The Byzness

The Byzness, 11th of March, 2012


= = = = =

The 8th century, the end of Late Antiquity?
Wharton Room, All Souls College on Monday (12 March 2012)

It is, apparently, essential to register. Please contact and
9.30 Introduction
Dr. R. Portass (St. Hilda’s College, Oxford)
9.45 The 8th century AD. An Iberian solution for a Mediterranean problem
Dr. I. Sastre (Wolfson College, Oxford – FECYT)
10.05 The transformation of public architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, 7-9th centuries AD
J. Martínez (Lincoln College, Oxford)
10.25 Rereading the written record of eighth-century Iberia
G. Barrett (Balliol College, Oxford)
10.45 Discussion
11.10 Coffee break
11.30 The Mercian economy and English exports, 750-830

Prof. J. Blair (Queen’s College, Oxford)
11.50 Francia in the 8th century AD
Dr. S. Loseby (Sheffield University)
12.10 Sicily in the 8th century AD
Dr. E. Vaccaro (Cambridge University)
12.30 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
14.00 North Africa in the 8th century AD

Dr. A. Leone (Durham University)
14:25 A game of two halves: monasticism and pilgrimage in eighth-century Palestine
D. Reynolds (Birmingham University)
14:50 Discussion
15:10 Coffee break
15:30 The missing archaeology of 8th-century Anatolia. The potential and limitations of circumstantial evidence

Dr. P. Niewoehner (Oxford)
15:55 Western Arabia in the 8th century
H. Munt (Oxford)
16:15 Discussion
16:30 Final Remarks

C. Wickham (All Souls College, Oxford) and B. Ward-Perkins (Trinity College, Oxford)

= = = = =

Seals and their context in the Middle Ages
Aberystwyth University, 27th – 29th April 2012

This conference seeks to explore the functions of seals in medieval Britain and Western Europe in the broadest possible context. Themes will include the use of seals in law and administration and the act of sealing, as well as questions relating to how, why and by whom seals were employed. A further important theme will be the manner in which seals relate to other sources: visual, material and documentary. Above all the conference will encourage debate amongst scholars operating from within different academic traditions. Full announcement is available here.


CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: Between Heaven and Earth: Law, Power, and the Social Order in Late Antiquity,
13-16 September, 2012, Manchester, England

We welcome proposals for an international conference co-sponsored by the International Late Antiquity Network (ILAN) and the Constantine’s Dream Project, University of Manchester, and organized by Kate Cooper (Manchester) and Sebastian-Schmidt-Hofner (Heidelberg). Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2012
Our conception of Roman justice has changed dramatically over the last few decades.  In the English-speaking world, there has been a decisive shift away from the constitutionally based paradigm, toward an idea of the administration of justice as a heuristic process through which Roman political elites sought, on an ad hoc basis, to rationalise and justify Roman power in the provinces.

The conference ‘Between Heaven and Earth: Law, Ideology, and the Social Order in Late Antiquity’ will assess the ‘state of play’ regarding  the administration of Roman law from the Constitutio Antoniniana (212 CE) to the end of Antiquity.  It is a period characterised by revolutionary changes.  The extension of citizenship, the re-organization of provincial administration under Diocletian, and the changing ideological frame-work underpinning the emperor’s power each triggered significant developments.

The conference will consider problems including, but not limited to the following:
+ The changing balance of practice: arbitration, municipal, provincial, and episcopal  courts
+ Justice and the God(s): the changing ideological foundation of jurisdictio
+ Deviance, Discipline, and Persecution: From superstitio to ‘heresy’
+ Law and the social order: ius colonatus, patria potestas, marriage legislation
+ Codes, canons, collationes: changing practices of collection and communication

The format of the meeting will not be based exclusively on lectures. Rather, we envisage a mix of formats for generating discussion and exchanging expertise, including:
a) PRIMARY SOURCE MASTER-CLASS  Contributors will pre-circulate key primary sources on a givien topic, and to lead or contribute to seminar-style discussion and/or evaluation of their significance
b) HISTORIOGRAPHIC MASTER-CLASS Contributors will pre-circulate key secondary sources on a givien topic, and will lead a seminar-style assessment and/or re-evaluation of their significance. The sources can either be ‘landmark’ publications or publications whose importance has been overlooked or misunderstood.
c) FIRST PERSON RETROSPECTIVE Contributors will offer a powerpoint talk or a seminar-style discussion of pre-circulated material, or a combination): In this case you would offer an informal overview of one or more of your own previous publications (similar to the American Academy of Religion ‘How My Mind Has Changed’ series or the Torino Petersen seminars).  Many scholars—and not only younger scholars!—will be intensely interested to hear ‘from the horse’s mouth’ what is really at stake in key publications.  This is especially true for publications that are not in one’s own native language—sometimes a clearer understanding of the landscape or context of a scholar’s work changes one’s understanding dramatically.
d) OVERVIEW RETROPSPECTIVE involving a retrospective on a wider historiographical area
e) ROUNDATABLE We welcome suggestions for plenary roundtables on key topics, along with suggestions of individuals who might contribute a five-minute ex verbal introduction of a pre-circulated handout.
f) LECTURE (in order to make the most of the opportunity to exchange a deadline of 1 September is set for submission of lecture handouts.  This will allow them to be pre-circulated to other conference participants at the same time as the ask to please plan to pre-circulate your hand

