Why did the Byzantine Empire engage in brutal punishments towards prominent figures?

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#11
West also did it. Difference I think is that Byzantines had much greater regard for life: cutting off the nose, and then blinding, was seen a preferable alternative to murdering a deposed Emperor (or a rebel), as murder was seen as a major sin whereas blinding was considered "merely" cruel.
The Byzantines weren't against having their emperors killed though; see the incredibly brutal murder of Andronicus.
 
Oct 2011
341
Croatia
#12
The Byzantines weren't against having their emperors killed though; see the incredibly brutal murder of Andronicus.
They tried to avoid it as a rule - for the most part, emperors had their nose cut off, or were blinded, or, even later, simply sent to the monastery. Murders were an exception, but they did happen - sometimes by accident, as was the case of one of emperors who died as a result of extremely brutal blinding.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,852
Blachernai
#13
Readers of this thread may be interested in this short Dumbarton Oaks interview with Jake Ransohoff.


They tried to avoid it as a rule - for the most part, emperors had their nose cut off, or were blinded, or, even later, simply sent to the monastery. Murders were an exception, but they did happen - sometimes by accident, as was the case of one of emperors who died as a result of extremely brutal blinding.
On this note, the chart in Stumpf, Jonathan Alan. β€œOn the mutilation and blinding of Byzantine emperors from the reign of Heraclius I until the fall of Constantinople.” Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology 4, no. 3 (2017): 46–54 (51):

 

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