XVe Rencontres internationales des jeunes byzantinistes

Byzantium within its margins: Centres, Peripheries and Outlines

The call for papers is available here!

A mountain, a cross, an executioner: everything in the well-known miniature of the Chludov Psalter carries us “outside”. At the gates of the city and on the margins of society, the Crucifixion also recalls, through the memory of Iconoclasm, the shifting outlines of Christian dogma. From the margin where it is seemingly relegated, the image overlooks the text to better mitigate its authority. Yet, in this remarkable mise en abyme, a sense of confusion remains: which of the written word or the image holds centre stage – if there is any?

There is but one step from the margins of the psalter to those of Byzantium. As a quintessential microcosm, the illuminated manuscript invites us to extend this ambivalent notion to the scale of a world. Like the shifting lines of a border, the tension emerging between the text and the miniature likewise surfaces in varied ways across the map: between the capital and its provinces, the Empire and its vassals, the Christian prince and his neighbours.

Thus, some borderlands emerge over time as centres of power in their own right – Serbia and Bulgaria, Epirus and Trebizond – occasionally turning Byzantium itself into a margin. Others, further removed from Constantinople geographically, culturally or spiritually – nevertheless maintain subtle ties with it to better define their own identity, such as Armenia, Sicily, Rus’ and even Ethiopia – all in a way Byzantium(s) beyond Byzantium.

By scaling down the territorial questions of the Empire to urban space, or transposing them onto the space of the church, the same paradigm invites us to retrace their axes and thresholds. City walls and structures, church architecture and decoration, pilgrimage sites and necropoleis constantly reshape and redefine the notion of liminality.

Both the Torture of Christ and the sacrilege of iconoclasm suggest a social norm: heresy, like Calvary, excludes, cuts off and marginalises. Yet the fringes of Byzantine society, which go far beyond contemporary projections, compose a nuanced mosaic whose many elements, often overshadowed – women, criminals, ascetics –, call upon us to rethink the cohesion of the whole.

Monks and monasteries proclaim their marginal status as much as they idealise it: both their location, on the fringes if not within the heart of the city, as well as the social recognition they receive seemingly contradict the reclusion they claim to seek. Exile itself, though bitter, keeps its object surely within the line of sight: the exile is watched when far away, writes back and sometimes returns.

To consider Byzantium, lastly, requires the distant and decentred gaze of foreign eyes. Armenian, Latin and Syriac chroniclers, Arab and Mongol emissaries turned a careful, sometimes cruel eye on the Empire, its culture and rites, which historians would be wrong to ignore. The discipline of Byzantine history itself has long been relegated to the margins of the field, as a necessary but uninteresting transition, with Byzantium variously held as the last jolt of the GrecoRoman world, the exhaustingly long final breath of the Late Roman Empire or the prelude to Ottoman Turkey.

Centres, norms, limits: everything remained to be done for the partisans of an autonomous study of Byzantine culture. Today, the delicate tension between the centre of the world and the margins of the Empire reflects both the advances and the pitfalls faced by academic inquiry. Such are the aims of the XVth Rencontres : to consider Byzantium within its margins, from its margins and as a margin.

Papers may concern the following themes:
• Territorial margins, borders and spaces of transition
• Settlement of margins and population transfers
• The situation of women, children and slaves
• Definitions and transgressions of gender norms
• Disease, disability, infirmity and death
• Religious controversies, heresy, excommunication and anathema
• Monastic communities
• Visible forms of marginality such as dress and foodways
• Byzantium as a margin

Papers, with an expected duration of 20 minutes, may be presented in French or English. Proposals for presentations (250-300 words), as well as a brief biography including the candidate’s affiliation, their current level of study (master, doctoral, post-doctoral) and their area of study should be sent tà
aemb.paris@gmail.com by March 31, 2024, at the latest.

The conference will be held in-person in Paris on October 4-5, 2024. Participants’ travel costs may be covered by the association if they are unable to receive funding from their institutions. Selected candidates will be asked to register as members of the association

BSA: Byzantine Archaeology and History Course

Byzantine Archaeology and History Course

PhD position – The Slavonic Metaphrasis of Byzantine Orthodoxy – KU Leuven

You will work as a PhD student in an interdisciplinary team, contributing to the FWO WEAVE project “The Slavonic Metaphrasis of Byzantine Orthodoxy. A Digital Inventory of South Slavonic Translation Literature applied to Research on Translated Authority and Linked Texts”. At KU Leuven you will be part of the Research Group of Greek Studies (Faculty of Arts: Literary and Cultural Studies Research Unit). The project involves collaboration with the Institut für Slawistik of the University of Innsbruck.
Project
Medieval Slavonic literature consists mostly of translations of Byzantine Greek works. It is a normative literature deeply imbued with a sense of tradition and religious and textual orthodoxy, but at the same time it is the product of the inherently transformative process of translation (metaphrasis). In this project you address these normative and transformative tendencies that have shaped the textual culture of the Slavonic Middle Ages. You study textual authority and the role of the Byzantine ‘florilegic habit’ in Greek-Slavonic translation literature and develop digital tools, drawing on the life’s work of one of the most renowned modern scholars of Slavonic literature. From 1975 until his death, Francis Thomson (1935-2021) prepared a catalogue of Greek-Slavonic translation literature: his work resulted in an unpublished Cartotheca of more than 100,000 handwritten index cards, which constitutes an invaluable source of information for the project. The digitization of this Cartotheca is part of the project. This PhD position will focus on the investigation of text collections, the authority of tradition and conceptions of orthodoxy, with a case study that involves florilegia and question-and-answer literature. As a topic for that case study the principal investigators (PIs) propose the tradition, Greek context and transmission of the Slavonic ‘Sotêrios’, but well-argued alternatives that fit within the frame of the project can be considered. In your research and in the development of the digital card index, you collaborate intensively with the Leuven PIs and occasionally with Prof. Jürgen Fuchsbauer (Innsbruck).

