Crow Week! Celebrating Professor Jim Crow

Edinburgh’s Centre for Late Antique, Islamic & Byzantine Studies (CLAIBS) is delighted to announce Crow Week!

On Monday 13 May 2024, CLAIBS is honoured to host, in hybrid format, this year’s joint lecture of the Austrian (OEBG) and British (SPBS) societies for Byzantine Studies, delivered by CLAIBS’s own Jim Crow with Galina Fingarova (University of Vienna) as respondent.  The lecture is entitled ‘Peeping under the Palimpsest: reclaiming the urban topography of Byzantine Constantinople’.

Abstract: A recent publication on late antique and medieval urbanism titled ‘Cities as palimpsests?’ draws attention to the multi-layered nature of ancient cities and the nuanced perspectives which are offered for the study of evolving urbanism. But how far is this engaging metaphor relevant for understanding the city beneath our feet and as a contribution to comprehending past lifeways? By reviewing past and contemporary approaches and methodologies I aim to consider the contribution of previous observations and excavations for the topography and infrastructure of the city, with particular attention to the Byzantine remains enclosed within the circuit wall of the Topkapı Saray, the city’s first hill.

Proceedings commence at 5.30pm BST.  All welcome; registration – for in person or remote participation – is open at https://edin.ac/3QiNueS

On Friday that same week (17 May 2024), CLAIBS, in collaboration with Edinburgh’s Departments of Archaeology and Classics, looks forward to hosting a half-day hybrid workshop – ‘Of Walls and Aqueducts: Celebrating Professor Jim Crow’ – to mark Professor Crow’s recent retirement from his distinguished tenure as Edinburgh’s Chair in Classical and Byzantine Archaeology. Three speakers representing the three areas of the Centre – Ine Jacobs (Oxford) for Late Antique studies, Scott Redford (SOAS) for Islamic studies, and Edinburgh’s Margaret Mullett for Byzantine studies – will deliver talks relevant to Professor Crow’s own work and in his honour.  The academic part will last from 3.15–6pm BST.  All welcome; for further details and registration – for in person or remote participation – see https://edin.ac/3QgRLjg

With any queries, please contact Niels Gaul (N.Gaul@ed.ac.uk).

SPBS-OEBG Joint Lecture 2024 – Hybrid Event!

Peeping under the palimpsest: reclaiming the urban topography of Byzantine Constantinople

Prof. Jim Crow (University of Edinburgh)
Respondent: Dr Galina Fingarova (Universität Wien)

Event Details:
In person
May 13th 2024 at 5:30PM
Location: Meadows Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG

The subject of this talk is the sub-surface archaeology of Constantinople. A recent publication on late antique and medieval urbanism titled ‘Cities as Palimpsests?’ draws attention to the multi-layered nature of ancient cities and the nuanced perspectives which are offered for the study of evolving urbanism. But how far is this engaging metaphor relevant for understanding the city beneath our feet and as a contribution to comprehending past lifeways? By reviewing past and contemporary approaches and methodologies I aim to consider the contribution of previous observations and excavations for the topography and infrastructure of the city, with particular attention to the Byzantine remains enclosed within the circuit wall of the Topkapi Saray, the city’s first hill.

To register please click here

Justice in Byzantium – 13th to 15th April 2024

In 2024, the Symposium will take place in Canterbury at the University of Kent, for the first time.  The chosen theme is ‘Justice in Byzantium’. This theme will facilitate inter-disciplinary discussion of research and ideas embracing Byzantine history, society, culture, and law. Sessions will be arranged around the themes of ‘Social Justice’; ‘Unwritten Rules’; ‘Criminal Justice’; ‘Revenge’; ‘Civil Law & Justice’; and ‘Divine Justice’.
The main sessions of the conference will be held in the Templeman Lecture Theatre, with a reception and dinner in the Darwin Conference Suite, Darwin College.
Confirmed speakers include Daphne Penna, Dennis Stathakopoulos, Carlos Machado, Arietta Papaconstantinou, Rosemary Morris, Anna Kelley, Lorena Atzeri, Mike Humphreys, Catherine Holmes, Robert Wisniewski, Peter Sarris, Matthijs Wibier, Simon Corcoran, Caroline Humfress, Maroula Perisanidi, Dan Reynolds and Shaun Tougher.
Please keep checking the website periodically: further information will be added in due course, and continuously updated. The complete programme can be found here: Conference Programme.
To register please click here.

