Author: Lajos Berkes
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  • 1 Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Institut für Papyrologie Heidelberg Deutschland
  • 2 ELTE Eötvös Collegium H-1118 Budapest Ménesi út 11-13. Ungarn
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Nicetas Choniates is the most significant and well-known Byzantine historian of the 12th century. This paper deals with his passages about the Hungarians, in particular with the representation of the Hungarians. The analysis is partly based on sporadic data found in the orations of Choniates, and chiefly on the related pieces of his History. A close inspection of these sources leads to three basic conclusions: 1) The representation of the Hungarians by Nicetas Choniates is fundamentally influenced by the contemporary Byzantine stereotypes, although sometimes one can feel a more open-minded approach towards strangers, characteristic of his time. 2) In the text of Choniates, the Hungarians also represent the mere “crowd”, as the other non-Byzantine nations do, and their representation is often subordinated to the author’s conception of history. 3) The Hungarians seem to be near the Western people in the hierarchy of barbarians.