Call for papers: Contested Heritage: adaptation, restoration and innovation in the Late Antique and Byzantine world

2019 Oxford University Byzantine Society Graduate Conference, History Faculty, Oxford, 22-23 February 2019

Deadline: 23 November 2018

Byzantines considered themselves the legitimate heirs of the ancient world, a title they passionately defended against emerging empires east and west that also claimed hereditary rights to the Graeco-Roman past. From the fostering of cultural, scientific, and literary revivals and the commissioning of projects that used a well-established artistic and architectural vocabulary to the collection, conservation and display of consecrated ancient artefacts, anachronism was a powerful political and cultural tool, frequently used to build analogies with either past prosperity or a divine eternity. In addition, the use of deliberate archaism in literary forms and language served as both a demonstration of classical learning and elite status. Especially in Constantinople, ceremonial practices not only invited the participants to experience past events as if they were present, but also processed through consecrated landmarks from different historical periods – merging perception of space and time in a single, collective experience. Nevertheless, literary sources, such as the Parastaseis Syntomoi Chronikai, reveal that Byzantines sometimes had only a limited understanding of their own history and urban heritage. They compensate with interpretations, based on oral tradition and observation that often endowed ancient architectural remains and statues with a contemporary relevance. Subsequently this interpretation of the past was actively reshaped to fit contemporary worldviews. Lastly, extensive reuse of ancient material dominates our perception of Byzantium. Innovative aspects of its cultural output therefore often lie unnoticed and are deserving of greater scholarly attention.

Including contributions on political, social, literary, architectural and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean and beyond, this conference aims to provide a kaleidoscopic view of how cultural heritage was constructed, perceived and maintained in Late Antiquity and Byzantium. To that end, we encourage submissions from all graduate students and young researchers, encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes:

• Literary works: stylistic imitation, adaptation and innovation in form and function of narrative sources and other literary production, as well as incorporation of older texts, historiographical traditions and archaiologia.
• Manuscripts: scribal habits, palimpsests, marginal comments, illustrations and other decorative elements.
• Architecture and urbanism: repurposing, adaptation and restoration of buildings and sites, architectural innovation and symbolism, monumentality, genius loci, use of spolia.
• Religious objects: translation of relics, liturgical equipment, and vestments.
• Ceremonial practice: religious processions, triumphs, adventus.
• New aesthetics, especially in the reuse of old material.
• Sculpture: interpretation and repurposing of ancient statues.
• Epigraphy: textual content, form and style, use and location.
• Mosaics: departures from classical and late antique mosaics, reuse of materials and reinterpretation of existing compositions.
• Numismatics: reuse, adaption, or creation of imagery or types.
• Comparative perspectives of the above elsewhere, in opposition or concordance with practices in Byzantium.
• The past as a framework for political, legal and economic discourse.
• Contemporary reaction to innovation, both overt and when disguised as restoration.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at by Friday, 23rd November 2018. Papers should be 20 minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French.

As with previous conferences, there will be a publication of selected papers, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should try to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

Conference: Reception, Appropriation, and Innovation: Byzantium between the Christian and Islamic Worlds

2nd Annual Edinburgh International Graduate Byzantine Conference

University of Edinburgh, 30 November-1 December 2018

Registration is now open for the second Edinburgh International Graduate Byzantine Conference, ‘Reception, Appropriation, and Innovation: Byzantium between the Christian and Islamic Worlds’. Please register online at online now:

A full programme may be downloaded from

The Bryer Fund

The Bryer Postgraduate Travel Fund was established in 2017 in memory of Prof. Anthony Bryer, who passed away on 22nd October 2016. The fund exists to support innovative, experimental and adventurous research by post-graduate researchers in Byzantine studies, particularly by supporting travel for research beyond the scope of conference grants or other structured events.

Following very successful initial fundraising, and thanks to the generosity of donors within and outside the field of Byzantine studies, the Fund will begin to award grants from March 2019. However fundraising continues, with the aim of increase the sums available to support research. Donations can now be made online via our website.

Conference: Late Antique Archaeology: Imperial Archaeologies

Birkbeck, University of London, 1 December 2018

This meeting with examine the latest developments in the archaeology of emperors, kings, and their courts in late antiquity, from palaces and iconography to churches and mausolea. We review fieldwork in Constantinople or imperial capitals within the Empire, but also compare royal courts of adjacent kingdoms in both East & West.

All welcome. Admission 20 GBP. Students 10GBP (free to Kent and Birkbeck students). For full programme and booking, see the Eventbrite page.

