The Byzness

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The Byzness, 16th of February, 2014

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It is with enormous pleasure that we announce the fourth issue of ‘The Byzantinist‘, the annual Oxford University Byzantine Society newsletter. Also on our website is the finalised program for the International Graduate Conference, taking place on the 28th February – 1st of March. For that and all other information about the conference, including online registration, please see here.
On Thursday at 8pm in the Swire Room of University College, Oxford, will be a joint-organised event of the Oxford University Byzantine and Oxford Medieval societies, entitled ‘Near Eastern Change and Interchange at the Close of the First Millenium’. Please find all the details on the poster here.
(1) We are delighted to circulate, on behalf of our sister institution, OCBR, the following announcement:
Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research Special Lecture:
Robert Nelson (Robert Lehman Professor, Department of the History of Art, Yale University),
‘Patriarchal Lectionaries of Constantinople’
5pm, Friday 21 February, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles’, Oxford
The illuminated Greek Gospel lectionary, containing those passages read during the liturgy and arranged according to the church calendar, is of central interest both for its lavishness of decoration and for what it has to tell us about the ritual life of the Patriarchal church of Hagia Sophia, especially during the eleventh century. This lecture will look further into the history of the Patriarchal lectionary before, during, and after this period.
Robert Nelson studies and teaches medieval art, mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean. He was the co-curator of Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2006-2007. His book, Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950, 2004, asks how the cathedral of Constantinople, once ignored or despised, came to be regarded as one of the great monuments of world architecture. Current projects involve the history of the Greek lectionary, illuminated Greek manuscripts in Byzantium and their reception in Renaissance Italy, and the collecting of Byzantine art in twentieth-century Europe and America. The last involves the publication of the letters between Royall Tyler and Robert and Mildred Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., which has just begun to be published online:
(2) Below are the details of an additional seminar with late-antique interest.
Legal History Seminar
Codifying the law – II
Convenors : Boudewijn SIRKS, All Souls College and
Soazick KERNEIS, Université Paris Ouest – MFO
Monday 17 February 2014, 5–7 pm
Wharton Room, All Souls College
Aldo Schiavone (Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane),
“The historiography on Roman legal thought from Fritz Schulz until our time”
The aim of the paper is to sketch a brief history of studies in Roman jurisprudence from the mid twentieth century to the present day. It also aims to describe the theoretical frame in which this research was conducted.
Particular emphasis is given to the figure of Fritz Schulz, whose History of Roman Legal Science opened up new perspectives, but also remained trapped in serious contradictions, which have in part conditioned subsequent historiography.
ICOMOS Turkey: Briefing on the Hagia Sophia Museum,
Dumbarton Oaks’ Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) announces the public launch of its online inventory, AtoM@DO ( A searchable database of Dumbarton Oaks’ archival collections, AtoM@DO brings together the holdings of ICFA and a selection of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives (DOA) into a single virtual space, enabling discovery of related materials across the institution.
New Perspectives on Late Medieval and Renaissance Cyprus:
A Graduate Workshop on History and Visual Culture
Friday  28 February 2014,  King’s College London,  Strand  (Council Room)
For full details please see here.
The program is now available for the SPBS’ 47th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, entitled ‘The Emperor in the Byzantine World’; please find it here.
Workshop King’s College London
20-22 February 2014
‘Patterns of Argumentation in Late Antique and Early Islamic Interreligious Debates’
Organised by Yannis Papadogiannakis and Barbara Roggema as part of the ERC PROJECT ‘Defining Belief and Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Role of Interreligious Debate and Interaction (6th-8th c. AD)’
Thursday February 20, at 18.00
Professor Dame Averil Cameron (University of Oxford): A World Full of Talk: Religious Debate and Discussion in the Sixth Century For more details on the talks taking place on Friday, February 21st, and Saturday, February 22nd, please see:
Dear friends,
I wanted to bring your attention to the Hellenic Studies Series at New York University (, which has been running since last September. Several talks of Byzantine interest are scheduled for this term.
Best wishes,
Kostis Smyrlis
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The Oxford Medieval Society would like to invite graduates to take part in its Research Presentation Day on Friday 0th week Trinity term (25th April). For M.St students or first-year D.Phils this would be a perfect opportunity to gain some experience of presenting your research to a friendly audience, and to receive some useful feedback. And if you are a more experienced D.Phil student, we would like to invite you to chair panels of papers. Snacks, coffee and lunch will be provided, and the day will conclude in the pub. If you are interested, please email We look forward to hearing from you! Please find the full call here.
