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group within a larger context, but this time they were a subgroup within
the wider Christian world.
The Catholicism of the west had had a major impact on the Byzan-
tine Roman world, of which both Gregoras and especially Kantakouzenos
would have been aware, as both men had a keen personal interest in
theology. As emperor, Kantakouzenos worked hard to achieve a better rela-
tionship with the west, and the appeal to the common religious faith was
still a useful tool in any attempt to forge alliances between east and west.
This was a theme emphasised by the emperor himself in his attempts to
nurture an anti-Turkish league: in a further letter to the Pope in ±µ° Kan-
takouzenos speaks of ˜the whole mass of Christians™ (iv.µ.±). As we have
seen, Kantakouzenos had western churchmen in his personal entourage,
men like Bartholomew or the Frances ˜who had served him a long time™
(iv.µ.±“±·). Most importantly, the Byzantine Roman response to the
western church was now “ in some instances “ more generous and open-
minded. The best example of this is Demetrios Kydones, chief minister
to John VI Kantakouzenos and, in time, to John V Palaiologos as well.
Kydones was actively involved in negotiations with the west in the late
±°s and this led him to decide to learn Latin for himself, so that he
could communicate without interpreters. His instruction by a Dominican
friar introduced him to the work of Thomas Aquinas, and he was bowled
over by the adventurous scholarship of the west. He translated Aquinas
into Greek and promoted philosophical studies before, by ±, joining the
western church himself. Later, he achieved the conversion of the emperor
John V Palaiologos.
It would not be surprising if this more tolerant awareness of the west-
ern church made any identi¬cation of Christian and Roman problem-
atic although, as we have seen, Christianity is in fact throughout this
period very rarely associated with the political Roman identity. Chris-
tianity presents in fact as a whole other identity besides the Roman.
In line with this, when Kantakouzenos makes his appeals to the west
his focus is entirely on common Christianity “ any language of Roman


 
Nicol ±: ±°“. Fryde °°°: ±“; Kianka ±°.
±· Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
identity is lacking, as political Roman-ness was of no use here. As with
Gregoras, religion is very important to Kantakouzenos, but it does not
impinge on his conceptualisation of Roman-ness, which is an overridingly
political identity. Only in the correspondence with the Mamluk sultan of
Cairo (iv..) does Rhomaios have any religious content, and this is a
purely ethnic identity in which Orthodox Christianity was a signi¬cant
marker.

de¬nitely not roman “ but why?
Some elements of Gregoras™ perceptions of others have already been cov-
ered, with the cases of Stefan Duˇan and of the Skythian woman employed
s
to elucidate Gregoras™ models of ethnic identity and particularly the pos-
sibility for ethnic change. Turning now to the terminology of barbarism,
although Gregoras and Kantakouzenos present quite a contrast, the histo-
rians of the fourteenth century would in general seem to follow on from
the modi¬cations to the barbarian model already noted in the thirteenth
century.
In striking contrast to Choniates, Akropolites had hardly used the termi-
nology of barbarism and, while Pachymeres was more conventional in his
application of this terminology, the model of barbarian encirclement is far
less pervasive in the thirteenth century. Both Akropolites and Pachymeres
presented the Bulgarians most strongly as barbarians. Akropolites used the
terminology to make a strong and generalised contrast between ordered
Roman civilisation and regrettable alien barbarism, and Pachymeres also
laid strong emphasis on the behavioural content of barbarism. Pachymeres
also made a strong link between the non-Christian and the barbarian.
The picture in the fourteenth century remains pretty conventional:
both Gregoras and Kantakouzenos show familiarity with the traditional,
pre-±°, model of the barbarian as an all-enveloping model of the non-
Roman. However, this model is used more for rhetorical effect than as an
accurate presentation of their contemporary world, and there is a strong
sense that not all non-Romans are barbarians and that the true opposite
of the barbarian is the Christian. Thus, while the older models have not
been forgotten, both writers portray the non-Christian, eastern, Turks as
the typical barbarians, as opposed to the non-civilised, northern, Balkan
peoples.