Fellowship: Villa I Tatti–Boğaziçi University Joint Postdoctoral Fellowship

Deadline: 15 November 2018

The Byzantine Studies Research Center of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence offer a joint residential fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year. Scholars will spend the fall term (September-December) in Istanbul and the spring term (January-June) in Florence. The fellowship will be open to scholars whose research focuses on the interaction between Italy and the Byzantine Empire (ca. 1300 to ca. 1700).

For further information please visit our website.

Call for papers: Dissidence and Persecution in Byzantium

20th Australasian Association for Byzantine Studies Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, 19-21 July 2019

Deadline: 7 January 2019

The Byzantine empire was rarely a stable and harmonious state during its long and eventful history. It was often in strife with those outside its borders and with those within them, and with so much power invested in its political and ecclesiastical structures it was ready to implode at times.

This could result in persecution and the silencing of dissident voices from various quarters of society. The mechanisms by which the authorities controlled civil disorder and dissent, as well as discouraging criticism of imperial policies, could be brutal at times. In what sense was it possible, if at all, to enjoy freedom of speech and action in Byzantium? Was the law upheld or ignored when vested interests were at stake? How vulnerable did minorities feel and how conformist was religious belief at the end of the day? The theme of the conference aims to encourage discussion on a number fronts relating to the use and abuse of power within the history of Byzantium. Individual papers of 20 mins or panels (3 papers) will be accepted. See full call for papers here.

Abstracts of 500 words should be emailed to the President of AABS, Dr Ken Parry: by the due date of 7 January 2019. Panel convenors should outline briefly their theme (100 words), and (a) add all three abstracts to their application, or (b) list the three speakers on their panel with their own abstract, plus (c) nominate a chairperson. Panelists should indicate clearly the title of their proposed panel if submitting their abstracts individually.

Call for papers: Ideological and cultural reception of Byzantium by other cultures (7th-15th centuries)

39th Symposium of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Archaeology and Art, ChAE, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, 31 May-2 June 2019

Deadline: 5 March 2019

The one-day special topic of the 39th Symposium of the ChAE Ideological and Cultural Reception of Byzantium by other cultures (7th-15th centuries) is the continuation of the special topic of the 38th Symposium Seeking the place of the “other” in Byzantium which explored the impact of other religious and ethnic groups on the material culture and the artistic production of Byzantium. The special topic of the 39th Symposium will attempt to complete the picture by investigating the image of Byzantium and its ideological and cultural reception by others, especially by its neighbors, Slavs, Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, Arabs, Normans, Scandinavians, Venetians, Genoese, Franks and other Crusaders etc.

Thanks to its military, diplomatic, and cultural supremacy, the Byzantine empire was diachronically a model for imitation and a reference point for foreign peoples. The great impact of this ecumenical uniqueness that characterized the period of the empire’s apogee (843-1071), was gradually reduced when the European states of the West shifted their attention toward the East (1071-1204), but this change was not entirely perceived by the ruling dynasty, state officials, economic elites and intellectuals during the difficult circumstances of the last period (1204-1453).

The purpose of the Symposium’s special topic, as a continuation of last year’s discussions, is to investigate the cultural and politico-economic image of the Byzantine empire its coreligionists, on heterodox peoples and followers of other religions with whom Byzantium came into contact from the 7th century to the Fall of 1453. More specifically, during the Symposium we will examine evidence of material culture and artistic expressions of these peoples with reference to Byzantium. The aim is to evaluate the image other peoples had of the Byzantine state, the Byzantine economy, Byzantine technology, Byzantine society, and the expression of Byzantine culture and civilization.

Apart from major papers, which the Organizing Committee will assign to specialists in the field, thematically relevant communications of 15 minutes’ duration will be presented on the same day.

Themes to be addressed during the Symposium may include:

· The reception of Byzantium by others, especially by neighboring cultures and its function as a model. The imaginary Byzantium from the point of view of others and especially of neighbors (presentation by period and region with reference to appropriate written sources and works, e.g. terms for offices and dignities, legislation, liturgy, coins, seals, hagiography etc.).
· Patrons (social strata, rulers, aristocrats, laymen, clergymen), appearance/attire, epigraphic evidence.
· Byzantine echoes in the typology and form of monuments in other, especially neighboring lands (urban planning, secular architecture, church architecture, funerary architecture, architectural sculpture).
· Byzantine traces in the artistic expression of other and especially neighboring lands (iconographic and decorative subjects, modes of painting, painters/ateliers and commissions).
· Byzantine models in material culture, in works of everyday life and luxury items, technological achievements of other and especially neighboring lands (pottery, tools, metalwork-vessels-jewelry-weaponry, etc.).

