Author Topic: The Byzantine Empire  (Read 69813 times)

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Offline Branislav

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2005, 04:08:07 PM »
Dear palimpsest,

Quote

sometimes I think an Orthodox Commonwealth would be capable of cultivating a better civilization than the one we find ourselves in... however, I have serious doubts about this kind of thoughts... we should better think about our own weaknesses first and foremost [and they are many, aren't they?]


Today's "Orthodox commonwealth" - of course I did not mean something like European Union. I meant friendly mutual relations of brotherly love. Instead of waging mutual wars because of excess of ugly nationalism, it would be wiser to realise that national differences are not that important compared to the commonly shared faith.

That was an interesting text on Heidegger  you sent ...

regards,
Branislav

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Branislav »

Offline romios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2005, 06:52:08 PM »
I just stumbled across your conversation! Think of the magnificence of a commonwealth of orthodox/byzantium states! Imagine the glory, the honour, the learning the restoration of culture. It would be like the fourth crusade had never hapened!

Offline Alexios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2005, 11:16:50 AM »
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Dear Alexios,

It was the Roman Empire, the East Roman Empire! So as palimpsest once said, the fall of Roman Empire occured in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople, not in 476 with the fall of western part of Roman Empire.

People like thinking that Byzantium was only the heir of the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire never had that view. To say that the Empire ended in 476 would be absolutely foolish, since the Eastern Empire continued as before and the Eastern Emperor was acknowledged by Odacer as overlord of Italy (Under Justinian Italy was reconquered anyway, and Rome was under the wings of Byzantium until the middle of the 8th century). There was no reason for Byzantium to regard itself no longer as the Roman Empire until the second third of the 7th century, when Byzantium suffered a huge decline in territory and power. And also after that - as long as they held the city of Constantinople, the New Rome, they didn't doubt their claim. Until 1453 the  difference between reality and the claim became larger. Of course the history of Byzantium is not one of constant decline, but after the conquest of Syria and Egypt in the 630s and 40s, it would never regain its old power. By the 9th century it no longer had to struggle for survival against an Arab invasion and regained huge territories in the second half of the 10th century and in the early 11th century, especially under the Emperors Nikephoros II, John I and Basil II. The disaster of the defeat of Mantzikert (1071) was not necessary, but nonetheless it happened, leading to the loss of most of Asia Minor, but Byzantium still had quite an important role for another century, under the Comnenoi (1081-1185), which was not a period of decline, but one of rise compared with the situation after Mantzikert. The disaster of 1204 finally destroyed almost every hope to rise in power again. Constantinople was recovered in 1261, but after that the history is sadly one of constant decline in power, although art and culture in this period prospered.


Offline Branislav

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2005, 12:06:59 PM »
There is an excellent book about history of "byzantine" literature, from which one can clearly get the feeling about Romanity of so called "Byzantine empire":

Averincev, Sergej Sergejevic: "The Poetics of the Early Byzantine Literature". Belgrade, SKZ, 1982, (Moscow, Science, 1977).

I am not sure if there is yet an english translation of this masterpiece of scholarship. Bahtin has been translated in English, but I am not sure about Averincev. If there is somebody who knows I would appreciate the info.

Branislav
PS - palimpsest, what happend with that text on Heidegger which I saw in an instance of time and than it disappeared?  :)

Quote
People like thinking that Byzantium was only the heir of the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire never had that view. To say that the Empire ended in 476 would be absolutely foolish, since the Eastern Empire continued as before and the Eastern Emperor was acknowledged by Odacer as overlord of Italy (Under Justinian Italy was reconquered anyway, and Rome was under the wings of Byzantium until the middle of the 8th century).

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Branislav »

Offline romios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2005, 06:32:53 PM »
Branislav,
Thank you for your post about the Balkans and the way people see themselves. The Byzantine empire was without a shadow of doubt the most illustrious of human civilization in the sense that it reigned supreme for many hundreds of years and it considered itself to be the modern metamorphosis of the Roman Empire. Having studied many writings in both Greek(Byzantine) and English and read modern scholars,Runciman and Norwich,I often feel the modern history has done a diservice to it because the Empire  is not well known nor generally understood. One fine such example of misconception  is the birth of the Rennaissance immeadiately after the fall of the Polis and the people who created it by escaping from her.It has always been my strong belief that the Empire unified and strenghtend many different tribes/people  under one system and religion and was hence able to create the wonders that it did.I do not believe that their exists another example in history of so many different groups assimilating and being able to live in peace with one another(not their enemies) for so long and able to regard one central place and one central idea as belonging to all of them!

