DROBYSHEV M.I. The News on “the Germans” (οἱ Νεμίτζοι) in Byzantine Narrative Essays of 10-12th Centuries

DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.3.5

Maksim Igorevich Drobyshev

Junior Researcher,

Department of Source Studies and Historiography,

State Academic University for Humanities

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Prosp. Leninskiy, 32A, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article is a review of the news of the Byzantine narrative sources of the 10-12th centuries, in which an ethnonym “the Germans” is mentioned. The use of this term is extremely rare in Byzantine historiography of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This term can be found in a composition by the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Constantine Porphyrogenitus called “De ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae”. It is used to describe the lands of German kings. And his work term appears among the possessions of “Saxon” and “Gallic” kings. Then, the term “the Germans” is mentioned in the essay of Anna Komnena “Alexiad”. She dedicated this composition to her father, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Alexios Komnenos and it covers the period from 1079 to 1118 years. She used two terms – οἱ Νεμίτζοι and οἱ Γερμάνοι belonging to the same nation. The problem, in our view, is that these ethnonyms are distinguished only by belonging to the Empire. Under the first term, the author implies mercenaries in the service of the Byzantine Empire, and in the second one, the direct enemies of the Empire. The term “German” has Slavic roots. The word is derived from the common Slavic root “nem”. The ethnonym was borrowed in medieval Greek from the language of the Slavs and came to mean natives of Germany.

Key words: narrative essays, Byzantium, the Germans, mercenaries, ethnicity.

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The News on “the Germans” (οἱ Νεμίτζοι) in Byzantine Narrative Essays of 10-12th Centuries by Drobyshev M.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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