Should Byzantium be seen as separate from Rome? (Putting this here because Roman Empire-related)

By Tyrannus Rex, in 'Latin Culture', Dec 3, 2018.

  1. The Byzantines, though they spoke Greek and had largely Greek customs, never called themselves Byzantines; they were Romans, heirs to the eastern half of the Roman Empire. A lot of people though (and especially a lot of video games, trust me) seem to classify "Byzantium" as a separate civilization unto itself, when really, it's just what was left of the Romans evolving into a Medieval-era culture.

    Do you think Byzantium should be split or lumped from/into Rome? Why?
    And why do people seem to split it up so much, even though the Byzantines themselves would've disagreed?
  2. Iáson Cívis Illústris

    • Civis Illustris
    History very rarely has neat boundaries. Civilisations do not begin and end at single moments; they form one massive continuum, which is not easy to divide up. The way people do periodise history is largely based on tradition and their own personal priorities, as well as on compelling but oversimplified narratives.

    Thus, I don't think it's at all meaningful to 'split off' the Byzantines from Graeco-Roman civilisation. On the other hand, I suppose one has to make divisions somewhere in the subject, just to make it manageable. This does not necessarily pose a problem so long as we don't actually start believing that those divisions are real.

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