Byzantium as THE Roman Empire

Which is a great failing of people such as these imo. They forget to recognize that there is no fundamental difference between the Pope and Emperor, it is not as if the Pope exists as a spirit aside from this world. Regardless, such people are devotees of Justinian I, they bathe in the ideals of Imperial 'deification' as stipulated by the Second Council Constantinople and are inundated with a Heraclian understanding of the Church as simply devices of Imperial commanding. Something that breaches the past Roman customs regarding the relation of the Papacy and Church to the state not to mention, legal rights that the Papacy had over the Emperor prior to the Second Council of Constance (such as appointment and powers to revoke titles that the Emperor held).
Whilst i dont generally believe in the concept of cultural appropriation surely denying the People of the Eastern Empire the right to define THEMSELVES must come pretty close to being a perfect example. It does not matter really what anyone else thought, but them frankly...
 
Whilst i dont generally believe in the concept of cultural appropriation surely denying the People of the Eastern Empire the right to define THEMSELVES must come pretty close to being a perfect example. It does not matter really what anyone else thought, but them frankly...
Do you deny that the Papacy was within the Byzantine realm and so was John of Damascus and Patriarch of Constantinople Germanos. They have a right to define themselves as well, definition is not solely the act of the monarch. Nor is the monarch the sole representative of the people; we do not live in the world of the Leviathan. As I mentioned, the Papal ideals were uniquely one of Byzantine origin, uniquely Roman that is; one not borne of an alien realm thousands of km distant. As Innocent III would himself note or Boniface VIII, the disputes they held in the Middle Ages, were ones that resembled the disputes of opinion that they engaged in during the period under Byzantine rule.

Certainly, the Papacy was just as 'Roman' as was the Emperor, preceding surely even the construction of Constantinople or the man, Constantine or his predecessor Diocletian. What is more a denial of identity, is the common notion here, that the Papacy, an explicitly Roman entity and partner in Eastern Imperial policy, cannot define who is Roman, but only the Greek Eastern Empire can do so. Is this not somewhat hypocritical in the slightest?
 
Certainly, the Papacy was just as 'Roman' as was the Emperor, preceding surely even the construction of Constantinople or the man, Constantine or his predecessor Diocletian. What is more a denial of identity, is the common notion here, that the Papacy, an explicitly Roman entity and partner in Eastern Imperial policy, cannot define who is Roman, but only the Greek Eastern Empire can do so. Is this not somewhat hypocritical in the slightest?
Why do we need to be mutually exclusive about this? It is perfectly reasonable to accept both the Byzantines and the Papacy/HRE as being Roman to varying degrees.
 
Quite correct and the term byzantine should not be used for it
What term for periodization would your prefer? "The Extremely Late Roman Empire?" "Post-Dominate Rome" "The Post-Roman Roman Empire" "The Roman Empire of the Greeks Who Self-Identified as Romans"

Edit: I don't understand the hostility towards the term "Byzantium" everyone knows that it means, it's not like there are any Romans around now to be offended by it.
 
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I just wanna start by saying that I love this thread because it embodies everything that makes this forum great. By reading each post, I was able to learn a lot about both the relevant history, the different contextual understandings thereof, and the evolution of legal definitions over time. I'll throw my two cents, but as a lover of semantics, legalistic arguments, and discussions of historical nuances, I just wanna say that reading this thread has been awesome.

I'm inclined to agree with this:
Without an agreed upon working definition of what exactly was the "Roman Empire" the question isn't answerable.
The whole thread has been spent arguing void of well-defined context, and thus everyone has been talking in circles. Unfortunately, the anachronistic language used by mainstream historians is often insufficient to determining the validity of such claims. So first, I will attempt to provide a little context.

