Byzantine Studies Conference Archives

Twenty-Third Annual Byzantine Studies Conference
September 26-28, 1997
University of Wisconsin-Madison



I. Old and New Discoveries and their Interpretations
II. Imperial and Autocratic Images and Ideology
III. Interpretations of Church Decoration
IV. Pilgrimage and Theoretical Approaches to the East and West
V. Expressions of Ritual and Devotion in Byzantium
VI. Navigation, Shipping, and Trade
VII. Texts and Culture
VIII. Relations between Visual Art and Texts
IX. Ecclesiastical Literature and Hagiography
X. Early Byzantine Architecture and Patronage
XI. Aspects of Byzantine Diplomatic Missions
XII. Church, Theology, and Heresy in Early Byzantium
XIII. Imperial Images and Symbolism
XIV. Family, Sexuality, and the Body in Byzantium
XV. Archaeology and Urban Settlements
XVI. Byzantine Monasticism
XVII. Reviving Byzantine Music and Liturgy
XVIII. Pioneers in Byzantine Studies in America, III
XIX. Early Byzantine Art and Artists: Cultural and Social Contexts
XX. Byzantium and the East: Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations
XXI. Aspects of Byzantine Economy: Coins Weights, and Trade
Index of Speakers


Chair: Joanne Mannell (Montana State University)

  1. Anthony Cutler (Pennsylvania State University):
    "New Byzantine Ivories, Ancient and Modem"

  2. Natalia Teteriatnikov (Dumbarton Oaks):
    "Devotional Crosses in the Columns and Walls of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul"

  3. Glenn Peers (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada):
    "Framing the Crucifixion"

  4. Eric A. Ivison (College of Staten Island, CUNY):
    "Looking for the Lascarids: The Tomb of Emperor Theodore II and the Imperial Monastery of Sosandra at Nymphaeum"

New Byzantine Ivories, Ancient and Modem

Anthony Cutler (Pennsylvania State University)

When I published a hitherto unknown ivory icon in 1994, I remarked on the rarity of such discoveries since the appearance of Goldschmidt's and Weitzmann's great corpus (1930-34). Perhaps predictably, one result has been the surfacing of other pieces whose titles to authenticity vary from the absolutely convincing to the hopelessly optimistic.

This paper scrutinizes three such claims with the aim of determining where we stand in the discipline sixty years after its scientific foundation was laid. The first example is a pair of triptych wings, depicting pairs of archangels, apostles and Church Fathers, that I recently examined in Geneva. Superb in quality and in virtually pristine condition, these can now be shown to belong to a well-known plaque which, since at least 1794, has graced the cover of an Ottonian sacramentary, Berlin, Staatsbib. MS theol. lat. qu. 3 (= G-W II, no. 55). Apart from the importance in its own right of the reconstitution of a complete Middle Byzantine triptych, this recovery allows us to reconsider the iconographic programs, and hence the functions, of such objects. In addition, the close technical and stylistic relation of these wings to the Romanos and Eudokia plaque in Paris throws new light on the date of this most controverted of Byzantine ivories.

By contrast, I consider a plaque from the Botkin collection which entered the Hermitage Museum before 1923. Recently identified as a mid-tenth century diptych leaf (The Glory of Byzantium, no. 93), it can be shown to derive from a very similar work in Dresden, via a plaster cast of the sort frequently made in the nineteenth century.

More audacious is the implicit claim of a small plaque, depicting an armed St. Demetrios that has been known (to a restricted audience) for some fifty years and which was sold at auction to an American collector. Iconographically, its closest parallels are to images of the saint in thirteenth-century wall- and icon-painting, a relation which, if sustainable, would have opened a new chapter in the history of Byzantine ivory carving. Unable to fault it on purely technical grounds, I still suspected it in terms of both its epigraphy and putative date. The latter has recently been subverted by radiocarbon analysis which showed that the tusk from which it was carved belonged to an elephant that died between 1669 and 1955 (!).

Such comparative studies do more than test the limits of connoisseurship. They enable us to refine our understanding of both the history of ivory carving in Byzantium and more recent attempts to alter that history.

Devotional Crosses in the Columns and Walls of Hagia Sophia

Natalia Teteriamikov (Dumbarton Oaks)

Based on pilgrims' accounts, George Majeska has reconstructed the location of the most famous relics in Hagia Sophia. Unfortunately, no relics or reliquaries, described in these accounts, have survived in situ. Metal crosses still imbedded in the fabric of the church, however, provide critical physical evidence for the original location of relics within Hagia Sophia. In this paper I will present data on the crosses, determine the date of their installment in Hagia Sophia, and identify their specific function in the church.

The crosses are located in the marble columns and wall revetments in numerous locations throughout the church. In some cases the actual metal crosses still remain; other crosses are missing, but their original shape is represented by the deep cavities carved to receive them.

These crosses were most likely reliquaries. To date, these crosses have escaped the attention of art historians.

It is difficult to know the exact date when the crosses were placed in the columns and walls. Judging by their type, however, they seem to have appeared sometime between the tenth and twelfth century. Their appearance in the church seem to coincide with pilgrim accounts of the relics in the columns in Hagia Sophia, the earliest of which, the Narratio, dates to the early eleventh century. The evidence of this cross program suggests a new phenomenon -- popular piety in the central church of the Byzantine Empire. This program was intended to promote veneration of saints' relics and their healing power after Iconoclasm. Their locations suggest that these crosses, as part of an even larger relic program in Hagia Sophia, were intended to reflect the functions of different areas in the church.

Framing the Crucifixion Glenn Peers (Kitchener, Ontario) Frames have been the subject of much discussion in contemporary critical theory. Rejecting Kant's view of the frame as a supplement that marks the inviolability of the artefact, theorists have argued for a more dynamic, defining role for the frame in the creation of a space for the artwork and of a role for the viewer. This paper uses some of the insights in theory to elucidate the operation of frames in early Byzantine art.

The conjunction of the iconography of the crucifixion of Christ and small pectoral crosses in the late sixth and seventh century raises interesting questions about the meaning of frame and representation in Byzantium. These objects have been examined often but the full significance of this intersection of frame and subject has been neglected. Many of the objects in this group use the cross form as a container for a distinct setting for the crucifixion, with the cross, Christ and witnesses contained within. The frame is a salvific symbol itself and is clearly commensurate with the Parousia of the triumphant Christ and the intercessory figures of Mary and John. Moreover, the frame is elided with the instrument of Christ's death in examples in Hungary, and the convergence of format and iconography reveals a reflective relationship of cross and crucifixion, a relationship that has specific consequences for the viewer's reaction to these objects. A centre fragment of a cross with figures in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection demonstrates the affective response elicited by the cross/crucifix combination. In the middle of the cross fragment, three Magi approach an enthroned Virgin and Child while directly above two figures crouch at the base of the middle of three crosses. The adoring figures beneath the cross demonstrate mimetic responses of pilgrims at sites and before images in the Holy Land.

