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.

New Journal: Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS)

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS), https://www.euppublishing.com/loi/jlaibs, published by Edinburgh University Press. The JLAIBS as a hotspot for interdisciplinary dialogue aims to disseminate new approaches and methodologies that intend to transform our understanding of broader Late Antique and Medieval phenomena, such as knowledge transfer and cultural exchanges, by looking beyond single linguistic traditions or political boundaries. It provides a forum for high-quality articles on the interactions and cross-cultural exchange between different traditions and of the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. Thematically, the journal also welcomes submissions dealing individually with Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic literature, history, archaeology, and material culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century.

Articles should be written in English and can be up to 15,000 words in total length (i.e. including all footnotes, bibliography and any appendices). Submissions to Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies should be formatted in accordance with the full JLAIBS style guidelines (https://www.euppublishing.com/pb-assets/Notes_for_Contibutors/JLAIBS_Style_guide-1614190487.pdf), and sent as Word and PDF files to: jlaibs@ed.ac.uk

Editors:

Dr Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Marie Legendre (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Yannis Stouraitis (University of Edinburgh)

Editorial board:

Prof. Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Prof. Gianfranco Agosti (Sapienza Università di Roma)
Assoc. Prof. Corisande Fenwick (University College London)
Prof. Robert Hoyland (New York University)
Prof. Marc Lauxtermann (University of Oxford)
Prof. Maria Mavroudi (University of California, Berkeley)
Prof. Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1 Panthéon)
Prof. Dr Johannes Pahlitzsch (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Assoc. Prof. Arietta Papaconstantinou (University of Reading)
Assoc. Prof. Maria Parani (University of Cyprus)
Prof. Samuel Rubenson (Lund University)
Assoc. Prof. Kostis Smyrlis (National Hellenic Research Foundation/Athens)
Assoc. Prof. Jack Tannous (Princeton University)
Assoc. Prof. Alicia Walker (Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania)

Update: SPBS Spring Lecture postponed

The SPBS is sorry to announce that its Spring Lecture – ‘The fortifications of Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus’, by Dr James Petre – will be postponed indefinitely owing to ongoing measures against the spread of COVID-19. The lecture was due to take place on 31 March in Senate House, London. We intend to reschedule the event at a later date when public gatherings become more practicable. In the meantime, please stay well!

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.

https://www.byzantium.ac.uk/the-53rd-spring-symposium-of-byzantine-studies/