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Author Topic: Byzantium: The Lost Empire?  (Read 5904 times) Average Rating: 0
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ozgeorge
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« Reply #45 on: December 02, 2007, 01:45:39 AM »

Another question for you lubeltri.
Given that you are talking about "the political entity" then why not call that political entity what it was known as at the time? Why the need to change the name of the "Roman Empire" to "The Byzantine Empire"? No one, from the Emperor to a beggar in that Empire was known as a "Byzantine", they were "Roman citizens of the Roman Empire". So if you really want to stay true to history and not be revisionist, why don't you call them that?
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« Reply #46 on: December 02, 2007, 01:47:25 AM »

You can still find Americans convinced of something akin to manifest destiny, and election year (or this current thing of two year campaigns) brings out the ol' Americana mythology.  And for that matter there is what I would call destiny driven history (nationalistic is too narrow of a term) in Iran, Turkey, China... and that is just what is sitting on my desk right now (I swear that this semester is going to kill me).  While post WWII politics have muted this in Western European, it often lurks just below the surface (and I'd cite another major work of Davies about the Isles as a scathing attack on current British historical thought).  To reduce this to simply an Eastern European problem is careless considering that there are these types of conflicts flaring up around the world.
 

Fair point. In American history, post-war US history is driven not by nationalism but by political ideology. I really detest it. In Cold War history, for example, the debates among historians are often not really historical but political (and usually polemical!).

I would say, though, that pre-modern Eastern European history (especially histories of ethnicity) has been more affected by nationalism over the last half-century than pre-modern Western European history. But like I said, much of that was driven by the Iron Curtain. And things have improved over the last fifteen years.

Here is a good example of a fierce fight over a seemingly obscure medieval topic. It is between my Romanian professor (Florin Curta) and a Hungarian historian: http://www.patzinakia.ro/Noviciola/Vasary-Curta-controversy.html

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« Reply #47 on: December 02, 2007, 01:49:36 AM »

O.K. now I'm getting confused.  (It happens a lot.)  So the Republic we call Greece really shouldn't be called that.  It should be called Rome?  And the Greek language should be called Roman?  Of course the Greek Orthodox should be called Roman Orthodox, but they don't seem to know that.  Someone needs to tell them:

http://goarch.org/

Instead of goarch, it should be roarch.  Someone needs to do something about that.   Smiley
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« Reply #48 on: December 02, 2007, 01:52:11 AM »

Actually, I have been called Roman Orthodox...by folks from the Middle East, who had just moved to town and were confirming that my parish was the correct church for them.
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« Reply #49 on: December 02, 2007, 02:00:29 AM »

O.K. now I'm getting confused.  (It happens a lot.)  So the Republic we call Greece really shouldn't be called that. It should be called Rome?  And the Greek language should be called Roman?
No. There is a difference between Nationality and Ethnicity.
The Republic's name after the revolution of 1821 is "The Democrtatic Republic of Hellas". It was the British who called it "Greece" in English and determined that those "romoii" (Romans) who spoke "hellenika" (the Greek language) living in what was now "Greece" were "Greeks" and those living outside of it (like my Father who was born in Alexandria) were "Hellenes". The only proof that one had the right to be considered a "Greek" was an Eastern Orthodox Baptismal Certificate and the ability to speak Greek, and indeed, after the Muslim takeover of Egypt my own father lived in Greece for a time as a Greek citizen simply because he had a Baptismal Certificate issued by the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

An "ethnicity" refers to a group which identifies with a common culture, and the Eastern Orthodox of the ancient Patriarchates all identified as "Romans" (Gk: Romoii, Arabic: Rum)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 02:03:39 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: December 02, 2007, 02:06:53 AM »

Actually, I have been called Roman Orthodox...by folks from the Middle East, who had just moved to town and were confirming that my parish was the correct church for them.

See everyone? I'm not just making it up!
"Roman" is how we identify one another and ourselves as a group!
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« Reply #51 on: December 02, 2007, 02:09:23 AM »

As a side note for our Armenians friends...

What would your reaction be if someone refused to call you Armenian and henceforth you are Hayastani.  And it is the Hayastani Apostolic Church in English.  Imagine the reaction it would cause! 

I think you mean Hayastantsi.  (The "tsi" ending often is used to denote nationality.  Like Germans are "Kermanatsi.")

My reaction would be to drop dead in shock that a non-Armenian was trying to speak Armenian.  I'm very impressed by you, by the way.    Smiley

The Armenian word for an ethnic Armenian person is Hay (pronounced like "high.")  It means the exact same thing as "Armenian," it is just two different languages.  Hay and Armenian are both good.  Hayastantsi is usually used specifically for someone from the Republic of Armenia.  Hay is more general.