Proposals should include a title, indication of source source material to be discussed, and a short paragraph describing the argument (in the case of lectures) or theme (in the case of other formats) Please feel free to indicate an interest in more than one format for the material you wish to propose.  Please do not hesitate to get in touch with questions or suggestions! These should be addressed to Kate Cooper ( in the first instance. Note on Financial arrangements: we will not have firm information about funding until April, so we would be grateful if colleagues could let us know whether their participation depends on partial or full subsidy.  Especially but not only in the case of younger scholars, we will make every effort to support the participation of scholars who do not have access to travel funds from their home institution.


Call for Participation: 2nd International  Conference: Tao-Klarjeti
Batumi, Georgia 5-8 September, 2012

The international interdisciplinary conference “Tao-Klarjeti” was held in the National Centre of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, October 2010. The wide scholarly interest in this region prompted us to turn this conference into a traditional one held every 2 years. Please, see the application form for the second conference for further details. The conference will take place in Batumi, September 5-8, 2012. After the conference we plan to make a journey to Tao-Klarjeti.


Call for Papers: The Place of Hell: Topographies, Structures, Genealogies
An International conference held at King’s College London and The Warburg Institute on May 31 and June 1, 2013.

A belief in Hell has been a staple of Christian thought from the earliest period of this religion.  The depiction of Hell and its denizens – the devil, demons and the punished sinners – has an equally long history going back to at least the sixth century. From the eleventh century onwards, images of Hell become proliferate and more detailed in their presentation of the damned and their torments – in parallel to such texts as the popular Apocalypse of the Virgin. Artists come up with different solutions in picturing the various torments inflicted upon the sinners as well as the places where these torments take place. In the art of the late Byzantine period and the late medieval west, the various figures of the damned are presented with inscriptions detailing the crimes and sins for which they are being punished. In western Europe, literary texts add detail to the vision of Hell as well, starting with the 11th-century Vision of Tondal and culminating in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The images as well as the texts that we assume they are illustrating offer a rich field for research. Questions of iconography as well as the exploration of social meanings attached to these powerful representations present themselves. The exploration of developments within the body of texts on and depictions of Hell can be particularly fruitful.

The aim of this conference is to explore the place Hell occupied within society and art as well as the way Hell was envisaged as a physical place. The conference is organized as part of the Leverhulme Trust International Network project Damned in Hell in the Frescoes of Venetian-dominated Crete (13th-17th centuries). The island of Crete was governed by the Venetians from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. During this period, the interplay of the religion and culture of the colonizers (Roman Catholic and Italian) and the majority of the population (Byzantine and Greek Orthodox) created tangible tensions. We are therefore particularly interested in material from the historical era covered by the project, approaches that involve comparisons between east  and west, and presentations with a particular focus on Crete. Did depictions of Hell on the island’s churches follow theological debates and trends? Was their primary function the edification of the Orthodox congregations, or are other readings possible?

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:
+ Texts about Hell and punishments for sinners in the Greek Orthodox world and/or the Latin west(13th-17th centuries)
+ Images of Hell, with particular emphasis on its layout and topography as well as the layout of its pictorial representation
+ Comparative papers on the interaction between Orthodox and Catholic notions and representations of Hell in the late medieval and early modern eastern Mediterranean
+ The origins – both textual and pictorial – of  perceptions and representations of the Afterlife and Hell in particular within the Christian tradition
+ The use of Hell and punishment for sinners within contexts of social control (especially in rural communities) and afterlife management strategies

Papers by early career scholars soon after the completion of their PhD are particularly welcome.
Papers are restricted to 25 mins. Please send a short abstract and a brief cv to: and by June 30 2012.
Accepted speakers will be offered free accommodation and either a full refund of or substantial assistance towards their travel costs.


