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Forum LockedHeirs of Byzantium

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Poll Question: Who do you believe are the true heirs of Byzantium?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
12 [13.04%]
37 [40.22%]
2 [2.17%]
1 [1.09%]
14 [15.22%]
0 [0.00%]
26 [28.26%]
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    Posted: 05-May-2009 at 11:21
I assumed the Russians were. Wasnt the neice of the last Byzantine emperor married to a Russian Tzar/King. The Russians took on the two headed eagle and are Orthodox, however dont speek Greek.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camerun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jan-2009 at 03:43
There Are no real heirs today. The ottoman empire has become Turkey, The Russian Empire has become Russia. Greece doesent have Constantinople/Istanbul, and Turkey has Istanbul but they have no other conections to The Byzantine Empire. but the most important reason is that no State today have Dynastic Ties with Byzantium.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Dec-2008 at 10:00
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

There were Turks in the Middle Ages, Turks durint the Ottoman Empire and Turks after the formation of the Turkish Republic, these are the simple facts. They were "identified" as "Turks". Now we can go round and round in circles discussing what is meant, to be a Turk, anybody can have their subjective view on the matter, from "etrak-ı bi idrak" to "Türk yiğitleri".


It's like talking to a wall , really.
 
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

 
This is a common mistake, the concept of Turkism was not formed by Gokalp and these ideas did not begin in the Ottoman lands either.
 
The first modern Turkist thinkers were Tatar Islamic scholors in the early 1800's which rose against the Russian power in the region. They were firstly "reformers" and believed the muslim and Turkic (the muslims in the region being mostly Turkic) must modernise and form unity. These ideas spread to Russian Turkistan and Azerbaycan and grew in popularity.
 
After the Russian forces started clamping down on this movement many intellects fled to Istanbul and came into contact with similar movements starting in Ottoman lands.



I said the principles of Turkism , not the concept of Turkism.True, the concept was initially grasped by a Russian emigré Yusuf Akçura.But Gökalp was the one to clearly define the characteristics of Turkism , based on his sociological readings of his era. It is not accidental , that Mustafa Kemal read and used Gökalp's writings rather than those of previous generations.
 
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

 
Turk had many meanings depending on the context and era of Ottoman rule.
 


True. But during the last century of the Empire,little before the rise of nationalism, it was used mainly for the uneducated peasantry.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Dec-2008 at 22:07
Quote Spartukus
It's not that there was an identity, it's that this identity was different in the Middle Ages, different during the Ottoman Empire, different during the Turkish Republic.
 
There were Turks in the Middle Ages, Turks durint the Ottoman Empire and Turks after the formation of the Turkish Republic, these are the simple facts. They were "identified" as "Turks". Now we can go round and round in circles discussing what is meant, to be a Turk, anybody can have their subjective view on the matter, from "etrak-ı bi idrak" to "Türk yiğitleri".
 
Quote Spartukus
The principles of Turkism were  grasped by Ziya Gökalp, in the early 20th century.
 
This is a common mistake, the concept of Turkism was not formed by Gokalp and these ideas did not begin in the Ottoman lands either.
 
The first modern Turkist thinkers were Tatar Islamic scholors in the early 1800's which rose against the Russian power in the region. They were firstly "reformers" and believed the muslim and Turkic (the muslims in the region being mostly Turkic) must modernise and form unity. These ideas spread to Russian Turkistan and Azerbaycan and grew in popularity.
 
After the Russian forces started clamping down on this movement many intellects fled to Istanbul and came into contact with similar movements starting in Ottoman lands.
 
 
Quote Spartukus
  Until then, a Turk was a derogatory term used to signify the non-educated peasantry.
 
Turk had many meanings depending on the context and era of Ottoman rule. Some of the biggest revolts were by the Turkmen clans and they proved to be quite a threat to the state siding with Tamerlane and later with Shah Ismail. These Turkmen clans were not held in the best of light by the Ottoman authorities. They were viewed as unruly, uneducated, uncontrollable.   
However, on the flip side of the coin, the Devshirme were sent to Turkish families, Turkmen tribes were settled in newly conquered lands (especially in the Balkans and Cyprus) the state language was Turkish and according to Ottoman history as taught in the court they stressed their Turk roots.
 
