The Ultimate "Continuations of the Roman Empire" Poll

Which of these do YOU consider to be continuations of the Roman Empire?

  • The Dominate (284)

    Votes: 107 51.4%
  • San Marino (303)

    Votes: 21 10.1%
  • Byzantine Empire (313/395)

    Votes: 180 86.5%
  • Odoacer's Kingdom (476)

    Votes: 26 12.5%
  • Ostrogothic Kingdom (493)

    Votes: 11 5.3%
  • Holy Roman Empire (800/962)

    Votes: 24 11.5%
  • Ottoman Empire (1453)

    Votes: 27 13.0%
  • Tsardom of Russia (1510)

    Votes: 18 8.7%
  • Kingdom of Italy (1861)

    Votes: 8 3.8%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 7 3.4%
  • Republic of Venice (697)

    Votes: 9 4.3%
  • Papal States (754)

    Votes: 28 13.5%

  • Total voters
    208

Red Orm

Banned
This isn't quite the same debate.

The only class that mattered in the Roman Empire was the governing and equestrian class. In this respect, almost all of them learned Greek, and in any case, all Roman administrators in the east from the time of Augustus on were required to be fluent in Greek. We just had this discussion with Lee Sensei on the previous thread on this, so if you want to see the arguments, go there. I don't want to have this debate for the third thread in a row.

So the 80% of citizens that were rural farmers of the 3rd through 5th classes, the thousands of citizens too poor to even belong to a class, the huge amount of Italian (the vast majority) and other non-Greek slaves who did all the farming, mining, building, etc., the millions of men who served in the legions throughout the centuries from the 2nd BC to the AD 5th, none of them mattered?
 

Skallagrim

Banned
Do we have to have this argument for the 3rd time in as many threads about how Greek and Roman were completely interchangeable and how Rome had effectively been a bilingual empire since the second century BC?

Short answer: no, we don't. The fact of the matter is that I have precious little time to spend on this board - far less than I'd like - and I simply can't make time to keep up with every thread. I was unaware of this other debate, and I'm not interested in repeating it. As far as I'm concerned, viewpoints can simply differ. I was stating a personal view. If you have another, that's fine. I'm not looking to convince you, or to argue. If I'd known about the other thread, I'd probably have refrained from writing the second bit of my post. (I'll stick to the first part, concerning the Dominate, which I consider to be much less a matter of interpretation, and more one of simple fact: the Dominate was simply the late stage of the Roman Empire, and not some continuation. But anyway, let's leave it at that and forget about the whole Byzantine thing. I'm not looking for a heated argument here.)
 
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Do we have to have this argument for the 3rd time in as many threads about how Greek and Roman were completely interchangeable and how Rome had effectively been a bilingual empire since the second century BC?

The only class that mattered in the Roman Empire was the governing and equestrian class. In this respect, almost all of them learned Greek, and in any case, all Roman administrators in the east from the time of Augustus on were required to be fluent in Greek. We just had this discussion with Lee Sensei on the previous thread on this, so if you want to see the arguments, go there. I don't want to have this debate for the third thread in a row.

That stopped being the case in the later Empire, though. By the fourth century most people in the West didn't speak Greek, and weren't expected to. Augustine, for example, was by his own account never very successful in his attempts to learn Greek, but this doesn't appear to have impeded his career in any way. When Western Romans wanted to read their neoplatonic philosophy, they did so in the Latin translations of Marius Victorinus, not the original Greek. And of course Ambrose managed to get his reputation as a preacher largely because he actually could read Greek, and hence could introduce his congregants to advanced theological ideas which they couldn't get anywhere else, because the best theologians of the period almost all wrote in Greek.
 

Alcsentre Calanice

Gone Fishin'
I'm still of the opinion Rome had something Byzantium hadn't.
This spirit to conquer the known world and to hold it for 400 years.

Just compare: Rome fought against Macedon and Carthage at the same time and won.
Rome fought a war against Mithridates and a civil war at the same time and won.

Byzantium lost half of its empire to some desert hillbillies, so to say, just after it barely defeated Persia.
Byzantium, which had inherited a suberb fleet, a standing army and a modern bureaucracy from Rome lost against a band of disorganized crusaders (who didn't know where Jerusalem is) lead by Italian merchants. Then, these robber barons entered the city and looted it - where is the continuation of Rome there?
 
I'm still of the opinion Rome had something Byzantium hadn't.
This spirit to conquer the known world and to hold it for 400 years.