Offline Branislav

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2005, 11:44:11 AM »
Romios,

Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans was the greatest tragedy in Christian world. My wife, who is an Art Historian, turned my attention to Steven Runciman. Whenever she re-reads pages from his "Fall of Constantinople", she gets excited and, as she says, hopes it won't fall this time! Runciman is a very good writer.

The cultural influence of "Byzantium" on the western parts of Europe is obvious. For instance, even organ, so typical for western churches, was actually brought to the west from "Byzantium" in 757 at the court of Frankish king Pepin the Short, as the Emperor's gift. On www.answers.com we read:

Quote
Evidence of the first purely pneumatic organ is found on an obelisk erected at Byzantium before A.D. 393. Byzantium became the center of organ building in the Middle Ages, and in 757 Constantine V presented a Byzantine organ to Pepin the Short. This is the earliest positive evidence of the appearance of the organ in Western Europe. By the 10th cent., however, organ building had made considerable progress in Germany and England. The organ built c.950 in Winchester Cathedral is said to have had 400 pipes and 26 bellows and required two players and 70 men to operate the bellows.


It is interesting to listen French ensemble for medieval music "Organum", lead by Marcel Peres.
Peres did a lot of research on Byzantine influence in Western medieval music, and created series of CDs where his singers sing with ornamentation, not flat. He even invited Greek tenor Lykourgos Angelopoulos and made couple of CDs with him singing together, in a style which he believes was used in many western churches in Middle Ages when Byzantium dominated culturally.

It is interesting to compare "Ensemble Organum" with "Hilliard ensemble" who sings extremely flat! I like both approaches.

Just one question, what did you mean by this:

Quote
....
I often feel the modern history has done a diservice to it because the Empire  is not well known nor generally understood. One fine such example of misconception  is the birth of the Rennaissance immeadiately after the fall of the Polis and the people who created it by escaping from her.
...


What is the misconception you are talking about here?

Regards,
Branislav

Offline romios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2005, 07:06:07 PM »
The misconception that I am referring to is that it was primarilly Byzantine scholars,priests,noblemen etc(who left Constantinople) that sped up the culturalization of Western Europe and that it is so unknown in modern European society.  

Offline dvoretzky

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2005, 12:19:54 AM »
Let me draw your attention to the fact that many representatives of the virtual Orthodox Commonwealth died defending Constantinople, including scions of the Bulgarian Assen dynasty. You can find the names of other Balkan noblemen by googling.

Offline romios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2005, 12:37:14 AM »
Dvoretzky,
what does that mean or is it a nick name?
I am at work and as such do not have the lists in front of me but here goes.
Defending the battlements of the Polis there included,Venetians,Turks,Genoese,Greeks,Bulgars,Norse(english scandanavian etc).
When a count of all able bodied men within the walls was mage by the Emperors Exarch it was found that there wer only 6500 available men to defend the city of which some 450 were men of the cloth both orthodox and catholic! Of the remainder some estimated 30%were men who did not regard them selves as Byzantines but were there because they were either traders or mercenaries!Sad reallywhen  you think about  what state of disrepair the Empire had fallen to.
It is interesting to know that Sultan Mehmet's younger brother who had rebelled against his brother and had attempted to wrest the throne for himself was one who had sought refuge from Paleologue and who not only defended the battlements but was subsequently captured and beheaded after he was discovered posing as an Orthodox monk attempting to escape!

Offline dvoretzky

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2005, 11:30:42 AM »
I am sorry, I cannot find an online listing now. Several months ago I saw the names of at least two Asanes who died defending Constantinople. I am sure you know that the Asanes were descendents of King Mitzo Asen.
one interesting detail: "Constantine had asked for one of his brothers, Thomas or Demetrios, to come from the Morea to swell the ranks of defenders. The Sultan had foreseen this possibility. Tο keep them where they were, he ordered the elderly Turahan to invade the Morea again in October 1452, taking with him a large army and his sons Umur and Ahmed. The Hexamilion wall was nο longer in their way and they plundered all the Peloponnese from Corinth down to Messenia. Οnly one setback marred their victory. Ιn an encounter with the army of the Despotate, Matthew Asen, one of the officers of Demetrios, captured Turahan's son Ahmed. He was carried away as a prisoner to Mistra. Ιt was a small triumph but an encouraging one."
[glb][/glb] http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/nicol_fall.html

Offline palimpsest

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2005, 11:29:34 AM »
I always wondered if the organ was used in church services in "Byzantium".



