Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies

The Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, has announced the new Seminar Series for 2023/24. These will be hybrid events, so please feel free to join via zoom, or on the Birmingham campus.
Time: Wednesdays 1300-1430 (Greenwich Mean Time)
To sign-up for virtual access, please visit our Ticket Source page: http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/centre-for-byzantine…
Semester 1
  • 4 October: (Hybrid/Strathcona LT1) Pan-Mediterranean Dialogues of Power and Prestige: Byzantine Architecture in Context (1330-1500).
    Jessica Varsallona (Edinburgh)
  • 18 October CBOMGS (Hybrid/Arts 104) Byzantine Sicily and Sardinia
    Luca Zavagno (Bilkent)
  • 8 November (Hybrid/Strathcona LT1) Seeing Paintings with the Touch: Inclusion and Accessibility in the Church of S. Ambrogio.
    Flavia Vanni (Salerno) 
  • 22 November (Hybrid/Arts 104) Dictating and Interpreting of Greek Notarial Documents in Late Medieval Venetian Crete. The Case of Nicolaos Agiostefanitis Ryota Takada (Tokyo)
  • 6 December (Hybrid/Arts 104) Nature in Palaiologan Romances
    Foivi Georgiadi (Athens)
Semester 2
  • 24 January Commerce & Crisis in the Eleventh-Century Empire of New Rome: The View from Ani
    Nik Matheou (Edinburgh)
  • 7 February Keeping Time: Temporal Imagery and Thought in the Calendars of Later Byzantium
    Peter Boudreau (Yale)
  • 28 February The Legacies of Ancient Theatre in Middle Byzantium
    Elena Gittleman (Bryn Mawr)
  • 13 March (NB. This seminar will begin at 1700) The Meaning of Jewellery in Byzantium: An Archaeological Perspective
    Georgios Makris (British Columbia)
  • 24 April Speech Difference and Disability Gain in Byzantium, c. 1000-1200
    Maroula Perisanidi (Leeds)

Elizabeth Jeffreys

On behalf of Michael Jeffreys and his family the SPBS is sorry to report that Elizabeth Jeffreys died painlessly early on the morning of 12.09.2023.  She was recovering well after a stroke two months ago, but had to go back to hospital on Sunday.

The world of Byzantine studies has lost a great scholar and a wonderful friend who was an inspiration to us all.

Continue reading “Elizabeth Jeffreys”

Byzantium and British Heritage

Byzantium was a very influential part of the development of the Arts and Crafts Movement (1880–1910) in Britain, and although the influence of the Gothic Revival (1830–80) is well known, that of the Byzantine Revival (1840–1910) is not. This volume is about the people and the movements that created the Byzantine Revival and shows how they influenced British heritage from architecture to the decorative arts during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The central pillars of the volume are the architects and scholars who created the Byzantine Research Fund (BRF) Archive, a unique collection of architectural drawings and photographs of numerous monuments across the Byzantine world, and the social and professional networks in which they circulated. The BRF members, an eclectic and little-known group, who based themselves at the newly founded British School at Athens, established the research of Byzantium in Britain and Greece. They were trained in the traditions of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which sought authenticity in design and decoration in reaction to the styles that had developed through industrialisation. Their work, uniting a distinctively British design tradition with Byzantine arts and crafts, represents a highly significant and under-researched link between Britain and the Hellenic world. This volume is the first contribution to try to fill this knowledge gap.

Byzantium and British Heritage will appeal to all those interested in the relation between Byzantine and British culture and Byzantine art.

For more please click here.

Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline? – by Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova


New publication in Byzantine Studies featuring many of our members!

Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline? Toward a Critical Historiography. Edited by Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova

Rather than provide a definitive answer to this question, this book defines the parameters of the debate and proposes ways of thinking about what it would mean to engage seriously with the field’s political and intellectual genealogies, hierarchies, and forms of exclusion. In this volume, scholars of art, history, and literature address the entanglements, past and present, among the academic discipline of Byzantine Studies and the practice and legacies of European colonialism. Starting with the premise that Byzantium and the field of Byzantine studies are simultaneously colonial and colonized, the chapters address topics ranging from the material basis of philological scholarship and its uses in modern politics to the colonial plunder of art and its consequences for curatorial practice in the present. The book concludes with a bibliography that serves as a foundation for a coherent and systematic critical historiography. Bringing together insights from scholars working in different disciplines, regions, and institutions, Is Byzantine Studies a Colonialist Discipline? urges practitioners to reckon with the discipline’s colonialist, imperialist, and white supremacist history.


