Tuesday, May 31, 2011

State of the Nation - May 2011

Greetings all,

Byzantium Novum has done well this month! We now have 181 official Citizens, an impressive gain of 15 new Citizens in May. This kind of growth is wonderful to see... at this point we have gained an average of 12 new people each month since our founding! We also currently have 1,968 Facebook "friends," a gain of 98 new contacts this month for public announcements and communication.

The Byzantium Novum Senate has also approved more new "Counts" to act as local organizers for local territories so that new Byzantine colonies can be formed. Our various cultural interest groups such as the Militarium were also active in May, with interesting discussion and some exciting new projects being started. Our micronation is growing at a healthy pace and continually becoming a more active community!

This month Byzantium Novum commemorated two important Byzantine historical dates - the anniversary of the founding of Constantinople on May 11, 330 AD, and the anniversary of the final fall of Constantinople on May 29th, 1453. Both events went well - with discussion in the Byzantium Novum forums and many Citizens marking the events with local activities also.

Significant dates such as these are important to Byzantium Novum. Our overall goals include both popularizing Byzantine history, and bringing Byzantine tradition and culture to life again through modern celebration and participation. Commemorating the ancient Byzantine world involves people in "things Byzantine" and makes our modern community more meaningful. We will of course continue to mark the dates that are significant for Byzantine civilization.

For many of us this next month is the start of the Summer season, when good weather and fun outdoor activities take precedence over online participation. We hope folks will continue to save at least a little time to participate in the Byzantine forums. We also look forward to the future when our local Colony groups will be able to offer fun and interesting local activities and public events for the more pleasant seasons!

-Marcus Cassius Julianus
Senate President
Byzantium Novum

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Greetings all,

Today, May 29, marks the end of the siege of Constantinople with the final fall
of the city to the Ottoman armies.

There is a fine description of the event on Wikipedia:

Today I will be attending the local Orthodox church and lighting two candles;
one in honor of Constantinople and the other for the success of Byzantium Novum.

It is wonderful that on this day we can do more than simply commemorate a sad
historical event. With this community we have the opportunity to *continue* that
history, and bring it from the past into the present once again!

As a Micronation and Sovereignty Project, Byzantium Novum is the first
intentionally Byzantine nation to exist in over 600 years. Our efforts to
directly revive and continue the culture and civilization of Byzantium are

In one year, we have gathered Byzantine Citizens and restored a Byzantine
Senate. We have founded Byzantine cultural and religious groups set the
foundations of a Militarium for martial ceremonial and living history purposes.
We have begun to found Byzantine Colonies around the world so that all people
interested in "things Byzantine" will have the opportunity to gather and hold
live Byzantine events in their local area.

And of course, we have begun an international effort to restore the traditions,
ideals and prestige of a wonderous culture that had been mostly forgotten by the
very world it did so much to create.

Each month, new people join Byzantium Novum and it becomes stronger as a
Byzantine nation. Our opportunities to study, discuss, and participate in
Byzantine Civilization become greater.

With us, Byzantium is born anew.

Because of this today is a day of reflection, but not a day of sadness. We can
instead be glad that Byzantine civilization is not lost... and has a future
ahead which holds wider opportunities than the ancient world could even dream

This day is better because we are here as Byzantines and we have each other.
Today we can remember the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the

That is the most that any cultural tradition can hope for!

-Marcus Cassius Julianus
President of the Senate
Byzantium Novum

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Byzantium Novum Commemorates the Founding of Constantinople, May 11 330 AD

