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WILLIAM OF TYRE AND THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE: THE CONSTRUCTION AND DECONSTRUCTION OF AN IMAGE
MA Thesis in Medieval Studies, Central European University Budapest, May, (2008)
The Byzantine Empire plays an important role in William of Tyre’s (ca. 1130ca. 1185) history of the First Crusade and the Crusader states. Previous studies have taken a linear approach in analyzing the presence of the empire in the work, thus illuminating particular historical episodes where it enters the narrative. Offering a new vantage point on the changing image of the Byzantine Empire, this thesis for the first time suggests an approach in analyzing the images of the Byzantine emperors and the Greeks separately. Emperors that are addressed are Alexios, John and Manuel, while the image of the Greeks is analyzed through the episodes in which William referred to their effeminacy and treachery. This approach offers answers to William’s decision to portray the Byzantine Empire of his time favorably but at the same time Greeks negatively. Finally, the thesis presents the development in the image, resulting of the 1182 massacre of the Latins in Constantinople.