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Forum LockedClaims to the throne from Old Rome and New Rome

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    Posted: 27-Aug-2005 at 21:11
Who had the true legitimacy to the Roman Empire? Charles the Great,(Charlemagne), bless by the Latin Pope of Rome(Leo III). He who had  conqured most of the Western part of Europe to renew Western Rome. Or was it Nicephorus I of Romania( Byzantine Empire) bless by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople (St. Nicephorus). He who took the Eastern Empire away from Irene and became it's leader. This question has alway been one my mind and I would like it if people would responed so I can hear different opinions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2005 at 21:56

Biases set aside, I would honestly say that Nicephorus was the true Roman Emperor.  The Byzantine Empire inherited the imperial tradition that began with Augustus.  He was the next emperor in an unbroken line from Augustus.  In addition, after the barbarian general Odoacer murdered the emperor Julius Nepos and had his successor Romulus deposed, he sent the imperial insignia back to the eastern emperor Zeno.  This shows that although they had Roman titles such as "patrician," the barbarian rulers of Italy were not prepared to assume the office of emperor.  Odoacer's successor Theoderic the Amal followed his example and sufficed himself with the title of "King of Italy."

I would also say that Charlemagne was not much different than Odoacer and Theoderic and this regard.  The popes of the time (8th-9th centuries) had a vendetta against Byzantium because it could not protect papal lands against the Lombards.  The political situation in Rome was extremely tumultuous as well.  The pope therefore turned to the powerful Franks to protect the papacy and to avail papal domains from Byzantine nominal control.  In an attempt to legitimize this political move, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne "Emperor of the Romans" in 800 AD. 

Charlemagne reluctantly accepted this "title;" he was already satisfied with the much more prestigious barbarian position as King of the Franks and Lombards (Arbagi, 119).  In fact, there is evidence that Charlemagne thought the title of Emperor carried no weight behind it (119).  If you read the works of the Byzantinist George Ostrogorsky, he explains how the Byzantines believed in a hierarchy of world order.  Right down until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Byzantine emperors believed themselves to be "Roman Emperors" and rulers over the entire world of Christendom, no matter if these domains were in their possession or not.  Clearly the barbarian rulers did not subscribe to this ideal and did not meddle in ancient imperial ideology.  In conclusion, the Byzantines inherited the emperorship of the old Roman Empire and did in fact continue in the imperial tradition until the Fall of 1453.

For more information on this topic, I suggest reading the PhD dissertation of Professor Martin Arbagi, whom I had the privilege of studying under as an undergraduate:

Martin Arbagi. Byzantium in Latin Eyes: 800-1204. PhD dissertation. Rutgers University, 1969.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2005 at 22:05

Interesting post:

In the nineteenth century, the Russian pan-slavists maintained that the Western relic of Rome was pagan (non-Christian).  The true heirs of Rome were the peoples of the Christian Orthodox Byzantine Empire where the center of the ancient Empire had been moved by Constantine.

Of course, in their view, the spread of Christianity in the East resulted in Muscovy-Russia as the standard bearer of the Roman legacy (the Turks also had some claim).  The pan-slavists saw an apocalyptic struggle between the "East" and the "West" as inevitable, with no common ground for compromise or moderation.  (Does this start to sound familiar?)

Regardless of the triumph of the Communist International in Russia, 1917 to 1922, the Russians continued to be influenced by similar (though non- religious) attitudes up through the 1950s.

Of course, in the West, the "Holy Roman Empire" attempted to keep alive the ethos and myth of Rome, but never really succeeded.  The Turks, I believe referred to Byzantium as "Rum," but I will leave the discussion of that to those who are better informed about it.

What do others think?

  



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 01:14
I would agree that, if you consider the Roman Empire as an indivisible unit, Byzantium (the Roman Empire) was the only continuity between Ancient and Medieval ages. But actually being a Greek-speaking country, culturally it can't claim more Romanic identity than the Western Empire of Charles and successors. Intra-Christian disputes also got mixed and it's quite obvious that the Western Empire (the Holy Roman Empire) was a largely fictional creation of the Papacy that had not much weight if any at all.

