Patristic and Byzantine Greek Summer Course, University of Notre Dame

Patristic and Byzantine Greek Summer Course, University of Notre Dame, June 15–July 24, 2015

The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire holds a crucial place in the history of Greek letters. Not only did Byzantine scribes forge the vital link between antiquity and modernity, but Byzantine mystics, poets, philosophers, and statesmen have left behind a vast and varied corpus of texts expressing the diverse discourses contributing to the formation of Byzantium. In this course, students will engage this corpus through a survey of texts that is broad both in chronology (embracing texts composed from the 4th through the 15th century) and genre (including historiography, hagiography, theological treatises, poetry, literary criticism, and documentary sources). Beginning in the 4th and 5th centuries with Gregory Nazianzos, John Chrysostom, and Pseudo-Dionysios, we shall encounter (among others) the writings of Maximos the Confessor, the nun Kassia, Theophanes the Confessor, Photios, Symeon the New Theologian, Michael Psellos, Anna Komnene, and end in the 14th and 15th centuries with figures such as John Kantakouzenos, Alexios Makrembolites, and Plethon. Students will also receive an introduction to Greek paleography.

University of Notre Dame Summer Session course number: CLGR 60199

Contact Charles Yost with questions.

Source: BSANA listserv

Don’t Blame Him. Peter Brown on Constantine

Few rulers have set in motion developments of such momentous consequence as the emperor Constantine, with his conversion to Christianity in 312 and subsequent halting of the persecution of Christians, ratified a year later in the Edict of Milan. Over the 17 centuries since then, theologians, historians and even novelists, including Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, have claimed that a change for the worse in the quality of Christianity (the kind of change an earlier age would have ascribed to supra-natural agents like the Devil or the Antichrist) can be personified in this rather flashy Roman emperor. Even those of less apocalyptic temperament, faced by almost any legacy of the late antique world of which they disapprove – anti-Semitism, the secular power of the church, the rise of intolerance, the spirit of the Crusades – blame it on Constantine.

David Potter. Constantine the Emperor. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Peter Brown reviews Constantine the Emperor in London Review of Books, volume 37, no. 8 (23 April 2015).

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Editor in Chief, American Journal of Archaeology

American Journal of Archaeology seeks a new Editor in Chief for a three-year term beginning in November 2015.

The American Journal of Archaeology (AJA) was founded in 1885 and is the distinguished, peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The AJA is published quarterly in print and electronic forms.

The Editor in Chief (EIC) of the AJA reads initial submissions, decides whether to assign them to peer reviewers, and determines whether the final version is publishable. The EIC develops an editorial vision and solicits manuscripts consonant with that vision. The EIC works closely with AIA’s Vice-President for Research and Academic Affairs and the Executive Director, and the AJA’s Director of Publishing and editorial staff.

The EIC appoints Review Editors and an Editorial Advisory Board, assists in raising funds in support of the journal, and provides an annual written report on the status of the journal to the AIA Governing Board.

The EIC serves at the pleasure of the AIA Governing Board for a term of three years, which may be renewed. Compensation is normally in the form of release time from the EIC’s home institution; appropriate adjustments will be made in the case of independent scholars.

Required Qualifications

  • An established scholar with a demonstrated record of publication.
  • Research and publication interests consonant with the mission of the AJA.
  • Strong writing skills and demonstrated editorial experience.
  • Administrative and managerial experience.
  • Strong interest in the future of academic publishing and the development of a vision for the AJA.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Archaeological field experience in the Old World.
  • An academic appointment in an appropriate university/college department, museum, or other relevant unit.
  • Experience in publishing across print and digital platforms.

Review of application materials begins August 15, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled.

Convivium, supplementum 2016: The South Caucasus

Papers are sought for Supplementum 2016 of the journal Convivium. Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean. The theme is The South Caucasus.

