Byzantine Empire, liminality, trickster, political anthropology, Eric Voegelin
The aim of the article is to revisit, using the approach and the tools of political anthropology, in. particular the terms ‘liminality’ and ‘trickster’, the relationship between modern globalisation and the question of the Empire. To what extent can the modern global world be considered a kind of empire by other means? Starting from the works of Eric Voegelin, in particular his Ecumenic Age, the article argues that a central, a much ignored, impetus to the rise of the modern global world was given by the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, an event that for centuries was considered as fundamental, but that became ignored in Marx-Durkheim inspired modern social historiography. Using some of the central terms of political anthropology, an approach that integrates historical-comparative sociology, Nietzsche-Foucaldian genealogy, and classical political philosophy with social and cultural anthropology, the article shows the decision impact of the ‘byzantine spirit’ on the rise of the modern global world.