Measuring Weather: The Windvane and the Nilometer in Byzantine Art and Texts

Detail of a Nilometer from a 5th-cenctry CE floor mosaic, Sepphoris, Israel

Date: Nov 6, 2023 Time: 12:00 PM–1:30 PM Location: Zoom

Paroma Chatterjee, University of Michigan, discusses the monumental scientific devices that appear in the Byzantine literary and pictorial tradition, particularly the windvane that stood for centuries in Constantinople before its destruction during the Fourth Crusade (1204 CE) and the Nilometer used for measuring the rising levels of the Nile.

About the Speaker

Paroma Chatterjee, University of Michigan

Paroma Chatterjee is Professor of Byzantine and medieval Mediterranean art history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. She has published two books with Cambridge University Press and several articles on varied topics such as sacred icons, statues, small objects, word-image relations, the infrastructure of miracles, and rhetorical structures in wall paintings. She was invited to be a Visiting Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in Fall 2022. She is currently working on her third book manuscript on the visual tradition of bucolic scenes in Byzantine art with a focus on human-animal relationships and the possibilities of ecoacoustics (the ecological role of sounds) in the Byzantine literary and visual tradition.