The canon of medieval and Byzantine art and architecture, as currently shaped by a Euro-American art history, only rarely incorporates any of the rich artistic achievements of the South Caucasus. While church architecture and book illumination of medieval Armenia have attracted some scholarly attention, the monuments of Georgia, not to mention those of former early Christian Albania (now in the Republic of Azerbaidjan), remain obscure to even specialists in the field. As a whole, the South Caucasus continues to be entirely peripheral to the Euro-American discourse, and when included, the region is typically relegated to the status of a provincial off-shoot of the Byzantine Empire. The purpose of the present volume is to call attention to the medieval art and architecture of the South Caucasus which has for too long remained inaccessible, skewed by patriotic and racial approaches and, over the last two centuries, perceived and interpreted as part of the Russian and Soviet Empires. While addressing these historiographical issues, we want to propose the South Caucasus, not as a periphery, but as a region in its own right that is worthy of a central place in the current discourse. Whereas in recent years the study of Mediterranean culture has become a leading trend within medieval art history due to an increased interest in travel, transfer, and cultural and artistic encounters across borders and religious traditions, few are aware that, as a historical buffer zone between Europe and Asia, connecting those continents through the Black Sea and the Silk Road, Southern Caucasia is well appointed to offer new materials and directions to such on-going explorations. In contrast to Carl Schnaase , who in his Geschichte der bildenen Künste im Mittelalter (1843–61) found the continuous oppression of the South Caucasus by foreign powers incompatible with the creation of a proper artistic culture, it could be precisely this multi-colored history - blending Christian with Sassanid, Islamic and Mongolian traditions - that makes the region a promising area for research within a globalized art history.

We welcome papers on topics that may concentrate on but be not limited to:

  • Historiography (i.e. the discovery of the region by early European travelers; the impact of patriotism and politics; the western/Byzantine perspective: center versus periphery; the Russian perspective).
  • Specific case studies of Albanian, Armenian or Georgian monuments (architecture, manuscripts, icons, monumental decorations, etc) with attention to historiography and recent methodologies.
  • South Caucasus and medieval art history today (i.e. multiculturalism; cultural transfer, travel, and object exchange; canon and chronology; center versus periphery; South Caucasus as a region in relation to Asia, Europe and Russia).

The theme issue The South Caucasus will be edited and curated by Ivan Foletti (editor in chief of Convivium), Ass. prof. from the University of Brno and Maître Assistant of the University of Lausanne, and Prof. Erik Thunø from Rutgers University.

Multiculturalism and Christian Art in Old Cairo

Multiculturalism and Christian Art in Old Cairo, lecture by Tasha Vorderstrasse (The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago), The University of Chicago Divinity School, April 29, 2015, at 5pm

This lecture series is presented in conjunction with the special exhibit A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo at the Oriental Institute Museum in collaboration with The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago. The lecturers present on a range of topics related to the history, art, and archaeology of Medieval Fustat (Old Cairo).

Solidarity before the Welfare State: A Global Perspective (Middle Ages–early 20th century)

Solidarity before the welfare state: A global perspective (Middle Ages–early 20th century), panel at the European Social Science History Conference, Valencia, March 30–April 2, 2016

Practices of charity and alms giving as well as the organization of poor relief or mutual assistance always imply a sense of ‘community’. All assistance and relief is in one way or another reserved for a specific group considered ‘deserving’, be that co-religionists, fellow townsmen, members of a particular guild, confraternity or quarter, etc. When allocating aid or relief to one specific group, the in-group is formed while its boundaries are being sharpened to outsiders. But, while the mechanism as such may be virtually universal, the actual definition and delineation of communities changed considerably over time and across regions and contexts.

In Western European historiography major transformations have been exposed, for the sixteenth century, the end of the ancien régime and the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in particular. These mechanisms are often explained from religious transformations such as the Reformation, confessionalization and secularization; proletarianization and the disciplining of workforce; and state formation, bureaucratization and the pacification of the labour-capital conflict. These explanations, however, are indebted to Eurocentric modernity narratives and are therefore limited. An adequate understanding of solidarity mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion requires a global and comparative perspective, in addition to a long term perspective.

