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de¬nitively calls these people Romans, preferring to speak, for example, of
˜the residents of Constantinople™ (–n to±v Kwnstant©nou o«kžtorsi, e.g.
°.). In the case of the Peloponnese, though, Akropolites shows Romans
not merely subject to an alien political authority but actively ¬ghting
against Nikaia, ¬ghting for Latins against other Romans.
Why does Akropolites call the Peloponnesians Romans? He could have
avoided or circumlocuted the issue, as he does for the Epirots and Con-
stantinopolitans. The fact is that these Romans stood out in contrast to the
Franks in the Villehardouin army, who were also their co-residents in the
Peloponnese: Akropolites has stumbled over the unavoidable fact of ethnic
difference “ he knew and wanted to specify that these people, although
ruled by a Frank, were not themselves Franks. Akropolites does not spec-
ify his grounds for calling them Romans; this is a purely ethnic reference
based on transgenerational residence in historically Roman territory, or on
religion, or dress, or language. These people were certainly not politically
loyal to Nikaia.
There is one other similar instance. Akropolites relates how the Latin
Emperor Henry (±°“±), whom he presents very positively and accurately
as generous to his Roman subjects, enlisted for his army in ˜the Roman
towns Lentiana and Poimanenon™, creating companies with ˜commanders
of the same race™ and setting them to garrison duty in the eastern part of
his realm (.±·ff.). Here, the Latin emperor plainly had ethnic Roman
subjects, and these two towns are called Roman not for any Roman politi-
cal loyalty but for the ethnicity of their inhabitants. The account strongly
suggests that these companies were sent to guard against Nikaian encroach-
ment on the Latin empire, so here again, as with the Peloponnese, is an
example of ethnic but not political Romans ¬ghting against ethnic and
political Romans.
Akropolites™ use of genos in relation to the Roman residents of Con-
stantinople is also worthy of notice. The context is the visit of the papal
representative Pelagius to Constantinople in ±±·, a visit which stirred up
considerable anger among the Orthodox Romans because of his renewed
efforts to enforce their religious conformity with western practices. The
Orthodox community, described as noted above not as Rhomaioi but as
˜residents of Constantinople™, made an appeal to their emperor Henry to
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±°·
protect them from this kind of treatment: ˜We happen to be of another
race (Šllou gegon»tev g”nouv) and we have another leader of the church.
We are subject to your rule so that you rule us bodily, but not however
spiritually and with respect to the soul™ (°.µff.). This comment, which
may be compared with the letter from the Constantinopolitans to Inno-
cent III which similarly stressed political loyalty and religious freedoms,
is strongly suggestive of an ethnic Roman identity, founded in religious
practice, which was at odds with the Latin political identity.± Although
it is noticeable that Akropolites does not identify the Constantinopolitans
as Romans, he is nevertheless clearly saying that the Constantinopolitans
had more than one identity and consequently more than one set of alle-
giances, and this account thus provides a rare clue to the markers that
might distinguish ethnic Romans.

To sum up so far, Akropolites presents many striking contrasts with Cho-
niates. His History presents a fair amount of information on the content
of Roman ethnic identity, but is above all driven by a political agenda “ to
validate and celebrate the Nikaian successor state as the legitimate Roman
empire. Thus, Akropolites used the vocabulary and formulas of the politi-
cal Roman identity to promote Nikaia, with the necessary result that this
political identity had to be thoroughly denied to the Epirot rivals of Nikaia.
Yet, the Epirots had every claim to ethnic Roman identity . . . Moreover,
there were other groups in the story whom Akropolites was almost required
to name as Roman, as there was no other easy way to name them, and these
people were Roman in the ethnic sense. Akropolites wants to limit Roman
identity to the Nikaians, so as to reinforce his presentation of the empire
of Nikaia as the one and only legitimate successor of the pre-±° state
based in Constantinople, but the demands of his story meant that he had
to recognise certain other groups as Roman as well “ in the ethnic sense
only. For Akropolites then, and even despite his very insistent political
agenda, there was a clear ethnic Roman identity which did not have to be
tied to political allegiance. At the same time, the political Roman identity
was extremely important to him and constituted a basic component in his
structuring of his History of the Nikaian state.

