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Was the Byzantine Empire mainly a Hellenic Empire?

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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Was the Byzantine Empire mainly a Hellenic Empire?
    Posted: 15-Oct-2005 at 19:22
Well, I know Greek was probably their strongest language, seeing as they ruled an empire that was more or less Greek. But I was saying that in response to people that say "He wasnt Armenian because he probably didnt speak the language". Unless it was documented, no one really knows how well they actually knew Armenian, all we know is that they are of Armenian origin. In Armenian culture family ties are everything, in some cases it actually defines who the person is. Whether or not they had these same family ties as rulers of an empire is not widely known.
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2005 at 21:10
With regard to his links to Armenia itself,that is a bit shadowy. We know that he was actually brought up in Bulgarian territory after a Bulgarian raid captured him as a boy. If memory serves I think it was his family which came from Armenia, yet he himself was born in the Greek-speaking Thrace, was transported to a Slavic country, then later managed to make it to Constantinople. In that case he must be considered as probably being bi-lingual in Bulgar and Greek, though being better at Greek in all probability. He did not carry monophysitism with him, had he been a monphysite like virtually all Armenians we would definitely have heard of it. So it seems that in terms of basic bloodlines he had a strong Armenian heritage, though was culturally Greek enough to make an acceptable Emperor for the Byzantines. All in all it hardly matters what ethnicity he was, what is important is that he inaugerated a dynasty which would lead a vanguard in the resurgence of his civilization.
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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2005 at 06:50
Ya, all rulers of the Byzantines were culturally Greek with a few exceptions. I would imagine he was part of the Greek Orthodox church as you said (Armenians had/have a completely different form of Christianity). The Byzantines ignored pleas from Armenia against Muslim invaders, all because the Armenians refused to place their church under the authority of the Greek Orthodoxy. This fact is proof enough to me, that all Armenian rulers of Byzantium were most probably nominal to the Greek Orthodox Church (they were probably crowned by Greek bishops too). Also, Armenian rulers of Byzantium were very agressive towards Armenia, trying to incorporate Armenia into the Byzantine Empire, levying heavy taxes towards them, and ignoring their pleas against Muslim invaders.
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2005 at 21:58
Now there is an interesting point, they often were agressive towards their place of origin. The more intelligent Emperors retained Armenia as an autonomous buffer state. One of the greatest causes of decline IMO was that Constantine X Ducas abolished the right of the Armenians to maintain 50,000 men under arms in preference of them simply paying tribute to Byzantium instead. Soon enough the Turkish raids began, and would soon encroach on Byzantine Anatolia itself.......
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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2005 at 22:34
What you said is agreed by some historians to be one of the key causes of the downfall of the Byzantine Empire. While the Byzantines were concentrating efforts on encorporating the Armenian church as part of the Greek Orthodoxy, and while they were trying to subdue Armenian leaders and undermining their efforts against Muslim invaders, the Byznatines lost their buffer-zone, and eventually, their empire.

You would think they would learn something after the Bagraduni Dynasty of Armenia fell to the Seljuks. But when the Rubenian Dynasty established an Armenian kingdom in Cilicia the Byzantines pulled the same act, allowing the Egyptian Mameluks to topple the kingdom in 1375. Again, no more buffer-zone, and their eastern flank was left wide open. You know what happened after


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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 16:56

One thing is certain.. Byzantines are distinct from the Greeks, they just used their language... thats all.. Same with the Ancient Macedonians (the inhabitants of today's Republic of Macedonia) - they just used the greek language and culture, and btw the greek language was second, an ancient macedonian language was the first spoken one.

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  Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 17:22
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  Quote Menander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 17:49
Oh god. Quick, someone jump onto it before it explodes into saying Alexander was Slavic. 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Nov-2005 at 14:19
Byzantine state was a multiethnical empire and "Orthodoxy" was the connecting element within the population;and the dividing element between the Greeks who were distinguished as "Hellenes"-those who remained attached to their traditions and finally destroyed-and those who identified themselves as "Romans" and assimilated to the eastern christian melting pot.
However-especially after Justinian-Byzantine Empire was established in lands that were in the sphere of influence of Greek culture for centuries,from Magna Gracea to modern Syria, and the population was either hellenic or hellenized.
In a modern parallel we would say that Greeks were for Byzantine Empire what Russians were for the Soviet one.Byzantines called Romans themselves but they were the Greeks for all the others,just like Soviets were the "Russians" for the rest of the world as they were the dominating population in the state.Communism would be the "Orthodoxy" of USSR...
In my opinion Byzantine Empire was heir of the ancient Greek states but the destroyer of Greek civilazation and culture the same time.

