Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Regional Solidarity and Hostility

Cyril Mango (1928-2021), Byzantium: The Empire of New Rome (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1981), p. 30, with note on p. 286:
As far as we can judge, the main links of solidarity were two: regional and religious. People identified themselves with their village, their city or their province much more than they did with the Empire. When a person was away from home he was a stranger and was often treated with suspicion. A monk from western Asia Minor who joined a monastery in Pontus was 'disparaged and mistreated by everyone as a stranger'.33 The corollary to regional solidarity was regional hostility. We encounter many derogatory statements concerning 'the cunning Syrian' who spoke with a thick accent, the uncouth Paphlagonian, the mendacious Cretan. Alexandrians excited ridicule at Constantinople. Armenians were nearly always described in terms of abuse. Even demons, as we shall see in Chapter 7, had strong feelings of local affiliation and did not want to consort with their fellows from the next province.

33 John Climacus, Scala paradisi, PG lxxxviii, 721.
Id., p. 162:
These naively reported incidents prompt a number of observations. We may note, first, the strong local feeling exhibited by the demons: those of Gordiane considered themselves tougher than those of Galatia; the demons that hailed from Cappadocia refused to let themselves be confined at Germia, and their plea was considered reasonable by St Theodore.
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