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Author Topic: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)  (Read 1273 times)

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Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« on: February 15, 2016, 08:54:26 PM »
So... I know a lot about Byzantium and the Eastern Roman Empire, and I kind of know enough Latin I think, but I'm not up on my Greek. I'm kind of tinkering around with a science-fantasy feudal future idea, and I got the idea to use the Eastern Roman Empire instead of the standard heyday Roman that a lot of people use (which is fine, I love it too).

So I had the idea that like the Eastern Empire they'd use Latin for high court functions, law, rites and edicts and whatnot, but the majority of the language cues would be taken from Greek. I can use google translate to kind of pidgin in some words if I wanted to create a planet name or something, but I wanted to know if someone could provide some terms:

House (as in a noble house).
Guild
Guild master

Various noble titles or analogues: Lord, Lady, Knight, Baron, Baroness, Emperor, and Empress.

Also can I get a general breakdown on the ranks in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I'm doing that on my own, but it lacks the centralization of the Catholic church so I'm not exactly getting a picture. Just a general highest to lowest.


Offline Vekseid

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 10:30:48 PM »
Basileus / Basilissa for Emperor/Empress
Rex for King, though the Emperor appointed Exarchs for ruling distant lands in his stead.

Below that, I'm not sure. We do have some Greek members here who may drop by though. : )
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 10:32:44 PM by Vekseid »

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 11:10:47 PM »
Let me get some info from some of my SCA buddies.  Maybe there are some Byzantine folk in my circle (most are Vikings, though...)

So far, the answers from the knowledge group from the SCA Laurels on fb:

Though, Basileus/Basilissa for Emperor/Empress.

For Baron/Baroness, are you wanting landed or court? There is a difference!
---For landed, it's antihypatos/antihypatissa. For court, it's hypatos/hypatissa.

As for lord/lady: kyrios/kyria


These also look to be Greek language (which was common in the East and the East Orthodox court).  Latin was the court language of the West and the Roman Catholic side.

Keep in mind that the guild system did not exist until the Renaissance in any appreciable order (approximately 1500s), so with the Byzantine court, it really was in operation earlier than the guild system had a working "machine" per se.

Modern Greek translations:

Guild = Syntechnía
Guild master = ton archigó tou tágmatos
Household/clan = oikogéneia
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 11:28:15 PM by The Dark Raven »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 12:20:45 AM »
A number of patriarchs (there was five originally) which are bishops of specific churches.  So the Bishop of Constantinople is actually called the Patriarch of Constantinople.  Of those, the Patriarch of Constantinople is primus inter pares.  His role isn't the same as Pope though Western Churches often interpret it as such.  Think more of the Speaker of the House.  He presides at meetings and settles disputes between other patriarchs.

Below that are the regular bishops.  Some churches accept Archbishops, some not, I'll gloss over that.  Basically an Archbishop is a super-bishop - of an important town say (though not important enough to merit a patriarch) or an entire region.  It's important to remember, particularly at the time period you're talking about, the sheer amount of autonomy a Bishop could have.  When messages from Constantinople could conceivably take months of dangerous travel, the Bishop was the man on the ground and wielded a large amount of power in the day to day interactions with his bishopric.  There are a colossal amount of variations on the bishop theme, it's very much the base unit of Church administration.  As well as archbishops above, the other major group are what the Western Church call Titular Bishops.  These are bishops without a diocese responsible for...concepts.  Phrasing this badly but say the Bishop of, I dunno, Antioch is responsible for the church in Antioch.  However, the Treasurer for the Church might well hold the rank of Bishop as well, and his responsibility is to the finances of the church rather than a geographic area.  Make sense?

The come the priests split in to monastic and non-monastic.  On the monastic side, archimandrites oversee either a large abbey or a number of abbeys and are the only priests eligible to be Bishops (only ones who are priests, obvi).  Below them, monks and hieromonks - hieromonks are also priests, monks aren't.  On the non monastic side, Archpriest then priest.

Finally the deacons, who are laity.  Archdeacon and deacon on the non-monastic side, hierodeacon on the monastic.

Shout if you need more.  My Latin is pretty decent so shout up if you need anything or that as well.  Greek is weak and in all honesty not much better than Google Translate

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 06:31:24 AM »
Thanks all. Quick other question. Is there a particle or word ever used in Greek to denote a landed person (i.e. von, van) that kind of thing. I know it's a more Germanic thing.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 09:42:06 AM »
More info this morning.

http://annasrome.com/alternate-titles-project/

Just scroll down.

I haven't come across anything other than titles for landed nobility in the Byzantine Empire, only their titles.  Their surnames (as we know them) were more descriptive rather than locative.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 05:37:24 PM »
More info this morning.

http://annasrome.com/alternate-titles-project/

Just scroll down.

I haven't come across anything other than titles for landed nobility in the Byzantine Empire, only their titles.  Their surnames (as we know them) were more descriptive rather than locative.
That's really helpful. Thanks. :)

Offline Vekseid

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 11:00:18 PM »
For Baron/Baroness, are you wanting landed or court? There is a difference!
---For landed, it's antihypatos/antihypatissa. For court, it's hypatos/hypatissa.