One thing is clear: Italy, the heartland of the Roman Empire, had stopped being powerful and remained divided and under foreign control all the time. Rome had its age but it was gone as centre of civilization. There is no legitimate line but succeding states of all sorts.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 01:22
I think Romania was the stronger claimant for Old Rome. The Holy Roman empire was neither Roman, and for most of its history, not an Empire. Byzantium was at least an Empire and still, at least partially Roman. Even then for Byzantium, when it fell, others like the Romanov Russians claimed "heritage." When the Turks captured Constantinople, didn't they take the title "Caesar"?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 01:47

 I see absolutely no reason how anybody else could have had a claim other than Byzantium, since when did the Pope have authority to crown a new true Roman Emperor of the west anyway?

 You cant just decide to crown somebody in the name of an empire that infact still existed just beyond the Adriatic and expect it to mean anything other than just a name, its totally hollow.

 Perhaps the west needed a new binding force, but a holy roman empire? they have no claim to it whatsoever. Infact I try not to even call it by that name, more accurate would probably be the Frankish or German confederation.

 Byzantium is the continuation of the old empire, despite the changes in its appearance, the Russians and Turks have about as much claim to true imperial succession as I do IMO.

 Atleast the barbarians when they overran the old western empire realised calling themselves Emperor was both baseless and ridiculous as there was an Emperor in Constantinople, and recognise his position as Roman Emperor, when the last Emperor died in 1453 the Roman empire went with him.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 02:25
Originally posted by Heraclius Heraclius wrote:

 I see absolutely no reason how anybody else could have had a claim other than Byzantium, since when did the Pope have authority to crown a new true Roman Emperor of the west anyway?


Actually Charles, unlike his successors, crowned himself Emperor of Rome. A gesture that many centuries later was to be replicated by Napoleon.

Quote You cant just decide to crown somebody in the name of an empire that infact still existed just beyond the Adriatic and expect it to mean anything other than just a name, its totally hollow.

The fact was that the Eastern Roman Empire, while legitimate wasn't the Western Roman Empire (and the Pope was obviously interested in reinforcing his authority by having a Western paladin anyhow). The Western Roman Empire, including Italy, the core of Rome, had ceased to exist but Western nations felt more related to it than to Byzantium, where Greek and not anymore Latin was spoken and where the Orthodox Patriatrchs and not the Western Church of Rome was the norm.

Quote Perhaps the west needed a new binding force, but a holy roman empire? they have no claim to it whatsoever. Infact I try not to even call it by that name, more accurate would probably be the Frankish or German confederation.

The Holy Roman Empire existed solidly in two periods: that of Charlemagne and that of the Ottos and the early Hohenzollern. At those times the Empire was centralized and it wasn't an only German state (most of Italy was also included, and France as well in the brief period of Carolingian rule). Later it fragmented in many realms but in origin it was a truly centralized (though feudal) Empire. Else it would have never been founded.

Quote At least the barbarians when they overran the old western empire realised calling themselves Emperor was both baseless and ridiculous as there was an Emperor in Constantinople, and recognise his position as Roman Emperor, when the last Emperor died in 1453 the Roman empire went with him.

Actually the barbarians never recognized the authority of the Eastern Emperor. The defunction of the Western Empire by Odoacer marked the start of truly independent Romano-Germanic states that had lost the federative bounds that linked them formally to the Western Empire (but not to the Eastern). In the West the Roman Empire was dead... and later restored when one monarch, Charles, achieved the hegemony. The Ottos basically tried to imitate Charles not the true Roman Empire: their objectives were in Western and Central Europe, not in the Mediterranean anymore. Only Italy was significative among all Mediterranean lands because of prestige and richess.

The claims of Byzantium over the legitimacy of the Western Roman Empire were as pretentious as those of the Germans but the Germans, being Catholics and using Latin as oficial language were much more ligitimate in the eyes of all westerners.

The true essential problem is that no unified Roman Empire existed anymore when the Germans invaded. The dispute would be therefore only on the legitimacy to the Western Empire, Rome and the Papacy included.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 02:55
Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

Originally posted by Heraclius Heraclius wrote:

 I see absolutely no reason how anybody else could have had a claim other than Byzantium, since when did the Pope have authority to crown a new true Roman Emperor of the west anyway?


Actually Charles, unlike his successors, crowned himself Emperor of Rome. A gesture that many centuries later was to be replicated by Napoleon.

Quote You cant just decide to crown somebody in the name of an empire that infact still existed just beyond the Adriatic and expect it to mean anything other than just a name, its totally hollow.

