Call for Papers – Reconsidering the Concept of Decline and the Arts of the Palaiologan Era

Reconsidering the Concept of Decline and the Arts of the Palaiologan Era

Organised by Andrea Mattiello (University of Birmingham) and Maria Alessia Rossi (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

To be held at the University of Birmingham

24th-25th February 2017

Submission deadline: 30th September 2016

This one day and a half conference combines a symposium and a workshop. The aim is to examine and contextualise the artistic and cultural production of the geopolitical centres that were controlled by or in contact with the late Byzantine Empire, such as the Adriatic and Balkan regions, the major islands of Cyprus and Crete, and the regions surrounding the cities of Constantinople, Thessaloniki, and Mystras. This conference will explore the many intellectual implications that are encoded in the innovative artistic production of the Palaiologan Era often simplified by a rigid understanding of what is Byzantine and what is not.

In its last centuries, the political entity of the Empire of the Romaioi released cultural and artistic energies migrating towards new frontiers of intellectual achievements. The intent is to counter-balance the innovation of these works of art with the notion of decline and the narrative of decay frequently acknowledged for this period; and to promote an understanding of transformation where previous cultural heritages were integrated into new socio-political orders.

The Symposium – hosted on the afternoon of the 24 and the morning of the 25 February – will bring together established scholars, early-career scholars, and postgraduate students. Three keynotes will provide the methodological framework for the discussion; while the selected papers will focus solely on the visual expressions and cultural trajectories of the artworks produced during the late Palaiologan Era.

The Workshop, hosted on the afternoon of the 25 February, will offer the opportunity to further the discussion in a more informal setting and for a selected number of Master students to interact and offer brief presentations.

Postgraduate students and early-career scholars are invited to submit proposals for twenty-minute papers on art and architecture history, material culture, visual aspects of palaeography and codicology, and gender studies.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Gift exchange in view of diplomatic missions or dynastic marriages both within the Empire and with its neighbours
  • Visual evidence of the interaction between the Emperor and the Patriarch
  • Innovations in the visual agenda of the Palaiologan dynasty
  • Aspects of religious iconography and visual representations of theological controversies, i.e. Hesychasm
  • Artistic patronage and manuscript production as the outcome of dynastic and institutional interactions
  • Visual and material production as the outcome of political and social circumstances, i.e. the Zealot uprising or the Unionist policy
  • Evidence of artistic exchanges in the depictions of women, men, and children during the Palaiologan Era

Titles of proposed papers, abstracts of 250 words, and a short CV should be sent to Maria Alessia Rossi – and Andrea Mattiello – by 30 September 2016.

Call for Papers – Reconsidering the Concept of Decline and the Arts of the Palaiologan Era

Exhibition – Buried Treasures: Uncovering Hoards

Buried Treasures: Uncovering Hoards

Coin Galley, Barber Institute of Fine Arts

6th May 2016 – 26th February 2017


Wednesdays, 1.10 – 2pm

FREE, no booking required

Introducing Buried Treasures

11 May

Maria Vrij, Coin Curator

The Marriage of History and Science

Testing the Purity of Byzantine Gold Coinage

18 May

Dr Jonathan Jarrett, University of Leeds

Viking Hoards that Changed History

From Watlington to the Vale of York

25 May

Dr Gareth Williams, The British Museum

Hoards of the Later 3rd Century from Britain

Why are there so many?

1 June

Prof Roger Bland, University of Leicester



Introduction to Buried Treasures

Tuesday 10 May, 1.10pm

Maria Vrij, Coin Curator



Third Sunday of the Month

17 April; 15 May; 19 June; 17 July; 18 September, 2.30pm


For more details, click here.

Exhibition – Buried Treasures: Uncovering Hoards

BBPN – Jack of all Trades, Master of None? Interdisciplinary and Cooperative Methodologies for Byzantinists

Event poster

Jack of all Trades, Master of None? Interdisciplinary and Cooperative Methodologies for Byzantinists

British Byzantine Postgraduate Network

The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham

5:15 PM 5th May 2016

On Thursday, 5th May 2016 at 5:15, the University of Birmingham will be hosting the next British Byzantine Postgraduate Network event: ‘Jack of all Trades, Master of None? Interdisciplinary and Cooperative Methodologies for Byzantinists’.

