A game of power. Courtly influence on the decision-making of emperor Theodosius II (r. 408-450)
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The aim of this thesis is to uncover the workings and levels of courtly influence on Theodosius II's (r. 408-450) decision-making, but also, through analysis of the material by using modern theories, to gain a deeper understanding of the courtly structures, power, and dynamics at play at his court in Constantinople. Three groups are investigated: high officials, eunuchs, and royal women. It becomes clear that informal and formal power are not so clearly separated, as well as that the informal sphere could also play a role in the process of decision-making. Besides the prerogatives and tasks connected to certain offices, close personal proximity to the emperor comes to the fore as a highly important factor in this game of power. The theories of Norbert Elias (as well as the critique offered by Jeroen Duindam on his work) and that of Michael Mann are employed to thoroughly analyse these courtly dynamics.