Those very impulses toward affective responses and viewer's desires for proximity can explain the unity of format and iconography in the sixth-/seventh-century pectoral crosses. However, that unity was not seamless, that is, the combination of crucifixion on a small cross frame was by no means trompe l'oeil The frame calls attention to the fact of representation. In focussing the viewer's gaze on the enclosed space, the frame paradoxically releases that gaze before a potential desire for real knowledge, an intellectual viewing of the reality behind representation. The monk Dadisho (seventh century) wrote of physical attentiveness to Christ on the cross, kissing and holding the object, but the object aided contemplation by its inadequacy before the 'real thing'. The enclosing of the crucifixion in a fitting format had two apparently contradictory results: compelling physical witness, and intellectual and devotional access. That process is at the centre of the meaning of these objects and it needs further examination before these objects can be understood fully.

Looking for Lascarids: The Tomb of the Emperor Theodore II Lascaris and the Imperial Monastery of Sosandra at Nymphaeum

Eric A. Ivison (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

In 1844 the traveller Charles Texier published an engraving of an inscribed sarcophagus front he found at Nymphaeum (modern Mustafa Kemalpasa near Izmir, Turkey), the Summer residence of the Lascarid emperors [C. Texier, "Tombeaux du Moyen Age a Kutayah et a Nymphi (Asie Mineure)", Revue Archeologique, 1844, pp. 323-325, Pl. 7]. The present whereabouts of this sarcophagus are unknown, but in 1922 Henri Gregoire republished its metrical epitaph, and proposed that it once belonged to the Emperor Theodore II Ducas Lascaris (1254-58) [H. Gregoire, Recueil de Inscriptions Greques Chretiennes d'Asie Mineure, Paris 1922, pp. 24-25, No. 83]. Gregoire's proposal was based upon the use of the word stephiforos, or "crowned one", and an allusion to the taking of the monastic habit before death. Theodore II is known to have become a monk on his death bed at Nymphaeum in 1258, and that he was buried in the nearby imperial monastery of Sosandra, the dynastic burial place of the Lascarids built by his father John III Vatatzes.    Since this sarcophagus is presumed lost and was published in a rare journal, it has escaped comment, but it deserves to be better known by Byzantine archaeologists and art historians as an important and dated imperial tomb.

My paper presents further evidence to support Gregoire's circumstantial attribution to Theodore II, based upon a new study of the epitaph and the sarcophagus' iconography. The language of the inscription can certainly be viewed within the rhetoric of imperial and princely epitaphs and orations, but the unique decoration of the sarcophagus provides a tangible link with Theodore II. This iconography connects the tomb with motifs found only on the emperor's coinage, and can be explained within the context of Theodore's especial devotion to the cult of St. Tryphon at Nicaea. My paper also makes observations on the artistic and archaeological significance of the sarcophagus, by placing it within the context of other imperial and princely tombs of the period that can be identified at Nicaea and Epiros.

Although a number of suggestions have been made as to the location of the imperial monastery of Sosandra, its site has never been identified. The sarcophagus of Theodore II once stood in this monastic church, and so its findspot may also enable us to discover the ruins of this important monument. The recognition of the tomb of Theodore II is therefore is an important addition to our meager knowledge of Lascarid art and architecture, and imperial burial customs between the Comneni and Palaeologi.


Chair: Ralph W. Mathisen (University of South Carolina)

  1. Claudia Rapp (University of California, Los Angeles):
    "Imperial Ideology in the Making: Eusebius of Caesarea on Constantine as 'Bishop"'

  2. Hugh Elton (Trinity College, Hartford):
    "Illus and the Imperial Aristocracy under Zeno"

  3. Gregor Kalas (Bryn Mawr College):
    "Queening Intercession: The Virgin Intervenes as an Empress at S. Maria Antiqua (Rome)"

  4. Sharon E. J. Gerstel (University of Maryland/Dumbarton Oaks):
    "Constructing a Sainted Empress"

Imperial Ideology in the Making: Eusebius of Caesarea on Constantine as "Bishop"

Claudia Rapp (University of California, Los Angeles)

The "Conversion of Constantine" was a momentous event in the history of the Later Roman Empire. It also left a deep mark on the literary production of that period. While pagan panegyricists in the classical vein were slow to acknowledge that the new religion had found imperial favor, Christian authors like Eusebius of Caesarea seized the opportunity to celebrate the linkage of imperial power and Christian faith. Eusebius' Life of Constantine, composed within a few years after the emperor's death (337), is a unique document which combines elements of panegyric, biography, and history in order to extol Constantine's patronage of Christianity. Two passages of this work, in particular, where Constantine refers to himself as "bishop" have been explored by generations of modem scholars in search for the roots of the Christian definition of secular power. In the first, Constantine is said to convene synods of people of differing opinions and from different countries "as a common bishop instated by God" (Vita Constantini 144); in the second, Constantine is reported to have addressed a number of bishops by saying: "you are responsible for those inside the Church, while I would be a bishop instated by God for those outside" (Vita Constantini IV 24). These passages have often been taken as aberrations of a "caesaropapist" view of imperial government, uttered on behalf of an emperor who held an inflated view of the religious character of his rule. This paper offers a re-evaluation of Eusebius and his agenda by discussing these passages in the larger context of the literary strategy of the Life of Constantine.

In his praise of the emperor, Eusebius follows established tradition in making ample use of comparatio and exemplum. The novelty of his approach lies in his selection of the biblical figure of Moses as the exemplum for Constantine. I will begin by showing that the Life of Constantine is permeated by the theme of Constantine as a 'new Moses'. This is especially prominent in the description of Constantine at the battle at the Milvian Bridge, where he is compared to Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea (VC 138. 2-5).1 will then briefly comment on the representation of Moses in the Jewish and Christian literature of the first four centuries AD (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, II-IV; Philo of Alexandria, Life of Moses; Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses) where he is the model of the perfect pious man, political leader, religious mediator and priest. This combination of political and religious leadership makes Moses the exemplum of choice when later Christian authors (Gregory of Nyssa, Philostorgius, Theodoret of Cyrus) take it upon themselves to write in praise of an individual bishop. Only once the literary image of Moses as the prototype of the Christian bishop is identified, and the comparatio with Moses as the underlying theme of the Life of Constantine is uncovered, can we begin to appreciate the persuasive force and the literary craft of Eusebius in defining imperial rulership within a Christian framework.

