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In this episode I host Dr. Jeroen W.P. Wijnendaele on a complicated and fascinating subject and that is “Were the Byzantines actually Roman?” Was the Byzantine Empire Greek? Or was it Roman?
We explore the very origins of “Byzantine” and “Byzantium” by starting off in the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium and then we watch as the Roman Empire expands while asking ourselves, what did it mean to be “Roman?”
We take a journey into Byzantine studies and historiography as we ask “why did some in the West call the Eastern Roman Empire the Empire of the Greeks?
Were there political motivations behind the framing of “Byzantine?” And more importantly, how did the Roman citizens in the Eastern Empire view themselves before and after the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire?
As we journey through history and sources such as Anna Komnene
and her awesome work known as the Alexiad we see an intimate portrait of a complicated subject and that is how the ancient and medieval peoples of the Eastern Roman Empire viewed themselves?
Lastly, we arrive to the last two ultimate questions and that is “Is one term more accurate than the other?” And are there controversies within Byzantine Studies and should it evolve or change?
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