Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Medieval -- Grecs, Occidentaux et Turcs De 1054 a 1453: Quatre Siecles D'histoire De Relations Internationales by Basile G. Spiridonakis

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Medieval -- Grecs, Occidentaux et Turcs De 1054 a 1453: Quatre Siecles D'histoire De Relations Internationales by Basile G. Spiridonakis

Article excerpt

Grecs, Occidentaux et Turcs de 1054 a 1453: Quatre siecles d'histoire de relations internationales. By Basile G. Spiridonakis.

Institute for Balkan Studies, 239.

(Thessalonike: Institute for Balkan Studies. 1990. Pp. 291, maps. Paperback.)

It should be stated at the outset that this is a very disappointing book; the author has not carried out original research; he seems to have avoided reading the original Greek, Latin, and Oriental sources and has accordingly written a "study" based on modern scholarship. This is, of course, a severe limitation It is, in fact, questionable whether any contribution can be made by anyone who has chosen to confine himself to modem assessments of this crucial period and refuses to listen to the eloquent testimonies of our plentiful sources but relies heavily on secondary assessments. Yet the author of this opusculum has chosen this flawed approach and simply restates (and follows slavishly) the well-known views of A. E. Vacalopoulos, who has sought the origins of the modern Greek nation in the Palaeologan coda of the Eastern Roman Empire; and Spiridonakis does so uncritically, failing to detect the problems with the views of Vacalopoulos, whose hypotheses are thus elevated to the status of a sacred text.

If there is one unifying theme in the book it is its author's conviction that we are faced with an unquestionable continuity when we look at Greek civilization and, in the opening passages, he spends a great deal of time to refute the outmoded theories of J. P. Fallmerayer. This nineteenth-century scholar is not the only victim, as Spiridonakis goes on to castigate the views of a number of scholars, from the time of Gibbon onward; his victim from the twentieth century seems to be Romily Jenkins. …

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