Call for papers Congress Falsifications and Authority in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Leuven, 6-7 December 2012, organized by Leuven Centre for the Study of the Transmission of Texts and Ideas in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (LECTIO)

From their very origin onwards, Greek and Latin texts have attracted skilful forgers who, inspired by intellectual ambition or blunt greed, sought to imitate and, preferably, to emulate authorities from Antiquity. If one would easily think here of the famous forgery of the Donatio Constantini, the name of the humanist philologist Lorenzo Valla is recalled almost simultaneously. Forgers and scholars, so it seems, never stopped to refine their methods so as to gain fame and renown…

The intellectual play involved was almost always intrinsically embedded in broader political and/or religious motives. In this respect, it would certainly be an exciting exercise just to enumerate which texts and authorities have been falsified, and in which specific context. Still, however much diverse and interesting all these circumstances may have been, it is our intention to focus on authoritative texts in both Greek and Latin, as well as in the vernacular, stemming from the earliest period up to 1650 AD, that have been forged, falsified or twisted intentionally in Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and/or in the Early Modern Period respectively, and to see whether the idea of “authority” evolved or shifted.

Proposals are invited for papers of 30 minutes on specific cases of forgeries and falsifications dealing with texts and authorities. Papers should discuss the following three recurrent aspects involved: (1) the very intention or motive of falsification, (2) the mechanism or technique applied, and (3) the (direct or indirect) effect of all this. Even if in the last few years some initiatives have been taken towards a new and more comprehensive approach to authority in Greek and Latin literature, these attempts, or so we hope, could be complemented by an even sharper idea of authority derived from the theme of forgery and falsification. Also reflections upon this approach and the methodology to be applied are welcome. For in opening an interdisciplinary discourse between different specializations, we look forward to a fertile exchange of ideas, research results and methodological approaches from the different domains. We are very pleased to announce that prof. Anthony Grafton (Princeton University) will be our keynote speaker.

Please send an abstract of approximately 200 words, along with your name, academic affiliation and contact information, by Friday, 20 April 2012 to For more information, please visit our website:

= = = = =

The UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities Is inviting applications for THREE INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH ASSOCIATESHIPS
in any aspect of the arts and humanities to be held within a newly created  UCL Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities.

Details can be found on the UCL A&H Faculty website at
The deadline for submission of applications is 27th April 2012.

In sum, applicants must have submitted their thesis by the closing date; be no  more than 5 years after their viva at closing date (unless they have had a career break); and not have held a F-T established post. Preference is expressed for those who have not yet held a post-doc and whose work could lead to major research grant applications. RAs will be expected to teach a maximum of 60 hours contact time; to contribute to research training programmes; to organise a seminar/workshop series, or digital alternative, during their second year. RAs will be appointed mentors and applicants will be expected to have discussed their projects with at least one possible mentor.

Any eligible classicist with interdisciplinary research interests is welcome to contact the Head of the Department of Greek & Latin if they are interested in submitting an application (Maria Wyke,


Balkan Heritage Field School
Archaeology Projects in 2012

The Balkan Heritage Field School (BHFS) is currently accepting applications from students, scholars and volunteers for eight field school projects in 2012 including four Archaeology Excavation Projects, Workshops on Ancient Greek and Roman Pottery, Workshop for Conservation of Roman Mosaics, and a “Fresco-hunting” Photo Expedition, with a wide variety of periods from the Early and Middle Balkan Neolithic (6200-5500 BC) through the Archaic Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Early Byzantine periods to the Medieval and Late Medieval ages.

Projects in 2012:
Locations: Bulgaria, Macedonia. Official language: ENGLISH

An expedition for documentation of medieval frescoes preserved in abandoned churches and chapels in remote areas of Western Bulgaria. The task of the expedition envisioned for 2012 is to enhance the database created during the previous seasons by documenting frescoes and their condition as well as collecting new data on history, architecture, artefacts and environment of the ecclesiastical buildings they belong to. In 2012, for the first time the “Fresco Hunting” Photo Expedition will expend the existing iconographic schemes of imaging the Medieval Churches in Western Bulgaria by adopting Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Near Infrared Reflectroscopy (IRR).
Standard Field School Session: 12 – 26 May 2012
Extended Field School Session: 12 May – 2 June, 2012
Academic credits available for students: up to 9

Excavations of one of the very first Neolithic settlements in Europe (6200-5500 BC), near Ilindentsi, Southwestern Bulgaria. Two field school sessions are available:
Session 1: 17 June – 1 July, 2012
Session 2: 2 – 16 July, 2012
Academic credits available for students: up to 9