Complicated,eh?





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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Nov-2005 at 16:04

No, it was actually a very good analogy.

True it was that the Byzantines in their devotion to Christianity destroyed many monuments from ancient Greece because of their pagan history.

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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Nov-2005 at 16:32
Originally posted by Belisarius

True it was that the Byzantines in their devotion to Christianity destroyed many monuments from ancient Greece because of their pagan history.



As discussed before, without Christianity as the one stable and unifying factor in their long history, the Byzantine Empire would have succumbed much earlier than 1453 to one of many attacks on its existence, and thus even less of the heritage of Greek antiquity would have survived and eventuall disseminated to the West.
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  Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Nov-2005 at 16:36
Many monuments? That's an understatement. I've found this little list in another forum. Enjoy...

- In 335 AD Constantine the great (a saint of the Christian church) orders the destruction of hundreds of pagan temples in Asia Minor and Palestine and the crucifixion of all wizards and diviners. Unluckily, the Christian church considers scientists and philosophers also wizards and diviners and hunts them down to. The neoplationic philosopher and scientist Sopater (Sopatros) was among those crucified.
- 341 AD and Constantius bans officially the hellenizein trait worship of Greek gods, practicing of philosophy, experimenting, thinking. Hundreds of philosophers get slaughtered or imprisoned. Only five years later, the Christian mob in Constantinople performs an impressive anti-Hellen pogrom in Constantinople. The philosopher and author Livanius is exiled.
- On 359 AD the first death camp known in history is being created in Skythopolis, Syria. Its sole reason for existence is the concentration of every free-thinking person from throughout the empire like 99% of them were put to death in that camp.
- On 364 Flavius Joviannous, an avid Christian, orders the burning of the great library of Antioch, in the name of the Christian god. Thousands of books are rendered into ashes.
- Valence, another avid Christian, in cooperation with the Church, begins another great empire-wide pogrom of the pagans from 370 to 373. The philosopher Simonides is burn on the stake, Maximus is decapitated, Patricius and Ilarius are getting the crucifixion treatment. Thousands of books are being burned Valens orders are clear eliminate all the Nationals and their works.
- The greatest holy warrior of Christianity, Theodosios (the so-called The Great) initiated the greatest pogrom against the non-christians ever, on 380. Whatever survived the previous attacks is now being torn down. Libraries get burned; most of the philosophy schools still open are being closed down. The same emperor appointed Maternus Cynegius and his horde of fanatic Christian monks, to find and destroy every non-Christian written work. In the subsequent four years (385-390) Cynegius and his monks complete the destruction.
- On 391 in Alexandria, the drama reaches its culmination: the remnants of Bibliotecha Alexandrina, the greatest library and center of knowledge of the ancient world, are being burned. The Serapion, hosting the precious tomes containing the last fragments of the ancient Graeco-Roman body of knowledge, is burned to the ground.
- The 4th ecclesiastic convention in Carthage bans on 398 the study of the Greek writings (all Greek writings) even for the Christian bishops!
- And, as an icing to the cake, on 415 the monks and guards of the Patriarchy of Alexandria, arrest the greatest scientist still alive, the lady Hypatia, a great mathematician and philosopher. They drag her inside the temple of St Michael, rip off her clothes, skin her alive with seashells, break all her bones and then cut her into small pieces.
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  Quote Jazz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 22:44
Originally posted by Komnenos

Originally posted by Belisarius

True it was that the Byzantines in their devotion to Christianity destroyed many monuments from ancient Greece because of their pagan history.


As discussed before, without Christianity as the one stable and unifying factor in their long history, the Byzantine Empire would have succumbed much earlier than 1453 to one of many attacks on its existence, and thus even less of the heritage of Greek antiquity would have survived and eventuall disseminated to the West.


