The concept of Empire was consistently a strong element in Byzantine political thought and a standard theme in Byzantine texts, monuments, and works of art. The efforts of the central government to control the peripheral societies incorporated into the Byzantine state are reflected in official documents, public works, and imperial images. These circulated and were made visible in the palace, in the urban environment of Constantinople and other major cities, as well as in rural landscapes in the hinterland and in border regions, occasionally even beyond the frontiers of the empire.1