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Master Thesis

Les Bulgares dans les sources byzantines (864-1186)

Abstract : In the thousand-year history of the Byzantine Empire, barbarians have always played a central role in the affirmation of Byzantine ideology. In 864 the baptism of the ruler Boris I, saw a foreign monarch placed under the protection of the Byzantine Empire through Christianity. For the first time, enemies close to Byzantium were converted to the same religion as their close neighbour. The Bulgarians were for several centuries the archetype of the warmonger western barbarian. However, relations between the Bulgarians and the Byzantines were never limited to simple confrontations over the preservation of the Byzantine taxis. The aim of this study was thus to investigate the potential singularity of these Christian barbarians in Byzantine sources. Several political events such as the political conversion of Boris I, the imperial ambitions of Simeon or the Byzantine domination were the occasion to observe transformations, evolutions in the representation of these barbarians. The place of the Bulgarians in the Byzantine sources then allows us to understand how the authors perceived the role of the Empire in its relations with a peripheral space and its inhabitants. The descriptions of the space are then revealing of the ideological domination of the capital, Constantinople. The Bulgarian space then appears as a repulsive element in opposition to the urban ideal of the capital. The study also endeavoured to describe the presumed importance of Christianity in the valorization of the foreign peoples of Byzantium. The study sought to demonstrate that Christianity was not an insignificant factor in the way Byzantium thought about its relations with the Bulgarians. Finally, the Bulgarian leader, his figure and his place in the source was questioned and a wide variety of representations of the barbarian ruler was put forward. Although there are many topoi about the Bulgarians, the way in which this foreign people is presented in the sources can vary subtly according to a precise context. Barbarism as conceived by the Byzantines is therefore not a homogenous phenomenon, but an evolutionary process that must serve the political legitimization of the Byzantine Empire.
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Master Thesis
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Tristan Picard. Les Bulgares dans les sources byzantines (864-1186). Histoire. 2019. ⟨dumas-02477197⟩

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