Byzantine Studies Conference Archives
TWENTY-NINTH ANNUAL BYZANTINE STUDIES CONFERENCE
ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS
October 16-19, 2003
The Byzantine Studies Conference is an association for the presentation and discussion of papers embodying current research on all aspects of Byzantine history and culture. The Conference meets in a difference city every year. At meetings, over 100 papers are usually presented and discussed in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. Although most of the members are American academics, we have an international membership and many non-academic members. Graduate students play a large role in the conference and are strongly encouraged to present papers and participate in discussions.
This Book of Abstracts was compiled and edited by Tia Kolbaba and Robert Allison from papers supplied electronically by the speakers. Copyright © is reserved by the individual speakers.
Copies of the Abstracts are available for purchase. Subscriptions for Series 6 (26-30, 2000-2004) are available for $45 as a set. This price includes postage. All orders must be prepaid in US currency; make checks payable to the Byzantine Studies Conference and send orders to:
Prof. Sharon Gerstel
For questions about orders of the Abstracts e-mail S. Gerstel at:
Abstracts of Papers - Byzantine Studies Conference, Ist-1975-Madison, Wis. [etc.]
Image: The infant Virgin Mary with her parents, Joachim and Anna, from the Monastery of the Holy Savior in Chora (Kariye Camii). Drawing by Hellen Dayton for the 2003 Byzantine Studies Conference at Bates College. (See Session VI: Kariye Camii Reconsidered.)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Session I: Late Antique Politics
Chair: David Olster, University of Kentucky
Ralph W. Mathisen, University of South Carolina. 'Whatever Will We Do With Glycerius?': Troublesome Politicians, Forcible Ordinations, and Escape into Ecclesiastical Orders in the Early Byzantine Empire
David Wright, University of California at Berkeley. A Tetrarchic Bureaucrat at the American Academy in Rome
Walter E. Kaegi, University of Chicago, Reinterpreting Constans II (641-668)
Session II: Byzantine and post-Byzantine
Chair: Glenn Peers, University of Texas-Austin
Daniel F. Caner, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Material 'Blessings' and Miraculous Economy in Late Antiquity
Vasileios Marinis, Yale University. A Re-reading of Some Liturgical Iconographic Themes: The case of the Prothesis in Peribleptos, Mystras
Gerasimos P. Pagoulatos, Hellenic Open University, Athens, Greece, The Two-Zone Icon (The Nativity and the Baptism) of the Byzantine Museum in Athens: A Unique Post-Byzantine Iconographic Evidence of the Preservation of an Ancient Tradition
Session III: Late Antique and Byzantine
Linda Jones Hall, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Constantine and the Designs of Publius Optatianus Porfyrius; Picture Poems as Historical Evidence
E. Warren Perry, Jr., Catholic University of America, De-sexing the Sexy and Making the Vixen a Violent Femme: The Arming and Othering of Maximou the Amazon in Digenis Akritis
Elizabeth A. Fisher, George Washington University, Aristotle's Acolyte: The Thirteenth-century Greek Translator of De plantis
Session IV: The Monastery Matejic-Foundation, Art, and Architecture
Chair: Ida Sinkevic, Lafayette University
Dušan Korać, Catholic University of America, The Monastery of Matejic and its Times
Jelena Bogdanovic, Princeton University, The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin at Matejic. Regional Re-interpretation of Middle Byzantine Constantinopolitan Architecture in the Palaeologan Era?
Ljubica D. Popovich, Vanderbilt University, Some Observations on the Frescoes of the Virgin's Church in the Monastery of Matejic
Session V: Byzantium between East and West
Chair: Lynn Jones, Yale University
Elisaveta Todorova, University of Cincinnati, The Balkan Link of the Byzantine Economy
David A. Michelson, Princeton University, Did Charlemagne Sack Constantinople? Western Charlemagne Legends as Anti-Byzantine Propaganda (c. 1000-1204)
Brandie Ratliff, Columbia University, St. Catherine East and West: Two Icons
Scott Redford, Georgetown University, Islamic Influence on Heraldic Symbols in Byzantium
Session VI: Kariye Camii Reconsidered
Chair: Sharon Gerstel, University of Maryland, College Park
Robert Ousterhout, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, More Cracks in the Dome of Heaven
Rob Nelson, University of Chicago, Saints and State at the Chora
Natalia Teteriatnikov, Dumbarton Oaks, The Role of the Byzantine Institute in the Conservation of Kariye Camii
Holger A. Klein, Columbia University, Restoring Byzantium: The Rediscovery and Restoration of the Kariye Camii
Session VII: Constantinople 1453
Chair: Walter Hanak, Shepard College
Marios Philippides, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, The Naval Operations in the Siege of Constantinople 1453: Sultan Mehmed II Fatih, the New Xerxes
Srdjan Rajkovic, University of California, Los Angeles, Passio Contantinopolitana: Pleas for Divine Intervention during the 1453 Siege of Constantinopole
Session VIII: The Cult of the Saints
Chair: Alice-Mary Talbot, Dumbarton Oaks
Andrea K. Olsen, Institute of Sacred Music, Yale Divinity School, In Heaven As It Is On Earth: Early Christian Visions of the New Jerusalem
Aaron Johnson, University of Colorado, Boulder. Ancestors as Icons: The Lives of Hebrew Saints in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica
Maribel Dietz, Louisiana State University, The Cult of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr in Late Antiquity
Session IX: Pastoral Care and Spiritual Guidance
Chair: Eric Ivison, CUNY-College of Staten Island
Martha Vinson, Indiana University, Food, Clothing, Shelter, These Three
George E. Demacopoulos, Fordham University. The Art of Arts: Spiritual Direction according to St. Gregory Nazianzen
Claudia Rapp, University of California, Los Angeles, Sinners as Debtors: Intercessory Power and Textuality in Early Byzantium
Patrick Viscuso, Chantilly, Virginia. Adultery in the Heart: Sexual Fantasy as a Problem in Late Byzantine Canon Law
Session X: Ecclesiastical Councils
Chair: John Barker, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Michael Gaddis, Syracuse University, 'A Council that Shook the Whole World': Conflict and Contest in the Century after Chalcedon
A. Edward Siecienski, Fordham University, Missed Opportunity: The Council of Ferrara-Florence and the Use of Maximus the Confessor's Theology of the Filioque
Constantina Scourtis, University of California, Los Angeles. Tradition and Innovation in Conciliar Procedure: The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39)
Session XI: Constructing Art
Chair: Timothy Gregory, Ohio State University
Debra Foran, University of Toronto. The Mosaic Workshop of Byzantine Madaba
Bissera V. Pentcheva, Columbia University. Epigrams on Icons
Jelena Trkulja, Princeton University, Dividing the Wall: Architectural Aesthetics in Late Byzantium
Session XII: Texts and Textuality
Chair: Sarolta Takacs, Rutgers University
Kristine M. Hess, Pennsylvania State University. Re-Presenting the Byzantine Saint: A Reliquary Box in the Cleveland Museum of Art
Charles J. Zabrowski, Gettysburg College, The Text of Aeschylus's Persae in the Codices Vaticanus Barberinianus gr. 135 (Se), Vaticanus gr. 1360 (Sg), and Vaticanus gr. 912 (Sn)
Edwin D. Floyd, University of Pittsburgh, The Late Antique and Byzantine Use of Indo-European Poetic Patterns
Session XIII: Byzantine Law
Michael Johnson, Rutgers University, A Legal Joke in the Historia Augusta
Lawrence J. Daly, Bowling Green State University, Monarchy and Equity: Themistius' Theory of Imperial Law
Galina Tirnanic, University of Chicago, The Mutilated Nose: Rhinokopia as a Visual Mark of Sexual Offence
Session XIV: Theology and Heresy
Chair: Tia Kolbaba, Rutgers University
Adam Schor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Doctrines, Bishops, Monks and Friends: A Network Approach to the 'School of Antioch'
John F. Shean, College of Staten Island/CUNY, The Byzantine Bogomil: Dualist Or Strawman?
Session XV: Byzantine Women
Chair: Paul Halsall, University of North Florida
D. Kay Woods, University of Kentucky. The Lure of the East: A New Place and Space for Fourth-Century Female Patrons
Carolyn L. Connor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Ordinary Women and Holy Men: Women in the Miracles of St. Theodore of Sykeon
Katherine Panagakos, Furman University. Andromeda, Charicleia, and the Typical Greek Woman in Heliodorus' Aithiopika
Session XVI: Monks and Holy Men
Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Monastic Companionship: An Early Byzantine Institution?
Christopher Haas, Villanova University, David of Garedji: A Georgian Saint in the Syrian Ascetical Tradition
Asen Kirin, The University of Georgia, Belvedere in the Desert: Monastery Towers and Ascetic Vistas
Gunder Varinlioglu, University of Pennsylvania, Urban Monasteries in Constantinople and Thessalonike: Distribution Patterns in Time and Urban Topography
Late Antique Politics
Chair: David Olster, University of Kentucky
'Whatever Will We Do With Glycerius?': Troublesome Politicians, Forcible Ordinations, and Life Insurance in the Early Byzantine Empire
Ralph W. Mathisen (University of South Carolina)
Political life in the late Roman and early Byzantine Empires was rife with risks. If one fell afoul of an emperor, one faced disgrace or death. If a legitimate emperor or illegal usurper were deposed, there were not many options for what to do with him. Most usually, deposed emperors were first humiliated - generally by bodily mutilation - and then, more often than not, executed. In 413, the usurpers Jovinus and Sebastianus, as well as their brother Sallustius, were decapitated at Narbonne, and their severed heads displayed first at Ravenna and then at Carthage (PLRE 2.621-2). Heraclianus was killed at Carthage the same year (PLRE 2.539-40). The usurpers Maximus and Jovinus were executed at circus games in Ravenna in 423 (PLRE 2.745), in which year the usurper Iohannes suffered the amputation of his right hand and likewise being paraded in the circus in Ravenna on an ass before being executed. Majorian was beheaded in 461.
Occasionally, however, humanity prevailed, and a deposed emperor was allowed to live. Sometimes, as in the case of Vetranio (350 C.E.), Tetricus (270-273 C.E.), or the boy Romulus Augustulus (475-6 C.E.), they were permitted to retire to civilian life. But in the fifth century, another option was put into effect: compelling a deposed emperor to accept ecclesiastical, usually episcopal, orders. In 455, for example, after the western emperor Avitus had been defeated by Majorian and Ricimer at the Battle of Piacenza, he was consecrated bishop of Piacenza and allowed to live. Likewise, after the emperor Glycerius was defeated by Julius Nepos in 474, he was made bishop of Salona.
On other occasions, members of imperial families who had fallen into disgrace were compelled to take ecclesiastical orders, presumably as an ersatz for some more personally harmful kind of punishment. For example, Basiliscus qui et Leo, the son of Basiliscus who had been made Caesar by Zeno ca.476, was deposed in 477/8 after his father's execution and compelled to enter the church, where he served first as a lector at Blachernae and then as bishop of Cyzicus (PLRE 2.211-2). In 479, Fl. Marcianus, the son of the emperor Anthemius, organized an unsuccessful revolt against Zeno. After his defeat and capture, he was ordained a priest and sent to Caesarea in Cappadocia (PLRE 22.718). And after the death of Zeno in 491, his brother Fl. Longinus was disappointed in his hope of succeeding to the throne. He rebelled against Anastasius, and was banished to Alexandria, where he was ordained a priest (PLRE 2.690). Others, however, were not so successful in using ecclesiastical orders as a means of life insurance. Constantine III, after his defeat in 411, had himself ordained a priest of the church of Arles, but this did not keep him from being beheaded as soon as the city was surrendered.
This paper will address a number of questions about these unconventional clerics. Why was the imposition of ecclesiastical orders felt to be a suitable way of dealing with troublesome politicians? What did the victors hope to accomplish by doing so? What happened to these clerics after their ordinations? Is there any evidence that they actually fulfilled their episcopal or clerical duties? Did they ever make any attempts to return to secular or political life? And with what result?
A Tetrarchic Bureaucrat at the American Academy in Rome
David Wright (University of California at Berkeley)
Built into the wall early in the 1920s on the west side of the cortile of the American Academy in Rome, high above a minor door to the Library, entirely overlooked until the current project to catalogue all the Academy's antiquities, is a severely damaged fragment of the front of a sarcophagus lid. It has no specific provenience but on grounds of style and iconography it can be assigned to the Tetrarchic period, and it is very interesting for the development of an iconography of civic administration under Diocletian. Originally about 35 cm. high and carved in high relief, it is very large for a sarcophagus lid and must have been made for a prominent official.
The main preserved scene shows a humble petitioner wearing a tunic and paenula approaching a magistrate. The magistrate is wearing a chlamys, seated on a sella curulis, and holding an open scroll across his lap. The petitioner reaches out with both hands toward the magistrate, who reaches out with his right hand sightly above the petitioner's hands. This area is so badly chipped away that it is not possible to be sure what the magistrate is handing to the petitioner but it is probably a roll. Behind them stands a man wearing a tunic and mantle, apparently leaning and turning toward the magistrate, holding his right hand in front of his chest; he appears to be assisting the magistrate. At the left stands a man facing left, partly broken off, part of the previous scene in this series; he wears a toga contabulata, with part of the hem drawn over his left arm, and holds a roll in his left hand in front of his chest. He must be a very high official.
Two iconographic parallels spring to mind. The first scene on a colossal medallion known from a lead proof (the plomb de Lyon) shows seated nimbed figures of Maximian and another emperor receiving a family group of petitioners; in the next scene the petitioners leave to the right and in the larger scene below they come to cross a bridge over the Rhein to the fortified city of Mainz (both labeled). This clearly illustrates the imperial policy of settling Germanic peoples in northern Gaul. The other close parallel is the largitio scene on the Arch of Constantine, where the enthroned frontal Constantine gives gold coins personally to men of senatorial rank while the plebeians get theirs in four offices in the background. In each of these the recipient holds forward his hands covered by the folds of his paenula to receive the coins given by an assistant wearing a tunic and leaning forward from behind a table, while an official wearing a toga contabulata holds an open roll, apparently checking it, and another man in toga contabulata stands supervising in the background. This iconography is an extension of the familiar numismatic type of the Emperor distributing largesse to a couple of men and makes an important statement about the breadth of imperial largesse. Our scene is simpler than this, apparently about privileges rather than money, but it has a similar message.
Like the carving on the Arch, the quality of execution in our fragment is modest, but to judge by size there must have been six or more scenes of this nature spread across the length of the frieze. Looking back a century, we should compare humana vita sarcophagi, such as the eleborate lid to the Portonaccio battle sarcophagus, which shows the birth and education of a girl, marriage, and the clementia of the victorious general receiving captives, but these iconographic cycles become rare in the third century. Among depictions of professions, in that time there are two isolated examples of a private banker at work behind his desk but these are not significantly similar to our scene. Our fragment is unique in showing civic bureaucracy in at least two scenes, an iconography that reflects the rise of the more firmly organized administration of Diocletian, and it seems one of his high officials wanted to boast of his career in that service.
