2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Italian Academy

The Italian Academy invites applications for a limited number of positions in its 2015-16 Fellowship program, which will be devoted to the project “Emotion, Embodiment and the History of Art and Music: Aesthetics, History and Anthropology.”

Given the exceptional number of recent applications addressing the relationship between these topics, the Academy has decided to dedicate an entire year to them. The aim is to bring together philosophers, anthropologists, and historians of culture, especially of the visual arts and music. Some members of the working group have already been selected from last year’s group of candidates.

In evaluating this year’s projects, special consideration will be given to proposals in the neurosciences relevant to the Academy's ongoing project in Humanities and Neuroscience.

Fellowships are open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens at the post-doctoral and faculty level. Applications are encouraged from countries beyond Europe.

New issue of Crusades

Crusades, volume 13 (2014)


The ‘schism’ of 1054 and the First Crusade
Jonathan Harris
The Gesta Francorum Iherusalem expugnantium of ‘Bartolf of Nangis’
Susan Edgington
The Jerusalem conquest of 492/1099 in the medieval Arabic historiography of the Crusades: from regional plurality to Islamic narrative
Konrad Hirschler
Geoffrey, prior of the Templum Domini on the seven books of Josephus
Julian Yolles
Irish involvement in the Crusades? A reconsideration of the eleventh- and twelfth-century chronicle and annalistic evidence
Denis Casey
The German Crusade of 1197-98
Graham Loud
Burchard of Mount Zion’s Descriptio Terrae Sanctae: a newly discovered extended version
Jonathan Rubin
A templar’s belt: the oral and sartorial transmission of memory and myth in the Order of the Temple
Kevin Lewis
Nuove pergamene messinesi due-trecentesche relative ad Acri e Famagosta
Bruno Figliuolo
Humbert of Viennois and the Crusade of Smyrna: a reconsideration
Michael Carr

Italy and the Mediterranean

Italy and the Mediterranean, proposed panel for the American Association for Italian Studies Annual Meeting, University of Colorado, Boulder, March 26–28, 2015

The CU Mediterranean Studies Group and the Mediterranean Seminar are seeking papers for a panel or panels, “Italy and the Mediterranean” to be proposed for the meeting of the American Association for Italian Studies to be held at the University of Colorado Boulder from 26–28 March, 2015.

Papers in Literature, Italian Studies, History, Art History and any relevant disciplines are welcome; particularly welcome are papers that are framed as “Mediterranean” or comparatively, that address the relation of Italian history and culture to other Mediterranean traditions, or that address methodological and or historiographical questions. Papers may range in chronological sweep from Antiquity to the Modern.

American Association for Italian Studies Annual Meeting

“Trade and Exchange” Winter MRP Workshop & Ottomanists Workshop

“Trade and Exchange” Winter MRP Workshop & Ottomanists Workshop, UC Davis, January 30–31, 2015

The Mediterranean Seminar/University of California Multi-Campus Research Project (MRP) in Mediterranean Studies announces its Winter 2014 Workshop, to be held at UC Davis on Friday, January 30, to be held in conjunction with the Western Ottomanists Workshop (WOW) on Saturday, January 31.

The Workshop consists of discussion of three pre-circulated papers and a talk by our featured scholar, Molly Greene (History, Princeton University), who will present “Where are the Ottomans in Mediterranean History?” The Mediterranean Studies MRP invites proposals for workshop papers on the topic “Trade and Exchange,” construed either literally or figuratively. We seek papers in any relevant discipline, especially comparative or interdisciplinary work that uses the Mediterranean as a frame of analysis. Priority is given to faculty and graduate students from the UC system and collaborating institutions, but any North American-based scholars working on relevant material are encouraged to apply. The Mediterranean Seminar/UCMRP will cover travel and lodging expenses for presenters.

WOW workshop

A separate call for workshop and conference registration will be sent out on December 7. Workshop presenters and attendees are encouraged to attend both events.

Debating Religious Space and Place from Constantine to Cnut (AD 306–1035)

Debating Religious Space and Place from Constantine to Cnut (AD 306–1035), University of Leicester, November 22–23, 2014

Our two-day post-graduate led conference will bring together academic research on the theme of religious landscape transformation from The North Sea to the Holy Land from the fourth to eleventh centuries. A series of key studies which provide a more international comparative approach to religious and spatial transformations in the Late Antique and Early Medieval world will readdress questions of continuity and change, transformation or decline, and diversity or uniformity in both landscapes and social patterns across Europe and the Near East.


The Late Mediterranean Society According to Procopius of Caesarea

The Late Mediterranean Society According to Procopius of Caesarea, Landesmuseum Mainz, December 11–13, 2014

The conference will present a fresh look at one of the most productive authors of the late antique/early Byzantine period and his extensive and multi-facetted oeuvre. The focus of the conference is on the question of what view of contemporary society(-ies). The broad theme of the conference makes space for a comparative-interdisciplinary approach.

