SPBS Events

BBPN Events

See the BBPN page for the latest events.

Seminar Series at UK Universities

These are seminars run by UK universities which are open to all, including the interested public. They are not organised by the Society.

Conferences, Lectures & Calls for Papers (UK)

Transmitting and Circulating the Late Antique and Byzantine Worlds

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s 19th International Graduate Conference

24-25 February 2017, University of Oxford

Movement was the norm rather than the exception in the Late Antique and Byzantine worlds. Things travelled: ideas, religions, foods, materials, money, people. Whether it was a Christian bishop sent to convert the North Caucuses, a coin which found its way to Anglo-Saxon England, or a piece of column which only made its way down a local road, how scholars engage with and taxonomise this constant flux has been key to the way in which we conceptualise the Late Antique and Byzantine worlds.

Postgraduate scholars are encouraged to engage with and problematise the concepts of transmission and circulation, as well as to offer specific case studies of these phenomena surging or declining at any particular time. Papers might address any of the following, but all contributions, especially those engaging with the so-called ‘peripheries’, whether Eastern, Western, Southern or Northern, of the Late Antique and Byzantine worlds are strongly encouraged.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at byzantine.society(at) by Friday, 18th November 2016. Papers should be 20 minutes in length, delivered in English or French.

For further details, please download the full call for papers.

The Greek Communities in Turkey: Past, Present and Future

Public Lecture

16 March 2017, Management Lecture Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX

Dr Alexis Alexandris, diplomat and historian, former Consul General of Greece in Istanbul and Representative of Greece to the UN, Geneva, will speak on “The Greek Communities in Turkey: Past, Present and Future”, tracing the history of the most important Greek communities of the Ottoman Empire and of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople during the transition to republican rule. He will also offer insights into more recent developments in Turkey and their impact on the long term future of the Greek Orthodox Community of Istanbul. The start time is 7pm and the lecture will be followed by a reception in the foyer of the Management Building. Attendance is free of charge but prior registration is required. Please email Dr George Vassiadis or Dr Charalambos Dendrinos.

Environment and Society in the First Millennium A.D.


8 October 2016, Society of Antiquuaries, London

Convenors: John Haldon (Princeton), Adam Izdebski (Krakow), Luke Lavan (CNRS Paris)

The time is ripe to place environmental issues at the heart of debates about Late Antiquity. This conference takes a Mediterranean-wide approach, setting climate or pollen data into the wider historical context of the 1st millennium A.D., greening our narrative of Late Antiquity.

For a full timetable and poster please click here.

All are welcome.  Admission 25 GBP; Students / OAPs 12 GBP.

To register write to M.Mulryan(at)  before 5 October

The Virgin Singing the Magnificat, the Virgin Carrying the Divine Word: Symbolism and Signs between Byzantine and Western Art

Public lecture

2 November 2016, Courtauld Insitute, London

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm, Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

The message received by the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation led to the conception of the divine Word, the union of God with humans. The dogmatic importance of Salvation related to this event is expressed by the singing of the Magnificat (Luke 1: 44-55) in sequence with the Annunciation and the Visitation. This paper explores similarities and divergences between Latin and Greek artistic traditions, focusing on representations of the Virgin Mary carrying the divine Word in Byzantine and Western art. First, I shall show how different signs (objects or poses) in Magnificat narratives from the Early Christian period were appropriated by later iconographies of the Annunciation. Second, I will analyse different iconographical types deriving from both the Magnificat and Annunciation scenes: the Virgin praying, the Virgin of the Annunciation (l’Annunciata), and the pregnant Virgin (Maria gravida).

Open to all and free admission.

Greek Culture and Interaction in the Levant 4th cent. BC – 7th cent. CE


10-11 July 2017, Oxford University

ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies is organizing its Forty Fourth International Conference on the Greek Culture and Interaction in the Levant 4th cent. BC – 7th cent. AD, to be held at the Oriental Institute, the University of Oxford, on 10th – 11th July 2017.

The conference will start on Monday 10th July at 9am, finishing on Tuesday 11th July at 7pm. Each speaker’s paper is limited to 35 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion. All papers given at the conference will be considered for publication in a future edition of the ARAM Periodical, subject to editorial review.

If you wish to participate in the conference, please contact our Oxford address: ARAM, the Oriental Institute, Oxford University, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE, England. aram(at)

The participation form can be downloaded here.

