Lecture: “”From Porphyry to Obsidian and the Mysteries of Materials”

Tom Cummins, Director of Dumbarton Oaks, will present an upcoming talk, “From Porphyry to Obsidian and the Mysteries of Materials: Two Portable Altars in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections,” at the Gennadius Library.

The talk will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 12:00 pm US/EDT and 7:00 pm (Greece). Registration is available here for in-person or zoom attendance. The event will also be livestreamed on YouTube.


‘Justice in Byzantium’ hybrid conference


For any queries, please contact Anne Alwis (a.p.alwis@kent.ac.uk).







The conference will take place in the Templeman Lecture Theatre

8:30-9.45am Registration Templeman Foyer (Templeman Library)

9:45 Welcome: Anne Alwis and Laura Franco (Kent; Tor Vergata) and Tribute to Elisabeth Jeffreys and Bob Ousterhout

10:00-11:45 Session 1: Social Justice

Chair: Gavriil Boutziopoulos (Birmingham)

  • Dionysios Stathakopoulos (Cyprus) ONLINE: ‘Social Justice and Economic Concerns in the Late-Byzantine World’
  • Arietta Papaconstantinou (Aix-Marseille): ‘Petition, Protection and Patronage: Negotiating Social Justice in Village Communities’
  • Carlos Machado (St Andrews) ONLINE: ‘Social Justice and Subaltern Experience in Late-Antique Italy’

11.45-12.45 Communications I

Chair: Laura Franco (Tor Vergata)

  • Elizabeth Buchanan (Findlay): ‘Justice and Intercession:  Religious views on the afterlife of souls as a mirror for popular views of justice in Byzantium’
  • Romain Goudjil (Sorbonne): ‘How to take legal action in Byzantium (10th-15th centuries). A practical perspective’
  • Valerio Massimo Minale (Naples): ‘The Animals in the Isaurian Ekloge

12.45-14:00 Lunch: Rutherford Dining Hall (self-service)

Meeting of Graduate students (plus sandwich lunch): Templeman seminar room 1

14:00-15.10 Session 2: Unwritten Rules

Chair: Anne Alwis (Kent)

  • Rosemary Morris (York): ‘Why Write it Down? The Transition from the Spoken to the Written Word in Monastic Typika’
  • Anna Kelley (St Andrews): ‘“After God it is your help I look for”: Holy intermediaries and Unwritten Routes towards Women’s Justice in Byzantine Egypt’

15:10-16:00 Coffee: Templeman Foyer 

16:00-17:00 Communications II 

Chair: Liz James (Sussex)

  • Sarah Mathiesen (Florida State): ‘Eavesdropping: Crime and Punishment in a Cappadocian Rock-Cut Church’
  • Magdalena Laptas (Warsaw): ‘Christ as the Sun of Justice with the Archangels and Holy Warriors in Nubian Art’
  • Francesco Muraca (Bologna) ONLINE: ‘The δικαιοδότης: the Byzantine iuridicus?’

17:00-17:30 KEYNOTE: Daphne Penna (Groningen) ‘Justice in Byzantium: Blind or Biased?’

17.30-18.30 Reception sponsored by SPBS: Templeman Foyer

18.30-20.30 Dinner: Rutherford Dining Hall (self-service)



9.00-9.30 Coffee: Templeman Foyer

9:30–10:40 Session 3: Criminal Justice

Chair: Ed Roberts (Kent)

  • Lorena Atzeri (Milan): ‘Criminal Justice in Byzantium (C8th-11th): Offences, Punishments, and Deterrence from the Ecloga to the Peira
  • Mike Humphreys (Oxford): ‘Mutilation in Byzantine Law: The Case of Nose Amputation’

10:40-11:00 Coffee: Templeman Foyer

11:00–12:10 Session 4: Revenge

Chair: Laura Franco (Tor Vergata)

  • Francesca Barone (CNRS): ‘Forms and Functions of Punishment in early Egyptian Monasticism’
  • Robert Wiśniewski (Warsaw): ‘Martyrs Strike Back: Martyrdom and Revenge in Late-Antique Hagiography’

12:10-12:45 Communications III

Chair: Fiona Haarer (KCL)

  • Marina Detoraki (Crete) ONLINE: ‘Punishment and Reward in Beneficial Tales (or Divine Justice in Doubt)’
  • Arkady Avodokhin (Oxford): ‘Tough Justice from Above: Avenging Saints in Late-Antique Miracle Collections and Inscribed Artefacts’

12.45-14:00 LUNCH: Rutherford Dining Hall (self-service)

