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Document Details :

Title: The Relic of the True Cross in the Statecraft of Justin II and Sophia in the West
Author(s): BRENNAN, Brian
Journal: Byzantion
Volume: 91    Date: 2021   
Pages: 47-73
DOI: 10.2143/BYZ.91.0.3289877

Abstract :
This paper seeks to re-examine the circumstances surrounding two gifts of relics of the True Cross sent by the Emperor Justin II and the Empress Sophia to Rome and to Poitiers in the early years of their reign. Previous studies of these imperial gifts of relics have offered transactional Maussian 'hard power' interpretations of the gifts with a stress on obligation and reciprocity. Here it is proposed that the gifts might be viewed instead as a reflection of a 'soft power' imperial ideology and statecraft that emphasised the role of the emperor as the channel for divine blessings on both citizens within the Empire and Christians in the wider oikoumene.

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