 




Edited by Bulldog - 12-Dec-2008 at 22:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Dec-2008 at 20:01
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

 
Turk has been used as an "identity" in Anatolia since the Seljuks entered the region, the meaning of this identity can be whatever you subjectively wish to make of it. However, this identity was strong enough for the Europeans to re-name Anatolia "Turchia", the Turks themsevles actually knew the lands as "Rum" or "Roman" until the 15th century when the Ottomans started referring to the Southern Balkans as "Rumeli" (Roman lands).

 


It's not what i wish to make it, it's what it was. It was not the national identity of the 20th century, simply because there was no such thing as a "Turkish nation". The principles of Turkism were  grasped by Ziya Gökalp, in the early 20th century.  Until then, a Turk was a derogatory term used to signify the non-educated peasantry. It's not that there was an identity, it's that this identity was different in the Middle Ages, different during the Ottoman Empire, different during the Turkish Republic. That's what really matters. And the use of  the term Turk to signify Ottoman subjects was only  strong in paper. Inside the Ottoman Empire it was marginalized until the Young Turk Revolution and the second Constitutional period.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 23:27
 
Turk has been used as an "identity" in Anatolia since the Seljuks entered the region, the meaning of this identity can be whatever you subjectively wish to make of it. However, this identity was strong enough for the Europeans to re-name Anatolia "Turchia", the Turks themsevles actually knew the lands as "Rum" or "Roman" until the 15th century when the Ottomans started referring to the Southern Balkans as "Rumeli" (Roman lands).
 
Quote Beylerbeyi
Namely that when an Empire rules almost exactly the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire, which claims the Roman throne, which has the same capital, which has the same ideological/geopolitical mission, which the contemporary peoples accept as the heir, which the church of the Eastern Romans calls the heir, they are not considered the heir... Why? Because the Emperor is not Christian...
 
If the Emperor was Russian would he be more accepted as an heir? Russians and Greeks arn't any closer than Greeks and Turks, is Russian and Greek orthodoxy the same? 
 


Edited by Bulldog - 11-Dec-2008 at 23:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 22:14
Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:


3. Use of 'Turk' in the current (positive as opposed to earlier derogatory) meaning started already in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, before the 'Kemalist period'.


Yes, but only in an intellectual level.The official use of "Turkishness" as a cultural and national identity started with the foundation of the Turkish Republic  in the 1920s.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 18:29
Sorry guys if I've been irritable, I've been writing the same stuff over and over again ('yeah', I hear you say at this point, 'as if you're not irritable normally'). But anyway.

Quote Its true that Ottomans used previously established institutions to help them rule(e.g. those of kleisourarchai who are simiral with the ottoman derven-agas) but very new ways were brought like kadi juridical system,devshirme, millet system etc, and I suppose the citizens felt the difference.


Of course they borrowed heavily from the Romans, but I consider the Ottomans primarily an Islamic/Middle Eastern state, based on Islamic/Middle Eastern political ideals and institutions. That's another reason why I oppose the 'Third Rome' view.

Quote Simple mathematic equations,accepting Beylerbey's thesis, show that today's Republic of Turkey who is undisputable heir of Ottoman empire is also heir of Res Publica Romana of the pre-christian era......


Ottoman's having a geopolitical role similar to the Byzantine Empire is the mainstream opinion among historians. Details of my argumentation are mostly based on Stefanos Yerasimos' works (a Turkish Rum historian who used to work in France, he could read Turkish, Greek, Ottoman and Koine, and was a Marxist like all other intellectuals in Turkey in the 70s to boot). Although I am not sure if he discussed the question of Roman heirs directly anywhere so it is hard to refer you to any single text.

