De Administrando Imperio

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De Administrando Imperio is the commonly used Latin title of a scholarly work written in Greek by the 10th-century Byzantine emperor Constantine VII.

Constantine was a scholar-emperor, who sought to revive learning and education in the Byzantine Empire. He produced many other works, including De Ceremoniis, a treatise on the etiquette and procedures of the imperial court; and a biography of his grandfather, Basil I. De Administrando Imperio was written between 948 and 952, as an internal and foreign policy manual for the use of his son and successor, the Emperor Romanus II. It contains advice on running the ethnically-mixed empire as well as fighting external enemies. The work combines two of Constantine's earlier treatises, Περι εθνων (Peri Ethnon), concerning the histories and characters of the nations neighbouring the Empire, including the Kievan Rus', Arabs, Lombards, Armenians, and Georgians; and Περι θεματων (Peri Thematon), concerning recent events in the imperial provinces. To this combination was added Constantine's own political instructions to his son Romanus.

The work describes the Pechenegs, Kievan Rus', Turks, Bulgarians, Tatars, and Khazars to the north; the Arabs to the west and south and their expansion as far as Spain; and the Germans, Lombards, Venetians, Dalmatians, Croats, Serbs, and Moravians to the east. As well as historical and geographical information, which is often confused and filled with legend, Constantine gives information on how to manipulate each nation against each other, rather than use imperial money and resources to wage war against them directly. There is also information about imperial provinces, including Armenia, Iberia, Cyprus, and the Peloponnese, with recent diplomatic events which were considered useful for Romanus' instruction.

It was not intended for general publication, as it contains many state secrets (including Greek fire, although, notably, not its ingredients) and is clearly written for Romanus' personal use. The earliest surviving copy was made by John Doukas in the late 11th century. As a result, it is preserved fully in only three manuscripts (two of which are now located in Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the third in the Vatican Library), and only partially in a fourth (now located in Modena). It was first published in 1611 by Johannes Meursius, who gave it the Latin title by which it is now universally known, which translates as On Administering the Empire. Constantine himself did not give the work a name. Among its later editors was Jacques Paul Migne in the Patrologia Graeca.

The latest critical edition was first proposed by J.B. Bury, but was completed by Gyula Moravcsik and translated into English by Romily J.H. Jenkins in 1967.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

[edit] Sources

  • Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, ed. Gy. Moravcsik, trans. R.J.H. Jenkins, rev. ed., Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1967.

[edit] External links

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De Administrando Imperio

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