This session offers a platform for comparative and non-European views on the history of charity, mutual aid and poor relief mechanisms of diverse communities across time and space. We particularly welcome contributions on for instance the Middle East, China, Eastern Europe and Southern America, next to studies adopting an entangled history-approach, in which mutual influences and cross-regional developments are addressed.

Organisers: prof. dr. Bert De Munck, prof. dr. Isa Blumi and dra. Hadewijch Masure (University of Antwerp – Centre for Urban History).

For the Sake of Salvation and Happiness in Life. Studies of Byzantine Pilgrimage and Its Origins

For the sake of salvation and happiness in life. Studies of Byzantine pilgrimage and its origins, Römisch-Germanischen  Zentralmuseum Mainz, December 2–4, 2015

The project entitled “For the sake of salvation and happiness in life. Studies of Byzantine pilgrimage and its origins” is sponsored by the Leibniz Association and carried out at the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz. The international conference to conclude the project will take place in December 2015 and will deal with the topic on an interdisciplinary level including the fields of archaeology, Byzantine studies, art history, history, religious history, epigraphy, historical geography and social psychology. The deadline for proposed presentations is 31 May 2015.

In the Middle Ages, pilgrimage gained an ever-increasing religious and socio-economic significance. Visits made initially to biblical sites provided a way of directly experiencing the process of salvation, thereby cementing the beliefs of the individual visitors/pilgrims. A whole range of local and supra-regional centres of pilgrimage gradually evolved, which attracted visitors from afar by cleverly staging saintly individuals or their relics as well as various miracles.  Special memorabilia (eulogia) spread the reputation of these centres. The search for salvation and happiness as a religious motive, however, is rooted in the pre-Christian era.

The international conference to conclude the project will take place in December 2015 and will deal with the topic on an interdisciplinary level including the fields of archaeology, Byzantine studies, art history, history, religious history, epigraphy, historical geography and social psychology. Presentations are welcome on the following groups of themes:

  • The origins and Christianization of ancient sacred sites
  • The contextualization of pilgrim destinations and sacred sites in their natural surroundings and sacral topography.
  • The pilgrims on their way (travel routes, journey duration, modes of transport, accommodation)
  • Cult objects and worshipped individuals
  • Votive offerings, pilgrimage souvenirs, relics and reliquaries
  • Changes and developments of the organisation of the cult sites, environmental history and political influences
  • Theological, religious, hagiographic, social and medical aspects of pilgrimage

All topics should place a special emphasis on changes that are traceable in the course of diachronic developments.

The general aim of the conference is to provide a synopsis of archaeological investigations and research in the field together with analyses of textual sources as well as new approaches from the fields of sociology and psychology.

The official conference languages are German, English and French.

Expenses incurred for transport and accommodation will be reimbursed by the organisers for all speakers.

Inscriptions in Byzantium and Beyond

Andreas Rhoby. Inscriptions in Byzantium and Beyond. Methods – Projects – Case Studies. Vienna, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015.

From Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

The present book, the first collective volume entirely devoted to aspects of Byzantine epigraphy, mainly comprises papers delivered at two international meetings (Vienna 2010, Sofia 2011). The book is divided into four sections and includes among others the following contributions: after an introductory article about the “history” of the discipline of Byzantine epigraphy Cyril Mango tries to define the term “Byzantine inscription” and its limits. Vincent Debiais offers some interesting observations by comparing medieval Latin inscriptions from the West with Byzantine epigraphic traditions. The second section of the book bears the title “Methods of Editing Byzantine Inscriptions”: while the paper of Peter Schreiner discusses the urgent necessity of creating a new epigraphic initiative within Byzantine Studies, Walter Koch describes the Western medieval inscription projects in detail. Both Guglielmo Cavallo and Erkki Sironen discuss editorial guidelines while Charlotte Roueché stresses the advantages of creating online-corpora, and Joel Kalvesmaki describes his recently published epigraphic font “Athena Ruby”. The third section covers articles which report current epigraphic projects: two projects from Greece presented will be published within databases. Maria Xenaki discusses the epigraphic wealth of Cappadocia and its hardly studied graffiti. The last section is devoted to case studies articles. Their content ranges from Late Antiquity (Sencer Şahin, Mustafa Sayar) until the middle and the late Byzantine period (Ida Toth, Linda Safran).

