- Explaining the End of an Empire: The Use of Ancient Greek Religious Views in Late Byzantine Historiography
- Suppl. 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
Abstract: This article studies the reception of the religious views of Herodotus and Thucydides in the works of the late-Byzantine historiographers Kritoboulos and Laonikos Chalkokondyles. Both
reflect upon the great changes that took place during their lives, most notably the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans under their Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. In their evaluations of these events, they—unlike their contemporaries—avoided Christian doctrine and preferred explanatory models that found their origins in Herodotus and Thucydides and that favoured ‘fortune’ [...] as the primary force in historical causation. In their narratives, they adopted caution (Herodotus) and discretion (Thucydides) on matters of religious doctrine and chose to ascribe more explicit views, for instance about divine retribution, to their characters. Their use of classical models can be considered to result from attempts to ‘anchor’ an innovative approach towards the past within contemporary intellectual debate.
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