Names used by foreigners for the Byzantine Empire?

Jan 2017
72
Italy, EU
We all know that "Byzantine empire" was coined in the 16th century in honor of the ancient Greek name of Constantinople. So, for some reason, some assume that the Byzantines were called "Romans" by foreigners given that that's how they called themselves ("Romaioi"). Instead, it turns out that

*Muslims called them "Rum". Now, you often read that "Rūm" in classic Arab meant Rome. But it turns out that in classical Arabic, Rome was "Rumiya". Obviously, Rūm is a term derivated from "Romaioi" but I don't know if it did coincide with "Rumiyah".

*The Chinese called the Roman Empire "DaQin". The Byzantine Empire was instead called "FuLin".

*The people in the West called the Byzantines simply " the Greeks" or "Greek Empire" (Imperium Graecorum) most of the time. Sometimes "Empire of Constantinople". This is a consequence of the fact that, for them, the continuation of the Roman Empire was the HRE. Sometimes the word "Romania" and "Romei" were used, but again these terms were derivative of Romaioi and did not coincide with the terms Romans or Rome used in the West.
 
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johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,849
Cornwall
I subscribe to the thought that the WRE ended during the 5th century - either 406 or 476 if you want a point - and the Byzantine or ERE ended in 1453. And, merely to avoid confusion, a lot of people say Roman for WRE and Byzantine for ERE.

I see it as a split, rather than an extension.

And the HRE is an extension of the Carolingian Empire, which evolved in strange directions. Voltaire and I dont think it was Roman.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,752
Republika Srpska
The Arabs called it the Roman Empire. Rum is pretty clearly connected to the word "Rome".
 
Nov 2018
365
Denmark
Swedish merchants who arrived in Constantinople in the 9th century called the city Miklagård "the big city". I cannot find anything about what they called the rest of the empire.
Most likely, they were so impressed by the magnificent buildings of the city and its huge defenses that Miklagård became synonymous with the entire empire.
 
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Jan 2017
72
Italy, EU
The Arabs called it the Roman Empire.
Apparently not. They called it the "empire of the Rum". And "Rum" is clearly a derivative of Romaioi/Romans, but it was not the same term they used for Rumiya (Rome). Now this makes me wonder how did they call the inhabitants of the city of papal Rome and the ancient Romans.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,752
Republika Srpska
Apparently not. They called it the "empire of the Rum". And "Rum" is clearly a derivative of Romaioi/Romans, but it was not the same term they used for Rumiya (Rome). Now this makes me wonder how did they call the inhabitants of the city of papal Rome and the ancient Romans.
It is still the Roman Empire. Sometimes the Arab writers would use the term "Rum" to describe entire Christian Europe, but most of the time it was used to describe the Byzantine Empire.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
The difference was that while the Western Roman Empire was the Empire of Rome [the city], the Eastern Roman Empire remained the Empire of the Romans [the Roman Citizens, since they kept their Roman citizenship, they kept on being members of the Roman Civitas]. At the end, applying this reasoning in the other way, in recent times someone wondered which was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and which was its original name. So that the ERE was the Empire of Byzantium, of the city of Byzantium [even if the "Byzantines" seemed not to mind about this ...].

Arabs expanded their domains when Rome had already fallen. When they talked about the Western Christian populations, they tent to make reference to the ones they met on the battle fields: the "franji" [this term is still used in Middle East], that is to say Franks.
 

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,047
Bulgaria
Swedish merchants who arrived in Constantinople in the 9th century called the city Miklagård "the big city". I cannot find anything about what they called the rest of the empire.
Most likely, they were so impressed by the magnificent buildings of the city and its huge defenses that Miklagård became synonymous with the entire empire.
I read that Varangians called the empire Miklagarðsríki / and Grikkland . I know that Modern Icelandic is relatively close to the Old Norse and i wonder what it means / the land of the big city?
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Bulgarians called them Romei, transliteration from Cyrillic (taken from the original Рωμαίοι) ; Romania was the name of this medieval empire. EDIT: Simeon of Bulgaria for example assumed/claimed the titles Basileus and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Romans as can be seen from his late IX century seals.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,752
Republika Srpska
Medieval Serbs called the Byzantine Empire "Greek". What is interesting is that medieval Serbs used the word "Greek" to describe the Crusader Latin Empire as well.
 
Nov 2018
365
Denmark
I read that Varangians called the empire Miklagarðsríki / and Grikkland . I know that Modern Icelandic is relatively close to the Old Norse and i wonder what it means / the land of the big city?
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"Riki" means state as in the german reich.
Grikland means" the land of greeks",we call it the same in Danish "Grækenland"
Thanks, by the way, I got wiser today :)
 
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