Reinterpreting Constans II (641-668)
Walter E. Kaegi (The University of Chicago)
Investigation of Emperor Constans II (641-668) suffers from the paucity and hostility of sources. Although his entire reign needs a thorough reexamination, I here reinvestigate some of his endeavors. It is imperative to attempt a reinterpretation of several features of the reign, objectives, and relative success of Constans II. Having inherited power very young he endeavored to justify his policies as a continuation in spirit and in fact of those of his grandfather Heraclius. He had to cope with his grandfather's ambiguous military legacy of great successes and catastrophic defeats by encouraging the view that his grandfather's policies were wise but had been ruined by misinterpretation, sabotage, or treason on the part of other officers and ecclesiastics. To prevent a repetition of that he showed his presence in critical moments to insure unambiguous obedience to and execution of his will. Some Semitic, especially Arabic, sources provide neglected details about the relative military effectiveness of his seemingly puzzling efforts in Anatolia and in the west. I reinterpret the critical termination of his peace with Mu'awiya in 662/3 and his move in 663 to Italy and Sicily and their relevance for the history of the final years of Byzantine authority in North Africa. Sources include Pseudo-Methodius, Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-kabir, al-Bakri, and the Riyad al-Nufus of al-Maliki and Ibn 'Idhari. I also assess the relevance of the topic for the still contested issue of the formation of the themes in the seventh century.
A number of questionable theses have circulated about Constans II and his intentions and achievements with respect to military institutions, in particular the themes (military corps and their districts). The events of 665/6 and 667 in Africa (including the island of Jerba) were only destructive Muslim raids in the eyes of some modern commentators, but they exposed the failure of Constans II to develop any effective defense for Africa during his stay in Italy and Sicily. The Muslim historians and Ps-Methodius may exaggerate the actual Muslim victory and dimensions of the Byzantine defeats, but they were very embarrassing. Constans II and his subordinates had not succeeded in developing any successful defense. The vulnerability of Africa was laid bare. Constans II's failures or limited failure in Africa parallels his experience and legacy in Anatolia, where Muslim winterings started in 662/3. Again in Anatolia there is no evidence that Constans II had developed any great institutional system of military defense, although the Muslims did not succeed in seizing a permanent base north of the Tauros Mts. The performance of troops of Constans II is mixed at best against the Lombards in 663. An increasingly perilous situation developed for the Byzantine Empire in the central Mediterranean and explicitly along the Sardinian and Italian coasts even earlier in the seventh century than hitherto supposed. Constans II probably involved himself personally because the last military memories of victories against external foes, especially those coming from the east, were those of Heraclius, who personally engaged and risked his life and reputation in campaigning.
Byzantine and post-Byzantine
Chair: Glenn Peers, University of Texas-Austin
Material "Blessings" and Miraculous Economy in Late Antiquity
Daniel Caner (University of Connecticut, Storrs)
In his 1995 study of Leontius of Neapolis, Vincent Droche identifies what he calls a "miraculous economy" in late sixth- and early seventh-century hagiography. Its fundamental principle is that God rewards Christian almsgivers by multiplying their material resources far beyond what they originally expended on alms. Droche offers little explanation for the emergence of this late antique theme, but its scriptural and historical background may be illumined by examining the motif of multiplying material "blessings" repeatedly found in Droche's examples. In this instance, hagiography seems to reflect actual usage. My paper explores how the liturgical production and charitable use of material "blessings" provided a way of thinking spiritually about producing and using material wealth in late antiquity.
The "blessings" motif is most prominent in the hagiographic topos of multiplying loaves of bread in monastery storerooms. Such stories usually tell how a steward warns an elder that their storeroom lacks sufficient bread to feed the poor at the gate; the elder tell him to look again, and the storeroom is found to be bursting with bread. Most examples explain that the elder is being rewarded with blessings for his hospitality, the loaves involved are themselves usually called "blessings," and there is often an emphasis on the apportionment of leftovers.
This topos becomes common in hagiography from the middle of the fifth century onward. It takes its narrative from Jesus' Feeding of the Five Thousand, and its moral from Paul's exhortation in 2 Cor 9:5-12 that Christians freely give "blessings" in order to reap blessings. But its association of blessings with bread followed standard monastic and church liturgical and charitable usage of the time. By late antiquity the term "blessing" (eulogia, benedictio, burkt‰, smou) was being applied to a wide range of material items, including the lay offerings - mostly bread - provided for, or left over from, a Eucharist service. After a service, such "blessings" were redistributed as "blessings" both to the clergy and lay people who originally offered it, and to monks and the poor outside the church. In this way blessings produced blessings. Eucharist services could not only give an impression of multiplying the original supply of offerings for its recipients (by bringing together many small eulogiai offerings), but also, if necessary, could actually do so (through further fragmentation of the offerings). Thus Churches and monasteries could imitate Jesus' feeding of multitudes from limited supplies of blessed bread.
The charitable use and multiplication of eulogia bread is reflected in the storeroom topos and other hagiographic topoi from the fifth century onward, at just the time when churches and monasteries were beginning to dominate regional economies. The emergence of such topoi suggest not only that liturgical practices influenced hagiography, but also that the concept and use of "blessings" provided a means for understanding and representing the proper stewardship of material wealth by those spiritual institutions.
A Re-reading of Some Liturgical Iconographic Themes:
The Case of the Prothesis in Peribleptos, Mystras
Vasileios Marinis (Yale University)
The monastery of Peribleptos is situated in the medieval city of Mystras, near ancient Sparta, in southern Greece. The fresco decoration, usually dated to the second half of the 14th century, consists of three cycles: liturgical, life and passion of Christ, and life of the Virgin. The decoration of the prothesis, the space where the Eucharistic elements were prepared, is of special interest. The main figure in the apse is that of Christ as the High Priest. He is flanked by the angels of the Great Entrance, who are in procession around the walls. Some of them are dressed as deacons, some of them as priests. Above Christ are God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Below Christ we find the Man of Sorrows, surrounded by busts of bishops.
The decoration of the prothesis in Peribleptos has traditionally been identified as a typical example of the representation of the Celestial Liturgy, a familiar theme in late Byzantine art. However, certain interesting details of the iconography have escaped scholarly attention. The priest-angels of the Great Entrance bear the Eucharistic gifts, which are covered with the aer, the liturgical veil that was placed over the Eucharistic elements after the completion of the prothesis rite. Unexpectedly, the deacon-angels cover their faces with the same kind of liturgical cloth. Secondly, to the right of Christ, one can distinguish two much damaged angels that bear what appears to be a larger cloth, another feature not found in the typical Great Entrance. And finally, in the context of the Celestial Liturgy, how are we to interpret the double depiction of Christ as Officiating Bishop and as the Man of Sorrows alongside the almost heretical depiction of God the Father as the Ancient of Days and the Holy Spirit?
I suggest that the iconography of this space is not a generic representation of the Celestial Liturgy, but it is influenced by specific liturgical prayers and hymns. In fact, the key to understanding the meaning of the iconography is a hitherto ignored inscription, which runs around the walls of the prothesis, just below the angels of the Great Entrance. The words of the inscription are from a hymn first attested in the Byzantine rite in the 12th century, which replaced the Cherubikon on Holy Saturday, and on that day only. Furthermore, the iconography also depends on the function of the prothesis space, namely as the place for the preparation of the Eucharistic elements. The iconographic themes closely correspond with the phraseology of the prayers read during the prothesis rite. The prothesis program in Peribleptos exemplifies how the subtlety and beauty of liturgical prayers and hymns can be transferred into a pictorial language that not only represents the texts but also comments upon them.
The Two-Zone Icon (The Nativity and the Baptism) of the Byzantine Museum in Athens: A Unique Post-Byzantine Iconographic Evidence of the Preservation of an Ancient Tradition
Gerasimos P. Pagoulatos (Hellenic Open University, Athens, Greece)
In this paper, I examine the liturgical sources of the two-zone icon (Nativity and Baptism) of the Byzantine Museum in Athens, Greece (T. 1589). In particular, I analyze the liturgical implications suggested by the ingenious manner in which the specific icon is thematically composed. The combination of the two episodes of the Christological cycle in one icon, that is, the Nativity and Baptism found in the upper and lower zone of the icon respectively, is rather rare in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine tradition. More specifically, this icon provides a unique instance of a panel icon (that we know of) which combines the two scenes. The sources I examine include the icon, the eastern patristic literature, Byzantine hymnography and examples of popular piety that deal with the celebration of Christ's Nativity and Baptism. Finally, I consider the depiction of the two scenes in the sixteenth century iconographic programs of the Byzantine churches. These textual sources underlie a strong link between the two feasts that was preserved in the East (where Nativity and Baptism were originally celebrated on Epiphany day), despite the Church practice to dissociate them and celebrate the two events in two separate feasts, that is, the Nativity on Christmas day (December 25th) and the Baptism on Epiphany day (January 6th) that developed towards the end of the fourth century. In sixteenth century monumental art (frescoes), as in the two-zone icon, one may find instances where the two scenes are placed either in proximity or next to each other, thus reflecting the unity of the two feasts in question as experienced in the liturgy.
I argue that the two-zone icon of the Byzantine Museum in Athens is a unique instance of a Byzantine panel icon that preserves the ancient eastern tradition of relating the celebration of Christ's Nativity on Christmas day to His Baptism on Epiphany day already testified in the Byzantine liturgical practice.
No scholar has studied this icon extensively nor has anyone analyzed this icon in relation to the liturgical tradition that is suggested by the combination of the two themes of the Christological cycle. The analysis of the two-zone icon (Nativity and Baptism) of the Byzantine Museum in Athens will prove that the ancient tradition, which celebrated Christ's Nativity and Baptism together on Epiphany day, is not only preserved in Byzantine hymnography and popular piety but also in the sixteenth century panel icon painting.
Late Antique and Byzantine
Constantine and the Designs of Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius;
Picture Poems as Historical Evidence
Linda Jones Hall (St. Mary's College of Maryland)
Although the intricate poems of Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius which were addressed to the Emperor Constantine, sometime near his vicennalia possibly in the year 324, are known and cited (Levitan,TAPA, 1985; Barnes, AJP, 1975), nevertheless they have not been fully examined for the evidence they might provide for the history of the reign of Constantine. Perhaps because they have never been published in an English translation and are available only in an Italian edition with the commentary and interpretation in Latin (Polara, 1973), they have not been widely utilized but have been treated more as a linguistic exercise than as an historical document.
Certainly the poems are fascinating for the intricacy of the designs and for the interweaving of quoted lines from the classical poets such as Virgil and Horace. Typically there is an outer poem, set in a squarish graph design of 35 letters, and an inner poem that presents a motif, such as the chi rho and numbers like XX which of course refer to the vicennalia. One poem, number 19, is an amazing pictograph which incorporates a ship decorated with these other motifs, and it appears to be a reference to Crispus' naval successes won for Constantine. However, it may also allude to the "ship of state" metaphor familiar to readers of Horace's poems dedicated to Augustus.
Each composition has two poems within it: the first one is the full text; the second one is contained within the inner design. Publilius Optatianus marked out the interior poem in vermilion letters. Therefore, not only the words but the text has been bejewelled. (Roberts, The Jewelled Style: Poetry and poetics in Late Antiquity, 1989). The entire packet was sent to Constantine as part of his petition to be released from exile, and his request appears to have been granted.
The packet of poems therefore represents both panegyric and petition. As is the case in such supplications, the author wants to express praise that is consistent with genuine accomplishments (Nixon and Rodgers, In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini, 1994). The numerous references to the regions of Persia, Arabia, India, Ethiopia, and the Rhine (Poems V and XIV) indicate that Constantine had either made treaties with the peoples of those regions or had won decisive victories. An examination of the language of some of these poems reveals both the ambitions and the accomplishments of Constantine, in the East in particular.
De-sexing the Sexy and Making the Vixen a Violent Femme:
The Arming and the Othering of Maximou the Amazon in the Digenis Akritis
E. Warren Perry, Jr. (Catholic University of America)
Arising from the lore of late antiquity, the Byzantine story of Basil, Digenis Akritis, is loaded with the standard motifs of the epic: sex, swords, and Saracens. What is not traditional about this work, however, is the arming and violent death of the beautiful Amazon and adulteress, Maximou. Whereas the hero in this work, Basil, the Two-blood Border Lord, behaves in many ways which are typical of the heroes of antiquity and the Western epic heroes who would follow his period, Maximou is in no way typical of women in heroic literature. She is armed as a hero is armed; she is known to be a great warrior; and, in the end, she meets her bloody demise at the hands of the protagonist male hero with whom she has but recently had a sexual liaison.
The first part of this paper discusses Maximou's arming and the deliberation with which the Amazon is presented as a warrior, including the discussion of her abilities by Basil's foremost antagonists, Ioannikis, Philopappous, and Kinnamos. Also discussed herein is her role in the battle with the Border Lord, and the traditionally male attributes in her character.
The second part of this paper includes observations on the battle as an allegory of sexual foreplay and the wounding of Maximou as her re-indoctrination into the role of woman. In this analysis the character of Maximou is analyzed on the model of the "othered" individual in this work. This paper concludes with comments concerning Maximou's violent end as the only natural outcome for a character of such unusual status in an otherwise mostly standard set of epic characters.
Aristotle's Acolyte: The Thirteenth-century Greek Translator of De plantis
Elizabeth A. Fisher (The George Washington University)
In 1961 Lotte Labowsky published the prefatory letter written by the translator who rendered into Greek the medieval Latin version of Aristotle's lost work, De plantis ("Aristotles De Plantis and Bessarion (Bessarion Studies II," Medieval and Renaissance Studies 5 , 132-164). Aristotle's original Greek text had been translated into Syriac in antiquity, then into Arabic, and finally, in the twelfth century, into Latin, a catena of circumstance which distinguishes the work as far more interesting for its textual tradition than for its contents. Because the Greek translator of De plantis identifies himself as an "Ausonian," Labowsky concluded that he was a South Italian scholar who reversed the translation practice typical of South Italy, i.e. from Greek to Latin. On the basis of the surviving manuscripts, Labowsky ventured to date the Greek version of De plantis to the second half of the thirteenth century. She reluctantly assigned it to the energetic and prolific "Anonymous."
The prefatory letter accompanying the Greek translation of De plantis invites comparison with the contemporary letter by Manuel Holobolos which prefaced his Greek translation of Boethius' De topicis differentiis and De hypotheticis syllogismis. In this letter, Holobolos refers to his thirteenth-century Byzantine audience as "Ausonians" and employs vegetal imagery, Homeric vocabulary, and scriptural references similar to those noted by Labowsky in the preface to the De plantis translation. Moreover, Holobolos' remarks about contemporary Latin scholarship are consistent with what the anonymous Aristotle translator says of western scholars and of the "Italikos" who gave him the Latin manuscript of De plantis. A comparison of key passages from these two letters supports the conclusion that Holobolos was the translator of the hitherto anonymous Greek version of Aristotle's De plantis and enriches our picture of the relationships existing between Greek and Latin scholars in late thirteenth-century Constantinople.
