Byzantium as Bridge between West and East

Christian Gastgeber and Falko Daim, eds. Byzantium as Bridge between West and East. Proceedings of the International Confernce, Vienna, 3rd -5th May, 2012. Vienna, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015.

From Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

The international conference “Byzantium as Bridge between West and East” (3rd–5th May 2012) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences underlined the mediation role of Byzantium between the cultures in the West and East as well as of its own culture to the neighboring nations. This mediation was discussed not only in terms of influence, but also of receptive function, symbolized in its bridging role. Such a bridge was built also within Byzantium, in the transition from pagan to Christian culture. The proceedings which were supplemented by additional contributions of specialists underpin the importance of Byzantine culture and politics for an overall understanding of late Roman, medieval and early modern history and once again restore Byzantium from a romanticized oriental, distant, mysterious kingdom into European history and its cultural landscape. Thus, the focus is particularly on its huge boost, its reception and its mediation between Europe and the East, in a never-ending process of mobility between Europe, Africa and Asia.

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Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, & the Formation of the Self in Byzantium

This book will be required reading for anyone interested in Byzantine Christianity and is an important addition to the broader conversation about the self in Christian Studies.

Derek Krueger. Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium. Divinations: rereading late ancient religion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by George E. Demacopoulos, Fordham University

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Byzantine Greek Summer School 2015, University of Birmingham

Byzantine Greek Summer School 2015, University of Birmingham, July 26–August 23, 2015

 The Byzantine Greek Summer School offers courses in medieval Greek language at three levels:

  • Level 1 Beginners (26 July–9 August);
  • Level 2 Intermediate (9–23 August);
  • Level 3 Advanced Reading (9–23 August).

 The Level-1 course (26 July–9 August) is for absolute beginners in Byzantine Greek. It starts with the Greek alphabet and takes students through the basic grammar of Greek to the point where they can begin to translate simple Greek texts with the aid of a dictionary.

The Level-2 course (9–23 August) carries straight on from the Level-1 course, completing the coverage of basic Greek grammar and introducing students to a variety of Greek texts. Each year a number of people take both courses.

If the number of participants justifies it (as it did 2012–4) an additional course, Level-2.5 (Higher Intermediate), will be introduced for the more advanced applicants to Level-2, but this course is not offered as a confirmed option at the application stage.

Level-3 (9–23 August, at the same time as Level-2) is an Advanced Reading course for those who successfully completed Level-2 in a previous year and have made considerable further progress since, or those have acquired the necessary familiarity with Greek by other means.

Applications due April 13, 2015 (if applying for funding) and May 18, 2015

Working Drawings of Icon Painters after the Fall of Constantinopolis

Maria Vassilaki. Working Drawings of Icon painters after the Fall of Constantinopolis. The Andreas Xyngopoulos portfolio at the Benaki Museum. Benaki Museum, A.G. Leventis Foundation, A. G. Leventis Gallery, 2015.

From the Benaki Museum

This book presents the 452 working drawings that compose the Andreas Xyngopoulos portfolio in the Benaki Museum, commented upon and illustrated in their entirety. Mainly intended for creating portable icons, they comprise pricked and imprinted cartoons, painted drawings and sketches, which date from the 17th until the early 20th century. They were produced from portable icons and were used for making identical copies. Their use became widespread in Venetian Crete during an era of mass production of icons.

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A Rural Economy in Transition: Asia Minor from Late Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages

There are many signs on the horizon that Byzantine history and archaeology are moving speedily in novel and fascinating directions, opening room for new and essential debates in a field not always characterized by innovation. The book at hand certainly holds a place as one of these exciting signs.

Adam Izdebski. A Rural Economy in Transition: Asia Minor from Late Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages. Journal of Juristic Papyrology supplement, 18. Warszawa: Raphael Taubenschlag Foundation, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Nikos Tsivikis, Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno 

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Il Latino a Bisanzio / Latin in Byzantium ca. 400–800 AD

Il Latino a Bisanzio / Latin in Byzantium ca. 400–800 AD, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Rome, May 6-7, 2015


May 6 (CNR, Aula Bisogno)

Da Roma a Bisanzio: elementi di continuità e discontinuità
Luigi Silvano (Università di Roma La Sapienza)
La lingua latina a Bisanzio: per uno status quaestionis
Alessandro Garcea (Université Paris IV Sorbonne)

Le latin comme langue littéraire à Constantinople (400-700)
Bruno Rochette (Université de Liège)
Modelli latini per poemi greci? Sulla possibile influenza di autori latini sulla poesia epica tarda
Gianfranco Agosti (Università di Roma La Sapienza)

May 7 (CNR, Aula Giacomello)

Papal communication with Byzantium in the seventh century
Réka Forrai (Syddansk Universitet)
Tell the word in Justinian’s Byzantium: The Latin heritage of the Greek spatial representations
Anca Dan (CNRS – Paris)

