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New Rome

New Rome is term that can be applied to a city or a country. It can be used to express connection with or discontinuity from the "old" Rome, depending upon context. New Rome has been a cultural, historical, and theological concept within much of Western culture (as far east as Russia) for centuries if not millennia. The term "New Rome" can used as insult and as praise. Its oldest use may be in reference to Constantinople, since Nova Roma or Νεα Ρωμη was an alternate name for the city. This particular New Rome served as the capital of the Roman Empire from the 4th century CE until the fall of the Western empire and for nearly a millennium afterwards for the Empire as it survived in the east. In 451 CE the Council of Chalcedon gave New Rome and its Patriarch equal ecclesiastic status with Old Rome.

New Rome in the "East"

This Nova Roma would contrast itself from the "old" Rome by pointing out how it had always been a Christian city, while Old Rome was from pagan roots. Polemical writings from after the Great Schism would even go so far as to state that Old Rome was too stained by the blood of martyrs to lead Christianity. To the present day, the Patriarch of Constantinople includes "of Constantinople and New Rome" in his full title.

After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, it was a scant few decades before some were nominating Moscow as the "Third Rome", or new "New Rome". This began with a panegyric letter composed by the Russian monk Filofei between 1515 and 1521, which stated "Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will not be a fourth. No one will replace your Christian Tsardom!" In short, since Byzantine princesses had married Tsars of Moscow and Roman emperorship was more based on power than in heritage, the Tsars presented themselves replacing the Emperor as the rightful ruler of the (Christian) world. (The word "tsar" is derived from the word "caesar". See also kaiser.) This "Muscovite New Romism" even extended into the Bolshevik era during the Soviet Union, when Nicolas Berdyaev wrote "Instead of the Third Rome in Russia, the Third International was achieved and many of the features of the Third Rome pass over to the Third International." It is suggested by some scholars that Muscovite Third Romism is now the Russian equivalent the USA's Manifest Destiny and other theories used to rationalize imperialism.

New Rome in the "West"

On the other hand, for countries that underwent the Protestant Reformation, "New Rome" has become an insult, applied to nations or cities that have earned condemnation for rapacity, immorality, or other governmental ills. This likely goes directly back to virulent anti-Roman propaganda against "papists" and the city of Rome, home of the Pope and heart of the Roman Catholic Church, which drew the ire of many a Reformation author. In the present day, "New Rome" is used in this form mostly to refer to "political immorality", casting any large and powerful country into the role of an oppressive and expansionistic empire. "Babylon" is used in a similar sense.