Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Joel Anderson

Second Committee Member

Anne Kelly Knowles

Third Committee Member

Stephen M. Miller


This thesis explores how tendencies of regional separatism affected the political and ethnic contexts of late Roman identity during the course of the fourteenth century in the Byzantine Roman Empire. Fourteenth-century Byzantium was characterized by political fragmentation, significant sociopolitical changes and alterations, and subsequently a crisis of the Roman identity. The major question that the research will answer is: who was considered to be a Roman during the fourteenth century, and what did it mean for someone to hold that identity? The thesis will focus on two major and important geographical areas in the fourteenth century: the Principality of Achaia (Morea) and the Despotate of Epirus through the analysis of the writings of historians such as John VI Kantakouzenos (d. 1383 A.D.) and Nikephoros Gregoras (d. 1360 A.D.), as well as the chronicles of Morea and Tocco. The goal of this thesis is to prove that Roman identity during the fourteenth century developed strong territorial and political elements that resulted in a disjointed and fluid affiliation with the Roman ethnonym. There was no longer one unified understanding of “Roman” identity throughout the empire, but rather Romanness differed from region to region.