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The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050The Early Middle Ages$
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Florin Curta

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638093

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638093.001.0001

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Conclusion: the people of early medieval greece

Conclusion: the people of early medieval greece

(p.276) Chapter 10 Conclusion: the people of early medieval greece
The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050

Florin Curta

Siu-lun Wong

Edinburgh University Press

The presence of the army in early medieval Greece had much more to do with neighboring areas of military conflict (with the Arabs or the Bulgarians) than with territorial expansion. The identity of several groups in the interior of Peloponnesos and in northern Greece cannot be subsumed to the label “Slavs,” because no evidence exists that such people thought of themselves as united by whatever values or opposed as a block to the imperial administration. The use of (Common) Slavic in Greece is attested in glosses to the Geography of Strabo, but bilingualism seems to have been a phenomenon sufficiently wide-spread to form the basis of ethnic jokes at the imperial court in Constantinople. Several other groups—Kapheroi, Armenians, Magyars, and “Latins”—appear in the written sources, while Jews were well established in Sparta and, later, on the island of Chios. In contrast to all of them, the natives were regarded as different by virtue of being subjects of the emperor. While ethnic traits mattered to Byzantine authors, the inhabitants of early medieval Greece were more often understood to be Roman, while “Greek” was a half-derogatory term employed for new settlers.

Keywords:   Ethnicity, Slavs, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Jews, Romans

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