Late Antique Archaeology Conference: Environment and Society in the First Millennium A.D.

8 October 2016, The Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London W1J 0BE (inside the Royal Academy)

The time is ripe to place environmental issues at the heart of debates about Late Antiquity. Recently, a paper on the climate change during the age of Justinian, published in Nature, received coverage in all major American and European newspapers. This article is not an isolated case, yet mainstream late antique scholarship has not so far absorbed this work.

This conference will be a decisive step in making the late antique community aware of a whole range of environmental phenomena that affected Mediterranean and northern European societies at the end of Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. We will adopt a Mediterranean-wide approach and look at the period of Late Antiquity from a broader chronological perspective, that of the 1st millennium A.D. This time frame is critical to interpreting climate and vegetation data, which are most meaningful in a long-term context.

The conference itself has two aims. Firstly, it will present the rich pollen and scientific data available for the study of the first millennium AD in different regions. Secondly, it will develop and reinforce the environmental perspective on Late Antiquity. The focus on the whole Mediterranean (with its hinterland in Northern Europe) will correct a bias towards the East seen in recent studies on the environmental history of Late Antiquity. The conference will interest not only scholars of the 4th to 7th c., but also early medievalists and students of earlier Graeco-Roman Antiquity.

For full details, see the conference webpage.

Melkite Christianity/Eastern Mediterranean Byzantine Christianity

International conference/ Call for Papers (closes November 2016)

12-14 July 2017, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies is organizing its Forty Sixth International Conference on "Melkite Christianity', or "Eastern Mediterranean Byzantine Christianity", 1st – 19th Centuries. The conference will start on Wednesday 12th July at 9am, finishing on Friday 14th July at 6:30pm. Each speaker’s paper is limited to 35 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion. All papers given at the conference will be considered for publication in a future edition of the ARAM Periodical, subject to editorial review. If you wish to participate in the conference, please contact our ARAM Society: ARAM, the Oriental Institute, Oxford University, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE, England. aram(at) For further details, download the registration form.

Conferences, Lectures & Calls for Papers (Outside UK)

Fifth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Conference/Call for papers (closes 31 December 2016)

19-21 June 2017, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA

The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies provides a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars in all disciplines to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern worlds.

We invite proposals for papers, sessions, and roundtables on all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies. Proposals from learned societies and scholarly associations are particularly welcome. The deadline for proposals submissions is December 31.

The plenary speakers for this year will be Christopher Baswell, of Barnard College and Columbia University, and Bruce Campbell, of Queen's University, Belfast.

The Symposium is held on the beautiful midtown campus of Saint Louis University, hosted by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. On-campus housing options include affordable, air-conditioned apartments and a luxurious boutique hotel. Inexpensive dorm meal plans are available.

All sessions take place in state-of-the-art classrooms and auditoriums with complete audiovisual facilities. All sessions, events, meals, and housing are located within easy walking distance of each other. A rich variety of restaurants, bars, and cultural venues are also only a short walk away.

During their stay, participants are welcome to utilize the Vatican Film Library as well as the rare book and manuscript collections of the nearby Pius XII Library. Those interested in using the Vatican Film library, should contact Susan L'Engle ( by email or phone at 314-977-3090. Participants may also use the library's regular collections, which are especially strong in medieval and early modern studies.

All sessions are 90 minutes long. A variety of session formats are welcome. Preference will be given to organized sessions that involve participants from multiple institutions.

To submit a proposal, click here.

Monumental Painting in Byzantium and Beyond: New Perspectives


4 November 2016, The Oak Room, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

The study of Byzantine monumental painting is ripe for critical assessment. While research into monumental pictorial art in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and increasingly Turkey remains a mainstay of art historical inquiry, in the United States this area of study has received less attention in recent years. Yet the monumental painting of the Byzantine world holds great potential for future research, not least because the material is tremendously rich and continues to be expanded with the discovery and publication of new pictorial ensembles.

This colloquium brings together new voices and well-established scholars to reinvigorate the study of Byzantine monumental painting. It will foster dialogue and pose new questions about reception, materiality, and the interplay of different representational forms and systems of signification. Topics range from how paintings evoked sound, to the role of liturgical practices, visual narrative, and nonfigural imagery in decorated sacred spaces, to collaboration and interaction between patrons, architects, painters, and theological advisers. While some papers will focus on specific sacred landscapes such as Naxos and Cappadocia, others will draw wide-ranging connections across Byzantium, the Slavic world, and the Mediterranean.

