Cultural Transition in the Medieval Balkans: The 'Re-Byzantinization' of Greece, 8th–11th c., lecture by Nikos Tsivikis (Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Crete)
The Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium overcame the profound crisis that followed the 6th and 7th century invasions entering a period of territorial expansion and fundamental re-structuring of its economic, social, and cultural life that lasted from the 8th to the 11th century. A little studied facet of the Byzantine reconquest of this time regards the state’s effort to integrate and “re-Byzantinize” provinces that the empire had lost for centuries and which were settled by people of foreign cultural identity, in particular heterodox Christians and Muslims in the East and Pagan Slavs in the Balkans. Focusing on southern Greece, this talk investigates certain aspects of the Byzantine reconquest program by utilizing archaeological evidence coming from excavations and field surveys. Through the study of specific cities, cemeteries, church buildings, and fortifications, it explores the ways archaeology can nuance our understanding of the cultural transformation that took place in these provinces.