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Being Byzantine: Greek Identity Before the Ottomans, 1200-1420

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Overview

In 1204, the Byzantine Empire was conquered by troops from western Europe ostensibly taking part in the Fourth Crusade. This was a hugely significant event for the subjects of the Empire, radically altering the Byzantines' self-image and weakening their state for the later conflict with the Ottoman Turks. Using the theory of ethnicity - a comparatively recent tool with regard to the pre-modern era - Gill Page provides fresh insight into the late Byzantine period, providing a corrective to nationalistic interpretations of the period of Frankish rule and more broadly to generally held assumptions of ethnic hostility in the period. A systematic analysis of texts in Greek from the period 1200–1420, from both ends of the social spectrum, is backed up by an in-depth study of Frankish rule in the Peloponnese to reveal the trends in the development of Byzantine identity under the impact of the Franks.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a jewel of writing on Byzantine identity, one of the best the discipline has seen. It is fine in content and presentation, accompanied by very useful auxiliary materials, including maps and illustrations, and a glossary of Greek terms used."
Canadian Journal of History, Eugenia Russell, University of London

"This is an important and original contribution to the understanding of the multiple and evolving forms of Greek self-identification."
American Historical Review, David Jacoby, Hebrew University

"This important, sophisticated, well-planned, and intelligent book contains no wild theses or claims. The author has provided a major contribution to late Byzantine (post-1204) history and historical thought, as well as to Byzantine language and the history of ideas."
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Walter E. Kaegi, University of Chicago

"...a praiseworthy first book." -Teresa Shawcross, Speculum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521871815
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2008
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gill Page studied Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before beginning a career in museum education. After completing an MA in Medieval History at the University of Manchester, Dr Page went on to complete a doctorate at the University of Leeds.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: the Frankish conquest of Greece; 1. Ethnic identity?; 2. Byzantine identities; 3. Niketas Choniates; 4. The thirteenth century: ambition, euphoria and the loss of illusion; 5. The nightmare of the fourteenth century; 6. Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople …; 7. The long defeat; 8. Roman identity and the response to the Franks.

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