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likewise the Roman style™; here, Rhoma¨kos is used to signify the west-
±
ern Catholic rite and Graikos signi¬es the eastern Orthodox. Similarly,
Pachymeres says that it was ˜the Romans and not the Greeks™ (Andronikos
.±“) who used the ¬lioque in the Creed “ potentially, a very confusing
statement.
This usage of Graikos in Pachymeres is a fascinating adoption of the
vocabulary of the enemy. As noted, Choniates had been fully aware of the
negative associations of this term, using Graikos in a sarcastic fashion to
provide a Latin viewpoint. The history of relations with the Holy Roman
Empire reveals that the Byzantine Romans had in the past been extremely
keen to keep the name of Roman to themselves, and Choniates typi¬es
this Roman rejection of the western term Graikos. This use by Pachymeres
surely illustrates an educated awareness of the roots of the terminology of

µ Michael µ.±±“±, ., ·.·“, ·µ.µ“, .±“±, ±°.±±, and Andronikos .±±“±, .±“ and
“µ.
± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
Roman-ness and of the growing power of a renascent Rome “ from where,
after all, these clerics of the rival church came.
This idea, and this use of Graikos, were not unique to Pachymeres and
may even have been in general circulation among the educated elite, as it
also appears in a theological, rather than historical, work by Akropolites,
where he compares the ˜Greeks™ and ˜Italians™, seeking to show how they
were all in origin Romans. Graikos was also employed with reference
to ethnic Romans by Germanos II, patriarch of Constantinople under
Theodore II Laskaris, when writing to churchmen in the west; Germanos
was perhaps attempting to use vocabulary which his audience would under-
stand.· The religious context is worth noting: it should be observed that
this usage of Graikos similarly clusters in Pachymeres only around his treat-
ment of church union. Limited thus to the religious sphere, it need not
directly impinge on Roman political identity. Moreover, it should be borne
in mind that Pachymeres is clearly anti-unionist in sympathy and this usage
may even have been intended to re¬‚ect badly on Michael Palaiologos and
his policy, as pandering to the Latin way of looking at things. Notwith-
standing, this use strikes the modern reader as an intelligent and ironic
slant over and above the potential polemical agenda, and it is certainly
conspicuous among the overwhelming positive and typically Byzantine use
of Roman terminology.
Rhomaios was the fundamental term of identity for Akropolites and
Pachymeres as it had been for Choniates, Graikos was an occasional conceit;
what then of the terminology of Hellenism? It is well established that the
rule of the Laskarid emperors in Nikaia witnessed a revival of some kind
of Hellenism in Byzantine Roman culture. At the very least, alongside the
older and negative uses of Hellene, the Nikaian Romans began to make a far
freer and more positive use of the terminology of Hellenism to the extent
that the scholars and leaders of the empire of Nikaia adopted the vocabulary
of Hellen for one form of self-identi¬cation. Writing to Pope Gregory
IX, Emperor John III Vatatzes (±“µ) called his imperial predecessors
Hellenes, Emperor Theodore II Laskaris (±µ“) called his realm Hellas,
and so on. This has been characterised as a revival of an admiring interest
in the ancient Greeks that extended, at least, to a wish to identify with
them. Michael Angold has proposed that this was in part a response to
the Latin conquest; to the educated Byzantine, the ethnonym Rhomaios

