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After Collapse: Aristocratic Networks and Imperial Power in the Empire of Nicaea

Ekaterini Mitsiou, Universität Wien, Summer Fellow 2018–2019

I focused on the mechanisms of political revival after 1204 and the structural analysis of Laskarid power. After discussing issues related to state collapse and regeneration, my research turned to the reconstruction of supportive and opponent aristocratic networks of the Nicaean emperors. To address this research question, I applied modern tools and concepts of Social Network Analysis (SNA), which maps and analyzes, quantitatively and qualitatively, relationships between individuals in social networks. The excellent library and easily accessible collections facilitated quick and systematic collection of prosopographical data, which are of paramount importance for this type of research. After extracting the information from all available sources, I was able to visualize and analyze the networks of Theodore I Laskaris, John III Vatatzes, and Theodore II Laskaris. Fruitful discussions with the other fellows and their feedback allowed me to refine some of the parameters of my analysis. An article in a peer-reviewed journal will present the final results of this project.