Dimitrios Vikelas: towards a re-evaluation of Byzantium - prerequisites and inferences

Panagiotis Noutsos


This paper deals with the contribution of Dimitrios Vikelas to the re-assessment of “Byzantium”, dwelling on the prerequisites and the accompanying inferences of such an undertaking. With Concerning the study of the Byzantines (1874) as a main point of reference, the in ten tio auctoris as to the reasons for and the manner of re-examination of the ‘mission’ of the ‘empire of decline’ is clarified. As to the prerequisites and the inferences of this re-examination, this paper undertakes a critical review of this thinking from Gibbon to Koraes and Renieris. It this way it can be more fully understood why Vikelas was interested in the transition from late Byzantium to modern Greek literature without engaging in a positive evaluation of the “hierocracy”. More particularly, he integrates the Byzantine Empire as an “inseparable part” into Greek history, and as to “world history”, propounds the “preservation and maintenance of civilization”, whereas in terms of the country’s history, he insists - by the linking of the “nation” and “civilization”— upon the preservation of the ‘national character’ of the Greeks.

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