Table of Contents:

Preface: The Historical Conjuncture

Introduction: For a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies

Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova

Part 1: How Is Byzantine Studies (Re)Produced?

1. Hieronymus Wolf’s Silver Tongue: Early Byzantine Scholarship at the Intersection of Slavery, Colonialism, and the Crusades

Nathanael Aschenbrenner and Jake Ransohoff

2. Byzantine Archaeology: Teaching the Tenth and the Twentieth Centuries

Hugh G. Jeffery

3. Byzantium in Exile

Şebnem Dönbekci, Bahattin Bayram, and Zeynep Olgun

Part 2: How Is Byzantium (Re)Produced?

4. Methodological Imperialism

Nicholas S. M. Matheou

5. The Price of Admission

Anthony Kaldellis

6. Byzantine Studies: A Field Ripe for Disruption

Averil Cameron

7. Subaltern Byzantinism

Maria Mavroudi

Part 3: How Are Byzantine Texts (Re)Produced?

8. Byzantine and Western Narratives: A Dialogue of Empires

Arietta Papaconstantinou

9. The Ethnic Process

Alexandra Vukovich

10. Publication and Citation Practices: Enclosure, Extractivism, and Gatekeeping in Byzantine Studies

Matthew Kinloch

Part 4: How Is Byzantine Art (Re)Produced?

11. The South Kensington Museum, Byzantine Egyptian Textiles, and Art-Historical Imperialism

Arielle Winnik

12. From Ethnographic Illustration to Aphrodisian Magistrate: Changing Perceptions of an Early Byzantine Portrait

Stephanie R. Caruso

13. Expanding and Decentering Byzantium: The Acquisition of an Ethiopian Double-Sided Gospel Leaf

Andrea Myers Achi

14. Equity, Accessibility, and New Narratives for Byzantine Art in the Museum

Elizabeth Dospěl Williams

A Collective Bibliography Toward a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies

List of Contributors



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.

Robert Ousterhout

We are deeply saddened that Robert Ousterhout, Professor Emeritus of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania, and renowned expert on Byzantine architecture, died peacefully at home on Sunday 23 April 2023, surrounded by family. He was a good friend to the SPBS, spoke at several Spring Symposia, and will be much missed by many of us.

25th International Congress of Byzantine Studies

In anticipation of the 25th International Congress of Byzantine Studies (‘Byzantium beyond Byzantium’, Vienna 2026), the organising committee has distributed some preliminary information (attached). We would like to draw your attention to the rules for Round Tables, as the deadline for proposals is this year. All proposals must be submitted through the relevant National Committees:

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 or French.

If you would like to propose a Round Table session, please send your proposal to the Secretary, Anna Kelley (ack20@st-andrews.ac.uk) no later than 1 November 2023. All proposals will be considered at a meeting of the SPBS Executive Committee and successful applications will be sent to the organisers in Vienna.

Vienna Congress 1st Circular (PDF)

Recordings of SPBS lectures

Our collection of recordings has been updated with three further lectures from 2021-2:

  • Re-thinking Late Antiquity as Early Christendom by Prof. Judith Herrin
  • The Byzantine Empire and the Shape of Afro-Eurasia Today (and Tomorrow) by Dr Rebecca Darley
  • Into the Labyrinth: A Journey into Stoudite “Cancel Culture” by Prof. Rosemary Morris

The 54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

The 54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond

17-19 March 2023, Corpus Christi College & All Souls College, Oxford

The 54th Annual Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held in Oxford on the theme of Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond. The Symposium brings together Byzantine studies with a series of innovative approaches to the material nature and realities of religion – foregrounding the methodological, historical and archaeological problems of studying religion through visual and material culture. Taking a broad geographical and chronological view of the Byzantine world, the Symposium will range across Afro-Eurasia and from Antiquity to the period after the fall of Constantinople. Sessions will be arranged around the themes of ‘Objects in motion’, ‘Religion in 3D’, ‘Religious landscapes’, ‘Things without context’, ‘Things and their context’ and ‘Spatial approaches to religion’.

Confirmed speakers include: Béatrice Caseau, Paroma Chatterjee, Francesca Dell’Acqua, Ivan Foletti, David Frankfurter, Ildar Garipzanov, Troels M. Kristensen, Anne Lester, Birgit Meyer, Brigitte Pitarakis, Regula Schorta, Myrto Veikou, and Anne-Marie Yasin.

The Symposium will be hybrid, taking place at Oxford – Corpus Christi College and All Souls College –, and on Zoom.

Fees and registration:
– In person, for three days: Full: £130; Members of the SPBS: £110; 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.

Jaś Elsner, Ine Jacobs, Julia Smith

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.


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.