Le latin dans l’Egypte de l’antiquité tardive
Jean-Luc Fournet (EPHE – Paris)
La lingua degli “Italoi”. Conoscenza e uso del latino nell’Oriente greco di IV secolo attraverso l’opera di Libanio
Andrea Pellizzari (Università di Torino)
Traduzioni letterarie dal latino nella prima Bisanzio
Enrico V. Maltese (Università di Torino)

Between Scylla and Charibdis. Language, law and legal teaching during the reign of Justinian
Tom E. van Bochove (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
La traduzione greca della costituzione Imperatoriam nella Parafrasi di Teofilo Antecessore
Giuseppina Matino (Università di Napoli Federico II)

Modern Greek Course for Archaeologists and Classicists

Modern Greek Course for Archaeologists and Classicists, Ikarian Centre, Island of Ikaria, Greece, June 13–29, 2015

This course is designed for those who wish to learn Modern Greek to enhance their study of/work on Classical Antiquity. Texts and vocabulary will be targeted towards ancient and archaeological themes, as well as to the demands of professional communication in Modern Greek (in the field, at museums, with local authorities, etc.).

The course emphasizes all critical language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and so is appropriate for students preparing to take Modern Greek reading / translation exams.

Course fee:  €1250
Price in Euros; pay online (PayPal) or by bank transfer

N.B.: Costs include travel on Ikaria; sites, tours; and activities, but exclude travel to/from Ikaria, food and incidentals.

Course organizers: Mihalis Kavouriaris (Director, Ikarian Centre), Johanna Hanink (Assistant Professor of Classics, Brown University, USA)

Part-Time Archival Assistant, Byzantine Collections, Dumbarton Oaks

ICFA is seeking a part-time Archival Assistant to assist ICFA staff with archival processing and preservation projects of Byzantine collections and other administrative tasks. Under the supervision of the Archivist, this part-time Archival Assistant will assist with the assessment, arrangement, description, and preservation of Byzantine archival collections, which comprise administrative records and fieldwork materials produced or created by Byzantine scholars, archaeologists, and photographers.


Experiencing Death in Byzantium, Newcastle University

Experiencing Death in Byzantium, Newcastle University, May 29, 2015, 10am–5pm

To what extent can we approach the individual experiences surrounding death in Byzantium and what relevance do they have for our knowledge of Byzantine self-understanding? How can we approach experiences that played tangible social roles and yet were so irreducible to literal language and meaning that they remained couched in the language of allegory? To what extent were shared experiences and understandings of death and dying orchestrated for individuals? Can remaining physical and historical evidence reveal such intended experiences to us? This conference seeks to access the personal and contingent experiences surrounding death and dying in middle Byzantine mortuary practices.

We will consider the affects of the objects, images, literatures and theologies connected to death, dying and the otherworld in Byzantium. In this way, both the material and immaterial aspects of death in Byzantium will be discussed from grave goods and eschatological literature, to the emotions and sensations of death along with images of death, dying and judgement. This conference takes seriously the evident dearth of systematic eschatological doctrine in Byzantium and Byzantine preference for allegorical understandings of death and the otherworld. It seeks instead to create a space to discuss and integrate the separate, and at times disparate and opaque, bodies of eschatological practice and knowledge across various spheres of Byzantine life.  It is hoped that this will reveal to us more profound and fundamental insights into eschatological thought, sentiment and action in Byzantium and their contribution to Byzantine self-understandings.

Registration required.

Personal Photography Allowed in British Library’s Manuscripts Reading Room

In January 2015, The British Library announced a new policy allowing self-service photography in a number of its Reading Rooms. At the beginning of March, the policy was extended to include Asian and African Studies, Business & IP Centre, Manuscripts, Maps, and Rare Books & Music.

For policies specific to self-service photography in the Manuscripts Reading Room, see the Medieval manuscripts blog entry for March 19, 2015.

Compilations and Excerpt collections of Historiographical Material: A Workshop

Compilations and excerpt collections of historiographical material: A workshop, Ghent University, March 24–26, 2016

Compilations and excerpt collections are a common genre in late antique and medieval literature. Practices of excerpting have often been situated in the context of tenth-century “encyclopaedism” (P. Lemerle, A. Dain), but that image may be misleading. The practice of gathering and excerpting starts much earlier than the 10th century and “encyclopaedism” is a modern term that may distort our understanding of “culture of sylloge” (P. Odorico). For a long time, compilations and collections only received attention as sources for the works they rely on and not as works of literature in their own right. Recently, scholars have suggested to take them seriously as a literary phenomenon and study them as texts in their own right. This workshop adopts this perspective by focusing on historiographical texts.