Tradition has it that the Romans were first rules by kings until abuses by the monarchs led to the partition of the powers of king (or rex) into several different offices. The rex's "imperium" (or ability to command the obedience of citizens from which the word "empire" eventually evolved) went to the consuls (originally called praetors), who acted as the heads of state and heads of government for the burgeoning Roman Republic. Other powers of the rex went to various elected offices including the pontifex maximus, censors, and the urban prefecture. Shenanigans ensued including the conflict of the orders, the creation of the tribunate as an office independent of the executive magistracies, the conquest of the Mediterranean, the co-option of the tribuneship into the senate, and eventually, the fall of the Republic. The important thing to remember here is that, for the entire period from 509 BCE to 14 CE, the senate (derived from "senex" or "elders") had almost no actual legal authority. All legislative authority lay with the assemblies, which did not change until the reign of Tiberius, when the senate was finally incorporated into the official structure of the government. So what happened in the meantime? The fundamental contradiction between the formal power of the magistrates and the informal power (or "auctoritas") of individual private senators led to civil war and eventually, the rise of Augustus. Throughout his stewardship of the Republic, he gradually reconsolidated the powers of consul, tribune, pontifex maximus, and censor back into a single person - himself. However, this was done ad hoc and without a clear legal formula, and so applying words like "emperor" to Augustus and his successors betrays an anachronistic misunderstanding of the institutional framework within which Augustus lived. For the entirety of the "principate", the emperors were essentially private individuals wielding informal powers coupled with a few formal powers (tribunician authority, consular and proconsular imperium, and others). This framework gradually became more and more formal. By the time of at least Vespasian, the "imperial powers" were granted en bloc to any new emperor and the word "imperator", which had once signified a victorious commander in war, gradually morphed into the political title which we call the "emperor". However, legally throughout this period, until at least the third century, Rome was still legally a Republic. Sole legislative authority came from the senate and sole executive authority came from their grants of imperium to the magistrates and to the person of the emperor. The office of emperor became detached from Rome itself (the city) and eventually Rome itself ceased to be the capital. In that period, the empire became Christian (though this was not made official until the reign of Theodosius), the West fell, and the East suffered numerous territorial losses. All of this is to say that the evolution of Roman institutions was based strongly on precedent. The emperors powers were defined in the precedents of the republican magistracies; the succession of later emperors was informed by the precedents set by the succession of early emperors. Even the terminology in use remained the same, in spite of wildly divergent definitions over time.

So how can one argue that the Roman Empire was continuous throughout this whole period? What is generally cited is the continuity of laws throughout this period. In spite of the rise and fall of different dynasties, different constitutional arrangements, different state religions, and different capital cities, the general body of Roman law, which had begun with the authorship of the twelve tables and culminated in the Digest of Justinian remained in continuous use. However, one might argue that the ecclesiastical laws of the papacy represented a similar continuity. However, I will argue that the precedent set by Theodosius I, whereby the Eastern emperor had the right to appoint the Western emperor, which was implicitly recognized by Odoacer, thus his dispatch of the Western regalia to Constantinople. By this precedent - and the Romans valued their precedents dearly thus why they clung to the republic even as its institutions broke down - only the Eastern Emperor had the right to appoint a successor to the western throne. Even in cases wherein the succession in the East was uncertain, the West had not, since the reign of Julian the Apostate, been able to replace the Eastern emperor.

Of course, we are applying concepts like statehood, succession, and ecclesiastical primacy that would not have even been conceivable for the men who formulated the early principate. I think the continuity of institutions means that the Byzantine empire is unambiguously the Roman Empire. However, such discrete concepts as "successor states" are modern, post-Westphalian abstractions. Thus, without defining exactly what we mean by "Roman Empire", as the above post stated, we are talking in circles. In my opinion, the definition of "Roman Empire" is generally: the political and legal institutions which originated in Italy to eventually rule the Mediterranean before a long and gradual decline. In this context, the so-called "Byzantine empire" factors neatly into this decline, and the continuity of institutions in the broadest sense makes it the sole legitimate successor to the Roman empire. Not that other states did not similarly adopt Roman-like institutions, but merely that their widespread and continuous practice within a nominally sovereign and continuous political system, make the Byzantines the "most Roman-like" state to emerge out of the chaotic 5th century. But ultimately, these decisions are arbitrary and only make sense retroactively. By the strictest interpretation of the definition I gave, the last legitimate Roman emperor was Nero, after which every ruler from Galba to Constantine XI was a usurper. The absurd implications of this clearly illustrate why such strict definitions are not often used.

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. In some sense, almost every Western state is a "successor to the Roman empire". Why we have these discussions at all are really a reflection of what each of us prioritizes within the study of history. I, personally, understand history to be a gradual evolution, clash, and amalgamation of institutions primarily constrained by population and the environment. Anyone else might view history as primarily religious, or military, or economic, or ideological, or sociological, or ecological, or whatever. I think there's no incorrect answer to this question. I think the Byzantine empire is unambiguously the Roman empire for all the reasons stated above, but the idea that there is only one "legitimate" successor to such a vast and diverse political amalgamation that existed for so long and in so many different forms as the Roman Empire is patently ridiculous and displays a misunderstanding of the different historical conceptualizations of abstractions like "legitimacy" in the first place.
 
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Does anyone here believe that Byzantium at some point stopped being the real Roman Empire and turned itself into a wannabe? I perceived that the great majority of the forum admire the Byzantines and would even argue against this name choice, but there's anyone here who would say that the empire centered around Constantinople at some point wasn't really roman anymore but just Greeks pretending to be Romans? Want to understand both sides of the argument.

