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Byzantium transformed, c.950-1200.

Stephenson, P. (2004) 'Byzantium transformed, c.950-1200.', Medieval encounters., 10 (1-3). pp. 185-210.


Two phenomena were paramount in the transformation, and ultimate collapse, of the Byzantine imperial system in the period c. 950-1204: sustained economic and demographic growth, which the state failed fully to direct or exploit; and the emergence of a powerful, self-conscious aristocracy, willing to exploit resources to the detriment of the state. During the tenth and eleventh centuries imperial policies were devised which aimed to bolster existing political and fiscal structures, prop up the state economy, and delimit the power of aristocrats. These measures failed. Twelfth-century efforts took another tack, seeking to harness the interests and wealth of the aristocracy, anchored in the land, to those of the state. These provided no lasting solution, but instead led to greater political fragmentation, internecine conflict, social unrest, and ultimately to the collapse of the state system in the last years of the twelfth century.

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Date of first online publication:January 2004
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