The Byzantine Empire was the direct continuation of the (Eastern) Roman Empire . Since the inhabitants of the empire saw themselves in the Roman tradition, the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantine" used in historical science are modern made-up words. Basically, this also applies to the word "Rhomeans": In German-speaking Byzantine Studies it is common to use the self-designation Ῥωμαῖοι ( Rhomaioi , a loan word from Latin: Latin Romanus , Roman, Roman ' ), which can be found in the Middle Greek sources To reproduce "Rhomeans". Rhomaioi is nothing other than that already in theAncient Greek common word for Romans .
The German term "Rhomeans" thus blurs the fact that the Byzantines continued to understand and describe themselves simply as "Romans". Since the empire underwent a fundamental process of transformation between the 4th (establishment of Constantinople ) and the 7th century (loss of larger areas to the Arabs), research often takes the view that late Roman history at the end of this phase entered the Byzantine was passed over and one should therefore speak better of "Rhomeans" instead of "Romans" (for example from the time of Herakleius , whose reign is usually regarded as the latest sensible approach for the beginning of the actual "Byzantine history") complex transformation process into account.
However, it must always be remembered that a distinction is made that cannot be found in the sources themselves: Although the empire of the 8th or even 12th century was fundamentally different in many ways from the empire of the 4th century, it still existed nevertheless an unbroken historical connection with the late Roman Empire, whose constitutional continuation was the Byzantine Empire anyway.
"Rhomeans" or "Romans" was used in an equivalent form in the oriental region as a foreign name for the inhabitants of the empire and later for the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire. "Rhomeans" or "Romans" can also appear as Nisba in oriental names, e.g. B. at Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (ar-Rumi - "the Rhomean"), who had this name because he had found asylum in the Sultanate of the Rum Seljuks when he fled from the Mongols. This sultanate in turn was called rum because it was on Byzantine ("Rhomean") soil (Arabic ar-Rūm ). The Sassanids had already referred to the Roman Empire as Hrōm .
In modern Turkey, all Greeks who live outside Greece are called Rhomeans or Romans ( Rumlar ), namely those who live in Cyprus or as Turkish nationals in Turkey. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Phanar district is also called Fener Rum Patrikhanesi in Turkish . Until the 20th century, even the locals in some rural regions of Greece referred to themselves as Rhomaioi rather than Hellenes - a clear sign of the longevity of Roman-Byzantine traditions that were only supplanted by a return to classical Greece in the 19th century .
As part of geographical names, the term Rum appears to this day in the landscape name Rumelia (historically for the European parts of the Ottoman Empire), Ruma in today's Serbia or in the city name Erzurum .
- Johannes Koder: Rhomaioi . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 7 (1999), Col. 797.
- Ralph-Johannes Lilie : Introduction to Byzantine History. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-17-018840-2 ( Kohlhammer-Urban-Taschenbücher - Geschichte / Kulturgeschichte / Politik 617).