Since the latest debate is spread all over the place, let’s do a thread.
1/ Q. Why do we find 300+ references to the word “Roman” or “Romans” in the most famous work of Byz Princess Anna Komnene (“The Alexiad”)? https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/AnnaComnena-Alexiad00.asp
2/ The book is written in greek.
In introduction she poses her credentials: she characterises her Hellenic (Greek) education as TOP/EXTREME (Ἑλληνίζειν ἐς ἄκρον) quoting Greek authors (e.g. Plato Dialogues & Aristotle) and citing ZERO Roman / Latin scholarship.
3/ Can you imagine a capitalist proudly inspired by Marx? A Marxist proudly inspired by Freedman?
Why did the most well-educated “Roman” princess, proudly introduced her most famous work, with Greek scholarship & zero Latin/Roman citations? Something looks out of place here.
4/ On top of that, Anna characterises Latins (Λατῖνοι) as “arrogants”.
To summarise: she’s a “Roman”…
– that studies greek literature
– uses in the introduction only greek authors (Homer, Plato, Aristotle)
– and considers the latin culture as inferior & arrogant
5/ However, she routinely uses the word “Roman”.
Examples (in english):
– Emperor of the Romans
– Roman Empire
– Roman Army
All references come straight out of the ROMAN CIVIL CODE. They are state titles. Official [legal] references.
6/ That’s why I use the UN-China analogy. United Nations is based in New York. Byzantine christian citizens in greek territory (mostly Greeks) using titles like “Roman” 300 times is like Chinese Buddhists using the title “United Nations” 300 times. It doesn’t make them yankees.
7/ All this, to rephrase what most scholars already agree:
Byzantine “Romans” = Roman State Titles + [mainly] Greek cultural identity.
That’s why back then they called them… Greeks.
8/ Since Anna Komnene has a clear, acute, no-BS style of writing, she makes clear reference on the culture she represents.
But first of all, what is the greek word for culture? It is “παιδεία”. Meaning both “culture” and “cultural education” or just “education”.
9/ So, when Anna criticises Nilus as illiterate heretic, she claims he is “UNINITIATED INTO HELLENIC CULTURE”. (Ἀμύητος δὲ πάσης ἑλληνικῆς παιδείας).
She considers the Hellenic as the ONLY culture necessary for the initiation to the “deep meanings of the Divine writings”.
10/ And here she talks about her father, the Emperor Alexios Komnenos (named after Alexander the Great).
I let you guess what kind of culture her father was promoting throughout the “Roman Empire”.
11/ Note: The Komnenian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire for a period of 104 years, from 1081 to 1185. The “Grand Komnenoi” ruled in Trebizond for over 250 years, until 1461. The Palaiologoi (closely related to the Komnenoi) ruled until the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
12/ In 2019: Non-Greek Macedonia. Non-Greek Byz. Non-Greek Aegean sea (natural resources). Homer from Turkey (by MIT database).
A market for carnivores eating Greece (heritage, econ, territory).
However, I explore the space of good intentions of all.