Currently we have two tags:

  1. (52 questions tagged)
  2. (3 questions tagged)

As we know, Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire both refer to the same political entity.

So it doesn't make sense to keep them as distinct tags (Which is also annoying to ERE lovers like me who want to scream it's the Eastern Roman Empire, not the Byzantine Empire as Western Europe used to call them).

I propose that:

  1. We should keep Byzantine Empire tag as the main tag due to its more universal usage and popularity (As sad as it is).
  2. We should map Eastern Roman Empire tag to Byzantine Empire tag as a synonym.
  3. We should remove ERE tag from the existing three questions (If we have to, I don't know if synonymization will remove it automatically or not).

I have created a synonym suggestion for the tag here. Please vote to have it approved. Thanks.

  • 1
    I'm in the camp that the name "Byzantine" should be eliminated, and it should be ERE for everyone. However, I'm not close enough to this debate to judge. Why do you think we should make Byzantine the primary? Is common usage by English speakers enough?
    – axsvl77
    Feb 15 '17 at 16:03
  • @axsvl77 Yes as I noted, it's sad that we must use Byzantine as primary tag as it seems to be more popular among users . But Even if ERE is made the primary tag, that shouldn't be a problem as typing byzantine empire will auto tag it with ERE
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 16:13
  • Ok. I'll put up a counter proposal
    – axsvl77
    Feb 15 '17 at 16:35
  • 2
    I added a question on the stack
    – axsvl77
    Feb 15 '17 at 16:54
  • 1
    @axsvl77 Upvoted. Looking forward to see where it goes. If it hasn't been answered in the morning, I shall try to compose an answer. Of course the Western Historians harbored political motives as it was more politically beneficial for them to be seen as heirs of Rome instead of the Greeks. Also, one should not forget the religious motives, The Catholic-Orthodox schism.
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 18:18
  • 1
    @axsvl77 - Ironically, your question makes valid use of both tags. :-) Still, it wouldn't kill it if they merged.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 19:46
  • 1
    Count me in favour of pro-Byzantine. (1) I don't think we have an unquaified obligation to call people what they call themselves. (2) They didn't call themselves 'Eastern Roman', just Roman, and (3) we're not obliged to believe, like they did, that the 'Romaner' you are, the better you are.
    – Ne Mo
    Jun 13 '17 at 12:02

I see that Wikipedia is doing the exact same transform this question is calling for. So if we did this, we'd at least be consistent with them (and not off on some wild hair of our own).

With my user hat on, I'm still going to argue against it though, on the basis that they are traditionally quite distinct.

Properly applied, would cover the political unit of that name starting roughly somewhere in the vicinity of Constantine to the death of Julian. Constantine was the first to split them (and first Christian Emperor), while Julian was the last sole Emperor of both halves (and the last Pagan emperor). So that gives a fuzzy start time in the range of 300-400. It would end with Heraclius' reorganization (early 600's).

would cover from then onward to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks.

I will admit this is a rather small period of time, in the grand sweep of Roman history. But it is an eventful time, and this is a distinction historians make. At least in the West. I understand the Greeks themselves, and those in their sphere, called their empire "Roman" to the end.

Now with my janitor hat on, I'll say that I'd be pleased to help with whichever the stack decides to do. If we keep them separate, the tags' wikis will probably still need some attention to make sure the distinction is as clear as possible, and it wouldn't hurt to give the tagged questions a quick run-through to make sure they are properly tagged to the updated descriptions.