Meeting of TTB editorial board: Templeman seminar room 1; sandwich lunch)

Meeting of SPBS Executive Committee: Templeman seminar room 3; sandwich lunch)

14:00-16:35 Session 5: Civil Law and Justice

Chair: Judith Herrin (KCL)

  • Peter Sarris (Cambridge): ‘Justinian and the “Temple of Justice”’
  • Matthijs Wibier (Cincinnati) ONLINE: ‘New Thoughts on the Law School in Beirut and the Justinianic Antecessores’
  • Simon Corcoran (Newcastle): ‘Manumission and Freed-Persons in the Roman Legal tradition from Justinian I to Leo VI and beyond’
  • Caroline Humfress (St Andrews) ONLINE: “Cosmas’ ‘Contract’: Constituted Living in Late Antiquity.”

16:35-17:00 Coffee: Templeman Foyer

17:00-18:00 Communications IV

Chair: Judith Ryder (Oxford)

  • Arie Neuhauser (Chicago): ‘Standards of Just Conduct in Eleventh-Century Civil Wars’
  • James Cogbill (Oxford): ‘The Late Byzantine Aristocracy as Upholders of Justice in Fourteenth-Century Historiography’
  • Nikolas Hächler (Zurich): ‘Ordering the State: Observations on Notions of Justice for the Organization of the Early Byzantine Empire in the Dialogus de Scientia Politica

18:00-19:00 Drinks’ Reception: Darwin Conference Suite

19:00-22:00 Conference Feast: Darwin Suite



9:00-9.30 Arrival coffee: Templeman Foyer

9:30-10:30 Communications V

Chair: Anne Alwis (Kent)

  • Paolo Angelini (Italian Ministero dell’Interno): ‘Byzantine Criminal Law: Concepts, Influence and Reception in the Slavic World’
  • Ziyao Zhu (King’s College, London): ‘A Less Successful Endeavour to Define Terminology: The Dispute over the Appropriation of the Church’s Assets under Alexios I Komnenos’
  • Luke Lavan (Kent): ‘Reconstructing the Late-Antique Law Court: Evidence Clusters and Evidence Gaps’

10:30-10.45 Coffee: Templeman Foyer

10:45-12:30 Session 6: Divine Justice

Chair: Dunstan Lowe (Kent)

  • Maroula Perisanidi (Leeds): ‘Voices of Divine Justice: Exploring Disability, Speech, anand Speechlessness in Byzantium’
  • Dan Reynolds (Birmingham): ‘By the Rivers of Babylon: Retribution and Divine Justice in Strategios of Mar Sabas’ Capture of Jerusalem (614)’
  • Shaun Tougher (Cardiff): ‘God and the Macedonians: Dynasty and Divine Justice’


Announcement of next year’s Symposium

12:45-14:00 SPBS AGM

15:00 Visit to the Archives of Canterbury Cathedral [OPTIONAL]; meet outside the entrance to the Cathedral





British Library, Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts

Online Lecture: Recycled Cities: Sardis and the Fortifications of Early Byzantine Anatolia

Call for Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel, 50th Annual BSC

Call for Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel, 50th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference

As part of its ongoing commitment to Byzantine studies, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for Mary Jaharis Center sponsored sessions at the 50th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference to be held in New York City, October 24–27, 2024. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies.

Session proposals must be submitted through the Mary Jaharis Center website. The deadline for submission is April 3, 2024.

If the proposed session is accepted, the Mary Jaharis Center will reimburse a maximum of 5 session participants (presenters and chair) up to $800 maximum for scholars based in North America and up to $1400 maximum for those coming from outside North America. Funding is through reimbursement only; advance funding cannot be provided.

For further details and submission instructions, please visit https://maryjahariscenter.org/sponsored-sessions/50th-bsc

Contact Brandie Ratliff, Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture, with any questions.

Sacred Presence: Virgin of Kazan at The Icon Museum

The Icon Museum and Study Center presents Sacred Presence: Virgin of Kazan, an exhibition celebrating the beauty and spiritual significance of the Kazanskaya Mother of God icon.

March 22, 2024 – August 25, 2024

CLINTON, MA (March 7, 2024) –– The Icon Museum and Study Center is pleased to present Sacred Presence: Virgin of Kazan, an intimate exhibition celebrating the beauty and spiritual significance of the Kazanskaya Mother of God icon from March 22, 2024 – August 25, 2024. This focus exhibit, guest curated by author and docent, Dennis J. Sardella, highlights a magnificent version of the icon in the Museum’s collection. The exhibition will also feature a selection of icons and objects related to this important image, hidden treasures from the Museum’s vault, some of which will be on view for the first time.

