The Info List - Latin West

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Greek East and Latin
West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world, specifically the eastern regions where Greek was the lingua franca (Anatolia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East) and the western parts where Latin
filled this role (Central and Western Europe). During the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
a divide had persisted between Latin- and Greek-speaking areas; this divide was encouraged by administrative changes in the empire's structure between the 3rd and 5th centuries, which led ultimately to the establishment of separate administrations for the Eastern and Western halves of the Empire. After the fall of the Western Part, pars occidentalis, of the Empire, the terms Greek East and Latin
West are applied to areas that were formerly part of the Eastern or Western Parts of the Empire, and also to areas that fell under the Greek or Latin
cultural sphere but that had never been part of the Roman Empire. This has given rise to two modern dichotomies, which are, Christianity
has been historically split between Western Christianity
( Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism
and Protestantism) and Eastern Christianity
(Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and related traditions). Second, Europeans have traditionally viewed Europe and the Mediterranean as having an East/West cultural split. Cultures associated with the historical Iberians, Goths, Franks, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Celts, West Slavs and the historical Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
(Central and Western Europe) have traditionally been considered Western; these cultures adopted Latin
as their lingua franca in the Middle Ages. Cultures associated with the Byzantine and Russian Empires (Greeks, Orthodox Slavs
Orthodox Slavs
(East & South Slavs), Romanians
and to a lesser extent Albanians) have traditionally been considered Eastern; these cultures all used Greek or Old Church Slavonic as a lingua franca during the early Middle Ages.


1 Use with regard to the Roman Empire 2 Use with regard to Christianity 3 See also 4 References

Use with regard to the Roman Empire[edit] In the classical context, Greek East refers to the provinces and client states of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in which the lingua franca was primarily Greek. This region included the whole Greek peninsula with some other northern parts in the Balkans, the provinces around the Black Sea, those of the Bosphorus, all of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
(in the loosest possible sense, to include Cappadocia and extending to Armenia Minor), Magna Graecia (southern part of the Italian peninsula and Sicily), and the other provinces along the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
(Judea, Syria, Cyrenaica
and Egypt). These Roman provinces had been Greek colonies or Greek-ruled states during the Hellenistic period, i.e. until the Roman conquests. At the start of late antiquity, beginning with the reorganization of the empire's provincial divisions during the reign of Diocletian (ruled 284–305), the expression "Greek East" evolved to stand in contradistinction to Latin
West. Thereafter, Greek East refers to the Greek-speaking provinces mentioned above (after 395 mostly in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire) in contradistinction to the provinces in Western Europe, Italia
(excluding the Catepanate of Italy, where they still spoke Greek) and Northwest Africa
Northwest Africa
(after 395 in the Latin-speaking Western Roman Empire).[1] Use with regard to Christianity[edit] Further information: East–West Schism Greek East and Latin
West are terms used also to divide Chalcedonian Christianity
into the Greek-speaking, Orthodox peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, centered on the Byzantine Empire, and the Latin-speaking Catholic peoples of Western Europe.[2][3] Here, Latin West applies to regions that were formerly part of the Western Roman Empire, specifically Italia, Gallia (Gaul), Hispania, Northwest Africa, and Britannia, but also to areas that had never been part of the Empire but which later came under the culture sphere of the Latin West, such as Magna Germania, Hibernia
(Ireland), Caledonia (Scotland). In this sense, the term Latin
came to refer to the liturgical and scholarly language of Western Europe, since many of these countries did not actually speak Latin. The term Greek varies in how it is applied. In the most narrow sense, after the rise of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
it is only applied to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. Depending on the author it may also be applied to

Areas where the Greek language
Greek language
was the common scholarly and religious language during classical Roman times and the early Middle Ages, including Syria, Egypt, Palestine, etc. Areas that have historically been in communion with the (formerly Byzantine) Eastern Orthodox Church, which includes Russia
and much of Eastern Europe, but largely excludes Egypt, Syria, Armenia, etc. which largely opposed the influence of Constantinople
having formed what are now called the Church of the East
Church of the East
and Oriental Orthodoxy. Areas that have were heavily culturally influenced by the Byzantine Empire, directly or indirectly, during the Middle Ages, including Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
and the Islamic Empires (note: today Muslim nations by and large disdain being associated with Greek history because of the religious connotations).

The term Latin
has survived much longer as a unifying term for the West because the Latin
language survived until very recently as a scholarly and liturgical language despite the fragmentation and religious changes in Western Europe. The Greek language, by contrast, died out somewhat quickly in the Arab lands, and the Slavic nations never fully embraced the language despite their long religious affiliation with the Eastern Romans/Byzantines. See also[edit]

Jireček Line


^ Cf. Fishwick, Duncan. The imperial cult in the Latin
West: studies in the ruler cult of the Western provinces of the Roman Empire. BRILL, 2002. ^ Sherrard, Philip. The Greek East and the Latin
West: a study in the Christian tradition. London: Oxford University Press, 1959; reprinted Limni [Greece]: Denise Harvey & Company, 1992 ISBN 960-7120-04-3. ^ Andrew Louth, Greek East and Latin
West: The Church AD 691–1071 (St Vladimir's Seminary Press ISBN 978-0-