For both Gregoras and Kantakouzenos, and in contrast to Pachymeres,
barbarians are masses of people rather than individuals. Starting with
Gregoras, his use of the terminology of barbarism is strikingly restricted
±·
The nightmare of the fourteenth century
(see Appendix ±, pp. “·). Of the thirty-¬ve occurrences of bar-
baros/barbarikos no less than twenty-seven relate strictly and only to Turks,
while as noted above there is also one clear association with a Serb, Kral Ste-
fan Duˇan, who ˜changed the barbarian way of life for Roman behaviour™.
s
To this may be added the mention of ˜the barbarians settled on the Istros™,
which probably refers to the Cuman settlement across the Danube. Two
references, while not much, are suf¬cient to show that the time-honoured
identi¬cation of the northern peoples as barbarians had not been for-
gotten. On the other hand, Gregoras™ more customary avoidance of the
terminology of barbarism for these northerners witnesses to the consid-
erable assimilation of the Serbs at least into Byzantine Roman norms.µ
The close correlation between barbarian and Turk suggests that geography,
religion or both lay at the heart of barbarian identity for Gregoras, but he
makes no explicit de¬nition or comments to help here. The use of barbaros
and its cognates is simply another way of referring to Turks, especially in
military contexts (cf. ix.“, xi.µ°“±, xvi.“·). Certainly, apart from
the comment on Duˇan, barbaros is never applied to any Christian.
s
In contrast, Kantakouzenos makes far more extensive use of barbaros
and associated terminology, and the sheer quantity of occurrences makes
for a remarkable disparity with Gregoras, Pachymeres and Akropolites (see
Appendix ±, p. ). Indeed, in terms of quantity, Kantakouzenos™ liberality
comes closest to Choniates and, as in the case of his predecessor, such lavish
use re¬‚ects Kantakouzenos™ reliance on classical models.
As with Gregoras, for Kantakouzenos the barbaroi are primarily the
Muslims, with over µ per cent of occurrences applied to Turks and a
further handful applied to the Mamluks of Egypt; there is also a cluster
of occurrences applied to the Tatars. Moreover, there is a strong explicit
equivalency between barbarian and non-Christian, with barbarians at one
point de¬ned as ˜the barbarians, who have not been enlisted by faith in the
dispensation over us of Christ saviour™ (ii.·.±“±µ). Again, with reference
to a proposed Bulgarian and Roman alliance it is urged that ˜the army
of each [i.e. the Bulgarians and the Romans] is of the same faith, so it
is ¬tting that they go to war, not against each other, but alongside each
other against the barbarians, who do not revere God™ (ii.µ.“), with
the barbarians here again being the Turks. Kantakouzenos makes a similar
appeal to shared faith in his calls upon the west for aid against the Turks,
˜the barbarians, enemies to Christians™ (iv.µ·.±). There is a clear political
agenda here, but the pattern of use makes the religious content of barbaros
clear.