The Kazan Mother of God (Kazanskaya Bogomater’ in Russian) is a highly revered icon, beloved of the people and hailed as a holy protectress. For centuries people prayed before the Kazan Mother of God for support and protection, couples were blessed with it before their marriages, and people hung it by their children’s cribs and in places of honor in their homes, turning to it whenever they faced trouble, disease, and misfortune. The Kazanskaya was also called upon for assistance in times of national peril. By the end of the nineteenth century there were thousands of icons of the Kazan Mother of God in Russian homes. The Icon Museum and Study Center is home to different examples of this iconography.

Sacred Presence: Virgin of Kazan tells the story of this image through the lens of a single seventeenth-century icon, which is one of the highlights in the Museum’s collection. This monumental icon, painted around 1650, dates to less than seventy-five years after the Kazanskaya cult of devotion was founded. The icon’s size, the iconographer’s warm color palette, and the imposing figure of the Mother of God, who is dressed in a purple mantle (maphorion), enables the panel to command the space around it, whereas the gentle melancholy of the Virgin’s gaze has an almost magnetic attraction.

Guest Curator, Dennis J. Sardella, will lead several gallery talks discussing reflections on the Kazanskaya icon of the Mother of God, its iconography, form, spiritual journey, allure, and beauty, as well as its cooption by political and religious actors up to our modern times. Sardella will be available after each gallery talk to sign copies of his book, Visible Image of the Invisible God. Sardella’s book is a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated introduction to icons, their origins, history, and symbolism. It will be available for sale in The Icon Museum and Study Center gift shop during the exhibition.


Dennis J. Sardella, PhD has been a docent at the Museum for twelve years, where he leads gallery tours and introduces visitors to the world of Byzantine and Russian icons. He writes and speaks regularly to civic and church groups on the topics of religious icons and the role they play in Eastern Christian spirituality — at last count, nearly fifty presentations.

A professor of chemistry at Boston College for forty-five years, Sardella taught and researched the areas of spectroscopy and molecular structure. In 1990 he became the founding director of the Boston College Presidential Scholars Program, a university-wide co-curricular honors program, and directed it until 2010.



The Icon Museum and Study Center (formerly The Museum of Russian Icons), founded in 2006 by the American entrepreneur Gordon Lankton, holds the most comprehensive collection of icons in the US, including a growing collection of Greek, Veneto-Cretan, and Ethiopian icons. Spanning over six centuries, the collection showcases the development of the icon from its Egyptian and Byzantine roots and explores the spread of Orthodoxy across cultures. The Museum serves as a place for education, contemplation, and experiencing the beauty and spirituality of icons. The permanent collection and temporary exhibitions offer unparalleled opportunities to situate Eastern Christian art within a global context and to explore its connection to contemporary concerns and ideas. The Museum’s Study Center stimulates object-based learning and multidisciplinary research and aims to share its research in the field of Eastern Christian art with wide audiences through an active slate of academic and public programs.


Thursday – Sunday, 10AM – 4PM. The Museum is closed Monday–Wednesday.

Admission: Adults $15, seniors (65+) $12, Students (with ID) FREE, Children and Youth (0-17) FREE.

Follow The Icon Museum and Study Center on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Visit the website, www.iconmuseum.org, home of the online collection (including research papers on individual icons), the Journal of Icon Studies, and the British Museum’s catalogue of Byzantine and Greek icons.

For more information, high-res images, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Danielle Shabo, Mgr. of Marketing at d.shabo@iconmuseum.org (Wed – Fri) or (978) 598 5000 ext 125

Anna Farwell, Marketing Coordinator at a.farwell@iconmuseum.org or (978) 598 5000 ext 118


SPBS Virtual Event | Dumbarton Oaks Collections Tour

The Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies is pleased to invite you to join our upcoming Dumbarton Oaks Collections Virtual Tour, delivered by Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, curator of the Byzantine Collections.

Venue: Online

Date: Mon 25th March 2024

Time: 6:00PM (UK time)

You can find out more about this event and book your place here.

Two Symposium Announcements (Madrid and Barcelona)

Icon Museum and Study Center internships

The Icon Museum and Study Center (IM+SC) will offer two on-site, six-week research internships: The Raoul and Mary Smith Research Internship and the John Barns Research Internship. Interns will be based in the Study Center and will focus on building knowledge around the icon collection and Eastern Christian art. In addition to having full access to the icons on display and in storage, they will enjoy borrowing privileges at the Study Center library and may make use of materials-based study resources. Interns will take part in workshops on painting techniques and paleography and will join in trips to area collections. In consultation with the Curator, interns will develop a project in the first week of their residency; the internship will conclude with a final presentation at an evening event open to the public.

