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Lecture: The Experience of Ethnicity in Byzantium

Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Anthony Kaldellis (Columbus)

The Experience of Ethnicity in Byzantium

Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Anthony Kaldellis (Columbus)

How did the subjects of the Byzantine empire experience ethnicity, whether in their daily lives or in their relations to the state? Even though ethnicity is a major area of research in all historical fields, both modern and premodern, the field of Byzantine Studies has, for largely ideological reasons, shied away from the concept. But the sources make it clear ethnicity (and ethnoreligious difference generally) was an important factor in interpersonal relations as well as in subject-state relations. Stereotypes proliferated, people were expected to play ethnic roles, and rights were allocated differently based on perceptions of ethnicity. Some people took steps to change their ethnic profile in order to fit better into Roman society.

Finally, the "Romans" of Byzantium were one ethnicity among others, the dominant one to be sure, but not an umbrella category that accommodated a multiethnic mixture.