original byzantine politics had played themselves out

Linhpi

Senior Member
Vietnamese
I have no idea what both "original byzantine politics" and "play themselves out" mean. So I'd be grateful if anybody gives me any idea.

Here is more context:

This (Istanbul) was where the original byzantine politics had played themselves out. Perhaps it wasn't such an odd place for a vampire or two, after all.

(I made a wild guess into "this was where the first complicated fights for power happened" but on second thought Istanbul is no older than Beijing or some Eastern cities to be the place where first fights for power happened. I'm desperate with this sentence now.)

Many thanks for any opinion
 
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  • "Byzantine" has two meanings. With an uppercase "B," it refers to the Byzantine Empire, the empire centered on the city of Constantinople (also known as Byzantium, thus the name) from the fall of Rome to the fall of Constantinople - roughly, from AD 400 to AD 1400. With a lowercase "b," it means something like "complex, bureaucratic, and full of schemes and intrigue. "

    Constantinople is an old name for Istanbul.

    As for "play out," it also has two meanings: (1) to take place, and (2) to run out, become exhausted or used up.

    Thus, the writer is making a double play on words. Istanbul is literally the place where the original byzantine (Byzantine) politics took place, and those politics eventually "played themselves out," that is, became exhausted and used up (because in the end Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, and the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist).
     
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    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I have no idea what both "original byzantine politics" and "play themselves out" mean. So I'd be grateful if anybody gives me any idea.

    Here is more context:

    This (Istanbul) was where the original byzantine politics had played themselves out. Perhaps it wasn't such an odd place for a vampire or two, after all.

    (I made a wild guess into "this was where the first complicated fights for power happened" but on second thought Istanbul is no older than Beijing or some Eastern cities to be the place where first fights for power happened. I'm desperate with this sentence now.)

    Many thanks for any opinion
    I actually think that your initial hunch is correct, Linhpi. I don't think that not being the oldest city in the world really matters. There were many power plays in and for Byzantium and since the politics of the cities in the East were virtually unknown until centuries after they were established, I think that Greek and Roman historians believed that Byzantium was one of the oldest and I think that the meaning of the word in the way it's used here is just an extrapolation of that.

    "played themselves out" simply means that the actions unfolded or happened in progression.
     
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