Byzantium after the Nation

The Problem of Continuity in Balkan Historiographies
$85.00 / €71.00 / £61.00
Publication date: 
410 pages

Stamatopoulos undertakes the first systematic comparison of the dominant ethnic historio­graphic models and divergences elaborated by Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian, Romanian, Turkish, and Russian intellectuals with reference to the ambiguous inheritance of Byzantium. The title alludes to the seminal work of Nicolae Iorga in the 1930s, Byzantium after Byzantium, that argued for the continuity between the Byzantine and the Ottoman empires. If the idea of the continuity of the nation became the touchstone of the national historiographies, the continuity of empires—especially in the nineteenth century—was the common motif of divergent historiographical schemes promoting the reconciliation of the nation with the imperial model. Rival Balkan nationalisms engaged in a “war of interpretation” as to the nature of Byzantium, assuming different positions of adoption or rejection of its imperial model and leading to various schemes of continuity in each national historiographic canon.

Stamatopoulos discusses what Byzantium represented for nineteenth-, and twentieth-century scholars and how their perceptions related to their treatment of the imperial model: whether a different perception of the medieval Byzantine period prevailed in the Greek national center as opposed to Constantinople; how nineteenth-century Balkan nationalists and Russian scholars used Byzantium to invent their own medieval ages (and, by extension, their own antiquity); and finally, how the national historiographies of the twentieth century reused the scheme of the continuity of empires to revise some of the discontinuities or deadlocks of their dominant nationalist narratives.