They were only landed for a very brief period before the establishment of the Theme system. Not a good idea to equate them I think. And they were more equivalent to the later Strategos in style.

A number of patriarchs (there was five originally) which are bishops of specific churches.  So the Bishop of Constantinople is actually called the Patriarch of Constantinople.  Of those, the Patriarch of Constantinople is primus inter pares.  His role isn't the same as Pope though Western Churches often interpret it as such.  Think more of the Speaker of the House.  He presides at meetings and settles disputes between other patriarchs.

The 'first among equals' was originally the Patriarch of Alexandria.

Then Egypt fell/rebelled to the Muslims. The Copts were not all that well treated by the Byzantines, the Greeks numbering only a few thousands... but Alexandria was of immense importance.

After that it was the Pope. Patriarch of Rome.

Around 750 or so the Byzantines lost control of the Papacy, and the division between the Latin rite and the Greek rite in Chalcedonian Christianity began to grow. It's hard to say when exactly the split was 'no take backs' - though by the time of the Great Schism it had already been festering for three centuries.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 11:18:16 PM »
They were only landed for a very brief period before the establishment of the Theme system. Not a good idea to equate them I think. And they were more equivalent to the later Strategos in style.

Reiterating that it came from an SCA message board, and they were answering with their historical knowledge with caveat to knowing historical in context of the SCA (so that is where landed vs. non come from).

Offline Kythia

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2016, 12:21:12 AM »

The 'first among equals' was originally the Patriarch of Alexandria.

Then Egypt fell/rebelled to the Muslims. The Copts were not all that well treated by the Byzantines, the Greeks numbering only a few thousands... but Alexandria was of immense importance.

After that it was the Pope. Patriarch of Rome.

No, I think you're mistaken here.  Nicea arguably put the original order as Rome, Alexander, Antioch but then Constantinople 1 moved the order to Rome, Constantinople and then, within the Eastern Church, Quinisext put the order as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem.  Do you have a source for Alexandrian primacy?  Not something I've ever heard.

But I guess this doesn't help Inkidu any, long before the period I sense he wanted.  After 1054 it was certainly Constantinople (though it's interesting to note that the Eastern Orthodox churches still hold Rome as the first see, they just differ on how that should be interpreted.)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 12:23:32 AM by Kythia »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2016, 07:54:58 PM »
I appear to be wrong about Alexandria. Apologies : /

Offline Kythia

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2016, 10:17:55 PM »
Eh, in all honesty I think the apology is mine.  I get pedantic about ecumenical councils for no reason I can really discern and its not a super attractive trait.  Keep toying with making a Christianity: A variety of discussions... thread in PROC to get it out of my system.  But sorry for making such an insignificant point.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2016, 11:05:01 PM »
Eh, in all honesty I think the apology is mine.  I get pedantic about ecumenical councils for no reason I can really discern and its not a super attractive trait.  Keep toying with making a Christianity: A variety of discussions... thread in PROC to get it out of my system.  But sorry for making such an insignificant point.

Oh, Kythia, you would have loved one of my old professors...discussions like that were straight down his alley.  He was old Jew that studied the history of the Catholic Church.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 09:50:19 PM »
Is their some kind of analogue for a knight? Or at least a better Greek translation for the Roman military structure than google translate is wiling to provide. I mean for the largest chunk of time Byzantine Rome did use something similar to the Roman structure. I need some kind of noble warrior.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 09:51:43 PM by Inkidu »

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 09:51:56 PM »
Spatharios (Sir) - used for sword bearers, ostensibly knights

Offline Oniya

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Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2016, 04:06:43 PM »
More literally, one who uses a spatha - which was a Roman sword somewhat longer than a gladius, which made it more easily used from horseback.

Offline consortium11

Re: Byzantine Greek and Latin (I need a crash course)
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2016, 05:23:05 AM »
Is their some kind of analogue for a knight? Or at least a better Greek translation for the Roman military structure than google translate is wiling to provide. I mean for the largest chunk of time Byzantine Rome did use something similar to the Roman structure. I need some kind of noble warrior.

The term "cataphract" (from the Greek kataphraktos) was a catch all term used to cover heavily armored horseman, although it doesn't proscribe any station in society or nobility in the way the term "knight" does and is generic rather than specific to Byzantium/the ERE. A more specific term you might want to use is clibanarii (from the greek klibanophoroi) which has the rather unglamorous translation of "camp oven-bearers" and again refers to heavily armored horsemen but while more specific than cataphract it still doesn't refer purely to ERE horsemen.

Probably the closest direct parallel to knights were the "equites cataphractarii" (albeit that's primarily in Latin but the name stuck and again a vague rather than precise term). In the third century AD there was a shift in the upper echelons of Roman society from traditional Italian noble families and towards the equestrian order of successful military horsemen; as more public appointments were made they tended to be filled by equestrians who the emperor at the time could rely on. As such they formed a new class of professional soldiers who were able to accumulate great wealth from estates and patronage while wielding political power and as the Empire split they formed the core of both sides. As such you had a large group of experienced and heavily armoured horsemen who also had a high ranking position in society.