Open Access

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The Door of the Sanctuary: a Place of Transition

The Door of the Sanctuary: a Place of Transition, VU University, Amsterdam, May 27–29, 2015

In sanctuaries, the boundaries between the profane and the sacred are marked by doors on different levels, either physical or symbolic: gateways in a precinct, the outer doors of a temple or church, the inner doors of a cella or holy of holies. Pagans and Christians have recorded their perceptions of these liminal spaces in literature, giving us a glimpse of their emotions and ideas. What did someone entering a pagan or Christian sanctuary see, hear, smell, feel? Who was excluded at the door, who was admitted? What symbolic meaning did a door have? What continuities and changes can be identified in Late Antiquity?

This international conference aims to elucidate the transition from the worldly to the divine by focusing on the door of the sanctuary during Late Antiquity -- a key period of transition in which, with the spread of Christianity, cultural paradigms were redefined. With pagans and Christians living side by side there were many religious debates. During this period, description of churches developed into a specific genre.

The theme of the conference, the experience of the sanctuary door as a place of transition, will be addressed by an interdisciplinary and dynamic approach. It will embrace literary and material sources from the 3rd to the 8th centuries CE, from different regions of the Mediterranean world and from different linguistic, religious and cultural contexts. It will deal with sensory perceptions (light, music, smell, touch) and intellectual perceptions (symbolic meanings). Together the several papers will contribute to our understanding of the experience of sacred spaces and especially of the transition from profane to sacred space in its cultural-historical context.The results of the conference will be published by Brill in the prestigious series Religions in the Graeco-Roman World.


manuSciences ‘15

manuSciences ‘15. Franco-German Summer School. Manuscripts. From Fragments to Books – from Identification to Interpretation, Benediktinerinnen-Abtei Frauenwörth, Chiemsee, September 6–12, 2015

Interdisciplinary approaches to manuscript studies combining lectures in history and philology with materials analysis, imaging techniques, digital humanities and computer science, complemented with practical courses on mobile instruments (XRF, RTI) and on computer programs.

Up to 40 (max.) young researchers, from master and Ph.D. students to researchers and university lecturers. Active participation is expected (including poster presentation). The lectures and courses will be in English.

Lecturers (to date)

  • Matthieu Bonicel (digitization projects, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, biblissima, Paris, France)
  • Leif Glaser (DESY, Hamburg, Germany)
  • Daniela Handl (virtual 3D visualization and modelization, Volume Graphics, Heidelberg)
  • Verena Lepper (Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz & Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany)
  • Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke (Helmholtz-Zentrum/FU Berlin, Topoi, Berlin, Germany) coorganizer
  • Christian Müller (Arabic documents, Institut de recherche d’histoire des textes, CNRS, Paris)
  • Bernd Neumann (Artificial Intelligence, Universität Hamburg)
  • Kathryn Piquette (RTI, Cologne Center for eHumanities, Universität Köln)
  • Ira Rabin (XRF, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Berlin)
  • Véronique Rouchon (Centre de recherche sur la conservation, Paris, France)
  • Judith Schlanger (Medieval Hebrew manuscripts, École pratique des hautes études-Sorbonne, Paris, France)
  • Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (Qumran scrolls, École pratique des hautes études-Sorbonne, Paris, France) coorganizer
  • Piotr Targowski (Optical Coherence Tomography, University of Torun, Poland)
  • Lior Wolf (Artificial intelligence, Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Financial support available.