µ Bartusis ±: ±µ±“.
±· Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
Nevertheless, Kantakouzenos also occasionally characterises Christian
peoples as barbarians. On just three occasions, he calls the Christian Bul-
garians barbarians, albeit that they play a role in Book ii comparable in
size to that of the Turks. The Bulgarians™ Christianity is important here
and is surely the main reason why Bulgarians are comparatively so rarely
called barbarian; after all, as seen above, where Kantakouzenos has to deal
with both Bulgarians and Turks it is the latter that earn the barbarian
epithet. Two of the Bulgarian applications, one of which deprecates the
Bulgarians™ lack of stamina as typically barbarian, occur in the context of
military con¬‚ict with the Romans; the other is used to make a general
contrast between the Bulgarian, barbarian, way of doing things and the
Hellenic way (ii.µ°.). In addition, in one episode the ˜Tarantinoi™, the
Angevins who were interested in Epiros, are repeatedly called ˜barbarous™
(ii.µ°). Here again, there is a strong contrast with the Roman, as Kan-
takouzenos is unfavourably comparing the arche of the Angevins with the
basileia of the Romans: this is a contrast of the barbarian with the political
Roman identity and there does not appear to be anything ethnic in it.
All these anomalous applications of barbarian terminology to Christians
appear to have been carefully chosen; such that we can say that parallel to
the Christian/barbarian opposition there was a political Roman/barbarian
opposition.
Remarkably too, the more generally hostile Ottoman Turks are, in terms
of relative density, much more likely to be called barbarian than Kantak-
ouzenos™ Turkish allies from the Emirate of Aydin “ thus their relationship
with the empire and the imperial author in¬‚uenced the perception even of
the Turks. So barbarians are those who are in opposition to the Romans “
physically, or more intangibly. The Bulgarians are more likely to be called
barbarians if they are at war with the Romans, but also if a cultural contrast
is being drawn; tangible opposition and cultural contrast are similarly both
involved in the Angevin application, as this one is closely associated with
the question of imperial rule. Christian and Roman were therefore not
synonymous in Kantakouzenos: there were barbarians who were Christian
but not Roman, such as the Bulgarians and Latins. This may re¬‚ect the
in¬‚uence of the old idea of barbarian encirclement; however, this political
barbarian identity is in Kantakouzenos far less dominant or pervasive than
the religious barbarian identity (it is noticeable that Serbs are never called
barbarian despite their hostility to the Romans), and the non-Christian
content of barbaros is paramount.
Gregoras too has recourse to the time-honoured model of
Roman/barbarian opposition. He provides two purely generalised appli-
cations of barbaros; with one contrast between barbarian and Hellene
±·µ
The nightmare of the fourteenth century
(xv.·.±) and one between barbarian and Roman (xvi.±±.±°); further,
Duˇan™s change of way of life, from barbarian to Roman (discussed above)
s
can also be read as another barbarian versus Roman contrast.
This kind of dichotomy is familiar from Gregoras™ predecessors, and he
shows that he is aware of its classical roots in the phrase ˜and for barbarians
and for Hellenes and for the whole earth and sea and for all ruling powers™
(xv.·.±), in which we may see the contrast used as one way of saying ˜the
whole world™. This phrase has speci¬c reference to the ancient world, as
Gregoras is employing this dichotomy explicitly to refer to a bygone world,
contrasting the ˜barbarians and Hellenes™ with ˜we who are Christians™
(·.). This should therefore be read as an educated application of the
classical world view, now somewhat out of date, and in no sense as an
identi¬caton between the Hellenic and the Roman in opposition to the
barbarian.
Gregoras rewrites the classic Hellene“barbarian pairing as Roman“
barbarian to provide a similar shorthand for universality: ˜most of the
Romans and the barbarians know . . . ™ (xvi.±±.±°), but this is as much of
an anachronism. It is clear, not least from Gregoras™ limited application
of the terminology of barbarism, that by the fourteenth century educated
Byzantine Romans such as he had ceased to think of the world as innately
divided into civilised Christian Romans and uncivilised, unchristian, bar-
barian hordes. For Gregoras, the opposition between the Roman and the
barbarian is more rhetorical than meaningful. It represents the ˜of¬cial
version™ of Byzantine Roman identity, complete with all the baggage of
Romans-versus-the-rest, of the one unique Byzantine Roman empire qual-
itatively different from and superior to all other groupings. In other words,
this contrast is predicated on the political Roman identity, which had min-
imal affect and relevance by this stage. The contrast between Christians
and non-Christian barbarians now had more weight.
Kantakouzenos also has occasional recourse to a model of barbarian
encirclement of Romans which is again more typical of the Komnenian
period; such usage would include comments like ˜there being no war with
either the western or the eastern barbarians™, ˜the barbarians living around
the Roman hegemony™, or ˜the barbarians attacking from all sides™, of which
the ¬rst speci¬es barbarians in the west and the others logically imply the
same. However, such comments should again be understood as rhetorical in
composition and effect; Kantakouzenos evokes a classical model to suggest
the extremity of the crisis for the empire threatened on many sides, and
this use of barbarians in contrast to Romans relies on the political Roman
identity; however, western and eastern foreigners remained qualitatively
different for him because of the difference in religious faith.
±· Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
There is no explicit association in Gregoras between being barbarian
and behaving badly save perhaps the contrast between barbarian way of
life and Roman behaviour in the case of Duˇan. This lack of behavioural
s
reference contrasts with Gregoras™ occasional more hackneyed comments
on westerners, which have already been touched upon. In addition to
the visible differences implied by his comments on Theodore Palaiologos,
Gregoras characterises westerners as wild, aggressive and arrogant, and this
is a familiar portrait that Anna Komnene would have recognised. Yet it is
noticeable that Gregoras does not indulge very much in the stock range
of abuse of others and is here closer to Akropolites than Pachymeres or
Choniates. Kantakouzenos is also restrained in this regard. He hints at
some behavioural content to the nature of barbaros; the lack of stamina
viewed as typically barbarian was as we have seen an established topos,
and the uses of barbaros for the Mamluks in Jerusalem (iv.±°°“) are also
associated with brutal behaviour.
In conclusion, the primary reference of barbaros in the fourteenth cen-
tury is now religious. There are only slight traces of the archetypal nomad
model of the barbarian which had been pervasive in the preceding century.
The terminology of barbarism is only rarely associated with westerners by
Kantakouzenos and never by Gregoras, and this represents a logical pro-
gression from Akropolites and Pachymeres. There are now only rhetorical
traces of the traditional dichotomy between Roman and barbarian based
on political and cultural status.
chapter 6

Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .




the peloponnese and the chronicle of the morea
In the last three chapters, a close analysis of the histories of Choniates,
Akropolites, Pachymeres, Gregoras and Kantakouzenos made it possible to
access something of the perspectives and attitudes of the exceptionally well
educated men who dominated the small Byzantine Roman elite. Of them
all, though, only Akropolites ever lived under Latin rule, and that only
as a child in Constantinople in the years to ±. In contrast, the records
and history of the Frankish principality of Achaia in the Peloponnese
provide a view into developments in provincial Roman identities under
the direct pressure of the western presence. The discussion in Chapter 
outlined how, in various ways and for various reasons, the nature of Roman
identity among the provincials who became subject to Frankish rule after
±° differed markedly from that felt or professed by the privileged elite
of Constantinople. In the farther-¬‚ung provinces like the Peloponnese,
which had already become considerably alienated from the capital before
the Frankish conquest, it is possible to see the growing signi¬cance of an
ethnic understanding of what it meant to be Roman. This ethnic identity
included the non-ecumenical understanding of Roman Christianity and
stood in contrast to the political Roman identity. Moreover, the political
Roman identity, contrasting with the barbarian, clearly possessed minimal
resonance in the distant provinces. As we have seen, the ideology of the
elite “ as revealed in historians from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries
but part of a belief system with its roots in the ancient world “ included
a fundamental contrast between Romans and non-Romans, or barbarians.
Signi¬cantly, examination of the literary and other sources relating to the
Peloponnese after ±° reveals that this sense of necessary ethnic division
was far less in¬‚uential in this region. Further, it is clear that, contrary to
the prevailing trend in the historiography of Frankish Greece, there was in
fact a remarkable degree of inter-ethnic assimilation in the Peloponnese,

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