Wide areas of the empire underwent a comprehensive demographic change from the fifth century onwards, while wars, natural catastrophes, theological controversies and interventions by ‘state’ structures also led to the development of different social and religious forms of communication and interaction. The ancient cities experienced a fundamental transformation, not just through church building, the role of the bishops in the cities and on behalf of rural areas, a restructuring of the central and local administration and altered economic forms and fiscal conditions. Often much reduced in size and with massive fortifications, they featured abandoned residential areas as well as formerly public buildings that were built over by private citizens and put to new uses. A new way of living and a new approach to life must have arisen, but, although many publications have noted this in its concrete cultural expressions, it has been granted hardly any space in scholarship as a phenomenon. The only explanatory key offered in recent scholarly approaches has been concepts like ‘anxiety’ as regards the masses and ‘mysticism’ as regards the elites; though this is indeed attractive and convincing, it is remains an attempt to grasp the zeitgeist ‘with one eye shut’. Out of the new (religious) forms and sites of communication and the plurality of the traditions – and not only through demographic change – a diverse range of new cultural practices arose in the sixth century. These distinctive regional and social forms stand in contrast to an ever more forcefully presented central authority (emperor, administration, army, patriciate, etc.).

At the conference we aim to examine this extremely dynamic sixth-century cultural milieu from a fixed point of departure (Procopius) and through four major complexes of themes: 1) One Society, Many Communities?, 2) Economic Life: Regional and Global Contexts; 3) Dynamics of Military and Civilian Spheres; 4) The World of the City: Space, Culture, Art.

Organized by Prof. Dr. Marietta Horster and Dr. Andreas Goltz


El Greco from Crete, to Venice, to Rome, to Toledo

El Greco from Crete, to Venice, to Rome, to Toledo (Ο Ελ Γκρέκο απ' την Κρήτη, στη Βενετία, στη Ρώμη, στο Τολέδο), Benaki Museum, November 21–23, 2014

This three day International Conference focuses on the life and ouevre of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known universally as El Greco, one of the greatest painters of all time.

The conference is organized in conjunction with the exhibitions on “El Greco’s Friends and Patrons in Toledo” and on “D. Theotokopoulos between Venice and Rome" which will take place in Benaki Museum buildings November 2014–Febuary 2015), commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco in Toledo, Spain.


Domenikos Theotokopoulos between Venice and Rome

Domenikos Theotokopoulos between Venice and Rome (Ο Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος μεταξύ Βενετίας και Ρώμης), Benaki Museum, Pireos Street Annex, on view November 13, 2014–March 1, 2015

The exhibition is organized on the occasion of the quatercentenary of Domenikos Theotokopoulos’ death, focused on the two panels of the painter’s Italian period which are kept in Heraklion. These are The Baptism of Christ, which belongs to the Municipality of Heraklion, and the View of Mt Sinai and the Monastery of St Catherine, which was purchased by Andreas & Maria Kalokairinou Foundation in 1991.

The exhibition at the Benaki Musuem will present for the first time in Greece the El Greco's painting A Boy Blowing a Candle from the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples.

The exhibition investigates the artist’s first steps in the West, during his stay in Venice and through the early stages of his residence in Rome (1567–1574). With the help of paintings, engravings and manuscripts, visitors will be able to follow the blossoming art of the ambitious and defiant Cretan in the important artistic centres of post-Renaissance Italy.

Friends and Patrons of El Greco in Toledo

Friends and Patrons of El Greco in Toledo (Ο φιλικός κύκλος του Γκρέκο στο Τολέδο), Benaki Museum, on view November 13, 2014–March 1, 2015

The exhibition is organized on the occasion of the quatercentenary of Domenikos Theotokopoulos’ death, focused on the presentation of the intellectuals, collectors and patrons who constituted El Greco’s personal close circle in Toledo, inspiring and supporting him, throughout his creative journey.

The exhibition comprises important archival material from archives in Toledo (Archivo Municipal de Toledo, Archivo Provincial de Toledo, Biblioteca de Castilla-La Mancha) and Madrid (Archivo Historico de Protocolos de Madrid), manuscripts and books from the National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana), as well as four portraits of El Greco from the collections of the Museo del Prado, the Museo del Greco in Toledo as well as from a private collection in London.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich scientific publication, edited by Art Historian Nikos Hadjinikolaou (Professor Emeritus of the University of Crete).

Exhibition curators: Richard Kagan (Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore), Nikos Hadjinikolaou

CAORC Multi-Country Research Fellowship

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Multi-Country Fellowship Program supports advanced regional or trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their Ph.D. Preference will be given to candidates examining comparative and/or cross-regional research. Applicants are eligible to apply as individuals or in teams.

Scholars must carry out research in two or more countries outside the United States, at least one of which hosts a participating American overseas research center. Approximately nine awards of up to $10,500 each will be given.

CAORC Andrew W. Mellon Mediterranean Regional Research Fellowship

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers is pleased to announce a new focused regional fellowship program enabling pre- and early post-doctoral scholars to carry out research in the humanities and related social sciences in countries bordering the Mediterranean and served by American overseas research centers. Funding for this program is generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Scholars must be a US citizen or Permanent Resident; be a doctoral candidate or a scholar who obtained his/her Ph.D. within the last ten years (September 2004 or later); propose a three to nine month humanities or related social science research project; and propose travel to one or more Mediterranean region country, at least one of which hosts a participating American overseas research center. Fellowship awards will not exceed $33,500.