Secondly I do not extend the heir question to Turkey from Ottoman Empire. It becomes absurd at that point as you wrote. Turkey doesn't even like the Ottoman Empire, let alone the Byzantine one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Patrinos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 18:05
I don't think that Greece as a state claims to be the continuance of Byzantine Empire, thats childish...in previous times maybe some did. But I cannot imagine the poor Greek state of 1830 included Morea and the cross area of Roumeli(till Lamia) and a douzin of islands in the Aegean claiming to be the new Byzantine Empire, which just made a break...If you want to speak about the inheritance of all the other we now western historiography now calls byzantine(culture,language etc etc) it would be good.
But really I don't understand what do you mean with "imperial legacy". Is it the right to claim land?...Ottomans I suppose didn't use the Byzantine flag to conquer previously Byzantine lands...
Its true that Ottomans used previously established institutions to help them rule(e.g. those of kleisourarchai who are simiral with the ottoman derven-agas) but very new ways were brought like kadi juridical system,devshirme, millet system etc, and I suppose the citizens felt the difference.
  Simple mathematic equations,accepting Beylerbey's thesis, show that today's Republic of Turkey who is undisputable heir of Ottoman empire is also heir of  Res Publica Romana of the pre-christian era......
The logical dead ends that come out of that type of questions( who's the political heir of... etc etc) make the intended answers absurd.



Edited by Patrinos - 11-Dec-2008 at 18:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 17:13
I think many of the reasons for all of our confusion in the discussion in this thread are rooted in the origin of the topic. It was originally started by a Bulgarian nationalist, with the goal of emphasizing Bulgarian claims, and it didn't really become an entirely serious discussion until he left. Basically we've been trying to piece together a serious dialogue from something that started out as a rather shoddy nationalistic joke. But hey, we've done it. Smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 17:12
Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

Quote I also agree with you that the Greek claim to the Byzantine imperial legacy is extremely weak -- while their claim to the culture might be a bit less so.


I surely agree that the Greeks are the foremost cultural heir of Byzantium among modern day peoples. I always wrote that.
 
I know. I wasn't criticizing or denying that. I just wanted you to know that I agree with you that the Greeks are definitely in line before a few others when it comes to making a claim to the imperial legacy. The attached note about culture was a bit of an apologia for a way in which they do have a cultural connection.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 17:00
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

I think we are probably looking at the legacy itself in different terms. I consider it primarily in the context of the religious ideology behind the concept of a "Christian Empire" -- possibly not the best criteria for this topic, I grant. Consequently, I don't place all that much emphasis on sovereignty over particular territories when determining who the "heir" to the Roman tradition was. This is what I mean when I say that I consider the ideological factors behind the legacy as paramount, and it is in this sense that I think the Russian claim is strongest. I think you are looking at the legacy from the context of geopolitical realities -- probably a better criteria than mine, if we are to consider the question in a modern sense.
 
-Akolouthos
 
I meant the same thing when I was talking about Russia as an ideological heir of the Byzantine Empire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 16:54
Quote I also agree with you that the Greek claim to the Byzantine imperial legacy is extremely weak -- while their claim to the culture might be a bit less so.


I surely agree that the Greeks are the foremost cultural heir of Byzantium among modern day peoples. I always wrote that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 16:47
Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

Just to clarify a few points,

- I am not saying that the Ottoman Empire is the 'Third Rome'. My point is, it has the strongest claim among the PRETENDERS by far. You can argue that Roman Empire ended after 1453 or when Trabizond and Morea fell, and everyone after that are just pretenders and I would agree. If you argue, however, that Russia or Holy Roman Empire or Greece are the legitimate heirs, then that's obviously not the case, as their claim is nowhere as solid as the Ottomans'.

- Ottomans protected the Byzantine church against the West, because they had to. Any Empire founded on those lands at that time had to do that. It was a geopolitical necessity. Even if it was founded by the Zimbabweans it would have had to behave like Byzantium. Ottomans protected the church, because they needed its help to control the vast Orthodox populations they ruled over. And the church needed the Ottomans because it had no state and could be destroyed by the Latins or other churches if those people took over the land or even more conversion-oriented Muslims.    