It was God's will that [political] “Byzantium” should fade away and the “West” should rise to dominate even the “East”. I’m sure this happened so that we might learn some important lessons.

Perhaps one of the lessons is to always be humble, remembering the priority our Church Fathers put on this virtue!





Monks come to blows at rebel monastery in Vatican dispute
Orthodox monks traded blows yesterday in the Mount Athos monastic community in northern Greece as a bitter fight between church authorities and a rebel monastery turned violent. (Telegraph, UK)
________________________________________

(Filed: 25/11/2005)
Orthodox monks traded blows yesterday in the Mount Athos monastic community in northern Greece as a bitter fight between church authorities and a rebel monastery turned violent.
A spokesman for the besieged Esphigmenou Monastery said workmen and rival monks tried to demolish the community's offices at Karyes, the administrative centre of the medieval sanctuary - from which women and female animals are banned.
"They used pickaxes, spades and crowbars to try to break down the door," said Father Neophytos. "They were trying to throw us out."
Police said nobody was injured in the clashes.
In a dispute spanning three decades, the zealot monks staunchly oppose efforts to improve relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican.
The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, has declared the monks in the 1,000-year-old monastery to be schismatics, and ordered them out of the walled compound.
But the 100 monks of Esphigmenou, one of 20 monasteries at Athos, have settled in for a long siege.
However, their supplies are dwindling and the monks' telephone line was cut last month. They are now relying on mobile phones.
The sanctuary is popular with Christian pilgrims.
The Prince of Wales is a regular visitor to Mount Athos and President Vladimir Putin spent time there in August.
I, Claudius

Offline Alexios

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2005, 01:29:47 PM »
How interesting...thank you, palimpsest.


Offline Branislav

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2005, 05:52:58 PM »
Palimpsest,

Quote
I always wondered if the organ was used in church services in "Byzantium".
 

Organ was not used in church services in Byzantium. Only at the court and for weddings, and other secular celebrations.

Even in the West, it was introduced in church services quite late.

Look at: http://www.westfield.org/curious.htm.

Quote
OUT OF THE CIRCUS AND INTO THE  CHURCH
The organ began making its way into churches around 900 CE. Exactly how and why remains an enigma, but it appears that the organ was first used for ceremonial purposes. By the 1400s, the use of organs was well established in monastic churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. Large and small organs were in use on festival occasions and in alternation with church choirs for liturgical purposes. While most Americans may link the organ to the church, the instrument was around for more than 1100 years before it made its way into a church setting.


Regards,
Branislav

Offline palimpsest

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2005, 12:58:59 PM »
Thank you Branislav!

Am I right in saying that in the orthodox liturgy, while there isn't a specific ban of musical instruments, the human voice is considered the most complex "instrument", and therefore the most fit to praise God?

I enjoy very much Byzantine Psaltic Music!
Do you?
I, Claudius

Offline palimpsest

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Re: The Byzantine Empire
« Reply #44 on: November 29, 2005, 03:48:08 PM »
What do you think about this discussion from the Romanian Royal Family Portraits thread?




on Nov 28th, 2005, 12:48am, Svetabel wrote:


Is it an icon ??  






my first replay

Very good question. On the West wall of Orthodox Churches, close to the exit of the church, there usually is a similar-to-the-rest-of-the-mural-icons image that presents the patron-donors-builders who have helped in the building and the decoration of the church. The main donor usually presents a small model of the new church as a gift to Christ or the Theotokos. So even if the depicted donors are not canonized saints the whole scene is an icon because of the "happening" of giving something to God, a sacred and blessed act. You must also keep in mind that in the Orthodox Church the "sacred" tends to permeate the "profane" much more than in Western Christianity.

However, these images are icons mainly in the context of that particular church. It would be highly unusual to make a separate-portable icon out of it. They are usually called "votive mural-paintings".  

The particular votive murals you can see here with the Romanian Royal Family are problematic because they don't respect the regular canons of icon-painting.

[see also the following]
I, Claudius