The internship is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students at the MA and PhD levels. Reading knowledge of a modern research language (French or German) and some knowledge of Greek or any Slavic language is desirable but not required.

Internships will ideally begin in mid-June.

To apply, please submit:

  • A statement of interest (1-2 pages single spaced). Applicants should present ideas for a project pertaining to their course of study and the collection.
  • A C.V. or resume
  • Names and contacts of 2 references

Interns at the undergraduate level will be compensated $15 per hour and those at the MA and PhD levels $20 per hour for twenty-eight hours a week (four days). Housing stipends are available with final allotment dependent on available funds.

Applications are due March 31.

Please contact the Curator, Justin Willson (j.willson@iconmuseum.org), for any questions about this position.



Call for Applications: UMN Future of the Past

Exploring the Assumptions of Cultural History

The lenses of Western modernity – e.g., capitalism, Christianity, democracy, empirical science – surreptitiously shape the study of past cultures in ways that disregard their own claims about their world in favor of those that align with traditions of the Euro-American academy. The product of this influence is a colonialist narrative that presents past cultures as flawed or inconsistent (because they fail to meet modern criteria) and modern (usually Western) cultures as the resolution of these inconsistencies. Exploring the Assumptions of Cultural History is a three-year project sponsored by the Future of the Past Lab and the Center for Premodern Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities that seeks to interrogate the influence of Western assumptions in the study of cultural history and to imagine ways forward. The series will feature ten, week-long visiting fellowships grouped around three main themes: the transmission of evidence (2024-5), the role of comparative work (2025-6), and the influence of uniquely modern ontological premises (2026-7). In the Spring of the last year of the series (2027), fellows will come together in Minneapolis for a conference to share their findings, which will subsequently be published in an open access edited volume.

The Future of the Past Lab and the Center for Premodern Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities invite applications for two, week-long visiting fellowships in the Spring semester of 2025 around the question of “Transmission of Evidence.” We seek fellows whose work examines issues related to the transmission of evidence from non-modern societies and cultures and how those issues impact the study of the past today. In particular, we are interested in projects that 1) address ways in which the institutions and apparatus responsible for the transmission of evidence have influenced the study of the past in ways that favor Western cultural assumptions, and 2) imagine ways that multidisciplinary approaches in the historical humanities and social sciences contend with these influences.

If selected, fellows will give a public lecture on their work, participate in a workshop on their project, and run a seminar with graduate students relating to their work. Depending on the fellow’s wishes and interests, other events may be scheduled as well. While at UMN, fellows will have access to office space, the University of Minnesota Library, and archival resources, and will be encouraged to make connections with UMN faculty. Fellows’ travel, lodging, and food costs will be covered, and each fellow will receive a $1,500 honorarium.

We welcome applications from scholars of all ranks (from advanced graduate students and up) and disciplines. Special consideration will be given to applications from candidates who represent a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, especially those that have been historically underrepresented in American academia. Likewise, we are interested in applications from colleagues who work in institutions and environments that do not have access to the resources available at an R1 institution or who would benefit from resources specific to the University of Minnesota. For your application, please submit:

  1. An updated CV
  2. An Application Statement (no more than two pages, single-spaced) that explains your research, how it relates to the theme, and why you believe you are a good candidate for the fellowship.

Applications should be submitted to futureofpast@umn.edu with the subject line “Fellowship Application 2025” no later than Friday, April 5th, 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact Noah Segal (nsegal@umn.edu).


About Us:

The Future of the Past Lab is an initiative based in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures at the University of Minnesota. Initiated in 2021, the goal of the Future of the Past is to prompt, facilitate, and platform public-facing work and conversations that think about the systems of power embedded in the histories of our fields; how those systems have favored particular dominant perspectives; how our practice as scholars and teachers perpetuates these systems today; and how we can make changes that remove barriers for under-represented individuals and world views.

The Center for Premodern Studies (CPS) is the home for collaborative scholarship and outreach in the historical humanities and social sciences at the University of Minnesota. Founded in 2021, it is the latest iteration in a long line of interdisciplinary ventures into the study of the past at Minnesota including the Mellon-funded Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World. CPS’s connections within and beyond the UMN will support fellows in engaging regional scholars, special collections, and museums.

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