The Monastery MatejicÑFoundation, Art, and Architecture
Chair: Ida Sinkevic, Lafayette University
The Monastery of Matejič and its Times
Dušan Korać (University of Maryland)
The empire of Stefan Dušan dissolved after his death in 1355 even more hastily than he had assembled it following his conquests during the Byzantine civil wars. A score of greater and smaller lords, the former emperor's high-ranking officials, took effective control of entire regions. However, with the exception of the late emperor's half brother, thoroughly hellenized Siniša-Symeon Palaiologos, who crowned himself emperor and ruled in Thessaly, they all remain legitimists in respect to the crown prince Stefan Uroš, successor to the imperial crown of Serbia and Romania. Effectively his rule did not reach beyond the traditional core lands of the Serbian kingdom in the central Balkans and along the Adriatic shore. His imperial authority was also, though indirectly, respected in the lands ruled by his mother Helen, who, as empress-nun Elisabeth, ruled over Eastern Macedonia with her capital in the city of Serres. This peculiar relationship is well documented in imperial chrysobulla that Stefan Uroš issued to the monasteries of Athos confirming his mother's land donations.
It is the monastery of Matejič, however, that bears the most vivid and telling testimony to the newly evolved concepts of political ideology in the Serbian empire. Following the centuries old tradition of his Nemanjić ancestors, the new emperor founded a new monastery. As emperor, he followed the model introduced by his father, the first among the Serbs to wear the imperial crown, and built his mausoleum near the imperial capital, in this case in the mountains above Skopje. For his imperial foundation, rather than following Nemanjić architectural tradition, he adopted an architectural concept that was Byzantine and Constantinopolitan, as in fact his father before him had done when building his own mausoleum, the monastery of the Holy Archangels near the old Serbian capital of Prizren. The well preserved fresco decoration in the monastery of Matejič, however, testifies to a peculiar dualism of authority, introducing a new element in the Serbian imperial ideology. On his numerous official ruler's portraits, both as king and emperor, Stefan Dušan is always depicted with his wife Helen and their only son between them. In the church of the monastery of Matejič the empress-nun is depicted next to her son wearing a widow's veil. Her political ambitions, however, are carried one step further. Adapting the tradition of the family tree of Nemanjić, so often depicted in churches founded by her late husband, Helen-Elisabeth commissioned a family tree that traced her Bulgarian and Byzantine ancestors. This bold step to legitimize her imperial status through her own lineage, rather than through marriage-related Serbian roots, stands in a strange contrast to her official portrait as widow of the former emperor and mother of the ruling emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks. The times were extraordinary, the status of the last Serbian emperor precarious, and the ideological concepts peculiar. The church of the imperial monastery of Matejič bears an extraordinary testimony to the political ambiguities of the times.
The Church of Assumption of the Virgin at Mateji_. Regional Re-interpretation of Middle Byzantine Constantinopolitan Architecture in the Palaeologan Era?
Jelena Bogdanovi_ (Princeton University)
In 1281 King Stefan Uro_ II Milutin (1282-1321) invaded Byzantine Macedonia. The fear that Thessaloniki might fall to the Serbs led Andronicus II Palaelogus (1282-1328) to arrange a diplomatic marriage of King Milutin and his underage daughter Simonis in 1299. Simonis' dowry included all of the Byzantine territories north of the Ohrid-Pri1ep-_tip line, which the Byzantines were actually never to recover. The territories in question became the core of the prosperous medieval Serbian State in the period of 1282-1392. The treaty established friendly relationship between Serbia and Constantinople, however, resulting in impregnation of Serbian with Byzantine culture. Among the long-lasting consequences of this develoment was the creation of the ideal of Slavo-Byzantine Empire that came to dominate the policy of King Milutin's grandson, King and later Emperor Stefan Uro_ IV Du_an (1331-1355).
The imperial church of the Assumption of the Virgin (Uspenje Bogorodice) at Mateji_ near Kumanovo (F.Y.R.O.M), built ca. 1355 under Emperor Du_an, Empress Jelena and Emperor Uro_, is the subject of this paper. The primary goal is to examine some architectural features of the church at Mateji_, with particular emphasis on its plan and spatial design. The church is also related to the post-1330s architectural development in the area and to fourteenth-century Byzantine architecture in general.
The author suggests that according to the distinctive design features - the use of protruding pilaster at appropriate structural points both on the exterior and interior, employment of 1:Ã5 proportional system - one can assume that the master builder of the Mateji_ church was trained in the contemporary tradition fostered in the Adriatic coast. At the same time, the protomaster seemed to be acquainted with the main features of Middle Byzantine Constantinopolitan architecture and their use - the highly sophisticated cross-in-square design based on a "double square" principle organized around the baldacchino-like church core; the elongated altar space; the use of a horizontal zone of semi cylindric niches; the twelve-sided main dome in the Byzantine five-domed church.
In its design and possible function as a mausoleum, the church at Mateji_ is closely related to the church of Holy Archangels (1343-52) near Prizren, built as the mausoleum church for Emperor Stefan Du_an. Apart from the similar plan, design and possibly corresponding function, however, the two churches differ in execution, which opens the question of "stylistic" awareness of the medieval donor. Moreover, in reference to patronage, quality of execution, tectonics, employment of building techniques and architectural decoration, the church at Mateji_ could relate to another now lost church - the church of the Presentation of the Virgin (Vavedenje) in Skopje, traditionally called the Church of the Virgin Hodigitria (Trojeru_ica). This older Byzantine Episcopal foundation, renewed and raised to the status of an Arch-Episcopal church by King Milutin, was a crowning church for Emperor Stefan Du_an, who raised it to the Patriarchal church in 1346. An attempt at reconstructing the building process of one of the crucial Late Byzantine foundations the imperial church at Mateji_ monastery can yield some exemplary further insights into the process of development of regional idioms within the Byzantine dominion.
Some Observations On The Frescoes Of The Virgin's Church
In The Monastery Of Mateic
Ljubica D. Popovich (Vanderbilt University)
In the early spring of 2002 the Serbian newspaper Politika publicized the news from Skopje that vandals had damaged the church of the monastery of Mateic. Response to the event was minimal in Serbia, except for Dejan Medakovic, and nothing was heard from the rest of the world. One of the purposes of this paper is to draw the attention of scholars to yet another significant loss of Byzantine artistic patrimony.
The katholikon, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, was a foundation of the Serbian tzar Stefan Dusan. After his death in 1355, his widow Jelena and son Uros executed the frescoes, probably between 1356 and 1360. The monastery, an extremely important scriptorium and cultural center in the fifteenth century, was most likely abandoned in the seventeenth century. In the twentieth century it stood roofless and in partial ruins until its restoration in 1934. By that time, exposure to the elements had damaged the fragile frescoes, which originally were painted on a thin, single layer of plaster and in great haste. The fire of 2002 damaged them even further, although it is not possible to determine the exact extent of that damage at this time.
The pentatrurion type church contained one of the largest fresco ensembles in Serbian-held lands, after those of Decani and Gracanica. I am unaware of any attempt to calculate the surface covered by frescoes in the church but judging from its size, it may have exceeded 1360 square meters. Its iconographically rich program contained thirteen narrative cycles, in addition to a number of other independent scenes (e.g., ktitors' portraits, dynastic tree, etc.), and more than 100 preserved and identified standing figures. Although eight narrative cycles show the same choices as in Decani, this fact does not prove the epigonic character of Mateic's program. In contrast to Decani, the Miracles and Parables of Christ are combined rather than separate as in the older church. Furthermore, the Acts of the Apostles, although depicted in both, are iconographically totally independent from each other, Decani following western and Mateic following Constantinopolitan tradition. Inclusion of the Life of St. Anthony the Great, the Miracles of the Archangel, along with a few other subjects contribute to the originality of the Mateic program. Further differences with Decani can be observed in certain formal solutions (e.g., the dynastic tree).
International scholars, concentrating primarily on certain unusual iconographic subjects, have studied the Mateic frescoes, which were executed by a number of anonymous painters. Among Serbian art historians, V. Petkovic provided a detailed list of scenes and figures. S. Radojcic and V. Djuric offered quite different opinions about the style and artistic qualities of these paintings. In this paper I reexamine the ideas of these two scholars. On the basis of the existing visual material from Mateic, I attempt to determine the place of these frescoes in Serbian and Byzantine art, suggesting that they seem to fall between the old "court" style and the new style created to satisfy the needs and interests of the rulers, high clergy, and powerful nobles in the Balkans.
Byzantium between East and West
Chair: Lynn Jones, Yale University
The Balkan Link of the Byzantine Economy
Elisaveta Todorova (University of Cincinnati)
Slavic and other migrants' invasions and settlement on the depopulated Balkan territories of the Eastern Roman Empire contributed to the economic decline of Byzantium. Soon after, however, the Empire recovered and was transformed. Constantinople - thanks to its supreme geopolitical location - now adopted the leading role as a marketplace, becoming the production and consumption center of the Mediterranean world, as well as a model for acculturation.
The new settlers that forged their own states and political identities during the period between the end of the seventh and the tenth centuries, gravitated to the sphere of Byzantium and maintained contacts with it, although no reliable explicit information about trade relations has come down to us. Circumstantial evidence, however, suggests the practice of exchange and the presence of Bulgarian merchants and commodities on the Constantinopolitan market from the eighth century on.
The Macedonian Dynasty's re-conquest of the Balkan lands for the empire united, and to a certain extent unified economically, this territory - an act of mutual benefit for both victors and vanquished, but various factors pushed the conquered people to secede profiting by the political instability in the region in the late twelfth century.
By the time the dust in the Byzantine "West" had settled, new commercial intermediaries were gradually taking over in Constantinople and in other present and former Byzantine territories. Venice and its dependency, Dubrovnik, dominated the commerce in their area with the Venetian perennial rival, Genoa, ready to seize every opportunity to step in. Although Italians were mainly involved in long-distance transactions, leaving interregional trade to Greek, Jewish and Armenian merchants, the role of the Balkan merchants as agents in the organization, frequency, variety and volume of exports can also be traced.
Some of the Balkan merchants still retained Constantinople as a destination, feeding the market and the population there up to the last days in the City's independent existence.
Did Charlemagne Sack Constantinople?
Western Charlemagne Legends as Anti-Byzantine Propaganda (c. 1000-1204)
David A. Michelson (Princeton University)
Charles the Great's revival of the imperial title in 800 brought into focus tensions between Constantinople and its western neighbors. In later centuries, this political rivalry between East and West continued to increase. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it festered as Norman and crusader armies infringed on Byzantine territory. In 1204, it reached an ignoble apex when the army of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, eventually placing a westerner on the Byzantine throne. The events of 1204, unprecedented in the history of the Byzantine capital, were not entirely without precedent in the imagination of the West. Although the historical Charles had never set foot in either Jerusalem or Constantinople, the exploits of his legendary persona, Charlemagne, had made him an exemplary progenitor for such crusading knights. At Clermont, Urban II recalled Charlemagne's victories to promote the crusader ethos. As the crusading movement developed, the crusaders refashioned Charlemagne's exploits to reflect the realities of their own era, particularly their growing conflicts with Byzantium.
This paper examines how these western hostilities toward Byzantium were expressed in (and reinforced by) the Charlemagne literature redacted in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In particular, it traces these attitudes though changes in the way that various legends portrayed Byzantine imperial authority. For example, the relatively historical ninth-century Vita Karoli had portrayed Charlemagne as anxious to waylay Byzantine fears of rivalry through diplomacy. By the end of the twelfth century, however, the P?lerinage de Charlemagne Jrusalem et Constantinople told the farcical tale of a vanquished Constantinople submitting (through divine intervention) to Carolingian suzerainty. This paper surveys the development of this change through intermediary sources including the Chanson de Roland and various forged documents from St.-Denis.
While a few Byzantinists have examined references to Byzantium in the legends of Charlemagne before, this paper is the first study to consider multiple texts together. This chronological approach reveals how and when the portrayals of Byzantium vis--vis Charlemagne changed. It also gives an insight into the motives behind these changes. Providing an ample response to Byzantine claims of imperial sovereignty, the legends of Charlemagne's conquest of Constantinople had a popular appeal in the West and among the crusaders. As propaganda, they provided three justifications for the crusader animosity toward Constantinople. First, they gave a sense of divine legitimacy to the Latins as the true inheritors of the imperial title. Second, they invented a history within which Greek hostility toward the Latin crusaders could be traced back to the days of Charlemagne. Third, the legends created an historical precedent for forcing Byzantium to submit to western hegemony. Thus, when certain crusaders had the opportunity to conquer Constantinople in 1204, they already had in the Charlemagne legends a rhetorically powerful assurance that God and history were on their side.
St. Catherine East and West: Two Icons
Brandie Ratliff, Columbia University
The Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai is one of the most important pilgrimage sites associated with the Byzantine Empire; yet, evidence suggests that the monastery and its relics had little draw for the average Byzantine. Of the surviving Sinai pilgrim accounts, only two Greek accounts pre-date the fifteenth century. St. Catherine was a well-known saint in Byzantium. Her portrait appears in a number of churches where her image is placed alongside other popular female saints, such as St. Barbara or St. Irene, but no significant evidence exists to suggest that there was a special cult dedicated to the saint and her relics. In contrast, a major cult dedicated to St. Catherine existed in Western Europe by the end of the eleventh century, around the same time that the abbey of the Holy Trinity in Rouen claimed to have the relics of the saint.
This paper investigates the nature of the dedication to Catherine in Byzantium and the West, and in particular why an eastern saint whose relics were housed in a Byzantine monastery would have more appeal for a Western audience than a Byzantine one. I focus my discussion on two icons of St. CatherineÑthe Vita Icon of St. Catherine from Mt. Sinai and the Icon of St. Catherine with scenes from her life by a Pisan painter, housed in the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo di Pisa. While these icons have been considered in relation to one another, discussion has focused almost exclusively on the transmission of Byzantine style to Italy. Although the Italian panel is clearly dependant on a Byzantine model, the painter has not produced a slavish imitation. Instead, the artist has introduced a number of changes, fashioning an image suitable for a Western audience. Of particular interest is the inclusion of a scene depicting the translation of Catherine's body to Mt. Sinai by angelsÑan episode not included on the Sinai iconÑthereby creating a link to the monastery that is not claimed by the other icon. My examination of the panels focuses on this and other changes introduced by the Pisan painter, which may help to elucidate the differences in the reception of St. Catherine in Byzantium and the West.
