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.

Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies Autumn Lecture

The Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies UK, would like to invite you to our Autumn Lecture which will take place in Birmingham this November.

This year our speaker will be Henry Maguire, Professor Emeritus at John Hopkins University, who is going to be speaking about Byzantine gospel illustrations.

“Scenes Revolved in the Mind”: Allusion and Exegesis in Byzantine Gospel Illustration”

Wednesday 1st November, 1630
Venue: CAHA Museum, Arts 305, Arts Building, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT

Please book your ticket in advance here.

PROSOPON Workshop – ‘Entangled Prosopographies: Connecting the “Prosopographies of the Later Roman and Byzantine Worlds” across the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond’

Prosopography of the Later Roman and Byzantine Worlds

The ‘Prosopography of the Later Roman and Byzantine Worlds’ (PLRBW) project unites two Academy projects under one umbrella: the recently revived Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (PLRE) and the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (PBW), which arose from the former. PLRE was originally published in three seminal print volumes between 1971 and 1992 (with a fourth volume including addenda and corrigenda explicitly envisaged but never realised) and covers the governing class of the Roman Empire from 260 to 641. The Connecting Late Antiquities project is now updating it and making it more accessible, beginning with digitising PLRE and making it freely available on the Cambridge University Press website. From its inception, PBW has been a pioneering project in the Digital Humanities and is published online (currently in the 2016 version), with the technical responsibility for the site being undertaken by King’s Digital Lab (KCL). The project aims to record every individual mentioned in Byzantine sources during the period from 1025 to 1204, and every individual mentioned in non-Byzantine sources during the same period who is ‘relevant’ (on a generous interpretation) to Byzantine affairs; currently, coverage is near complete into the 1180s

PROSOPON-International Research Network

The PROSOPON-International Research Network is a collaborative network of prosopographical projects with a focus on the Eastern Mediterranean, 300–1600. Based at the Austrian Academy of Scienes, PROSOPON brings together prosopography-related projects, connects them to other initiatives with a similar scientific scope, and promotes the dialogue between prosopographical projects and the broader scientific community with a variety of communication opportunities and platforms for the exchange of ideas and knowledge.

The workshop will be held in hybrid format.

With any queries please contact the local member of the organising team and chair of the PLRBW project, Professor Niels Gaul.

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.

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”

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.

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.