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  • 1.
    Thorsjö, Olof
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    De bysantinska barbarerna: Den bysantinska konstruktionen av Barbaricum och dess följder för den bysantinska drömmen2015Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    According to the orthodox priest John Meyendorff, the Byzantine dream consisted of the establishment of a universal Christian empire spiritually and politically governed by the emperor of Constantinople. This essay intends to shed light on the topic of Byzantine religious and political expansion in the context of Byzantine view on Barbaricum and the barbarians inhabiting it. The fundamental question asked is: how do the Byzantines view the barbarians outside the Byzantine Empire and in what sense, if any, does this view have implications for the Byzantine dream?

    To answer the question the essay examines four 6th century historians, namely: Procopius of Caesarea, Johannes Malalas, Menander Protector and Agathias of Myrina. The method being used is a hermeneutical method and the theoretical framework is made up of Edward Said’s Orientalism.

    The results indicate that the barbarians in Barbaricum were viewed upon with great distrust. The Byzantines considered the barbarians to be ontologically different from themselves. Furthermore, the Byzantines regarded the barbarians behaviour as uncivilized. The typical barbarian was deemed to be wild, cruel, irrational, mostly religiously backwards, lacking in education and, more often than not, displaying arrogance and boasting. At the same time they were mystified, and thought of as physically impressive beings capable of unnatural strength. Consequently, the barbarians were viewed upon as creatures of lust and physicality rather than, like the Byzantines, beings of rationality and sense. The conclusion can be made that the Byzantines regarded Barbaricum in much the same manner as the postcolonial powers regarded the Orient – through the construction of a dichotomy between the self and the other.

    Concerning the Byzantine adherence to the Byzantine dream as expressed by John Meyendorff, to spread the Byzantine Empire beyond its borders and consume Barbaricum by political and religious means, the results indicate that there are reasons to question Meyendorff’s assumption. It’s plausible that there indeed were Byzantine inclinations to transform Barbaricum. Furthermore, the results indicate that the Byzantine view of the barbarians played some part in shaping that inclination. It’s, however, also plausible that while the Byzantines may have strived to transform Barbaricum, it doesn’t neccessarily follow that it had to succumb to Byzantine imperial authority. The investigated sources seem to suggest that the primary Byzantine goal was solely to transform Barbaricum religiously and politically into something that resembled the Byzantine Empire but wasn’t necessarily a full fledged part of it.

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    De bysantinska barbarerna
  • 2.
    Thorsjö, Olof
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Den inhemska andra: Svenska prästers bilder av samer från 1600-talets mission till den så kallade Lappmarken2015Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This study aims to unfold and explain the historical Swedish view upon the Samic people. The fundamental question asked is: ”In which manner, or manners, are the Samic people in the so called Lappmarkerna portrayed by Swedish missionaries during the 17th century?

    The study makes use of five Swedish missionaries’ written accounts of their travels in Lappmarkerna during the 17th century. The primary sources are examined through a hermeneutic method and the results are analyzed from a postcolonial theoretical framework based mostly on Edward Said’s Orientalism and Ania Loomba’s Colonialism/postcolonialism.

    The results unfold a view of the Samic people as indeed something other than the rest of the Swedes. The Samic people were described as cowardly, lazy, small in stature, not particularly strong, vigorous, fairly intelligent, disgraceful in the context of trade and very skilled with a bow and at hunting in general, but lacking any inclination towards war.

    The view of the Samic people as the other is however mostly not based on a suggestion that there were any ontological differences between the Samic people and the Swedes. On the contrary, the described differences were mostly ascribed to historical and cultural causes. It’s plausible that the explanation for the limited claims about any fundamental differences is found in the Swedish missionaries’ purpose of producing accounts of their travels. The Swedish missionaries were probably inclined to emphasize the basic similiarities in order to establish that the Samic people were possible to convert to Christianity as well as foster into becoming proper Swedish subjects.

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    Den inhemska andra
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