MAA/CARA Summer Language Scholarships

The Medieval Academy of America’s Committee on Area and Regional Associations (CARA) is pleased to announce that the Summer Language Scholarship program has been expanded for 2015 to allow more students to apply for support. The MAA/CARA Summer Language Scholarships support graduate students participating in summer courses in medieval languages or manuscript studies.

The stipend will be paid directly to the program to offset a portion of the tuition cost and is contingent on acceptance into the program. Applicants must be members of the Medieval Academy in good standing with at least one year of graduate school remaining and must demonstrate both the importance of the summer course to their program of study and their home institution’s inability to offer analogous coursework.

New Issue of Gesta

Gesta, volume 54, no. 1 (2015).


Encounter: Otto Demus
Herbert L. Kessler

“He Who Is at the Point of Death”: The Fate of the Soul in Byzantine Art and Liturgy
Vasileios Marinis

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John of Damascus: New Studies on his Life and Works

Vassa Kontouma. John of Damascus: New Studies on his Life and Works. Variorum Collected Studies Series: CS1053. Ashgate, 2015.

From Ashgate

For more than five hundred years the life and work of John of Damascus (c. 655–c.745) have been the subject of a very extensive literature, scholarly and popular, in which it is often difficult to get one’s bearings. Through the studies included here (of which 6 appear in a translation into English made specially for this volume), Vassa Kontouma provides a critical review of this literature and attempts to answer several open questions: the author and date of composition of the official Life of John, the philosophical significance of the Dialectica (a study which has its first publication here), the original structure of the Exposition of the Orthodox faith, the identity of ps.-Cyril, the authenticity of the Letter on Great Lent, and questions of Mariology. She also opens new vistas for research along four main lines: the life of John of Damascus and its sources, Neochalcedonian philosophy, systematic theology in Byzantium, and Christian practices under the Umayyads.

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Connections, Networks, and Contexts

Connections, Networks, and Contexts, University of Edinburgh, April 17, 2015

Registration is now open for Connections, Networks, and Contexts, the Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate and Early Careers (LAMPS) Conference. The conference is open to all and attendance is free, but we do require those expecting to attend the conference for the whole day to register.


Panel I: Connections & Divisions in Material Culture

Exit through the Gift-Shop? A re-appraisal of early medieval hill fort occupation
 Helen Anderson [University of Wales, Trinity St. David]
The Small World of Printers: Religious Printing for England, c.1500-1549
Katherine Krick [Durham University]
South-West Scotland and the Roman World: Imposition, Appropriation, Refusal and Change
Alessandra Turrini [University of Edinburgh]

Panel II: Contextualising the Margins of the Byzantine Empire

Lying at the periphery, yet not too far from the Centre – interrelationship between Crimean Cherson and Constantinople in the early medieval period
Martina Čechová [Institute of Slavonic Studies, Czech Academy of Sciences]
Reconstructing Late Antique Constantinople from the Cypriot periphery
Richard Maguire [University of East Anglia]

Panel III: Religious Networks on the British Isles

The Mendicant Orders as Forerunners of University Academic Networks
Matthew Beckmann [University of Leeds]
Textual and Visual Networks in the Art of the Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Reform
Elizabeth Wright [York University]
Bede’s social network and other contacts: using network analysis to interpret early medieval travel
Helen Lawson [University of Edinburgh]

Panel IV: Macro and Micro Movements in the Medieval World

Liturgical contexts and patterns of movement in the complex of St Stephen’s church in Umm er-Rasas, Jordan
 Anastasia Moskvina [University of East Anglia]
Islamic Impacts in Viking-Age Scandinavian Culture: Assimilation, Adaptation and Appropriation of Oriental Finds
Katia Fernández Mayo [University of Edinburgh]

Poster Session

Getting to know the neighbours: a Fatimad diplomat's reaction to the arrival of the Crusaders
Mathew Barber [University of Edinburgh]
Setting the Scene: an image of the desert in the late thirteenth-century Italian City
Amelia Hope-Jones [University of Edinburgh]
Early Medieval Rural Estates and Settlements in Dumfriesshire: The Case of Lochmaben
Christoph Otten [University of Edinburgh]
Death and the Welsh Home
Joshua Graham [University of Bath]