Preface to the English Edition

I. Introduction

                1. The Discipline of History: Canons and Divergences

                2. The Problem of Continuity: Theories of Origin and Political Imperatives

                3. In Empire’s shadow

                4. Describing the Network: The Ottoman framework and its collapse


II.The Iconoclast Byzantium of the Greek Historiography

1. Manuel Gedeon’s Perception of History

2. A Periodization

3. Zambelios’s Transcendant Byzantium: from Aristotle to Hegel

4. Paparrigopoulos’s Phanariot Byzantium and French Imperial Nationalism

5. France and Russia in Constantinople: Towards an Interpretation of the Great Idea

6. Helleno-Ottomanism: The Response of Constantinople

7. The heretical Byzantium in The History of the Greek Nation

8. The Iconoclasm as a Conspiracy of the Monarchy

9. The Iconoclasm as Reformation

10. Gedeon’s Medieval HellemismHellenism: the Zambelios–Paparrigopoulos construct Scheme and the Ottoman Divergence

11. Footnotes: The Denunciation of Helleno-Orthodoxy

12. Byzantium as a Metaphor: Greeks and Slavs

13. The Iconoclast Byzantium and the break from Greek historiography

14. Byzantium as a Metonymy: The Church and the Ottoman State

15. Ecumenism as a Rromantic Rreconstruction

16. Histories of the Ottoman Empire


III. The “Medieval Antiquity” of the Bulgarian Historiography


1. The canon of Bulgarian historiography: the model of origins

2. Bulgarians: Vandals, Illyrians, or Macedonians?

3. Drinov’s History: the Slavicisation of the Bulgarians

                3.1 The two discontinuities

                3.2 The critique of alternative origin models

4. Krâstevič’s Thesis: the Bulgarians are Huns (the positive use of Byzantine chronography)

5. Drinov’s Thesis: the Bulgarians are Slavs (the negative use of Byzantine chronography)

6. Krâstevič’s Response: the Huns are Slavs

7. The Romantic Reconstruction of Imperial Discourse: Some Conclusions

8. Povestnost instead of Historija: Georgi Rakovski’s Hyper-Hermeneutic model

9. The Balkans as East: Charilaos Dimopoulos’ History of the Bulgarians


IV. Byzantinisms and the Third Rome: the Russian Imperial Nationalism


1. Konstantin Leont’ev: on the edge of two epistemological paradigmes

2. Leont’ev’s Byzantism

3. The Middle Ages as a canonical model

4. Byzantism as Imperial Discourse: the parity of Russians and Ottomans

5. Leont’ev’s Slavism: Greeks/Bulgarians, Germans/Czechs

6. The Three Romes

7. A Romantic reconstruction of History: the Persians’ vindication

8. Leont’ev and Marko Balabanov: the bridge of Byzantism

9. The meaning of progress and the possibility of an Ottoman Nation

10. Byzantium and the “groundless” accusation of ethno-phyletism”

11. Balabanov and Renan: “Balkans will become a volcano”

12. Byzantium and Great Idea: the Serbian perspective

13. Ivan I. Sokolov’s Byzantinism

14. Pan-Orthodox Ecumenism and Byzantinisms: Gedeon’s two moments


V. The “Roman Byzantium” of the Albanian Historiography


1. Namık Kemal and Renan

2. Between Ancient Greeks and Modern Europeans: Islamic Civilization as a Mediator

3. The “De-Arabification” of Islam

4. The Management of Time and Space in Islam

5. From the Islamic Ummah to the Albanian Nation: The Return of the Pelasgians

6. The Problem of Discontinuity in Albanian History

7. Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos and the Pelasgians

8. The De-Islamification of Albanian History

9. Pan-Islamic Ecumenism and Roman Byzantium: The Immanence of Empire


VI. Byzantium as Second Rome: Orientalism and Nationalism in the Balkans

1. From the Daco-Getae to the Romanians: In the Shadow of the First Rome

2. A. D. Xenopol: The Slav Middle Ages and Phanariot Modernity

3. Nicolae Iorga’s Byzance après Byzance: Invoking the Second Rome

4. Mehmed Ziya Gökalp’s “Canon”: The Rupture with the Imperial Middle Ages

5. M. Fuad Köprülü’s “Opposition”: The Reappropriation of the Ottoman Middle Ages

6. Nationalism, the Other Face of Orientalism: The Persians’ Return

7. Kemalist Nationalism: The Prevalence of Origin Over Continuity


VII. Iconoclasts against Iconolaters: Conclusions

 1. Imperial Iconolaters and Nationalist Iconoclasts

 2.  M. Fuad Köprülü: The Iconoclasts as Muslims

 3 Nicolae Iorga: The Iconoclasts as organizers of national discourse

 4. The Icon as the Representation of the Hegemon

5. Historiographical Divergences and Empire’s Memory





“Dimitris Stamatopoulos is the first who achieves the immense feat of writing a comparative historiography of the Balkans, demonstrating how each national history writer needs to stand apart and compete with other historiographers related to the same contested area. The survival of the idea of ‘empire’ is subject to specific developments in the countries that belong to the Byzantine legacy, in consideration to contemporary positions concerning state and nation. But it is always conditioned by the reference to Western political thinking and to Western scholarship on Byzantium.”
“Eighty-seven years after the publication of Byzance après Byzance, Dimitris Stamatopoulos masterfully revisits the afterlife of Byzantium in the Balkans’; national historical constructs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A monument of erudition and historiographical acuity, Byzantium after the Nation looks into no less than five historiographical traditions: Greek, Bulgarian, and Albanian and of two regional offshoots in the twentieth century, Romanian and Turkish. A monument of erudition and historiographical acuity, Byzantium after the Nation is a most welcome contribution to the field.”
“Stamatopoulos’s Byzantium after the Nation was originally published in Greek and was received by the international community of Hellenists as a major scholarly achievement, especially by those in favor of breaking with the traditional nation-centered historiographical canons. This revised English edition finally renders the book accessible to a broader public of Balkanologists. What makes this book an original and significant contribution is not only the solid theoretical foundation and the high relevance of the subject matter―the ‘historiographical legacy’ of Byzantium―but also the author’s genuinely comparatist and Balkanistic approach (involving the Balkans in its totality).”