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Abstract

The essay concentrates on a master narrative strategy presiding over the early emergence of modernity in the area in which contemporary Romania is situated. This narrative strategy richly illustrates the neoByzantine survival strategies of the Greek elites who ruled the Danubian Principalities (Moldova and Valahia) during the earlier stages of Romanian modernization (18th century). Early modem Romanian political and intellectual elites borrowed from the post-Byzantine political theology a set of Gnostic-inflected narrative strategies to explain their subordination to alien powers (Turkish, Ottoman, Russian, Austrian, or Hungarian). These strategies operated a reversal of "real" and "unreal" or of "essential" and "fleeting" attributes of social-historical situations. The aim of these strategies was to construct the local elites as the agents of a political ideology of national redemption that will ultimately put them above their temporary masters. The paper focuses mainly on the so-called Phanariot period (17th to 18th Centuries).

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