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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old December 5th, 2017, 02:47 PM   #1

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Is it incorrect to call the Eastern Roman's Byzantines?


Did they not consider themselves Roman in their literature?
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Old December 5th, 2017, 04:32 PM   #2

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They did indeed call themselves Romans (romaioi) and were known locally by that name until the 12th century, even though on the West they were known as Greeks. I guess it is more convenient nowadays to call them Byzantines, so it is easier to differentiate them from the Western Roman Empire, but I've seen authors that maintain the Eastern Roman Empire nomenclature.
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Old December 5th, 2017, 06:13 PM   #3

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i don't think it matters really. call them whatever you want, romans, greeks, Byzantines
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Old December 5th, 2017, 11:41 PM   #4
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The name of the orthodox christian community in the Ottoman Empire was Rum millet right to the end of the ottomans and birth of the republic of Turkey nearly 500 years after the fall of the City and the end of Eastern Roman/Greek/Byzantine empire (Trapezuntine remnant excluded). Byzantine thingy was coined in the west a century after the fall of Constantinople. It's occidental term.

Greek on the other hand was used after the Great Schism, because of religious animosity between catholic west and orthodox east and the presence of HRE - "neither holy nor roman" /Voltaire/

Here is a thread with lots of opinions on the matter.

"Byzantine Empire" or "Eastern Roman Empire" ?

Last edited by At Each Kilometer; December 5th, 2017 at 11:45 PM.
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Old December 6th, 2017, 12:09 AM   #5

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A convention ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by MughalMuse View Post
Did they not consider themselves Roman in their literature?
Correct, they were Romans.

As I said in a different thread, the Eastern Empire was Roman in the sense that it was the Empire of the Romans [when Rome fell the citizens of the Eastern Empire were Roman citizens as well and this status didn't change].

They called their empire "Imperium Romanum" ...

So, why that "Byzantine"?

It's a convention ...

The Roman Empire was also the empire of Rome [the Urbe, the city], not only the empire of the Romans.

So that, not a long time ago, some historians wondered how to differentiate the Eastern Roman Empire [which was the Roman Empire].

It was the empire of the Romans, but of which city? Byzantium ... so it was the Empire of Byzantium = Byzantine Empire.

Right or wrong?

In my opinio is not that historically correct, but conventions survive to strict rationality. It's like for the inhabitants of the United States: they are "Americans" and when you hear the word "American" you don't think to any person living in the American continent [from Chile to Canada], you think to a person living in US ...
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Old December 6th, 2017, 01:38 AM   #6
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Ways this can be proven down.

Roman Empire-started in Rome thus called Roman, even though most citizens weren't from Rome.

Byzantine Empire-Roman Empire in the period when Rome was no longer under "Roman control" and the empire's new capital was at a new city in a new region. Constantinople's former name was Byzantium thus Byzantium. However it is the same empire and institutions as the "Roman Empire" and they refer to themselves as Roman.

The way I treat it is they are the Romans the whole way through but Byzantium is a way to easily distinguish between those era's. Also there is a large difference between the Roman Empire from 476-642 and the one from 642 onwards in terms of territory held. For the first period much of the original Roman Empire was intact though it's capital had shifted. For the second, the empire was confined to Greece and parts of Asia Minor and was fundamentally a different nation.

Think some people mark the change from when Heraclius becomes emperor and the empire starts speaking Greek rather than Latin also a historical reason for the change.
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Old December 6th, 2017, 02:05 AM   #7

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I think we know on here that Byzantine is a later term, but we've all settled down to using it pretty much to avoid confusion. I tend to use 'the Empire' or 'Imperial' when talking about the Eastern Empire contact with the Visigoths in Spain and North Africa, and later the arabs, because the WRE no longer existed.

But I'm sure by just saying 'Imperial' I confuse the hell out of some people 'Byzantine' would be clearer.
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Old December 6th, 2017, 05:25 PM   #8

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the proper term would be "eastern roman empire" but the term byzantine is easier to use because many could get confused.
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Old December 7th, 2017, 01:52 AM   #9

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There would be also an other potential source of confusion: the German Empire called "Holy Roman Empire". But in the case of the HRE they were enough kind to add that "Holy" [may be to underline the difference from the ancient pagan one?].
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Old December 7th, 2017, 05:12 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by At Each Kilometer View Post
The name of the orthodox christian community in the Ottoman Empire was Rum millet right to the end of the ottomans and birth of the republic of Turkey nearly 500 years after the fall of the City and the end of Eastern Roman/Greek/Byzantine empire (Trapezuntine remnant excluded). Byzantine thingy was coined in the west a century after the fall of Constantinople. It's occidental term.

Greek on the other hand was used after the Great Schism, because of religious animosity between catholic west and orthodox east and the presence of HRE - "neither holy nor roman" /Voltaire/

Here is a thread with lots of opinions on the matter.

"Byzantine Empire" or "Eastern Roman Empire" ?
Greek was used much before the Great Schism. I think it really started after the end of Byzantine rule in Italy and especially after the coronation of Charlemagne as emperor. Einhard calls the Byzantines Greeks in his biography of Charlemagne and the Slavs also adopted the name Greek to refer to the Byzantines as early as the 6th century, most likely from Latin.
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