Byzantium - Cultural Identity?

Efendi

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
12,418
Anatolia
#21
The crusaders called the byzantines - greeks, in there travel notes. There is not a correct answer to the question are Byzantines seen as greek or romans, slavic nations aways called Byzantinians - romans.

Not only the people in Byzantine territories were called "Rum", but also those on Balkans (which ethnicly arent greek) this was mainly a word meaning "christians" instead of "greek". The whole phrase i think is "Rum milet".
In the old time Anatolia were called Rum. All the people in Anatolia called rum no matter what religion they had.

Today the land around trace called rum ( rumeli (hand of rum) =rum land in turkish).

Rum still means greek in turkish.
May be it is for Anatolian people and Greeks.

Catholics were called Frenk not Rum. it is not for christians in whole.
 

falcon

Ad Honorem
May 2008
2,728
#22
In the old time Anatolia were called Rum. All the people in Anatolia called rum no matter what religion they had.

Today the land around trace called rum ( rumeli (hand of rum) =rum land in turkish).

Rum still means greek in turkish.
May be it is for Anatolian people and Greeks.

Catholics were called Frenk not Rum. it is not for christians in whole.
I think you have the right idea Efendi.

I have said before that the word "Romios" even in today's Greece it means someone who is Greek; it does not mean someone who is Roman, or Latin as they were called the Western Europeans during the time of the Byzantines.
The empire to say the least by the time of the Macedonian dynasty in the 9th century had become completely Greek in its conscience.
That the character of the empire had been transformed to a lot more Greek than the ancient Roman, had been true since the last quarter of the 6th century, when at that time even its upper classes (emperors included), and its administration were using only the Greek language for communication and they were breaking any ties they might have had previously with the ancient Romans.

Of course from the begining of its existence the great majority of the people in the Byzantine empire were also using as their language Greek, but not the upper classes or its administration! Probably that's were the confusion exists for some people.

PS: Efendi is also right in saying that a lot of people refered to the Western Europeans besides as Latins, also as Franks. The word Romios had come to mean Greek.
 
Last edited:

Efendi

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
12,418
Anatolia
#25
Falcon,

i watched a program prepeared by a turkish women and a greek guy both of them were jornalist (on turk-greek relations).

in the interwiev with a Greek person native in Istanbul. he said he was rumios not a greek only. Are there any tiny bit difference between words Ellinikos and Romios.

I called some greek people Rum in a forum some of them disliked to be called that.

Eisai o Ellinikos n Romios.?

Or:

Eisai o Ellinikos kai Romios.?

Den bro na katalaveno ti einai Romoioi

can you understand my poor greek?
 

falcon

Ad Honorem
May 2008
2,728
#27
Falcon,

i watched a program prepeared by a turkish women and a greek guy both of them were jornalist (on turk-greek relations).

in the interwiev with a Greek person native in Istanbul. he said he was rumios not a greek only. Are there any tiny bit difference between words Ellinikos and Romios.

I called some greek people Rum in a forum some of them disliked to be called that.

Eisai o Ellinikos n Romios.?

Or:

Eisai o Ellinikos kai Romios.?

Den bro na katalaveno ti einai Romoioi

can you understand my poor greek?
Ok. I'll make it to you as clear as possible and if you don't understand anything you can ask me again.

The word "Romios" (one person) or "Romioi" (more than one person) was used during the Middle Ages by the Byzantines to describe themselves. The meaning of that was......, not to describe somebody who was from Rome in the Italian peninsula but someone who was Greek.
The reason they used this word and not ELLINAS (Hellene in English) was because, the ELLINES (Hellenes in English) of mainland Hellas (Greece) had remained pagans still believing in the ancient 12 Gods, and were not yet Christians. The Byzantines being fanatic Christians didn't want to be identified as such, so they were using the word Romios (singular) or Romioi (plural), to signify they were descendants from the Roman empire; but the word Romios meant actually Greek not someone identified with the ancient Roman empire.
By the turn of the millenium though, the Byzantines had started using the word ELLINAS (ELLINES), because by then even mainland Greece was completely Christian and there was no reason to be ashamed identifying themselves as Hellenes, in fact more and more people became prouder and prouder when they were finding out the glory of Ancient Greece and being their descendants. By the time of its fall the Byzantines were calling themselves ELLINES, but the word Romios was used by the Ottomans as Rum during the occupation, but it was still understood as someone who was Greek.
In today's Greece nobody uses the word Romios, in English the word Ellinas is Hellene; as you notice they put the letter H in front in order to catch the correct pronunciation.
Now the Westerners all use the word Greek, or Greque, or Greco or Griego etc. which of course doesn't sound like Ellinas at all. The reason for this is because one of the first Greek colonies in ancient times in the Italian peninsula was called Greki, and the Italiotic people started calling all the Hellenes......, Grecos.
In the East though the Persians and later on the Arabs and the Turks were coming in contact with the Hellenes in the area of the coast in Asia Minor which was called Ionia, therefore they called all Greeks Unan and Greece Unanistan.

The word Ellinikos (Hellenic) that you used pertains to something that is Greek not to a person.

As you can see we are not Rums, Greeks or Unans and we don't live neither in Rome or Greece or Unanistan.
We are the HELLENES (ELLINES(plural)), or I am a HELLENE (Ellinas(single)), and we live in HELLAS (ELLAS).

PS: I hope that makes it clear, if you have any questions don't hessitate to ask.
 
Last edited:

falcon

Ad Honorem
May 2008
2,728
#28
You should also keep in mind one very essential thing.

The word Romeos (wrtten Romaios in Greek) and the word Romios are actually two different things.

The word "Romeos" literally translated means "Roman" and a person clearly associated with the ancient Roman empire.

The word "Romios" however means someone who is "like a Roman" but not actually a Roman.

Probably this is the reason why the confusion on the part of Westerners and also Easterners as to the identity of the Byzantines.
Because of this similarity you had a lot of people giving different interpretations for the identity of Byzantium, some of these were wishful thinking, and some outright wrong.
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
#29
Some say they were Roman until the "Lingua Franca" changed from Latin to Greek. I'm not so sure. "Byzantine" is a Victorian invention.
I wonder how different history would have been if that never happened. Especially with the catholic church's use of the Latin language as well. That would have at least carried the language still throughout Europe and on top of that how would modern languages be effected today if such an action would have happened and how would modern cultured be effected by the language of Latin instead of Greek. Mhhmm I don't wanna open a huge can of worms.
 

falcon

Ad Honorem
May 2008
2,728
#30
What Belisarius says is true, up to the begining of the last quarter of the 6th century the emperors, the administration and the upper classes still considered themselves as Roman, and spoke Latin as a first language; at the same time the great majority of the people in the empire considered themselves as "Roman like" and spoke Greek.
Begining with the last quarter of the 6th century even the emperors were speaking Greek as their first language; it had become imperative at the begining of the 7th century to make Greek the official language of the state. You were not dealing with any Roman people, in the sense that it was known in the past in the good old days of the ancient Roman empire, and there were distinct differences not only in the language, but in the culture and the religion with their counterparts in the West.
 
Last edited:

Similar History Discussions