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Is Alexios' appeal to Robert of Flanders significant nonetheless?

Historian and medievalist Dan Scavone notes, while not disagreeing with Carol Sweetenham, notes:

To dismiss this letter as a spurious piece of Latin propaganda virtually making the Byzantine emperor beg for the Latins’ expropriation of the imperial relics during the Fourth Crusade is to miss its significance as a Byzantine document referring to the presence of Jesus’ burial wrappings in Constantinople. . . . Most historians have agreed that Alexios would not have written such words, but they also concur that this epistula probably “depends on an authentic letter of the basileus” written with another end in mind and that it dates, variously, from 1091 to 1105.

In other words, though the letter may well have been a propaganda piece, it strongly suggests that the burial cloth of Jesus—real or not—was in Constantinople. It helps to remember that all history is interpretation.  It is in the context of other historical documents that Scavone's opinion gains validity and traction.

 

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