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association with political rule and political fortunes. Associated with the
political is the military, as the army is one expression of the state, certainly
in relation to other political entities, and the genitive formula is also com-
mon in the military context, being used more than once for both strateuma
and d…namiv (dynamis: military force). Furthermore, out of over ±µ° occur-
rences of the plain formula, around two thirds can be seen unequivocally
to have a meaning of ˜Roman state™. Contexts include territorial gain, loss
and control, treaty “ and peacemaking, loyalty or treachery, foreign rela-
tions and wars, good or bad fortunes, and administrative systems. Thus
the collective identity is still exceptionally strong.


° Fryde °°°: ±µ.
±±
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion
The ethnic Roman identity need not, clearly, be mutually exclusive with
the political usage; one of the ways in which the state may be constituted and
bound together could be through common ethnic bonds, and conversely a
typical political allegiance may be a dominant cultural aspect of an ethnic
group. Rhomaioi is in fact used comparatively rarely by Pachymeres in the
purely ethnic sense, but his uses in this sense are striking, and combine to
provide a strong model of the ethnic Roman identity.
As one might expect, the ethnic Roman identity is employed by
Pachymeres to differentiate the various subjects of the Latin empire of
Constantinople. For example, early in his reign, Michael Palaiologos came
to agreements with ˜Roman ambassadors, being those born of Romans™
(Michael ±°. ±±“±), who were sent to Nikaia by the Latin emperor. Here,
there can be no political connotation in the strict sense: these men were
working for another state; notwithstanding, there was an expectation,
apparently ful¬lled, that they should be and secretly were loyal to the
Byzantine Roman state. Pachymeres™ treatment of this instance can be
usefully contrasted with that of Akropolites. Where Pachymeres acknowl-
edges the ethnic Roman identity of these envoys and shows Michael
Palaiologos as ready to be generous, Akropolites had presented these men
as simply ambassadors from Constantinople, given no hint that they were
Roman, and said that Palaiologos refused any concessions. This is in line
with Akropolites™ reluctance to acknowledge any Roman identity outside
the Nikaian state; in contrast, Pachymeres gives primacy to the ethnic
identity.±
Thus, for Pachymeres, ethnic identity was seen as leading, if not integral,
to political loyalty and identity, and this is also true in Pachymeres™ account
of the thelematarioi. This is the name given by the historian to those
people who lived around Constantinople when it was under Latin rule and,
presumably through sheer expediency, customarily had no ¬xed loyalty but
tended rather to switch sides between the Latins and Byzantine Romans “
they were thus ˜the wilful™, {elhmat†rioi (thelematarioi). Pachymeres
makes it clear that, as long as the thelematarioi had to deal with both
Romans and Latins (whom Pachymeres customarily calls ˜Italians™) without
being sure who would come out on top, they were of very dubious loyalty,
but that when the Romans seemed to be winning, and particularly after

± Macrides °°a: °“±°; Macrides °°·: “, µ“.
 In the fourteenth-century Greek Chronicle of the Morea this is given as an attribute of the Franks,
°, and of the Germans, µ, suggesting that it was possibly seen as a non-Roman attribute.
±± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
they had taken Selymbria and seemed set fair to take Constantinople, these
people came over to the Roman side:
They tended to incline sometimes to Romans and sometimes to Italians. The
Romans were attached to them, for these people were themselves Romans while
the Italians trusted them because they had been neighbours for a long time . . .
thus they were between the Romans and the Italians and because of this they were
called wilful. (Michael ±±°.±°“±)

Here, the political and ethnic senses of ˜Roman™ are in con¬‚ict with each
other. Although the ¬rst two uses of Rhomaioi in this excerpt are both
political, the next use is clearly ethnic: it is thought that the ethnic identity
of the thelematarioi should condition their political loyalty and identity, as
with the Melnikots in Akropolites™ account discussed above. The Roman
state sometimes had the loyalty of the thelematarioi and certainly thought it
ought to have had it “ because the thelematarioi were Rhomaioi. However, in
the ¬nal analysis, it did not have their loyalty: Pachymeres™ account brings
out the expediency of the choice made by these unfortunate thelematarioi.
