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The Transfer of Population as a Policy in the Byzantine Empire*

  • Peter Charanis (a1)

In his account of the revolt of Thomas the Slavonian (820) against the Emperor Michael II (820–829) the Byzantine historian Genesius lists a variety of peoples from whom the armies of the rebel had been drawn: Saracens, Indians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Medes, Abasgians, Zichs, Vandals, Getae, Alans, Chaldoi, Armenians, adherents of the heretical sects of the Paulicians and the Athenganoi. Some of these peoples are well known; the identity of others, despite efforts made to determine it, is by no means certain. But in any case, their listing by the Byzantine historian illustrates vividly the multi-racial character of the Byzantine Empire. This was in the ninth century, but the situation was no different for the period before, and it would not be different for the period after. The Byzantine Empire was never in its long history a true national state with an ethnically homogeneous population. If by virtue of its civilization it may be called Greek, it was never, except perhaps during the very last years of its existence, an empire of Greeks.

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Peter Charanis , “Ethnic Changes in the Byzantine Empire in the Seventh Century”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 13 (1959), pp. 2544

“Vie de S. Athanase l'Athonite”, ed. by L. Petit , Analecta Bollandiana, 25 (1906), p. 72

P. Wittek , “La descendance chretienne de la dynastie Seldjouk en Macédoine”, Echos d'Orient, 33 (1934), pp. 409, 412

Wittek , “Yazijioghlu 'Ali on the Christian Turks of the Dobruja”, Bulletin of the Society of Oriental and African Studies, 14 (1952), pp. 639668

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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