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Were the Byzantines Greeks?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2013 at 08:26
Your burden of proof must be very light then.

The Serbian, Bulgarian and Cilician parts of the Empire were only Byzantine for a minority of the Middle Ages.

Numerous non-Greeks ended up becoming Emperor. Armenians, a German, Isaurians, and a Slav came pretty close on one occasion. But these men were all Chritians, and specifically Orthodox.
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Drakoblare View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Drakoblare Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2013 at 08:39
Isaurian is the name of the dynasty not an ethnicity. Though some say that Isaurian come from the Persian word 'Isaur' which means warrior or something like that.

I never denied that non-Greeks held the crown, but this is something that happens in preety much all Empires. And by becoming Christian and being Orthodox they were preety much hellinized. After Justinian there are no Emperors who did not have Greek as their mother tongue, hence comes the term 'Justinian the last latin Emperor' 

By the way, half of Europe was under Roman rule for most of the Roman era, does that mean that half of Europe was populated by Romans? (I guess you gonna bring up that everyone could become citizen? Well that is not the point, they could be Roman citizens and identify as something else)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2013 at 09:34
Quote Isaurian is the name of the dynasty not an ethnicity. Though some say that Isaurian come from the Persian word 'Isaur' which means warrior or something like that.


The Isaurians were a distinct group, and not Greek.

Quote I never denied that non-Greeks held the crown, but this is something that happens in preety much all Empires. And by becoming Christian and being Orthodox they were preety much hellinized.


Tell that to the Russians. And Serbs, and Bulgarians, and etc etc.

Quote After Justinian there are no Emperors who did not have Greek as their mother tongue, hence comes the term 'Justinian the last latin Emperor'


I'm not certain how true that is. Justinian's successors probably spoke Latin as their first tongue. The mercenary general Apsimar may have spoken German.

Quote

By the way, half of Europe was under Roman rule for most of the Roman era, does that mean that half of Europe was populated by Romans? (I guess you gonna bring up that everyone could become citizen? Well that is not the point, they could be Roman citizens and identify as something else)


There were certainly Roman colonies all over the Roman empire, as for north as York. But the Romans were better than the Greeks at ensuring their language/customs/institutions were continued in the centuries to come. Look at how many languages speak a Romance language, and how much of the old Byzantine Empire speaks Greek.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Drakoblare Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2013 at 14:34
So you just made a split bewteen the Romans and Byzantines. Nice.

And thanks about the Isaurians, I admit I did not know about them and thought you were talking about the Isaurian dynasty, my apologies.

Once again, I did say that there were foreign kings, who however were hellenized. However I cant see this as a sign of 'non-Greekness' of the Empire. All long lasting Empires at some point had foreign rulers.

The point still stands, the official language was Greek, the populace after a period was majority Greek, its heartland was in Greek speaking areas, they had Greek education and consindered themshelfs the descendants of Greeks but political heirs of Rome.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2013 at 16:22
But did the people see themselves as 'Greeks'? A read of the primary sources will indicate that they saw themselves as something else, at least until the 15th century with thinkers such as Plethon.

To them, the Hellenes were ancient non-Christians and being referred to as one was insulting. Your typical medieval Byzantine staunchly disapproved of all that pagan nonesense, because he was a good Christian whose worldview had little in common with the Olympian gods or the philosophers of the Classical era. They viewed themselves as the inheritors of the Christian Roman Empire, and that they spoke Greek did not change the fact that the Christian/Roman heritage was foremost in their minds.

Westerners certainly took to viewing the Byzantines as Greeks, because Westerners did not share the Byzantine worldview. To the West, Rome had fallen and what was left over in the east was a Greek state ruled by men claiming to be Romans but not actually possessing Rome itself. But then the men of the West were prone to employing a good deal more common sense than the Byzantines.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Drakoblare Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2013 at 06:42
Well yeah. Calling the Byzantine Empire 'Greece' would be wrong. But what can not be denied is that they were Greeks as far as ancestry, language and education mattered.

They called themshelves Romans and called Greek 'Romaika'. This is a sign that what happened here was a change of words. 

I have a realy nice Byzantine source from Porfyrogenitos in his book 'To my son Romanos'

«Ιστέον ότι οι του κάστρου Μαΐνης ουκ εισίν από της γενεάς των προρρηθέντων Σκλάβων, αλλ’ εκ των παλαιοτέρων Ρωμαίων, οι και μέχρι τον νυν παρά των εντοπίων Έλληνες προσαγορεύονται δια το εν τοις προπαλαιοίς χρόνοις ειδωλολάατρας είναι και προσκυνητάς των ειδώλων κατά τους παλαιούς Έλληνας, οίτινες επί της βασιλείας τον αοιδίμου Βασιλείου βαπτισβέντες χριστιανοί γεγόνασιν."

"Κnow that the inhabitans of Catle Maini are not descended from the invader Slavs, but from the older Romans who till this day are called Hellenes by the locals because in the very distant past they were pagans and believed in the 'idols' of the old Hellenes, but under the rule of Basileus they were baptised and became christians."
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The people of this area exist today and are said to be descendants of ancient Dorians. They were one of the first to take part in the Greek revolution of 1821 and took part in several others before it. They were still called Hellenes and according to other sources there were still many non-christians after Basileus's rule. Yet, Porfyrogenitos consinders them part of the Empire even though people call them 'Hellenes' (which did not mean the same thing it means today). And even though the Slavs of the area are expected to be Christianised in the same time period as the rest of the people, they are consindered as foreigners by Porfyrogenitos.

So yeah, did they consinder themshelvs as Greeks in the modern sense? I guess not.
Were they 'Romans'? Well their state was the continuation of the Roman Empire but their culture, language and education was from the ancient Greeks and they never denied being their 'descendants'. They just used the term 'Roman' for their name, nation and language



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2013 at 08:05
The question is so relative and hard to formulate as to ask if French are Spaniards or if Italians are Swiss, or if Brits are Celts. By the way, are the Turks Byzantines? Another good question is to ask if
Coptics are actually the real Egyptians.


Edited by pinguin - 08 Jul 2013 at 08:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2013 at 12:32

Greek language was a language of business and communication in entire Roman Empire, later in Byzantine Empire. It was a Lingua Franca of that part of the world.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony converse in  Greek language.

The culture was Hellenistic so we can assume that they very close to Greek however the inhabitants of say, Egypt were certainly not Greek in full since of this word.(with exception of Alexandria which was predominantly Greek).

In general, the question could not be answered precisely as the Byzantine Word was very diversified.

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