Attaleiates’ Time: Byzantium in the Eleventh Century
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This chapter situates the judge Michael Attaleiates in his age. The short eleventh century, the period from the death of Basileios II to Alexios I Komnenos, frames and defines the life of this book’s hero. Here we introduce Byzantium as Romanía the medieval polity of the Romans and present for the readers some fundamental questions regarding its history in the period before the Crusades. What led to the observable transition from robust governance to weak management, from full-spectrum military domination to rout and defeat at the hands of all manner of enemies, and from fiscal and economic health to budgetary Armageddon and monetary collapse? What events marked this process, how have scholars engaged with these questions?