SUBJECT: The Romioi of the 18th century didn't
feel Greek-much less of the ancient variety.
Oddly, this idea, which today is waved about like a banner by anti-Westerners, is an entirely Western notion. Foreign "Philhellenes" uncovered our ancient monuments, and it was they who taught us to believe that we were the immediate successors to the ancients, responsible for the continuation of their traditions. The Romioi of the 18th century didn't feel Greek-much less of the ancient variety. They were a Balkan nation, originating from the admixture of many races and cultural traditions, with their own attitudes and ways of thinking. Out of the blue, the Western "Philhellenes" (and their mimics, our own "scholars") stuck a helmet on their head, dubbed them keepers of the ancient flame, and injected them with a passion for purity.
BY NIKOS DIMOU