Romaniotes are culturally Greek Jews who trace their history to the Hellenized Jews of antiquity. Their history, customs and language are distinct from both Ashkenasim and Sephardim, the two main Jewish traditions. Romaniotes have lived throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, mainly in what is today Greece, Turkey and some Balkan countries.
The term Romaniote refers to the medieval Eastern Roman Empire, which continued to exist after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. This Eastern Roman Empire was later called the Byzantine Empire, but the term Byzantine was coined only about a century after the fall of that empire. Its actual inhabitants continued to view themselves as Romans. Eventually that term came to be associated with the Jewish inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire: the Romaniotes.
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