Illus and the Imperial Aristocracy under Zeno

Hugh Elton (Trinity College)

The political career of Illus, an Isaurian general of great influence during the reign of the emperor Zeno (474-491) can be analyzed in several different ways. Illus was a successful general who earned the consulate and defended Zeno against the usurpation of Marcian, but was instrumental in the usurpations of Basiliscus and Leontius against Zeno. He was a catholic, but had a pagan philosopher and magician, Pamprepius, on his staff. He held property in Constantinople, but was still influential in his native Isauria. Are any of these really contradictions, or do they show the complexity of aristocratic life in the Byzantine Empire of the late-fifth century?

In this paper I shall examine the career of Illus. Although he, like Zeno, is often described as a rough Isaurian mountaineer, he had much in common with the Constantinopolitan aristocrats Anthemius and Basiliscus. His career is best analyzed on their terms, i.e., as an imperial figure, not a local one. But the continuity of his links with Isauria is interesting. What was it that made the Isaurians more closely tied to their homelands than Aspar was to the Goths?

IIlus' career, despite its intrinsic interest, is of value in examining not only contemporaries' attitudes towards local factions, but also the wide-ranging political, social, literary and religious activities in which military men participated. There was far more to being a Byzantine general than being a good battlefield leader. Illus demonstrates this clearly, and provides a good background against which to analyze the imperial aristocracy of Constantinople in the late-fifth century. A greater understanding of Illus and the aristocracy in turn brings the reign of Zeno into sharper focus.

Queening Intercession: The Virgin Intervenes as an Empress at S. Maria Antiqua (Rome)

Gregor Kalas, Bryn Mawr College

In the earliest known Christian fresco at S. Maria Antiqua in Rome, the enthroned Virgin Mary is represented as an empress with the Christ child on her lap. Painted in the sixth century, this image is the first extant example of a type called the Maria Regina whose iconographic roots can be traced back to the triumphal arch mosaics at S. Maria Maggiore. Scholarly investigations have ascertained that depictions of Mary in imperial attire emerged in the early medieval West. Carlo Bertelli proposed that the Maria Regina developed in the sixth century at the north Italian Gothic courts. Ursula Nilgen, on the other hand, contends that the representation of Mary as a queen came out of a Roman and papal context. This paper discusses the Maria Regina fresco at S. Maria Antiqua in terms of viewers' responses. Specifically, the reception of this painting fell into the orbit of conceptions of female rulers as conditioned by portraits of emperors and empresses exhibited in Rome. Such portraits are pertinent to a consideration of the fresco at S. Maria Antiqua because of topographical links between this church and the nearby palace where the imperial images resided in a chapel. The early Maria Regina painting was fitted into a wall of a vestibule located in the Roman Forum leading to the imperial palace on the Palatine Hill. Although the placement of the Maria Regina fresco in the vestibule at the southeast comer of the Roman Forum situates the Virgin in an imperial milieu, the precise function of this image poses further challenges.

The sixth-century representation of Maria Regina raises a crucial question: how did Roman viewers understand an image of Mary dressed as an empress? A Byzantine literary conception of Marian queenship appears in the exaltation of the Virgin written by the court poet Corippus that was delivered by the empress Sophia upon the coronation of Justin II in 565. In Rome, images of the empress were usually linked with those of the emperor. Portraits of the emperor paired with the empress traveled through the streets of Rome to celebrate each new accession to the throne and--after the middle of the sixth century-- images on coins often showed the emperor together with the empress. The pairing of secular images of emperors with those of empresses imply that honors paid to the representation of the female ruler glorified the emperor. Similarly, the visual portrayal of Mary as an empress clearly praises her in lofty terms for Christ's benefit, a theme also developed in liturgical texts. Accordingly, the function of the Maria Regina image was to elevate her status so that she could mediate to Christ on behalf of a viewer. In this paper, I propose that the popes advertised their authority over Rome by deploying Mary intervening as a queen. In the painting at S. Maria Antiqua, the viewer could see the Virgin in the Maria Regina image as an alternative to the Byzantine empress shown in the nearby palace chapel. The Maria Regina formula functioned primarily as an intercessory image, but a secondary purpose was to advance, implicitly, a distinctly papal agenda near the imperial palace.

The Construction of a Sainted Empress

Sharon E. J. Gerstel (University of Maryland/ Dumbarton Oaks)

Since the discovery of an unusual marble icon in the Monastery of Constantine Lips, in 1928, scholars have recognized the inlaid female saint as Athenais-Eudokia, the wife of Theodosios II. Art historically, the identification rested on the royal dress of the saint. The archaizing costume may have given the impression that the sainted empress hailed from an early period in the Empire's history. Athenais-Eudokia, famous as a church builder and hagiographer, seemed the perfect candidate. Although the saint, labelled H APIA EYAOKHA (sic), bears a popular name for Byzantine royal women, there are several compelling reasons to question her identification as the fifth-century empress. Of chief importance is the absence of a notice in the Constantinopolitan synaxarion identifying . Athenais-Eudokia as a saint and enumerating her many good works. Such an entry is, for example, found for her arch-nemesis, Pulcheria (September 10). A short entry for August 13 does mention an empress Eudokia, "whose memory became venerable, [who Aied and was buried] in the Church of the Holy Apostles," but the fact that Athenais-Eudokia died on October 20, 460, and was buried in Jerusalem makes it unlikely that she is the empress named so summarily in the Constantinopolitan calendar.

In this paper, I will propose that the saint depicted on the Lips plaque is not Athenais-Eudokia, but the third wife of Leo VI, Eudokia Baiane. Leo had already elevated his first two wives through the construction and dedication of churches in their names (St. Theophano, St. Zoe). In 907, Constantine Lips, the emperor's grand hetaireiarch, dedicated his church of the Virgin in Leo's presence. Among a number of inlaid marble plaques was the enigmatic representation of Saint Eudokia. The inclusion of a plaque depicting Leo's third wife within five years of her tragic death in childbirth, suggests a pattern in the construction of sainted empresses in the early Macedonian period.


Chair: Alice Christ (University of Kentucky)

  1. Linda Safran (The Catholic University of America):
    "Devotion and Desire: Donors in South Italian Wall Paintings"

  2. Robert S. Nelson (University of Chicago):
    "Socially Symbolic Narration at the Church of the Chora in Constantinople"

  3. George Stricevic (University of Cincinnati):
    "The Pentecost Mosaic in the South Gallery of St. Sophia"

Donors in South Italian Wall Paintings

Linda Safran (The Catholic University of America)

In 1978, Andre Guillou summarized what was then known about the donors of mainland South Italian wall paintings ("L'art ties `moines basiliens' dans les pays Grecs et Latins de l'Italie meridionale," in L'art dans l'Italie meridionale, Aggiornamento dell'opera di Emile Bertaux, ed. A. Prandi [Rome, 1978], 295-297). He cited fewer than 20 names and inscriptions. In the past two decades this corpus has been expanded, particularly by the palaeographic studies of Andre Jacob, but the true range of available material has never been exploited.