Byzantium Novum invites you to join in our virtual celebration of the founding of Constantinople on May 11. Byzantium Novum is a micro-nation dedicated to the rebirth of Byzantine culture and civilization which was formed to become a small, legitimate successor state to the Byzantine Empire. We exist as a micro-national sovereignty project, working to bring Byzantine civilization to life in the modern world as much as is possible. Our goal is to establish a physical, symbolic and administrative world capitol of 100 acres or more, where the Byzantine State may have a real-world existence and coordinate Byzantine interests around the world. This year, we celebrate 1681 years since the founding of “The City.”
Citizens of Byzantium Novum will be celebrating in a variety of ways. From cooking period foods in the modern kitchen to speaking with the Senate in a chat room online, May 11 will be a celebration of the rejuvenation of Byzantine culture. To chat, just go to http://tinychat.com/byzantiumnovum. Signup on tinychat.com is free, and this will be the permanent home of our chat sessions. Join Senators Baduila Chalkeus and Amma Doukaina, along with Count Ulfr the Varangian and others from 7pm-9pm EST.
There are many ways to celebrate this auspicious occasion with us, despite our distance in the real world. There is a wonderful documentary about Byzantium here that you can watch for free: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/byzantium-lost-empire/
Interested in eating like they did during the Empire? Although this year the Greek Orthodox Church will be fasting (wine is allowed) on May 11, it is a wonderful opportunity to try your hand at the foods of the Eastern Empire! If you follow the Greek Orthodox calendar, Agiozoumi and fresh bread are a wonderful option for fast days, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a simple, but delicious, soup. Here’s a small menu to get you started for a non-Orthodox meal. Have baskets of crusty Greek bread available throughout your meal!
Appetizer course: Dried and fresh figs, citrus fruits, walnuts, almonds, fresh melon and Mizithra cheese. A bowl full of melitzanosalata is delicious dipped with that crusty bread! Caviar or roe as well as brined capers were popular in Byzantine times for those who could afford it, also.
Main course: Fish dishes would include any of a variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish either fried in olive oil or boiled gently with leeks and lots of dill. Kippered sardines and herring were commonly eaten also. There is a lot of room for you to be creative and use the type of seafood you like. Consider adding in mussels or eel to your dish!
Fresh omelettes called sphoungata, served with delicious ingredients like Feta cheese; chichees (chickpeas) cooked in olive oil and salted water with lots of fresh cloves of garlic, stuffed peacocks and turtledoves, and a variety of resined wines, called retsina, would also be served as part of the main course. You can order retsina from many companies online, and may be able to find it in your local wine market.
Meat dishes would include roasted pork basted in honeymead, and many companies today make mead in varying levels from very dry to very sweet. For meat, you’ll want to find a dry or semi-dry version. You could roast a leg of lamb with spearmint and rosemary, as well! Be sure to serve a sallet, similar to a modern salad, at the end of the meal. Arugula, watercress and other wild greens tossed very lightly with some olive oil and herbed vinegar make a wonderful end to the meal (yes, they ate salads at the end!). This cleanses the palate in advance of dessert and was believed to aid digestion.
For dessert, serve kopton, of course! Kopton was very similar to the baklava we know today. Sweet, rich honey with layers of nuts and perfect phyllo dough is absolutely the best way to end any meal! You can easily purchase baklava at your local Mediterranean restaurant or local bakery. Fresh honey along with apples, pears, figs and other fresh fruits can also be served to add variety!
Exarch Matyas offers a prayer for the day: O God of Heaven, Father, on this day of commemoration, from your son Jesus to the first called of His apostolic patriarchs; Saint Andrew, send your Holy Spirit to the people who follow your sacred traditions, Lord we are your servants, give your holy power to your sacred traditions, as they have survived forever. We do this in remembrance of your glory. Amen.
And from the Chaplain of Megalopotamia, this prayer: Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Clothe your ministers with righteousness; let your people sing with joy. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world, for only in you can we live in safety. Lord, keep this nation under your care, and guide us in the ways of justice and truth. Let your way be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor be taken away. Create in us clean hearts, O God, and sustain us with your Holy Spirit.
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia. Alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. -Romans 15:13
On this day of commemoration, we celebrate our Byzantine heritage! It is our desire to encourage our citizens and potential citizens by showing real-world options for bringing Byzantine history to the modern day. Please join us by celebrating, and let us know what you’re doing! Send photos and details to AmmaDoukaina@gmail.com, and be sure to look around on our website!