The workshop will guide the participants through  the history, techniques and consequent stages of archaeological study, conservation and documentation of Roman and Late Roman (first – sixth century AD) mosaics. Both the theoretical and practical courses will be based on authentic Roman mosaics / mosaic fragments found in the ancient city of Stobi – the capital of Macedonia Secunda.
Dates: 16 – 29 June, 2012
Academic credits available for students: 6

The workshop will guide the participants through the history and technology of Roman and Late Roman pottery and consequent stages of archaeological conservation, restoration, documentation and study. Both the theoretical and practical courses will be based on Roman pottery found in the ancient city of Stobi. During the workshop participants will work with authentic Roman shards.
Dates: 16 – 29 June, 2012
Academic credits available for students: 6

Excavations of the ancient (Hellenistic, Roman, Late Roman) town of Heraclea Lyncestis in Bitola, Macedonia. Two field school sessions are available:
Session 1: 30 June – 14 July, 2012
Session 2: 15 – 29 July, 2012
Academic credits available for students: up to 9

Excavations at the sacred precinct (temenos) of the Ancient Greek city of Apollonia Pontica on St. Kirik Island, Sozopol, Bulgaria. Periods of occupation: Archaic and Classical Greek and Early Byzantine (seventh – fifth century BC and fifth – seventh century AD). Two field school sessions are available:
Session 1: 1 – 15 August 2012
Session 2: 16 – 30 August 2012
Academic credits available for students: up to 9

Excavations of the impressive ancient (Late Hellenistic, Roman, Early Byzantine) city of Stobi, Macedonia. Two field school sessions are available:
Session 1: 29 July – 12 August 2012
Session 2: 13 – 27 August 2012
Academic credits available for students: up to 9

The workshop will guide the participants through the history of ancient Greek pottery, its production and consequent stages of archaeological conservation, documentation, study, and restoration. It will take place in Emona and Sozopol (ancient Apollonia Pontica) on the Black sea coast, Bulgaria. Both the theoretical and practical courses will be based on Ancient Greek pottery found in Sozopol. During the workshop participants will work with authentic Ancient Greek shards.
Dates: 3 – 16 September, 2012
Academic credits available for students: 6

Detailed Course Syllabus of each Balkan Heritage Field School Project is available upon request! For more information please contact the BHFS Admissions Officer via e-mail at: !
Detailed information about all Balkan Heritage Field School Projects in 2012 is available on our website at: !
On-line applications can be submitted at:


British Library Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts: volunteering opportunity for American doctoral student

The student will be involved in all aspects of the work of the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section, including responding to enquiries, providing talks for students and patrons, selecting and presenting manuscripts for display in our exhibition gallery, and cataloguing, and thereby gaining insight into various curatorial duties and aspects of collection care. During the volunteership at the Library, the student will enjoy privileged access to printed and manuscript research material, and will work alongside specialists with wide-ranging and varied expertise. The student’s primary focus would be on supplementing the online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, by researching and adding descriptions of medieval manuscripts or illuminated incunabula, including the selection of pages to be photographed and reproduced.

The position is designed to provide an opportunity for the student to develop research skills and expertise in medieval and Renaissance art and history, and presenting manuscripts to a range of audiences. This opportunity will contribute significantly to the ongoing work of the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts and the Medieval and Earlier section.
The programme is only open to US citizens who are engaged actively in research towards, or have recently completed, a PhD in a subject area relevant to the study of pre-1600 illuminated manuscripts or incunabula.

The term of the placement is for a period of six months. The placement is voluntary and therefore unpaid. However, the successful applicant will be reimbursed in respect of actual expenses in the performance of his or her duties, such as direct travel expenses to London and commuting expenses to the British Library, accommodation, and immediate living expenses such as food (but not clothing), subject to a maximum of £8,000. The volunteer will be responsible for making his or her own travel and accommodation arrangements.
If the applicant does not hold the right to work in the United Kingdom, the Library will sponsor the volunteer for a visa using the UK Border Agency’s points-based system under Tier 5 Charity Workers. The successful candidate will be required to submit the relevant application form to the local processing centre. The processing fee will be reimbursed by the Library. No placement may commence until the appropriate right to work documents have been obtained and verified.

Please send an application letter detailing the months you would be able to be in London, a résumé, and two reference letters to Dr Kathleen Doyle, Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts, The British Library, by email to, or by post to 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, by 30 March 2012. All applicants will be notified of the results by the end of April 2012. A telephone interview may be held. Further details available here.

This entry was posted in Byzness. Bookmark the permalink.