Propose a session for the upcoming BSC in Vancouver this fall (November 6-9, 2014), and, with ICMA sponsorship, be able to pay travel expenses for your speakers, even if they come from abroad!
Thanks to the generosity of the Kress Foundation, the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA: is able to provide travel and hotel funds for the speakers at such a session up to a maximum of $500 for US residents, and up to $1000 for speakers coming from abroad.  Every speaker must be an ICMA member at the time of application.
To be properly considered, the proposed session should relate to both art history and Byzantine studies. The BSC warmly welcomes the participation of western and Islamic art historians.
The proposed session will need to pass two hurdles. The procedure is the following:
Submit a proposal for an organized session, with a title, an abstract, a CV of the organizer and the names of 4-5 speakers, to the Programs and Lectures Committee of the ICMA for its approval.
The ICMA committee will decide whether to sponsor the proposed session.  It will notify the organizer, who will then submit the approved proposal to the Program Committee of the BSC, which will make the final decision.
The deadlines are these:
1 March
Submit the session proposal to the ICMA by sending it to Prof. Elina Gertsman at Case Western Reserve University, Chair, ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee ( Guidelines are available on the ICMA website, under Membership/Kress Research and Travel Awards. Please note that speakers ALONE are eligible for these funds: session organizers, chairs or discussants are not. Successful applicants will be notified in mid March.
1 April
Submit the approved session proposal to the BSC, following the guidelines that are posted on the Byzantine Studies Association of North America website: An abstract for each of the individual papers will be required at this time. Abstracts are reviewed blindly; speakers and session organizers are usually notified by mid May.
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The Department of History, Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine, invites applications for a two-year
postdoctoral fellow, with a particular emphasis on pedagogical innovation. The fellowship is funded by
the Andrew Mellon Foundation and begins August 1, 2014. Candidates must complete the Ph.D. by
September 1, 2014, and should be no more than three years out of their doctorate. This is a half-time
teaching position with salary and benefits of a full-time assistant professor. The fellow will teach three
courses during the academic year 2014-15 and two courses in 2015-16. The reduced teaching load is
designed to support innovation in teaching and on-going professional research. Some funds to support
scholarly work are also available.
Applicants should submit electronically, in PDF format, to Nancy LePage, Project Specialist, 207-786-
6480 at, a letter of application, C.V., writing sample, teaching statement,
and three letters of recommendation. Please include your last name and R2527 in the subject line of all
submissions. Consideration of applications will begin on March 17, 2014, and continue until the position
is filled. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a background check. For more information
please see the full announcement here.
Salary: £29,837 – £31,664 p.a.
Fixed-term for four and a half years
Oxford vacancy reference: 111754
We are seeking to appoint a postdoctoral researcher from 1 April 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter to work on the project ‘The Cult of Saints: a christendom-wide study of its origins, spread and development’, directed by Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins and funded by a €2.3 million ERC Advanced Grant (2014-18). The project will investigate the origins and development of the cult of Christian saints, gathering all the evidence that is available on the cult, from its origins until around AD 700, across all the languages of early Christianity that have left evidence from this period (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Greek and Latin). The project will employ six postdoctoral researchers in producing a series of monographs and a freely-available searchable database of the evidence for the cult of saints, with English translations of texts and full reference to relevant scholarly work. During the project, two workshops will be held with expert scholars from across Europe, in particular to test the effectiveness of the nascent database, and a major international conference will take place.
The appointee will have responsibility for collecting and researching all the material in Syriac, and will also produce a sole-authored monograph on some major aspect of the cult of the saints among the Syriac-using churches. S/he will liaise closely with Dr David Taylor of the Oriental Studies Faculty, Oxford. The appointee will be required to represent the project and deliver papers at team workshops, external workshops, conferences, public events, and other meetings. The successful candidate will hold a doctorate in a relevant field, have excellent knowledge of Syriac and the historical context of late-antique Christianity, and an effective working knowledge of the necessary modern scholarly languages. Knowledge of relevant ancient languages beyond Syriac, experience of working with hagiographical material and experience of working with databases would be desirable.
Only applications received before mid-day UK time on Monday 3 March 2014 can be considered. Interviews are expected to be held during early March. You will be required to upload a CV and supporting statement as part of your application.


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