It is time to give the donors their due. Using published sources, photographic archives, and fieldwork, it has been possible to assemble a database of 140 donors datable on epigraphic and stylistic grounds between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. There are 74 donor inscriptions, some of which include more than one name, plus another 28 inscriptions that are supplemented by an image of the donor, for a total of 102 inscriptions. By contrast, there are 38 images of donors, to which could be added the 28 paintings of donors accompanied by inscriptions for a total of 66 donor representations, some of which contain more than one figure. In other words, there are nearly twice as many surviving donor inscriptions as donor images, raising the question of whether one form of devotion was considered more efficacious than the other.

Of the depicted donors, 46 are male, 14 are female, and another 5 are of uncertain gender due to the condition of the painting. Even if some of the question marks were female, there are three times as many men depicted as women. This gender disparity is even sharper in the donor inscriptions: 68 represent prayers by men and 9 are invocations by women. Of the male inscriptions, one third also cite wives and/or children; only 1 man includes his parents in his prayer. Men outnumber women overall by about 5 to 1, but if only inscriptions are considered, men outnumber women by a ratio of almost 8 to l. We can deduce that male and female donors chose to express their piety in different ways.

Catalogs of donor images and inscriptions in wall painting have recently been compiled for Cappadocia (by L. Bernardini, in Byzantion 62 [1992]) and for 13th-century Greece (by S. Kalopissi, Dedicatory Inscriptions and Donor Portraits in Thirteenth-Century Churches of Greece [Vienna, 1992]).

A close analysis of the South Italian donors' texts and images-including their location, association with particular holy figures, professions, and degrees of literacy-helps clarify who these donors were, what they desired, and how they professed their devotion in ways sometimes unique to this region.

Socially Symbolic Narration at the Church of the Chora in Constantinople.

Robert S. Nelson. University of Chicago

Honored as the most distinguished book of art history in the year 1966, the three lavish volumes on the mosaics and frescoes of the church of the Chora in Constantinople introduced to a general audience what was and is regarded as the most important monument of Late Byzantine art. But once, it was also the church of a major monastery that was supported by Theodore Metochites, then the prime minister of the Byzantine Empire and its richest citizen after the emperor and his family. In the process of being transformed by learned scholarship and lavish illustration, the Kariye Camii has become great art and thereby divorced from the world that made it and for which it was made. This state of affairs is not easily changed, but I would like to began that process by posing questions about the social significance of the imagery at the Kariye Camii. In so doing, I do not wish to review the context of the monument or its relationship to its patron, methods that deny as much as they seem to explain social function, for the art remains text and everything else context.

Rather I am interested in what and how Kariye Camii represented in early fourteenth-century Constantinople and in the nature of visual representation itself. I want to know what it meant to devote great resources to the church in a period of political decline and economic deprivation. How might this imagery have functioned for its audiences as sign, symbol, and representation? More simply, I would like to understand what the images did for their Byzantine beholders and in what ways their creation and reception constituted a socially and politically symbolic act. To paraphrase Randolph Starn, whose approach to Italian secular painting is similar, the issue is what the mosaics were and what they did.

To accommodate such a broad inquiry, I will focus on a single lunette mosaic in the outer narthex of the Kariye Camii, the Holy Family enrolling for taxation in Bethlehem, an otherwise obscure scene in the history of Christian art, here given unprecedented emphasis. This prologue to the Nativity has become the equal of the Nativity itself, depicted in the next lunette. Something novel and original has been made to look conventional and traditional. Why? One answer may be forthcoming from reading the Enrollment against the political and economic history of the period. I shall argue that the scene is a justification of Metochites' administration and part of a cycle of Good and Bad Government at the Kariye Camii. In brief, this is visual ideology, and as such, both veil and weapon.

Pentecost Mosaic in Hagia Sophia

George Stricevic (University of Cincinnati)

Mosaic painting of the Pentecost, fragments of which were discovered by brothers Fossati in one of the domical vaults of south gallery of St. Sophia, appears to have belonged, together with figures of prophets in the nave, to the second phase of post-iconoclastic re-decoration of Constantinopolitan cathedral. The association between the Pentecost and the mosaics in the nave is supposedly confirmed by iconographic considerations according to which they all belonged to a unified program illustrating the post-iconoclastic theophanic doctrine that through Christ's incarnation (the Virgin and Child in the apse), the faculty of seeing divinity which in the Old Testament was granted only to some prophets (represented in the nave), now became accessible to all. The learned theory rests, admittedly, on too fragmentary an evidence: the Baptism, (another NT theophanic scene) in one the vaults of north gallery (recorded by Loos) was surely of a considerably later date, while the Transfiguration in the adjoining bay remains completely hypothetical. The Descent of the Holy Spirit in Par. gr. 510 provides the opportunity for different explanation. It prefaces Gregory's homily on the Pentecost which might have been delivered in the presence of the participants of the Second Ecumenical synod (381). The compositional schema-the Apostles seated on a semicircular bench-is repeated in the representation of that synod in the same codex. The enthroned gospelbook (to be expected in the representation of a church council) in the Pentecost scene shows that the parallel between the two pictures goes beyond the use of the same compositional type. Late-9th cent. Synodicon Vews, a compendium of all Church councils, opens with an account of the gathering of the Apostles held in Jerusalem. In the mimetic remembrance of the synod of Apostles, several ecumenical councils (including the one which is portrayed in Paris Gregory) solemnly opened (or were planned to be opened) on the feast of the Pentecost or during the Pentecostal season. The same is true of one of the two annual endemousa synods of Constantinopolitan patriarchate, most of which meeting en tois demois katehoumeneios of the Great Church, i.e. directly under the Pentecost canopy. Both our Pentecost mosaic and miniatures of Par. gr. 510 were painted in the wake of the council of 879-880, all working sessions of which also took place in the south gallery of Hagia Sophia. Juxtaposition of the two contemporary, and as far as we know, the oldest examples of the schemms-circular and sigma-shaped- shows that they do not represent two stages of a purely formal development. Much more common semicircular schema is clearly based on the seating arrangement of church councils while the circular one is determined by the domical setting of the picture. The inclusion of the representation of the Second Ecumenical synod in Par. gr. 510 as well as its affinity to the picture of the Pentecost in the same codex, show that a Church synod was seen as an apostolic institution, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining (or restoring) the unity of the Christian oecumene and of resolving dogmatic and disciplinary issues, and, finally, that it represented the forum in which Basileia and Ecclesia had to work together. The Photian council of 879-880, for which the synod of 381 served as a paragon, reaffirmed these principles which had been exhorted by the Patriarch in his writings (most notably in his letter to Michael-Boris) and then framed in the introduction to the Epanagoge, authored by Photius, in which the representatives of the two realms of the ideal dyarchy were asked to draw their clearly defined authority (a need for which had been precipitated by Iconoclasm) from the spirit of Church synods.


