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In: The Transformation of Frontiers
In: The Transformation of Frontiers

Abstract

Despite numerous studies on relations between Byzantium and the Occident, the state of research concerning the image of Byzantium and the Greeks in Western eyes seems remarkably poor. The impression given by our sources is an image of the Greeks (and this is the most common term used, not “Romans” any longer, and very seldom “Byzantines”) as the “Other”: in language, ethnicity, politics, culture, and also religion. The usual attitude towards the Greeks is a general indifference or a neutral opinion, but also frequently characterized by an assessment that is ambiguous, vacillating somewhere between admiration and aversion, or occasional ridicule, this depending on the historical situation and purpose rather than this representing a broader development. Correspondingly, the Greek-Orthodox religion is perceived as being the same faith in a united Christian Church, but one always in danger of deviance. Therefore, in dogmatic and ecclesiastical controversies at least, certain features are condemned as being heretical.

In: A Companion to Byzantium and the West, 900-1204