Islamic Influence on Heraldic Symbols in Byzantium
Scott Redford (Georgetown University)
Beginning in the eleventh century, contact with the Seljuk Empire in Iran, Iraq, and eastern Anatolia exposed Byzantium to the signs of sovereignty of the eastern Islamic world. That the Byzantines understood Seljuk signs of sovereignty is shown by Ibn al-Athir's account of the rebuilding of the mosque in Constantinople. In the mihrab of the mosque, the Byzantines placed a bow and arrow, emblems of the Seljuk state.
After the eleventh century, other Islamic insigniaÑsymbols of office or dynastic ruleÑbecome widespread on Byzantine buildings and garments. This wholesale adoption of the vocabulary of power of the medieval eastern Islamic world has perhaps been overlooked by Byzantinists due to the familiar nature of many of the symbols. The asterisk, the fleur-de-lis and the so-called knot of Solomon are examples of motifs present in Byzantium that become widespread only after the eleventh century. I argue that this proliferation is due to the prestige and proximity of Anatolian Seljuk state and the use of these and other symbols on Islamic coinage, metalwork, silks, and other high-status items. Their adoption by Byzantium is coeval with, but different from, the adaptation of Islamic heraldic motifs by the Franks of the Outremer. The use of the symbols is closer to their use in neighboring Islamic dynasties, betraying a greater familiarity with the Islamic world in Byzantium. By the time of the Palaeologan dynasty, almost all depictions of kings or emperors show them wearing garments with the three dots of the chintemani, a Turco-Mongol symbol of sovereignty.
Anatolian Seljuk art, architecture, and coinage furnish examples of the kinds of works that could have provided vectors for the transferal of motifs through embassies, gifts of vassalage, and other modes of exchange between medieval Byzantium and its Islamic neighbors. This is not a one-way transfer, although the Komnenian and Palaeologan dynasties came increasingly under the sway of symbols of Islamic sovereignty.
Kariye Camii Reconsidered
Chair: Sharon Gerstel, University of Maryland, College Park
More Cracks in the Dome of Heaven
Robert Ousterhout (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
When the Byzantine Institute of America undertook its extensive program of cleaning and consolidation at the Kariye Camii in 1948-60, the major conservation problems concerned a great crack running through the building - fracturing the "Dome of Heaven" which contained the unique scene of the Last Judgment. Otherwise, the surviving frescoes were discovered to be in pristine condition, their colors as brilliant as the day they were painted. Not so today. The rapid growth of Istanbul's population has increased the levels of humidity and pollution throughout the city. Crowds of visitors have also raised the level of humidity inside the building, which may be compounded by the lush garden planted close to its foundations, as well as by leaks in the roof and windows. The results are all too visible: in the parekklesion, the painted plaster has crumbled away at floor level, and efflorescence or 'bloom' now obscures many painted scenes. Many of the important pentimenti, such as the little black devils in the Last Judgment, have flaked away.
The mosaics have fared better but are also challenged. Protective covers of plexiglas on the wall icons have created micro-environments in which the humidity is concentrated, causing the setting plaster to crumble. Now if the plexiglas is removed, a portion of the mosaic will come with it. Emergency measures were taken in 2001 to stabilize the vault mosaics in the southwest bay, and similar repairs have been effected over the years. But half a century after the great restoration that brought the Kariye Camii to scholarly attention, it is desperately in need of additional work.
What is to be done? First, a careful evaluation of the status of the building, its mosaics and frescoes, is required, followed by a comprehensive program of conservation, regular monitoring, and possibly the installation of climate controls. In this paper, I shall illustrate the conservation problems in the building and discuss the measures now being taken (or at least discussed) to rescue one of our finest surviving examples of Byzantine art.
Saints and State at the Chora
Robert S. Nelson (University of Chicago)
The industry of its people, the prowess of its military, and the effectiveness of its culture and religion ultimately sustained the power of the Byzantine Empire and its emperor. Contemporary representations of that power, however, credited divine protection, not human agency. Such powerful alliances were to be cultivated and advertised widely, but they became more urgent in periods, like the early Palaiologan, when authority and power were none to secure for those in high places. One such person was Theodore Metochites. The mosaic decoration of his donation, the church of the Chora serves to justify Metochites' career, as I have argued elsewhere. For the present paper, I want to extend this line of thought and to focus on the selection and depiction of saints in the outer narthex, especially the full length figures. While many are damaged and thus devoid of identifying inscriptions, enough survives to indicate a close relation with the local aristocracy generally and with the emperor and his chief minister, more particularly. When read against contemporary imperial art, the saints of the Chora exonarthex can be shown to reinforce other aspects of the program in the transitional spaces of the church.
The Role of the Byzantine Institute in the Conservation of Kariye Camii
Natalia Teteriatnikov (Dumbarton Oaks)
The Byzantine Institute of America, founded by Thomas Whittemore in 1931 in Boston, was a pioneer institution in the survey, preservation, and study of Byzantine monuments in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, after World War I and World War II. This paper examines the changes within this Institution after World War II and during the time of the conservation of Kariye Camii.
The Byzantine Institute was established as a charitable foundation, and Thomas Whittemore served as its director. Hagia Sophia was the first monument that the Byzantine Institute took under its wing. During this enormous enterprise, Whittemore was the fundraiser, and the manager of staff, equipment, and supplies. He served as an officer of the State Department, dealt with public relations, exhibitions, and publications. He was a one-man show. This work lasted for over twenty years, mostly before World War II, with a few years of interruption, and then continued after the war.
In 1947, the work on Kariye Camii began. Radical changes in the management of the project happened immediately after Thomas Whittemore's death in 1950. It seemed that there was no person who would be able to replace him professionally and financially in carrying out the fieldwork projects of such a scale in Istanbul. It became clear that without institutional protection and professional management, it would be impossible to carry on a project of such magnitude.
In June of 1950, there was a necessary reorganization of the Institute. John Nicholas Brown became President of the Byzantine Institute. It is not surprising that he turned to Dumbarton Oaks - a leading institution in the United States with special interest in Byzantine field. Paul Underwood was appointed as associate Professor of Architecture and Archaeology to Dumbarton Oaks. He was also elected as the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute. This paper examines the role of Dumbarton Oaks in the successful managing of activities of the Byzantine Institute: fundraising, hiring professional staff, conservation, and publications. This happy alliance between the Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks lasted until 1962 when all Byzantine Institute fieldwork activities were transferred to Dumbarton Oaks.
Restoring Byzantium: The Rediscovery and Restoration of the Kariye Camii
Holger A. Klein (Columbia University)
Concurrent with the Metropolitan Museum's large-scale exhibition Byzantium: Faith and Power, which will be devoted to the arts and culture of the Late and Post-Byzantine periods, Columbia University's Wallach Art Gallery is currently preparing an exhibition on the Byzantine Institute of America's restoration of the Kariye Camii during the 1950s and 60s. Complementing the Metropolitan Museum's presentation of Late Byzantine objets d'art, Columbia's exhibition will focus on the history, scholarly rediscovery, and restorations of the church of the monastery of Christ in Chora (Kariye Camii) and its famous mosaic and frescoe decoration.
Focusing on the archaeological, archival, and photographic material that will form part of the exhibtion, this paper presents some of the lesser known aspects of the monument's history and historiography and addresses the challenges involved in the re-presentation of one of the key monuments of Byzantine architectural history in the context of a museum exhibition.
Chair: Walter Hanak, Shepard College
The Naval Operations in the Siege of Constantinople 1453:
Sultan Mehmed II Fatih, the New Xerxes
Marios Philippides (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Modern studies of the siege and fall of Constantinople in 1453 suffer from over reliance on in-depth military analysis of the operations on the land sector that have mostly repeated verbatim accounts of the fall composed by authors who were not eyewitnesses to the events. What complicates the picture further is that no attention has been paid to the strategic role of the operations on the naval sector. Sultan Mehmed II Fatih was a competent strategist and a brilliant tactician who did not rely exclusively on a single, monolithic approach; on the contrary, his strong point consisted of a flexibility that enabled him to modify his methods according to the demands of the situation. Above all, his talents included the indispensable quality that marks a sound military strategist; he adapted his methods appropriately to unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances, as becomes evident upon examination of the engagements on the naval sector.
When, for instance, his fleet was defeated by four hopelessly outnumbered western ships that had come to the relief of Constantinople, Mehmed reacted with lightning speed and put into operation a daring plan that he had already conceived in meticulous detail: he transferred his lighter boats over the hills of Pera and launched them into the Golden Horn, thus by-passing the blocked entrance of the harbor of Constantinople and forcing the defenders to transfer troops from the land walls in order to guard a section of the sea walls that had been previously neglected, because the defenders had enjoyed undisputed command of the Golden Horn thus far. This stratagem impressed all eyewitnesses among the defenders, and Mehmed earned the praise of his enemies, well versed in classical literature, who compared him to Xerxes and to Alexander the Great (when he added a bridge to assist his fleet that had been launched into the Golden Horn). Nevertheless, we should note the remarkable prejudice in their assumption that the sultan and his high command would have been incapable of planning and implementing such an impressive maneuver; they attributed the transfer of the fleet overland to the Golden Horn to western engineers in the pay of the sultan.
Although the operations in the harbor produced spectacular isolated skirmishes, still, in the final analysis, the naval operations conducted by both sides were subordinate to the land operations. Offense and defense concentrated their efforts on penetrating and demolishing, or on defending the land walls. The sultan's navy was used simply as a diversion with the purpose of forcing the defenders to divide their forces and minimize the defense of the western, land walls, where all the decisive engagements took place. Unlike the siege of Constantinople in 1204, when the crusaders penetrated the city from the sea walls, the Ottoman navy in 1453 played a supporting role and its action was subordinated to the land operations.
This paper offers an analysis of the operations in the naval sector in 1453 and further attempts to explain the circumstances of the unexpectedly successful exodus of the Venetian fleet during the sack, taking into account the evidence that is provided by the epitaph recorded on the Venetian commander's tomb, which has been neglected by modern scholarship and by historians of the fall of Constantinople.
Pleas for Divine Intervention during the 1453 Siege of Constantinople
Srdjan Rajkovic (UCLA)
Throughout the history of Byzantium, saints were invoked in times of crisis, especially during the sieges of cities. On several occasions the Byzantines attributed the salvation of their capital to the intervention of the Virgin, patroness of Constantinople. In the Byzantine imagination, battle was fought on two planes. While the emperor with his valiant army beat back the enemy, the patriarch and the bishops kept up the religious fervor of the people. The invocation of saints was a ritualized means of mobilizing the internal forces of the city. Whenever the outcome of the critical situation for which the divine help had been summoned was advantageous for the Byzantines, it was understood that divine favor testified to, and confirmed, their virtue, righteousness, and the moral primacy.
This paper shows that during the siege of Constantinople in 1453 by sultan Mehmed II the situation in the Byzantine capital was essentially different from all previous experiences, and that the Byzantines displayed a different attitude regarding pleas for the intercession of the saints. Despair and hopelessness were the prevailing sentiments among the city's inhabitants. Now calls for the help of the Virgin Mary had a different function. Instead of boosting the morale of the defenders, the religious ceremonies resembled a solemn, anticipated commemoration of the inevitable capture of the city and defeat of its emperor.
I contend that during the siege of Constantinople in 1453 there was a self-conscious realization that the saints would not intercede this time and grant the Byzantines victory. The historical and rhetorical works of the epoch are full of harsh judgments and claims that God and the saints had turned away from the Byzantines in their hour of despair. But even though the Byzantines blamed their catastrophe on their own sins and transgressions against the Orthodox faith, it can be proved that the city's residents still kept their faith that the saints would act on their behalf. This time, however, divine help was needed for a different kind of battle. Instead of victory on the battlefield, the Byzantines were hoping for victory through martyrdom. Furthermore, I endeavor to prove that in the written testimonies about this catastrophe, the genres of history and hagiography merge, forging what we might call passio Constantinopolitana.
The Cult of the Saints
Chair: Alice-Mary Talbot, Dumbarton Oaks
In Heaven As It Is On Earth:
Early Christian Visions of the New Jerusalem
Andrea Olsen (Yale University)
A review of early sources shows that Christians did not look to the earthly city of Jerusalem with eschatological expectation. The Book of Revelation,for example, portrays the New Jerusalem as a paradisiacal city with gem-encrusted walls that bears no resemblance to the first-century city of Jerusalem. Furthermore, Christians believed that when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 C.E., God was justly punishing the Jews. It is therefore paradoxical that the earliest extant representations of the heavenly Jerusalem, which date from the fifth and sixth centuries, include eschatological images from the Bible alongside architectural features of the earthly city of Jerusalem. Why did images from the earthly city of Jerusalem begin to appear in apocalyptic scenes of the New Jerusalem? How can we account for this drastic change in early Christian perspective? This elevation of the city of Jerusalem in the fourth century can be, in large part, attributed to Constantine's patronage of Christian sites in and around Jerusalem and the rapid growth in pilgrimage to these sites. Eusebius' words at the dedication of the Holy Sepulcher clearly illustrate Jerusalem's newfound importance when he called Constantine's complex "the New Jerusalem."
The apse mosaic at the Church of Santa Pudenziana in Rome, which has been dated to the early fifth century, is a depiction of the heavenly Jerusalem. Christ is enthroned in the center, surrounded by his twelve apostles. The architectural similarities between the gabled structure with twelve gates behind Christ and the Martyrium of Constantine's Church of the Holy Sepulcher are well documented. However, the fact that this mosaic represents a new innovation in the Christian perception of Jerusalem has not been thoroughly treated.
The mosaic decoration the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome dates from the sixth century. The dominant theme of the program is the new heaven and earth that will come when Christ returns. On either side of the apse are images of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, both pilgrimage cities associated with Jesus' life and death. Again, the new heaven pictured here deviates from the Biblical text in that it includes recognizable architectural structures from sixth-century Jerusalem, including a large, colonnaded street; a distinctive hanging lamp that resembles those associated with the Holy Sepulcher; and red, gabled roofs of Christian churches.
These late Antique representations, which depict Jerusalem as simultaneously a physical reality and an eschatological expectation, disregard the Christian texts that present a vision of a purely heavenly city. They can be understood best as composite images that reveal a contemporary understanding of Jerusalem. I suggest that this conflation of the heavenly with the earthly Jerusalem is largely due to Constantine's sponsorship of Christian buildings in the fourth century and the development of two interconnected popular phenomena: Christian pilgrimage and veneration of relics. In this paper I examine the specific ways in which these factors combine to re-invent Christians' understanding of the earthly Jerusalem.