Chair: George P. Majeska (University of Maryland)

  1. Dorothea R. French (Santa Clara University):
    "Domesticating the Charismatic: Architecture and Pilgrimage to Simeon Stylites"

  2. Maribel Dietz (Louisiana State University):
    "Pilgrimage and Monastic Wandering: Huneberc's Life of Willibald'

  3. Alice-Mary Talbot (Dumbarton Oaks):
    "Pilgrimage by Byzantine Women"

Domesticating the Charismatic: Architecture and Pilgrimage to Simeon Stylites

Dorothea R French (Santa Clara University)

By building splendid basilicas over places associated with Christ's birth, crucifixion, and resurrection, Constantine created a focal point for Christians which simultaneously attracted pious pilgrims and validated the ruler's place within the cosmos. The devout but limited pilgrimages of his mother, Helena, and mother-in-law, Eutropia, became the prototype for one pattern of Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Palestine. By stressing the importance of visiting the "very place where" significant biblical events occurred, says Robin Lane Fox, Christian pilgrimage replaced the "epiphany" sites of pagan religions which had dotted the sacred landscape.

Such an assumption does not acknowledge the existence of variant pilgrimage patterns within late antique society with its great religious and cultural diversity. Recent anthropological and sociological pilgrimage studies have demonstrated that the character of pilgrimage places and practices reflect the cultural and religious heterogeneity of a society. By assuming the dominance of the scripturally based Jerusalem model, scholars have failed to explore other Christian pilgrimage patterns that co-existed in late antiquity, even within a single region. Fifth century Syria reflects wider late antique society with its great religious and cultural diversity. The Christianization of Syria progressed steadily in the fifth century, particularly under the influence of Syrian holy men. Nevertheless pagan cults and practices persisted well into the sixth century. Pilgrimage to Simeon had much in common with epiphany centers (such as oracular sites) and is one example of a recurring process whereby units of human society go about using structures they know and generating from them transformations that meet the questions of a new age.

This paper examines the architectural setting that defined the ritual space for pilgrims to Simeon both during and after his life. The ritual space created by the living, charismatic Simeon's sacred enclosure was significantly different from that created by imperially constructed buildings over holy places in Jerusalem and Palestine. This study suggests that the development of an imperially constructed and controlled ritual center around Simeon's first imitator, Daniel Stylites, in Constantinople, and later around the dead Simeon's pillar at Qual 'at Sim 'an illustrates one way in which imperial authority appropriated and regulated the spiritual magnetism of Christian epiphany centers represented by stylites.

Pilgrimage and Monastic Wondering: Huneberc's Life of Willibald

Maribel Dietz (Louisiana State University)


Pilgrimage by Byzantine Women

Alice-Mary Talbot (Dumbarton Oaks)

During the period of Late Antiquity women were among the pioneer Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Wealthy Roman women such as Paula and the two Melanias made their way to Jerusalem, as did Byzantine empresses such as Helena, the mother of Constantine. and Eudokia, wife of Theodosios II. The nun Egeria, who visited the Holy Land in 381-384, wrote the earliest Christian pilgrimage narrative. Hagiographical texts record the visits to Jerusalem of Mary the Egyptian and Matrona of Perge. After the 7th c., however, this pilgrimage tradition for women to the loca sancta of the Holy Land seems to have died out, for a variety of reasons: the transformed political situation in the Levant after the Arab conquests, the development of important new pilgrimage sites, and changing expectations of the proper conduct of women. In the 11' c., a nun from Constantinople, en route to Palestine in male disguise, was dissuaded from continuing her journey by a Byzantine holy man, Lazaros of Mt. Galesios, on the grounds that such a trip was too dangerous for women. He argued that the true Jerusalem existed wherever one performed virtuous actions.

Such attitudes lay behind the evident restrictions on long-distance pilgrimage by Byzantine women during the middle and later periods of the empire (9th-15th c.), which will be the focal era of this paper. Both laywomen and nuns did, however, engage in local and short-distance pilgrimage, i.e., within the confines of a city, or to a nearby town or monastic shrine. Using predominantly hagiographic sources this paper will assemble and analyze some of the evidence for female visitation of Byzantine shrines. Like their male counterparts, women visited shrines and holy men for a variety of purposes: spiritual instruction, confession of sins, blessing, healing, obtaining of amulets and other sorts of pilgrimage tokens and souvenirs (eulogiai). A number of factors made female pilgrimage distinctive, however: journeys outside the security of a city posed special dangers to women; women were excluded from certain shrines, e.g., at some male monasteries, and had to resort to disguise or proxy visitation in order to gain access to relics; pilgrimage was one of the few socially sanctioned reasons for women to travel, and was an especially important outlet for female spirituality.

This paper will also examine the issue of "gender-based piety" and demonstrate that, with few exceptions, women pilgrims did not favor the shrines of female saints over those of holy men. A few healing shrines seem to have specialized in specifically female complaints, such as infertility, but there are many instances of women pilgrims resorting to the relics of male saints for such afflictions as menstrual disorders and breast cancer.

Finally, I will briefly review the type of ex-votos donated by women as the result of a vow, as a prayer for intercession, or in gratitude for healing. The inscriptions or poems that accompanied these works of art furnish valuable insights into female piety in Byzantium.

Pilgrimage provided one of the few opportunities for Byzantine women to travel any distance from their homes; as a result of this exposure to the outside world they attained greater visibility, and thus were more likely to be recorded in the hagiographical sources. Thus miracula accounts, with their descriptions of women pilgrims, offer some of the best evidence for the religious life of the women of Byzantium.