- The Orthodox church cooperated with the Ottoman state big time. Maybe the Greek national church which came into being much later did not, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate did, for centuries. Greek nationalist revisionism later created a romantic history for the church ('secret schools' and all), of course, like everyone did. I don't really expect the average Greek to understand this point. Ultimately it is not important because I agree that the Ottomans penetrated from the East as well, and things would have been better for the Orthodox 'civilisation' if they remained independent. However, they collapsed under Eastern and Western expansion. This is history, such things happen. West won eventually, anyway.
 
I'm not going to respond to the longer post you wrote before the one quoted above, primarily because I agree with most of what you said; I think you make a very strong case. I think one of the most telling things you mentioned was the transfer of the symbols of imperial sovereignty to Constantinople by the Goths -- and idea, I'll admit, I had not brought into consideration. I also agree with you that the Greek claim to the Byzantine imperial legacy is extremely weak -- while their claim to the culture might be a bit less so. They might have been able to make a claim before the loss of Greek Anatolia, and the collapse of the monarchy but they never held Istanbul/ Constantinople, and you and I can both agree that Athens is certainly no "Third Rome".
 
I think we are probably looking at the legacy itself in different terms. I consider it primarily in the context of the religious ideology behind the concept of a "Christian Empire" -- possibly not the best criteria for this topic, I grant. Consequently, I don't place all that much emphasis on sovereignty over particular territories when determining who the "heir" to the Roman tradition was. This is what I mean when I say that I consider the ideological factors behind the legacy as paramount, and it is in this sense that I think the Russian claim is strongest. I think you are looking at the legacy from the context of geopolitical realities -- probably a better criteria than mine, if we are to consider the question in a modern sense.
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 11-Dec-2008 at 16:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 16:15
Just to clarify a few points,

- I am not saying that the Ottoman Empire is the 'Third Rome'. My point is, it has the strongest claim among the PRETENDERS by far. You can argue that Roman Empire ended after 1453 or when Trabizond and Morea fell, and everyone after that are just pretenders and I would agree. If you argue, however, that Russia or Holy Roman Empire or Greece are the legitimate heirs, then that's obviously not the case, as their claim is nowhere as solid as the Ottomans'.

- Ottomans protected the Byzantine church against the West, because they had to. Any Empire founded on those lands at that time had to do that. It was a geopolitical necessity. Even if it was founded by the Zimbabweans it would have had to behave like Byzantium. Ottomans protected the church, because they needed its help to control the vast Orthodox populations they ruled over. And the church needed the Ottomans because it had no state and could be destroyed by the Latins or other churches if those people took over the land or even more conversion-oriented Muslims.    

- The Orthodox church cooperated with the Ottoman state big time. Maybe the Greek national church which came into being much later did not, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate did, for centuries. Greek nationalist revisionism later created a romantic history for the church ('secret schools' and all), of course, like everyone did. I don't really expect the average Greek to understand this point. Ultimately it is not important because I agree that the Ottomans penetrated from the East as well, and things would have been better for the Orthodox 'civilisation' if they remained independent. However, they collapsed under Eastern and Western expansion. This is history, such things happen. West won eventually, anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Patrinos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 15:03
I don't believe that we can discuss and find a political inheritor of the Rwmania or Vasileia Rwmaiwn(Ρωμανία- Βασιλεία Ρωμαίων) or anachronistically Byzantine Empire.

Rwmania's main characteristic was what West calls Greek-Orthodoxy(Ορθοδοξία). Even though Byzantine Empire was not a theocratic state the Church(Ecclesia) was powerful and rich. After the Fall(1453) this institution continued to survive of course in a totally different enviroment than before this blackletter day(29 May),as called by late Byzantine schollars.
  -Constantinople's Oecoumenical Patriarchate never identified with Ottoman Empire and even if it kept some of its benefits it was still an opressed institution that many times acted not properly for its ""flock"" because of ...Sultan's "advices".
Today's situation in Fanari is a logical effect of this about half millennium story...
- The fact that member of Byzantine Greek families married royal member of other states' has nothing to do with inheritance of the political succession of Byzantium. Theophanw also married Otto back in 10th century but  Constantinopolites never accepted to Germans any right to claim anything from Vasileia Rwmaiwn. Marriages between royal families are, I think..., very common.

