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Charanis-Transfer of Population in Byzantium

Charanis-Transfer of Population in Byzantium

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The Transfer of Population as a Policy in the Byzantine EmpireAuthor(s): Peter CharanisSource:
Comparative Studies in Society and History,
Vol. 3, No. 2, (Jan., 1961), pp. 140-154Published by: Cambridge University PressStable URL:
Accessed: 17/06/2008 03:08
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THE TRANSFEROFPOPULATION AS A POLICY INTHEBYZANTINE EMPIRE*In hisaccount oftherevolt ofThomas theSlavonian(820)againsttheEmperorMichaelII(820-829)theByzantinehistorianGenesiuslistsavarietyofpeoplesfrom whom the armies ofthe rebel hadbeendrawn:Saracens,Indians,Egyptians,Assyrians,Medes,Abasgians,Zichs,Vandals,Getae, Alans,Chaldoi,Armenians,adherents of thehereticalsects ofthePaulicians and theAthenganoi.1Someofthesepeoplesare wellknown;theidentityofothers,despiteeffortsmade to determineit,isbynomeanscertain.2 Butinanycase,theirlistingbytheByzantinehistorian illustratesvividlythemulti-racial characterof theByzantineEmpire.This wasinthe ninthcentury,butthesituationwasnodifferent for theperiodbefore,and it wouldnotbe different fortheperiodafter. TheByzantine Empirewas neverinitslonghistorya truenational state with anethnicallyhomo-geneouspopulation.Ifbyvirtue ofitscivilizationitmaybecalledGreek,itwasnever,except perhaps duringtheverylastyearsof itsexistence,anempireofGreeks.Thereisnothingparticularlynewinthisstatement,fortheByzantineEmpire,which,as is wellknown,was thecontinuation of thepaganRomanEmpire,was madeupoflandsinhabitedbypeoplesof differentracialoriginsandculturaltraditions. To besuretheconquestsof theArabs in theseventhcenturydeprivedtheEmpireofgreatnumbersofnon-Greekspeakingelementsandgaveto it anaspectwhichappearedtobemore Greek thanhadbeen thecase .beforeEgyptandSyria,where a nationalconsciousnessand aliteraturein thenativelanguageshadbeguntodevelop,werelost;soalso wasAfricawith itsLatinandPunic-speakingpopulation.There remainedAsiaMinor,partsoftheBalkanpeninsula,theIslands of theAegean,in-cludingCrete,certainregionsofItaly,andSicily.HeretheGreek-speakingelementswerestrong,but theethnichomogeneitywhichtheysuggestwasmoreapparentthanreal.3
*Other studiesofpopulationtransferwillfollow assequelstothisarticle.-Ed.Genesius,Historia(Bonn, 1834),p.33.
2
A.A.Vasiliev-H.Gregoire,Byzanceet lesArabes,I(Brussels,1935),pp.31,note2Cf.Hirsch,ByzantinischeStudien(Leipzig, 1876),p.131.Cf. PeterCharanis,"EthnicChangesin theByzantine Empireinthe SeventhCentu-ry",DumbartonOaksPapers,13(1959), pp.25-44.
 
TRANSFEROFPOPULATION
The nativepeoplesofAsiaMinor,forinstance,werenot,at least aslateasthebeginningfthe ninthcentury,asthoroughlyHellenizedas isgenerallybelieved. This is shownnotonly bythe fact that some of the nativeanguagesas,forinstances,Phrygian,Isaurian,andperhapsalso Celticcontinuedtobespokenpastthesixthcentury,but alsobythepersistencewellinto theninthcenturyofcertainstrangehereticalsectsnativetoAsia Minor astheAthenganoi,heSabbatians,heTetraditai,and others.4Butmoreimportantwere theethnicchangesbroughtaboutbythearrivalofnewpeoplesas,forexample,theSlavs,andbycertainpracticesof theimperialgovernment,notablythe recruitmentfbarbariansor thearmyand theirsettlementntheEmpire,and thetransferofpeoplesfrom oneregionof theEmpiretoanother.It is thelatterpracticethat Iwould liketo examine n thisessay.InheritedfromthepaganRomanEmpirethispracticewasfrequentlyresorted othroughouthe durationof theByzantineEmpire.We need notheretraceitsoriginorgiveexamplesofitsuseduringtheearlycenturies.Justiniancertainlyresortedo it. We knowthat hesettledVandals inAsiaMinor andKotrigurs,aBulgarpeople,inThrace.5Meanwhile,a numberof Gothshad been settled inBithynia,intheterritorywhichlaterformedtheOptimatetheme.Theywere stillthereatthebeginningoftheeigthcentury,houghbythentheywereatleastpartlyHellenized.6JustinianalsoremovedArmeniansrom their homelandand settledthem elsewheren the
Empire,butthe numbersinvolvedwere small.7
Transferson alargerscale were resortedobytheimmediatesuccessorsof Justinian.In578,whenTiberiuswasEmperor,10,000Armenianswereremovedfromtheirhomesandsettled onthe islandofCyprus.8A trans-plantationon a stillvasterscalewasplannedbyMaurice,Tiberius'uccessor,and waspartiallycarried out.Maurice,whomayhave been of Armeniandescent,thoughthis isextremelydoubtful,9imedatnothinglessthanthe
4Ibid.,pp.25-28.5Procopius,DebelloVandalico,II14,17forVandals;De belloGothico,IV9,6 forKotrigurs.6Theophanes,Chronographia,editedbyC. de Boor(Leipzig, 1883),1:385;ActaGraeca SS.Davidis,SymeonisetGeorgii,inAnalectaBollandiana,18(1899),p.256.
7
Procopius,De belloGothico,III32,7;Cf.R.Grousset,Histoirede l'Armeniedesoriginesi1071(Paris,1947),p.242. Grousset'sstatementconcerningvast transfers ofArmenians toThracebyJustinianisnot borneoutbyhis references.
8
TheophylactusSimocatta,Historia,ed. C.de Boor(Leipzig,1887),p.143;JohnofEphesus,Historia ecclesiasticaeparstertia,tr. into LatinbyE.W.Brooks(Louvain,1936), pp.236,252;Englishtrans.byR.Payne-Smith (Oxford, 1860),pp.412,437;EvagriusScholasticus,EcclesiasticalHistory,ed. J. BidezandL.Parmentier(London,1898),p.215. Cf.E.Honigmann,DieOstgrenzedesbyzantinischenReichesvon363bis1071(Brussels, 1935),p.23.Twoyearsearlier,duringthereignof JustinII,Sabiriand Albanianswere movedon this sideoftheCyrusriver(intheregionof the Cau-casus)inorder to make certainthattheywouldnot befriendlywith thePersians.MenanderProtector,Excerptaexhistoria(Bonn, 1829),p.394.9N. Adontz has triedtoprovetheArmenianoriginofMaurice: "Leslegendesde
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