We are in particular interested in the following aspects of the compilation and collection:

  • The workshop will aim at tracing the origins of the practice of “copying and pasting”. Are excerpt collections and compilations a typically medieval phenomenon or do they have a classical ancestry, possibly now hidden from sight?
  • The workshop will focus on the format, working methods and formal characteristics of compilations and collections: Are they stable entities or can they be considered as “living texts” that are changed in transmission? What is the relationship, if any, between compilations (such as Cassiodorus? Historia Tripertita) and excerpt collections? To what extent was the selection of excerptors influenced by contemporary cultural and political ideas?
  • The workshop will aim at exploring the role played by specific social contexts in the practices of organising historical material. What view on history do they presuppose? What do compilations and collections teach us about their author, patron, and intention? What conception of knowledge do compilations and collections presuppose? Do they aim at structuring and providing complete, exhaustive knowledge?

The workshop will focus primarily on the study of historiographical collections and compilations produced between Late Antiquity and the twelfth century, composed in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, and other languages. We welcome papers dealing with specific collections and compilations, as well as more general contributions and comparative studies.

Scholars who wish to attend the workshop can send their proposal to both Emerance Delacenserie and Panagiotis Manafis, before July 1, 2015. Participants should submit a title and a 500 words abstract. Each paper will last approximately 25 minutes and will be followed by a discussion. The available languages for both the abstracts and lectures are English, French, German, and Italian.

Lectureship in Archaeology, University of Birmingham

This appointment offers an exciting opportunity to join the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology in the School of History and Cultures at the University of Birmingham. We seek a specialist to extend our expertise in the archaeology of the Ancient World, broadly understood as encompassing the Mediterranean basin and ranging in date from the late Bronze Age to the late Roman period (precise area/period open). We also seek specialism in one or more of the following areas: landscape archaeology; GIS; field survey; material culture studies. The department has a continuing tradition of fieldwork, to which the person appointed should contribute.

The appointment would be expected to consolidate and expand our UG teaching provision, expand PGT and PGR recruitment and work with one or more of our research centres to bolster the department’s research strength. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to courses at undergraduate levels C, I and H (i.e. First, Second and Final years) and to contribute to our postgraduate programmes (where appropriate). As part of her/his undergraduate remit, the successful candidate will be expected to provide Project and Seminar (small group) teaching in the area of their specialism and to undertake or contribute to other modules more widely. As part of his/her postgraduate remit, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to taught programmes and to supervise research students. The successful candidate will also be asked in due course to undertake administrative duties within the Department, School or College. S/he will be expected to participate in our plans for the REF and in helping to increase our postgraduate recruitment, ideally contributing to the further development of taught and research provision.

Research Assistant, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) is one of the University of Cambridge's nine museums and collections. It is a key resource for University teaching and research, particularly in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Museum is seeking to appoint a part-time Research Assistant to assist Dr Chris Wingfield (Senior Curator World Archaeology) during a period of research leave.

The successful candidate will be educated to first-degree level and have a high level of computer literacy. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential, as well as the ability to organize time and work. Excellent proofreading skills and the ability to digest and summarize large amounts of information are also essential. No previous research experience is necessary.

This is a part-time 2 days per week appointment. The actual hours worked will be agreed with the successful candidate.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 7 months in the first instance.

Research Assistant, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) is one of the University of Cambridge's nine museums and collections. It is a key resource for University teaching and research, particularly in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Museum is seeking to appoint a part-time Research Assistant to assist Dr Chris Wingfield (Senior Curator World Archaeology) during a period of research leave.

The successful candidate will be educated to first-degree level and have a high level of computer literacy. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential, as well as the ability to organize time and work. Excellent proofreading skills and the ability to digest and summarize large amounts of information are also essential. No previous research experience is necessary.

This is a part-time 2 days per week appointment. The actual hours worked will be agreed with the successful candidate.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 7 months in the first instance.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University invites applications from exceptional junior scholars who have demonstrated a capacity for innovative research and cross-disciplinary thinking.

We seek candidates who best augment or complement the present strengths of the Joukowsky Institute community. We are particularly interested in individuals working in three spheres: 1) the archaeology and art of the ancient Near East; 2) the archaeology and art of Rome; 3) Late Antiquity.

In addition to pursuing their research, successful candidates will be expected to teach half time — i.e., one course per semester. Teaching may be at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; interdisciplinary offerings are desirable. Applicants must normally have received their Ph.D. from an institution other than Brown within the last five years. Successful candidates will be expected to make substantive contributions to the ongoing development of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, such as the organization of reading or working groups, a topical symposium, or another project intended to foster a stimulating intellectual environment in which to pursue research and to develop new interdisciplinary connections. This will be a one-year position, with the possibility of a one-year renewal, beginning on August 1, 2015.

