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from Constantinople, either by westerners or by local lords able to take
advantage of the upheaval. Again, the response to westerners varied across
the Roman world, from the rabid sectarian hostility of some elements in
Constantinople to some blurring of ethnic boundaries in the Peloponnese.
It is worth remembering that there are strong hints in some vernacular
romances of the period that western styles became fashionable (or covertly
admired), and certainly that westerners were not automatic ¬gures of hate.
r Ethnic identities among the Romans were not static during this
period but developed in response to major political changes.
The political imperial identity was affected by the encounter with other
societies whom the Byzantine Romans were forced to recognise as quali-
tatively like themselves in their Christianity and social organisation. The
sense of uniqueness prized by the Byzantine Romans inevitably suffered,
and this change in the perspective of themselves and others can be seen to
evolve over the period. The sacral aspect of the imperial role diminished
in signi¬cance and the patriarch gained in importance as a religious leader
of the Orthodox Christians, who as a group were no longer coterminous
with the Rhomaioi. This development was spurred on by religious dis-
putes within the state as well as more frequent encounters with alternative
models of Christianity which existed outside the Byzantine Roman state.
Furthermore, in the Peloponnese, the almost complete separation from the
Byzantine Roman state from ±° to ± hastened a disenchantment with
imperial Constantinopolitan rule that was already in¬‚uential before the
Frankish conquest. Thus, the sense of ethnicity to be gained from the texts
of the period also varies according to the social origin of these texts.
In a way, social origin equates to geographical origin, since high social
status largely came with Constantinopolitan origins. The histories and
speeches of the elite historians and politicians are conditioned by the
rhetoric of the established ideology of Byzantine Roman imperial rule.
They do not fully acknowledge the problems in the Byzantine Roman state
that had radically altered the effectiveness and relevance of this ideology “
problems such as shrinking frontiers, greater effective equivalence between
the empire and its neighbours, and the centrifugal effects of increasing
regionalism. However, the problems were nevertheless there and, as a result,
occasional fracturings in the application of the imperialist ideology of
Roman identity can be detected; such fractures are usefully illustrative of
·
Roman identity and the response to the Franks
the developments in the Byzantine Roman sense of identity. The Chronicle
of the Morea originated far from Constantinopolitan in¬‚uence and in its
presentation of the Romans of the Frankish principality offers a sense of
Roman identity all but untouched by the imperial, political, aspect, as well
as con¬rming the greater importance of a regional identity in which ethnic
distinctions played minimal part. Again, it is in the works of the elite that
we ¬nd any traces at all of the kind of identi¬cation with the Hellenic
past that was undoubtedly given an extra impetus by the establishment
and success of Mistra in the Peloponnese; even in the educated historians,
however, such identi¬cation was minimal, while outside such advantaged
circles Hellenism played no part in self- or group identity. The founding
and development of the Byzantine Roman despotate at Mistra may also
have fostered some return to imperial loyalties on the part of local Romans;
this is suggested by analysis of the different versions of the Greek Chronicle
of the Morea.
During the fourteenth century, the continuing round of internal disasters
and external threats inevitably took its toll on the con¬dent superiority that
was part of the Roman political identity. Towards the end of the period, the
political, imperial, Byzantine Roman identity was still functioning and can
be found expressed in a variety of sources; nevertheless, it had diminished
in affect and was now more of a formal ideology than a functioning
identity. This decline in the political identity was to encourage a search for
alternative identities which included the Hellenic in the years immediately
before the Ottoman conquest, but the Hellenic did not emerge as a viable
identity to replace the imperial Roman.
r The phenomenon of Frankish conquest and rule was the single most
critical impetus for developments in the ethnic identities of the
Romans during this period.
It has been generally accepted that the Frankish conquests were not the
most signi¬cant factor in the development of Byzantine Roman attitudes
in the period. Arguably, the loss of Asia Minor was of greater signi¬-
cance, depriving the empire of its richest areas and forcing a reorientation
towards the west. Again, from the middle of the fourteenth century, the
encroachments of the Ottomans nulli¬ed the Byzantine Roman superior-
ity complex far more effectively than any military or other challenge from
the west had done, with the emperor of the Romans reduced to a vassal
of the sultan; this again prompted a turn towards the west. The resulting
search for accommodation with the west presented the Christian aspect of
the Roman identity with its greatest challenge and, as noted, in the debates
on church union the emperor was often ranged against substantial and
° Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
in¬‚uential sections of the Orthodox church. The sacral dimension of the
imperial role was weakened, and the Christian identity separated from the
Roman.
However, it is in reality fair to say that the fact of Frankish conquest
had a far-reaching in¬‚uence. Firstly, all of the above really applies only to
the circles of power, while in the Peloponnese the Frankish conquests were
undeniably of enormous signi¬cance. Already feeling let down by Con-
stantinopolitan rule, many Peloponnesians were content to be ruled by the
Franks and, returning after more than half a century, Byzantine Roman
rule was not universally hailed. Despite the growing belief that ethnic iden-
tity should condition political loyalty, this was emphatically never the case
in the Peloponnese. Sally McKee has shown that the situation was similar
in Venetian Crete, despite an oft-cited pattern of repeated insurrection
against the rule of the Republic: cross-ethnic language acquisition and reli-
gious worship, and also intermarriage, attest to mixed interest groups and
loyalties. The Frankish conquests were of key importance in breaking the
tradition of imperial rule, encouraging regional separatism and con¬rming
the disappearance of the imperial tradition in the group identity of many
provincial Romans.
Again, it was the close encounter with the western church which was
consequent upon the Frankish conquests that buttressed the position of
the Orthodox church. Thereby, the conquests indirectly encouraged the
growth of an Orthodox Christian identity that could become detached
from and eventually replace the imperial Roman identity that was becom-
ing progressively tarnished under the weight of military and economic
defeats, and by association with religious compromise. This growth in
importance of the Orthodox identity applied throughout Roman society
and the Roman world. Finally, when Michael Palaiologos set himself to
regain Constantinople and remake the Byzantine Roman empire, it was
the west that he saw as his main enemy “ understandably, since his capital
was held by westerners. One result was to exacerbate the disagreements on
religious practice through his plans for church union, which gave enor-
mous impetus to the breakaway Christian identity at the expense of the
imperial ideal. Additionally, as Pachymeres ruefully saw, Palaiologos ended
up physically neglecting the eastern half of the empire. As a result, the
Ottoman conquests in Anatolia were easier than they might otherwise have
been.


