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Title: Rethinking thirteenth-century Byzantine historiography : a postmodern, narrativist, and narratological approach
Author: Kinloch, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 2145
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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In the study of thirteenth-century Byzantium, historiography (made up of linguistic, narrative, and ideological texts) and the past (constituted of things that happened before now) have been conflated. This conflation has proved highly problematic for the study of Byzantine historiography by modern scholars. To explain and describe the period between 1204 and 1261, modern historians have constructed a historiographical narrative that purports to present what happened in the past. This narrative, which I call the Nikaian narrative, constructs a simplistic and teleological story of 'Byzantine reconquest' that amongst other things privileges the so-called Nikaian 'empire', which conquered Constantinople in 1261. This modern narrative is founded on a problematic reading of the Chronike syngraphe of George Akropolites, a historiographical text, which has dominated the construction of the period. In this thesis I deconstruct the Nikaian narrative, through the use of various postmodern, narrativist, and narratological tools. In the first three chapters, I deconstruct this narrative, at the macro-level of narrative (and metanarrative), and at the meso-levels of events and characters, exploring the construction five battle-events that structure the Nikaian narrative and the characters to which it attributes agency. In the fourth and final chapter, I extend the argument of the first three chapters to the micro-level through a case study drawn from four narrative historiographical texts, which have been assumed to narrate the 'same events' in the thirteenth-century past. I demonstrate the limitations of an approach to these texts focused on the 'reconstruction' of the past, offering instead an analysis of these texts based on their relationships to each other, not as 'sources' but as texts.
Supervisor: Holmes, Catherine Sponsor: University of Oxford ; A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available