Theodosian Harbor Excavations and 37 Byzantine Shipwrecks at Yenikapı in Istanbul-Turkey

The Theodosian Harbor Excavations and 37 Byzantine Shipwrecks at Yenikapı in Istanbul-Turkey, lecture by Ufuk Kocabaş (Istanbul University), Harvard University, Yenching Library Auditorium, 2 Divinity Avenue, April 7 at 6 pm

Salvage excavations at Yenikapi in Istanbuk, Turkey, have unearthed in the Theodosian Harbor the largest collection of medieval ships ever uncovered at an excavation site—37 ships from the 5th to the 11th century CE.

Prof. Kocabaş, who directs “The Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project,” will present new findings on shipbuilding traditions and techniques in the Mediterranean region.

Intensive Byzantine Greek, Modern Greek, and Ottoman Turkish Summer School

Intensive Byzantine Greek, Modern Greek, and Ottoman Turkish Summer School, Imvros Island, July 19–August 31, 2015

The intensive Byzantine Greek, Modern Greek, and Ottoman Turkish Summer School (July 19–August 31, 2015) on the island of Imvros, Turkey, offers courses focused on reading and translating Greek and Turkish texts both handwritten and printed. Students will develop skills in paleography for reading original archival documents written in different periods and styles. The school is based in Agridia (Tepeköy), one of the island’s predominantly Greek Orthodox villages.


The program is open to students enrolled in graduate programs in art history, archaeology, history with study interests focusing on late antique, Byzantine, medieval and Ottoman studies.

If there are available slots in each class,  young academics and independent researchers who would like to improve their reading and translation knowledge in respected languages may also be considered. Along the same lines, applications from senior college students with strong interests in pursuing a graduate career in Byzantine/Ottoman and modern Greek studies in the future will also be considered.

For Ottoman, a knowledge of modern Turkish grammar, an equivalent of one to two-year academic coursework is required. Reading knowledge of Arabic and Persian is recommended.

For Byzantine Greek, a knowledge of ancient Greek grammar, an equivalent of one to two-year academic coursework.

For modern Greek, a basic understanding of the alphabet is necessary.

A.G. Leventis Fellowship in Hellenic Studies, British School at Athens

The British School at Athens is pleased to announce the A.G. Leventis Fellowship in Hellenic Studies. The Fellowship, funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, is tenable at post-doctoral level to support research into the anthropology, archaeology, architecture, arts, environment, geography, history, language, literature, religion and topography of Greece and Cyprus, and related areas, in all periods to modern times. The Fellowship is tenable for three years from 1 October 2015.

Normally the Fellow will be expected to have satisfied all the requirements for his/her doctorate no more than five years and at least three months before taking up the post.

Porphyra, Issue XXIII

Porphyra, International Journal for Byzantine Studies is now accepting contributions for its XXIII issue.

Topics can range from a variety of fields and disciplines, such as: history, theology, literature, archaeology, anthropology, art history, et alii. Articles will be accepted in English, Italian, French, Modern Greek, German and Spanish.

Lecturer in History of Art and Architecture, University of Lincoln

The University of Lincoln is seeking to appoint an ambitious scholar to grow our research and teaching in the history of art and architecture. The successful candidate will join a growing and dynamic team of historians who are based in the School of History and Heritage.  The School delivers undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes in History and in Conservation and is home to a rising number of PhD students. Historians in the School have particular interests in gender, urban and cultural history from the medieval to the modern period.

We are looking for a strong scholar who will play a key role in building expertise in the history of art and architecture in the School. Preference will be given to applicants whose research is focussed on late antique and medieval, including Byzantine, art and architecture.  You will be able to contribute to the development of specialisms in non-textual source interpretation. You should have a good publication record with the potential to attract external funding and to work collaboratively in developing new areas of teaching and research in the School.