2014 Mostly Orthros Conference

2014 Mostly Orthros Conference, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, December 5

The Axion Estin Foundation, in collaboration with Columbia University's Music Department and the Sophia Institute, announces the 2014 Mostly Orthros Conference.

The Mostly Orthros Conferences feature distinguished speakers from around the world and historically-informed chant demonstrations by invited virtuoso chanters and choirs. This year's Mostly Orthros Conference marks the third edition of the foundation's flagship publication "Great Theory of Music" by Chrysanthos of Madytos with translation and commentary by Dr. Katy Romanou. The third edition includes a new forward by Dr. Grammenos Karanos, Assistant Professor of Byzantine Music at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, and marks the 200-year anniversary (1814–2014) of the introduction of the "New Method" of teaching Byzantine Music based on Chrysanthos' reform of the musical notation. This year's keynote address by Marcel Peres, founder and director of Ensemble Organum, will focus on a renowned music manuscript of the Cathedral of Benevento, Italy, featuring Latin and Greek music texts chanted antiphonally.

Significant events scheduled around this year's Mostly Orthros conference include

  • Byzantine Christmas concerts at the Metropolitan Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall on December 5th, 2014, at 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm,
  • participation at the Great Vespers Service at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church, Flushing, New York, on December 5th, 2014, at 7:30 pm, featuring antiphonal Byzantine chanting by virtuoso chanters Eleftherios Eleftheriadis and Christos Chalkias, and
  • two concerts at the Cloisters Museum on December 6, 2014, at 1 pm and 3 pm featuring the world renowned Ensemble Organum directed by Marcel Peres and virtuoso chanter Christos Chalkias of Thessaloniki, Greece, in a rare juxtaposition of Greek Byzantine and Latin chant on the occasion of the feast of Saint Nicholas.


Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Aesthetic Experience

Nadine Schibille. Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Aesthetic Experience. Ashgate, 2014.

From Ashgate

Paramount in the shaping of early Byzantine identity was the construction of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (532–537 CE). This book examines the edifice from the perspective of aesthetics to define the concept of beauty and the meaning of art in early Byzantium. Byzantine aesthetic thought is re-evaluated against late antique Neoplatonism and the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius that offer fundamental paradigms for the late antique attitude towards art and beauty. These metaphysical concepts of aesthetics are ultimately grounded in experiences of sensation and perception, and reflect the ways in which the world and reality were perceived and grasped, signifying the cultural identity of early Byzantium.

There are different types of aesthetic data, those present in the aesthetic object and those found in aesthetic responses to the object. This study looks at the aesthetic data embodied in the sixth-century architectural structure and interior decoration of Hagia Sophia as well as in literary responses (ekphrasis) to the building. The purpose of the Byzantine ekphrasis was to convey by verbal means the same effects that the artefact itself would have caused. A literary analysis of these rhetorical descriptions recaptures the Byzantine perception and expectations, and at the same time reveals the cognitive processes triggered by the Great Church.

The central aesthetic feature that emerges from sixth-century ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia is that of light. Light is described as the decisive element in the experience of the sacred space and light is simultaneously associated with the notion of wisdom. It is argued that the concepts of light and wisdom are interwoven programmatic elements that underlie the unique architecture and non-figurative decoration of Hagia Sophia. A similar concern for the phenomenon of light and its epistemological dimension is reflected in other contemporary monuments, testifying to the pervasiveness of these aesthetic values in early Byzantium.

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The Practical Christology of Philoxenos of Mabbug

David A. Michelson. The Practical Christology of Philoxenos of Mabbug. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford University Press, 2014.

From Oxford University Press

Philoxenos of Mabbug (c. 440–523) was a prolific late-antique theologian and polemicist who produced the largest literary corpus to have survived in Syriac. He earned a reputation as the leading Syriac opponent of the Council of Chalcedon (451) and its two-nature Christology. In The Practical Christology of Philoxenos of Mabbug, David A. Michelson offers a new understanding of Philoxenos one-nature Christology by interpreting the post-Chalcedonian doctrinal disputes through a holistic analysis of Philoxenos life and works. Michelson’s close reading of the entire Philoxenian corpus reveals a miaphysite perspective on the Christological controversies in which the intellectual clash was not primarily over defining doctrine. As a metropolitan bishop, sponsor of a revised New Testament, and monastic theologian, Philoxenos was principally concerned with matters of Christian praxis and the ascetic pursuit of divine knowledge. This book shows how he opposed Chalcedonian Christology because he was convinced its intellectual theological method was inimical to the mystical pursuit of divine knowledge through liturgical and ascetic practice. Philoxenos polemical engagement drew upon a theological epistemology that he had adapted from Pro-Nicene theologians including Ephrem, the Cappadocians, and Evagrius. Philoxenos argued that divine knowledge was not to be achieved through human understanding or doctrinal inquiry. Instead, true divine knowledge was attained through practice, specifically contemplation, reading of scripture, participation in the liturgical mysteries, and ascetic discipline. Michelson considers each of these practices in turn to show how Philoxenos thought ofopposition to Chalcedon as part of a larger vision of ascetic and spiritual struggle. In short, for Philoxenos conflict over Christology was foremost a practical matter.

