Why Keeping the Byzantine adjective?

Naima

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
2,323
Venice
The Byzantine Empire never exhisted, it was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern half, their inhabitants called themselves Romans. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans" (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Imperium Romanorum; Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn, Ἀρχὴ τῶν Ῥωμαίων Archē tōn Rhōmaiōn), "Romania" (Latin: Romania; Greek: Ῥωμανία Rhōmania),the "Roman Republic" (Latin: Res Publica Romana; Greek: Πολιτεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων Politeia tōn Rhōmaiōn), Graikia (Greek: Γραικία), and also as Rhōmais (Greek: Ῥωμαΐς).The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.



The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the later years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ.




During the First Balkan War in 1912 the Greek navy captured the island of Lemnos from the Ottoman Empire and promptly sent soldiers to every village and stationed them in the public squares. Children from all over the island ran to see what these so called Greeks looked like.

"What are you looking at?" one of soldiers asked. "At you Greeks" one of the children replied. "Are you not Greek yourselves?" said the soldier. "No, we are Romans" replied the child.​
The above story was told by Peter Charanis, a well known historian, himself born in Lemnos in 1908. At that time, more than half of all Greeks still identified themselves as Romans and lived outside the official Hellenic Republic, in the Aegean, Thrace, but mostly in Asia Minor.

In the following decade, as the Hellenic Republic expanded and encompassed those areas as well (and eventually lost them in 1923), every child was taught to think of itself as Greek, not Roman. Thus ended the world's most ancient national identity, over 2700 years old since the founding of Rome.


So the question is , isn't about time that Historians return to give a proper name to the Roman Empire rather than the Western renaming that is son of a desire to challenge the primate of the Eastern Roman Emperor compared to the newly created western one?
Shouln't the history books be fixed and corrected once and for all ?
 
Feb 2016
5,049
Atlantic Ocean
Oh boy i think you just triggered half the forum.

I use ERE till the fall of WRE then i use byz for a way to distinguish the timeframe
 
Mar 2010
424
While I agree with most of the OP's post, I prefer Later Roman Empire.

But then I use "Byzantine" because I am basically lazy.
 
Feb 2017
427
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Most of us know this.

Actually no, Hieronymous Wolf isn't the first to use the term "Byzantine." He got it from earlier sources which sometimes called the city "Byzantion" or the empire "Byzantion" because they were writing in the Attic tradition and trying to avoid using anything but classical Greek words.

But nevertheless, you are right otherwise. It was the Roman Empire, it was a continuous state until 1204 (most argue 1453 though).
 
Jan 2016
1,146
Victoria, Canada
Because it's convenient and well recognized pretty much. I often just use "roman", or "medieval Roman" if it needs to be contrasted against the ancient Roman empire, but "Byzantine" is just more convenient, easily recognizable, and doesn't get confused with the catholic church or the Carolingian and "holy Roman" empires.

I don't like using "Eastern Roman" though because it implies the byzantine empire was somehow different, facilitating it's slanderous portrayal as an "Oriental Despotism" by some, or a separate state. The Byzantine empire, after the fall of the west, was the "Roman empire in the east", not the "Eastern Roman empire". I would rather use an incorrect term, "Byzantine", which can be qualified or used interchangeably with the correct one, Roman, instead of using one born of a compromise I don't agree with, "Eastern Roman".
 
Feb 2017
427
Rock Hill, South Carolina
I typically use "Medieval Roman Empire" or "Romans of Constantinople" or the like. I use Byzantine a lot too, usually "Romano-Byzantine" especially if I'm discussing the transitional era of the 6th-7th centuries.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,160
Australia
It was called the "Roman Empire" when the capital was Rome. It was called the "Byzantine Empire" when the capital was Byzantion. The naming convention is pretty simple and easy enough for people to understand. It is irrelevant what it is called so long as the convention is consistently followed.
 
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Jan 2016
1,146
Victoria, Canada
It was called the "Roman Empire" when the capital was Rome. It was called the "Byzantine Empire" when the capital was Byzantion. The naming convention is pretty simple and easy enough for people to understand. It is irrelevant what it is called so long as the convention is consistently followed.
I get what you're trying to say, but people don't generally call the empire under Gallienus or Diocletian the Milanese empire, or already under Constantine and Theodosius the Byzantine empire. There isn't really any concrete formula for when to start calling the empire Byzantine, at least not one that isn't arbitrary.

I personally think it does matter what we call the empire, because exclusively referring to it as Byzantine is essentially denying the cultural legitimacy of the around 100,000,000 (excluding those who died in childhood) byzantine Romans who lived from 600 to 1453 ad, purely for the sake of organizational convenience. It's like exclusively calling the English Iceni, claiming that the true anglo-saxon legacy is exclusive to the Dutch, and justifying this on the basis that no true Angle would use so many french loanwords.
 
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Naima

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
2,323
Venice
I think that Byzantine adjective has made its time!

ITs about time that Historians start changing their lazy habits and call Byzantium as Roman Empire as this is what it was.

Its simply wrong and confusing. It makes appear like the Roman Empire ended in 476 AD wich is not , it ended in 1453.

On wikipedia and books it makes appear the roman empire like it is a different entity from eastern portion.
Its not important if they talked greek or latin , as A lot of regions had different languages anyway.When you make a historical measurement of the lenght of the Roman empire you find an end date at 476 AD and so you measure its timeline for about 500 years , when instead it lasted 1000 years more.
You find all those sort of measurements and comparisons with other empires or kingdoms and the Roman empire is always downsized in timeline to the 476 date.