 Heisenberg ±° ii: .±“±µ; Magdalino ±±: ±±. · Angelov °°·: µ“.
 Angold ±·µb; Browning ±: ±; Angelov °°·: µ“.
 Grumel ±°; Festa ±: ±µ, ±·. Vacalopoulos ±·°: “± gives other examples.
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±·
had associations with westerners that were more than ever regrettable; on
the other hand, a fresh awareness of intellectual currents in the west may
have impelled the Nikaian Romans into reacquainting themselves with
their ancient past.° This would seem to be correct, but it is important
to appreciate that this was a limited phenomenon. The examples of self-
identifying Hellenism are actually quite few and do not extend beyond the
absolute elite of Nikaia, where the terminology of Rhomaios also maintained
its hold.
However, Akropolites and Pachymeres belonged to this Nikaian elite:
so to what extent, then, do Hellen and its associated vocabulary feature as
terms of self-identi¬cation in these historians of the thirteenth century?
For both Akropolites and Pachymeres, as for Choniates, the Hellenes
were ¬rst and foremost the ancient inhabitants of Greece. Akropolites
speaks of Hellenes as one among ancient peoples, also citing ˜Romans™, ˜Per-
sians™ and ˜the nations™ (.±“). Pachymeres, who in his usage of this termi-
nology is once again closer to Choniates than is Akropolites, makes one ref-
erence to the ancient lawmakers Solon and Lykourgos which explicitly con-
trasts them with Christ with clear negative connotations (Michael ±·.±“
±.); on the other hand, another reference contrasts them favourably
with the lawgivers of the barbarian Tatars (Michael µ.±“). This mix-
ture of allusions from the adulatory to the contemptuous is reminiscent of
Choniates, as seen above, and is typical of the educated Byzantine Roman
outlook.
Each writer, nevertheless, at least hints at some level of Hellenic self-
identi¬cation. This is strongest of all in Choniates who, as already noted,
directly and repeatedly identi¬es Romans and Hellenes in his account of
the taking of Constantinople. This self-identi¬cation is strongest, however,
in the linguistic context, and reference was made to Choniates™ repeated
references to the Hellenic language, which he presents as his own language.
Pachymeres also seems to identify Rhomaios with Hellen, but only in certain
contexts and primarily that of language. Pachymeres customarily speaks of
foreign words being translated into ˜the language of the Hellenes™, or ˜as a
Hellene might say™ (Michael ±.±·“± and ±. or °.), and it is tempting
to think of this as meaning ˜into the language which we Romans speak™. Yet
it may not be so simple. Bearing in mind the Byzantine diglossia outlined
above, it is possible that Pachymeres and Choniates are actually saying
something like, ˜as I, an educated Roman, might put it in my educated


° Angold ±·µa: “±.
± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
Hellenic style of the language™. In support of this interpretation may be
cited the references in Pachymeres to words ˜as the Romans say™; one such
reference contrasts the Roman name and the ancient Athenian name for
a month: ˜the month which the Romans call January the Athenians called
Hekatombaion™ (Andronikos °.“). Here, ˜Athenians™ is employed where
elsewhere Pachymeres might use ˜Hellenes™ (cf. also Andronikos .±).
Comparable in Choniates is ˜the ruler of the axe-bearing British whom
people now call English™ (±·.·“), which contrasts the correct classicising
name for a people with the contemporary name. Like Choniates again,
Pachymeres also refers to ˜the common tongue™ in contrast to grander,
Hellenic, ways of saying things, for example, at Michael ±°.·“, or .±“
±. Akropolites is nowhere as speci¬c about a Hellenic style of language
as are both Choniates and Pachymeres, but he too is aware of and makes
repeated reference to a ˜common™ way of speaking.± Linguistic uses of
Hellenic terminology could therefore be understood as referring primarily
to the educated language of the Roman elite, and by no means extend to
any identi¬cation with the ancient past.
Other Hellenic self-identi¬cation in Pachymeres takes the form of
describing someone as becoming a Hellene, or more Hellenic, in the con-
text, seemingly, of becoming more like a Roman: the bishop of Kroton
(Michael °.±°“±±) and a renegade Catalan (Andronikos µ°.±“). It is hard
to draw any conclusions from this, but it is tempting to say that the Hellenic
connection was an established conceit that Pachymeres used as part of his
educated style. There is insuf¬cient evidence to suggest any identi¬cation
of contemporary Romans with ancient Hellenes “ and we should put this
in the context of Pachymeres, like Choniates, being a highly educated man
of letters and science who worked extensively with ancient texts and had
the greatest respect for them. The mere fact that these historians worked in
the same language as the ancient historians of the Hellenes can only have
nurtured any identi¬cation they felt with their ancient counterparts, and
Choniates presents the clearest example of this with his speci¬c evocation
of the classical roots of historical writing.
Revealingly, the equally erudite Akropolites makes minimal use of the
terminology of Hellenism. He cites the Hellenes as an ancient people,
and he gives a single contrast between barbarian and Hellenic language,
which clearly refers to the contemporary language of the Romans (discussed
below). His reference to eastern Greece as t¦v « Ellhn©dov kaª ¡met”rav
g¦v (˜our Hellenic land™, ±.·) has been cited as evidence for a growing
identi¬cation with the ancient Hellenes at the Nikaian court. Yet this is

