GEM – Antiquarian Visual Culture in Late Palaiologan Mystras 1348-1463

Antiquarian Visual Culture in Late Palaiologan Mystras 1348-1463

Presented by Andrea Mattiello

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 8th June 2016

This communication analyses a series of frescoed, sculptural and spolia artefacts produced and used by artistic workshops active in Mystras from the late 13th to the middle of the 15th century. The analysis relates these artefacts to models, standards and visual exempla from the antique repertoires found in Morea in sites such as Sparta and Corinth. Particular attention will be given to the textual and visual cultural inheritance of the region, partially linked to the idea of the classical past, which, in the late 14th and 15th century, informed some of the interactions between intellectuals in Mystras, Morea and Italy, such as Manuel II Palaiologos, Georgios Gemistos Plethon, Bessarion, Guarino da Verona and Ciriaco d’Ancona. Ultimately this communication will explore the original cultural contribution of the Byzantine court of Mystras in the Despotate of Morea to the modern debate on antiquity and the development of the classical past ideal.

GEM – Antiquarian Visual Culture in Late Palaiologan Mystras 1348-1463

GEM – Istanbul Beneath My Wings

Film screening

İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında (Istanbul Beneath My Wings)

Introduced by Onur Usta

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 18th May 2016

Join us for a screening of the 1996 Turkish film ‘İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında’ (Istanbul Beneath My Wings) led by Onur (who will also be giving us a short intro to the film)! 5:15 in the Whitting Room (Arts 436) with snacks and drinks provided. Here is a little plot blurb:

‘The film takes place in the 17th century. Two brothers Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi and his brother Lagari Hasan Çelebi are researching bird flight. The new Sultan Murat IV resists the domination of his mother, the Valide Kösem Sultan and tries to enforce strict law and order in the empire. Meanwhile, a Venetian ship that has been captured by Algerian pirates is brought into Istanbul. One of those on the ship is a girl with a manuscript showing how to fly, the latter of which comes into Hezarfen’s possession. However, this manuscript can’t be deciphered by anyone.’

For the film’s trailer, click here.

GEM – Istanbul Beneath My Wings

GEM – Thracian Loquation or Saracen Speak? The ‘Bastardisation’ of Greek in the Byzantine period

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Thracian Loquation or Saracen Speak? The ‘Bastardisation’ of Greek in the Byzantine period

Presented by Michael Burling

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 16th March 2016

The nature of Byzantine Studies requires active engagement with a diverse number of fields within the discipline, in order to analyse the material culture and textual evidence. Perhaps one of the most overlooked disciplines of Byzantine Studies is, however, the Greek language itself. Despite being one of the core skills in the arsenal of a Byzantinist, there is no definitive study of Medieval Greek, and most rely upon training in Classical Greek instead. What are the consequences of this for Byzantine Studies? This presentation intends to explore some of the drawbacks of this situation, and how a more informed knowledge of Medieval Greek can greatly advance our understanding of Byzantium. The origins of the deviation from Classical Greek in the Late Antique and Byzantine period will be approached through five other languages, investigating linguistic exchange from multiple angles, in the hope of drawing conclusions about the nature and extent of corruption in the Greek language, past and present.

GEM – Thracian Loquation or Saracen Speak? The ‘Bastardisation’ of Greek in the Byzantine period

GEM – The Stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings. Material evidences and written sources.

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The Stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings. Material evidences and written sources.

Presented by Flavia Vanni

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 9th March 2016

The study of the so-called “ephemeral materials” seems to be a field avoided by scholars. However, they can provide us information that cannot be “extracted” from more long-lasting and luxurious material such as marble, stone and mosaics. Stucco was considered by scholars included amongst the “ephemeral materials” category because it is a cheap material easy to mould and equally easy to destroy. In Byzantium, it was used for interior decoration, apparently as an inexpensive substitute for stone. The presence of stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings was hypothesized by several scholars, but specialized studies were not carried out in order to demonstrate it. I will present some existing key examples of Middle-Byzantine decorations made of stucco in order to highlight its peculiar features and, on the other hand, I demonstrate some preliminary results of my current research on the written source evidence about the use of stucco in the 8th-13th centuries.

GEM – The Stucco decoration in Middle-Byzantine buildings. Material evidences and written sources.

GEM – Reconstructing Medieval Greece

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Reconstructing Medieval Greece: Euboea in the 14th Century

Presented by Andrew Blackler

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 2nd March 2016

This paper explores the use of 14th c. portolan charts, 15th c. isolarii, and more recent printed maps. When employed together with G.I.S. and satellite imagery, they may recreate the topography of the island of Euboea during the period of its domination by the Franks and Venetians, who annexed it in 1204 and were in their turn expelled by the Ottomans in 1470.

GEM – Reconstructing Medieval Greece

GEM – Round-Table on Outreach

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Round-Table on Outreach

Hosted by CBOMGS doctoral researchers Anna Kelley, Lauren Wainwright, Francisco Lopez-Santos Kornberger, and Maria Vrij

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 10th February 2016

Anna Kelley and Lauren Wainwright

Students entering higher education are constantly bombarded with the message that studying a humanities subject is pointless and will leave them disadvantaged in the future. In this regard, CBOMGS has partnered with the Sandwell Council to hold outreach days at the University of Birmingham for students at the GCSE level to engage them with the study of histiry and talk to them about the benefits and advantages that come with continuing study in history and other humanities subjects.

Francisco Lopez-Santos Kornberger

Popularizing Byzantium, from my novel experience, is a serious but informal long-term project based on creative thinking, passionate projects and a daily trial-and-error empiricism. The Byzantine board game I elaborated in 2013 may serve as an example about popularizing Byzantine history. It was initially intended to adapt a previous RISK-like game onto a Byzantine background, but the work of adaptation also developed an aspect of in-game immersion for the political history of the period 1204-1261.

Maria Vrij

A number of current archaeologists and numismatists (myself included) began our interests as children, convinced we were going to excavate something really exciting in our own back gardens. Coin hoards are regularly found by amateurs and Roman coins are found in UK back gardens; I wish to inspire children to think that they could be one of those people. Therefore, a new exhibition has been in the works at the Barber. ‘Uncovering Hoards’, which will be quite basic in terms of content and clearly targeted at the non-specialist, but will be accompanied by a virtual exhibition which I hope will act as a research hub and help to bridge the gap between the basic and the specialist for budding enthusiasts.

GEM – Round-Table on Outreach

GEM – The Caucasian Prosopography Project (CPP)

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The Caucasian Prosopography Project (CPP): a Second Generation Prosopography Database

Presented by James Baillie

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 20th January 2016

James Baillie will discuss his project, the CPP, the current testing version of the database, proposing future plans for its functionality, comparing it to previous prosopography projects and talking about what additional opportunities we may derive from historical computer databases.

GEM – The Caucasian Prosopography Project (CPP)