Session727
TitleConflict and Peace in Border Zones
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 14.15-15.45
 
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
 
Moderator/ChairPiotr Górecki, Department of History, University of California, Riverside
 
Paper 727-a Reading Romanness in Three Sicilian Rebellions
(Language: English)
Matthew S. Crum, Department of History, University of California, San Diego
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Islamic and Arabic Studies; Language and Literature - Greek
Paper 727-b Early Medieval Dalmatia: Two 'Buffer Zones' of Two Empires
(Language: English)
Nikolina Maraković, Department of History of Art, University of Zagreb
Tin Turković, Department of History of Art, University of Zagreb
Index Terms: Architecture - Religious; Art History - General; Byzantine Studies; Historiography - Medieval
Paper 727-c The Disputed Border between Bulgaria and the Latin Empire of Constantinople
(Language: English)
Francesco Dall'Aglio, Institute for Historical Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Mentalities; Military History; Politics and Diplomacy
 
AbstractPaper -a:
Three rebellions that occurred on the island of Sicily in the 8th and 9th centuries (717, 781, & 826) have often been ascribed to the island's position at the edges of the Byzantine-Roman state. It has been suggested that these revolts were the result of feelings of separation and detachment from the rest of Byzantium, and that their primary goal was to achieve self-rule. However, a close reading of these rebellions shows that they were not motivated by a desire for autonomy, but rather that they worked within the normal political process by which the Byzantine-Romans elected new emperors. Thus, such an analysis of these rebellions confirms that the inhabitants of this border region viewed themselves as members of a larger Byzantine-Roman community and that they were perceived as such by others.

Paper -b:
For almost a century, Croatian historiography has treated early medieval Dalmatia primarily as a Frankish expositura in the East, except for a few scholars who demonstrated that Byzantine culture did extend beyond the walls of the towns of Dalmatian-Byzantine thema. Administratively divided between Franks and Romaioi, early medieval Dalmatia cannot be comprehended without acknowledging the contribution of the latter (Romaioi or Romanikoi, as Constantine Porphyrogenitus calls them). Present understanding of the Byzantine Empire as a complex system allows a re-consideration of early medieval Dalmatian cultural landscape. We argue that the two entities – coastal Dalmatian Theme, and Croatian principality in the hinterland, actually functioned as a kind of 'buffer-zone' of the two empires; and while the hinterland formed the Frankish zone towards Byzantium it was at the same time culturally 'conquered' by Romaioi. Material 'signifiers' of 'Roman' identity (comparable to those in other parts of the Mediterranean) had a great influence on early medieval Croatian elites, who recognised and used them for their own legitimisation. Thus, there were no clear cultural borders, but live interaction between the two entities, which quickly defined a common denominator, dominantly shaped by indigenous tradition.

Paper -c:
The border between Bulgaria and the Byzantine empire, and the enduring confrontation it witnessed, defined both polities throughout their history. Far from fixed, apart from some small periods of peace it fluctuated continuously, following the irregular rhythm of their relations. But, like all borders, this separation was also a porous zone of interchange, connecting people, cultures, political, and religious ideas: and this function proved much more important than its intended purpose of keeping the 'other' away. The paper will explore the dynamics of the Bulgarian-Byzantine frontier, and the way in which it shaped the history and civilization of both states.