Manuel II Palaiologos was not only a Byzantine emperor but also a remarkably prolific rhetorician and theologian. His oeuvre
included letters, treatises, dialogues, short poems and orations.
Florin Leonte deals with several of his texts shaped by a didactic intention to educate the emperor's son and successor, John VIII Palaiologos. He argues that the emperor constructed a rhetorical persona which he used in an attempt to compete with other contemporary power-brokers. While Manuel Palaiologos adhered to many rhetorical conventions of his day, he also reasserted the civic role of rhetoric.
With a special focus on the first two decades of Manuel II Palaiologos' rule, 1391-1417, Leonte offers a new understanding of the imperial ethos in Byzantium by combining rhetorical analysis with investigation of social and political phenomena.