For more details and registration, see the website.

Teaching Byzantium in London: reflections and recollections on the life and work of the distinguished Constantinopolitan Byzantinist Julian Chrysostomides (1928-2008)

Public Lecture

21 October 2016, Constantinopolitan Cultural Centre, Dimitriou Soutsou 46, Athens 11521, Greece

Dr Alexis Alexandris, diplomat and historian, former Consul General of Greece in Istanbul and Representative of Greece to the UN, Geneva, will speak on “Teaching Byzantium in London: reflections and recollections on the life and work of the distinguished Constantinopolitan Byzantinist Julian Chrysostomides (1928-2008).” The start time is 7pm. A reception will follow in the foyer of the Constantinopolitan Cultural Centre. Donations towards the Julian Chrysostomides Bursaries Fund in support of postgraduate students pursuing Hellenic and Byzantine Studies at RHUL can be made online and at the event. Attendance is free of charge. For information please email Dr Charalambos Dendrinos.

Armenian Language Winter School

5-16 December 2016, Yerevan, Armenia

Please find all application details:

The deadline for applications is October 10, 2016.

Nea Paphos and Western Cyprus: New Archaeological and Historical Perspectives

International Colloquium/Call for Papers (closes 31 October 2016)

11-15 October 2017, Pafos, Cyprus

The main aim of this second scientific meeting, besides the presentation of new discoveries made by the archaeological missions currently working on the site, is to study the evolution of the city, as well as of that of other sites in Western Cyprus, from the Hellenistic period to Early Medieval times. The languages of the colloquium will be Greek and English.

For further details, download the Call for Papers.

Byzantium and Islam

Call for Papers, Porphyra Issue XXV (Closes 1 December 2016)

This issue of Porphyra proposes to investigate the many aspects the named topic presents. The fields of research can range from art history to religion, from history to sociology, from a study of politics to international relations. A profound examination of the idea of Jihad and Holy war is desirable in order to better understand the different positions regarding this question. Studies on the particularities of the relations between Constantinople and Baghdad, possibly referencing the De Administrando Imperio, are welcomed, as well as on the commercial relations between them. The journal is particularly interested in articles examining the populations living on the frontiers between the two empires, as made famous by the story of Digenis. Papers can also focus on political questions, as well as on the various administrative and legislative differences between the two super-powers. These are only some of the possible approaches regarding this topic and Porphyra will consider other themes of research.

Papers may be submitted in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Modern Greek. Contributions must be complete upon submission – a proposal is no longer sufficient for a contribution. Editorial rules must be followed precisely; otherwise the contribution will be rejected. To be accepted the article in full must comply with general scientific standards of research and publication, and be formatted according to Porphyra editorial rules (found on the website). Every article must be accompanied with a short English abstract (250-300 words max) and 10-15 keywords. It is also possible to submit monograph reviews (1500 words max).

Proposal and reviews must be sent to : editorporphyra(at)

IVth Forum Kunst des Mittelalters / Forum for Medieval Art

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 31 October 2016)

20-23 September 2017, Berlin & Brandenburg, Germany

Visit the website of the Forum for further details

Please send your paper proposals of max. 1 page to: mail(at)

5th Annual Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Call for Papers (closes 31 December 2016)

Officially entitled "Othello's Island", the conference is a truly multi-disciplinary event, looking at all aspects of the Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern periods, including art, literature, history, culture etc. It takes place in Nicosia, Cyprus, next April (2017). The deadline for proposals is 31 December 2016.

Being located in Nicosia, our delegates also have an opportunity to explore the medieval sites of this fascinating city, from the stunning Byzantine Museum to the richly carved sculptures of the French gothic cathedral, and we will also be taking a trip out of town to visit other medieval and renaissance sites of beauty and interest in Cyprus.

The conference is held at the Centre for Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) in the heart of Nicosia's medieval Old Town, and is organised as a collaboration between academics from CVAR, Northern Arizona University, Sheffield Hallam University, SOAS University of London, the University of Kent, and the University of Leeds. Our keynote speaker for 2017 will be Professor Patricia F. Brown (Princeton, USA).

