Publications/Jul 07, 2017

Byzantine Canon Law Scholar in Norman Sicily

Byzantine Canon Law Scholar in Norman Sicily lead image

James Morton. “A Byzantine Canon Law Scholar in Norman Sicily: Revisiting Neilos Doxapatres’s Order of the Patriarchal Thrones.” Speculum, volume 92, no. 3 (July 2017): 724-754.

It is this paper’s contention that the Order of the Patriarchal Thrones is best characterized as a product of late eleventh-/twelfth-century Byzantine canon law scholarship and that Doxapatres’s writing offers a glimpse into the state of Byzantine canon law in Latin-ruled southern Italy. To the best of this author’s knowledge, this remains essentially an untouched subject. Legal historians of southern Italy since the Risorgimento have usually addressed Byzantine law insofar as it found its way into Sicilian royal legislation and administrative practices; Greek canon law naturally has not featured in these studies. Nonetheless, Byzantine church law was widely observed in twelfth- and thirteenth-century southern Italy, which still maintained a strong emotional connection to Constantinople; Neilos Doxapatres’s work is testimony to this phenomenon and is best understood in this light.