Btw, it’s a common misconception that patriotism and ethnicities didn’t exist in any shape or form before the rise of nationalism. Which is understandable, considering how tricky and narrow this subject is. So, patriotism certainly did exist and I can give a number of examples – f.e. on one hand, Michael Psellos directly calls himself “a Roman patriot”, while on another, there’s the case of the early 14th c. Bulgarian monk Neofit-Momchil, who used to annoy his Greek fellow monks by constantly reminding them of a battle they lost almost a century earlier with his shouts “Klokotnitsa!”.
Ethnic identities also clearly existed and some historians, like Norman Davies, even argue that a few countries (namely Bulgaria, Serbia, Denmark and Portugal) even started developing national identities already in the Middle Ages (in the cases of Bulgaria and Serbia – largely thanks to their independent churches and native liturgical language). Hence my earlier post here about the crucial role in Simeon’s failure of capturing Constantinople in a time when the Bulgarian national identity was in its infancy.


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