FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Byzantium Novum for real?
A. Yes, Byzantium Novum is a sincere international community working to manifest Byzantine culture and limited sovereignty as a "micronation", or small nation project. We're serious, but an easy-going and friendly kind of serious! We consider ourselves to be a very tiny legitimate successor state to the Byzantine Empire. We see that as an active and conscious link to history. It is something postive; we're not trying to secede from anything, or be in opposition to anything.
Q. Okay then, WHY do this?
A. The Byzantine Empire has a vast history of over a thousand years, beginning in the Classical world and ending at the start of the Renaissance. Byzantium preserved the traditions and Imperium of the Roman West, as well as the traditions and culture of the Greek East. Byzantine history is filled with wonders: jeweled cities, epic battles, amazing people, soaring cathedrals, engrossing politics, beautiful art and costumes, exotic foods and customs, and even beautiful music! These things did not cease to exist with the fall of Constantinople. We are a part of a rich history and we believe it is worthwhile to manifest that heritage in the world of today.
Q. What exactly IS Byzantium, or "Byzantine?"
A. Byzantium was the original name of the City of Constantinople. The term "Byzantine Empire" is commonly used to describe the Eastern Roman Empire from 324 AD, when the Emperor Constantine made Constantinople the Capital of all Rome, until 1453 AD when the city fell to invasion. The terms "Byzantium" and "Byzantine" were not much used in the ancient world, but since the 1500's have been the term to describe the Eastern Roman Empire and the particular blending of Roman and Greek religion and culture that were the hallmark of Rome in the East. Byzantium became the sole remaining bastion of Roman tradition for centuries after the fall of the City of Rome and the loss of the Western Empire. Byzantium Novum literally means "New Byzantium," expressing our existence as a small, modern successor state to the Eastern Roman Empire.
Q. Is Byzantium Novum a modern "Greek Nationalist" organization?
A. Not in any way. Our Citizens are people of all ethnicities, nationalities and religious faiths, residing all over the world. We simply share a common interest in the ancient history of the Eastern Roman Empire and its culture. Our efforts to preserve and revive that tradition are not part of modern East-West politics. We respect the rights and laws of all modern nations and are not seeking modern political or territorial changes among them.
Q. Is Byzantium Novum anti-Islam or Anti-Arab?
A. No. Ancient Byzantium had long periods of peace and cooperation with Islam and the Arab world, as well as periods of conflict which were common between all empires in the ancient world. Byzantium and Islam cooperated and shared on many levels for centuries and we honor that. While we are historically based we have no desire whatever to continue ancient conflicts, and instead promote peace and understanding through historical knowledge.
Q. Does Byzantium Novum advocate the return of Constantinople and/or other territories to Western control?
A. No. While we hope to someday peaceably establish our own new, very small symbolic Byzantine world Capitol on a few acres somewhere, we have no desire whatever to cause unwilling change to any modern nations, or their borders, possessions, territories or cultures. Our desire to reestablish something ancient in a limited way does not mean we want to change historical fact or modern realities and legalities.
Q: Do I have to be part of the Byzantine Orthodox Church to join?
A: Absolutely not! Although the Church has great importance in Byzantium Novum, we recognize that all nations are made up of many different religions and points of view. The Byzantine Church has primacy, but we do not require our Citizens to be Byzantine Orthodox.
Q: Do I have to be of Greek or Roman heritage to join?
A: As before, absolutely not! Just as persons of any race or nationality could become Citizens in Byzantium, so too is the right to Byzantium Novum Citizenship open to all.
Q: Ancient society could be very patriarchal. How does Byzantium Novum deal with women?
A: Woman were for the most part equal in the Byzantine world. They had the same legal rights as men, and the Byzantine world was ruled solely by three different empresses over time. Women in Byzantium Novum are guaranteed equal status and have full rights to vote, hold office, become members of the Senate, and so forth. We understand that the Byzantine Orthodox Church worldwide has some gender restrictions, but our micronation does not share any such policies.
Q: Do I have to know Latin or Greek to join?
A: Not at all. Byzantium Novum recognizes Latin and Greek as liturgical languages, but our business language is English. Learning at least some ancient language can be rewarding but it is not necessary to participate fully in Byzantium Novum.
Q: Are you really serious about the sovereignty thing?
A: Yes, we are completely serious about our declaration of limited self-sovereignty. However, we are also very realistic - we obey the laws of the countries in which our Citizens live and don't expect to exist as an actual sovereign nation with our own territory in the foreseeable future. We hold sovereignty as a long-term goal to to work toward, and use our working "government" as a way to organize the administration of our community now.
Q: Is this just some kind of role-playing game?
A: As our Citizens are spread worldwide, we are in a way starting out as a sort of Virtual Community. However, our goal is to become an increasingly physical community as we are able to hold events and build real world infrastructure. With time and fortune we will eventually grow into something very real and very fun to participate in!
Q. Is this Micronation thing something the government will frown on?
A. For what? Reading history, exploring culture, dressing in ancient costume, creating art, eating Mediterranean food, and maybe wearing armor and doing reenactments with a sword and shield? We go out of our way not to be scary, creepy or threatening. Two minutes attention can prove that to anyone. So... relax, enjoy yourself, and maybe learn something!
Q. I've seen (or been involved with) a Micronation before. It was all just a mess of imaginary politics and argument. How could this be any different?
A. Many of us have been involved in other projects as well, so we're
*very* aware of the pitfalls a small international community can face.
Without direction and drive it becomes easy to do "busy work" like making
new "laws" and playing politics. We're working very hard to make Byzantium
Novum a viable community that focuses OUTWARD by doing events and getting
out into the real world to have fun with Byzantine culture. Our goal is to
remain active and to keep law-making to a bare minimum, and focus positive
energy toward real-world projects instead.
Q: I have more questions.
A: We'll be happy to answer them! Please email them to us at: ByzantiumNovum@aol.com.
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