For research students and early career academics, we are able to offer a limited amount of free accommodation for the duration of the conference to speakers aged 35 or under.

For further information, please visit the website:

In Search of Crusader Art: Current Approaches and New Perspectives

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 31 October 2016)

20-23 September 2017, Berlin, Germany

The aim of this session is to reflect critically on the limitations of terminology, while addressing issues of artistic transmission across the fluid borderland of the Medieval Mediterranean. It will seek to expand the cultural dialogue between the various religious and ethnic groups in the Eastern Mediterranean, by examining how Islamic, Syrian and Jewish artistic traditions interacted with the Byzantine and Western paradigms. It will attempt to identify the varied forms of crusader art that have emerged in recent years and explore how this revised corpus of crusader material challenges accepted notions. Finally, it will inquire whether crusader art, as an essentially transcultural contact zone, acted as an agent of separation, communication, or convergence.

This session invites papers which re-evaluate traditional approaches to crusader art, artefacts and architecture and seek to re-examine the interplay between material culture, patrons and artists. Participants are expected to explore the artistic interaction between the different ethnic groups in the region and are encouraged to explore a novel approach in defining the notion of crusader art.

Paper proposals of max. 1 paper are due by 31 October 2016 for the session organized by Ioanna Christoforaki at the 4th Forum Medieval Art, to be held in Berlin (20-23 September 2017). Send proposals at mail(at)

For details, download the full Call for Papers

The Byzantinist Society of Cyprus First Annual Conference of Byzantine and Medieval Studies (CBMS)

Conference/Call for Papers (extended until 1 October 2016)

13-14 January 2017, Nicosia, Cyprus

Scholars, researchers and students are encouraged to present their ongoing research, work-in-progress or fieldwork report on any aspect of the history, archaeology, art, architecture, literature, philosophy and religion of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean during the Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman periods.

The languages of the conference will be Greek, English, French and German.

For full details, download the Call for Papers.

Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity

Workshop/Call for Papers closes 10 August 2016)

2-3 December 2016, Oslo, Norway

The aim of this Workshop is to bring together in Oslo scholars at an early career stage (PhD Candidates, postdocs or similar) for presenting papers on the encounter between Platonism and Christian thought in Late Antiquity.

The influence of Platonism on Early Christian thought is acknowledged to have been profound. Numerous studies have brought new knowledge both about Platonic ontology and ethics as well as on Christian metaphysics and anthropology, demonstrating how a number of Early Christian writers engaged with Platonism in their endeavours to deepen and systematize the Christian doctrine and faith.

For full details, see the event website.

Days of Justinian I

International conference/Call for Papers (closes 5 August/15 October 2016)

11-12 November 2016, Euro-Balkan University, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

The International scientific symposium “Days of Justinian I” is an annual interdisciplinary scholarly forum aimed at the presentation of the latest research followed by discussions on various aspects of Byzantine and Medieval Studies, that include the treatment and interpretation of cultural, historical and spiritual heritage in contemporary Europe. The Symposium is dedicated to Emperor Justinian I with the aim to address a broad range of issues related to Byzantium and the European Middle Ages, comprising the exploration of the cultural and historical legacy as an integrative component of the diversities and commonalities of Unified Europe. 

This year the International Symposium “Days of Justinian I” chose a special thematic strand “The Byzantine Missionary Activity and Its Legacy in Europe”, commemorating  1100 years since the death of St. Clement of Ohrid. St. Clement’s missionary activity in Macedonia, grounded on the perseverance of the tradition of Constantine-Cyril and Methodius, demonstrates the complexity of the religious and cultural interactions and the profound impact of the missionary work. Consequently, the missions of Cyril and Methodius received almost no attention in Byzantine sources, while our knowledge of  St. Clement’s work is originally based on Byzantine worldview. This notion is relevant both to Medieval and Contemporary times, implying the intricacies in the interpretation of the missionary initiatives and their importance in legitimizing the political and ideological projects. Aside from competing claims, the recurrent appropriation of the traditions arising from the illustrious missionaries from the Middle Ages left a fundamental legacy that transcends the national and cultural borders of Europe.

For full details, download the Call for Papers.

