Of Masters and Servants: Hybrid Power in Theodore Laskaris’ 'Response to Mouzalon' and in the 'Tale of Livistros and Rodamne'
Cover Image of 'Interfaces,' Issue #6: Merete Barker, 'From Another World,' 2014, acrylic on canvas, 195 x 300 cm – By kind permission of the Artist – www.meretebarker.com


Political essays
Love romances
Byzantine literature
Laskarid court
Tale of Livistros and Rodamne

How to Cite

AndreouA., & AgapitosP. A. (2020). Of Masters and Servants: Hybrid Power in Theodore Laskaris’ ’Response to Mouzalon’ and in the ’Tale of Livistros and Rodamne’. Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, (6). https://doi.org/10.13130/interfaces-06-05


The present paper examines two Byzantine texts from the middle of the thirteenth century, ostensibly unrelated to each other: a political essay written by a young emperor and an anonymous love romance. The analysis is conducted through the concept of hybrid power, a notion initially developed by postcolonial criticism. It is shown that in the two texts authority (that of the Byzantine emperor and that of Eros as emperor) is constructed as hybrid and thus as an impossibility, though in the case of the political essay this impossibility remains unresolved, while in the romance it is actually resolved. The pronounced similarities between the two texts on the level of political ideology (e.g. the notion of friendship between master and servant, the performance of power relations, shared key concepts) informing the hybrid form of authority and its relation to its servants is a clear indication that they belong to the same socio-cultural and intellectual environment, namely the Laskarid imperial court in Nicaea around 1250.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2019 Andria Andreou, Panagiotis A. Agapitos