The fact was that the Eastern Roman Empire, while legitimate wasn't the Western Roman Empire (and the Pope was obviously interested in reinforcing his authority by having a Western paladin anyhow). The Western Roman Empire, including Italy, the core of Rome, had ceased to exist but Western nations felt more related to it than to Byzantium, where Greek and not anymore Latin was spoken and where the Orthodox Patriatrchs and not the Western Church of Rome was the norm.

Quote Perhaps the west needed a new binding force, but a holy roman empire? they have no claim to it whatsoever. Infact I try not to even call it by that name, more accurate would probably be the Frankish or German confederation.

The Holy Roman Empire existed solidly in two periods: that of Charlemagne and that of the Ottos and the early Hohenzollern. At those times the Empire was centralized and it wasn't an only German state (most of Italy was also included, and France as well in the brief period of Carolingian rule). Later it fragmented in many realms but in origin it was a truly centralized (though feudal) Empire. Else it would have never been founded.

Quote At least the barbarians when they overran the old western empire realised calling themselves Emperor was both baseless and ridiculous as there was an Emperor in Constantinople, and recognise his position as Roman Emperor, when the last Emperor died in 1453 the Roman empire went with him.

Actually the barbarians never recognized the authority of the Eastern Emperor. The defunction of the Western Empire by Odoacer marked the start of truly independent Romano-Germanic states that had lost the federative bounds that linked them formally to the Western Empire (but not to the Eastern). In the West the Roman Empire was dead... and later restored when one monarch, Charles, achieved the hegemony. The Ottos basically tried to imitate Charles not the true Roman Empire: their objectives were in Western and Central Europe, not in the Mediterranean anymore. Only Italy was significative among all Mediterranean lands because of prestige and richess.

The claims of Byzantium over the legitimacy of the Western Roman Empire were as pretentious as those of the Germans but the Germans, being Catholics and using Latin as oficial language were much more ligitimate in the eyes of all westerners.

The true essential problem is that no unified Roman Empire existed anymore when the Germans invaded. The dispute would be therefore only on the legitimacy to the Western Empire, Rome and the Papacy included.

 I was under the impression Pope Leo III crowned Charlemange and not Charlemange crowning himself.

 The roman empire may have lost territory in the west but the Roman empire still existed regardless of the lost territory, to proclaim a new western Roman Emperor is totally hollow.

 The barbarian kings at first recognised the authority of the Emperor of Constantinople, yes it was little more that lip service but they recognised the Eastern Emperor as the Roman Emperor of the Roman Empire. Clearly recognising that the Roman empire still existed, if somewhat smaller.

 Its not for others outside the empire to decide who is the Emperor of the west or even if there is to be one. They may have decided to crown a man Emperor but it doesnt add anything to it, its just a title one the man was given who had no claim to it whatsoever. Just because he had the title Imperator Romanum gubernans Imperium (Emperor ruling the Roman Empire) doesnt make it anymore legitmate, certainly in my eyes anyway.

  The part of the empire that survived in the east has history that is totally linked with that of the united Roman world, it therefore has authority to define what is the Roman empire. No Frank as far as im aware was ever Emperor, no Pope was ever given the authority by a ruling Roman Emperor of the west to decide anything of the sort, be it to crown a new Emperor or proclaim a new one. Correct me if im wrong but im pretty sure the Popes authority to crown a Roman Emperor was one he gave himself and not given by a ruling Roman Emperor.

 The western half of the Roman world was extinct it cant legitimately be ressurected by a Pope, a Frankish king or anybody other than the Roman Emperor who resided in Constantinople IMO.

 

 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 05:58
If there had been a thing like "International Law" in the 9th century, that defines the succession of defunct states, like post-war Germany is the legal heir of Nazi Germany or the Turkish republic is the legal heir of the Ottoman Empire, only the Byzantine Empire could have claimed legal succession.
The main justification for the claims of Charlemagne and his successors was, that after the division of the Roman Empire after Theodosius' death, there had been two legitimate Roman Emperors, each being able to claim rightful succession. After Romulus abdication in 476, the West-Roman throne had become vacant. The factual ruler of Italy and Rome would therefore be able to claim the vacant title of "Imperator Romanum".
There are surely some flaws in this theory, especially how the Pope came into the position to dispense with the Imperial title, and Charlemagne was far from confident about the righhtfulness of his claim.
However, the existence of two Empires, both in succession of the unified Roman, just reflected political and cultural realities in Europe at the end of the first millenium, and whatever one might think about the validity of the claims of the HR Emperors, for a while they provided much needed stablity in Central Europe and Italy.
After all, it's only title, and although it annoyed the Byzantines at the time and gave rise to endless scholary discussion, for most of its existence the HRE was only a power-less nominal title. Even if Charlemagne had called himself "The great Enchillada of the Roman Empire", it wouldn't have changed anything on the political status quo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2005 at 08:29
Originally posted by Heraclius Heraclius wrote:

I was under the impression Pope Leo III crowned Charlemange and not Charlemange crowning himself.


