BARDASHOVA T.N. The Imperial Visual Propaganda in the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1461)


Tatyana Bardashova

PhD Student,

Department of Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek Philology, University of Cologne

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Albertus Magnus Square, 50923 Cologne, Germany

Abstract. The topic of this paper is the visual propaganda employed in the Empire of Trebizond to convey a sense of the greatness and power of the imperial dynasty of the Grand Komnenoi. The emperors of Trebizond traced their lineage directly back to the famed Komnenian dynasty and saw themselves as the only legitimate successors to Byzantium after its temporary falling-apart, in 1204, as a consequence of the Fourth Crusade. Though only very few images of the emperors of the Grand Komnenoi have been preserved (on chrysobulls, seals, coins, icons, manuscripts), the evidence provided by Medieval authors (Constantine Loukites and Bessarion) as well as European travelers and scientists of the 17th-20th centuries (J. Bordier, J.P. Fallmerayer, G. Finlay, F.I. Uspenskij, A. Bryer etc.) allows conclusions about the existence of propagandistic portrait images of Trebizond emperors and members of their families in the imperial palace as well as in the most important churches. On the basis of this one may suggest that visual propaganda played an equally important role in Trebizond as in Byzantium. This could be connected with the intention of the Grand Komnenoi to claim their right to the high title of Emperor which, according to the official ideology of Byzantium, only the ruler whose permanent place of residence was Constantinople could possess.

Key words: Empire of Trebizond, Grand Komnenoi, visual propaganda, ideology, emperial images, frescos, chrysobulls, coins, seals.

Лицензия Creative Commons

The Imperial Visual Propaganda in the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1461) by Bardashova T.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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