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Two Assistant Editor Positions, Porphyra

Porphyra is an internationally accredited academic journal, founded in 2003 by Nicola Bergamo. It is currently the only e‐journal dedicated solely to the promotion and understanding of Byzantine Studies. It is has been online since 2003 and has its own ISSN (2240‐5240). Porphyra is a biannual journal. CFP deadline dates are the 15th May and the 15th November. It publishes articles and book reviews in; Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Neo Greek languages.

Porphyra publishes articles and essays to exemplary academic standards and as a consequence, high historical value. All published works are approved by a committee of esteemed academic members worldwide. To be considered for publication contributors must hold, as a minimum requirement, a Masters degree. Work must be thoroughly researched, showing drive, accuracy and where possible, originality. Our aim is to contribute to the transmission of precise knowledge and perception of what Byzantine culture was, as well as highlighting its relevance to both our present and past.

The Assistant Editors will help the editorial staff in editing and checking English articles. The AE will also interact with the Porphyra website and its sister Facebook page in order to fulfill our mission. Successful applicants will also be involved in the review section, especially (but not exclusively) if some of them are written in English. Successful candidates will also be involved in international academic relationships (in collaboration with the Editor), with other cultural institutions that work with Porphyra. Applicants must hold at least an MA in Byzantine Studies or similar, though preference will be given to PhD (or equivalent) students. Successful candidates will work together with the staff for one year with an opportunity to continue his/her experience for another two.

Job Requirements:


  • Ability to communicate and coordinate him/herself with an international staff
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Dedicate extra time after the first of the year's CFP's has ended in order to organise the future issue on time (mainly end of May, end of November)


  • Speak another language, preferably Italian

All positions are considered as voluntary. We provide a great opportunity to work with an international staff. We offer a unique opportunity for someone to gain excellent experience with an internationally accredited academic journal, dedicated to Byzantine Studies.

Please send us an email to with:

  • Letter of statement (intent)
  • Updated CV

New Perspectives on Construction Materials and Manpower in Late Antique Ravenna

New Perspectives on Construction Materials and Manpower in Late Antique Ravenna, lecture by  J. Riley Snyder (ERS Fellow), Università di Bologna, December 2, 2014, 6:00–8:00 pm

Ravenna saw many changes in late antiquity following the decision to make it the administrative capital of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the fifth century. One major change that this small town underwent was a massive expansion through major infrastructural building programmes. Recent research has examined the logistical implications of sourcing and supplying building materials in quantities large enough to sustain the projects needed to for this transformation. Specifically, what obstacles were faced while trying to sustain such a large and sudden building programme almost exclusively of brick masonry?

The particular case study used was the major extension of Ravenna’s city walls, which was one of the most demanding projects from a material and labour standpoint. Through a combination of material volumetric analysis and manpower comparisons, some important questions will be addressed about how the wall was constructed and how this would influence other large-scale construction projects in Ravenna.

Ninth International Conference of Iconographic Studies “Icons and Iconology”

Ninth International Conference of Iconographic Studies "Icons and Iconology,” Rijeka, Croatia, June 1–4, 2015, and Clinton, MA, June 11–13, 2015

Icons, iconography and iconology represent some of the most prominent concepts and research topics of art history. They refer both to a particular artistic practice, to liturgical objects, and to methods of art historical interpretations. Given this multitude of meanings and functions that the concepts of icon, iconic, iconography and iconology imply, it is not surprising that all of them have been interpreted as objects of theological reflection, didactic instruments, media of transmitting visual, aesthetic and metaphysical content, and, finally, as artworks in the modern sense of the word.

The conference seeks to explore and discuss recent development in the dialogue between theology, art history, philosophy and cultural theory concerning the ways we can perceive and interpret icons, iconography and iconology. It is also our objective to offer an insight into the development of iconographic studies and related disciplines, and to reflect upon their future development in the broader context of the humanities.

We welcome academic papers that will approach icons, iconography and iconology in an interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse way. The themes and subjects can include the following:

  • Icons, iconography and iconology: “Western” and “Eastern” perspectives
  • Sacred and profane icons
  • Reverse perspective: formal and metaphysical dimensions
  • Icons as a medium and metaphor
  • Icons of power, icons as power
  • Icon and modern culture
  • Icons and film and digital media
  • Icons and the “canon” of modern art
  • Modern and contemporary icon painting
  • Theological and philosophical reception of icons
  • Iconoclasm(s)

All presented papers will be published in the thematic issue of the IKON journal in May 2016.

Collegiate Assistant Professor – Art History, The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago seeks applications for a specialist in the architectural history and theory of any period or culture for a four-year postdoctoral teaching appointment as a Harper and Schmidt Fellow with the rank of Collegiate Assistant Professor.  Fellows are members of the College Faculty whose primary responsibility is to teach art history in the College’s general education (Core) program. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or fully expect to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree by August 31, 2015.

The teaching load is six courses per year, comprising three Core courses, each taught twice.  Course enrollment is limited to 25 students. The three types of courses are a survey course in the Fellow’s field; a broadly thematic, discussion-taught introduction to art history developed from syllabus materials provided by the Art History department (Art History 101); and a discussion-taught "Art in Context" course designed to introduce students to art historical thinking through a focused examination of a particular set of materials of the Fellow’s choice. The Fellow will be a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, which supports intellectual exchange. S/he will be eligible for one quarter of research sabbatical, typically in the third year. The annual salary for 2015–16 will be $64,000 plus health benefits and an annual research fund of $5,000. The effective appointment date is September 1, 2015.