 McKee °°°.
±
Roman identity and the response to the Franks
The Frankish conquest of ±° is often seen as the end of the Byzantine
empire, with some general histories of Byzantium choosing to end at this
date or to give only a cursory account of the period from ±°, as if of some
unfortunate and embarrassing epilogue. Certainly, the period can be viewed
as a process of physical contraction and defeat culminating in the seizure of
Constantinople by the Ottomans in ±µ. Such times of crisis and decline,
though, are often worthy of attention in that under strain the essentials of
a society can be revealed. It is so with the Frankish period. The Byzantine
Roman world was in fact terminally affected by the Frankish conquests: the
fact of conquest and occupation by the crusaders from the west occasioned
a crisis in the Byzantine Roman self-image that could not be undone.
For the provincials of the Peloponnese, the Frankish conquest ended the
tradition of imperial loyalty, nurtured a sense of Roman identity based on
cultural difference from the incomer, and yet also promoted a cross-ethnic
regionalism. At Nikaia, Constantinople, and even the court of Mistra in the
¬fteenth century, the imperial ideology and identity remained incredibly
durable in the face of the facts, and this is a tribute to the longevity of the
Byzantine Roman state “ and the lasting sway of the established rhetorical
norms in Byzantine Roman education. However, even the elite writers
betray the inescapable waning of the imperial ideal and the splintering
of the Byzantine Roman identity. The Byzantine Romans had now tasted
defeat not only on distant battlegrounds, but in their sacred Queen of
Cities. Constantinople might be regained, and the years from ±° to ±±
theologically rationalised as the temporary exile of the Chosen People of
God, yet in the end it would be impossible not to acknowledge that the
empire was now an earthly power among its fellows. The political imperial
identity foundered, giving place to a religious identity that was essentially
distinct from the imperial tradition, and to an ethnic identity that emerged
into and gained weight within the public consciousness of the Romans as
a result of the enforced encounter with the Latins of the west.
Glossary




This glossary lists all the single Greek words which are used in the text more
than once. They are listed in alphabetical order of their transliteration,
along with the Greek original and a translation. Some words are also given
in alternative grammatical forms, where these are frequently used in the
text.




ˆkr»sticon
akrostichon Byzantine Roman hearth tax
Šnax
anax lord
ˆrcž
arche rule
Šrcwn
archon ruler, lord; in provincial areas like the Peloponnese, a mem-
ber of the local landowning nobility
Šrcontev
archontes rulers, lords
aÉtokr†twr
autokrator emperor
b†rbarov
barbaros barbarian
b†rbaroi
barbaroi barbarians
basile©a
basileia empire, majesty
basile…wn
basileuon imperial ruler
basile…v
basileus emperor
basil©v
basilis empress
cÛra
chora land
despotik»n
despotikon services due to the lord of the land
dunato©
dynatoi the powerful and rich class
dutik»v
dytikos western
–parc©a
eparchia province
–pikr†teia
epikrateia province
–{nik»v
ethnikos foreign
›{nov
ethnos group, ethnic group
›{nh
ethne groups, ethnic groups
Fr†gkov
Fragkos westerner, Frenchman
Fr†gkoi
Fragkoi westerners, Frenchmen
Gasmo“lov
Gasmoulos person of mixed race




Glossary

ge land
g”nov
genos ethnic group, family
Graik»v
Graikos Greek, Byzantine Roman
Graiko©
Graikoi Greeks, Byzantine Romans
¡gemon©a
hegemonia hegemony
í Ellhn
Hellen ancient Greek, Greek-speaker, pagan
í Ellhnev
Hellenes ancient Greeks, speakers of Greek, pagans
‚ria
horia borders
‚rov
horos border
Lat±nov
Latinos Latin, westerner
p†roikov
paroikos dependent peasant
p†roikoi
paroikoi dependent peasants
Peloponnžsiov
Peloponnesios resident of the Peloponnese
p»liv
polis city
pr†gmata
pragmata affairs
praktik»n
praktikon inventory of an estate
pr»noia
pronoia conditional land grant
ptwco©
ptochoi the poor and powerless in society
«Rwma·k»v
Rhoma¨kos
± Roman (adjective)
«Rwma±ov
Rhomaios Roman (noun)
«Rwma±oi
Rhomaioi Romans (noun, plural)
«Rwma©wn
Rhomaion ˜of the Romans™
«Rwma¹v
Rhoma¨s± the Roman empire
«Rwma¹zontev
Rhoma¨zontes
± ˜those who are Romans™
«Rwman©a

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. 44
( 54 .)



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