Hospes eram et collexistis me: Crisis and Migration in Late Antique and Early Medieval Europe and Byzantium

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 16 September 2016)

4-5 November 2016, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Migration seems to be one of the unifying aspects of human societies: whether in one epic journey to a new homeland or in seasonal trips, whether in search of security or employment, people are often on the move. As we go, we bring objects, foods, diseases, and ideas; opportunities and crises follow. The theme of the Crisis and Migration colloquium is ‘migration’ writ large, incorporating the movement of people, objects, texts, and ideas. The colloquium focuses especially on movements prompted either by crises (e.g political collapse of the Roman or Byzantine Empire) or by boons (e.g. early Carolingian Empire). Were crises connected with large population movements? Was there any cultural flourishing and change brought on by the immigration of new groups? Did the trade and movement of relics and commercial objects remain prevalent during periods of crisis? The colloquium hopes to answer some of these questions, bringing into debate the impact of mobility throughout the period.

We would like to invite offers of twenty-minute papers on any aspect of mobility of people, ideas, and objects in the Late Antiquity and Early medieval period. Papers dealing with later periods addressing the topic will also be considered. Abstracts of not more than 300 words should be sent to Grant Schrama at GS82(at)queensu.caGS82(at) by September 16th, 2016. Both established scholars and graduate students are encouraged to submit proposals. Questions and queries about the conference can be sent to the email above or to Eduardo Fabbro at eduardo.fabbro(at)

Possible topics are, among others: Demographics and migration patterns in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Relics and their movement between West and East,Settlement patterns between Western Europe and Byzantium, Transmission and translation of literary, scientific or medical texts, Importation of artistic techniques and motifs between West and East, Religious minorities and their migration patterns, Diasporas and refugees, Colonialism and the settlement of lands, Movement of armies and their impacts, Movement of coins, jewellery and other physical objects, Trade routes and trading commodities, Archaeological remains of moved objects.

From the Human Body to the Universe – Spatialities of Byzantine Culture


18-21 May 2017, Uppsala University, Sweden (CfP closes 30 September 2016)

If you are interested to attend by oral or poster presentation, please send an abstract of no more than 400 words, the thematic panel to which you would like to contribute and a brief CV to myrto.veikou(at) by September 30, 2016.

The full call for papers can be found here.

Narrative exchanges between Byzantium and Armenia: contact, conflict, & connotation. A workshop for postgraduate and early-career scholars

16-17 March 2017, Uppsala University, Sweden (CfP closes 30 September 2016)

The shifting borderland between Byzantine and Armenian culture-complexes in Eastern Anatolia and the Armenian plateau was a site of contact and conflict, alliances made and discarded, cultural exchange and cultural imperialism. This two-day workshop will explore narratives of exchange and conflict between Byzantium and Armenia, broadly defined: narrative in its largest and most productive sense of telling stories; and 'Byzantium' and 'Armenia' encompassing the encounter in the frontier zone, the presence of Armenians in Byzantine society, the exchange of ideas, relics, language, and persons over cultural and cultic boundaries, and the perils and problems of annexation, imperialism(s), and survival.

Papers given at this workshop should explore the narrative process behind these moments of contact and conflict. Possible angles of approach might include: the enshrinement of memory (in historiography, relics, art); self-fashioning of Byzantine and Armenian 'border-crossers'; the process of translation; narratives of enmity or of conversion; nationalist narratives (their problems and their benefits); self-fashioning of modern 'Armenologists' and 'Byzantinologists' with reference to what we might gain from one another – amongst other topics.

Abstracts should be sent to AnnaLinden Weller (annalinden.weller(at) by September 30, 2016.

Cupis volitare per auras: Books, libraries and textual transmission from the Ancient to the Medieval World

International Conference/Call for Papers (closes 30 April 2016)

27-28 October 2016, University of Bari, Italy

Prolepsis Association is delighted to announce the International Postgraduate Conference whose theme is production, transmission and circulation of ancient literary and historical texts from Classical antiquity to the Byzantine and Medieval age.

For details, see the poster.

Monastic Journeys from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 30 April 2016)

17-19 November 2016, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Monastic journeys reveal the broad social functions of the monks in late antique and medieval societies. They show in what ways monasticism was regularly used to meet political needs. One may also consider the sacred geography and the holy places of power linked by those movements. Practical issues such as logistics, financing and distant accommodation may be addressed, as well as the role of monks in interreligious dialogue. The geographic frame is the wider Mediterranean and continental Europe. The period under consideration extends from the 4th to the 15th century.