pachymeres and the palaiologoi
Beginning to write some thirty years later at the turn of the century,
George Pachymeres presents a vast contrast with the bumptious con¬dence

± Cotelerius ±: µ±; Setton ±·: .
±° Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
of Akropolites. The understandable euphoria and triumphalism resulting
from the recapture of Constantinople was a distant memory; now, the
empire was racked by economic crisis and religious schism, once again
menaced by enemies from the west, and encountering for the ¬rst time
what would prove to be its greatest menace “ the Ottoman Turks.
Pachymeres is an intelligent and stylish commentator on this troubled
empire. He was born in Nikaia in ±, where he was educated at the
imperial court, and moved to the retaken Constantinople with the rest
of the court soon after ±± (Michael .“).± He spent the rest of his
life there as a teacher, ecclesiastic and civil servant. While never attaining
the lofty heights of Choniates and Akropolites, he held senior positions in
church administration and the imperial court, and played a leading role in
the controversies which racked the church in his time. Early in his career,
around ±µ, he was a secretary at the imperial court (Michael ·.“).
When he undertook his history of the reign of Michael Palaiologos, he
was a protekdikos “ one of the most senior assistants to the patriarch “ at
the great cathedral of Agia Sophia in Constantinople, and he also held the
rank of dikaiophylax at the imperial palace; this was probably in the last
decade of the thirteenth century, when Pachymeres would have been in his
¬fties (Michael .µ“).° In contrast to Akropolites, little of Pachymeres™
personal life gets into his historical narration, and it is not known if he
was married or had any children. However, his status as an eyewitness to
much of his story is clear “ he often backs up his account by asserting
this.±
Like many of his countrymen, Pachymeres harboured grave doubts about
the character of Michael VIII Palaiologos, who had come to the crown
through intrigue and assassination; nevertheless, the recovery of Con-
stantinople was seen by suf¬ciently many as a mark of divine approval.
Michael Palaiologos was determined to follow up on his successes against
Epiros and the recapture of Constantinople with the recovery of the remain-
ing lost lands of the empire as well. This expansionist impulse was exem-
pli¬ed by his wresting of territorial concessions from the captive prince
of Achaia, Prince William II de Villehardouin, who had been captured at
the battle of Pelagonia in ±µ. Naturally, as all sources agree, William had
tried to purchase his release in hard cash. However, the emperor, newly
ensconced in Constantinople, would settle only for territorial concessions

± References for the details of Pachymeres™ life relate to the Failler and Laurent edition, ±.
° Failler and Laurent ±: °“±, n. , , n. ±. Magdalino ±b:  (dikaiophylax).
± Failler and Laurent ±: xx.  Geanokoplos ±µ; Angold ±·µa: ±“°.
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±°
in the Peloponnese, namely the south-eastern castles of Mistra, Monemva-
sia and Grand Maine.
Michael Palaiologos looked always more to the west than to the east and
his great struggles were always focused in that direction, whether against
his rivals in Epiros, or against the Latins of Constantinople or of the Morea,
or against his greatest rival, Charles of Anjou. Having expelled the Latins
from Constantinople, Michael saw the greatest threat to his empire in a new
western coalition against the capital, and he focused his energies to repel this
threat. Charles of Anjou undoubtedly had ambitions on Constantinople,
and in ±· he gained a foothold in the Peloponnese. With the Romans
making substantial gains from their bases in the south-east of the region,
Prince William turned to Charles of Anjou as one interested in Romania
and already a committed foe of Michael VIII Palaiologos. Under the terms
of an agreement made at Viterbo, on William™s death in ±· the Morea
came into Angevin hands. Michael Palaiologos was well aware of this threat
from the Angevin, and his role in instigating the Sicilian Vespers, the ±±
revolt that wiped out the imperial aspirations of Charles of Anjou, has
been widely speculated upon. The emperor had every reason to support
this revolt by the Aragonese, but only moral support to offer at this time;
nevertheless, in his autobiography, Michael certainly wants the credit: ˜if I
were to say that God had now given the Sicilians freedom and had done
this through us, then I would be saying the truth™ . . . 
Less successful in the long run was Michael Palaiologos™ religious policy
which, again, is an example of his western focus. Justi¬ably, Michael saw the
religious schism between the eastern Orthodox and the western Catholics
as the most potent pretext for any Latin attack on his empire, and he hoped
to end that schism. In his approach to the problem, however, he showed
himself woefully out of tune with the prevailing prejudices of his subjects.
In the wake of the Fourth Crusade a Latin patriarch of Constantino-
ple had been appointed, ignoring the existence of an Orthodox patriarch.
In ±±, the Romans predictably retaliated by ousting the Latin church;
thus, western action against the re-established Byzantine Roman empire
could be, and was, portrayed and promoted as action on behalf of the true,
western, church. Accordingly, Michael VIII Palaiologos saw the taming
of this religious dispute as a means of protecting his empire and there-
fore, at the Council of Lyons in ±·, the Byzantine Roman delegation
under George Akropolites accepted a union of the churches, in the process