Just checked and you seem to be right. I'm thinking now that I read somwhere that Charles suggested his son and heir Louis to crown himself as Emperor, in order not to become dependant of the Papacy... but such a weak and fanatically pious character as that of Louis couldn't follow this wise piece of advise.

Quote The roman empire may have lost territory in the west but the Roman empire still existed regardless of the lost territory, to proclaim a new western Roman Emperor is totally hollow.

The Western Roman Empire, the state to which the Frankish Emperors considered themselves to be heirs had ceased to exist. The Eastern Empire was another clearly separated polity.

Quote The barbarian kings at first recognised the authority of the Emperor of Constantinople, yes it was little more that lip service but they recognised the Eastern Emperor as the Roman Emperor of the Roman Empire. Clearly recognising that the Roman empire still existed, if somewhat smaller.

They may had recognized him as the only existing emperor, but the federative treaties they had with Rome were with the Western Empire and therefore they applied no more. The end of the Western Roman Empire was the end of any formal dependence Franks and Visigoths could have with the Empire.

Quote Its not for others outside the empire to decide who is the Emperor of the west or even if there is to be one. They may have decided to crown a man Emperor but it doesnt add anything to it, its just a title one the man was given who had no claim to it whatsoever. Just because he had the title Imperator Romanum gubernans Imperium (Emperor ruling the Roman Empire) doesnt make it anymore legitmate, certainly in my eyes anyway.

The western doctrine was more or less that the one ocupying Rome had the right to be crowned emperor. It was the Byzantines who were outside Rome, not the Franks/Germans.

Quote The part of the empire that survived in the east has history that is totally linked with that of the united Roman world, it therefore has authority to define what is the Roman empire. No Frank as far as im aware was ever Emperor, no Pope was ever given the authority by a ruling Roman Emperor of the west to decide anything of the sort, be it to crown a new Emperor or proclaim a new one. Correct me if im wrong but im pretty sure the Popes authority to crown a Roman Emperor was one he gave himself and not given by a ruling Roman Emperor.

I would agree that the Pope's authority to invest emperors is not technically legitimate (unless, as it was believed at the time you consider the Pope the legitimate representative of God himself, obviously that overrids any other consideration). But anyhow Charles and Otto owed nothing of their might to the Pope but to their swords.

Quote The western half of the Roman world was extinct it cant legitimately be ressurected by a Pope, a Frankish king or anybody other than the Roman Emperor who resided in Constantinople IMO.

The fact is that for some rather large time most people in the West thought otherwise and the weak emperor of Constantinople wasn't able to do much about it.

The question is that the remains of the Western culturally Latin area were without emperor and they seemed to need one. You can't deny that the cultural legitimacy to Rome is much stronger in Western Europe than in Byzantium, which was mostly culturally heir of Hellenism and had of Rome only the name and the political structure.

Notice that all Roman emperors were such because they could, that is because the Army supported them and they could control the territory, specially Rome. No other legitimacy was required.

...

In words that are not mine (Wikipedia: Translatio Imperii):

Background

The Roman Empire was founded on 27 BC by Augustus Caesar. In 395, at the death of the Emperor Theodosius I, the empire was split in half with each governed by a co-emperor ruling in Rome and Constantinople (New Rome). The Western half fell to barbarian armies in 476. The eastern half, known as the Byzantine Empire, continued to call itself the Roman empire despite not holding Rome. The Byzantine emperors and state claimed to be the successor of the Roman empire.

