Names of the Greeks

The Greeks have been known by a number of different names throughout history. The soldiers that fell at but was permanently resolved only recently in the 20th century after the loss of Asia Minor to the Turks.

The struggle reflected the diverging view of history between classicists and medievalists (katharevousa and demotic) in their attempt to define Greek nationality at a time without a Byzantine state to foster the movement. The concept of Hellene for a person of Greek origin was already well established since the late middle ages, but for the majority of the population, especially those in rural areas away from urban centers, the dominant perception was still that of a Roman, a descendant of the Byzantine Empire. Scholar Rigas Feraios called "Bulgars and Arvanites, Armenians and Romans" to rise in arms against the Ottomans[57]. General Makrygiannis recalled a friend asking him: "What say you, is the Roman far away from coming? Are we to sleep with the Turks and awaken with the Romans?"[58]

Greek (Γραικός) was the least popular of the three terms, but interestingly enough received by scholars disproportionately larger attention compared to its popular use. Adamantios Korais, a renown Greek classicist, justified his preference in "A Dialogue between Two Greeks": "Our ancestors used to call themselves Greeks but adopted afterwards the name Hellenes by a Greek who called himself Hellene. One of the above two, therefore, is our true name. I approved 'Greece' because that is what all the enlightened nations of Europe call us."[59] Hellenes for Korais are the pre-Christian inhabitants of Greece.

The absence of a Byzantine state gradually lead to the marginalization of the Roman name and allowed Hellene (Έλλην) to resurface as the primary national name. Dionysius Pyrrus requests the exclusive use of Hellene in his "Cheiragogy": "Never desire to call yourselves Romans, but Hellenes, for the Romans from ancient Rome enslaved and destroyed Hellas".[60] The anonymous author of "The Hellenic Realm of Law", published in 1806 in Pavia, Italy, speaks of Hellenes: "The time has come, O Hellenes, to liberate our home".[61] The leader of the

  • John S. Romanides, "Introduction to Romanity, Romania, Roumeli."

    Non-English external links

    "(the term) Byzantium never existed."

    John S. Romanides, "Kostis Palamas and Romiosini"

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