 De vita sua, Gregoire ±°: ±. Cf. Dunbabin ±: °“±°±; Geanokoplos ±µ: “·.
±±° Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
acknowledging both papal supremacy and the ¬lioque reading of the creed.
Palaiologos must have seen this as a token concession that would appease
the Latins and nullify the threat from the west; he probably did not consider
the dif¬culties in getting his subjects to accept and implement the changes,
believing that this would not really be necessary so long as the Latins
believed union had occurred. However, the Union of Lyons back¬red on
all sides. Pachymeres, like many, was opposed to the church union. The
emperor™s subjects in Constantinople vociferously protested and denied the
union, the Latins grew increasingly suspicious of Byzantine Roman motives
and actions, and Michael alienated his subjects still more by attempting to
coerce their compliance in this matter. The extent of Michael™s unpop-
ularity was extreme: on his accession in ±, Andronikos II Palaiologos
immediately repudiated his father™s religious policy, Michael Palaiologos
was denied a Christian burial, and all churches in Constantinople were
ritually puri¬ed.
During most of his long and largely unhappy reign, Andronikos II
Palaiologos pursued a contrary policy to that of his father, essentially
neglecting the western half of the empire in favour of the eastern, but
with little success.µ Treaties were struck with the Frankish principality of
the Morea and with the daunting and bellicose Serbian king Stefan Milutin,
who notoriously received the emperor™s ¬ve-year-old daughter Simonis as
his bride. Andronikos was, however, dragged into a costly war against
Venice, while Asia Minor presented the greatest problems, with massive
Turkish incursions and settlement. The Byzantine Roman army for the ¬rst
time met and were defeated by the Osmanlis or Ottomans at Bapheon in
Bithynia in ±°, and the Ottomans were soon effective masters of Bithynia,
just across the Hellespont from Constantinople itself. Desperate to recover
Anatolia, Andronikos II Palaiologos looked for western mercenary aid
against the eastern threat, in the customary manner of Byzantine Roman
emperors. In the summer of ±°, he employed the Grand Company of
Catalans to this end. Initially, the Company had striking successes in
Anatolia, but the problem of pay “ or lack of it “ soured relations between
the mercenaries and the Byzantine Romans and, for Andronikos, the cure
turned out worse than the disease. By ±°µ, the Catalans were based on the
European mainland at Gallipoli and here too they lived off the plunder
of the land. After the murder of their leader Roger de Flor in ±°µ on
the orders of Andronikos™ son Michael, the Company lived by raiding in