Chair: Carolyn S. Snively (Gettysburg College)

  1. Beatrice Caseau (University de Paris IV Sorbonne):
    "Incense and Perfume in Byzantine Churches"

  2. Dora Piguet-Panayotova (Paris, France):
    "Two Hexagonal Decorated Silver Censers from the time of Mauricius (582-602)"

  3. Susan A. Boyd (Dumbarton Oaks):
    "Ex-voto Therapy: A Copper Plaque with Saint Hermolaos"

  4. Jacquelyn Tuerk (University of Chicago):
    "How Words and Images Work: An Early Byzantine Medical-Magical-Religious Amulet"

Incense and Perfumes in Byzantine Churches

Beatrice Caseau (Universite de Paris N Sorbonne)

Dating the introduction of incense in Byzantine churches is not a simple task. If we follow the Liber Pontificalis, at the beginning of the fourth century, Constantine gave censers of finest gold, as well as spices and perfumes to bum to the newly erected Christian basilicas of Rome. However, in the early Byzantine world, the first mention of a liturgical use of incense is provided by the Itinerarium of Egeria who states that incense was wafting in the Anastasis church around 380.

The first part of this paper offers to discuss the evidence concerning the introduction of incense in Christian churches. It was long assumed, following the early Christian apologists that incense was excluded from the early Christian churches. Yet suddenly, if we believe the Liber Pontificalis, the emperor Constantine did not find it offensive to offer censers to the Roman basilicas. The problem lies in the dating of the list of donations attributed to Constantine. Are they genuine and dating from the early fourth century or were they gathered much later in the fifth or in the sixth century?

By the fifth and the sixth centuries, the number of donations of censers and the mentions of incense sharply increase in the texts. In the second half of the fifth century, even a countryside church in Italy, such as the one who received a donation from F7. Valila in 471, could count a censer among the precious vessel kept in its treasury. We can presume from that fact that incense was at that point present in many churches in the West as well as in the East, not only in cathedrals but also in rural shrines.

The second part of this paper proposes to present the evidence we have in church donations and inventories to attest the presence of censers in the churches. What are the obvious words used for censers or for incense bumers in church inventories? What are the less obvious words that have often been overlooked ? Incense was not only burning in thymiateria but also in a wide range of different vessels including the phialai mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Archaeological evidence confirms the wide range of objects used as incense burners. A quick survey of the archaeological evidence reveals that some were meant to be suspended while others were on foot. Some were made of precious metal while others were in clay.

Finally we propose to present the evidence for the different perfumes present in churches and baptisteries. Incense could be made with different resins such as frankincense or myrrh. To perfume the oils burning in lamps balsam and nard were offered to the churches, so that the light was fragrant.

The whole impression was that of a sweet-smelling place, reminding the faithful of Paradise. We know that this odor of the Byzantine churches impressed the visitors coming from foreign lands.

Two Hexagonal Decorated Silver Censers from the Time of Mauricius

Dora Piguet-Panayotova (Paris)

For the early Christians the rites of the Church were of great importance and the liturgical vessels acquired a special symbolic meaning. Conceived as things of sacred value, the censers were made of silver and richly decorated. The subject of my study is the censer in The Bayerisches Nationalmuseum Munich, N° 65/46 and the Nessebur censer in The Metropolitan Museum New York, N° 1985.123.

The Munich censer is raised on a hexagonal base which rests on a foot ring and within its circle five stamps from the reign of Mauricius (582-602) are punched. At their upper end, its three chains are attached to a domelike knob with six rays. Under the rim of the censer an inscription in Greek speaks of an anonymous offering. Each side of the thiruble is decorated with a standing haloed figure: Christ with Saint Peter on the right and Saint Paul on the left, while the Virgin Mary is flanked by two archangels. All the figures are placed under arches which rest on the balusters looking like two bunches of leaves, one over the other.

Purchased by The Metropolitan Museum, the censer came from the Saint Mother of God Church in Nessebur (Mesembria) in Bulgaria. It is also hexagonal, made of silver and punched with six stamps from the time of Mauricius. Its six sides are adorned with the same holy persons as the Munich censer, who are under the arches supported by twisted colonnettes with acanthus capitals. An inscription under the rim reveals the donor, Leontios, who is praying to Saint Georges to inter­cede with God for his salvation.

The similarity of the ornamental schemes and the choice of the holy persons, their poses, clothes and attributes suggest that a common iconographic model may have been used for both censers. Moreover, their stylistic likeness is striking and also the skilfulness of the silver­work. A comparative study of the Munic~and Nessebur censers makes it possible to get a better understanding of their resemblance and the features peculiar to each one. In the research into their artistic milieu and origin, other sacred silver objects are discussed.

The similarities in design and ornamentation of the Munich and Nessebur censers with the hexagonal silver one from the reign of Focas (602-610) in The British Museum, on the one hand and, on the other, their link with the tradition embodied in the hexagonal Sion censer from the time of Justinian in The Dumbarton Oaks Collection Washington, allow to think that the Munich and Nessebur thirubles like the British and Sion ones were made in the silver workshop supervised by the imperial court. The Munich censer found in the Marmara Sea was surely not removed from Constantinople where, there is no doubt, it was made. At that time the works of art produced in Constantinople were very sought after because of their high aesthetic value and were widespread over the large territory of the Empire. It was quite easy to take the silver censer from Constantinople and bring it to Mesembria, which was in close touch with the capital at all the times.

Ex-voto Therapy: A Copper Plaque with Saint Hermolaos

Susan A. Boyd, Dumbarton Oaks

The frequent representation of healing saints, the holy anargyroi, in middle Byzantine church programs and on icons has been linked to their role in healing disease and pro­tecting the health of the faithful. Less well-documented are metal plaques with votive images of the healing saints that may have been commissioned by the faithful to be affixed to the walls of the church, the icon screen, or individual icon stands. In 1987, Dumbarton Oaks acquired a large, copper repouss6 icon (H. 12 5/8"), dating to the late tenth or eleventh century, on which is represented the standing, frontal figure of Saint Hermolaos, one of the lesser known anargyroi, who converted Panteleimon to Christianity and "taught him the medical arts through Christ." Dressed in liturgical vestments, the saint blesses with his right hand and, in his left, carries a book in place of the usual medical implements, the scalpel and medicine box. The votive intention of the object is stated explicitly in an in­scription that frames the central image: "For the health and salvation and forgiveness of the sins [of]...." The part of the frame with the name of the supplicant has broken off.

While Hermolaos is often represented in monumental painting, he is always part of a cycle of healing saints, most commonly Kosmas and Damian, Cyrus and John, and Pante­leimon. Even on smaller objects such as icons, processional crosses, ivory carvings, and panel paintings, he is grouped with other physician saints. What is exceptional about the Dumbarton Oaks relief, then, is that Hermolaos is depicted as a solitary votive image, the sole recipient of the supplicant's veneration. Although relatively few copper repousso icons survive today, they are frequently mentioned in middle Byzantine inventories and judging from the few extant examples, one may assume that they were often gilded. Holes along the upper and lower edges of the plaque suggest that it was originally nailed to an architectural element, such a templon screen, a column, or another piece of church furniture.

