mercoledì 16 maggio 2007

Medieval Greece

Medieval Greece
The history of the medieval period in Greece is extremely confusing. With the power of the Byzantine Empire partially broken and in rapid decline various foreign and Greek groups fought to control localised fiefdoms. It is not my intention to even attempt to put together any sort of synopsis - other writers have done much better than I could. Hetherington has as clear an overview as is possible in the early part of his Byzantine & Medieval Greece, Cheetham's Medieval Greece is a good longer academic narrative and Lock's The Franks in the Aegean is an excellent contemporary take on the period and has a useful chronology.
In the mid to late middle ages a mixture of Franks (basically French - but often a long time wandering around the Mediterranean), Italians - primarily Venetians, Pisans and Genoese - and Catalans all made their historical mark on Greece. However the underlying Greek speaking populace remained pretty constant and these conquerors and rulers have left little trace of their occupation save the medieval castles which dot the hilltops and the extremely rare examples of gothic features in churches. Of Frankish culture it is hard to find any traces whatsoever such was the hold of the Orthodox Church on the imaginative horizons of the population. One caveat - to talk of nation states in the medieval period is to project and impose modern ideologies and cultural and ethnic preconceptions back into a past where they would not be recognised.
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