Please, don't turn this into a Byzantium-HRE comparison, its obvious that the Byzantines had more legitimacy than the HRE, that's not the point.
The thing is the Byzantine's retained the timeless feature that Rome's politics depended far too much on the military. Also, there is the issue that Greek was always going to a prestigious culture in Rome, so I could never see the Byzantine's as Roman pretenders unless you want to take up some weirdly Roman-centric interpretation, but you run into the question of what happens when a city-state becomes a state that has to expand it's franchise, could the Roman Empire even be 'Roman'.
 
What term for periodization would your prefer? "The Extremely Late Roman Empire?" "Post-Dominate Rome" "The Post-Roman Roman Empire" "The Roman Empire of the Greeks Who Self-Identified as Romans"

Edit: I don't understand the hostility towards the term "Byzantium" everyone knows that it means, it's not like there are any Romans around now to be offended by it.
Perhaps because it was largely invented by the German Historical profession to glorify the HRE.and was quite deliberately meant to reduce the validity of the state based in Constantinople. It is a term meant to belittle.
 
What term for periodization would your prefer? "The Extremely Late Roman Empire?" "Post-Dominate Rome" "The Post-Roman Roman Empire" "The Roman Empire of the Greeks Who Self-Identified as Romans"

Edit: I don't understand the hostility towards the term "Byzantium" everyone knows that it means, it's not like there are any Romans around now to be offended by it.
"Eastern Roman Empire" maybe? Not that hard to think about.
 
If military defeat made you not Roman, then many post-Hadrian emperors wouldn’t even qualify as Romans.
Would France that fights on from Algeria still really be France? But not in 1941 or 1945, but in say 2145 or 2245?

At least that's my opinion. Roman Empire can exist just fine without Britania or even Hispania, but not without Rome/ Italy.
 
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Would France that fights on from Algeria still really be France? But not in 1941 or 1945, but in say 2145 or 2245?
Or indeed a line of French rulers who conquered England, then lost their holdings in France and assimilated into English culture.

Nobody considers England to be a continuation of the Duchy of Normandy, but the situation regarding English and Norman history is quite similar to that regarding Greek and Roman history.
 
Would France that fights on from Algeria still really be France? But not in 1941 or 1945, but in say 2145 or 2245?

At least that's my opinion. Roman Empire can exist just fine without Britania or even Hispania, but not without Rome/ Italy.
You are applying the 19th century concept of nationality (a homogenous people bound to a certain language, cultural history and territory) to Romans and Byzantines, which makes no sense. To be Roman wasn’t to be Italian. Romanity had much more to do with a shared political community, principles and self-identity, which the Byzantines continued (not to mention the unbroken institutional continuity). You can argue that Charlemagne was a Roman, but you can’t argue that the Byzantines weren’t.
 
Perhaps because it was largely invented by the German Historical profession to glorify the HRE.and was quite deliberately meant to reduce the validity of the state based in Constantinople. It is a term meant to belittle.
And now is used to talk about a specific period of history of an entity to distinguish it from another period, to the point that even the greeks today have no problem with it. It certainly beats the french that refered to them as greeks before the XIX century

And about the belittle thing, Gibbons always belittled the byzantines, and yet he called them romans, so....
 
Or indeed a line of French rulers who conquered England, then lost their holdings in France and assimilated into English culture.

Nobody considers England to be a continuation of the Duchy of Normandy, but the situation regarding English and Norman history is quite similar to that regarding Greek and Roman history.
Funny you should say that since technically the Duchy of Normandy still exists. Just as Constantine XI Palaiologos was the Roman Emperor so is Elizabeth II Windsor the Duke of Normandy. Specifically in the Channel Isles.

Rhomania/Ρωμανία
Not all of us can read the Greek alphabet. Also has the possibility of being confused with Romania I think.
 
Perhaps because it was largely invented by the German Historical profession to glorify the HRE.and was quite deliberately meant to reduce the validity of the state based in Constantinople. It is a term meant to belittle.
No it was not, it was used by Prokopios and other Greek scholars in the reign of Justinian I to describe the state apparatus.
 
Of course it would be used the capitals name is byzantion/Byzantium that doesnt mean it should be used to name the empire
But calling them Romans would make uneducated people think they are more powerful than they are in that time period. The distinction is necessary, they ruled less than a quarter(in the Late Middle Ages) of what the whole-Roman Empire used to rule, they were a rump state in name and in practice like the Northern Yuan.

If they had conquered a good chunk of the Roman Empire back at some point of the Middle Ages maybe the case for simply calling them Romans would make sense.
 
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