- It is written about how Ottoman empire protected the established social situation of the East against Westerners...
...
...
But who protected Eastern-Byzantine society(I mean Balkans,Anatolia etc) from the more eastern penetration(Ottoman); economicly, socially, linguistically, religiously?

-The last Emperor himself would had been suprised if  those who are "ἐχθρός της πίστεως ἠμῶν-enemy of our faith" and like " ὄφις τὸν ἰὸν ἐκχύση καὶ ὡς λέων ἀνήμερος καταπῖη ἠμᾶς- snake that his poison will be exuded to us and like lion will swallow us" will be considered as his inheritors.(the sentences in italic are Palaiologos' own words.)

The only political entities that we can consider heirs of Rwmania are the short lived Empires of Trapezous and Nicaia and the Despotates in Moreas and Epirus, but they had similar end with Constantinople...

If we want to talk about Rwmania's cultural, language, conscience,identity, religion, national, philosophical  inheritance  its easier.


Edited by Patrinos - 11-Dec-2008 at 15:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 13:31
The ottomans replaced the Romans and while i think they took some of the old system (and blood) inc titles, they built something that was quite new with Roman input along with Persian, Arab and Turkish. Either way i cant see a direct line or evolution. Once the emperor was killed in The City that political line was gone forever. No one can claim it with a straight face.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

1. They claimed the title 'Caesar of the Romans', and were accepted as such by most local and foreign peoples.
but he was not a Roman Caesar. He conquered the Romans as a foreigner, to the Romans he was a not one of them and the sultan didn't act like one. Why else would there be a millet system. Everyone even the church had little choice but accept the new powers.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

2. They ruled from Constantinople, the Roman capital.
If the French conquered Washington would that make them legitamate heirs to the US constution and government, let alone be american?

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

4. They have taken over the Byzantine role of defending the Eastern socio-economic order against Western (feudal and later capitalist) penetration.
True they helped preserve us from those western barbarians. ThankyouSmile

but that was more a by-product of them protecting their interest along with the millet system. They protected themsleves and in a ironic twist of fate their captive Roman population.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

5. They were close relatives of the Byzantine royalty (descended from the Kanakuzen line).
Yeah blood is not that important, all you need is the next line to rule from some upsurding general and a new dynasty started.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

As to the language-ethnicity argument, it is not really valid because the Roman Empire in the beginning ruled over Latin speaking people in Italy but later over the Greeks and it still was the Roman Empire. Even if you think the linguistic-ethnic argument is valid, then Greek was one of the official languages in the Ottoman Empire, and most Greeks lived under the Ottoman state.
East rome even before the split had greek as the lingua franca, latin never really replaced it. After the split it became the unchallenged languge of trade and education. So the comparison will be true over the role of Greek as a language, not if it was spoken. Ottoman replaced it as the new king language for the area, so it doesnt fit here either. Rather, out with the old and in with the new.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

1. Either what the church says is irrelevant. The original Roman Empire itself was Pagan. Christians took over the Empire, and they were considered heirs. If that is the case, Muslim takeover should be no problem either.
The christian take over was from the inside out and not by external force. The Romans that the ottomans took over morphed into a very religoius society, being christian (orthodox) was being Roman. The Roman society had become one with that religion. Being Greek was to them an insult, like being pagan.

These guys feuded over Icons, should they or shouldnt they, and it was major contoversy  then about such shtty details on Christianity. Islam was simply too foreign to a roman citizen to be Roman. The Egyptians couldnt be Roman if they were copts and hated the Romans that much they welcomed the muslims when they arrived. i cant see how any society with such single minded religoius chauvinism would accept Islam if they had issue wit such churchs. The peasants that did jump to the other side, stopped being Roman they became ottoman. Come to think about it, that millet system is the closest thing the ottomans had to preserving that attitude.

Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

Bulgaria, Duchy of Athens, Armenia, Russia, Habsburgs (who accepted Ottoman claims as well during Suleyman's reign anyway) etc. could not be not be heirs to the Roman throne. Only reason they are brought about was European racism/religious fundamentalism. IMO, only other candidate after 1453 was Trabizond, but Mehmed II finished them off.
agreed. I dont belive it can be calimed.

But while we have replaced the Roman identity for a Greek one during liberation. Turkey still has the Rum.  so in that respect I'd say Turkey has a population that kept the label.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 11:57
Quote Aye, that they did. Still, by the same logic one could say that any of the Western Emperors, Popes, or Italian princelings who ever held Rome were the heirs to the Roman legacy.


They would have been, if they fulfilled the other criteria as well. If someone from Rome unified the rest of the Western Roman territory, and declared himself the Emperor and everyone accepted him as such, he would have obviously been a heir. What happened in reality was when Rome fell, the conqueror sent the symbols of Empire to Constantinople, and forfeited the claim. They tried to invent it later (Holy Roman Empire), but it was too late.

Quote Furthermore, I would note that the way in which Byzantium acquired the Roman legacy was by an ideological identification of the new capital (Constantinople) with the old (Rome); and that after this was achieved the former gained the ascendancy. This is almost entirely analogous to the situation with Russia.


I disagree. 'Byzantium' is a Western invention. What you call Byzantium is Roman Empire itself, it is not a 'heir'. Therefore it has nothing to do with the situation in Russia. Constantinople and Rome divided the Empire between them to rule easier. Later one half fell and the other stayed alive. What Empire did Constantinople and Moscow rule together?   

Quote Interesting. I'd be interested in reading a source if you could refer me to one. I don't doubt you; I'd just like to familiarize myself with something that would help me gain another piece of knowledge about the late empire.


Well, you should doubt me actually. Ottomans were married both to Kantakuzen and Palailogos lines, that much is certain. But I have written 'descended from' and that may not be the case, if we consider individual Padishahs themselves. I don't think anybody knows for sure. But the dynasty was certainly related to the Byzantine royalty.

Quote Once again, however, note the striking similarity between the Russian inheritance of the Byzantine legacy and the Byzantine inheritance of the Roman legacy. The only thing missing -- and I grant you that it is a huge missing piece of the puzzle -- is the continuity of a unified political order, the which would resolve the question to all of our satisfaction.


As I wrote above the so-called 'Byzantium' is not the heir to the Roman Empire. Byzantium is the Roman Empire. Therefore the relationship of Rome to Constantinople bears no similarity whatsoever to the relationship of Constantinople to Moscow. If Constantinople ruled South part of the Roman Empire and Moscow ruled the North part, and if the South fell to the Turks, then yeah, it would be 'strikingly similar'. As it stands it is similar to some backwater duchy marrying a princess and claiming the Imperial throne they had only heard in stories...

Quote An interesting and somewhat valid point, but perhaps a bit overstated. We must remember that the sort of piety that existed among your average pagan Roman in the first century B.C. was quite different than the sort of piety -- and even the sort of religious ideology -- that existed in the late third century A.D. on the eve of Diocletian's persecution. And this was, again, quite different from the sort of piety that existed in Byzantine society from the fourth century on. It is the scope of the role that religion played in Byzantine ideology that is a reason for a change in the understanding of the concept of an ideological heritage. That said, I do understand where you are coming from.


Actually I included that point of view for the sake of completeness, as some historians do call the Ottoman Empire 'Third Rome' or 'Islamic Rome'. I disagree and my reason to disagree is the same, Byzantium is Rome, it is not a heir. Whereas Ottomans are not Rome, they are an outside claimant, they are what I call a heir.

Quote Well, the Ecumenical Patriarch does not have absolute authority in the Orthodox Church; he holds a primacy of honor, not one of jurisdiction. That said, you do have a point: the patriarchs generally had recognized and confirmed the accession of various emperors to the throne. The problem is that the Byzantines had a rather well developed ideological/theological notion of what the emperor was supposed to be, and one of the things he was supposed to be was Christian.