BES London Summer School in Greek and Latin Epigraphy 2015

BES London Summer School in Greek and Latin Epigraphy 2015, London, August 3–7, 2015

The British Epigraphy Society is organising a one-week summer school in Greek and Latin Epigraphy, in collaboration with the British Museum and the Institute of Classical Studies. The School is scheduled to take place from 3–

7 August 2015. The teaching will primarily be carried out in the Institute of Classical Studies, including the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, and the British Museum. We will also make use of the inscribed landscape of central London for one or two sessions.

The teaching staff and instructors on the School include experienced epigraphists who are members of the Society, staff at the British Museum, and specialists in cognate disciplines and epigraphically related techniques. The School is open to anyone with a serious interest in the study of Greek and Latin epigraphy, from advanced undergraduate to postgraduate and post-doctoral level. Places will be allocated on the basis of academic merit. Teaching includes hands-on work with real inscriptions, including the making of squeezes, instruction in the use of epigraphic databases (both electronic and traditional), epigraphic projects, thematic lectures on topics that require epigraphic analysis, as well as instruction and discussion sessions with experienced epigraphists on their direction of a major epigraphic project.   

The course fee is £50 (fifty pounds). This fee covers all teaching and instruction, a welcome reception on the Monday evening, as well as a reception on Friday evening. Participants are encouraged to apply for support with attending the School with their home institution, or with such charities that offer support for travel and/or accommodation expenses for this type of course. Additionally, the Society will offer a number of bursaries to help with the cost of staying in London for participants from outwith London.

To apply for a  place on the BES London Summer School in Greek and Latin Epigraphy 2015, applicants must complete the Application Form and provide all the required information as detailed and requested on the form. The BES Steering Committee will review the applications on a rolling basis after each of three deadlines: 1 April 2015, 1 May 2015, and 1 June 2015. Please note that there is no guarantee that there are spaces left after the first or second deadline: we strongly encourage anyone seriously interested in attending the School to apply for the first deadline to avoid disappointment.

Bader Postdoctoral Fellowship, Queen’s University, Canada

The Department of Art (Art History) is accepting applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship for a scholar who demonstrates distinction and potential for future achievement in one or more of the following research areas: material culture, contemporary art, or the history of collecting and museums. Preference will be given to research that addresses Canadian or non-European art. Interaction is encouraged with the Department’s Art Conservation Program and with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on campus. In addition to research, this postdoctoral fellowship will include teaching one 0.5 credit (3 units) course in each of the two years.

Frontier, Periphery or Centre? Society and Material Culture in Medieval Anatolia

Frontier, Periphery or Centre? Society and Material Culture in Medieval Anatolia, Royal Society of Edinburgh, June 19, 2015

The Art History department of Edinburgh University is organizing a one-day conference entitled: Frontier, Periphery or Centre? Society and Material Culture in Medieval Anatolia, to be held on Friday the 19th of June, 9 am - 6 pm, at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The conference will be an interdisciplinary gathering of established and early career scholars. The aim is to bring together historians, art historians, architectural historians and archaeologists with an interest in medieval Anatolia, covering the period from 1000 – 1400 CE, in order to allow for a wider understanding of the literary and material sources that survive.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Professor Robert Hillenbrand and will be followed by a round table discussion involving all the speakers. Papers will be 30 minutes long to allow for greater depth, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion. Other speakers include Andrew Peacock, Jim Crow, Songül Mecit and Richard McClary. The conference will be held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and tickets are now available through Eventbrite at a cost of £15 for the day.

There are slots available for three more speakers. Anyone interested in presenting can send a 300 word abstract, along with affiliation and contact details, to by April 15th 2015.

Tales from the Crypt. Museum Storage and Meaning


Museums are about display. But are they really? In spite of recent curatorial attempts to exhibit ‘visible storage’, prevailing debates in the history of museums and collecting are mainly centred around questions of exhibiting, display and spectatorship. This kind of discourse, however, distorts the museum in many ways: it ignores the fact that museums do not just consist of exhibition halls but of vast hidden spaces; it leaves millions of objects out of our museum histories; and lastly, it presents the museum as an organized and stable space, in which only museological ‘results’ are visible not the intermediate stage of their coming into being. Display seems to be about the structured, purposeful, strategic gathering of things according to a system, the features of which are clearly defined. What remains out of sight is the fact that the majority of museum objects lie in storage. As a result, not only a vast physical but also important epistemological and semantic aspect of museums and their collections are eliminated from our discussions. The binary between ‘display’ and ‘backstage’ of museums has previously evoked the assumption that the exhibition area functions as a kind of theatre with objects ‘perform’ on stage, while in the back they are processed from their existence as a mere ‘thing’ to a proper artefact. But there is much more to say about museum storage. Backstage areas of museums are not simply areas where potential display objects are kept. They perform functions and fulfill intentions that, when studied, reveal deep purposes of the museum that go well beyond a mere history of display. A history of storage is a thus history of things that are not shown, but also not written about. The understanding of museums and the intellectual histories they encode undergoes a radical shift when we consider what a museum shows alongside the (usually much larger) range of things it stores. These issues may and will be discussed very differently in various parts of the world, which is what this volume intends to address.