Rethinking the Enemy, Secret Strategy and Tactics: An Early Byzantine Military Treatise

Rethinking the Enemy, Secret Strategy and Tactics: An Early Byzantine Military Treatise, Petr Shuvalov (St. Petersburg State University & Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies) Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, November 21, 2014, at 1:30 pm

Respondent:  John Haldon, History and Hellenic Studies

The Greek text of the famous late Roman compendium of the classic art of war, the Strategikon of Pseudo-Maurice, can be divided into different chronological layers, dated from the fifth to the seventh centuries. The basis for this division is the analysis of textual unity, of inner citation, of the described strategic and tactical schemes and used terms. The main three phases of the development of the text coincide with the three great military reforms – introduction of the Hunnic mobile cavalry tactics of "hippotoxotae" (the so-called defensors and cursors), the secret “hyperkerastae” reform of Justinian’s brother Germanus, and the reform according to the Avarian scheme of time of the emperor Heraklios. All three reforms are based on the deep contemplation of the ethnographical data gathered by imperial intelligence services.

Petr Shuvalov graduated in 1985 from St. Petersburg State University, studying medieval history and classics. His Ph.D. (1989) focused on the history, archaeology, and numismatics of the Lower Danube area in late antiquity.  He worked at the Institute of Archaeology and State Hermitage (a total of circa twenty archaeological seasons in Moldavia, Olbia and Crimea).  As associate professor at St. Petersburg State University, in the Russian Academy of Arts, and St. Petersburg Classical Gymnasium he teaches courses and seminars dealing with Roman, Mediaeval and Byzantine history, early Slavs and other barbarians.  

Codex Hagiographiques du Louvre sur Papyrus (P.Louvre Hag)

Capronʼs meticulous descriptions, cautious conclusions, masterly reconstructions, and methodologically superb treatment of P.Louvre Hag. are a fine paradigm for others to follow.

Laurent Capron. Codex Hagiographiques du Louvre sur Papyrus (P.Louvre Hag). Papyrologica Parisina 2. Paris: Presses de lʼuniversité Paris-Sorbonne, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Thomas J. Kraus, University of Zurich

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Voice, Signature, Mask: The Byzantine Author

Voice, Signature, Mask: The Byzantine Author, lecture by Stratis Papaioannou (Brown University and 2014–2015 Whitehead Professor, ASCSA), delivered October 9, 2014

Byzantine literature remains relatively exotic for modern readers, unlike its predecessor, Classical literature, or commensurate aspects of Byzantine culture, such as visual art.This lecture ventures a comprehensive view of Byzantine literature by examining notions and practices of authorship. Though neither classical nor medieval Greek have a single word that corresponds exactly to our “authorship,” Byzantine rhetoric and manuscript book culture reveal an intricate web of meanings for what an author is. Vacillating between authenticity and creative impersonation, Byzantine authors signal modernity.


Managing Emotion: Passion, Emotions, Affects, and Imaginings in Byzantium

Managing Emotion: Passion, Emotions, Affects, and Imaginings in Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks, December 12–13, 2014

Byzantinists were early into the field of the study of emotion with Henry Maguire’s groundbreaking article on sorrow, published in 1977. But since then classicists and western medievalists have developed new ways of understanding how emotional communities work and where the ancients’ concepts of emotion differ from our own. It is time perhaps to celebrate Maguire’s work, but also to look at what is distinctive about Byzantine emotion. We encourage speakers to focus on a single emotion and to use it as a vantage point to investigate central aspects of the Byzantine worldview. We want to look at emotions as both cognitive and relational processes. Our focus is not only the construction of emotions with respect to perception and cognition; we are also interested in how emotions were communicated and exchanged across broad (multi)linguistic, political and social boundaries. We expect to receive comment from classics, western medieval studies, philosophy, and psychology. The comparative stance will help us disclose what is peculiar to the Byzantine “emotional constellation.” Priorities are twofold: to arrive at an understanding of what the Byzantines thought of as emotions and to comprehend how theory shaped their appraisal of reality.


On This Day: The Armenian Church Synaxarion-January

Edward G. Mathews Jr., trans. and ed. On This Day: The Armenian Church Synaxarion-January. Brigham Young University - Eastern Christian Texts. University of Chicago Press, 2014.

From University of Chicago Press

The Armenian Church Synaxarion is a collection of saints’ lives according to the day of the year on which each saint is celebrated. Part of the great and varied Armenian liturgical tradition from the turn of the first millennium, the first Armenian Church Synaxarion represented the logical culmination of a long and steady development of what is today called the cult of the saints. This volume, the first Armenian-English edition, is the first of a twelve-volume series—one for each month of the year—and is ideal for personal devotional use or as a valuable resource for anyone interested in religious saints.

