloniki. VI. 86 V. His conception of the liberty of the church. “Le trisépiscopat du patriarche Matthieu Ier (1397–1410).87 The liberty that Patriarch Joseph II was planning to secure for the Byzantine church from the pope involved. curtailing the emperor’s recently renego- tiated rights. was directly turned against imperial authority and was no after- the-fact justification. L’accord de 1380/82. seems to have become particularly important during the dislocations caused by the Ottoman conquests. When Euthymios II passed away in 1416. Symeon of Thessaloniki.

When it referred to collective and individual rights. It is worth remembering that liberty was a semantically rich and versatile word in Byzantium. Patriarch Athanasios chooses to exploit the scriptural connotations of ecclesiastical liberty. 1936. Athanasios threatens to resign should the emperor refuse to maintain the liberty of the church as he had undertaken to do in the promissory document. An application of the word freedom to the church in a histori- cal narrative dating to a relatively early period points in this direction. I. 24. Kirche und Weltordnung im Zeitalter des Investi- turstreites. although one with close parallels in the medieval West.90 Byzantium was also capable of arriving at the idea of ecclesiastical liberty inde- pendently of the West.1–2. meaning “privi- lege. The channels of intellectual communication with the Roman church remained open after the schism of 1054. repr. 90 Talbot. col. the eleventh-century historian John Skylitzes notes that this brought the church back to its former freedom (πρότερα ἐλευθερία). After all. 37C. The papal idea of libertas ecclesiae was some- times mentioned in confessional polemic and could thence have entered Byzantine ecclesiastical discourse. which an anonymous commentator titled “a letter to the emperor about the church of Christ enjoying freedom. 662. Graz.” Athanasios describes the free church as one flying up to heaven and not falling to the ground. Tellenbach.89 That Byzantine churchmen would be reluctant to admit influence from the Latin West and preferred to gloss borrowing as adherence to tra- dition is not surprising. vol. libertas ecclesiae was an integral element of papal ideology after the eleventh century.330 Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies over the episcopal hierarchy. Commenting on the annulment of a law introduced by Nikephoros II Phokas (963–69) that had given the emperor the authority to control the election and consecration of bishops. see ibid. See J. 61. D. as servitude from which the church needed to extricate itself.91 The idea of liberty is made relevant to the church here without being a cultural importation. 88 The classic study is by G. On the law. Thurn. 57. The ideological slogan of the liberty of the church raises the interesting possibil- ity of cultural influences from the West.56–58. He may have been a close associate of Athanasios (see ibid. The allusion is to the free heavenly Jerusalem in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (4:24–26). vol. In the letter. 126 no. 89 Thus a letter of Pope Gregory IX to Patriarch Germanos II in 1232 accuses the Byzantine church of having fallen slave to secular authority and forfeiting its liberty. 23. 1973. ed. Libertas.” is ubiquitous in charters and legal collections. In a letter to the emperor Andronikos II Pal- aiologos. vol. Stuttgart. Berlin. On the “upper Jerusalem” as the church in Christian exegesis. 91 Ioannis Scylitzae synopsis historiarum. 274.. 1961. Correspondence of Athanasius I. col. . XXX- VII). 55–60. Mansi. see Eusebios of Caesarea in Patrologia Graeca.88 The question has no easy and obvious answer. Thus... John Chrysostom in Patrologia Graeca. Sac- rorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio. An unknown interpolator added the title of the letter in his own hand. where the word libertas. and the generally heavy-handed approach of the em- peror John VIII Palaiologos during the Union. which early Christian exegesis identified as the church of Christ. 286. it clearly was an indigenous construct. ed.

Classically educated authors also seized on this ideal when arguing against policies and actions that could lead to submission to Ottoman rule. Unlike philanthropy. From this point of view. Liberty against foreign rule was the one ideal of freedom that radiated from court circles during critical historical peri- ods of warfare against the Latins and the Ottomans. Particularly illuminating is the way it served to further the agendas of individuals. Fourth Plenary Session: Liberties and Limitations in Byzantium 331 Three Kinds of Liberty This discussion has demonstrated that liberty represented more than one political ideal in Byzantium between the twelfth and the fifteenth century. Liberty of the church posed a challenge to the imperial management of church affairs. This political approach to liberty bears witness once again to the diverse challenges raised by centrifugal forces and dissident voices in the later centuries of Byzantine history. freedom as rights. Yet this ever-alluring concept was not without a historical significance. The three political ideals were an uneasy fit. By contrast. and equality. occasionally entering into dialogue with these understand- ings or indeed among themselves. generosity. Byzantine authors imaginatively combined the economic idea of liberty with those of liberty as freedom from tyranny and as independence from foreign rule. urban communities. the other two ideals of liberty – liberty as rights and liberty of the church – were pitted against claims raised by imperial authority. Liberty in the face of aggression harks back to a classical Greek ideal. In the fourteenth and the fifteenth cen- turies. The notion of liberty as collective and individual rights opposed the eco- nomic claims of the central government. Further sys- tematic research in comparative historical semantics may be able to yield illuminating conclusions. whereas liberty as rights and liberty of the church derive from Byzantine ideas and institutions. including freedom against oppressive for- eign rule. it may be considered to be of marginal importance. The three ideals of liberty open a side chapter in the history of Byzantine political and social thought. and freedom of the church. Similarities in the interpretation of liberty in Byzantium and in kindred ancient and medieval cultures are obvious. These three kinds of liberty had different intellectual origins. . In particular. the slogan of liberty was as much directed against the authority of Constanti- nople and the emperor as it was articulated at the court with a sense pertaining to the entire political community. The three ideals build on traditional understand- ings of the word liberty. Different and dis- cordant voices created their own credos. and the church as a corporate body. liberty was never a common imperial virtue in kingship literature or an idea describing operational as- pects of government.