Book Announcement: The Rich and the Pure Philanthropy and the Making of Christian Society in Early Byzantium by Daniel Caner

A portrait of history’s first complex Christian society as seen through the lens of Christian philanthropy and gift giving

As the Roman Empire broke down in western Europe, its prosperity moved decisively eastward, to what is now known as the Byzantine Empire. Here was born history’s first truly affluent, multifaceted Christian society. One of the ideals used to unite the diverse millions of people living in this vast realm was the Christianized ideal of philanthrōpia. In this sweeping cultural and social history, Daniel Caner shows how philanthropy required living up to Jesus’s injunction to “Give to all who ask of you,” by offering mercy and/or material aid to every human being, regardless of their origin or status.

Caner shows how Christian philanthropy became articulated through distinct religious ideals of giving that helped define proper social relations among the rich, the poor, and “the pure” (Christian holy people), resulting in new and enduring social expectations. In tracking the evolution of Christian giving over three centuries, he brings to the fore the concerns of the peoples of Early Byzantium, from the countryside to the lower levels of urban society to the imperial elites, as well as the hierarchical relationships that arose among them. The Rich and the Pure offers nothing less than a portrait of the whole of early Byzantine society.

A Brief Guide to Disability Terminology and Theory in Ancient World Studies

Alexandra Morris (Teesside University) and Debby Sneed (CSU Long Beach) have prepared “A Brief Guide to Disability Terminology and Theory in Ancient World Studies,” which is available on the blog for the SCS (https://bit.ly/3mLGBVv). One of our aims is to demystify language around disability and begin what we hope will be a continued dialogue. Any reasonable questions can be directed to Alexandra at A.Morris@tees.ac.uk or on Twitter @DisabledArchaeo.

Book Announcement, Antioch: A History

We are excited to announce the publication of our book, Antioch: A History. This book tells the complete story of the “lost city” of Antioch-on-the-Orontes, from its foundation by the Seleucids in the 4th century BC to the 20th century. Of particular interest to you, our esteemed Byzantinists, is a more extensive and holistic view of the late antique and medieval periods and their transition. The early Byzantine period is in two chapters, and there is a chapter on the Middle Byzantine period, all contextualized with histories from the Early Islamic, Saljuq, and Crusader periods. This history of Antioch is grounded in a discussion of the urban transformations that took place and incorporates recent studies on the archaeology of the city, reevaluations of some of Princeton’s excavations, numismatic evidence, and inclusion of the hinterland of Antioch. Best, Asa Eger and Andrea de Giorgi.

New book series: CARMEN Visual and Material Cultures

The CARMEN Visual and Material Cultures series provides a platform for interdisciplinary medieval scholarship centred on visual and material cultures, through which it seeks to gain new perspectives and bring greater depth to existing historical narratives of the medieval world. Drawing on methodologies from a variety of disciplines—archaeology, art history, and anthropology—it can provide an understanding that is otherwise hindered by a focus solely on written sources. The series is a venue for established scholars as well as early career researchers from partners and countries within the CARMEN Medieval Network. Under its earlier name “CARMEN Monographs and Studies” we showed our commitment to publishing research from scholars outside Western Europe and North America. The renamed series retains its global commitment.

New publication: Art and Material Culture in the Byzantine and Islamic Worlds, edited by Evanthia Baboula and Lesley Jessop (Brill)

From her interests in late antique silver stamps to the abandoned churches of medieval Lebanon, the relationship of image and word in Islamic art, and the decoration of contemporary buses and trucks in Pakistan, Erica Cruikshank Dodd’s interests have been multi-faceted. Dedicated to Dr. Cruikshank Dodd, Art and Material Culture in the Byzantine and Islamic Worlds offers new perspectives on the Christian and Muslim communities of the east Mediterranean from medieval to contemporary times. The contributors examine how people from diverse religious backgrounds adapted to their changing political landscapes and show that artistic patronage, consumption, and practices are interwoven with constructed narratives. The essays consider material and textual evidence for painted media, architecture, and the creative process in Byzantium, Crusader-era polities, the Ottoman empire, and the modern Middle East, thus demonstrating the importance of the past in understanding the present.

New Journal: Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS)

The JLAIBS as a hotspot for interdisciplinary dialogue aims to disseminate new approaches and methodologies that intend to transform our understanding of broader Late Antique and Medieval phenomena, such as knowledge transfer and cultural exchanges, by looking beyond single linguistic traditions or political boundaries. It provides a forum for high-quality articles on the interactions and cross-cultural exchange between different traditions and of the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. Thematically, the journal also welcomes submissions dealing individually with Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic literature, history, archaeology, and material culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century.

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