Just compare: Rome fought against Macedon and Carthage at the same time and won.
Rome fought a war against Mithridates and a civil war at the same time and won.

Byzantium lost half of its empire to some desert hillbillies, so to say, just after it barely defeated Persia.
Byzantium, which had inherited a suberb fleet, a standing army and a modern bureaucracy from Rome lost against a band of disorganized crusaders (who didn't know where Jerusalem is) lead by Italian merchants. Then, these robber barons entered the city and looted it - where is the continuation of Rome there?
They lost their population advantage,that's what happened.
 

Alcsentre Calanice

Gone Fishin'
They lost their population advantage,that's what happened.

I'm of your opinion - often, the Romans weren't better lead than there enemies. They just had superior numbers.

But than again, a real continuation of the Roman Empire would be aware of this and do everything to recover this advantage. The Themes were a step in the right direction - never loosing Egypt would've been better. Maybe for this to happen you have to prevent Justinian's pointless reconquista (even than it was very important from an ideologic point if view) to strengthen the Byzantine east.
 
For an "Ultimate" list this doesn't have as many choices as I'd expect.
You should maybe consider adding:

Byzantine Empire (395-620)
Byzantine Empire (620-1204)
Empire of Nicaea/Byzantine Empire (1204-1453)
Empire of Trebizond
Despotate of Epirus
Kingdom of Greece
Despotate of Morea
Latin Empire
 
For an "Ultimate" list this doesn't have as many choices as I'd expect.
You should maybe consider adding:

Byzantine Empire (395-620)
Byzantine Empire (620-1204)
Empire of Nicaea/Byzantine Empire (1204-1453)
Empire of Trebizond
Despotate of Epirus
Kingdom of Greece
Despotate of Morea
Latin Empire
I mentally filed away the first six and the eighth one together under the Byzantine Empire given the relative undisputedness of their cohesion with the pre-1204, post-1261 polity, but if you'd like to do a Fourth Crusade Mayhem poll be my guest.

I excluded the Latin Empire for similar reasons, given that it was obviously a Crusader puppet state.

But maybe those are my personal opinions biasing the matter...
 
Byzantium lost half of its empire to some desert hillbillies, so to say, just after it barely defeated Persia.
Byzantium, which had inherited a suberb fleet, a standing army and a modern bureaucracy from Rome lost against a band of disorganized crusaders (who didn't know where Jerusalem is) lead by Italian merchants. Then, these robber barons entered the city and looted it - where is the continuation of Rome there?

Of course, improvements in technology among the so-called barbaroi whom you then start outsourcing your defense to tends to do that. That was the state of Late Western Rome, and the Roman Empire as a whole. The spirit to conquer started dying with Augustus and definitely died with Trajan. As for the spirit to hold everything, that died with the Crisis, Diocletian dividing the Empire precisely because it was too unwieldy.

As for Byzantium, yeah, there is a shift in priorities. The lines are drawn too deeply to expand. Justinian tried and ended up with plague, Heraclius fought and won a bloody war against the Persians, and then the Muslim conquests begin, a fiery religious whirlwind from the desert which captures the hearts of the dissidents among the Romans, and conquers its rival the Persians who had been there just as long as them. And then the Cumans and Pechenegs and the Turks come along, Manzikert happens, and it's pretty hard to regain anything.

It's admirable how they lasted for centuries after the West and after the Sassanians, with everyone else against them. After all that they lost, they survived the Umayyads and the Abbasids and the Seljuks. If you include everything after 1204, they even survive the Venetians and the Mongols. So, their track record is solid enough to command respect, respect as Romans, in my opinion.
 
Dominate: Obviously still the Roman Empire... The Dominate is basically the moment the Tetrarchy was applied to the Roman Empire with Diocletian's rule. Besides, since we consider the (Western) Roman Empire to have fallen in 476 AD, why consider it fell nearly two centuries earlier?

San Marino: From what I got on the story behind the existence of San Marino, it would actually be more of a break-away state than a real continuation of the Roman Empire. Marinus was fleeing anti-christian persecutions when he created the abbey that gave birth to San Marino.

Byzantine Empire: It's the Eastern Roman Empire. So yes, it's a continuation of the Roman Empire for me. Given what went on in the Byzantine-specific thread, I don't want to go into detail why I believe such a thing: you'll find my every argument there up until page 11 or 12, after which I stopped posting because I didn't want to repeat myself over and over.

Odoacer's Kindgom: Not really. Odoacer never claimed the imperial title and only claimed to be a servant of the Eastern Roman Emperor. He was however de facto independant and I doubt he solely applied the laws of the Roman Empire.

Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy: Same as with Odoacer: they didn't claim the imperial mantle and only pretended to be part of the (Eastern) Roman Empire, but they were independant de facto. Plus, Ostrogothic rule in Italy wasn't exactly the same as Roman rule.

Holy Roman Empire: It's only the result of the Pope not agreeing to Irene's coronation as well as part of the process that led to tensions between Rome and Constantinople, the West and the East. The HRE is also far more german in its origin and while it has a bit of the Roman legacy, that heritage is also mixed with the structures of the former germanic realm that formed following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, especially the Franks. In fact, it probably has more in common with the germanic monarchies than with the Roman Empire itself.

Ottoman Empire: Occupying Constantinople and taking over the Eastern Roman Empire's territory doesn't make you a continuation of Rome. I don't think we really count the various Persian dynasty as continuation of the Achaemenid Empire, so why should we not do the same with the Ottoman in regards to Rome? Besides, while the Turks probably borrowed elements from Byzantium like the Germanic barbarians had done with the Western Roman Empire, they also used their own legal system. Turkish rule has very few in common with Roman rule. Furthermore, the Ottoman Sultans themselves never insisted that much on their status as Kaysar-i-Rum: them being Caliph and Sultan was far more important.

Tsardom of Russia: It had valid dynastic claimants until the death of the Rurikid dynasty, even if their claim was arguably very weak. They also shared the same religion as they were both Orthodox Christian. But Russia was never part of the Roman Empire and aside from Cyril and Methodus evangelising Russia, Rome and the Byzantines played a very small role in Russian history. That disqualifies it from being a continuator of the Roman Empire.

Kingdom of Italy: It's the result of the unification of the various states that formed Italy... States that find their origin in feudal Italy, which itself finds its origins in Carolingian Italy. It's clear that these states were influenced by the customs of the germanic invaders that had taken over Italy and while they probably have descent ethnic links to the Romans as well as inherited some of their traditions, it's not enough to say they are a continuation of the Roman Empire.

Venice: The Venezian Republic is more of its own thing than a continuation of the Roman Empire from my POV.

The Papal States: The Pope wasn't the Emperor and I can hardly consider him to be his heir, let alone his continuator. Plus, there is also the fact that the Pope was far more likely to exerce his spiritual power than his temporal one: the Papal States barely expanded between the moments they were formed and the moments they were dissolved.
 
Dominate: Obviously still the Roman Empire... The Dominate is basically the moment the Tetrarchy was applied to the Roman Empire with Diocletian's rule. Besides, since we consider the (Western) Roman Empire to have fallen in 476 AD, why consider it fell nearly two centuries earlier?

Some would argue that Diocletian's reforms ended the Empire-as-Principate by removing any pretense of being a Republic, so it has some merit. :p
 
That stopped being the case in the later Empire, though. By the fourth century most people in the West didn't speak Greek, and weren't expected to. Augustine, for example, was by his own account never very successful in his attempts to learn Greek, but this doesn't appear to have impeded his career in any way. When Western Romans wanted to read their neoplatonic philosophy, they did so in the Latin translations of Marius Victorinus, not the original Greek. And of course Ambrose managed to get his reputation as a preacher largely because he actually could read Greek, and hence could introduce his congregants to advanced theological ideas which they couldn't get anywhere else, because the best theologians of the period almost all wrote in Greek.
That does not change the fact that the lingua franca of half the empire was Greek and that by the 5th century everything in the east was translated into Greek. The western half of the Roman empire wasn't more Roman than the eastern half.
 
Alright, how in the hell do people think the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, an Ottonian re-construction of Charlemagne's slapdash legitimization of his own conquests, was a successor to Rome? And how do they think its more Roman than the Ottomans (not even the slightest bit Roman, still more Roman than the HREGN) and the Russians (also not Roman, but still more Roman than the HREGN)

And yeah, people must have forgotten what the Dominate was...
 
Alright, how in the hell do people think the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, an Ottonian re-construction of Charlemagne's slapdash legitimization of his own conquests, was a successor to Rome? And how do they think its more Roman than the Ottomans (not even the slightest bit Roman, still more Roman than the HREGN) and the Russians (also not Roman, but still more Roman than the HREGN)

And yeah, people must have forgotten what the Dominate was...
The HRE wasn't a successor of Rome but they at least called themselves Roman continuously, while the Ottomans didn't except for Mehmed II.
 
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