Desperate times call for desperate measures. In the end they preferred the Turkish Padishah's turban to the Roman Cardinal's mitre. Byzantine ideological/theological formation was mainly opposed to Catholic (Western) infiltration of the Eastern Roman land, and Ottoman Sultan agreed to guarantee Orthodox supremacy among the Christians of the Empire, in return for the Church's cooperation. It was a symbiotic agreement that the Ecumenical Patriarch agreed to. Admittedly he was no Pope, but he has million times the authority to decide whose claims he supports than the Patriarch of Moscow or, indeed, you. If he thought it was unthinkable that the Emperor be a non-Christian he would not have agreed to it.

Quote That said, the only reason the objection is telling for me is because I accept the supremacy of the ideological claim to the Roman/Byzantine legacy. If you wish to accept a different standard, you could certainly speak as you did above.


You have an extremely arbitrary criterion as opposed to very real geopolitical facts, and even taking your criterion, Ottomans have the stronger claim. As Byzantine ideological position was developed by their opposition to the Western infiltration to the lands of Eastern Rome, and it was the Ottoman Empire which took over the mantle in this case, with the support of the Byzantine Church itself. You are basically like the 19th century Orientalists, who, instead of looking at the facts on the ground read some texts such as the Quran and then believed that they knew the 'Oriental soul' better than the people themselves...

Quote The problem is -- and this is why this topic is so fascinating -- that there is a sense in which almost all of the political entities mentioned in this thread could be considered heirs of Byzantium.


For me this topic is fascinating because it shows how much people are blinded by nationalism/religion/racism and the lengths they go to avoid seeing the elephant in the room.

Namely that when an Empire rules almost exactly the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire, which claims the Roman throne, which has the same capital, which has the same ideological/geopolitical mission, which the contemporary peoples accept as the heir, which the church of the Eastern Romans calls the heir, they are not considered the heir... Why? Because the Emperor is not Christian...

However, according to the AE pundits, Russia, which rules no lands no Roman (eastern or western) has ever seen, which has a capital no Roman has ever seen, which has a very vaguely similar ideological/geopolitical mission, which no contemporary person accepts as the heir, which the Byzantine church does not consider the heir, is the true heir... Why? Because their King is Christian and that fact makes your insides go warm and fuzzy... Give us a break!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Dec-2008 at 20:44
Damn Beylerbeyi makes a strong case Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Dec-2008 at 20:21
Originally posted by Beylerbeyi Beylerbeyi wrote:

Since nobody seems to read the previous pages, I re-post part of my original take on the matter:

Ottoman dynasty had the strongest claim to the Roman throne, without slightest doubt. Why?

1. They claimed the title 'Caesar of the Romans', and were accepted as such by most local and foreign peoples.
 
Aye, everyone was after a part of the Roman legacy. This is where the Russian concept of a "third Rome" comes in as well.
 
Quote 2. They ruled from Constantinople, the Roman capital.
 
Aye, that they did. Still, by the same logic one could say that any of the Western Emperors, Popes, or Italian princelings who ever held Rome were the heirs to the Roman legacy. One certainly could make the case, but it isn't the strongest in my humble opinion. There are a couple of threads in the archives which lay out the most legitimate, Byzantine case for the legacy. Furthermore, I would note that the way in which Byzantium acquired the Roman legacy was by an ideological identification of the new capital (Constantinople) with the old (Rome); and that after this was achieved the former gained the ascendancy. This is almost entirely analogous to the situation with Russia.
 
Quote 3. They ruled over the Eastern Roman lands (South of Danube & West of Euphrates were the cultural heartland).
 
The statement is correct, but I think we can, once again, look to the analogy between the Byzantine legacy and the Roman legacy -- indeed, the former is a simple continuation of the latter. Thus, while this does build up a certain case for Ottoman claims, I don't think it is the strongest.
 