  • I almost always agree with your opinion Ted but this time I am not entirely convinced. I get that one would want to keep distinction between The Romanitized ERE and Greekified ERE. I don't see why should the political changes or Chronological changes in a political entity change the very nature of that entity. If it is founded as ERE, even held the joint capital of RE, And carried on with its legacy long after the WRE had gone, It remains ERE!
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:31
  • That being said, what you are saying is important to distinguish the important events in the timeline and their impact. However I feel their place would be in the Tag wiki as more information and that does not provide enough ground to create different tags.
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:32
  • 1
    The main issue here is that this is a distinction actual historians make (and thus will be found in texts that people are referencing). If you disagree with the logic behind it, that's certainly your prerogative, but that doesn't mean it isn't A Thing. I can post screenshots from my McEvedy atlases showing this, if it would help. (Not that he alone does it, but the year-on-year visual makes it much more obvious than flat text does).
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:35
  • Yes I understand your point. Guess I went overboard and poked the good ol' "Byzantine or Roman" bear. Which of course almost always leads to POB debate (And you can probably tell which way do I swing). Maybe we should add these distinctions in the Usage excerpts of the tags then as technically maybe the two tags should be retained?
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:40
  • 1
    @NSNoob - Hmm...well....looking around, it appears that Wikipedia is doing the exact transform you are pushing for. So if we did what you suggest, we at least wouldn't be the only ones. (I'm going to add words to that effect to this answer, so this point isn't buried in my comments).
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:48
  • Splendid. So is it a Green Signal from you then for the synonymization?
    – NSNoob
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:51
  • 1
    @NSNoob - Well, let's see what everyone else thinks.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 14:52
  • @T.E.D. I agree with you on the periodic distinction. Feb 16 '17 at 14:35
  • After 3 days, I suppose that's the community consensus. I shall therefore bow to the wisdom of the community :)
    – NSNoob
    Feb 20 '17 at 5:18

We are an interface where people come to learn about History. Use of the name "Byzantine" does a great diservice to history; it removes emphasis on the fact that the Roman empire continues for many centuries in the East after the sack of Rome in 410 and the fall of the western Roman empire.

For this reason, I propose that we should

  1. Make "Eastern Roman Empire" the primary tag
  2. Map "Byzantine Empire" to "Eastern Roman Empire"
  3. Update all the tags to be "Eastern Roman Empire"

This way, when someone asks a question, they will learn that in fact the Roman Empire didn't fall until 1453.

  • 1
    Wikipedia did pretty much the opposite ("Eastern Roman" redirects to "Byzantine Empire"). I believe this answer corresponds better to the terminology used by a lot of Eastern-Europeans (the Greeks called their empire "Roman" until the end), but this website is in a Western European language. Also, I'm worried there will be more consequences to adopting the eastern view of things than are spelled out here. Can we do it on just this one thing, should we instead dither on it a bit, or if we do this, should we just go all-in and get rid of the "Eastern" too?
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 19:53
  • @T.E.D. That's an awesome idea - mapping both Eastern Roman and Byzantine at the Roman Empire tag.
    – axsvl77
    Feb 15 '17 at 19:58
  • OK, but then is there not a useful distinction there? Roman Empire currently has 176 questions, which is rather a lot for this stack, so some subcatagorization would seem to be in order. Its an easy argument to make that it was a completely different beast after Rome was no longer a part of it, and the official language became Greek.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 20:03
  • Good question. I really don't know. Another stack question?
    – axsvl77
    Feb 15 '17 at 20:13
  • What TED said... do people saying "we should just call them all Roman" sincerely think there's no difference between the empire in modern day Italy and the empire in modern day Turkey? If they're Two Different Things, don't they need two different names?
    – Ne Mo
    Jun 13 '17 at 15:35
  • 1
    @NeMo I think that's why I like having the word Eastern in there.
    – axsvl77
    Jun 13 '17 at 21:34
  • Why? They didn't call themselves that either. We need to wake up and realise that the name a polity gives itself is a power play. As historians, we have to decide what name most accurately reflects the truth.
    – Ne Mo
    Jun 15 '17 at 10:22
  • @T.E.D. - No matter the Wikipedia, I'm about to find that English and German historians prefer to avoid the term: some details in my answer here. But I'll have to investigate more in order to be able to provide detailed bibliography.
    – cipricus
    Nov 27 '20 at 15:12

I am of the opinion that we should generally not imply a particular interpretation of history through our tags.

to refer to the Byzantine Empire after ca. 376 implies that it was the continuation of the Roman Empire. This is a matter of interpretation.

Similarly, , if it were a tag, would imply the interpretation that it was not a continuation of the Roman Empire.

Instead, does not imply either direction. It is a neutral tag that is well understood.

I would say to merge with , except as T.E.D. pointed out there is a valid use case for the former, to indicate the Eastern portion prior to the diminution of the West.

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