Much has changed in the scholarship of the humanities in recent years, with an emphasis both on interdisciplinary research and the use of new methodologies. When embarking on our own research with Byzantine source material, we can be faced with what seems to be an overwhelming array of sub-methodologies and languages. With so many different avenues of research, each with their own specific difficulties and problems, what is the Byzantinist to do?

In the spirit of the British Byzantine Postgraduate Network this event will create a space where early-career Byzantinists can discuss solutions to this disciplinary dilemma. We will ask how we, as early-career scholars, can challenge the current structures of academia in order to create a more interdisciplinary and collaborative research culture.

The evening will take the form of a series of speakers: Maria Vrij (Birmingham; numismatics), Sihong Lin (Manchester, social network analysis), Hugh Jeffrey (Oxford, archaeological theory), Adam Simmons (Lancaster, medieval ethnography), Vicky Manolopoulou (Newcastle, GIS and technologies). There will be a round table discussion and wine reception.

To book a place, please contact Lauren Wainwrightme lxw936[at]

BBPN – Jack of all Trades, Master of None? Interdisciplinary and Cooperative Methodologies for Byzantinists

Training – International Byzantine Greek Summer School (IBGSS)

International Byzantine Greek Summer School (IBGSS)

Trinity College Dublin

18th July-12th August 2016

The Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin is delighted to host the 2016 International Byzantine Greek Summer School (IBGSS). We are delighted to welcome this well-established and successful programme to Dublin, under the direction of Dr Anthony Hirst, building on fifteen years previously at the University of Birmingham (2012-15) and Queen’s University Belfast (2002-2011).


  • The cost for two weeks will be €400 and for all four weeks €800.
  • Please note that this does not include accommodation. You will be responsible for booking your own accommodation, but we will be able to offer advice.

The application process is in two stages

  1. Complete the application form and e-mail it as an attachment to Patrick Sammon
  2. Make an online payment

Queries should be directed to Patrick Sammon


The International Byzantine Greek Summer School offers courses in medieval Greek language at three levels:


The Level 1 course is for absolute beginners in Byzantine Greek. It starts with the Greek alphabet and takes students through the basic grammar of Greek to the point where they can begin to translate simple Greek texts with the aid of a dictionary.

Further information about the Level 1 course


The Level 2 course carries straight on from the Level 1 course, completing the coverage of basic Greek grammar and introducing students to a variety of Greek texts. Each year a number of people take both courses.

If the number of participants justifies it (as it did 2012-4) an additional course, Level-2.5 (Higher Intermediate), will be introduced for the more advanced applicants to Level-2, but this course is not offered as a confirmed option at the application stage.

Further information about the Level 2 and 2.5 course


Level 3 is an Advanced Reading course for those who successfully completed Level-2 in a previous year and have made considerable further progress since, or those have acquired the necessary familiarity with Greek by other means.

Further information about the Level 3 course


The following staff will be teaching on the Summer School in Trinity in 2016:

  • Dr Anthony Hirst (Course Director)
  • Dr Cosetta Cadau
  • Sean McCrum
  • Patrick Sammon
  • Adrian C.S. Saunders

Further details about the teaching staff

Training – International Byzantine Greek Summer School (IBGSS)

Call for Papers – Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium

Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium

Australian Association for Byzantine Studies 19th Conference

Monash University, Melbourne

24th-26th February 2017

Submission deadline: 31st July 2016

In the last two decades, the role of dreams, memory and the imagination in the ancient world and its cultural productions have come to receive increased attention, along with the importance of emotions in the Greco-Roman and medieval worlds. This conference will focus on the ways that the Byzantine imagination shaped its dreams and memories from the fourth to fifteenth centuries and the many ways in which these were recorded in the Byzantine world, in its historiography, literature, religion, art and architecture.