In Armenian, the Armenian Church is often called "Hay Yegeghetsvo."  If someone mixed Armenian and English and called our church the "Hay Church," it would be fine.  Someone would just assume you were an American Armenian who mixed his Armenian with English, like I often do.  Sometimes my friends and I get very bad about it.  Like if you want to hang up your coat in a closet, you'll say "coat-us closet-een mech bidi hang-up-enem."  Once I recall a friend of mine, in reference to Palm Sunday, saying, "Hisoos-uh donkey-een vrah ride-erav."  Of course, we could speak it more properly if we wanted to really try, but it is so much easier to take English words and add the Armenian endings to them.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I don't think you'll find an Armenian equivalent to the Greek desire to be called Roman.  It's probably why I have trouble understanding it.  We're happy to just be called Armenian (or Hay.)
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« Reply #52 on: December 02, 2007, 02:13:07 AM »

O.K. now I'm getting confused.  (It happens a lot.)  So the Republic we call Greece really shouldn't be called that.  It should be called Rome?  And the Greek language should be called Roman?  Of course the Greek Orthodox should be called Roman Orthodox, but they don't seem to know that.  Someone needs to tell them:

http://goarch.org/

Instead of goarch, it should be roarch.  Someone needs to do something about that.   Smiley

That is precisely why we use names in history to distinguish things. No one denies that what we call Byzantium was the Greek-speaking Christian Roman Empire centered on Constantinople. No one denies that they called themselves Romans.

The Germanic tribes didn't call themselves Germans. The Italians of medieval "Italy" didn't call themselves Italians. The Lombards didn't call themselves Lombards. The Huns didn't call themselves Huns. The Picts didn't call themselves Picts. But that's what we do to make history understandable and reduce confusion.

I think the term Byzantine is an improvement over the term it replaced: empire of the Greeks.

East[ern] Roman empire used to be used more often in historiography of about a century ago, but the term is more often used today to describe the empire between 330 or 476 and 610. Late Roman is also used for this period.
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ozgeorge
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« Reply #53 on: December 02, 2007, 02:21:34 AM »

Clearly, what the people you guys call "the Byzantines" think is irrelevant to you.
I'm done with this thread.
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« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2007, 02:25:33 AM »

George, why don't we just all call ourselves Romans if we are going to be that loose with a term that originally referred to a certain city in what is now called Italy? We are all descendents of Roman civilization.

It's funny that you insist on calling me "Roman" Catholic while I won't call you a Roman citizen.  Wink

How about this--you can call me an Old Roman and I'll call you a New Roman. Then everybody's happy.  Smiley

I'm all semanticked out.
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« Reply #55 on: December 02, 2007, 02:35:35 AM »

Clearly, what the people you guys call "the Byzantines" think is irrelevant to you.
I'm done with this thread.

I'm not calling you "Byzantine." I and almost all historians, including Greeks, are calling the empire that died at Trebizond in 1461 "Byzantine," but only as an practical term to distinguish it from the Latin Roman empire of antiquity.

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« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2007, 02:39:43 AM »

Well, whatever name you want to use, John Romer's program is largely about that civilization's Romanness. It's well worth seeing.
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« Reply #57 on: December 02, 2007, 05:01:39 AM »

Clearly, what the people you guys call "the Byzantines" think is irrelevant to you.
I'm done with this thread.

No.  I'm only saying that if you call yourself "Roman" in English it isn't going to convey what you want it to convey to the vast majority of English speakers.  And, that there is no vast conspiracy to deny the Christianity of the Empire - it is only a matter of different languages using different words to mean the same thing. 

I think you mean Hayastantsi.  (The "tsi" ending often is used to denote nationality.  Like Germans are "Kermanatsi.")

The few phrases I picked up of Armenian were via some Armenians in Moscow; I'm happy I only butchered one letter!  I definitely won't forget how to say Kilikia, though.

Interesting word for Germans, do you know how it developed?  I don't think hardly anybody calls them deutscher or their country Deutschland.
 
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My reaction would be to drop dead in shock that a non-Armenian was trying to speak Armenian.  I'm very impressed by you, by the way.    Smiley

 Grin  There's actually an Armenian language program at my university.  And the local Armenian community is amazing and has really helped keep the Russian program and other Eastern European / Eurasian programs going. 

Thanks for the little explanation!   
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« Reply #58 on: December 02, 2007, 09:25:16 AM »

As a side note for our Armenians friends...

What would your reaction be if someone refused to call you Armenian and henceforth you are Hayastani.  And it is the Hayastani Apostolic Church in English.  Imagine the reaction it would cause! 

Or Hellenic Orthodox?
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« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2007, 12:10:24 PM »

First off, a Navajo would likely appreciate having his or her ethnicity spelled correctly.  And as fits into this discussion quite well is that Navajo is not their tribal name in their own language.  They are the Dine, but in ENGLISH they call themselves Navajo.  In fact they find it a bit odd when a non-Navajo calls them Dine.   
IIRC, the name Navajo comes from the Spanish Conquistadores when they established their capital at Santa Fé (now in New Mexico), and was borrowed into English when the United States took that territory in the Mexican War. Hence the Spanish pronunciation of j.
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