The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2019-2020, 158-170

The Diplomacy and Diplomats in the “Caucasian dossier” of Constantine Porphyrogenitus

V. A. Arutyunova-Fidanyan

The “Caucasian dossier” — chapters 43–46 of the treatise The Administrando imperio — contains unique information about the imperial policy in Armenia (the weakening of Caliphate and annexation of the territories of the Armenian leaders — allies of the Empire in the struggle against Arabs). The Byzantine policy in Armenia was enforced mainly by diplomatic methods. Byzantine emperors donated estates, donations, and titles to Armenian leaders.
Constantine Porthyrogenus considered Armenian rulers to be vassals of the Empire, and included them in the system of “spiritual” and “family” relations (“sons” and “friends” of the Byzantine Emperor), and into the system of the highest titles accorded by the Emperor to his representatives. The “Caucasian dossier” accurately outlines geographical borders of the region, on which the Empire’s attention in the East is predominantly focused, and describes the final stages of the Arab-Byzantine confrontation.
The Armenian historiographers who were closely linked to the ruling houses and the top clergy of the country, desired to introduce the lands of Armenia into the sphere of Byzantine political influence. This aspiration logically interwove in their doctrine with the introduction of Byzantine ideological values into Armenian social and political thought. This doctrine determined the creation of a positive image of Byzantium as the only supporter of the Armenians in their struggle against the Muslim World and the legal suzerain of the Armenian Kingdom. The information on Caucasian matters in the treatise is characterized by accuracy and precision because it was provided by immediate participants of events ― Armenian-Chalcedonians at the service of the Byzantine Empire. The imperial orthodoxy guaranteed for Constantinople the loyalty of its Armenian diplomats, military leaders and interpreters, while their belonging to the Armenian nation, language and culture made it possible for them to orient themselves in the Armenian world with ease unattainable for their Greek colleagues. Armenian aristocracy, naturally incorporated into the Byzantine ruling class (the milieu from which Constantine’s advisers originated), represents a phenomenon of synthesis, the result of interaction and mutual influence of the two worlds and the two cultures.

Byzantine Empire, Armenia in the middle of the 10th century, “Caucasian dossier” of the Constantine VII Porthyrogenitus, armenian-chalcedonians, byzantine diplomacy, armenian diplomats

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