Andreas E. Müller

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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Imperial writings began late in Byzantium and continued to be relatively restricted in volume down to the end of the Empire. In its entire existence, the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) had produced only about 250 imperial documents in the original, compared with almost 900 original imperial documents for the reign of Emperor Frederick II alone in medieval Western Europe. With respect to the Byzantine imperial documents, the originals known to us from 1052 to 1451 can be classified into three main groups: the "great charter of privileges", the "small charter of privileges", and the prostagma or horismos. The first group is known from the time of Alexios I Komnenos to the end of the Byzantine Empire as chrysoboullos logos, and consists of approximately 150 originals that are preserved. The second group is known as sigíllion or chrysoboullon sigillion, with no more than a dozen originals having survived between 1092 and 1342. The prostagma is a type of administrative document, and includes some 60 extant examples dating from the beginning of the thirteenth century to 1445.

Keywords: imperial writings; Byzantium; Byzantine Empire; imperial documents; great charter; small charter; prostagma; horismos; chrysoboullos logos; chrysoboullon sigillion

Article.  1776 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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