In its self-awareness and in its constant effort to present and rationalize this paradox, East Roman culture evolved what was, in many respects, a remarkably modern political-theoretical rationale, in which philanthropy merged with the practical demands of medieval Realpolitik to harness both the pacific and the militaristic elements of the society—reflected in the culture of monasticism on the one hand and of the provincial military elite on the other. The fact that retiring soldiers so frequently took up the monastic life as a means both of securing their future economically and physically, as well as of recovering spiritual well-being and working towards the remission of their sins, is an indication of this—however much, in reality, the individuals themselves may have harboured a less refined notion of their actions.