Quote 4. They have taken over the Byzantine role of defending the Eastern socio-economic order against Western (feudal and later capitalist) penetration.
 
To a degree, yes.
 
Quote 5. They were close relatives of the Byzantine royalty (descended from the Kanakuzen line).
 
Interesting. I'd be interested in reading a source if you could refer me to one. I don't doubt you; I'd just like to familiarize myself with something that would help me gain another piece of knowledge about the late empire.
 
Quote As to the language-ethnicity argument, it is not really valid because the Roman Empire in the beginning ruled over Latin speaking people in Italy but later over the Greeks and it still was the Roman Empire. Even if you think the linguistic-ethnic argument is valid, then Greek was one of the official languages in the Ottoman Empire, and most Greeks lived under the Ottoman state.
 
Aye, I don't believe the Greeks have the strongest claim based on the linguistic and cultural argument; I believe the most telling argument for a claim to the legacy is ideological, rather than cultural. Once again, however, note the striking similarity between the Russian inheritance of the Byzantine legacy and the Byzantine inheritance of the Roman legacy. The only thing missing -- and I grant you that it is a huge missing piece of the puzzle -- is the continuity of a unified political order, the which would resolve the question to all of our satisfaction. Perhaps an illustration may help. Whereas we may liken the Byzantine inheritance of the Roman legacy to the process of cellular mitosis, we would do better to liken the Russian inheritance of the Byzantine legacy to a gradual -- and I believe beneficial -- infection.
 
Quote The religion argument supports the Ottoman claim. Because:

1. Either what the church says is irrelevant. The original Roman Empire itself was Pagan. Christians took over the Empire, and they were considered heirs. If that is the case, Muslim takeover should be no problem either.
 
An interesting and somewhat valid point, but perhaps a bit overstated. We must remember that the sort of piety that existed among your average pagan Roman in the first century B.C. was quite different than the sort of piety -- and even the sort of religious ideology -- that existed in the late third century A.D. on the eve of Diocletian's persecution. And this was, again, quite different from the sort of piety that existed in Byzantine society from the fourth century on. It is the scope of the role that religion played in Byzantine ideology that is a reason for a change in the understanding of the concept of an ideological heritage. That said, I do understand where you are coming from.
 
Quote 2. Or what the church says is relevant. In that case, the Ecumenical Church remained in Constantinople, and it accepted Ottoman Sultan's claim to the Byzantine throne. Of course, Catholic church (i.e. Pope) didn't (while he made it clear that the only reason he refuses the claim is that Mehmed II is a heretic, i.e. Muslim), but who cares for what the Catholics say?
 
Well, the Ecumenical Patriarch does not have absolute authority in the Orthodox Church; he holds a primacy of honor, not one of jurisdiction. That said, you do have a point: the patriarchs generally had recognized and confirmed the accession of various emperors to the throne. The problem is that the Byzantines had a rather well developed ideological/theological notion of what the emperor was supposed to be, and one of the things he was supposed to be was Christian.
 
That said, the only reason the objection is telling for me is because I accept the supremacy of the ideological claim to the Roman/Byzantine legacy. If you wish to accept a different standard, you could certainly speak as you did above.
 
Quote Bulgaria, Duchy of Athens, Armenia, Russia, Habsburgs (who accepted Ottoman claims as well during Suleyman's reign anyway) etc. could not be not be heirs to the Roman throne. Only reason they are brought about was European racism/religious fundamentalism. IMO, only other candidate after 1453 was Trabizond, but Mehmed II finished them off.
 
Well, don't forget the Despotate of the Morea centered at Mistra; they held out for a wee bit as well. That said, I take your point about Trebizond. As for the rest, I don't think we can dismiss them outright -- although I certainly think some of the claims are weak. The problem is -- and this is why this topic is so fascinating -- that there is a sense in which almost all of the political entities mentioned in this thread could be considered heirs of Byzantium. I honestly think the question centers as much on a discussion of the context in which we wish to understand the term "legacy" as it does on a debate about the varying claims of the different parties.
 
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