Professor Derek Krueger of Greensboro University, North Carolina, will be our guest speaker at this international conference.

We welcome papers on any aspect of the topic, including reception studies. The deadline for the first call for papers is 31st July 2016. Two student bursaries will be offered to HDR students who present papers.

Further information will be available on this web site or from the Convenor, Dr Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, at, or for general enquiries

Call for Papers – Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium

Call for Papers – Living the End of Antiquity – Individual Histories from Byzantine to Islamic Egypt

Living the End of Antiquity – Individual Histories from Byzantine to Islamic Egypt

Kollegienhaus , Petersplatz 1, 4003 Basel, Switzerland

16th-18th May 2017

Submission deadline: 15th May 2016

Organized by the SNSF-Project: “Change and Continuities from a Christian to a Muslim Society — Egyptian Society and Economy in the 6th to 8th Centuries”  (2016 – 2018)

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Sabine Huebner; Postdocs: Isabelle Marthot, Matthias Müller, Stefanie Schmidt;

PhD candidates: Eugenio Garosi, Matthias Stern

University of Basel, Ancient History

Keynote speakers include: Roger S. Bagnall (New York), Anne Boud’hors (Paris), Alain Delattre (Brussels), Jean-Luc Fournet (Paris), Jim Keenan (Chicago), and Arietta Papaconstantinou (Reading)

The Arab conquest of Egypt, accomplished in 642 with the capture of Alexandria, initiated a new step in the country’s history. Once again Egypt fell to the influence of a foreign power, and yet again, like with previous regime changes, we know little about institutional and organizational changes the new rulers imposed when they came into power. The general scientific consensus assumes that numerous social, religious and economic phenomena survived the first decades of Muslim rule in Egypt. However, in-depth scientific scrutiny of the administrative, social, and economic changes is still missing for this crucial transition period from Antiquity to early Medieval history.

The period of time in focus, i.e., from the late 6th until the 8th century, is one of the least explored periods of Egypt’s history in the 1st millennium CE. This is partly owed to the fact that in the past, interdisciplinary cooperations were not given high priority, and even thematically close study fields such as Arabic and Greek papyrology did not form common study or research units. It is important to approach these issues on a micro and macro level, which requires analysis from a broad scope of study fields such as papyrology, history, numismatics, archaeology, religious and cultural studies, philology, and legal studies. Only a full appraisal of all relevant evidence allows us to analyze continuities and disruptions during the transition from Christianity to Islam. The conference intends to bridge this gap between neighboring disciplines and thus to give researchers from different fields of Byzantine and early Islamic studies a platform for mutual scientific and personal exchange. To address this challenge, the envisaged conference will apply an interdisciplinary and comparative methodology.

At this conference, internationally established experts as well as young scholars will focus on change and continuity from late Antique to early Islamic Egypt through individuals’ experience, putting particular emphasis on continuities and disruptions during transition from the Classical to the post-Classical world. By focussing on individuals we aim to combine a ‘compartmented’ analysis (based on categories such as religion, administration, economics, etc.) with a trans-categorical approach (individuals). The purpose of the conference is therefore to insist on the plurality that is inherent to the dialectic of change and continuity. The adoption of an individual-centered perspective allows, on one hand, to exemplify a system and, on the other, to concentrate on aspects of diversity inside that system and, consequently, to better mirror the circumstantial character of change and/or continuity.

Participants will discuss ‘change’ from administrative, religious, economic, and social points of view. To this end, each panel will include speakers from different disciplines and chronological core areas discussing the impact of the Arab conquest through the eyes of individuals. In fact, change is not perceived equally by all involved parties: the common taxpayer, for instance, faces administrative changes only when these changes affect the amount or the procedures of his/her fiscal obligations; decision-makers, on the other hand, will more immediately realize when their power is diminished. Concepts of change and continuity manifest themselves differently in different (social, administrative, economic, religious, etc.) environments or are perceived to a varying extent by different actors. This means, for instance, that a merchant in Bubastis in the Delta region might earlier have the impression that the Arab conquest has brought about change than a Coptic tenant does in the Thebaid.

