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«The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World edited by Angeliki E. Laiou and Roy Parviz Mottahedeh published by Dumbarton Oaks ...»

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Alexiade 12.5.4; vol. 3:68. The reference is to Aristotle, Politics 7.13.8.

Cf. Laiou, “Just War,” 156–65.

´ Taktika, prooemium, 3; Vari, 1:4; PG 107:673.

´ Taktika 2.46; Vari, 1:40; PG 107:696.

George T. Dennis [ 39 ] The Byzantine wars were not “holy” wars, but just wars, imperial wars. They were waged to defend the empire or to recover land that rightfully belonged to it. The soldiers put their lives on the line for the emperor and the people subject to him, the Christian people. They were to “struggle on behalf of relatives, friends, fatherland, and the entire Christian people.”38 Toward the end of the tenth century another military author spoke up on behalf of the men on the eastern frontier who “choose to brave dangers on behalf of our holy emperors and all the Christian people. They are the defenders and, after God, the saviors of the Christians.”39 In conclusion, then, Muslims believed force might be used to bring all people under the sway of Islam; Western knights believed that they were called not only to defend but to “exalt” Christianity and that attacks on its enemies could be holy and meritorious.

The Byzantines believed that war was neither good nor holy, but was evil and could be justified only in certain conditions that centered on the defense of the empire and its faith. They were convinced that they were defending Christianity itself and the Christian people, as indeed they were.

The Catholic University of America

´ Taktika 18.19; Vari, 1:21; PG 107:949. Late in the 12th century, archbishop Euthymios Malakes of Patras, in a court oration, has the soldiers of Manuel I echo these same sentiments: “We labor on behalf of religion and campaign on behalf of God; we do no injustice to foreigners but do battle for what belongs to us.” He has the emperor take the lead in the struggle and profess his readiness to die on behalf of the Christian people.

Euthymiou Malake ta sozomena, ed. K. G. Mpones, 2 vols. (Athens, 1937–49), 2:31.5–8; 52.10–13.

Dennis, Three Treatises, chap. 19, pp. 216–17.



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