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Multilingualism Conference, Yale University

Multilingualism Conference, Yale University, December 7–9, 2014

Over the past 20 years there has been a great deal of new work done on multi-lingualism, on material findings, and on the interaction between text and image in antiquity.  These findings have had significant implications for the way we think about dynamic interactions between and within cultures in antiquity.  The planned conference will explore new research on the transfer of culture in antiquity with respect to language, image, daily practice, religious ritual, and material culture.


Hagiography & Counter-Culture in the Latin West, Byzantium, Sasanid Iran, & the Islamic Middle East

Hagiography and Counter-Culture in the Latin West, Byzantium, Sasanid Iran, and the Islamic Middle East, Princeton University, December 6, 2014


If you order that I wash my feet, then bring me this ticket: Encountering Saint Kollouthos at Antinoë
AnneMarie Liujendijk (Princeton University)

Res gestas martyrum digerere: North African Hagiography until the time of Augustine
Eric Rebillard (Cornell University)

Social Assimilation and Religious Distinction in East Syrian Hagiography: The Problem of Christianization in Late Sasanian Iran
Richard Payne (University of Chicago)

“The Christ-Hating Apostate”: A Study of a Type and Anti-Type in the Christian Hagiography of the Early Islamic Period
Christian Sahner (Princeton University)

All Roads Lead to Rome: Saints leaving—and returning to—the city
Maya Maskarinec (University of California – Los Angeles)

Gaul’s Insiders
Jamie Kreiner (University of Georgia)

Mutual Intelligibility across Late Antique Hagiographies, Christian and Muslim
Sean Anthony (University of Oregon)

The Shi‘ī Origins of Sunnī Polemic: Al-Dāraquṭnī’s 4th/10th Century Image of the Sahaba and the Imāms
Nancy Khalek (Brown University)


The Patron’s “I”: Art, Selfhood, and the Later Byzantine Dedicatory Epigram

Ivan Drpić. "The Patron's “I”: Art, Selfhood, and the Later Byzantine Dedicatory Epigram." Speculum, volume 89, no. 04 (October 2014): 895-935.


Western medievalists have long questioned the notion that in the Middle Ages, as Jacob Burckhardt famously asserted in Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (1860), “[m]an was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation—only through some general category.” The sweeping teleological narrative of the rebirth of the autonomous self-conscious individual in the Renaissance, after its protracted medieval slumber, has been challenged by more nuanced accounts of the various ways in which personal identity and selfhood were constituted and expressed during the Middle Ages. In recent years, following Alexander Kazhdan's seminal, if contested, work on what he saw as a new sense of the individual in the Byzantine culture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Byzantinists have joined the debate and begun to explore the issues of identity, subjectivity, and individuality. Thus Byzantine selves and their formations and representations have been examined in several contexts, including autobiography, rhetoric and letter writing, and the liturgy. This essay seeks to contribute to this project by looking at the largely neglected evidence of Byzantine dedicatory epigrams and the devotional artifacts they accompany.

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Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections

Both the show and the two-volume catalogue are intelligently conceived and marshal a coherent and engaging view of art culled from thirty-four different collections in Greece. There are some truly remarkable pieces in Heaven and Earth. Works such as the luminous Archangel Michael icon and the deeply moving double-sided Man of Sorrows will give viewers a sense of the wonder that the medieval visitors... felt when seeing Byzantine art in its full brilliance.

Anne McClanan’s (Portland State Univeristy) review of the exhibition, Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, appears in (22 October 2014). It focuses on the installation of the exhibition at the Getty Villa. The review is currently available without a login (click the Sign In link to see full review).

De l’Antiquité tardive au Moyen Âge

Elisa Coda and Cecilia Martini Bonadeo, eds. De l’Antiquité tardive au Moyen Âge: Études de logique aristotélicienne et de philosophie grecque, syriaque, arabe et latine offertes à Henri Hugonnard-Roche. Vrin - Études musulmanes. Paris: Vrin, 2014.

From Vrin

La circulation du savoir philosophique à travers les traductions du grec au syriaque, du grec à l’arabe, du syriaque à l’arabe, de l’arabe au latin forme, depuis un siècle et plus de recherches savantes, un domaine scientifique à part entière. Ce volume réunit des spécialistes des disciplines du domaine voulant rendre hommage à un collègue dont l’activité a ouvert une voie, Henri Hugonnard-Roche.

Spécialiste de la transmission du grec au syriaque de la logique aristotélicienne, Henri Hugonnard-Roche a montré par ses recherches la continuité entre la philosophie de l’Antiquité tardive et la pensée des chrétiens de langue syriaque d’un côté, des savants musulmans écrivant en arabe, de l’autre. Réunis souvent par ce que Werner Jaeger avait autrefois désigné comme « la portée œcuménique de l’Antiquité classique », des musulmans et des chrétiens faisant partie d’un cercle philosophique se penchaient, dans la ville de Bagdad au Xe siècle, sur le texte d’Aristote. Leur « Aristote » était souvent celui de l’Antiquité tardive : l’Aristote de l’école néoplatonicienne d’Alexandrie que les intellectuels de la Syrie chrétienne avaient déjà rencontré quelque quatre siècles auparavant et qu’ils avaient traduit, en même temps que Galien, et parfois commenté. Des noms presque inconnus comme celui de Sergius de Resh’ayna (mort en 536) commencent dans nos manuels à en côtoyer d’autres bien plus connus, comme celui de Boèce, grâce aux recherches de Henri Hugonnard-Roche. Ce volume, par la variété des langues qui s’y entremêlent, des traditions de pensée qu’il fait fusionner, par l’acribie des contributions et le caractère novateur des éditions de textes et des études ponctuelles qu’il contient, témoigne du rayonnement international du savant auquel il est offert, et de l’effervescence du domaine de recherche auquel il a si grandement contribué.