The discussion of the Dumbarton Oaks relief will focus on why Hermolaos is repre­sented alone as a votive image, and it will examine the development of his cult in the tenth and early eleventh century and his representation in art of this period. Further, the paper will suggest how the supplications of the donor and the healing powers of the saint were linked directly to the material presence of the votive plaque. The plaque will be examined both within the broader context of middle Byzantine votive offerings, and the narrower context of ex-votos in copper (and bronze) which, as a group, have been little­studied, even though they represent a kind of devotional image that was very popular in medieval Byzantium and which continues to exist in modern Orthodoxy.

How Words and Images Work: An Early Byzantine Medical-Magical-Religious Amulet

Jacquelyn Tuerk (University of Chicago)

A 6th-7th century hematite amulet (in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, #17.190.491, published in the Age of Spirituality Catalogue, #398, and published elsewhere only as a catalogue entry) portrays, through text and images, the New Testament miracle story of Christ healing the woman with an issue o f blood. I argue that the woman who wore this amulet used its story as a persuasive analogy to the personal narrative concerning her own sickness, in order to posit a cure for herself through an identification with the Biblical woman. Through the performance of reading and wearing this Biblical narrative, the Byzantine woman realized her own narrative (and cure) imaginatively, similar to the way that religious pilgrims participate in the narrative of the Crucifixion by performing the Passion.

The amulet was not worn to cause a physical cure, but rather to aid in constructing a narrative for the Byzantine woman wherein her not-yet-obtained care became possible to her. Rather than medicinal, it was therapeutic. The image on the amulet (of the bleeding woman in proskynesis before Christ) and the text on the amulet are both models of and for devotion. The image and text on the amulet present a model of the past faith of the Biblical woman, because of which she was healed. They then present a model for the future faith and devotion of the Byzantine woman through which Christ may heal her. Circular reinforcement occurs upon the Byantine woman enacting devotion, the amulet becoming a model of her as well as for her, simultaneously accounting for time from both directions of past and future. This reciprocal relationship between the two bleeding women involved not only their similar gendered disorders and similar devotional intentions, but also involved physical touching. Power was believed to run from Christ through his robe to the Biblical woman as she touched it. Similarly, power can be traced from the image of Christ through the amulet to the Byzantine woman as she wore it, not unlike an icon.

The extension of the Byzantine theory of icons (that images participate in the identity of the prototype and facilitate communication between the prototype and the viewer) to other types of images, including textual images, introduces previously thought marginal material into the very center of social historical concerns. The power of this amulet to shape experience is only one manifestation of a larger world view. Late Antique and Early Medieval Eastern Mediterraneans described and controlled their spiritual environment through the use of powerful words and images (such as exorcisms and blessings, icons and engraved jewelry). These words and images in material culture were often legible across several Mediterranean cultures and religions, offering a different historical impression than the official ecclesiastical art works and writings. These powerful words and images constructed collective identities, lent form to rituals, and expressed devotion. In doing so, they addressed physical and emotional states, questioning the categories of religion, medicine, and magic as distinct from one another.


Chair: Thelma K. Thomas (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

  1. R Scott Moore (Ohio State University):
    "Ceramic Evidence for Byzantine Trade on the Island of Cyprus"

  2. Frederick M. Hocker (Institute of Nautical Archaeology):
    "A Middle Byzantine Merchant Venture: Recent Discoveries from the Bozburun Shipwreck"

  3. Elisaveta Todorova (University of Cincinnati):
    "Black Sea Shipping and Navigation in the Byzantine Era"

Ceramic Evidence for Byzantine Trade on the Island of Cyprus

R. Scott Moore (The Ohio State University)

Scholars who study trade and the ancient economy are forced to rely heavily upon archaeological data to supply evidence about how it functioned. The most important type of archaeological evidence for the study of trade is pottery. While the analysis of pottery from various western sites has been very useful in helping to better understand trade in the Western Mediterranean, the Eastern Mediterranean has been relatively ignored, in particular the island of Cyprus. Late Roman/Early Byzantine Cyprus is generally viewed by modern historians as a very insular period in the island's history. Unlike earlier or later periods in its history, the fourth through seventh centuries AD on Cyprus are usually neglected. Due to its close proximity to the Syro-Palestinian coast and other eastern markets, as well as its availability to serve as a stopping point for goods headed west towards Constantinople and Greece, Cyprus would have been an ideal nexus for goods flowing both eastward and westward. This, however, is at odds with the standard portrayal of Cyprus as a quiet backwater on the fringes of society. Fortunately, new archaeological evidence on the island has been discovered that will help to resolve this apparent paradox.

For the past six years, the Sidney Cyprus Survey Project (SCSP) has been conducting an intensive archaeological survey in the north-central Troodos mountain region near the modem villages of Mitsero and Politiko. During the survey, the project's teams have collected an enormous amount of ceramic information for the area. This pottery is important for examining the role of Cyprus in relation to trade. This paper will provide a first tentative assessment of the light that the SCSP pottery casts on this issue. The identification and quantification of the pottery from SCSP dating to the fourth through seventh centuries AD provides information regarding the significance, continuity, and volume of eastern Mediterranean trade and its interaction with Cyprus. My analysis of this ceramic evidence will argue that the standard view of Cyprus' economic and trading relations with the Eastern Mediterranean as well as with the west needs to be reevaluated and that based upon the analysis of the SCSP pottery, Cyprus can be seen as an important link in the trade network of the Eastern Mediterranean.

A Middle Byzantine Merchant Venture: Recent Discoveries from the Bozburun Shipwreck

Frederick M. Hocker (Institute of Nautical Archaeology)


Black Sea Shipping and Navigation in the Byzantine Bra

Elisaveta Todorova (University of Cincinnati)

From an area of slim economic concern immediately after the establishment of the Byzantine center of the Bosphorus by the time of Justinian the Black Sea turned into imperial breadbasket, especially after the loss of Egypt to the Arabs. This region continued to provide the capital with staples until the beginning of the thirteenth century and later, and with luxury and exotic merchandise from the North (Russia and Scandinavia), the East (Central Asia and China), and the South (Persia, India, and the Arab lands in the Middle East) till the end of the Byzantine Empire.

Constantinopolitan and local shipping furrowed the Pontic basin on a regular basis, while outsiders were not excluded: although it seems that the Arabs never set foot in Black Sea waters, Vikings and Russians, and later sailors and merchants from Italy and other Western maritime powers profited not only economically from the commercial outlets along the Pontic coastline, but also impacted the shipbuilding and navigational techniques of the region.