± 
Macrides °°·: µ±. Angold ±·µa: ±.
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion ±
not necessarily Hellenic self-identi¬cation; Hellenis could be understood as
a variant of Hellas, and thereby be simply a geographic reference “ Hellas was
the imperial province which included Attika and Thessaly. Akropolites
could thus be saying ˜the Pindos mountains separate the old and the
new Epiros from Hellas and our territory™. Alternatively, if Akropolites
is applying the name Hellenis to the dominions of Nikaia, over their
whole extent, this would be consistent with the application of Hellenic
terminology to the territory of the Nikaian empire by Theodore Laskaris
and Nikephoros Blemmydes.
What seems surprising is that this should be the only use of Hellenic
terminology in the History, if the Nikaian identi¬cation with the Hellenic
past was so prevailing, and one explanation may be that Akropolites was
writing for a Palaiologos. One personal subtext of Akropolites™ History is a
determined effort to play down his individual associations with Theodore II
Laskaris, in order to play up and promote his links with the usurper Michael
VIII Palaiologos. The Hellenic associations may have been seen as espe-
cially linked with the Laskarids and less appealing to Michael Palaiologos;
certainly, in Michael™s autobiography the emperor himself uses ˜Hellenic™
only in a geographical sense. The careful and subtle wordsmith Akropolites
thus could well have limited his use of this particular brand of rhetoric.
In conclusion, the terminology of Hellenism played a minor role in
self-identi¬cation in the historians of the thirteenth century. Both had
their closest personal link with the Hellenes in the language in which they
were writing, and it seems likely that they called their spoken language
˜Hellenic™, at least when they were writing about it; they were also familiar
with the diglossia of their society. Such a usage could only foster some kind
of identi¬cation with their ancient Hellenic forebears. There is a possible
trace in Akropolites, and rather more than a trace in Pachymeres, of the
kind of Hellenic self-identi¬cation cultivated by the Laskarids of Nikaia;
however, the in¬‚uence of this trend is very slight, and Rhomaios remains
the only signi¬cant self-identifying ethnonym for each writer.


de¬nitely not romans . . .
Both historians of the thirteenth century contrast strongly with Choniates
in their use of the terminology of barbarism, suggesting a distinct shift in
the Byzantine Romans™ attitudes to other peoples and by extension perhaps
to themselves.