For details, download the call for papers.

Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium

International Conference (Call for Papers closes 31 July 2016)

24-26 February 2017, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

In the last two decades, the role of dreams, memory and the imagination in the ancient world and its cultural productions have come to receive increased attention, along with the importance of emotions in the Greco-Roman and medieval worlds. This conference will focus on the ways that the Byzantine imagination shaped its dreams and memories from the fourth to fifteenth centuries and the many ways in which these were recorded in the Byzantine world, in its historiography, literature, religion, art and architecture.

For full details, see the website.

Languages – Culture of Writing – Identities in Antiquity

15th International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy

28 August-1 September 2017, Vienna, Austria (call for papers closes 30 April 2016)

Addressing this topic, two plenary sessions are dedicated to the relationship between the indigenous or local epigraphic cultures of the ancient Mediterranean area and the dominant respective Greek or Roman culture. The focus is on those regions and societies of the ancient world which have several languages and scripts existing simultaneously in their epigraphic culture. In a third plenary session outstanding new inscriptions will be presented. And finally the winners of the Géza Alföldy-scholarship (call and grant by the AIEGL) will present their papers in a fourth plenary session.
NB There will be a panel on Epigraphy of Late Antiquity and Byzantine age.

For details, download the full CfP.

Third “Parekbolai” Symposium on Byzantine Literature and Philology

16 December 2016, Athens, Greece (call for papers closes 30 June 2016)

The editorial board of the e-journal “Parekbolai” organizes the Journal's Third Symposium on Byzantine literature and philology at the University of Athens on Friday, December 16, 2016. The Symposium aims to bring together scholars working on various aspects of Byzantine texts, with a focus on Byzantine poetry (including hymnography). Specialists and Ph.D. candidates are invited to deliver a twenty-minute paper in Greek or English on a relevant topic. Prospective speakers are requested to submit a title and a short abstract to Theodora Antonopoulou or   Marina Loukaki by 30 June 2016.

John Chrysostom and Severian of Gabala: Homilists, Exegetes and Theologians

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 30 April 2016)

7-9 November 2016, Leuven, Belgium

For details, download the Call for Papers.

To see, to report, to persuade: Narrative and verisimilitude in Byzantium

Conference/Call for Papers (closes 31 December, 2015)

27-29 October 2016, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey

An increasing interest in narrative practices has in recent years led scholars within the field of Byzantine studies to explore the narrative techniques employed by the Byzantines. These explorations have, so far, focused on fictional texts or texts that employ fictional and semifictional strategies, such as novelistic and hagiographical narratives or 'novelistic' chronicles and poems, and they often take as their point of departure the shared rhetorical tradition that formed the basis of Byzantine education for more than a millennium.

In this conference we propose stepping away from defining a distinction between fictional and historical Byzantine texts, and instead to look at narrative as a literary form that allows authors to communicate their experience in a believable manner – whether the events they report are conceived of as truthful or not. The reality of fiction, or the relationship between fiction and reality, is accordingly not the focus of this conference. Rather, the various devices and techniques that enable the narration of events – whether fictional, historical, or documentary – appear to be persuasive and trustworthy. Briefly: we wish to take the concept of verisimilitude – cultural as well as generic – beyond the boundaries of fiction.

We therefore invite abstracts for papers that explore the use of various narrative practices in Byzantine texts from the perspective of authors and their contemporary audiences, as well as post-Byzantine readers. We define narrative broadly to include, in additional to traditionally narrative texts, epistolography, philosophy, rhetoric, commentaries and poetry. Questions that might be addressed include: What is the relationship of narrative production in Byzantium to the ‘real? How does the literary form affect the ‘truth’ of historiographical or documentary writing? How does any given narrative relate to the lived experience of the author or the lived experience of the reader – either a Byzantine reader or a modern one? Are narrative and experience opposed, complimentary, or intertwined? Where does persuasion shade into deception or falsehood, and is this a problem – for Byzantine authors or for Byzantinists? What are the limits of what can be regarded as narrative? We are, of course, happy to consider any further suggestions, especially those addressing methodological and theoretical concerns.

Please send a title of your paper and an abstract (max 300 words) to AnnaLinden Weller
(annalinden.weller(at) no later than December 31, 2015.