Seeking a variety of historical contributions (e.g. with specific case studies), theoretical and philosophical intervention as well as reflections on practical issues, we wish to explore these ‘tales from the crypt’ along the lines of the following themes:

  • Storage and canonization
  • The Politics of Collecting
  • Power and Censorship
  • The economic and epistemic value of museum objects
  • Ethics and moral aspects of preservation
  • Disposal, sale, and de-accessioning
  • The (scholarly) uses, necessities and functions of storage
  • Curated and un-curated storage
  • Visible storage, off-side storage, deep storage, ‘non-museological’ storage\
  • The politics of displayability
  • Storage, the archive and data mining
  • Architecture, real estate and the physical spaces of storage
  • Issues of access to storage
  • Economic aspects of storage
  • Storage and digitization

The volume will partly present the results of a workshop (Victoria & Albert Museum, October 2014), organized under the aegis of the India-Europe Advanced Research Network on Museum History that invited a small group of scholars to respond to museum storage – concept and practice – in India and Europe. It is this cross-cultural approach that we wish to take with the volume. We therefore welcome contributions addressing a broad variety of material and theories across all continents.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main

The Collaborative Research Center 1095 Discourses of Weakness and Resource Regimes at Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, is at the earliest convenience offering two Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for the studies in Medieval Cultures to start as soon as possible. The fellowships are limited until 31 December 2018.

The CRC Discourses of Weakness and Resource Regimes supports comparative research in cultural modes of stabilisation and transformation. The Research Center is based on the working hypothesis that the combination of two fields of observation are peculiarly revealing for the diachronic and synchronic comparison of cultures: A culture’s organisation of resources (what is considered a resource and how are the respective – material or immaterial – goods distributed?) and a culture’s discourses on weakness (how are deficits modelled and how do these discursive models shape political-social practice?). For the time being, participants are historians, economic historians, ethnologists, philosophers, legal historians and sinologists; research fellows from other disciplines (e.g. literary studies, art history) are expressly welcome.

The medieval project focusses on a macro historical discussion currently vivid throughout the disciplines of medieval research. In detail, it analyses the relation between the organisation of marriage, family and kinship on the one hand and the emergence of political and social institutions on the other. Within this broad macro historical perspective the fellows are expected to follow their own research interests. The project welcomes interests in a broad range of European regions, media or epochs. Experience in the Collaborative Research Center's field of research is welcome, but not mandatory.

An excellent dissertation is required in a discipline of medieval studies (history, art history, literary studies etc.) as well as the readiness to participate in the activities of the Research Center.

Shedding Light on Antiquity: Forensic Imaging & Study of Ancient, Medieval & Modern Manuscripts

Shedding Light on Antiquity: The Forensic Imaging and Study of Ancient, Medieval and Modern Manuscripts, Annual Jay I. Kislak Lecture, Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, Washington, D.C., April 9 at 6:30pm

A lecture by Michael Toth, President, R.B. Toth Associates, followed by a roundtable discussion.

The conversation will focus on how new techniques help reveal hidden and previously unavailable information in ancient, medieval and modern manuscripts, and how these technologies advance the way scholars in the humanities and sciences interact with each other across disciplines. The conversation also will consider how broader global analysis, research and collaboration occur through the posting of images freely online.

John Hessler, curator of the Library of Congress Kislak Collection, will moderate the conversation, which will include Toth; William Noel, University of Pennsylvania; Chet Van Duzer, John Carter Brown Research Fellow; and Fenella France, chief of the Preservation, Research & Testing Division at the Library of Congress.

Michael B. Toth, president of R.B. Toth Associates, leads and manages projects utilizing advanced technologies for cultural-heritage studies around the globe. With more than 25 years of experience with technical integration, program management and strategic planning, he has led teams of scientists, scholars and technical experts as they help museums, libraries and other institutions make more data widely available for all. Toth was the program manager for the Archimedes Palimpsest Project at the Walters Art Museum and the Waldseemüller Map Project at the Library of Congress.

The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842

The volume is a tour de force in its integrated provision of a vast amount of relevant source material and detailed analysis of it.

Juan Signes Codoñer. The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842: Court and Frontier in Byzantium during the Last Phase of Iconoclasm. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies, 13. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Variorum, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Denis Sullivan, University of Maryland College Park

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Oriental Institute Collections Research Grant

he Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is an interdisciplinary research center whose goal is to integrate archaeological, textual, and art historical data to understand the development and functioning of the ancient civilizations of the Near East from the earliest Holocene through the Medieval period.  