This case recalls that of the pro-Turkish islanders of Lake Pousgousae,
whom Choniates chose to call Christians rather than Romans, because of
their switch in loyalty. Pachymeres, though, could not follow Choniates™
pre-±° approach of simply denying the Roman-ness of the problematic
group: he needed to acknowledge the Roman identity of the thelematarioi
as it ended up playing an important part in the story. Nevertheless, as in
Choniates and Akropolites (in the case of the Melnikots), there is here
again a clear implication that ethnic descent should determine political
loyalty; however, the story again shows that things were not that simple.
It would appear, moreover, that Pachymeres was aware of the awkward-
ness of the situation and the contradictions within the idea of Roman-ness
as, apart from in the excerpt above, he uncharacteristically avoids the use
of Rhomaioi for the Nikaians in the account of the thelematarioi, choosing
instead to talk of ˜we™. Similarly, the problem group are given a special
name. Comparable expectations based on ethnic identity, comparable dis-
appointments, and a comparable approach on the part of the historian are
revealed in the account of the <Rwma¹zontev (Rhoma¨zontes). These were
±
the Roman residents of Constantinople, on whom the general Alexios
Strategopoulos was able to call for help in the recapture of the city: ˜the
Rhoma¨zontes who, as Romans, willingly or unwillingly collaborated with
±
our men™ (Michael ±µ.“). The quali¬cation ˜willingly or unwillingly™,
like the ˜wilful™ aspect in the story of the thelematarioi, serves as a useful
±±µ
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion
corrective to any simplistic ideas about automatic loyalty based on race
in such complicated times; note too how these troublesome Romans have
their Roman-ness quali¬ed with a distinctive identifying epithet.
Pachymeres™ problem, one familiar to Akropolites, is that there were two
groups in the story who could naturally be called Rhomaioi, but simply to
name both groups as Roman would have threatened the discrete whole-
ness of Roman identity. Pachymeres thus, while not ignoring the con¬‚ict
between the ethnic and political identities, circumvented the problem
by his alternative wording. On a somewhat similar note, one may note
Pachymeres™ avoidance of Rhomaioi in his account of the rebellion of Phi-
lanthropenos in Asia Minor, in late ±µ. Sent to Asia Minor to confront
Turkish incursions in ±, the general Alexios Philanthropenos scored sig-
ni¬cant successes such that his soldiers combined with the local people to
press him into challenging for the throne (Andronikos ±°ff.). Pachymeres
clearly had some sympathy for Philanthropenos™ cause, and accepted the
widespread support for him as unsurprising, but he hesitates to call Phi-
lanthropenos™ supporters Roman, presumably because they were explicitly
disloyal to the Constantinopolitan state. Nevertheless, he compares Phi-
lanthropenos to a ˜basileus if not in name then in acknowledged worth™,
and this indirectness is typical of the historian™s subtle style (Andronikos
±.±“±·).
Pachymeres is here again reminiscent of Akropolites in his creative
approach to naming peoples and rulers so as to heighten his portrayal
of the society and events under consideration. Like his predecessor he
employs dutik»v (dytikos: ˜western™) to refer to those inhabitants of the
Balkans, especially in Epiros, who were generally opposed to Constanti-
nopolitan rule; thus too he similarly avoids the terminology of Rhomaioi
for these ethnic, but not political, Romans. Again, when relating the
Turkish conquests in Asia Minor, he speaks of the conquest of the lands
of the ˜Maryandenoi™ or the ˜Boukellarioi™, once again avoiding the use
of Rhomaioi, even though this is plainly conquest of Byzantine Roman
territory inhabited by ethnic Romans.
So, Pachymeres had a sophisticated approach to the interface between
ethnic and political loyalty and identity. Yet in his account of the ex-
patriarch John Bekkos™ personal attack on his successor Gregory of Cyprus
he illustrates a less mature approach with overtones of ethnic hatred
reminiscent of Anna Komnene™s treatment of John Italos over a century


 
Laiou ±: ·; Failler ±°a. Angelov °°·: ·“.
±± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
before. Bekkos contrasted himself, ˜one born of Romans and raised by
Romans™, with Gregory, ˜a man born of and raised by Italians who has
insinuated himself into our ways in his very dress and speech™ (Andronikos
.“). Now, in fact, Gregory came of native Cypriot stock and was in an
ethnic sense arguably Roman, though it is not possible to say with certainty
whether Bekkos knew this; his attack certainly suggests the opposite. How-
ever, Gregory had grown up under Latin rule on Cyprus and, whatever
his transgenerational ethnic identity, this seems to have been enough for
Bekkos at least to characterise him as fundamentally Latin and not ˜one of
us™: Bekkos™ attack strongly emphasises the ethnic, the transgenerational
and racial. This account of Bekkos and Gregory “ which must surely re¬‚ect
some of the prejudices around at that time “ is an example of a political
identity (Latin) overriding an ethnic identity (Cypriot) to condition the
Roman ethnic identity in some way (not truly Roman), but then this being
overridden again by adoption into Byzantine Roman norms (Roman) “
for, of course, Gregory had made it to the ecumenical patriarchate; only
an emperor could have been more essentially one of the Byzantine Roman
˜us™ than that. The shifting of identity in Gregory™s case also mirrors his
move from the periphery to the capital, and the elite sense that Constanti-
nopolitan identity was the truest Roman identity was of course, as noted
above, another idea with a long history.
Conservative elements in Constantinople may well thus have kept many
of the prejudices of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and perhaps, in this
account, Pachymeres was simply re¬‚ecting the less considered approach
of Bekkos, as certainly this perspective contrasts with his personally more
mature approach in the examples discussed above. Nevertheless, a similar
process of shifting identity can be observed in relation to the Vasilikoi
brothers. Originally from Rhodes and by implication clearly of Roman
stock, these two had gone over to the Seljuk sultan. They had gained high
rank at the Persian court and had met Michael Palaiologos there when,
in exile in the ±µ°s, he too had served under the sultan. On Palaiologos™
accession to the imperial throne they came to join him in Nikaia, with
the result that ˜they changed into Romans™ (kat‡ <Rwma©ouv metaschma-
tis{”ntev, Michael ±°.±“±µ) and thereafter served the emperor faith-
fully. Here again the ethnic identity (Rhodian, possibly Roman) has
been overridden by adoption into other norms (Persian), and then this
second identity has been overridden once again by fresh acculturation
(becoming Roman).
Once again, it is worth noting, the Vasilikoi were originally from the
distant provinces, and this may have brought their original identity into
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±±·
doubt; in other words, as Rhodians they were not necessarily Roman to
start with, and Pachymeres only says that they ˜changed into™ Romans,
not that they ˜changed back™. It is, then, signi¬cant that both Gregory and
the Vasilikoi came from the distant provinces “ respectively Cyprus and
Rhodes. Quite possibly, there is a simple Constantinopolitan prejudice
at work here “ provincials were basically always seen as less Roman and
thus more likely to fall off the Roman scale. Still, in both these cases
the original ethnic identity was, at least approximately, Roman, and the
eventual identity was similarly Roman.
In contrast, Pachymeres has no unambiguous examples of anyone
becoming Roman who was of unambiguously non-Roman origin, in the
ethnic Roman sense. The closest examples of this are, ¬rstly, the monk
Markos who comes ˜of another race from the Romans™ (Michael ±°.±“
±µ); his loyalty to the Roman side was ¬rm, but his alien ethnic origin
remained worthy of note. Secondly, there is the renegade Catalan who
˜became a Hellene and changed his opinion and dress™ (Andronikos µ°.±“
); the context refers speci¬cally in this case to the adoption of Orthodoxy,
but the use of ˜Hellene™ makes this problematic in assessing Romanisation,
as we shall see below. Unequivocally, a Persian (that is, a Turk) cannot
become a Roman: Pachymeres tells the story of Sultan Isaak Melik, who
was educated in Constantinople and took on a Roman way of life in many
ways but nevertheless clearly remained a Persian (Andronikos °“). From
the other side, Pachymeres similarly suggests that it is impossible to lose
one™s birth identity completely with his account of those Romans of Asia
Minor who revolted to the side of the Catalans, and made themselves look
like their new masters, by shaving their beards and the hair on their heads “
but note that these renegades are still called Romans (Andronikos .“µ).
