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Unrivalled InfluenceWomen and Empire in Byzantium$
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Judith Herrin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153216.001.0001

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A Fundamental Element of Imperial Statecraft

(p.302) 14 Marriage
Unrivalled Influence

Judith Herrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the theme of marriage in imperial statecraft. Like many other features of medieval organization, the Ottomans inherited and adapted a diplomatic system from Byzantium. In his book, The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, Edward Luttwak demonstrated the significance of diplomacy in keeping the medieval empire alive, especially in periods of weakness and decline. But he barely investigates the serious part marriage could play in this process. The chapter argues that marriage alliances became an essential part of Byzantium's foreign policy because they achieved something that no written diplomatic treaty could. Further, it seems clear that such arrangements are a common feature of imperial statecraft at many times in different societies.

Keywords:   marriage alliances, foreign policy, Byzantium, imperial statecraft, Ottomans, diplomacy

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