 µ
Geanokoplos ±µ: ·“µ, µ“·; Runciman ±µ: ±“·. Laiou ±·.
±±±
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion
Thrace and Macedonia, bringing terror to the local population. There was
famine in Constantinople as a result and numerous minor revolts before
the Catalans moved south around ±°.
Thus the new century opened with fresh western depredations on the
soil of the empire, and this is the context for the writing of Pachymeres™
history of the reign of Andronikos II. As the history of this reign ends
abruptly while narrating events of the summer of ±°·, it is presumed that
Pachymeres wrote it towards the end of his life and that he himself died
around ±±°.·

Although Pachymeres did not reach such exalted heights as the two logo-
thetes Akropolites and Choniates, he was just as well educated and moved
in much the same circles. He certainly had the widest academic interests of
the three and, as well as his history, he wrote extensively on philosophy and
the natural sciences. His Quadrivium, dealing with arithmetic, geometry,
music and astronomy, was widely used as a textbook and bears witness to
his experience as a teacher at the Patriarchal Academy in Constantinople.
His summaries of Aristotelian texts (including scienti¬c and mathematical
works mistakenly attributed by the Byzantine Romans to Aristotle) as well
as his copies of works by the ¬fth-century Neoplatonist Proklos bear wit-
ness both to his erudition and to his interest in the ancients. These are
also evidenced in his writing style, which is highly complex in an attempt
to imitate the ancient Attic writers. It is probably this that has led to the
neglect of Pachymeres; however, as a source for the later thirteenth century
he is unparalleled.
Like Akropolites, he has his own point of view and agenda. He clearly
valued Asia Minor above the western territories; consequently, he dep-
recates what he saw as Michael VIII Palaiologos™ overambitious plans of
reconquest in the west. He is further clearly opposed to church union.
However, while he cannot help but disapprove of Michael on most fronts,
he respected the emperor™s achievements and deplored the failures of
Andronikos, even though he found the son a more sympathetic ¬gure than
the father. Pachymeres is amazingly outspoken, for example about Michael
Palaiologos™ bloody rise to power and the less than universal acclaim in
response to the retaking of Constantinople, leading to speculation whether

 Goodenough ±°“±; Setton ±“ iii: ±“·°; also Laiou ±·: ±“.
· ODB iii: ±µµ°; Fryde °°°: ±µ“±, ±. Michael: Failler and Laurent ±; Michael and Andronikos:
Bekker ±µ.
 Fryde °°°: ±“°°, °“, ·“.
 Laiou ±·: “; Macrides °°b: ·°“±; Macrides °°·: ·±“µ; Angelov °°·: °“.
±± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
the History ˜could ever have circulated in his lifetime™.° Nevertheless, in
this form of history as Kaiserkritik, Pachymeres was following a well-
established Byzantine Roman genre which Choniates would have appre-
ciated, although, more than Choniates, he saw t…ch (tyche: fate), as the
determining force in history. With regard to identity, Pachymeres™ approach
is typically considered and subtle, revealing a predisposition towards the
traditional outlook of Choniates that was nonetheless tempered by a mature
and realistic appreciation of the concrete situation of the empire under the
Palaiologoi.

Pachymeres™ presentation of the Romans
While, once again, it is the political Roman identity that dominates in
Pachymeres™ historical account, Pachymeres also has a strong conception
of an ethnic Roman identity. As we have seen, this kind of identity had
begun to play an interesting role in Akropolites™ history, but it is far stronger
in Pachymeres.
Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise that the use of Rhomaioi for
the collective political identity of the empire is once again overwhelmingly
dominant. Like Choniates and Akropolites, this political identity domi-
nates in Pachymeres™ use of the genitive formula. The commonest use in
this formula is for the unspeci¬ed feminine singular, ¡ (t¤n) <Rwma©wn,
where the unsupplied subject, as with Akropolites, is most likely to be
arche. Next most common is pragmata and then arche, speci¬ed, while an
unspeci¬ed neuter plural, which is certainly pragmata, also appears more
than once in the genitive formula, as do basileia and basileus. Thus the
collective understanding of Rhomaioi is once again clear, with the primary

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