Examination of Byzantium’s legacy as a way of achieving understanding of its successor states – Russia, Greece, Serbia

Here we present a part of the «Editor’s Foreword» from the book «Historical Dictionary of Byzantium», by John H. Rosser.


“Once there were two empires. The Holy Roman Empire in the West was neither holy, nor Roman, nor really an empire. Byzantium in the East really was an empire, with a long succession of emperors. Its links with ancient Rome and Greece were much stronger. As the center of Orthodox Christianity, it could claim a considerable degree of holiness. In addition, it was a great center of learning and culture with exceptional achievements in art, architecture, and literature. And it held sway over vast lands and numerous peoples. Nonetheless, the West tended to look down on, and be suspicious of, its great neighbor centered in Constantinople. When Byzantium finally fell, it was due partly to its eastern enemies but also due to the meddling and incredibly destructive “assistance” of supposed saviors from the West. Still, Byzantium left an enduring legacy in the Orthodox churches, and in such successor states as Russia, Greece, and Serbia.

The West has never fully understood those successor states of former Byzantium. So even more efforts must be made to understand this part of the world, and an examination of Byzantium and its legacy is one way of achieving that understanding.”


Research-Selection: Anastasius Philoponus

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