Crossing Frontiers: Christians, Muslims and Their Art in Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus

Travelling Research Seminar Programme Opportunity for Early Career Researchers, The Courtauld Institute of Art/Getty Foundation, Research Trips to Turkey (September 2015), and Armenia (Spring 2016)

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new travelling research seminar programme for Early Career Researchers interested in the medieval art and culture of the eastern frontier between Christianity and Islam, covering Anatolia, the Caucasus and the western Iranian world. The seminars will travel initially to eastern Turkey and Armenia with the aim of investigating questions of cross-cultural exchange and international artistic production. This project is supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative, and it aims to give emerging scholars the opportunity to visit and discuss a range of important monuments alongside a group of more senior advisors and mentors. The initial research trips will run in September 2015 and Spring 2016.

This project is organised by Dr Antony Eastmond, AG Leventis Reader in the History of Byzantine Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art; and is administered by Dr Niamh Bhalla.

Call for Applications

The project is open to research students, early career academic researchers and tutors, and those working in research institutes (such as museums, government and non-governmental agencies dealing with history, art or archaeology).

On each research seminar trip the participants will hear lectures from leading academics on the art and archaeology of this period in the region, participate in seminars and visit key historical museums and sites of interest. In many cases they will gain unique access to areas not normally seen by members of the general public.

Who we are looking for

This is a genuinely open competition. We are looking for proactive participants who we think will most be able to benefit from visiting all the sites on the two trips, and who are willing to contribute to discussions and debates on site as well as before and after the seminar trips.
We particularly want people who are interested in investigating monuments in an international cross-cultural setting. We hope to recruit early career scholars, who may not yet have established themselves but who want to broaden their experience and range of expertise.

Obvious candidates include those working on the medieval cultures of Georgia, Armenia and the Turks. Those with wider interests in the history of Byzantine or Islamic art and culture might also apply. We expect most applicants to be art historians, but we welcome applications from archaeologists, historians and others who are interested in using material evidence in their research and who share our commitment to cross-cultural study.

We particularly welcome applicants from Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.

Good English will be a prerequisite as this will be the working language of the project.

ONE GOD - Abraham’s Legacy on the Nile

ONE GOD - Abraham's Legacy on the Nile: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Egypt from Antiquity until the Middle Ages, Bode-Museum, April 2–September 13, 2015

In Egypt, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share a very long common history. ONE GOD - Abraham's Legacy on the Nile takes a closer look at the religious life and day-to-day coexistence of the three faith communities in Egypt, from the time of the Romans all the way up to the Fatimid caliphate in the 12th century. The exhibition shows that much can be learned from archaeological finds that reflect the largely peaceful coexistence of the world religions over the course of many centuries, especially when viewed in today's political climate.

On show are over 250 objects from Egypt's rich cultural heritage. Many come from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and have never gone on show before. The Berlin objects are enriched in number by outstanding pieces from the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Louvre, the Cambridge University Library and other collections.

The exhibition takes its name from Abraham, the original father and archetype for monotheistic faith and a powerful common thread linking Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Also presented in the exhibition are other figures that appear across all three religions, such as Moses, Daniel, Joseph, or the Archangel Gabriel, who were popular figures in Egypt. Based on evidence found in Egypt of the holy scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, visitors are given a brief introduction to the essential characteristics of the three world religions. The display also reveals the different types of sacred buildings - synagogue, church, and mosque - and explains their architectural history and dissemination in Egypt.

The exhibition is not exclusively about religion; it also traces the everyday life of people in Egypt over hundreds of years. Objects on view reflect daily life, starting with birth, childhood, and school. In popular belief, magic also played an important role in all three religious communities. The exhibition ends with the funeral rites and concepts of the afterlife among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Robert F. Taft, S.J. Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oriental Liturgical Studies

The Pontifical Oriental Institute announces the Robert F. Taft, S.J. Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oriental Liturgical Studies.