With more than 300,000 registered objects and many more to be catalogued, the Museum collection at the Oriental Institute is one of the most important resources for research in the world.

The Oriental Institute wishes to provide researchers with financial support to carry out discrete research projects that incorporate the study of artifacts and related archival documents within our museum collections.

This year (2015), through the generosity of Jim Sopranos, one or more Museum Collections Research Grants will be available to researchers. We welcome applications from a wide spectrum of researchers, from those at the graduate student level (i.e. Masters Degree or PhD candidates) to well-established professional researchers in their field of study. Applications are welcome from researchers from all nationalities. Applicants may also include researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago, including the Oriental Institute.   

We allow for the broadest possible selection of potential projects that will heighten the level of intellectual discourse and collaboration within the Oriental Institute. Invitations may be made to share research with faculty, staff, and students through informal presentations during the research visit.  

A committee comprised of Oriental Institute faculty members and museum staff will review proposals and may award either a single grant of up to $10,000, or may opt to provide smaller awards to more than one individual per year. Decisions concerning the outcome of awards will be made and notifications sent to successful applicants in June, with the award made active from July 1st each year. The grant must be fully utilized and completed prior to June 30th of the year following the researcher’s notification of a successful application.  The expected duration of the research visit is flexible within this period, but must be stipulated in the application. Other research funds may be used in combination with this grant to increase the duration of a research visit, but must be stipulated (if known) at the time of application. The selection process will take into consideration the quality of research questions and appropriate methodologies, the scope and types of material being studied, the sites, periods, or sub-collections of material, as well as detailing potential requirements for special equipment or scientific analysis of material.

Funding is primarily aimed to help support the costs of travel, accommodation, subsistence, to supplement student salaries, and to cover relevant research costs for the researcher during the appointed period. The grantee will not be appointed an office, desk space, or computer, although access will be provided to our Research Archives (Oriental Institute library) and Collections study areas.

Continuous Page. Scrolls and Scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext

Continuous Page. Scrolls and Scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext, Courtauld Summer Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, workshops June 22–23, 2015, and September 21–22, 2015

Scrolls encompass in one sweep the oldest and the most contemporary ideas about images and image-making. On the one hand, some of the most enduring artefacts of the ancient world adopt the scroll form, evoking long-standing associations with the Classical tradition, Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures, theatrical oration, and the word of the law. Yet today, scrolling is also the single most common interaction between people and their digital media: fingers routinely swipe across trackpads and touch-screens through reams of infinite hypertext. In between these two extremes too, we find a plethora of different artists and craftsmen turning and returning to the medium, from medieval medical treatises and Japanese emakimono to 19th-century wallpaper or Jack Kerouac’s continuously-typewritten draft of On The Road.

Participants are sought to take part in a collaborative investigation into the intriguing format of the scroll and the act of scrolling across different cultures and periods, considering both the timeless material object and its infinite conceptual space. Participants are sought from any field or discipline, and are likely to be academics (at all stages of their careers), museum professionals, or practicing artists.

Meetings and Outputs

The project is formed of two parts. The first is a pair of two-day workshops based at The Courtauld Institute of Art, including keynote lectures, handling sessions in London museums, and fifteen-minute papers from participants on their research. Papers might consider - but are by no means limited to - the following ideas:

Workshop 1- ‘Scroll as Object’
(22–23 June 2015)

  • Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptian papyrus, Torah
  • Medieval genealogical rolls, legal rolls, medical rolls
  • Japanese Emakimono, Chinese handscrolls
  • Fabric rolls, wallpaper, other decorative rolls
  • Newspapers, type-written rolls, and other production line objects
  • Canvas rolls, 70s cut-to-order painting
  • Hypertext, online scrolling, Internet art

Workshop 2 - ‘Scroll as Idea’
(21–22 September 2015)

  • Continuous page, continuous narrative, continuous text
  • History, law, authority
  • Papyrus, paper, pixel
  • Infinity, digital, touchscreen
  • Speech, theatre, oration
  • Mass creation, production lines, rolling type

The second element of the project will be the creation of an online exhibition to be launched in December 2015 entitled Continuous Page, presenting a series of digitised scrolls from a variety of places and periods. Drawing on the research and expertise of the workshop participants, the exhibition will be a critical online resource and lasting record of the project, showcasing the potential for combining new media practices and digital ‘scrolling’ with the continuous page of the material scroll. Over the course of the workshops we will also be developing plans for a publication to coincide with the project.

Limited funds may be available to support participation from scholars based outside the UK.

Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, Bodleian Libraries

The Bodleian Libraries are seeking proposals for small projects to test the functionality of the Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, a project generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Digital Manuscripts Toolkit is based on the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and seeks to develop tools that enable scholars to use, develop and repurpose digitized manuscript images in exciting and innovative ways. IIIF is an international collaborative initiative which aims to make image-based cultural heritage materials easily accessible and interoperable.

The Bodleian invites members (Faculty and students) and staff of the collegiate University of Oxford to submit proposals that explore important research questions related to their work. Awards of up to £5000 will be given to fund digitization and other associated project costs. Successful applicants will work with DMT staff based at Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services (BDLSS) to develop the technical aspects of their project. Projects are expected to be of around 6 months’ duration and to begin as close as possible to 1 September 2015.

The Bodleian reserves the right to review and suggest amendments to the project proposals, including their technical specifications, with the applicant(s) before finalizing the awards of funding. Issues of copyright may need to be discussed before confirmation of funding.

Culture & Technology, European Summer University in Digital Humanities 2015

Culture & Technology, European Summer University in Digital Humanities 2015, University of Leipzig, July 19–29, 2016

The Summer University is directed at 60 participants from all over Europe and beyond. It wants to bring together (doctoral) students, young scholars and academics from the Arts and Humanities, Library Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering and Computer Sciences as equal partners to an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and experience in a multilingual and multicultural context and thus create the conditions for future project-based cooperations and network-building across the borders of disciplines, countries and cultures.

The Summer University seeks to offer a space for the discussion and acquisition of new knowledge, skills and competences in those computer technologies which play a central role in Humanities Computing and which determine every day more and more the work done in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences, as well as in publishing, libraries, and archives, to name only some of the most important areas. The Summer University aims at integrating these activities into the broader context of the Digital Humanities, which pose questions about the consequences and implications of the application of computational methods and tools to cultural artefacts of all kinds.

The Summer School takes place across 11 whole days. The intensive programme consists of workshops, public lectures, regular project presentations, a poster session and a panel discussion. The workshop programme is composed of the following thematic strands:

  • XML-TEI encoding, structuring and rendering
  • Methods and Tools for the Corpus Annotation of Historical and Contemporary Written Texts
  • Comparing Corpora
  • Spoken Language and Multimodal Corpora
  • Python
  • Basic Statistics and Visualization with R
  • Stylometry
  • Open Greek and Latin
  • Digital Editions and Editorial Theory: Historical Texts and Documents
  • Spatial Analysis in the Humanities
  • Building Thematic Research Collections with Drupal
  • Introduction to Project Management

Each workshop consists of a total of 16 sessions or 32 week-hours. The number of participants in each workshop is limited to 10. Workshops are structured in such a way that participants can either take the two blocks of one workshop or two blocks from different workshops.

Participation is limited to 60. Preference will be given to young scholars of the Humanities and Social Sciences who are planning, or are already involved with, a technology-based research project and who submit a qualified project description. Young scholars of Engineering and Computer Sciences are expected to describe their specialities and interests in such a way that also non-specialists can follow, and to support with good arguments what they hope to learn from the summer school.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. The selection of participants is made by the Scientific Committee together with the experts who lead the workshops.

Scholarships are available.

Medieval Tombs and Their Spatial Contexts. Strategies of Commemoration in Christianity and Islam

Medieval Tombs and Their Spatial Contexts. Strategies of Commemoration in Christianity and Islam, University of Tubingen, Institute of Art History, February 18–20, 2016

The idea that the shaping of tombs and funeral places goes beyond aspects of personal welfare and mirrors social functions and meanings of commemoration up to political claims is very popular in medieval research and leaves its mark on examples from Christian and Islamic contexts likewise. Beside an enhanced interest in ritual integration, recent investigations show a wider perspective on concrete location and spatial situation as main factor for the understanding of tombs and their function. As a result, space is interpreted beyond physical boundaries and frames as a relational definition based on social construct in the sense of collective perception, use and appropriation.

The conference will give the opportunity to discuss these approaches within comparative perspectives on medieval objects, buildings and places of commemoration in Christianity and Islam. The focus lies on the relevance and the integration of tombs as places and spaces of formative and constitutive character in both religious cultures.

Our interest is the reflexion of the analysis of medieval burial monuments with a view to the theoretical concepts of the Spatial turns. Case studies related to the choice of a burial place and the associated negotiation processes, questions of visualization in relation to space through shaped features or rituals up to religious and political intentions will be the object of discussion. Within this idea, the comparison of memorials and their related space in Christian and Islamic contexts raises questions about contact and frontier zones as well as cultural exchange and transfer processes and can sharpen the set of methodological instruments. Contributions from related disciplines such as History and Medieval Archaeology shall ideally complement the focused perspective of Art History.