Holy Roman Empire

In 800, the pope crowned Charlemagne Roman emperor. This set off a constitutional crisis as the Byzantines did not recognize the coronation. In order to settle the dispute, Byzantine Empress Irene offered to marry Charlemagne. Though she was unable to marry him after being overthrown and exiled, the offer itself was considered to be translatio imperii. The imperium supposedly passed to Charlemagne's successors and eventually landed in the Holy Roman Empire. Thus explains the Roman component of the Empire's name. The Holy Roman Emperors thus thought of themselves as being in direct succession of the ancient Roman Augusti and were bolstered in their claim, specifically against the Kings of France who might also claim lineage from Charlemagne, by papal crownings. After 1508, Holy Roman Emperors no longer were crowned by the pope and were thus technically emperors-elect. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was formally dissolved.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 02:46

 

There is an other important thing. When Charlemagne was crowned to emperor there was no emperor in Constantinople. The Eastern Empire was ruled by a woman and his authority was not recognized in the west.

Later byzantine emperors recognized Charlemagne as a basileus, but this was a double-face act. (The original meaning of this word is king, so this recognizing do not questioned the rule of the only true roman emperor.)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 05:15
Here's a classic read related to this topic:

The authorities at Constantinople did not wish to recognize the claims of the Frankish upstart in the West, although political reality forced a compromise on the part of Emperor Michael I [811-813]. Michael's envoy from Constantinople saluted Charlemagne at his court in Aachen as "Basileus," that the Westerners translated with satisfaction as Emperor. Of course, the Greek speakers had room to live in the ambiguity of the word "Basileus." Back in Constantinople, Michael began to call himself [in unabbreviated form]:

[Michael, Roman Emperor]. Note the Greek "upsilon", "chi" [C] and "eta" [H]. On coins, the usual form was

Before this change, no Roman Emperor had ever used the word"Roman" in his official titles: the Emperor was simply the "Imperator Caesar Augustus." Diplomatists at Constantinople would soon argue that "Basileus Romaion" and "Basileus" were two different things. In that view, "Basileus Romaion" stood as a superior and unique title reserved for the ruler at Constantinople. According to this clever theory, Michael had really conceded Charlemagne nothing except a royal title, "Basileus" in the sense of "King." equivalent to the Latin "Rex." No wonder "Byzantine" means duplicitous.

Not until the time of Emperor Otto III [983-1002] did Western Emperors consistently start calling themselves "Imperator Romanorum" [Roman Emperor] in direct challenge to the "Basileus Romaion" of Constantinople. Otto III took this step on the prompting of his mother Theopano, a princess from Constantinople who understood the subtleties of the problem. The "Basileus Romaion" of the time, Basil II [reigned 976-1025] was not a kinsman of Theopano, and she desired to elevate her son above the competition at Constantinople by calling Otto "Imperator Romanorum." Of course, well-informed people in the West knew already that the best way to insult the authorities in Constantinople, if that was the goal, was to deny their identity as Romans. Call them "Graecus:" that translated to "Hellene," that implied pagan as well as not Roman.

- http://www.romanity.org/htm/fox.01.en.what_if_anything_is_a_ byzantine.01.htm



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 10:25
Originally posted by Raider Raider wrote:

There is an other important thing. When Charlemagne was crowned to emperor there was no emperor in Constantinople. The Eastern Empire was ruled by a woman and his authority was not recognized in the west.

Later byzantine emperors recognized Charlemagne as a basileus, but this was a double-face act. (The original meaning of this word is king, so this recognizing do not questioned the rule of the only true roman emperor.)

  Yes Byzantium at the time was ruled by a woman, however since the west didnt recognise the authority of Constantinople over them at this point anyway, I still see no reason why they felt they had the authority to have a new Roman Emperor of the west at all.

 They could crown just about anybody they wanted and have him crowned by just about anybody they wanted, but the fact of the matter remains it wasnt their empire to resurrect.

 Not only did the Pope have no authority to crown a new Emperor but the Franks were not Romans they had no real connection to the Emperors of the east or west, so how can they possibly have a Roman Emperor? a title they have no right to use.

 The above reasons is why I consider this *holy roman empire* totally hollow and illegitimate and that there was only one true claimant to the old Roman empires heritage and continuation.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 16:26
Franks were "Romans"... like Visigoths: their realms were given (formally) by Roman emperors over Roman lands (and to fight against non-foederati barbarians and rebel bagaudae). While they were ethnically German, their power had their seat inside the Empire and they ruled largely over "Latin" speaking peoples. They didn't apparently feel that the Greek emperor was entitled to the Western Empire "vacant throne", specially after the Byzantines couldn't mantain their domain over Italy (lost to the Lombards). Charles, by the mere extension of his domain (about 50% of the ancient western Empire and almost all of what remained in Christian hands) was obviously entitled to such calim if he wished.

