KUSHCH T.V. “According to Custom of the Greek Land”: Diplomatic Reception in Byzantium as Described by Ghillebert De Lannoy.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.6.23

Tatiana V. Kushch

Doctor of Sciences (History), Chief Researcher,

Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Leninsky, 32a, 119334 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9097-5466


Abstract. Introduction. The article studies the features of the late Byzantine diplomatic receptions. The author analyses the account of the Burgundian traveller and diplomat Ghillebert de Lannoy, who described diplomatic receptions at various European courts in details.

Method. This study applies the methods of imagology and historical anthropology, allowing to identify the foreigner’s stable and emotionally-coloured perceptions of another culture. A comparative approach is used to compare the late Byzantine receiving ceremony with receptions by other Christian rulers and the earlier Byzantine diplomatic tradition.

Analysis. Ghillebert de Lannoy, as a representative of King Henry V of England, King Charles VI of France, and Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, visited several Eastern European countries. In Constantinople, the embassy met with Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and his son and co-ruler John VIII and received a hearty welcome. The analysis has uncovered that, in the Palaiologan Age, the imperial reception became less magnificent and more intimate, but sill followed the established Byzantine tradition and differed from receptions at other courts due to its more pronounced ritual nature. The program of the embassy also included purely “Byzantine” entertainments for foreigners: a tour through Constantinople and demonstration of Christian relics. Additionally, imperial gifts excelled among the gifts from other rulers. The Burgundian ambassador was impressed by the official audience following a strict ritual, acquaintance with the city’s sights and Christian relics, and gifts he received from the emperor, which possessed high material and spiritual value.

Results. The Byzantine diplomatic reception was supposed to convince foreign ambassadors in the political and cultural superiority of the Greeks, to plant in their minds the idea that the Empire, despite its difficult situation, kept a prominent civilizational position in the Christian world. In the case of Ghillebert de Lannoy, these aims were achieved.

Key words: Late Middle Ages, Ghillebert de Lannoy, Late Byzantium, travelogue, diplomatic reception, diplomatic gifts.

Citation. Kushch T.V. “According to Custom of the Greek Land”: Diplomatic Reception in Byzantium as Described by Ghillebert De Lannoy. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 357-367. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.6.23.

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“According to Custom of the Greek Land”: Diplomatic Reception in Byzantium as Described by Ghillebert De Lannoy by Kushch T.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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