 Koder and Hild ±·: “°; Macrides °°·: µ.
 Macrides ±: ±“.
±° Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans
As noted above, barbaros was for Choniates the term of choice for any
non-Roman, and he used it extremely widely in his History, though we can
detect something of a scale of barbarity, with northern peoples the most
likely to be called barbarians. In his presentation of the various barbarian
groups, Choniates allows for some insights into what it was to be barbarian
and, conversely, what it therefore was to be Roman. In his portrayal of
the uniquely civilised imperial Romans surrounded by essentially hostile
barbarians, Choniates™ conception of ˜the barbarian™ was the conventional
one of the typical educated Byzantine Roman.
Akropolites presents the most striking contrast with this traditional view-
point. Unlike Choniates, he very rarely uses the terminology of barbarism,
with a mere eight occurrences over the course of his History. (Appendix ±,
p. ) Only Bulgarians and Cumans are speci¬cally identi¬ed as barbarian,
though there is a suggestion that there were further barbarian groups. This
strong association of barbarism with northerners is reminiscent of Choni-
ates, but Akropolites goes farther than his predecessor in de¬ning what it
was that made northerners so essentially barbarian. Barbarism for Akropo-
lites seems mostly to be about a different way of living, a way which was
not ordered and hallowed by centuries of precedent as was the Roman way.
Thus, the Cumans were ˜barbarous men, wanderers and incomers™ (µµ.).
Alongside this, as noted above, Theodore Doukas™ attempts at empire in
Epiros and Thessaloniki are mocked: ˜Being ignorant with regard to the
institutions of the empire, he [Doukas] dealt with the undertaking in a
more Bulgarian, or rather more barbarous way. He was not aware of proper
order, nor of method nor of any of the time-honoured imperial institu-
tions™ (.“±). This denigration of Doukas highlights a contrast between
Roman civilisation and order and their barbarian opposites.
This interpretation is reinforced by the account of Michael Palaiologos
and the trial by hot iron (History “±°°). In the winter of ±µ, towards the
end of the reign of John III Vatatzes in Nikaia, the aristocratic and popular
Palaiologos was suspected of treachery and one suggestion was to have him
prove his innocence by holding a bar of hot iron. Palaiologos appealed
to Phokas, metropolitan of Phokaia, asking if this was a legitimate form
of trial, and Phokas replied that, ˜this is not part of our Roman system,
nor of the ecclesiastical tradition, nor of the laws, nor above all is it taken
from the holy and godly canons. It is a barbarian way of doing things
and unknown to us, to be enacted only by imperial order™ (.“). This
is informative on the detail of Roman ˜proper order™ and ˜method™ and
˜the time-honoured imperial institutions™, as linked to tradition, law and
written canons. Palaiologos then asserted, in a successful defence:
±±
The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion
if indeed I myself was born of barbarians and had been nurtured in barbar-
ian customs or educated in such laws, then I would pay my full penalty in the
barbarian way. But as a Roman and born of Romans I will have the judge-
ment of the court on me determined according to Roman laws and written
doctrines. (.“±)

There is evidently a strong element of ethnic identity here “ being born
of a certain group “ but it is also clear that the different identities are
made manifest by different modes of social organisation. The emphasis
on written paradigms in forming a contrast with the barbarian model is
signi¬cant. It is worth noting that this episode is suggestive of a shift
in legal method under the Nikaian empire that may well have alarmed
traditionalists.µ Akropolites was not alone in identifying and deprecating
this method of trial as barbarian; Demetrios Chomatianos of Epiros for
one had deprecated the procedure in much the same terms. The emphasis
in Akropolites on the contrast between civilised, cultured Roman and
uncivilised, disorganised barbarian may well have been a defensive reaction
against a fear that Roman standards were slipping.
Again, Akropolites links barbarism closely with inhuman behaviour.
Asen I of Bulgaria is called a barbarian in speci¬c association with his
reputed conversion of the head of the Latin emperor Baldwin into a drink-
ing goblet. His son John Asen II, in contrast, was ˜a man plainly the best
among barbarians, not only among his own people but also among others.
For he dealt in a more humane way with foreigners who came to him
and especially with the Romans, and he provided for them honourably™
(.“). It is plain from this how barbarians were expected to behave, and
equally clear that John Asen was remarkable in perhaps even coming up
to Roman standards. It is noticeable that John Asen™s excellence was mani-
fested in public procedures, in the civilised business of receiving embassies
and trade, con¬rming that for Akropolites the contrast between the Roman
and the barbarian was a matter of social norms.·
The only other way in which Akropolites distinguishes Romans and
barbarians is by language. The foreign contingents of the Nikaian army,
Latin and Cuman, are said to acclaim Michael Palaiologos as emperor,
and the Cumans do so ˜not in the barbarian speech, but in ¬ne Greek as

µ Angold ±·µa: ±·“; Pitra ±±: no. ±·, cols. µµ“.
 The passage is a key one in Akropolites™ construction of Michael Palaiologos: Macrides °°·: ±“
illustrates how Akropolites uses the incident to denigrate John III Vatatzes and his administration
as barbarian in contrast to Michael Palaiologos as the noble Roman.
· Macrides °°·: ±“. Cf. also John Vatatzes™ settlement of the Cumans, formerly nomadic, as
˜changing them from their wild nature™ (History µ.±µ“°).
± Being Byzantine: Greek: identity before the Ottomans

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