Whose Mediterranean is it anyway?, 48th Spring Byzantine Symposium

Whose Mediterranean is it anyway? Cross-cultural interaction between Byzantium and the West 1204-1669, 48th Spring Byzantine Symposium, The Open University, Milton Keynes, March 28–30, 2015

The Early Modern Mediterranean basin was an area where many different rich cultural traditions came in contact with each other, were often forced to co-exist, and frequently learned to reap the benefits of co-operation. Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslims, Jews, and their interactions all contributed significantly to the cultural development of modern Europe. The aim of this conference is to address, explore, re-examine and re-interpret one specific aspect of this cross-cultural interaction in the Mediterranean – that between the Byzantine East and the (mainly Italian) West. The investigation of this interaction has become increasingly popular in the past few decades, not least due to the relevance it has for cultural exchanges in our present-day society. The starting point is provided by the fall of Constantinople to the troops of the fourth Crusade in 1204. In the aftermath of the fall, a number of Byzantine territories came under a prolonged Latin occupation, an occupation that forced Greeks and Latins to adapt their life socially and religiously according to the new status-quo. The end point for the conference, 1669, is the year that Venetian Crete, one of the most fertile ‘bi-cultural’ societies that developed in this process, fell to the Ottoman Turks.