Not only that, but a lot of things simply got recycled.  There are Bronze doors when you exit the Hagia Sophia that were from a 2nd century BC temple, and all the columns used in the numerous cisterns were recycled from ancient temples.  Their re-use ensured thier longevity to this day for us to enjoy, otherwise they may have simply crumbled into oblivion otherwise.
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  Quote merced12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2006 at 06:51

i found it leo4

he was a khazar turks

Leo IV

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Leo IV, called Chozar or the Khazar (c. 750 September 8, 780), succeeded his father, Constantine V, as emperor of the Byzantine Empire in 775. In 776 he associated his young son, Constantine, with himself in the empire, and suppressed an uprising led by his five step-brothers which broke out as a result of this proceeding.

Like his father and grandfather, Leo was successful in battle against the Arabs and Bulgars. Unlike his father and grandfather, however, Leo favoured the iconophiles, and restored an iconophile patriarch.

During his reign Leo was largely under the influence of his wife Irene, and when he died suddenly in 780 she was left as the guardian of his son and successor, Constantine VI.


http://www.turks.org.uk/
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2006 at 07:20
Originally posted by merced12

i found it leo4

he was a khazar turks

He was not a Khazar, his mother was one and that's why people called him as such (Chazaros). It was common to distinguish Byzantium emperors on such characteristics, so we have emperors nicknamed by the people as:

"Sh*tnamed" -Kopronymos, "Gladiator" - Monomachos, slitnose - rinotmitos  etc... so Leo IV was nicknamed Chazaros.

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  Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2006 at 07:30
Also we have the naming of the dynasties/emperors according to their land of origin, irregardles of nationality. Like the Illyrian, the Isaurian, the Makedonian etc. The Makedonian, for instance, came from a clear Greek-Armenian bloodline, it doesn't mean that Basil I and his offspring (or, actually, Michael's offsrping, according to Byzantine gossip ) were of some "Makedonian" ethnic group.
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  Quote merced12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2006 at 08:29
thanks yiannis
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2006 at 16:10
Originally posted by Yiannis

Originally posted by merced12

i found it leo4

he was a khazar turks

"Sh*tnamed" -Kopronymos, "

.That was good!

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2006 at 03:54
Originally posted by Jazz


Not only that, but a lot of things simply got recycled.  There are Bronze doors when you exit the Hagia Sophia that were from a 2nd century BC temple, and all the columns used in the numerous cisterns were recycled from ancient temples.  Their re-use ensured thier longevity to this day for us to enjoy, otherwise they may have simply crumbled into oblivion otherwise.


I thought this was ironic and i lought a lot....it was wasn't it?
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2007 at 14:45
Komnenos said: "That over the centuries the B.E. was reduced to a territory that allowed for a identity between ethnicity and state, namely today's Greece, might explain why the term "Romaioi" eventually became synonymous with the population of Greece, and why the Turks called the Greeks "Rum"."

Komnenos I think you're missing a few key points of both medieval and modern Greek history. "Romaioi" has been restricted to the Greeks of Greece only for the last 80 years, i.e. ever since the great population exchange between Greece and Turkey, when all ethnic Greeks from Asia Minor and later Constantinople went to Greece. In the 19th century there were more ethnic Greeks outside the Greek state rather than within it. Also you're also missing the fact that ever since the days of Jusinian I and until 1453, all Europeans referred to the Byzantine Empire as Greece and its people as Greeks in an ethnic sense. This is valid for Latins and Slavs alike. Also you seem to be completely ignorant of the modern Greek proto-nationalism which was born within the Byzantine Empire, starting with Psellos and reaching its peak in 1204. Then the term "Hellene" is returned to official use. The Byzantines did use another ethnic term prior to those events, that would be the Greek word "Graikos". This word was a synonym to "Rhomaios" though less frequently used (see the 6th c. trial of Abba Maximus when the monk was asked in Constantinople "why do you love the Romans and hate the Greeks"). Most scholars agree that the Greek Rhomaios was merely a political term and was only used within Byzantium. In other words the Byzantine Empire is considered as Eastern Roman until Heraclius, Greek until 1204 (see G. Ostrogorsky) and Hellenic until 1453.

You're obviously a person who is interested in the history of that state, however that does not give you the right to belittle Greek history and use such blunt language. Some of your arguments are really absurd and your tone does indeed imply a bias. The reason you are being so one-sided is due to the recent interest that western scholarship has shown in Byzantine culture. If the Ottoman Empire was somehow discovered to have been influencing western culture then people would argue that "Ottomans weren't Turks" and that "Sassanians weren't Iranians". This is how amateur western scholarship and revisionism works. Regards.


Edited by Scipion - 30-Aug-2007 at 23:05
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