The language of the Symposium is Greek. Speakers from abroad may deliver their papers in English or French.

It is reminded that papers should be original and constitute a substantial contribution to scholarship. They must not exceed 15 minutes in length. The subjects of communications should fall within the framework of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Archaeology and Art. The Administrative Board has decided not to consider papers dealing with monuments that postdate 1830. Each participant can deliver only one paper, even if this is in collaboration with other speaker(s). Please indicate upon submission, whether proposed paper is intended for the special topic of the Symposium.

Due to the large number of papers submitted for the annual ChAE Symposium, the organizers encourage all those planning to present work involving excavations, restoration projects, and the conservation of art works and monuments to make use of the alternative method of presenting their contributions in the form of posters. Participants will assume the responsibility for creating and printing their posters (60×85 cm. [A1]), whereas their display in a specially-designed space will be the responsibility of the Organizing Committee. Posters should be submitted to the Organizing Committee on the morning preceding the opening of the Symposium. During the Symposium participants with posters will be allotted time to present their contribution to the audience. Please indicate upon submission whether proposed paper concerns a communication in poster form.

As in previous Symposia, the summaries of contributions will be published. The resulting publication has the character of a preliminary presentation. Those interested are requested to send by e-mail together with their application the summary of their contribution (major paper, communication, poster presentation) without footnotes or bibliography, in accordance with the following specifications (line drawings may be included):

· The speaker’s name (last name, first name), his title and affiliation, and title of their contribution in upper case letters should come first.
· The summary should include no fewer than 250 and in no case more than 400 words
· A short abstract of about 100 words.
· In cases where 1 or 2 drawings are included, the text should not be shorter than 350 words in length. The drawings should be submitted as TIFF files.
· Suggested font: Times New Roman, size 12, line spacing 1.5.
· At the end of the summary, speakers are requested to provide their e-mail and postal address, as well as a contact telephone number.

The Board of the Christian Archaeological Society and the Organizing Committee of the 39th Symposium of the ChAE reserves the right to propose changes or reject abstracts which:

· do not deal with the fields of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine archaeology and art,
· do not meet the standards of originality and contribution to scholarship,
· include personal attacks,
· are submitted after the deadline.

Applications along with abstracts should be sent by e-mail to

Applications accompanied by summaries will be accepted until Tuesday, 5 March 2019.

Postdoc: 2-year Postdoc Position at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna

Deadline: 5 November 2018

Within the framework of the ERC Project Neoplatonism and Abrahamic Traditions. A Comparative Analysis of the Middle East, Byzantium and the Latin West (9th-16th Centuries), there is a 2-year postdoc opportunity hosted by the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. The successful candidate will work on the reception of Proclus’ Elements of Theology in Byzantium. The deadline is 5 November.

Please refer here for more information.

For further inquiries contact Dr Dragos Calma.

SPBS Autumn Lecture 2018

We are pleased to announce that the SPBS Autumn Lecture, titled The Church of St John at the Hippodrome and the End of Antiquity in Constantinople, will be given by Professor Paul Magdalino on 22 November. The lecture will take begin at 17.15 in the Whitting Room in the Arts Building of the University of Birmingham. Directions can be found on the university’s website. All are welcome.

SPBS Autumn Lecture 2018


Seminar Series: University of Oxford Late Antique and Byzantine Studies Seminar

Wednesdays, 5pm, The Ioannou Centre, 66 St Giles’, Oxford

The seminar forms a continuation of the theme ‘The Byzantine Commonwealth 50 years on: empires and their afterlife’, which was the subject of a two-day conference at Worcester College, Oxford on 27-28 September 2018, celebrating the centenary of the birth of Sir Dimitri Obolensky, one of the outstanding Byzantine historians of the 20th century. Both conference and seminar series aim to return to some of the lines of enquiry and themes that Obolensky explored in his writings, the singularity of Byzantium and the empire’s place in the Eurasian world, and its interaction with other societies, cultures and powers.

10 October: Professor Elizabeth Jeffreys
Byzantine literature in the Slavic world: serendipity or intention?

17 October: Dr Catherine Holmes
Centres, peripheries and networks: an impossible triangle to square in Byzantium?

24 October: Professor Jaś Elsner
Looking east: Christian art outside the world of Christian hegemony

31 October: Dr James Howard-Johnston
The typology of nomad empires

7 November: Professor Marc Lauxtermann
Story-telling east and west

14 November: Dr Phil Booth
Byzantium and the Miaphysite commonwealth

21 November: Dr Ida Toth
Antiquity and identity in Byzantine, Italian and Ottoman cultures

28 November: Professor Dame Averil Cameron
Empire and commonwealth today