Profiel

The successful candidate:
– combines an MA in Classics (Greek) or Byzantine Studies with proficiency in Old Slavonic and/or an MA in Slavistics combined with proficiency in (Byzantine) Greek;
– has an interest in expanding their expertise to include digital approaches;
– has an excellent oral and written command of English or German;
– is willing and able to work both independently and as part of a broader research team;
– is expected to spend on average 80% of their time on their PhD research, and 20% on database development and academic and administrative services to the project and the research group;
– is expected to work in Leuven and is willing to work abroad in Innsbruck for 6 months.

Aanbod

The full-time position is normally for 4 years, contingent upon positive evaluation after the first year (= initial 1-year contract, extended by 3 years after positive evaluation). The starting date is September 2, 2024, or as soon as possible.
The successful candidate will:
– receive a generous scholarship;
– enjoy academic guidance by the PIs;
– be integrated into an attractive and diverse research environment, with people from various backgrounds, in different career stages and with different kinds of expertise;
– become part of an institute with a longstanding tradition of textual scholarship and research on the literature of the Christian East;
– benefit from project partnership with the Slavistics Department of the University of Innsbruck;
– have funding available for costs related to the research, e.g. to travel to conferences.

Interesse

Please upload in the application tool:
(1) your CV, including student track record;
(2) a motivation letter;
(3) the names and contact details of two academic references;
(4) if already available, a specimen of academic writing (max. 15 pages).
For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Reinhart Ceulemans (reinhart.ceulemans@kuleuven.be) or Dr. Lara Sels (lara.sels@kuleuven.be).
For more Please click here.

Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture: Online Lecture: Byzantium as Europe’s Black Mirror

Online Lecture: Byzantium as Europe’s Black Mirror

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is pleased to announce the 2023–2024 edition of its annual lecture with the Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies.

Friday, February 16, 2024 | 12:00 PM EST | Zoom
Byzantium as Europe’s Black Mirror
Anthony Kaldellis, University of Chicago

In the course of its long self-fashioning, “the West” (later “Europe”) set itself off as a superior alternative to a number of imagined Others, including the infidel world of Islam, the primitive nature of the New World, and even its own regressive past, the Middle Ages. This lecture will explore the unique role that Byzantium played in this process. While it too was identified as the antithesis of an idealized Europe, this was done in a specific way with lasting consequences down to the present. Byzantium was constructed not to be fully an Other, but rather to function as an inversion of the Christian, Roman, and Hellenic ideals that Europe itself aspired to embody even as it appropriated those patrimonies from the eastern empire. It became Europe’s twin evil brother, its internal “Black Mirror.” Once we understand this dynamic, we can chart a new path forward for both scholarly and popular perceptions of the eastern empire that are no longer beholden to western anxieties.

Anthony Kaldellis is a Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago.

Advance registration required at https://maryjahariscenter.org/events/byzantium-as-europes-black-mirror

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies.

Contact Brandie Ratliff (mjcbac@hchc.edu), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.

Historical Expertise Needed for Board Game Project “Echoes of Emperors”

On behalf of Volcaban Studio, a budding game company based in Belgium.

We are currently working on a project titled Echoes of Emperors and are in search of an expert in in Byzantine history with insights into military tactics, cultural aspects, and the way of life during that time.

Echoes of Emperors is a board game where players can choose to play as one of four civilizations to build their empire and defeat opponents. Each civilization comes with its own deck of cards, and one of our primary objectives is to ensure historical accuracy in these decks to offer players insights into medieval history.

The specific deck we would appreciate the assistance of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies with is the Byzantine deck set in the period of Emperor Basill II. To review these cards, we would like to arrange a brief 30-60 minute video call where we can go over all the cards and fact-check the flavor text.

Call for Articles in English, German or Italian Ein Südtiroler zwischen dem Peloponnes und Trapezunt. Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer (1790-1861), ed. by Aglaia Blioumi and John Butcher, Mimesis Verlag (“Acta Maiensia”), late 2024.

 Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer is widely considered the most significant German-language Byzantine scholar of the first half of the Nineteenth century. His Geschichte des Kaiserthums von Trapezunt (1827), the first to make use of Michael Panaretos’ chronicle, was the only general history of the empire of Trebizond available prior to Miller (1926) and, more recently, Karpov (2007) and Savvides (2009). His groundbreaking Geschichte der Halbinsel Morea während des Mittelalters (1830-1836), drawing on Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the Chronicle of Morea, Laonikos Chalkokondyles and a host of other sources, set out the thesis that the modern-day inhabitants of the Peloponnese descended from Hellenized Slavic and Albanian immigrants, thereby transforming the writer and historian from South Tyrol into one of the most controversial European intellectuals of his age. Fallmerayer is also noteworthy for his Fragmente aus dem Orient (1845), a detailed description of a journey lasting two years from Regensburg to Trebizond and on to Lamia: the two volumes, penned in a vivacious prose that garnered the praise of major writers such as Friedrich Hebbel, contain memorable portrayals of Trebizond, Mount Athos, Thessaloniki, Larissa and other localities within the Ottoman Empire. 

Following a successful conference held at the Academy of German-Italian Studies in Meran / Merano (South Tyrol) on 11-12 November 2022, a volume of studies is currently being edited by Aglaia Blioumi (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) and John Butcher (Academy of German-Italian Studies). Ein Südtiroler zwischen dem Peloponnes und Trapezunt. Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer (1790-1861) will be published by Mimesis Verlag (https://www.mimesisverlag.de/) in the book series “Acta Maiensia”. The volume is due to appear before the end of 2024. Essays may be written in English, German or Italian. 

Scholars of Byzantine history and culture, of the Ottoman Empire, of Nineteenth-century Greece, of German-language literature and any other persons interested in contributing an essay are warmly invited to contact Dr John Butcher (johncbutcher@hotmail.com), including a title of the article they are proposing, an abstract (5-10 lines) and a succinct curriculum vitae. 

The definitive version of essays accepted for publication must be submitted to the editors by 1 July 2024. A stylesheet will be provided. 

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

THE INTERNATIONAL BYZANTINE GREEK SUMMER SCHOOL

THE INTERNATIONAL BYZANTINE GREEK SUMMER SCHOOL, hosted by Trinity College Dublin, is being held entirely online again this year, though we hope to offer at least some courses face-to-face in Dublin in 2024.

We are happy to confirm that the 2023 International Byzantine Greek Summer School will take place in the weeks of 17-28 July (Beginners) and 31 July-11 August (Intermediate and Advanced). All courses will run online in small groups led by experienced teachers. Each level comprises two weeks of full-time study, with two two-hour teaching sessions daily

Byzantine Greek is the dominant form of Greek written during the Byzantine Empire (AD 330–1453). The spoken language changed significantly in this period and came close to Modern Greek, but most Byzantine authors use conservative forms of Greek that looked back to Classical Attic, the Hellenistic Koine and Biblical Greek. Therefore much of the vocabulary, morphology and syntax of Byzantine Greek are not significantly different from Classical Greek, which makes this course a suitable preparation also for reading Classical literature and the New Testament.

The International Byzantine Greek Summer School (IBGSS), directed by Dr Anthony Hirst, moved to Dublin in 2016 after many years of success at Queen’s University Belfast (2002-11) and the University of Birmingham (2012-15). The course teaches Byzantine Greek at Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced level and allows early learners to engage with original texts from the start. Each level comprises two weeks of full-time study.


Although the original application deadline for 2023 was the 5th of May, it has been extended to the 31st of May (ten days from now). There are still a limited number of places available at all levels: Beginners, Intermediate, Higher Intermediate and Advanced Reading.

If you wish to apply go to www.tcd.ie/Classics/byzantine for details and the application form.

Funding applications, however, can no longer be accepted.

AGAPE: Mapping Greek Patristics in the Early Modern Book World

AGAPE Launch: Mapping Greek Patristics in the Early Modern Book World

14 October 2022 marked the official launch of AGAPE, a new open-access database which maps the reception of the Greek Church Fathers in print throughout early modern Europe. AGAPE represents the main outcome of the four-year FNS Ambizione project The Greek Imprint on Europe: Patristics and Publishing in the Early Swiss Reformation, based at the Institut d’histoire de la Réformation, University of Geneva.

agapepatristics.net

In contrast to the Renaissance interest in the pagan Antiquity and classical literature, the highly significant rediscovery of the Greek Fathers remains untold and largely understudied. The number of inaccuracies in the regional, national and collective online repertoires available at present turns bibliographical research into a time-consuming and little-rewarding exercise, severely affecting the development of the subject.

To tackle this issue, AGAPE records any edition of Greek patristic works printed in Europe from 1465 to 1600 in the original language, as well as in Latin and vernacular translations. AGAPE refines the available data and substantially improves their level of detail: not only does it link each work to the ID of the Clavis Patrum Graecorum (CPG), the standard authority in the field, but also thoroughly describes all contents (text as well as paratext) and strictly relies on the analysis of at least one copy of each edition.

AGAPE currently provides access to all editions printed in the fifteenth century (c. 310). Data related to the sixteenth century will be disclosed decade by decade (1501-1510, 1511-1520, 1521-1530 etc.) to ensure reliability.

Users are encouraged to give their feedback and suggestions through the AGAPE email address available in the colophon of the website homepage.