Call for Papers: Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

Online Workshop, University of Cambridge, 7 December 2021

Imperial power in the sixth-century Roman empire could be fragile. ‘Every emperor had to perform a delicate balancing act to remain in power’ by responding to and accommodating the shifting demands of public opinion and various interest groups: senators, bureaucrats, bishops, soldiers and generals, urban factions, and more (Greatrex 2020; Meier 2016; Kaldellis 2015; Bell 2013; Pfeilschifter 2013). Each of these groups have individually assumed increasingly important roles in political narratives of the period, but comparatively little attention has been paid to how those in power – emperors, patriarchs, governors, magistrates, and others – were subjected to pressures and attempted to build power bases across these interest groups.

In particular, modern scholarship has established a boundary between “secular” and “ecclesiastical” politics which sixth-century century political actors neither experienced nor refrained from crossing as they tried to secure or challenge power. The purpose of this workshop is to close these artificial divides and to explore how power was contested and secured “without limits”, in order to take better account of the interconnectedness of the sixth-century world, the flexible array of political pressures to which those in power were subjected, and the sometimes unexpected consequences of responding to these pressures. The goal of this approach is to produce a more holistic, comprehensive understanding of sixth-century power struggles.

We invite PhD candidates and early career researchers to read the full call for papers and a list of suggested topics in the PDF attached below.

CfP – Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 August 2021 and the workshop will take place online on 7 December 2021. We envisage the publication of a volume based on the papers delivered at the conference, dependent upon a peer-review process.

Conference: Days of Justinian I


Special Thematic Strand for 2021: Ideology

Keynote speaker: Professor JOHN HALDON

Organized by the Institute of National History, Skopje, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje and University of Bologna, in partnership with Faculty of Theology “St. Clement of Ohrid”, Skopje and AHRM, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.

The International symposium in Byzantine and Medieval Studies “Days of Justinian I” is an annual interdisciplinary scholarly forum aimed at the presentation of the latest research followed by discussions on various aspects of Byzantine and Medieval Studies before 1500; this includes the treatment and interpretation of cultural, historical and spiritual heritage in contemporary modern Europe. The Symposium is dedicated to Emperor Justinian I with the aim to bring together scholars from around the world to address a broad range of issues related to Byzantium and the European Middle Ages, comprising the exploration of the cultural and historical legacy as an integrative component of the diversities and commonalities of Europe and wider.

This year the special thematic strand Ideology will instigate scholarly debate about the different aspects of ideology in Byzantium and in Medieval Western Europe. Ranging from the general belief of the people about their world, to the particular sets of ideas and notions, the ideology operated at different levels in the Middle Ages, articulating the power and impacting the societies. Various questions will be raised in exploring the ideology as a function of propaganda that legitimized a political order and justified influence. This will encompass an ideological framework of imperial action, competition over status and identity, rival ideological claims to the Roman Empire, relationship with nationalism.

The Symposium will embrace broader geographical areas and chronological scope, addressing wide range of conceptual issues in examining the ways of which ideology functioned in different political, social, economic, cultural, religious conditions in the Eastern Roman Empire and in Medieval Western Europe, generating specific sets of ideas, values and beliefs that changed with time.

Please note that the Organizing Committee will be closely following the Covid-19 situation and will organize blended sessions with physical presence and online presentations for remote participation for those participants who will be prevented from traveling to Skopje due to the pandemic.

Papers are welcomed on various topics that may include, but are not limited to the following areas of discussion:

⊕ Ideology and Identity
⊕ Imperial ideology and political thought
⊕ Ideology and social practices
⊕ Religion and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and the political order
⊕ Ideology and rhetoric
⊕ Ideology and propaganda
⊕ War Ideology
⊕ Iconography and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and the Romanness
⊕ Ideological claims to the Roman Empire
⊕ Ideology and ethnicity
⊕ Ideology and assimilation
⊕ Historiography and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and diplomacy
⊕ Ideology and education
⊕ Ideological content of law
⊕ Ideology and literary practice
⊕ Art and architecture as an expression of ideology
⊕ Ideology and gender
⊕ Ideology and music
⊕ Ideology, customs and traditions
⊕ Ideology, Heresy and violence
⊕ Ideology and Cultural heritage: Interpretation, restoration, protection
⊕ Ideological claims and nationalism

First Deadline for submitting the abstract of the papers: 15 August, 2021
Second Deadline for submitting the abstract of the papers: 15 October, 2021

Notification of acceptance for early applicants: 20 August, 2021
Notification of acceptance for other applicants: 20 October, 2021
Deadline for submitting the full papers for publication: 1 March, 2022.
Please send the application form to the following address:

Presentation of the papers will be limited to 10 minutes.
Working languages: Macedonian and English.
No participation fee is required.
Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the participants themselves.
The full papers will be peer-reviewed.
Papers delivered at the Symposium will be published in the Proceedings of the Symposium.
For further inquiries you can contact the Secretary of the Symposium, Prof. Dragan Gjalevski:

You can download the Call for papers at:

Application form at:

Please check the Facebook page and website for news on the Symposium, the agenda, special events and the online application form.

Symposiarch: Professor Mitko B. Panov

The 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

University of Birmingham, 28-30 March 2020

Nature and the environment underpinned Byzantine life but have been little studied. How the Byzantines responded to, interacted with and understood the landscape, however, enables crucial new insights into East Roman perceptions of the world. Modern interest in the environment and eco-history makes this theme pertinent and timely. Current research on climate change and how it affected the East Mediterranean creates new paradigms for our understanding of Byzantine interactions with the environment. The 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies draws together Byzantine literary and visual responses to nature and the environment as well as showcasing the most recent scientific research on historical climate change and environmental management in Byzantium.

This symposium was planned by Dr Ruth Macrides (University of Birmingham) and will be dedicated to her memory. The first two sessions of the symposium will consist of tributes to Ruth’s life and career by her former students and colleagues.

The Symposium will be followed, on Monday afternoon (30 March), by the second in what is planned as a regular series of professional development workshops targeted at Byzantine postgraduate students and sponsored by the SPBS. The workshop, Climate, environment and history, is intended to help early career academics in the humanities familiarize themselves with some of the key aspects of studying the way past human societies have interacted with their physical and climatic environments. Presenters will explain key methodological and interpretational issues and discuss how to avoid misunderstanding or misusing palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic research results.

Information about registration, accommodation and communications will be released in November 2019.