The demographics of freedom and slavery

1/ A graph of historical significance, when US is sleepwalking towards losing its fundamental constitutional freedoms.

2/ Demographics of ancient Athens, at the point where democracy was coming to an end. Easy naturalisations & illegal enrolments. The “sons of slaves” took over democracy.
Source: The Greek City and its Institutions, G. Glotz, 2010 p358

3/ Demographics in Rome.
In 376, barbarians forced to leave their territories (Eastern Europe), pushed by the Huns, “a race savage beyond all parallel.” (Marcellinus) (Huns like modern ISIS)
IMMIGRATION CRICIS → Rome accepted + protected barbarians (system of hospitalitas)

4/ Rome did NOT fall because it was attacked by the OUTSIDE. Rome fall because INSIDE barbarians enjoyed imperial protection (hospitalitas) and demanded FULL INDEPENDENCE.
In 418 AC – Hospitalitas + Federation (European Union of Barbarians)
In 476 AC – Fall of Rome

60 years


Why do we find 300+ references to the word “Roman” in The Alexiad?

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”)?

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.


Explanations on Byzantines

1 / “Rome vs. Greek” complexity of Byz Empire.

Rome was like United Nations today, a title that everybody would love to appropriate. Charlemagne, King of Franks, in 800AC was crowned Emperor of Romans. The Byz King claimed he was King of Romans.

Who was the true Roman King?

2 / Keep in mind that:
– phrase “Byzantine Empire” didn’t exist
– word Rome is actually greek. From Ρώμη (power)
– Greeks never called themselves Greeks
– Byz called themselves Ῥωμηοί (modern greek national symbol) with 20+ nationalities in a central culture. Complex enough?

3 / Imagine this scenario: a Byz emperor writes a letter in greek, the official language of Byz empire, claiming the true Roman identity of his title. Now imagine a Frank cardinal or Pope answers in LATIN, from the CAPITAL of OLD ROME. What would his identity be? Chinese?

4 / Of course the Pope would answer: “c’mon man! you may be rich and all but you don’t even latin! I crowned my pal Charlemagne, King of Franks as Emperor of Romans & we’re visiting you soon for funny crusades, we’ll steal the sh*it out of your treasures. Kisses. The Pope.”

5 / And that’s why if you’re latin speaker you would name the Byzantine fire as “Greek fire”, not “Roman fire” (πυρ ρωμαϊκόν) as some Greek intellectuals would like you to say.

6 / Now the irony. Descendants of those who challenged the “Romanity” of Byz empire for 100s of years, in 2018 claim that actually the Byz empire was old-school Roman! Why? Stealing treasures is not enough. The rich Byz culture has to be stolen also. Big $$ geopolitics.


On Taleb’s Romans vs. Greeks (3)

That’s accurate. Note that “diehard” here is not metaphorical, it’s literal. The Greeks literally died massively for 100s of years defending the Byzantine territories e.g. Even after 1453 (fall of Constantinople) the Ottomans couldn’t take over Crete for the next 2 centuries.

According to the original byz sources of Phrantzes or Sphrantzes (Φραντζής) the Cretans where the last to abandon the battle defending Constantinople and among the first rising against the occupation (1771). The Cretan style (& music) remains the symbol of “national” in Greece.

That’s why the most famous Byzantine national song (ΑΚΑΘΙΣΤΟΣ ΥΜΝΟΣ, Τη Υπερμάχω Στρατηγώ) remains the strongest inspiration for Greek military, of course in greek language, lasting from 626 AC! Byzantines were in the most LITERAL sense DIEHARD Greeks.


On Taleb’s Romans vs. Greeks (2)

Monsieur Taleb, all summer you’re sliding one degree per day. You don’t like models unless…. they’re your own & for 6-year-olds?

Romans were the COPIERS & CENTRALISERS of history. To be Roman is to copy what Greeks invent, centralise it & dehumanise it e.g. theatres to arenas.

Did Cato expelled greek doctors also? Medicine was (and still remains) the ultimate test of BS models, developed by Greeks throughout the Roman & Byzantine period. The inability of Romans to form & test new models is evident in their low-innovation copy-paste legalistic culture.

Medicine was (and remains) the ultimate test of BS models. It needs COURAGE equal to Achilles to propose a radical new model against old wisdom. For every 100 models (hypotheses) only 1 may be useful. It’s safer to play the Roman Rationalist & reject all models as BS.

To sumarize:

– Romans: centralisation + deductive reasoning (legal science)
– Greeks: decentralisation (demos) + testing models with high-level semiotics & inductions (medicine)
– Byzantines: deductive (legalistic) + inductive (modern hospitals)

Some more comments
So this story can be traced back to Descartes & Francis Bacon (Scientific Method) criticising the dogmatic approach of the Aristotelian establishment of their time. Today it’s different. Scientists don’t read Plato or Aristotle from the original, thus spreading misinformation.

I remember the time when a doer was judged by the roughness of his hands, not by his best-selling books against tawkers. I also remember the time when hard-working Protestants were recognised as the pillars of modernity. Things have changed.

Source 1, Source 2