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Epigraphy on Ceramics

Epigraphy on Ceramics, Ghent University, December 17–18, 2015

Ghent University, in cooperation with the Université libre de Bruxelles, plans to organise on the 17th and 18th December 2015 a conference on the specific problems of Epigraphy on Ceramics. The aim of this conference is to prepare a synthetic volume on this topic of research. The contributions should provide a first basis for a collective analysis of this particular type of inscriptions. The acts of the conference will thereafter be structured as a single and detailed companion to Epigraphy on Ceramics.

In all periods from the Bronze Age to the Late Antiquity, throughout the Mediterranean Basin, ceramics were frequently used as a material support for inscriptions. Precise genres of texts used to be written on ceramics, painted or engraved either before or after firing, as for example economic or more widely speaking administrative data, religious dedications, marks of property. These so-called minor genres are well documented, but, partly because the corresponding texts are short and often difficult to read, the inscriptions of ceramics have not been as thoroughly studied in past research as other epigraphic genres, especially monumental inscriptions.

At least five kinds of approaches should be followed in the analysis of inscriptions on ceramics. First of all, the texts whose content can be broadly classified as administrative provide important data for the history of ancient economies. Furthermore, as many of these texts were written on the behalf or within the frame of ancient armies, they are also a major source for military history with all its components, from the study of Rangordnung to the analysis of the movements and strategies of ancient states. A third approach takes into account the inscriptions found in sanctuaries, mainly religious dedications, as a source for the history of religion. Two other genres, marks of property and gift dedications, allows for significant conclusions on the social structures and relationships in various societies. Last of all, independently from the epigraphic genre of the texts, inscriptions on ceramics are also an important source for the linguistic and sociolinguistic study of ancient societies.

The conference and the subsequent volume should include synthetic reports on the main aspects of these topics of research in the geographical and chronological frame of the Mediterranean Basin in antiquity. Keynote speakers will read general introductions to each of these five issues. Scholars who should be interested in any of these five paths of research are kindly invited to submit an abstract for a synthetic talk, taking into account either a wide geographical area or a particularly relevant period or a significant transversal feature shared by all or by many of the inscriptions in question. As the conference is organised as a preliminary step to the publication of a collective synthesis, the participants should send a first version of their paper to the organisers before the conference itself; this preliminary text should circulate among the participants, in order to develop further discussion, before the participants provide a definitive version of the chapter they have undertaken to write.

East and West in the Early Middle Ages. The Merovingian Kingdoms in a Mediterranean Perspective

East and West in the Early Middle Ages. The Merovingian Kingdoms in a Mediterranean Perspective, Freie Universität Berlin, December 17–20, 2014

The conference aims to study the Merovingian Kingdoms in a broader Mediterranean context. In addition to being deeply rooted in the traditions and practices of the Western Roman Empire, Merovingian Gaul had complex and multi-layered economic, cultural, religious and political relations with the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. By analyzing Western and Eastern sources as well as archaeological findings, the symposium seeks to offer a new perspective on the Merovingian period.

Contact: Pia Bockius

L’initiation chrétienne au Proche-Orient protobyzantin et médiéval

L’initiation chrétienne au Proche-Orient protobyzantin et médiéval, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, November 27–29, 2014


November 27
Le cadre architectural des baptêmes et ses possibles significations pour les rites pratiqués à cette occasion et leur évolution entre les IVe et VIIe siècles
Jean-Pierre Sodini, Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles Lettres
Le baptême oriental ancien, données sacramentelles et étapes historiques
Nagi Edelby, CERPOC – FSR – USJ

November 28
Le baptistère de Saint-Syméon-le-Stylite : sa place dans le dispositif de pèlerinage et son évolution (Syrie du Nord)
Jean-Luc Biscop, Directeur de la Mission archéologique de Qal‘at Sim‘an, Ministère de la Culture
Évolution de l’emplacement des cuves baptismales du baptistère de l’église à plan centré de Bosra (dite « cathédrale de l’Est »)
Pierre-Marie Blanc, Directeur de la Mission archéologique de Syrie du Sud, CNRS
Les baptistères-martyrium de Syrie
Widad Khoury, Romualdo Fernandez, Damas
L’église Saint-Jacques de Nisibe : nouvelle restitution des états anciens du monument et de son baptistère
Justine Gaborit, CNRS UMR 8167
Chronologie des baptistères du monastère de Saint-Hilarion à Tell Umm el-‘Amr (Bande de Gaza)
René Elter, Directeur de la Mission archéologique de Tell Umm el-‘Amr, École biblique et archéologique française, EA1132 Hiscant-MA Université de Lorraine
Les baptistères de Jordanie à l’époque protobyzantine : caractéristiques  architecturales et aménagements
Anne Michel, Université Bordeaux Montaigne
Un baptistère paléochrétien à Beyrouth
Assaad Seif, Direction Générale des Antiquités, Université libanaise
Inscriptions baptismales de Syrie, Phénicie et Palestine
Frédéric Alpi, Ifpo
La représentation du baptême du Christ sur l’icône de Kaftoun (Liban Nord)
Nada Hélou, Université libanaise
Le baptême dans l’iconographie chrétienne orientale
Mahmoud Zibawi (Université de Balamand)


Late Antique Hagiography as Literature

Late Antique Hagiography as Literature, University of Edinburgh, May 20–21, 2015

“Late antique hagiography as literature” is the subject of the Colloquium due to take place at the University of Edinburgh.

