The Frontiers of Otherness in the "Diegesis" by John Anagnostes
// History magazine - researches. – 2019. – ¹ 1.
– P. 45-63.
Read the article
Abstract: The subject of this research is the "Diegesis", that is, the "Narration" of John Anagnostes, which concerns the siege and fall of Thessalonica in 1430. Despite the fact that the text of John Anagnostes has been known to Byzantinists for a long time, it has only been used in general works on the history of Byzantium under the Paleologoi and in studies on the policies of the Turks in the former territories of the empire. In this article, the author aims to analyze the attitude of John Anagnostes towards the Turks and Latins, as well as towards his fellow Romaioi who survived the siege of Thessalonica with him. The author undertakes to evaluate, through the prism of the “friend or foe” relationship, how strongly were subject to change the usual paradigm of self-identification in the Byzantine consciousness under the conditions of conflict and a transitional period. The author's main research method is the comparison of the criteria presented by John Anagnostes for the attitude towards the Turks and Latins with those of contemporary to him Greek authors, as well as with the Byzantine tradition in general. As a result of this analysis, the author comes to the conclusion that under the conditions of conflict, the level of uncertainty increased within the group to which Anagnostes referred himself to, and as a consequence the attitude towards an alien element, if manifested, is situational. At the same time, the religious affiliation of Anagnostes, which allows adaptation to the changing situation around Thessaloniki, having become the Turkish city of Selanic, comes to the foreground. In turn, the political and linguistic elements of the Byzantine identity appear unimportant to Anagnostes. On this basis, the author makes the assumption that the Byzantine identity had begun its transformation long before the fall of Constantinople.
Keywords: Symeon of Thessalonica, Christianity, Hellas, Romaios, Thessalonike, John Anagnostes, Byzantine identity, Mental history, Byzantium, Historical anthropology
Russel E. Literature and culture in late Byzantine Thessalonica. – London, New York, 2013. - 240 p.
Russell E. St. Demetrius of Thessalonika: Cult and devotion in the Middle ages. – Bern, 2010. - 213 p.
Oberhelman St. Dreambooks in Byzantium: Six Oneirocritica in Translation, with Commentary and Introduction. – Ashgate, 2008. - 260 p.
Nicol D. Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations. – Cambridge, 1988. - 480 p.
Nicol D. The Last Centuries of Byzantium. 1261–1453. – Cambridge, 1993. - 496 p.
Kaldellis A. From Rome to New Rome, from Empire to Nation-State: Reopening the Question of Byzantium’s Roman Identity // L. Grig, G. Kelly, eds. Two Romes. Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity.-Oxford – New York, 2012. – P. 387 – 404.
Kaldellis A. The Byzantine republic. People and power in New Rome. – Cambridge-London, 2015. - 309 p.
Mavroudi M. A Byzantine book dream interpretation. The Oneirocriticon of Achmet and its Arabic sources. – Leiden, 2002. - 522 p.