In the spirit of the path-breaking research and outstanding teaching of Archimandrite Robert F. Taft, S.J., whose presence marked the life of the Institute for over forty-five years, the Pontifical Oriental Institute announces a new postdoctoral fellowship program to begin in Rome in October 2015.

Taft Postdoctoral Fellows will receive financial support for residence in Rome for two semesters (October through June). Fellows will pursue a research program at the Institute in the field of Oriental Liturgical Studies. They will develop and teach at least one course at the Institute. They will be expected to contribute to the academic life of the Institute and will at the same time benefit from the counsel of a senior mentor.

Application is open to scholars in the field of Oriental Liturgical Studies who have completed their Ph.D. since 2011 or who will complete their Ph.D. by July 2015. The application deadline is May 15, 2015.

Candidates should submit the following materials to

  • A Curriculum Vitae, including research and teaching interests
  • A research program outlining a plan of study at the Pontifical Oriental Institute
  • A proposal for a course in Oriental Liturgical Studies
  • A sample of writing of no more than thirty pages, such as a section of the dissertation or a published article
  • Two letters of recommendation assessing the candidate’s research and promise as a teacher

Source: BSANA listserv

Liturgy and Aesthetics in Late Antiquity

Liturgy and Aesthetics in Late Antiquity, Syracuse University, April 10–11, 2015

Keynote Address, April 10, 4:30 pm, 204 Tolley Humanities Building
The Transmission of Liturgical Joy in Byzantine Hymns on Easter
Derek Krueger (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

Friday, April 10, 2:00–3:45pm: Asses and Other Liturgical Animals
Panelists: Geoffrey Benson, Colgate University; Virginia Burrus, Syracuse University; Patricia Cox Miller, Syracuse University

Saturday, April 11, 9:00–10:45am: Poetic Pathos and Pity
Panelists: Suzanne Abrams Rebillard, Cornell University; Georgia Frank, Colgate University

Saturday, April 11, 11:00am–12:30pm: Blood and Bouquets
A group discussion of martyrial aesthetics in Prudentius's poem for the martyr Eulalia from his P eristephanon.

All workshops will take place in 307 Tolley Humanities Building
Space is limited; for further information, please contact Virginia Burrus.

Organized by Late Antique Religion in Central New York Sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Source: BSANA listserv

Social and Ritual Function(s) of the Byzantine Epigrams on Works of Art

Social and Ritual Function(s) of the Byzantine Epigrams on Works of Art: A Case Study from the Twelfth Century, lecture by Foteini Spingou (Princeton University), Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, April 7, 2015,  at 4:30pm

Respondent:  Michael Koortbojian, Art and Archaeology

The vicissitudes of the Byzantine Empire allowed only a small fraction of the artistic production to survive. Medieval texts are inexhaustible sources of information on the existence and function of objects. Epigrams on works of art in particular were directly connected to objects either as verse inscriptions or texts accompanying their presentation to an earthly or divine high power. This paper explores questions of social aggrandizement and private devotion in the twelfth-century Constantinople. It takes impetus from the gifts of one family (father, mother, and their deceased son) to the monastery of St John the Baptist by the River Jordan to discuss broader questions regarding the function of Byzantine dedicatory epigrams. It suggests that the production of the texts itself was a means of self-promotion in the “Constantinopolitan Society”. Subsequently, it argues against the distinction between inscriptional and performative epigrams, defending their role in a private ceremony accompanying an act of devotion. Overall, it aims to invite reactions from modern readers to Byzantine texts and parallels from other pre-modern societies.

Foteini Spingou completed her D.Phil. thesis at the University of Oxford in 2013. After spending a year at Dumbarton Oaks, she is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Art and Archaeology. Together with Professor Charles Barber, she is preparing an edited volume of Byzantine Texts on Art and Aesthetics (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press), while concluding her own book on a vast anthology of Byzantine poetry from the thirteenth century (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

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.

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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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