Ancestors as Icons:
The Lives of Hebrew Saints in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica
Aaron Johnson (University of Colorado, Boulder)
A striking passage from Eusebius of Caesarea's great apologetic work the Praeparatio Evangelica, written sometime between 313 and 324AD, offers a fascinating glimpse into the conceptual underpinnings of the Christian appropriation of the Jewish past. In so doing, it simultaneously exhibits the hagiographical impulse at an embryonic stage of the writing of saints' lives. The passage in question, PE 7.7.1-4, asserts that Moses had composed an account of the lives of the ancient Hebrews to serve as a preface to his law. The literary images (eikones) of these Hebrew ancestors were to portray the distinctive virtues of each, "engraving them as if in the image of a painting." The metaphor of painting for the writing of a person's life became a common topos in later saints' lives; but Eusebius' Praeparatio offers one of the earliest of such conceptions of the hagiographical task.
My discussion of this passage centers around the two following issues. First, locating Eusebius' application of the metaphor of painting for the writing of a person's life in Philo of Alexandria (De Abrahamo 3-4), Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis 4.5.3-4), and Plutarch (Vita Alexandri 1.2-3), provides a basis for more fully appreciating the particularities of Eusebius' approach. The more descriptive use of the metaphor found in Plutarch (and later followed by Eusebius in his Vita Constantini 1.10-11) is conjoined with the prescriptive use of the metaphor in Philo and Clement, where the written images of the ancestors become models (paradeigmata) to emulate. Second, I want to highlight the importance of this passage within the overall argument of the Praeparatio. It plays an indispensable role in Eusebius' polemic against both Greeks and Jews, both of whom are depicted as morally weaker, chronologically later, and philosophically dependant upon the Hebrew "friends of God". Eusebius represents the Greek and Jewish peoples as having inferior "national character" to that embodied in the lives of the Hebrew forefathers.
Analysis of this often overlooked text contributes to the study of Christian biographical and hagiographical writings, the incorporation of the Hebrew past into the Christian memory, and Eusebius' apologetic methodology.
The Cult of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr in Late Antiquity
Maribel Dietz (Louisiana State University)
This paper explores the beginnings and early spread of the cult of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr paying particular attention to the role of female patronage. Unlike most other martyrs, Stephen was not killed during Roman persecutions, but was instead put to death after a trial by the Jewish court of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, the account of which is preserved in the book of Acts. The beginning of his cult can be pinpointed with an accuracy that is uncommon for the late antique period. It was the purported discovery of his body in 415 AD that marked the start of his cult. This discovery is well documented in a series of accounts written by the discoverer Lucian, his friend Avitus, and John, the bishop of Jerusalem.
Although the cult was initially centered in Jerusalem, it was unlike any local martyr cult - it quickly gained "international" status. Early shrines appear in North Africa, Spain and Italy as the relics of Stephen began to move around the Mediterranean. In Africa his cult took on healing characteristics and even the elderly bishop Augustine of Hippo gave sermons on Stephen's power and presence in Hippo. Stephen's relics rested in at least three different North African sites, all of which became important centers of pilgrimage activity and remained so until the Vandal invasion in the mid-fifth century. At least three fifth-century Byzantine empresses took a great interest in Stephen: Eudocia, wife of the Emperor Theodosius II, built a large church to Stephen in Jerusalem; Galla Placidia, mother of Valentinian III, built a church to Stephen at Rimini in Italy; Pulcheria, a daughter, sister, and wife of emperors, led the procession welcoming the relic of Stephen's arm into Constantinople. In Rome, a wealthy noblewoman donated property and funds to construct a large, and architecturally unique church, Santo Stefano Rotondo. On the island of Minorca, just off the Spanish coast, the local bishop, Severus, used relics of St. Stephen in his violent campaign to convert the Jewish community of that island by force. Some scholars believe that the cult of Stephen took on a particular anti-Jewish character in many of its manifestations due to the circumstances of his death at the hands of Jews.
This paper examines the available literary material surrounding the establishment of the cult in 415 AD and its spread. It explores the methods of promoting a new cult and creating new pilgrimage centers, with special attention to the involvement of imperial women and other women in the cult. Material evidence, such as the many early churches dedicated to Stephen, are integrated into this study. This paper also pursues possible connections between the early cult of St. Stephen and anti-Semitic activity during late antiquity outside of the famous example in Minorca. The cult of St. Stephen sheds light on the phenomenon of martyr cults and the role of female patronage during late antiquity.
Pastoral Care and Spiritual Guidance
Chair: Eric Ivison, CUNY-College of Staten Island
Food, Clothing, Shelter, These Three
Martha Vinson (Indiana University)
Conferences such as Material Culture and Well-Being in Byzantium (400-1453), organized by Anna Muthesius at the University of Cambridge in September, 2001, mark a welcome shift in focus from the body as a sexual or gendered entity toward a more inclusive understanding of what it meant to be physically alive in the Byzantine world. But, while architectural history is a well developed subfield of Byzantine Studies and recent conferences at the Universities of Birmingham and Adelaide reflect the growing interest on the part of Byzantinists in food production and consumption, to date relatively little attention has been paid to the third necessity of life, clothing. That clothing did constitute a necessity of Byzantine life is explicitly attested by Gregory Nazianzen in Or. 44.7. Indeed, this passage as well as others in the Gregorian corpus show not only that clothing is just as important as food and shelter, but also that the use and abuse of these three necessities represent a far greater concern to this church father than issues involving sex and sexuality.
In many respects, Gregory's attitude towards clothing resembles that displayed by both his Christian and non-Christian peers, but there are significant differences as well. To begin with, Gregory follows the practice of other church fathers in using clothing as a metaphor, as in Or. 6.1 when he compares the body of the faithful to the seamless garment of John 19.23. Gregory's use of clothing in its literal sense is no less well developed. Expensive clothes figure in Gregory's homilies as an external marker of socio-economic status and sign of conspicuous consumption that should be curbed. Unlike the authors of Greco-Roman sumptuary laws and other church fathers such as Tertullian, however, Gregory did not target women or view this particular form of excess in gender-specific terms. Nevertheless, Appearances could be deceptive, and humble garb did not necessarily guarantee humility of spirit, as Gregory learned to his cost from the peudo-Cynic Maximus-Hero, whose monastic habit cloaked a greedy and conniving interior.
Gregory couples this objective approach with a subjective and sensual appreciation of clothing. In other words, Gregory not only cares about how clothes look, but how they feel as well. Garments are thus described in tactile terms that emphasize their softness or the fluidity of their movement against the body. Nor is this sensuality limited to fabric: Gregory takes a similar approach in his treatment of food, as for example when he describes the sensation of a meal sliding down the gullet in Or. 44.6. In Gregory Nazianzen's homilies, then, clothing figures along with food and shelter as one of life's necessities, and like them is treated in terms of excess and deficiency from both an objective and subjective point of view.
The Art of Arts: Spiritual Direction according to St. Gregory Nazianzen
George E. Demacopoulos (Fordham University)
At the request of his father, Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) joined the priesthood in the fall of 361. Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of office, Gregory soon took refuge in his former monastic community at Pontus. By Easter of the following year, however, he was back in the parish, having accepted his clerical duties. In the second of his famous orations, Apologeticus de fuga, Gregory explained his ambivalence: on the one hand he believes himself to be unqualified for the priesthood; on the other hand, he knows that the Church needs leaders. Gregory returned to Nazianzus because the good of the Church outweighed his suffering. But the oration is more than a simple apology - it presents Gregory's detailed vision of pastoral care. More importantly, the text became the blueprint for spiritual direction in the Byzantine Church, influencing all subsequent pastoral literature (including John Chrysostom's De Sacerdotis).
In Christian antiquity, two distinct approaches to pastoral leadership emerged: one clerical, the other ascetic. The clerical model stressed the importance of doctrinal instruction. Pious behavior and ritual performance were less important than theological conformity. Here, the three functions of the priest were the instruction of doctrine, the celebration of the sacraments and the distribution of the Church's charity. For many clerics, education and social class were the principal criteria for selecting new priests. In contrast, the ascetic model emphasized a more interactive spiritual father/spiritual disciple relationship. Every monk had a spiritual mentor who employed a range of pastoral devices to enable the gradual advancement of his prot?g?s. In this ascetic model, experience and ascetic perfection established one's spiritual authority. Gregory's treatise was innovative because it was the first to combine these two traditions. From the clerical side, Gregory maintained the importance of doctrinal conformity and insisted that authority resided with the episcopacy. From the ascetic tradition, Gregory embraced renunciatory prowess as the standard for ordination and extended the spiritual father/spiritual disciple model of supervision to the laity. Though an absolute synthesis eluded him, Gregory went further than any before him in presenting a pastoral model that would have currency in both the monastic and lay environments.
Gregory continued to articulate a pastoral vision after the composition of Apologeticus de fuga. For example, his funeral orations of St. Basil and St. Athanasius detail the techniques of spiritual direction. He identifies Basil and Athanasius as saintly bishops specifically because they incorporated their ascetic ideals into the administration of their office.
This paper identifies Gregory's method of spiritual direction as an attempt to bridge the ascetic and clerical pastoral traditions. It also situates Gregory in his historical and theological context by identifying those authors and institutions with whom he was conversant.
Sinners as Debtors: Intercessory Power and Textuality in Early Byzantium
(Claudia Rapp, UCLA)
The language of banking is often used in Early Byzantine texts to describe the accumulation of sins and its effect. Baptismal instructions, in particular, often speak of the godparent as 'standing surety' for the appropriate conduct of the adult catechumen. Anecdotes in hagiographical texts describe concrete applications of this concept, when one person offers to carry the burden of the sins of another who has stumbled on the road to salvation. This personÑoften a holy man, but sometimes a simple monkÑ is able to do so because of the abundance of his own good deeds, the benefits of which he can share freely with others.
The first part of this paper illustrates this process of vicarious penance. The second part of this paper explores an idea that is related to the notion of a 'heavenly bank account' of good deeds, namely the concept of a written account of sins, either in an abstract heavenly book, or on a concrete sheet of papyrus or parchment.
Already Saint Anthony encouraged his monks to write down every day their bad thoughts and deeds as part of their spiritual practice. Several hagiographical stories tell of men and women who wrote down their misdeeds and presented the sealed document to a holy man or placed it on a saint's tomb, only to find their writing miraculously erased. In later centuries, spiritual fathers even issued written safe-conducts to heaven which were placed on the body of a deceased disciple.
An exploration of this under-studied aspect of the interaction between holy men and their followers will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the nature of intercessory power. At the same time, it will draw attention to conceptualizations of the act of writing and of the presence of written word in Byzantium.
Adultery in the Heart: Sexual Fantasy as a Problem in Late Byzantine Canon Law
Patrick Viscuso (Chantilly, Virginia)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5: 27) Canon law often regulates the outward behavior of clergy and laity. Motive and intention are considered when the severity of sinfulness is being judged. The main focus of such legislation is the physical act, which is regarded as the culmination of the sin.
Nevertheless, there exist Byzantine canonical regulations that concentrate on inward behavior and mental activity. In particular, certain categories of thought are viewed as sinful. Without any physical manifestation, for example, sexual thoughts, are considered spiritually polluting and variously affecting the handling of sacred objects by clergy and laity.
This study examines the canonical regulations governing sexual fantasies in late Byzantine law, especially in relation to the celebration and reception of the Eucharist. The major focus is on less examined, late Byzantine canonical sources including commentaries, ecclesiastical responses, and synodal decisions. Topics explored include the definition of spiritual pollution and the fixing of ritual patterns of behavior between secular and religious classes. Conclusions not only address Byzantine canonical regulations, but contribute to a broader understanding of spiritual hierarchy, social order, and the dialectical relationship between clergy and laity in late Byzantine society.
Chair: John Barker, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"A Council that Shook the Whole World":
Conflict and Contest in the Century after Chalcedon
Michael Gaddis (Syracuse University)
Zacharias Rhetor called it "the Council that shook the whole world". Chalcedon, convened in 451 with the intention of ending division in the church, ultimately led to permanent schism. The council represented a clash between the agendas of theologians and ideologues, who saw the synod as a venue for drawing sharp lines between orthodox truth and heretical falsehood, and the priorities of imperial authorities who sought consensus above all, as a means of ending controversy, suppressing debate, and preventing schism. The bishops at Chalcedon faced a dilemma. How could they "define more precisely", in order to address new controversies, a faith supposedly settled for all time at Nicaea? The Chalcedonian definition simultaneously attempted to strike a balance between tradition and invention, to incorporate the best of both Antiochene and Alexandrian Christology, to claim fidelity both to Cyril and to Leo, and to position itself as a sensible middle way between the opposite extremes of Eutyches and Nestorius.
This raised a question of authority: what gave a council its legitimacy, and what were the limits on what it could do? When bishops signed on to the controversial definition, for whom did they speak, and by what right? Council participants not only claimed to have authority over the whole church, but also presumed to speak in the name of dead Fathers and previous councils in asserting the ability and the right to interpret or "clarify" what their predecessors had meant. The bishops appealed to hierarchical principle and apostolic succession - but individual bishops could easily forfeit that position when they abused their office or fell into heresy. The engineered unanimity of conciliar pronouncements was believed, ideally, to reflect inspiration by the Holy Spirit. But what if a present council seemed to contradict the truths expressed by councils past? Opponents painted Chalcedon as a false council, at which bishops and emperors conspired to overturn the true faith of Nicaea and replace it with Nestorian heresy.
"Monophysite" opponents defined their identity less by a common theological program than by what they were against - Chalcedon, and the corruption and betrayal associated with it. But having turned their backs on imperial and conciliar authority, they themselves became vulnerable to further disagreement and schism within their own ranks. Moderate leaders who attempted to reach accommodation were challenged by extremists who demanded nothing less than the condemnation of the hated council. Chalcedonians, in turn, ridiculed their opponents for their "hesitancy" and lack of hierarchical order. Imperial authorities, meanwhile, made a series of attempts to end the schism that combined compromise formulae with a muscular enforcement of consensus, ironically the same strategy that had led to Chalcedon in the first place. The Council of Chalcedon had originally been designed to bring an end to controversy - but subsequent ecclesiastical history shows that Chalcedon itself had become the problem.
Missed Opportunity: The Council of Ferrara-Florence and the Use of Maximus the Confessor's Theology of the Filioque
A. Edward Siecienski (Fordham University)
This paper examines the filioque debates of the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-1439) and how the theology of Maximus the Confessor (c.580-662) was used to mediate between the Latin and Byzantine positions in the attempt to achieve union. Maximus' writings on the filioque should have provided a solid patristic framework for resolving the centuries old dispute, and the fact that it was not adopted by the council fathers helps to explain the ultimate failure of Florence to reunite the divided Church. Had the witness of Maximus been accepted, the history of the council, and ultimately of Byzantium itself, may have been very different.
Between the 13th and the 15th centuries, various attempts had been made to reconcile (or to defend) the theologies of East and West regarding the filioque. The position of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) became paradigmatic for the West, arguing for the filioque on theological, ecclesiological and patristic grounds. In the East, especially after the unsuccessful reunion council held at Lyons in 1274, Byzantine theologians (such as Gregory of Cyprus, Gregory Palamas and Nilus Cabasilas) attempted to defend the Eastern view while answering Latin critiques about the eternal relationship between Son and Spirit. When another reunion council was convoked at Ferrara in 1438, it was hoped that the issue could finally be resolved, with both sides relying on the witness of the common fathers and doctors of antiquity.
