The idea of freedom in the writings of non-Chalcedonian Christians in the fifth and sixth centuries

Document Type



Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London


This article examines how Christians who had been deprived of the direct sponsorship of the state articulated their claims for political and religious freedom. I examine four cases from the fifth and sixth century in the Eastern Roman Empire and Sasanian Iran. Here I argue that Scriptural models provided an important reservoir of political ideas that could be used by clerics to undermine state authority, whether to underscore the conditional nature ofRomanclaims to authority or to deny an equality of religious freedom to non-Christian co-citizens.

Publication (Name of Journal)

History of European Ideas