The 55th SPBS Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies – University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), 13th-15th April 2024.

The 55th Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), from 13th-15th April 2024.

The 55th Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), from 13th-15thApril 2024. The topic is ‘Justice in Byzantium’, a topic especially pertinent in our turbulent modern societies. Justice is one of the pillars on which every civilisation should be based even though it is not always granted for all, and Byzantium was no exception. Its inhabitants had to deal with justice-related issues in everyday life, but theoretical, religious, and philosophical implications were also involved in its very conception. These ideas are not merely reflected in written laws but in historical and literary works, as well as in unwritten rules, customs, and traditions. What forms of justice were meted out in Byzantium and what types of injustices occurred? How were these debated, enacted, and enforced? Sessions will be arranged around the themes of social, civil, divine, and criminal justice, as well as concepts of revenge and unwritten/ written rules.

Confirmed Speakers include Daphne Penna, Dionysios Stathakopoulos, Carlos Machado, Arietta Papaconstantinou, Rosemary Morris, Anna Kelley, Lorena Atzeri, Mike Humphreys, Catherine Holmes, Robert Wiśniewski, Caroline Humfress, Peter Sarris, Matthijs Wibier, Simon Corcoran, Dan Reynolds, Shaun Tougher, and Maroula Perisanidi.

The Symposium will be hybrid.

Fees and Registration:

– In person, for three days: Full: £110; Members of the SPBS: £95; Students/Unwaged: £60.

– In person, for one day: Full: £65; Members of the SPBS: £55; Students/Unwaged: £30.

– On-line: Full: £35; Members of the SPBS: £20; Students/Unwaged: £10

A booking form will soon be available online, on the Symposium website, with further details of registration and payment. ‘Justice in Byzantium’ has been made possible by the generous support of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

Call for Communications

In addition to the customary panel papers and an inaugural lecture, we invite Communications of 15 minutes in duration on current research in fields linked to the theme of the Symposium. Please send your abstract to Laura Franco (laura.franco@libero.it) with a title and abstract by December 15th 2023. For any queries relating to the Symposium, please contact Anne Alwis (a.p.alwis@kent.ac.uk).

26th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society

Transgression in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

26th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society, 24th-25th February 2024, Oxford

We are pleased to announce the call for papers for the 26th Annual Oxford University Byzantine Society International Graduate Conference on the 24th – 25th February, 2024. Papers are invited to approach the theme of ‘Transgression’ within the Late Antique and Byzantine world (very broadly defined). For the call for papers, and for details on how to submit an abstract for consideration for the conference, please see below.

The Late Antique and Byzantine world was a medley of various modes of transgression: orthodoxy and heresy; borders and breakthroughs; laws and outlaws; taxes and tax evaders; praise and polemic; sacred and profane; idealism and pragmatism; rule and riot. Whether amidst the ‘purple’, the pulpits, or the populace, transgression formed an almost unavoidable aspect of daily life for individuals across the empire and its neighbouring regions. The framework of ‘Transgression’ then is very widely applicable, with novel and imaginative approaches to the notion being strongly encouraged. In tandem with seeking as broad a range of relevant papers as possible within Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, some suggestions by the Oxford University Byzantine Society for how this topic might be treated include:

