European History/European identity


At what point in history did Europeans begin to think of themselves as Europeans? I know that throughout history Europe's been home to a vast number of ethnic groups from the Italians to the Slavic tribes. At what point did all these people come to think of themselves as Europeans?

youre asking about cosmopolitanism vs particularism in europe. in fact, both sentiments have very long histories. sometimes one is dominant; sometimes the other. the greeks, in remote antiquity, designated one side of the hellespont europe and the other asia, which already shows some sensibility oe being european. the division of the roman empire, the the 3rd century ce, certainly would have reinforced a distinction. the rise of islam in western asia, along with the crusades, which continued for more than two centuries, promoted european fellow feeling. the 18th century, despite numerous intraeuropean wars, was a high point of cosmopolitanism, as enlightenment ideas proliferated, with even russia getting in on the act. in the early 19th century, you had the concert of europe arise to repair the disruption of the napoleonic wars. then comes the eu . . .

you should bear in mind that while these sentiments seem to oppose each other, people have no trouble believing both simulteneously. there are still catalan separatists after more than 500 years of spain; still scottish separatists after 400 years of the uk. bit all these people think of themselves as european.

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Sam Rutherford


I have an MA in History from Vanderbilt with concentrations in Russia and recent Europe and would enjoy answering questions in those areas. Just don`t expect a lot of bibliographical information.

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