As a starting point we choose the reign of Justinian in the 6th century as a time when documentary, literary, and legal sources are comparably abundant. An end point of the period evaluated can reasonably be set at the end of the 8th century: while the new regime started to consolidate during this century, the fading of Greek sources – if taken as symbolizing late Antique culture – around that time suggests an even more obvious ‘end’ of the supposed transition from late Antique to early Islamic culture.

The envisaged collaborative effort enjoys the best conditions for filling this gap by closely focussing on individuals within Egyptian society, and, for the first time, giving as much attention to the Byzantine period as to the early Islamic instead of using the first one as a mere introduction to the second or, at the opposite, alluding to the second only in the conclusion. In the end, participants will be able to assess if and why these transformations are of such significance to mark the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

We invite scholars from any discipline, subfield, or methodological approach, including (but not limited to) the following themes:

  • Servants to the rulers, masters of the land: governors, local authorities, and great landowners
  • Serving God: bishops, clergy, monks, and nuns
  • Working to survive in a time of change: families of peasants, merchants, and craftsmen
  • Being part or being apart: village communities, strangers, and outcasts

Each panel will reflect upon different perspectives in a final open and summarizing discussion round, which again gives opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange among the participants.

Abstracts should be no more than 400 words (exclusive of title and biographical note), describing a 20-minute paper to be delivered in English. Please include the full title of your paper and a brief biographical note on your academic affiliation and previous research. We plan to publish an edited volume based on the conference proceedings in an international peer-reviewed series.

Qualified junior researchers and recent PhD graduates are encouraged to apply. The deadline for full consideration is May 15, 2016.

Please submit your abstract by email to:

Call for Papers – Living the End of Antiquity – Individual Histories from Byzantine to Islamic Egypt

Training – 2017 Winter Program: Greek Palaeography and Codicology‏

2017 Winter Program: Greek Palaeography and Codicology‏

American Academy in Rome

9th-20th January  2017

Application deadline: 15th May 2016

With the kind collaboration of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library, BAV), from 9 to 20 January 2017, the American Academy in Rome will offer its second winter course in Greek Paleography and Codicology. The two curators of Greek manuscripts at the BAV, Dr Timothy Janz and Dr András Németh, together with Prof. Niels Gaul of the University of Edinburgh, will teach the course and supervise manuscript research. The two-week course will introduce participants to various aspects of manuscript studies and offer an interactive dialogue between theory and practice.

In collaboration with the Vatican Library

Reading classes in small groups will familiarize the participants with different forms of Greek script through sight-reading practice. A special feature of this course will be the extensive library visits at the Vatican Library, which will enable each student to improve individual research skills according to given criteria, with the aid of the tutors. Seminars on the history of Greek script and on codicology will address theoretical and practical aspects of the study of Greek manuscripts, while discussion sessions will offer a chance to share research experience within the group and to discuss various problems of theory and practice based on experience at the Library.

Several evening lectures by specialists will complete the course, including Msgr. Paul Canart of the Vatican Library.

Applications from graduate and postgraduate students of Classics, History, Theology/Religious Studies, and Byzantine Studies are welcome. Students from Italian and European institutions are most welcome. The course will be taught in English. Prior knowledge of Greek is essential. Applications should include a CV, a letter of intent specifying Greek language experience, research topic, and explaining the applicant’s need for training in paleography and codicology.


Tuition: 500 euro

Housing: Housing is available at the American Academy for those who require it:

Shared room with shared bathroom: 450–550 euro for two weeks

Single room with shared bathroom: 770 euro for two weeks

Room availability cannot be guaranteed and applicants should indicate their need for housing in their application.

Meals: Meals can be purchased at the Academy for 15 euro for lunch, and 27 euro for dinner. Meals are not included in the costs of the program.

Please send application materials to

Training – 2017 Winter Program: Greek Palaeography and Codicology‏