  • The Literary – deviance from established genres, styles or tropes; bold exploration of new artistic territory; penned subversiveness against higher authorities (whether discreetly or openly broadcasted); dissemination of literature beyond expected limits.
  • The Political – usurpers, revolts, breakaway regions, court intrigue, plots and coups; contravention of aristocratic or political hierarchies and their expectations; royal ceremonial and its changes, or imperial self-promotion and propaganda seeking to rupture or distort the truth.
  • The Geopolitical – stepping beyond or breaking through boundaries and borders, including invasions, expeditions, trade (whether in commodities or ideas), movements of peoples and tribes, or even the establishment of settlements and colonies.
  • The Religious and Spiritual – ‘Heresy’, sectarianism, paganism, esotericism, magic, and more; and, in reverse, all discussion of ‘Orthodoxy’, which so defined itself in opposition to that which it considered transgressive; monastic orders and practices (anchoritic and coenobitic) and their associated canons, themselves intertwined and explicative of what was deemed prohibited; holy fools and other individuals perceived as deviant from typical holy men.
  • The Social and Sartorial – gender-based expectations in public and private; the contravention (or enforcement) of status or class boundaries; proscribed or vagrant habits of dress, jewellery, fabrics, etc.
  • The Linguistic – transmission of language elements across regional borders or cultures, including loan words, dialectic and stylistic influences, as well as other topics concerning lingual crossover and interaction.
  • The Artistic and Architectural – the practice of spolia; the spread and mix of architectural styles from differing regions and cultures; cross-confessionalism evident from the layout or architecture of religious edifices; variant depictions of Christ and other holy figures; iconoclasm.
  • The Legal – whether it be examination of imperial law codes and their effectiveness or more localised disputes testified to by preserved papyri, all discussion concerning legal affairs naturally involves assessing transgressive behaviour and how it was viewed and handled.
  • It could even be that your paper’s relevance to ‘Transgression’ consists in its breaking out from scholarly consensus in a notable way!

 

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, with a short academic biography written in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at byzantine.society@gmail.com by Monday 27th November 2023. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, peer-reviewed by specialists in the field. Submissions should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper, especially if they wish to be considered for inclusion in the edited volume. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

The conference will have a hybrid format, with papers delivered at the Oxford University History Faculty and livestreamed for a remote audience. Accepted speakers should expect to participate in person.

Call for Communications for the 55th SPBS Spring Symposium

The 55th Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), from 13th-15th April 2024.

The topic is ‘Justice in Byzantium’.

Panels will cover aspects of social, civil, divine, and criminal justice, as well as concepts of revenge and unwritten/ written rules. Our keynote speaker is Daphne Penna (Groningen). Confirmed speakers include Dionysios Stathakopoulos (Cyprus), Carlos Machado (St Andrews), Arietta Papaconstantinou (Reading), Rosemary Morris (York), Anna Kelley (St Andrews), Lorena Atzeri (Milan), Mike Humphreys (Cambridge), Catherine Holmes (Oxford), Robert Wiśniewski (Warsaw), Caroline Humfress (St Andrews), Peter Sarris (Oxford), Matthijs Wibier (Cincinnati), Simon Corcoran (Newcastle), Dan Reynolds (Birmingham), Shaun Tougher (Cardiff), and Maroula Perisanidi (Leeds).

Those interested in presenting a Communication (15 mins max) should contact Laura Franco (laura.franco@libero.it) with a title and abstract by December 15th 2023. For any queries relating to the Symposium, please contact Anne Alwis (a.p.alwis@kent.ac.uk). Once the conference website with booking details is live, a further email will be circulated.

Updated version of the 1st Circular, Vienna Congress

On behalf of Christos Stavrakos, Secretary of the AIEB (Association Internationale des Études Byzantines), please find below an updated version of the First Circular of the 25th International Congress of Byzantine Studies (Vienna 2026), including a language update.

_______
Dear Colleagues,

Following the online meeting of the Organizing Committee of the 25th International Congress of Byzantine Studies -Vienna 2026 with the members of the AIEB Bureau on 16 March 2023, we would like to inform you about the preliminary profile and structure of the Congress program and to appeal to all National Committees to send us their proposals for Round Tables by 31 December 2023. The call for Free Communications will be sent in spring 2025. You may find below the main theme of the Congress, the themes of six Plenary Sessions, as well as the timetable and procedures for Round Tables, to be confirmed and approved at the Inter Congress meeting in Athens on 12 April 2024.

INFORMATION ON THE PROFILE AND STRUCTURE OF THE 25th CONGRESS OF BYZANTINE STUDIES, Vienna 2026

Date: The 25th International Congress of Byzantine Studies will be held on 24 to 29 August 2026 in Vienna, Austria.