The organizers, Prof. Dr. Markus Thome, University of Tubingen, and Prof. Dr. Francine Giese, University of Zurich, invite submissions on the following topics:

Location of the sepulchral monument: appropriation and construction of commemoration places

  • The meaning and significance of “holy place” for the construction of a commemorative culture.
  • Sacral buildings as burial places: development and changes of the topography of Memoria
  • Sepulchral complexes as political and religious centres

Shaping concepts: construction of meaning through formal, spatial and ritual reference frames

  • Appropriation, transfer and transformation of motives and types (citation, copy) as concepts of space-constituting effects of sepulchral monuments
  • Geographical references and creation of visual presence in space through tombs or commemoration signs (sight axis, crossing and overlapping older reference frames)
  • Interaction and relation between tombs and rite.

Political strategies: Power issues and sepulchral monuments as means of formation of identity

  • Protagonists and processes of negotiation: founders and their rights of access, handling institutional rules/restrictions (penetration and appropriation versus offer of participation)
  • Reliance on tradition: connection to existing burial places and sepulchral monuments, conception and formation of serial sepulchral monuments (family shrines, official genealogies)
  • Construction of history: artistic orientation, transfers and new performances on older tombs and burial places

Keynote Speakers: Doris Behrens-Abouseif, London, and Tanja Michalsky, Berlin/Rome

Lecturer in Medieval History, Birkbeck, University of London

The Department of History, Classics, and Archaeology invites applications for a Lectureship in Medieval History. We seek to appoint an outstanding scholar working on any aspect of the history of the period between c.400 and c.1000. Applicants should have a doctorate in Medieval History and a research record appropriate to their career stage, that shows clear evidence of outstanding potential to contribute to the national and international profile of the Department. Experience of teaching at degree level is expected, but experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels is particularly desirable.

The person appointed will engage in scholarly research and publication; take responsibility for organization, supervision, and teaching of the broad period of the Middle Ages, including Late Antiquity, at undergraduate and postgraduate level; supervise postgraduate students; and participate in Departmental, School, and College administration as required.

Effect of Function on the Selection of Raw Materials & Manufacturing Technology of Byzantine Pottery

Ahmed Al-Shorman and Atef Shiyab. "The Effect of Function on the Selection of Raw Materials and Manufacturing Technology of Byzantine Pottery: A Case Study from Qasr Ar-Rabbah, South Jordan." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 147, no. 1 (March 2015): pp. 4–19.

A collection of different forms of Byzantine pottery from Qasr Ar-Rabbah, Jordan was examined to determine their chemical, mineralogical, and microtexture contents. In order to investigate the effect of form and function of pottery on the selection of raw materials and manufacturing technology to produce them, petrography, X-ray diffractograph, energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), and cluster analysis were used. Cooking pots were made with more attention than other pottery forms, being produced with thin walls, non-calcareous clay, and fired at relatively high temperatures.

Greek Manuscripts at the Wellcome Library in London: A Descriptive Catalogue

Petros Bouras-Vallianatos. “Greek Manuscripts at the Wellcome Library in London: A Descriptive Catalogue.” Medical History 59, no. 02 (April 2015): 275–326.

This article presents a new, detailed catalogue of the Greek manuscripts at the Wellcome Library in London. It consists of an introduction to the history of the collection and its scholarly importance, followed by separate entries for each manuscript. Each entry identifies the text(s) found in the respective manuscript – including reference to existing printed edition(s) of such texts – and gives a physical description of the codex, details on its provenance and bibliographical references.

NEH Fellowships for Projects Beginning January 2016

Fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Recipients usually produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources in the humanities. Projects may be at any stage of development.

Ancient Christian Communities and Current Events

Ancient Christian Communities and Current Events, Harvard University, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Room 102, 38 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, March 25, 3–5pm

Join us for a community conversation, "Ancient Christian Communities and Current Events.

Presenters include: Sargon Donabed, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Roger Williams University; Charles Stang, Associate Professor of Early Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School; Laura Nasrallah, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School; and Jason Ur, Professor of Archaeology at Harvard University and Project Director of the Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey.

The event will be moderated by Susan Kahn, CMES associate director.

Digital Pedagogy Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Digital Pedagogy Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 10–14, 2015

Digital Pedagogy Lab is a five-day practical institute that explores the role and application of digital technology in teaching. The institute will have three tracks, providing hands-on practice with and discussion of networked learning, digital identity, new media, and critical digital pedagogy.

Open to teachers, graduate students, librarians, and others at all levels of education experimenting with digital tools in hybrid environments. Digital Pedagogy Lab is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hybrid Pedagogy: a digital journal of learning, teaching, and technology.

Standard tuition is $950 with an early bird rate of $750 and a student/adjunct rate of $400. Early bird registration closes May 15, 2015. Scholarships will be available.

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for Byzantine Arts and Culture

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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