Midway through the prolonged debates at Ferrara-Florence, the Greeks produced a text from Maximus the Confessor that they believed could resolve the issue of the filioque. Maximus was a Byzantine monk who had spent several years in both Africa and Rome, recognized by Greeks and Latins alike as a bulwark against the monothelites. Thus his writings were well positioned to assume a mediating role between East and West. Although the text, taken from his Letter to Marinus (PG 91, 136), had originally been composed as a defense of the Latin position, the Greek delegates maintained it was consistent with their own trinitarian understanding and thus could serve as a basis for reunion.
In the letter, Maximus claimed that the Romans, "Éhave not made the Son the cause of the Spirit - they know in fact that the Father is the only cause of the Son and the Spirit, the one by begetting and the other by procession." Surprisingly, the Latins rejected this proposal (believing the Son to be a cause, albeit a secondary one, of the Holy Spirit), but convinced the Greek hierarchs (with the notable exception of Mark of Ephesus) to agree to union nonetheless. However, the bulk of Eastern Christendom never recognized the validity of Florence and within months a majority of the Greek delegates recanted their assent. All hope of resolving the filioque dispute temporarily ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and it would be centuries until real discussion of the issue could resume. This paper demonstrates that had more thought been given by the council fathers to Maximus' theology, the situation might well have been different.
Tradition and Innovation in Conciliar Procedure: The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39)
Constantina Scourtis (UCLA)
The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) was unlike any ecclesiastical council convoked before or since. Its goal was to reunite the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. The only way union could be achieved was through an authority both churches could recognize - an ecumenical council. An ecumenical council, by definition, was one whose decisions were recognized as binding on the entire Church. Although both churches were united in their adherence to the first seven ecumenical councils (4th-8th centuries), they had developed different criteria for establishing ecumenicity. For the Eastern Orthodox, a council needed to be attended and approved by the persons or representatives of the five patriarchs - the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem - as symbolizing the consensus of the entire Church. The Roman Catholics required only the approval of the Pope, in whom, according to the Petrine doctrine, resided full teaching authority. Prior to Ferrara-Florence, reunion had been attempted at the Second Council of Lyons (1274). The authority of that council was rejected by the Orthodox because union had been arranged on Catholic terms between the Pope and the Byzantine emperor, without the consent of the Eastern Patriarchs or the laity. The Papacy had refused to debate the Orthodox over contested points of doctrine it believed had already been defined by the teaching and practice of the Roman church. It was not until the challenge posed to papal authority by the western Conciliar Movement in the fifteenth century that the Popes were willing to meet the Orthodox at a council which would satisfy the criteria for ecumenicity held by both parties.
But it was not enough for the Catholics and Orthodox to agree in principle to meet at an ecumenical council. Once they were there, they needed to agree upon the methods by which they would examine, debate, and hopefully resolve their differences. This paper examines the unfolding procedural problems the Council faced. Would the Council follow the model of the ecumenical councils held prior to the schism, the councils held under the presidency of the Pope in the West since the twelfth century, or those of the fifteenth-century Conciliar Movement? Would the Pope, or the Byzantine emperor, preside? When examining disputed points of doctrine, what methods would each side employ to make its case, and to which authorities would they appeal? Focusing on the debates over the addition of the Filioque to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, I explore the ways in which this Council appealed to the precedents of previous ecumenical councils. The two sides interpreted these precedents differently, reflecting their separate understandings of ecclesiastical authority.
Chair: Timothy Gregory, Ohio State University
The Mosaic Workshop of Byzantine Madaba
Debra Foran (University of Toronto)
The city of Madaba is located 30 km southwest of Amman in a geographic region known as the Balqa', or central Jordanian plateau. The area surrounding the city includes the sites of Mount Nebo, Khirbet el-Mukhayyat, and Uyun Musa to the west; Hesban and Massuh to the north; and Ma‛in and Umm er-Rasas to the south. All of these locations are renowned for their mosaic pavements. During the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, from the fourth through the eighth centuries, the production of mosaics blossomed in this region. This wealth of material provides the basis for the identification of a mosaic workshop.
From the examination of all of the mosaic pavements from these sites, eight distinctive elements for the Madaba workshop emerged. The popularity and exclusivity of these motifs form the core of the argument for the presence of a mosaic workshop in the Madaba area during the Byzantine period. These patterns cannot be the sole factor in determining the existence of a workshop. It takes a community of a certain size and with a particular amount of wealth to support an industry of this kind. All of the archaeological remains from the Byzantine period in the Madaba region, in conjunction with the numerous mosaic pavements that have been uncovered, indicate the presence of a large, affluent Christian community in this area.
The wealth of mosaic pavements in the Madaba region has been remarked upon for nearly a century. The presence of a mosaic workshop in the area has never been denied, and although many have commented on it, a systematic analysis of each pavement to determine its existence had not been done. This work not only attests to Madaba's importance in the region and within the larger sphere of the Empire, but it also constitutes a noteworthy contribution to the study of Byzantine mosaics in Jordan.
Epigrams on Icons
Bissera V. Pentcheva (Columbia University)
Epigrams are short, metric inscriptions written on the metal revetment or the encheirion, the silk cloth covering the icon. Both the metal sheath and the cloth function as material covers protecting the painted image and marking the border of transition from the material to the spiritual. The epigrams written on the surface of the metal revetments or embroidered on the silk encheiria engage in the exchange of material and spiritual values. The inscriptions usually weigh transient versus intransient riches. They present the luxury objects, the gold, silver, precious stones, and textiles, as expressions of the piety of the faithful and convey the hope of activating through these material gifts the intransient powers of the Virgin, Christ or the saints on behalf of the donor.
The epigrams present a written record of the gift and a call for help. They also engage the viewer in a dialogue with the image. By reading the epigram, the viewer extends a prayer of intercession on behalf of the donor at the presence of the icon. In addition to establishing a dialogue with the panel, the epigrams also reveal Byzantine aesthetic responses to the painted image and its material; decoration, color, precious metals, and gem stones are perceived as denoting the different qualities of the Virgin. By focusing on Middle and Late Byzantine epigrams on metal revetments and silk encheiria for extant or now lost icons, this study explores how the visual and textual systems are structured and how they interact.
Dividing the Wall: Architectural Aesthetics in Late Byzantium
Jelena Trkulja (Princeton University)
Although the widely-accepted view of Palaeologan ecclesiastical architecture purports that it was structurally conservative, this designation cannot encompass all of its aspects. New systems of faade articulation evolved dynamically during the Late Byzantine period. The innovative character of architectural aesthetics contributed to an ever-changing appearance of Byzantine church exteriors. In this paper I trace the evolution of aesthetic concepts and delineate the routes of their transmission. Furthermore, I posit the existence of three major systems in the articulation of Late Byzantine architecture, each of which is related to specific trends in architecture.
What is articulation of faades? Every faade, even if utterly flat, is delimited by the boundaries of its walls, and marked by the systematic placement of door and window openings. Most Byzantine faades are articulated with additional architectural elements and through the use of various building materials and colors. Although articulation with color can be only two-dimensional, it is articulation nonetheless because it bestows a faade with a certain pattern. Combinations of stone, brick and mortar impart to the faade a distinct texture. Articulating elements (pilaster strips, colonnettes, blind arcades, niches, string courses, etc.), however, transform the plane of the flat wall into three-dimensional form.
Three major systems of faade articulation can be distinguished: horizontal, vertical and the grid, which combines the two directions. Their names are indicative of the dominant direction created by both architectural and decorative elements. One can trace the evolution of the three systems according to their chronological and geographic distribution.
The evolution of the dominant axis - from horizontal, to vertical, to a synthesis of the two in the grid - is related to another development: increasingly three-dimensional treatment of faades. The flat, or nearly flat, walls were usually articulated with horizontal elements, mostly brick ornaments organized in bands and zones. The vertical distribution relied primarily on the use of slightly recessed elements such as pilasters, colonnettes and blind arcades, while the grid system used both ceramoplastic decoration and architectural elements. The latter were applied profusely and were dramatically recessed. The grid system also introduced relief sculpture as an additional feature of faade articulation, hence opening new possibilities for the a-tectonic treatment of the walls. The final synthesis, as effected by the 'Morava School' churches, achieved almost perfect balance in the use of various components, an almost Classical equilibrium in appearance of faades, while radically disrupting the unity of the wall surface.
Texts and Textuality
Chair: Sarolta Takacs, Rutgers University
Re-Presenting the Byzantine Saint: A Reliquary Box in the Cleveland Museum of Art
Kristine M. Hess (The Pennsylvania State University)
The narrative of the saint's Life presents a formidable convention within Byzantine hagiography. It certainly was not limited to the practice of a written biography or encomium, but was also applied to a variety of pictorial media such as manuscript illustration, mural programs, and icon painting. True cycles within manuscript painting are less common than once proposed, yet even the exceptional genre of vita icons and their inclusion in mural decoration represent a limited body of Byzantine saints. Important work has been achieved in the study of cyclic illustration of the Lives of Nicholas and George, and similar conclusions have been drawn in the recent work of Angeliki Katsiotes (Athens, 1998) on the Life of John Prodromos. Into this context we can insert a still-unstudied acquisition of the Cleveland Museum of Art (Annual Report 1999 CMA, 47) as a new locus of discussion for the saint's Life and its contribution in late Byzantine society. Four scenes from the Life of the Prodromos decorate the sides of this object, a wooden reliquary box datable to the fourteenth century; although its provenance remains uncertain, aspects of its iconography support an origin after 1350. Otherwise, its brief and canonical Life describes John's miraculous conception and birth, the Baptism of Christ, and John's martyrdom.
The pictorial cycle of the Prodromos, like those of Sts. Nicholas and George, was established during the course of the eleventh century. The Cleveland box suggests the continued importance of physical relics along with the saint's visual representation; its narrative sequence not only encloses but literally embodies the corporeal presence of John. The iconic function of the illustrated life is further suggested by a comparison between the Cleveland cycle and the marginal scenes from known vita icons of the Prodromos. Not only does the narrative border of the icons interact with the composition and theological significance of the whole cycle, but the saint's efficacy is proven by the visual record of his activity. Icon production during the Palaiologan period also affirms the combination of relic and representation by actually incorporating the reliquary container. Finally, the reliquary itself takes an active role in a hagiographic cycle of the miracles of Saint Eustratios, as represented on a templon beam of the twelfth century from the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai. Three scenes include the display of a reliquary box as counterpart to the saint's epiphany and as intermediary for his healing activity. Thus, the Byzantine saint operated within a matrix of tangible fragments and visual signifiers. His performance was brought to life through the narrative vita, and it is this unity of form and function for the cult of saints in Byzantium in which the Cleveland box participates.
The Text of Aeschylus's Persae in the Codices
Vaticanus Barberinianus gr. 135 (Se), Vaticanus gr. 1360 (Sg), and Vaticanus gr. 912 (Sn)
Charles J. Zabrowski (Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA)
These three Vaticani (each containing the Byzantine Triad of Aeschylus) were assigned by A. Turyn (MS Tradition of the Tragedies of Aeschylus, 1943 [reprint ed., 1967], pp. 84-86) to what he considered a late 13th-century recension of the Triad (Y--pp. 67-68) by the noted Byzantine scholar Thomas Magister (teacher of the yet more celebrated Demetrius Triclinius). Specifically, he attributed them to a group of sources for this recension that he designated the s-class (pp. 82-87: hence the capital 'S' as the first element of their sigla; the other class [pp. 68-82] he denominated r).
As Turyn had no very high opinion of this putative recension, he advised, as a stemmatist, the eliminatio of all the codices he judged "Thoman", except under special circumstances (pp. 115-116). It is now agreed, however, that there is no specifically Thoman recension of the text - as opposed to a Thoman scholiastic commentary (vid., e.g., M.L. West, ed., Aeschyli Tragoediae..., 1990, pp. iii-iv, and his Studies in Aeschylus, 1990, pp. 338-339) Ñ but only an aggregation of variants (i.e., Turyn's list of s-readings [p. 87] and r/s readings [pp. 88-92]). Moreover, these variants do not, by their mere presence in a codex, prevent that codex from offering valuable readings that are not a part of that aggregation, or even from it. In the Persae (as in the first two Triadic plays) these s- and r/s-class readings of Turyn's are mostly metrically impossible or trivial; nevertheless, four in his r/s-class (at vv. 714, 720, 811, and 875) are correct, as witnessed by their presence in the texts of Page (Aeschyli septem...tragoedias [edidit Denys Page], 1972) and West. Again in the Persae, Se and Sg show nearly every one of the variants, while Sn dissents, once in the s-class (at v. 837) and four times in the r/s (at vv. 309 and 326, and twice in v. 900), and always for the better. Further, though the three MSS generally march together, Sn differs from SeSg (again for the better, and at times spectacularly so) in over thirty places. At the same time, they join in support of very good but little attested readings (present in the texts or apparatus of Page and West) in upwards of thirty-five places. These readings are found neither in the oldest surviving witness (the codex Florence, Laurentianus 32, the celebrated Mediceus or M, probably of Constantinopolitan origin and dating from the late 10th to early 11th century [Turyn, pp. 17-19; West, Studies, pp. 321-323]), nor in the Medicean-related codices veteres, so called because they are mostly 13th- to 14th-century in date (vid. West, Studies, p. 354). The codices veteres - Turyn's "Old Tradition" [pp. 14-16, and 26-66 - were first distinguished from the tradition of the Mediceus, and named the F-tradition, by Wilamowitz (Aeschyli tragoediae, 1914, pp. xiv-xvii).
There are two matters of significance here. First, Sn has been consciously ameliorated by means of corrections and emendations from what West (Studies, p. 346; pp. 353-354) calls the "academic" labors of Triclinius and his associates at Thessalonica. Beyond that, however, although the three Vaticani are 15th- to 16th-century in date according to Turyn (pp. 84-86), these manuscripts, in conjunction with West's Thessalonican codices (from his "families" k, l, m, and j, and Triclinius's lost source t [Studies, pp. 338-351]), in fact furnish evidence of the existence of an inherited and pre-"academic" textual tradition of Thessalonican provenance not beholden to or derived from the Mediceus or F, despite the fact that most of its witnesses (like SeSgSn) are later in date.