For Pachymeres, ethnic signi¬ers (which in the case of the Romans include
political loyalty to the empire) are important in denoting identity, but
cannot overcome the basic importance of ethnic origin and ancestry.
There is also Pachymeres™ treatment of the Gasmo“loi (Gasmouloi),
those of mixed birth, who were enlisted in the Byzantine Roman army
after the retaking of Constantinople: ˜the contingent of the Gasmouloi, who
being of mixed race could speak the Latin language “ for they were born
of both Romans and Latins . . . they had forethought in war and prudence
from Romans, audacity and stubbornness from Latins™ (Michael ±.“±).
Again, it is signi¬cant that these people are not unequivocally Roman.
Clearly their loyalty was to the Byzantine Roman state, for whom they
were going to ¬ght; however, they are not called Romans, but again have
a special name, Gasmouloi (here used in the adjectival form Gasmoulikon
±± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
as for a military contingent). Two things may have counted against their
full Roman-ness. Firstly, they were only half-Roman in descent; and this
is explicitly stated to affect their nature. Secondly, they seem to have been
raised in a Latin environment as they could speak the Latin language.
Thus, both birth and upbringing, Bekkos™ two grounds for complaint
against Gregory, are here called into play and, once more, ethnic and
political identity need not coincide. The Gasmouloi are here and elsewhere
linked with the Lakonians, who are similarly not usually called Roman;
these people were not of mixed blood at all but simply came from a
particular area in the Peloponnese. The two groups, Pachymeres states, had
been resettled from the Peloponnese. Again, this exempli¬es either simple
Constantinopolitan prejudice against provincials or the doubts attached to
those who had grown up under Latin rule, in this case the Latin principality
of Achaia.

Pachymeres had, then, a tendency to use original or speci¬c vocabulary
whenever he perceived a problem with the terminology of Roman-ness:
thelematarioi, Rhoma¨zontes, Gasmouloi. Like Akropolites, he wanted to
±
restrict Roman identity to those who were politically Roman as well as
ethnically Roman. However, the terminology of Roman-ness is nevertheless
used by Pachymeres in the problematic context of localised Roman identity
in contrast to another, alien, identity, for example when talking of Romans
who were living under the rule of other political entities. This usage has clear
ethnic connotations. Pachymeres uses Rhomaioi in this sense in relation
to Asia Minor, where Romans fell successively under waves of Turks (e.g.
Andronikos ±°, ·, ), and for areas in the west, a speci¬c instance being
Belgrade, where Romans are contrasted with the Serbs, the ruling nation
(e.g. Andronikos µµ·.±°“±±). At other times the localised use is employed for
areas under Byzantine Roman rule (more or less) where different peoples
mingled; the best example from Pachymeres is Pera, the Latin suburb
across the Golden Horn from Constantinople proper, where the Roman
inhabitants were often at loggerheads with Genoese settlers (Andronikos
°“).
What of Pachymeres™ conception of a Roman land? Firstly, it is clearly
not the case, in Pachymeres™ view, that the rule of Romans over an area
will make the inhabitants of that area Roman. The clearest expression of
this is in his description of the tribes of the Black or Caspian Seas, who
are described as formerly subject to Romans, but who were not to be
classi¬ed as Romans (Michael .±·“µ., Andronikos ). In fact, in
contrast to Choniates, the territorial aspect of Roman identity has almost
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±±
disappeared in Pachymeres: one ideological result of the enormous losses
in territory since ±° and the continual shifting of boundaries ever since.
However, more than any other historian in this study, Pachymeres uses
the terms Rhoma¨s and Rhomania to denote the geographical extent of
±
Byzantine Roman rule, and contexts for such usage include the settlement

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