Louis, Lothar and the Ottos just followed his example. Otto I could have directed his campaigns against France or Poland but actually he was interested in Rome and the legitimacy that such a pregstigious domain confered. The Eastern Emperors actually failed to keep Rome and that's largey why some modern historians don't consider them very Roman but "Byzantine" (Greek). True that the Holy Empire was more Germanic than Romanic... but at least they controlled Italy.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 18:14
My favourite bit of Byzantine ingenuity in this whole matter is Michael II adress of Louis I, as" glorious King of the Franks and Langobards, who is called their Emperor" (glorioso regi Francorum et Langobardum, et vocato eorum imperatori)
Apparently Louis was not amused.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2005 at 18:49

Originally posted by Komnenos Komnenos wrote:

My favourite bit of Byzantine ingenuity in this whole matter is Michael II adress of Louis I, as" glorious King of the Franks and Langobards, who is called their Emperor" (glorioso regi Francorum et Langobardum, et vocato eorum imperatori)
Apparently Louis was not amused.

That is hilarious, especially the "eorum" part.  Michael definitely made it a point to put that in the address!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2005 at 02:36

"that's largey why some modern historians don't consider them very Roman but "Byzantine" (Greek). "

The term byzantine was invented in France at the age of enlightenment. (I think It was Voltaire who used first.) There were simple causes. They "hate" it while they admired ancient Greece and Rome so tried to detach their medieval history from the ancient.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Aug-2005 at 22:10

Since when did the Pope have the right to crown the Emperor? The fact is that he never did. Augustus was not crowned by the Pope, nor was Constantine the Great who set so many precedents for the later Empire. The Roman Emperor had always been officially proclaimed Emperor by the Senate, army and people of his Empire. Basically what this meant was that the man who had effective power (effective enough to make the Senate of Rome or Constantinople his rubber stamp, effective enough to be in command of the imperial military, and effective enough for Roman citizens to recognise him as their Emperor) was the Roman Emperor. The citizens of Byzantium alone considered themselves Roman citizens (Charlemagne had to concede the fact that he is King of the Franks and Lombards). The Roman army is still that which belongs to the state of Byzantium, as it is by this time composed of Byzantine citizens and has a continuous link with ancient Rome inspite of extensive change. As for the Senate there is one in Constantinople and one in Rome, so take your pick. At the end of the day, Nicephorus controls 2-3 of the factions whose support legitimized his rule as Roman Emperor, Charlemagne controlled 1 at best.

The fact is the Pope's claim he can make and break Emperors is based on a forgery. The Donation of Constantine supposedly enabled the Bishop of Rome to crown the Emperor. The fact was that the Papacy completely invented the document for their own political gain and it has no legitimacy Charlemagne was therefore crowned illegitimately. In terms of both practical effectiveness and political legitimacy the Emperor of Byzantium has by far the better claim.

It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2005 at 07:10
While the Donation of Constantine was obviously a forgery, the Papal authority in the Western (former) Empire was by no means void of meaning: the Church provided the ideological legitimacy for political structures and also provided the bureaucracy. This is not a matter that affects the Eastern Empire but an inner affair of the former Western Empire, where the moral authority of the Papacy had become overwhelming due mostly to its claim of representing God on Earth (nothing less!). So the coronation of Charlemagne by the Pope can be dubbed of technically ilegal but it was obviously very legitimate in the sociological sense of the term. On the other hand, Charles had the Roman legality of military power... I don't think that Octavius or Constantine would have thought the claim of Charles lacking legitimacy, whatever their consideration on Papal intervention.

In any case, it's obvious that the Eastern Empire wasn't seen as legitimate heir of the Western Empire by Westerners, after all they spoke Greek and called their Emperors with such a meaningless name for Latins as Basileus (king)!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2005 at 14:49
What sources do you draw to conclude that Westerners did not view the Eastern Empire as legitimate? The Eastern Empire was known to the west as "Romania" (Romanland). When the Crusaders captured Byzantium in 1204, the Latin emperor of Constantinople held the title "Imperator Romaniae," Emperor of Romanland, showing that Byzantium was considered to be the land of the Romans.
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