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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.