The Late Antique and Byzantine Use of Indo-European Poetic Patterns
Edwin D. Floyd (University of Pittsburgh)
It is almost a commonplace of criticism that Late Antique and Byzantine poets drew on authors such as Homer and Pindar. Inasmuch as their Classical models had utilized Indo-European patterns (cf. Watkins, How to Kill a Dragon, 1995, 369 and passim), it is not surprising that even relatively late authors continue to use arguably Indo-European material. On the whole, this phenomenon seems to have been regarded as of merely antiquarian interest when one is dealing with later authors. Watkins, p. 459, for example, refers to Nonnos' fundamentally "Indo-European" use of ßmssein, "to lash", as being somehow "bizarre"; in contrast, though, Watkins elsewhere (p. 369) argues eloquently for Pindar's sensitive and meaningful use, nine hundred years before Nonnos, of inherited poetic patterns. Actually, Nonnos' practice with regard to ßmssein, used with both Typhoeus (frequently in Dionysiaca, Books 1 and 2) and Jesus (Paraphrase 6.88), is a skillful reuse of a deep-seated poetic tradition, just as much as Pindar's transformation of a comparable pattern at Pythian 1.15-27.
In like fashion, even the premier example of an Indo-European poetic formula, kl¡ow fyiton, "imperishable fame", first discussed by Kuhn as long ago as 1852, was creatively reused in the fourth century by Gregory of Nazianzus (1313.7), and in the ninth century by Cometas (Anthologia Graeca, 15.40.29 and 57).
Another example is provided by kl¡ow eéræ, "wide fame". Used by Homer and Pindar in a way closely paralleling Rig-Veda 6.65.6, this combination reappears in eleventh to twelfth century Greek in Theodorus Prodromus, 2.13 and Christophorus Mytilenaeus, 19.17.
Still another creatively reused ancient pattern is the compound ndrofñnow, "man-slaying". From parallels elsewhere in Indo-European (Sanskrit, Avestan, and Old English), this emerges as being associated with a package of five semantic components. (See E. D. Floyd, Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph Series, No. 40, 2001, 168-188.) These five resonances, evident in various ways in Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar, are with (1) dangerous gods, (2) weapons, (3) murderous women, (4) baneful plants, and (5) internecine violence among gods.
The first four of these associations of ndrofñnow are also prominent in the poetic oeuvre of Gregory of Nazianzus. Several of Gregory's uses of the word are in connection with Satan as a "dangerous god", often in association with references to the forbidden fruit in Eden as a "weapon" and "baneful plant" and to Eve as a "murderous woman". (All four associations are found together at 455.6, 893.14-894.2, and 1476.3-4).
The inherited resonances of ndrofñnow were also developed from an essentially pagan perspective. From about the same time as Gregory, Palladas' references to the Egyptian god Sarapis' cynical interference in human affairs (Anthologia Graeca 9.378) and to the beautiful but dangerous Helen (9.166.3) are fully traditional uses (the first and third, respectively) of the combination "man-slaying". Likewise, Palladas' reference at 10.53.1-6 to Kronos, as someone whom Zeus would have killed if he could have, exhibits the fifth semantic association of this term, viz., "internecine divine violence".
Session XIII: Byzantine Law
A Legal Joke In The Historia Augusta
Michael Johnson (Rutgers University)
The death in AD 212 of the famous jurist Papinian is recounted twice in the Historia Augusta (Carac. 4.1, Geta 6.3) and once in Xiphilinus' epitome of Cassius Dio (77.4.2). All three accounts relate that the emperor Caracalla upbraided the executioner for using an axe (securis) instead of a sword (gladius) to kill Papinian.
Scholarly commentary on these lines has focused largely on explicating the relationship between the Historia Augusta and Dio. For instance, at the relevant passage in the Vita Caracallae, the most recent commentary (Meckler, 1994, 127-128) concentrates on Quellenforschung and explains Caracalla's remark as a joke meant to emphasize that emperor's cruelty (cf. Barnes, 1978, passim and 1984, 253-254).
Indeed humor is present, but of a different kind. It comes in the form of a legal joke. Caracalla's comment refers to the sharp distinction in Roman law between beheading by axe and beheading by sword. Furthermore, the emperor's remarks (as preserved in the Vita Caracallae) are strikingly similar in wording to the very passage in Justinian's Digest (22.214.171.124) in which the legally correct methods of execution are discussed.
Thus Caracalla comments on a legal aspect of the execution of a famous legal expert, who certainly would have known the distinction in Roman law between the securis and gladius. The rather morbid joke is entirely consistent with the law-obsessed Roman mind and the humor that Syme (1970, 321) said we should expect from the author of the Historia Augusta.
Monarchy and Equity: Themistius' Theory of Imperial Law
Lawrence J. Daly (Bowling Green State University)
This paper is an analysis of the political dogma of monarchy and the legal doctrine of equity advocated in orations delivered to Christian emperors from Constantius II to Theodosius I by the pagan Themistius, a prominent figure in education and government at Constantinople during the second half of the fourth century. Adopting the Aristotelian model of kingship (Politics 128sb, 20-23) as his frame-of-reference, he regularly interpreted imperial behavior in terms of the functions of cult-lord, law-lord and war-lord - and par-ticularly insisted that, above all, "justice and righteousness constitute the proper business of the royal office" (Or. I.18a). As a fourth-century C.E. political thinker rather than a fourth-century B.C.E. political theorist, however, this scholar-official sought to accommodate the validity of traditional ideological principle to the reality of contemporaneous institutional practice in his formulation of the juridical function of the Byzantine imperial office.
Accordingly, drawing principally on Hellenistic literature, he conceived of as well as commented upon the emperor in his capacity as law-lord as the Living Law. Yet, while Themistius' conception of the true king as the incarnation of reason and law stood in the mainstream of Hellenistic political thought, this avowed monarchist did not endorse the willful or arbitrary use of legal absolutism. In-stead, realizing that the emperor's principal legal role was to review and remedy judicial decisions, Themistius argued that the concept of the Living Law represented a mandate as well as an opportunity for a discriminating benevolence, not intransigent enforcement, in fulfilling the emperor's law-lord capacity. Thus, what tempers as well as justifies autocracy, according to Themistius, is that the emperor, as law-lord, alone has the power to strike an equitable balance between legalism and leniency in the administration of justice. In Themistius' view, then, apart from the compelling claim of justice itself for conscientious and discriminating exactness in the judicial processes, a moral as well as a legal imperative commands the attention and directs the action of the imperial law-lord.
This theory of law was explicitly challenged by the emperor Julian, Themsitius' former pupil as well as fellow pagan. This paper reviews and resolves that debate by looking closely at Themistius' discussion of specific matters of law and justice in the reigns of Constantius, Valens, and Theodosius in order to show that he was systematic and rigorous in employing equity as an operative principle of the imperial cult-lord function. The conclusion is that Themistius' conception of the emperor as law-lord, developed over three decades, not only mirrored the reality of judicial autocracy but also maneuvered or modified that legal absolutism through the application of equity in extenuating circumstances.
The Mutilated Nose: Rhinokopia as a Visual Mark of Sexual Offence
Galina Tirnanic (University of Chicago)
In 726 Emperor Leo III commissioned a revision of Justinian's sixth century law codes. The resulting publication, known as the Ecloga, introduced punishment by maiming as a sanctioned replacement for the less humane capital punishment. In her 1982 article on the Ecloga, Evelyne Patlagean stresses the political importance of the human body in Byzantium and points to the correlation between crimes and their respective penal disfigurements. For example, a hand was cut off for stealing, the tongue for perjury, eyes for sacrilege, nose for sexual offences, penis for bestiality, and so on. Patlagean notes that the primary aim of these mutilations was not physical pain, but the final topography of a body corrected by the social law.
While the mutilations of the hand, tongue, penis, eyes, even hair are relatively straightforward, whether on the level of literal or metaphoric correspondence to the crimes, rhinokopia, or mutilation of the nose, poses more of an interpretive challenge. This paper focuses on the reasoning behind and the visual impact of nose mutilation in Byzantium.
I shall frame my inquires with the well known example of Justinian II, whose nose was slit or cut off upon his deposition from the throne in 695, earning him the nickname Rhinotmetos. Leontios, the usurper responsible for this act, disqualified Justinian from the imperial title by inscribing upon his body various marks of punishment that signaled to onlookers the nature of his alleged crimes. By this period, the practice of rhinokopia is already attested as an aesthetic impediment to imperial accession. At the same time, it was doubtless already a customary punishment for sex crimes in tribunal practice.
Drawing upon various historical, hagiographical, legal, and medical documents, this paper seeks to answer two major questions: (1) Why exactly would a slit or cut nose have prevented a man from being an emperor? and (2) How was the nose associated with sex crimes? I will argue that in line with other types of facial and corporal mutilation, the key to answering both of these questions lies in the basic Byzantine understanding of disease as divine punishment, and consequently of corporal punishment as a state-inflicted disease.
It is evident from a variety of sources that the emperor's body was expected, even required, to be aesthetically and physically perfect. Thus, ill emperors like Michael IV (1034-41) refrained from showing their bodies in public, and unpopular emperors like Alexander (912-913) inspired rumors of their various physical afflictions and bodily distortions. These disorders of the body were generally considered to be God's punishment for their wrongdoings. In particular, Byzantine sources both within and outside of the medical field confirm actual and metaphoric connections between sexual activity, disease, and nasal deformity. Consequently, humanly inflicted penal disfigurements, such as rhinokopia, emulated disease and marked the usurper's body with disorder and asymmetry.
Theology and Heresy
Chair: Tia Kolbaba, Rutgers University
Doctrines, Bishops, Monks and Friends: A Network Approach to the "School of Antioch"
Adam M. Schor (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
The school of Antioch ranks as one of late-antiquity's most enduring scholarly abstractions. Mental counterweight to the school of Alexandria, it usually refers to the teachings attached to at least four doctrinal authors: Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius, and Theodoret. For many years scholars have recognized commonalities in the work of these Antiochene natives. All of them rejected excessive allegory. All celebrated a "literal, historical," perspective on Scripture. All adhered to a notion of typology which validated the ascetic imitation of bible heroes. And all shared a response to the "Arians" that emphasized the distinction, within one Christ, between God the Word and Jesus the man. Nevertheless, with all the commonalities and personal connections between these men, scholarship has taken contrasting views of what this school actually was. Some have called it a formal institution, housed in a monastic schoolhouse. Others have described it as a disembodied tendency, enshrined in Syrian culture, or at least a local Christian lineage. Recently, however, scholars have begun to question the coherence of this Antiochene doctrinal tradition. Some have tied it to a localized subculture of rhetoric and historiography, while others have pointed to its quick demise in a blurring of intellectual definitions. With the very concept of a doctrinal school currently under deconstruction, it is worthwhile to ask again, what was going on in Antioch.
In this paper, I offer a fresh perspective on the constellation of people and teachings labeled the "school of Antioch." Using ideas associated with social network theory, I set the teachings of Diodore and Theodore within the social context of composition. We learn about this social context from fifth-century church historians, especially Theodoret - himself an "Antiochene" adherent and thus the ultimate insider. In the 360s and 370s, we are told, Diodore served as a leading member of the partisan following of Meletius, exiled Nicene claimant to the Antiochene see. He was joined in this partisan circle by future bishops Flavian of Antioch and Acacius of Beroea. As Flavian led urban preachers in anti-Arian taunts and Acacius organized an alliance of mobile ascetics, Diodore wrote doctrinal arguments that drew the clerics and monks together. Judging by the details of Theodoret's account, the doctrines of Diodore and his pupil Theodore validated the specific relationships that their partisan collective embodied. These teachings then served, it is implied, as a basis for organizing and recruiting Nicene bishops in Syria for five decades. We cannot, of course, take Theodoret's perspective at face value, but we do need to take it seriously, especially when external testimony supports it in subtle ways.
The school of Antioch, I argue, cannot be seen as a distinct institution or a consistent theological system. Antiochene doctrine represented a social idiom, a loose collection of terminology, rhetorical tropes, textual references and ritual symbols used within certain social circles. Over time this idiom came to define an "Antiochene" clerical network, changing in form over five decades as the network changed in membership.
The Byzantine Bogomil: Dualist Or Strawman?
John F. Shean (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Most of the scholarly literature examining the Byzantine sources which describe the doctrines and practices of the dualist Bogomil sect have disagreed sharply over the accuracy of these accounts and the reliability of the information they provide. Some of these reports, such as the Panoplia Dogmatica written by Euthymius Zigabenus in the mid-eleventh century (who described Bogomilism as "Paulicianism mixed with Messalianism"), seem to reflect some uncertainty on the part of the informant as to what were the actual doctrines being promulgated by this particular group of heretics. In addition, other Byzantine authors may have inadvertently confused the beliefs of one heretical sect with those of another. In response, some modern scholars, after critiquing these sources, have discounted many of these accounts and even accused Byzantine writers on Bogomilism of having plagiarized the earlier writings of other heresiologists by mechanically ascribing the same doctrines to all groups coming under the rubric, "dualist".
While it is likely that some of our sources may have relied too heavily on earlier accounts for their own description of dualist beliefs, this does not negate their value to the historian. Many of the later sources for dualism in the Byzantine empire include historically specific material that could not have originated from earlier writers. The Byzantine authors who provide us with most of our evidence for the Bogomils cover a time period of over two hundred years. This fact alone raises the possibility that dualist doctrines over this same time period, rather than remaining static, would have evolved and assimilated other Gnostic traditions, especially after having had close contact with other like-minded sects. The many doctrinal disparities of dualist sects reported by later Byzantine informants reflect not confusion on the part of the author, but a further refinement and development of the theology of dualism, which shows that these heretical sects were part of a vibrant and active intellectual and spiritual movement that was continuing to reconcile its beliefs with other, competing traditions.
Bogomilism, like other dualist heresies, found its greatest popularity among the social elite and the educated classes, especially kindred spirits within the monastic community. Such sects appealed to individuals who not only were seeking a spiritual alternative to orthodoxy, but also were attracted to the greater possibilities for philosophical speculation that dualism could offer. Rather than becoming ossified through a dogmatic insistence on adherence to a rigid set of canonical precepts, Bogomilism represented an attractive alternative to Christian orthodoxy, an active, living belief system which constantly evolved and refined its dualist doctrines by nourishing and encouraging philosophical and intellectual speculation.
Chair: Paul Halsall, University of North Florida
The Lure of the East: A New Place and Space for Fourth-Century Female Patrons
D. Kay Woods (University of Kentucky)
Roman Christian women who had senatorial ties revolutionized their social place and physical space by drawing on the traditions of the Roman patronage system to create new ascetic institutions. They founded nunneries and house monasteries that served as an institutional defense against financial encroachment on their wealth and privilege by greedy relatives. Not only in Rome, but also in the Holy Land, aristocratic women invested their wealth in "spiritual" houses that their families could not pry away (although in several instances male relatives tried). Their relocation to the Holy Land not only placed physical distance between their relatives and their wealth, but it also provided opportunities to create new options and social strategies that allowed them consciously to redefine their social roles and reconfigure their physical space by modifying radical ascetic practices into a "comfortable asceticism" that gave them leverage with governors, bishops, and other male aristocrats.
