Article Published! Reconstructing the Narrative: The Usurpation of Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder

This is a short update to let readers know that I have recently published an academic article. The best news is… it is open access! So everyone is welcome to read it and it can be accessed at the link below.


This paper traces the usurpation of Nikephoros Bryennios the elder, 1077/8 AD, by examining narratives from three Byzantine historians: Michael Attaleiates, John Skylitzes, and Nikephoros Bryennios the younger. For the most part, modern scholars have focussed on investigating successful usurpation candidates who managed to rise to imperial power. For this period, this included Nikephoros Botaneiates and Alexios Komnenos. Key questions are often asked, such as how usurpers managed to succeed and why did they choose to undertake a course of usurpation, often resulting in a narrative of justification and legitimacy. For this period, albeit from Neville (2012) on Nikephoros Bryennios, appreciation has not been given to usurpers who failed. This paper will provide a chronology of Nikephoros Bryennios’ usurpation, and how these three authors depict the incident, the correlations and differences between them, and lastly, preliminary thoughts why Bryennios’ usurpation failed compared to his successful contemporaries.

Keywords: Byzantium, Usurpation, Bryennios, Eleventh Century, Literature,

If anyone wants any clarifications on the article content or has any general questions on the topic then feel free to submit a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

Published by Sean Strong

Sean is a doctoral researcher working on the reign of Maurice (582-602). He holds a further interest in understanding the ideology behind identity and the perception of rulership in Eastern Europe and the Near East. Sean's research interests vary throughout the Late Antique and Byzantine world, and span across the fields of military, political, and social history.

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