Main Theme: “Byzantium beyond Byzantium”, “Byzance au-delà de Byzance”, “Byzanz jenseits von Byzanz”, “Bisanzio oltre Bisanzio”, “Το Βυζάντιο πέρα από το Βυζάντιο”

General Rule: Scholars can participate in no more than two sessions throughout the Congress. (i.e., as speaker in two sessions, or as speaker in one session plus as convener, or as convener in two sessions).

Plenary Sessions: There will be six Plenary Sessions. The list of Plenary Session themes and speakers will be approved at the Inter-Congress meeting in Athens on 12 April 2024. National Committees will be informed about the details shortly before the meeting.
The themes for Plenary Sessions are:

1. Byzantium lost and found

2. Romanitas beyond Byzantium. Diffusion and impact of ideas of Rome in a „post-Roman” world

3. The beasts, the crops and the bones. Biological perspectives on the Byzantine world

4. Byzantine Diversities

5. Reading Byzantine literature across the centuries

6. Byzantium in Central Europe

Round Tables:

General rules

1. Round Tables must be proposed through the National Committee of the proposer. There is also the option of joint proposals by more than one National Committee.

2. Round Tables are allocated 90 minutes. They should consist of no fewer than four and no more than six speakers, plus the convener(s), in order to ensure adequate time for discussion.

3. The professional affiliation of the speakers should represent at least two countries. We particularly encourage the inclusion of young researchers.

4. We strongly encourage those who propose Round Tables to follow the Congress main theme.

5. The most important criterion for accepting a Round Table proposal will be its innovative scholarly contribution.

6. The number of proposals, including joint proposals by each National Committee is limited to ten.

7. Proposals should include a title, an abstract of 250 words, 5 key words, the names of the convener(s) and speakers as well as the name of the person sending the proposal, his/her affiliated institution and his/her mail address.

8. Proposals should be written in English, French, German, Italian, or Modern Greek.

Timetable

– The deadline for submission of Round Table proposals by National Committees to the Organizing Committee is 31 December 2023. Any Round Table proposal sent after the deadline will not be accepted. The proposals should be sent to program.ICBS2026@univie.ac.at.

– Conveners of Round Tables will be informed about the decision of the Program Committee (in accordance with the Bureau of the AIEB) in mid-February 2024. Proposed Round Tables will either be accepted or rejected or the option of an Organized Session will be offered.

– Conveners of accepted Round Tables will be asked to confirm their participation and the organisation of their Round Tables by 31 March 2024. – The list of Round Tables will be presented at the Inter-Congress meeting in Athens on 12 April 2024.

Vienna, March 2023
The Organizing Committee

Assistance for Ukrainian Academics

The Council for At Risk Academics (CARA) is a UK-based organisation which offers academic, financial, and practical support, to academics and their families who are in immediate danger, forced into exile, or who continue to work in their home countries despite serious risk.

Several members of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS) are affiliated with universities who are part of the CARA network. For further information on CARA and other resources available, please see https://www.byzantium.ac.uk/council-for-at-risk-academics/ (available in English, Ukrainian and Russian).

Update: Spring Symposium

Dear Colleagues, dear Friends,

We are writing with an update on the upcoming 2022 SPBS Spring Symposium on Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond.

After much consultation and deliberation, we have decided to postpone this year’s Spring Symposium to the Spring of 2023. Although we regret not being able to meet this year, continuing COVID19-related uncertainties and restrictions in the UK and beyond put the feasibility of meeting in person in doubt, and it has proved impossible to organise a viable hybrid format at this relatively short notice. We will post an announcement of the revised dates shortly.

Mindful that the 24th International Congress of Byzantine Studies meets in August 2022, the SPBS Executive Committee has agreed that there will be no symposium this year, and we are especially grateful to the organisers of the Spring Symposium scheduled for the year after Oxford (Kent, with Anne Alwis as Symposiarch) who have generously agreed to defer their meeting to 2024.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Oxford in the Spring of 2023.

Symposiarchs
Jaś Elsner, Ine Jacobs, Julia Smith