Texts about ‘holy’ women and men grew to be a defining feature of the culture of Late Antiquity. There is currently an increasing interest among scholars from different disciplines (history, theology, languages, and literature) in these hagiographical writings. But more can be done to find ways to systematise our understanding of the literary affiliations, strategies and goals of these extraordinarily varied texts, which range from the prosaic and anonymous narrations of the martyr passions to the Classicising poems of Paulinus of Nola and the rhetorically accomplished sermons of John Chrysostom.

This colloquium is designed to bring together students and scholars working on a range of aspects of literary hagiography, to share insights, and to consider approaches for the future. We hope to situate late antique biographical production in relation to Classical literary sensibilities, as well as considering non-classical influences, and thus to identify areas of continuity and gradual development as well as areas of abrupt change in the form and function of such literature. While our emphasis is deliberately literary, historical and theological questions which feed into the significance of these works should not be ignored.

We understand ‘hagiography’ in the non-technical sense of ‘writings about (the lives of) saints’. The concept of ‘saints’, likewise, is here taken in a broad way to mean remarkable and exemplary Christian figures (whether real or fictional); the field is not restricted to those who at some point were officially canonised by the Church. This colloquium is seeking to explore issues like the following:

  • The definition of sainthood, e.g. through comparisons with texts about non-Christian saint-like figures (the ‘pagan martyrs’, Apollonius of Tyana).
  • The portrayal of a saint in different texts; how are saints portrayed in their own writings compared to those of other authors about them?
  • Characterisation, e.g. individuality and stereotyping: to what extent can a reader empathise or identify with a saint?
  • Life imitating hagiography and resulting problems.
  • What can hagiography tell us about non-elite ‘popular’ literary culture?
  • How have different genres given shape to hagiographical texts (from Damasus’ epigrams to the epic poems of Fortunatus and Paulinus of Périgeux), as well as texts resisting generic categorisation? E.g. is the so called Life of Malchus a vita or a diegesis?
  • Intertextuality as an aesthetic and ideological strategy.
  • The emergence of stable hagiographical conventions, whose influence grew so powerful that it is often difficult to distinguish one saint from another.
  • What, if anything, can hagiography learn from panegyric?
  • Literary approaches to un-saintly behaviour (trickery, committing suicide, etc.) of saints.
  • To what extent does a text’s rhetorical purpose undermine the author’s credibility as an honest record-keeper?
  • Assessing the historicity of hagiographical texts.
  • Transmission and textual problems of hagiographical texts.
  • Reception and changes in the perception of authority (e.g. saints who wrote about saints, such as John Chrysostom and Augustine).

Proposals for 25-minute papers, in the form of abstracts between 200 and 400 words in length, should be submitted to Thomas Tsartsidis or Christa Gray (

Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to contribute to this event.

Romance between East and West: New Approaches to Medieval Greek Fiction

Romance between East and West: New Approaches to Medieval Greek Fiction, Swedish Institute at Athens, November 27–29, 2014


Thursday 27 November
Partenopeu’s Visit to Constantinople: A Case Study in Literary Reception
Carolina Cupane
Textual and Interpretative Problems in Velthandros and Chrysantza
Tina Lendari
Between (Wo)men: Homosocial Desire in the War of Troy
Stavroula Constantinou
In Defense of Reverie: Cultural Fantasy and the Poetics of Space in Velthandros and Chrysantza, Livistros and Rhodamne, Kallimachos and Chrysorrhoe
Christina Christoforatou
Non-human Partners in the Palaiologan Romances: Revisiting the Theory of Emotions in Medieval Literature
Vasiliki Dimoula

Friday 28 November
Translations as Evidence of Language Change
Theodore Markopoulos
Pierre’s Journey: The Acculturation of a French Romance
Romina Luzi
Chronotopes between East and West: the Διήγησις πολυπαθοῦς Ἀπολλωνίου τοῦ Τύρου
Francesca Rizzo Nervo
Female Initiation? A comparative study of women’s dreaming in Livistros and Rodamne and Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
Efthymia Priki
From Herakles to Erkoulios in the thirteenth-century Peloponnese, and beyond
Elizabeth Jeffreys
Translating Troy: Ho Polemos tes Troados in its Pan-European Context
Adam Goldwyn

Saturday 29 November
A Melancholy Conqueror: Herodotean Material in a Late Version of the Alexander Romance
Corinne Jouanno
Byzantine Modernity? The Case of the Palaiologan Romances
Ulrich Moennig


For additional information and registration, please contact Ingela Nilsson ingela.nilsso no later than November 20.

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Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

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