The eastern empire held a romantic appeal. It was home to the spiritual giants praised in panegyrics and hagiographical texts. It possessed the most sacred sites in the Roman Empire, and it appeared safe from barbarian attacks. The lure of the East was enticing to wealthy women who were searching for a secure location in which to preserve their social independence and financial status. In the East, they were able on the one hand to manipulate new opportunities for autonomy that Christianity offered to ascetics, and on the other to exploit traditional legal and patronage systems to their financial advantage. In order to enhance their claims to spiritual authority and to reinforce architecturally their claims to social independence and political patronage, these aristocratic women employed a variety of methods that demonstrate their own clever manipulation of contemporary power structures. Such social, economic, and political gains could only be made possible by relocation from the West to the East.
Ordinary Women and Holy Men: Women in the Miracles of St. Theodore of Sykeon
Carolyn L. Connor (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
While the scarcity of testimony about ordinary women in Byzantine society is an acknowledged problem, scholars sometimes encounter a wealth of information in unlikely places. One such instance is the Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, the seventh-century account of a miracle-worker, or
thaumatourgos, who lived and traveled in Asia Minor, the Holy Land and Constantinople in the course of his career. Of the 148 chapters of his life, known to most of us through the translation by Elizabeth Dawes and Norman Baynes, and from Peter Brown's insightful work on the holy man, around two-thirds describe miracles performed by the saint. Most of these concern common people among whom are dozens of ordinary, usually anonymous, women. The accounts, as is usual in hagiography, focus on the saint's deeds and are meant to provide evidence of his holy powers, but in between the lines, or in a sub-text, we also learn about the subjects, in this case the gendered roles of women and the expectations placed on them from within the society.
The information about ordinary women who appear in these accounts is important for a balanced view of Byzantine society. When the women are considered according to their occupations, status, types of ills they experience, and relationships to groups, they emerge as an active and integral part of provincial and family life. This represents a net gain on merely knowing they were there, for it allows us to form an image of their place in the world ordered by the holy man. We experience the anxieties of women with sick children, recalcitrant domestic animals, farms which are threatened by drought or floods, or women who are stricken by demons or other curses or magical disturbances. Some women are the victims of disease, gynecological problems or turbulent marriages. They range from ladies of some means, to slaves who are only useful to masters if they are healthy. The sober writer, George the disciple, in the course of his narration of the saint's miraculous deeds, provides also another kind of account, one filled with details and patterns of the daily lives of women and with unembellished evidence for their beliefs and concerns that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Andromeda, Charicleia, and the Typical Greek Woman in Heliodorus' Aithiopika
Katherine Panagakos (Furman University)
The extended fictional prose narratives in Greek and Latin, generally regarded as "the ancient novels", date between the first and fourth centuries C.E. with perhaps a fragment or two dated to the first century B.C.E. Heliodorus' novel, the Aithiopika, dated with some certainty to the fourth century C.E., is chronologically the last and the longest of the novels. While the Greek novels tend to follow a similar plot development, Heliodorus has made crucial changes in his novel which cause it to stand out as revolutionary. It is these subtle, yet ingenious, changes that I focus on in my presentation.
Heliodorus presents his readers with a story that follows the typical format of the ancient Greek novels. The main characters in these narratives are a young man and a young woman from distinguished families and of unsurpassed beauty. Either as newlyweds or after their betrothal they set out on a long journey to far-off lands and undergo, together or separately, a series of harrowing experiences. The most frequent source of their tribulations is a mutual pledge of unswerving fidelity. Their strict observance of this loyalty subjects them to various perils, in some cases falling into the hands of pirates or robbers or elsewhere becoming slaves in the service of rich masters or mistresses. They are frequently in danger of being murdered or, faced with insurmountable hardships, decide in their desperation to kill themselves. The favored settings for these adventures are Asia Minor and the Near East, where the couple encounter not only their fellow-countrymen, but also exotic strangers. Travel by sea usually leads to shipwreck. At the end of their ordeals they are reunited and return home to live thereafter a life of complete bliss.
Often heralded as the grandest and most ambitious of the novelists, Heliodorus stands in stark contrast to the other novelists in a number of ways. In this presentation I demonstrate that Heliodorus' heroine is quite unique when compared to the other novels' heroines. First of all, his heroine is not Greek but Ethiopian by birth. In Book Three of the novel, Calasiris, former high priest of Isis in Memphis, is summoned to cure our young heroine Charicleia and discovers through a birth token, a ribbon embroidered with hieratic characters, that she is really the white-skinned daughter of Persinna, queen of Ethiopia. Persinna had exposed her as a baby because of her coloring, which resulted when the queen, at the very moment of Charicleia's conception, looked at a picture of Andromeda. The result of this unintentional glance was a white-skinned daughter.
Additionally, Charicleia is compared throughout the novel to Greek goddesses (specifically Artemis) and to the traditional Greek woman. This intentional comparison not only calls attention to fact that she is indeed not Greek but also establishes the required dissimilarity to the Greek woman which is necessary for the conclusion of the novel.
Monks and Holy Men
Monastic Companionship: An Early Byzantine Institution?
Derek Krueger (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
This paper reviews evidence for monastics living in pairs from the fourth through the seventh centuries. The evidence derives from a variety of literary sources, including the Apophthegmata Patrum, John Moschus' Spiritual Meadow, a variety of saint's lives, and Syrian church canons. Monks and nuns occasionally lived with a single companion in the Egyptian and Syrian traditions from their earliest phases. By the sixth and seventh centuries, dyadic monasticism achieved quasi-institutonal status as an alternative both to hermitage and to cenobitic monasticism. In the middle and later Byzantine periods, such an organization of monastic life was discouraged.
A range of texts endorses same-sex monastic cohabitation in the Christian East, including the Life of Rabbula, the Apophthegmata Patrum, Theodoret of Cyrrhus' Religious History, Leontius of Neapolis' Life of Symeon the Fool, and John Moschus' Spiritual Meadow. These texts depict pairs of monks or nuns living together in charity, harmony, and chastity as desirable models for Christian life. In some cases, the monks paired are master and disciple, as with John Moschus and his companion Sophronius. In other cases, such as Symeon the Fool and his companion John, the two monks are the same age, and more significantly, of equal seniority in the ascetic life. While the standard pattern is a monastic household in a fixed locale, the example of Moschus and Sophronius presents two monks often traveling together over long distances periodically in the course of forty years together.
To what extent do these idealized narratives represent monastic realities? The normative force of some texts reveals episcopal and abbatial oversight. This monastic form received endorsement in the fifth-century Life of Rabbula. In that text, the bishop of Edessa calls upon those living in "the chaste covenant of men" to be celibate and to live apart from the company of women. While Rabbula charges them to live apart from their nieces, mothers, and sisters, and to live without female servants or slaves, he encourages them to dwell "with a companion, as befits Christian love". "He coaxed them with affectionate words to love one another. He advised them that, if possible, each might dwell with his companion."
Upon Symeon's and John's conversion to Christian monasticism, the abbot of the Monastery of Gerasimus performs a rite of "the making of brothers (adelphopoiesis)" over them. The connection between this early Byzantine example of the "making of brothers" and expectations of same-sex monastic cohabitation remains unclear. This is the earliest recorded use of the word "adelphopoiesis". Nevertheless, in this case, the narrative progression toward long term domestic stability includes both the ritual consecration of their fictive kinship and the shedding of other kinship obligations.
The phenomenon of monastics living in pairs was widely known, relatively widely practiced, and received some level of institutional sanction and support in the Early Byzantine period.
David of Garedji: A Georgian Saint in the Syrian Ascetical Tradition
Christopher Haas (Villanova University)
During the first half of the sixth century, the character of Georgian Christianity was profoundly influenced by the introduction of monasticism. This is attributed to the arrival of John of Zedazeni at the Iberian capital of Mtskheta with twelve of his monastic co-laborers, known collectively in the Georgian tradition as the Thirteen Syrian Fathers. John's disciples fanned out across Iberia, following his example of asceticism, miracle-working, and evangelization. They settled throughout the Mtkvari valley, from Urbnisi to Garedji (today near the border of Azerbaijan). Four of them even crossed the steep ridge of the Gomboris Kedi into the Alazani River valley, thereby spreading the work of the Syriac Fathers into the modern Georgian region of Kakheti. Within a generation, indigenous monastic traditions took root, and the work of these widely-revered Syrian Fathers facilitated the diffusion of Christianity into peripheral regions far from the core of the Iberian kingdom at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers.
Some commentators have argued that the Syrian Fathers were, in fact, not Syrian at all, but Georgians who had come into contact with Syrian ascetics. Others have viewed them as Monophysite dissidents who fled as refugees from Chalcedonian persecution under Justin and Justinian. One profitable avenue for inquiry into the origins and character of these monks is to engage in a close analysis of the teachings and ascetic practices of David of Garedji, one of the best known of the Syrian Fathers. David of Garedji first dwelt on a mountainside overlooking the newly inaugurated political capital of Tbilisi, and functioned in the now-familiar role of the Syriac holy man, working miracles and arbitrating in local disputes. He then retired to a semi-arid desert in southeastern Kakheti, where he eventually gathered disciples and established monasteries.
This paper examines the early sources for the life and teachings of David of Garedji, a version of his vita embedded in the K`art`lis C`xovreba, that is, the History/Life of K`art`li, and a fuller tenth century vita compiled by the Catholicos, Arsenius II. Comparison of these works with representative sources from the early Syrian ascetical tradition reveals links between the pioneers of sixth century Georgian monasticism and their purported Syrian roots. In particular, this paper surveys David's views on the natural world, his interaction with outsiders and monastic recruits, and the contours of his daily life in the desert of Kakheti.
Belvedere in the Desert: Monastery Towers and Ascetic Vistas
Asen Kirin (The University of Georgia, Athens)
Built in 1335, the pyrgos (tower) at Rila Monastery is well-known for the murals in its top-story chapel (1335-1342), including representations of the Divine Wisdom, hagiographic scenes of St. John of Rila, and illustrations of Psalms 148-150. The frescos have been attracting the attention of experts since the time of their discovery in 1944 but the tower's architectural design is rarely discussed. Fortified monastery pyrgoi served for defense, monastic seclusion and the celebration of holy services. This paper argues that the Rila tower also functioned as a look-out point for ascetics contemplating the landscape made holy by St. John's exploits.
The pyrgos in Rila belongs to a group of approximately one dozen monuments built in the Balkans during the Late Byzantine period. All feature a rectangular plan with spur walls. While it is clear that the top floor played a crucial role in the way the tower functioned, our knowledge of top-floor plans is often limited since these spaces have either been destroyed or substantially reconstructed. Remarkably, the Rila tower preserves its original top-story arrangement, including fortification devices and the aforementioned chapel decorated with frescoes.
The chapel consists of two domed chambers: the west chamber occupies the core of the interior, while the second isolated room terminates at the outer east wall of the tower. A gallery supported by the spur walls envelops the two-chamber chapel on north, west, and south. Except for the east chamber all other spaces fulfill both defense and monastic functions. The layout unites these diverse elements and clearly expresses hierarchy of function. The integrity of the overall design resulted from fitting the defense and monastic features within a spatial arrangement that deliberately follows recognizable ecclesiastic prototypes. The top story's layout resembles a late Byzantine church with a twin-domed narthex, ambulatory wings and two domes on the main longitudinal axis. Despite these formal similarities with ecclesiastic design, however, the spatial units in the tower do not fulfill the same liturgical functions.
From the gallery fourteen arched windows provided the opportunity to observe the view outside. In a culture where vision was a strictly controlled experience, contemplating such vistas exalted the observers and emphasized their social and spiritual power. When facing the expanse of the desert while soaring high above the ground, the Rila brethren were able to emulate many venerated ascetics, including their own local patron St. John, who allegedly spent seven years and four months on top of a nearby cliff. Thus the ascetics contemplated the actual sites where St. John had lived in seclusion and where the events depicted in the hagiographic scenes from the chapel had occurred. Even turning their back on the steep ridges surrounding the tower, the ascetics were able to continue their contemplation of the same landscape by looking at the murals. The symmetry of the inward and the outward gaze emphasized that the rugged landscape embodied the perilous and awesome striving to reach heaven.
Urban Monasteries in Constantinople and Thessalonike:
Distribution Patterns in Time and Urban Topography
Gunder Varinlioglu (University of Pennsylvania)
Raymond Janin`s La Gographie Ecclsiastique de l'Empire Byzantin, provides a census of ecclesiastical foundations in major cities of the Byzantine Empire. Based fundamentally on written sources, Janin gives a pr?cis of the history of each religious building known through literary evidence, and attempts to locate them in the urban topography. His catalogue reveals a concentration of monasteries within major Byzantine cities: From 300 to 1450 C.E., 576 non-monastic and 347 monastic foundations were recorded for Constantinople and its suburbs; and 59 non-monastic and 54 monastic establishments for Thessalonike. Although Janin's study is outdated and riddled with errors, it presents a general overview of the religious building activity in prominent urban centers throughout the history of the Byzantine Empire. This relatively large database lends itself to a basic statistical analysis. Despite its flaws, the number of entries is high enough so that buildings misplaced in date or place are not likely to change the general pattern resulting from the totality of the evidence.
Based on the religious foundations listed in Janin's work, my paper examines the character of the monastic landscape in Constantinople and Thessalonike through quantitative study of the spatial and chronological distribution patterns of monasteries in the urban topography. In addition, it compares the number and distribution of male monasteries to the evidence for nunneries, which formed a small portion of the monastic establishments in both cities: 22% in Constantinople and 15% in Thessalonike. The spatial distribution analysis reveals which parts of the two cities were preferred for monastic buildings; thus it suggests certain common criteria for the choice of site, such as high elevation, proximity to major cisterns and city gates. The chronological quantification of monasteries shows the fluctuations in the level of monastic foundation activity in the Byzantine history: In Constantinople, the number of monasteries increased during the periods of prosperity of the Byzantine empire: 375-600, 775-950, 1025-1200, 1250-1400; whereas in Thessalonike monastic activity is not represented for the first period, but booms in the fourth period.
In order to map the urban monastic landscape and quantify this large database, I made use of the "Geographical Information Systems" (GIS), which allows the user to systematize and present data in an intelligible format. Furthermore, GIS has analytical capabilities for querying and pulling together different categories of data according to multiple criteria, such as date, location and type. The analysis of data is not only quantitative and statistical, expressed in the form of tables and charts, but each feature in the database is associated with a place on the map. Thus my paper, while presenting the results of the chronological and spatial analysis of the monastic activity in Byzantine Constantinople and Thessalonike, also sets an example for the application of a state-of-the-art computer technology to the study of Byzantine ecclesiastical history and topography.
Byzantine Studies Conference Officers and Committees 2002-2003
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To serve until the 2004 Conference:
To serve until the 2003 Conference:
Dumbarton Oaks Liaison Committee:
Local Arrangements Committee