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7-08-2015, 20:07

Undercurrents of byzantium

This matches the impression given by other scraps of evidence concerning the subjects of the middle Byzantine basileus: of undercurrents at various depths of society uncharted even by surviving tax registers and treatises.102 These points of view, assumptions and practices were not necessarily consciously contradictory to the tenets of the ruling establishment, while even outright dissenters might have no conception of a viable alternative to the apparently irreversible scheme of things. But this very lack of elaborate definition of ‘orthodoxy’ was what made it so necessary for writers to spell out the rites, the do’s and don’ts of orthodoxy and ‘the errors of the Latins’ once the imperial order slackened and variants were to hand.103 All this suggests the multiplicity of approaches that the modern enquirer may take towards the empire, and how much of importance, at once mutable and elusive, remains to be uncovered behind the Roman fac¸ade.