In this closed, fairly isolated, annex of the Mediterranean traditional local navigational practices were sporadically influenced by temporary visitors. Subsequently, the basic transportation of the period was improved and updated, evidence of which had come down mainly in the form of portulans and nautical charts.

On the ground of that information our knowledge about the Black Sea harbors - their use for commercial navigation, the approaches to the ports by vessels of different kinds, sailing routes and routines, distances and times necessary to be covered, etc., - contribute to the scarce testimonies of Byzantine seamanship.


Chair: Claudia Rapp (University of California, Los Angeles)

  1. Jacqueline Long (Loyola University, Chicago):
    "Julia-Jokes in Macrobius's Saturnalia"

  2. Hagith Sivan (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton):
    "The End of Byzantine Palestine"

  3. Maria Mavroudi (Harvard University):
    "Remarks on the Byzantine Translations from Arabic into Greek"

"Julia-Jokes in Macrobius's Saturnalia"

Jacqueline Long (Loyola University of Chicago)

Among the pleasant bits of lore with which Macrobius's learned Romans lighten their conversation after dinner on the first day of his Saturnalia, is a group of jokes featuring Augustus Caesar's daughter Julia (2.5.l-9). They extend a series of jokes involving Augustus (2.4.l-31). They carry on limning Augustus's character as they confront his decorous ideals with Julia's frank enjoyment of sex, adornment, and lively companions. How such anecdotes could have appealed to contemporaries is easy enough to surmise. The irony of Augustus's notorious failure to impose on his own daughter the chastity he publicly sought to instill in the Roman people not only reaffirmed the power of individual pleasure, but also highlighted the limitations of a new and not universally welcome individual power in the state. The jokes cut the monarchy down to the scale of human fallibility, and Julia could be sympathetic as well as scandalous. But how did Julia's sensuality and sass resonate some four centuries later? Why were these jokes still funny? Imperial monarchy had long proven the only viable form of government; imperial Christianity had increasingly made virginity the ideologically viable way for a woman to assert her will sexually against the traditional ideal of being a chastely fertile wife (cf. Kate Cooper, The Virgin and the Bride: Idealized Womanhood in Late Antiquity [ 1996]).

Recent research on the social psychology of humor continues to validate Freud's point that a joke creates a bond of pleasure between joker and audience (Sigmund Freud, Der Witz and seine Beziehung zum Unbewusstenz [1912], tr. James Strachey [1960], 131-34, cf. 150-51). Researchers have recognized, however, that different aspects of a single joke can amuse different audiences (see James F. English, Comic Transactions [1994], esp. "Introduction: Humor, Politics, Community"): the text of a joke is as much subject to interpretation as any other text, and the bond it creates is correspondingly fluid. Jokes of the ancients are introduced to the Saturnalia as a means to satisfy both the festival's requirement for levity and the participants' need to observe erudite decorum (2.l.8-10; cf. Julian, Caesars 306A-C). Generic propriety and sheer antiquity sanction even the racy Julia jokes (marked as an extreme, 2.6.l). Finding a way to make one set of social riles subvert another is a classic joke. Moreover, an audience that shared Macrobius's interlocutors' professed desire for communion with their classical heritage would be strongly predisposed to derive as much amusement as possible from the jokes' verbal ingenuity, in order to share a laugh with the hallowed past. Macrobius lists verbal skill among the ends he hopes his whole work will serve (1 pr. 10-11). Julia's independence against imposed morality is subordinated to a new mission of humor; yet at the same time, the verbal liveliness with which her jokes are re-spoken carries her memory into a new age where it is even more subversive.

The End of Byzantine Palestine: Piyyutim's Calculations

Hagith Sivan (Institute for Advanced Study and University of Kansas)

In 1971 Ezra Fleischer published a group of Hebrew liturgical poems (piyyutim) containing numerical calculations which relate to the fall of Byzantine Palestine in the early seventh century. In spite of different provenances and dates, all the poems agree on one figure, five hundred and fifty years, to mark the end of Byzantine control in the Levant. Taken from the year 68 CE, which traditionally marked the beginning of 'Byzantine' presence in the Holy Land, the poetic calculations result in a surprising conclusion. The Byzantine empire (Edom) lost Palestine not in 636 but as early as 618.

That this calculation is not a mere round figure seems clear. But its full significance has not been appreciated, or even noticed. It raises major questions with regard to the participation of the Jewish population of Palestine in both the Persian invasion of 614 and the Moslem conquest. It also prompts a reevaluation of accepted scholarly chronology for the critical events of the first half of the seventh century. Finally, these poetic allegories of the sufferings of Israel under a succession of foreign rules highlight a peculiar set of relations between historiography and literary creativity.

It is well known that the capture of Jerusalem by the Persians in 614 created wide spread reactions particularly in Christian circles. In this paper I wish to explore the possibility that Hebrew 'Messianic' poetry, and specifically these 'mathematical' poems, formed a part of larger contemporary Jewish-Christian polemics. These emerged against the brief Persian occupation of the Holy Land and against the end of the so-called Jewish dominance in Jerusalem in 618, for which the poems provide a date. The events between 614 and 618, with their Messianic hopes and the vast disillusionment with both Persia and Byzantium, not only overshadowed the Moslem conquest but also mark, in the opinion of Avi Yonah, "the real end of the political history of Judaism in Palestine".

Remarks on the Byzantine Translations from Arabic into Greek

Maria Mavroudi (Harvard University)

Stephanites kai Ichnelates is probably the most widely known but not the only text that was translated from Arabic into Greek during the Middle Ages. The translation of other texts has not received enough scholarly attention. These translations were made from the 9th or 10th century onwards, and are mostly of texts on medicine, astronomy, astrology and various methods of divination. Their manuscript tradition is often meddled. Consequently, most of them are still unedited, while their dates have rarely been discussed and their importance for Byzantine intellectual history remains to be assessed. The paper will argue that the texts translated from Arabic into Greek mostly belong to the same general category, that of science. Moreover, it will challenge the prevalent view that Byzantine literature (Schrifttum) was imprevious to foreign influences and will explain that the vigor of the Arab world from the 9th century onwards had not only military and political repercussions, but also intellectual resonances. In addition, it will argue that the translations from Arabic into Greek not only introduced new scientific information but also re-acquainted the Byzantines with elements of the Greek classical and hellenistic heritage that had been absorbed in the Arabic tradition.


Chair: Kathleen Corrigan (Dartmouth College)

  1. Elizabeth A. Fisher (George Washington University):
    "Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople, in Word and Image"

  2. Margaret Kenny (The Queen's University of Belfast):
    "Text vs. Image: The Relationship between Dream Narratives and Illustrations in Mid-Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts"

  3. Kathy Jo Wetter (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill):
    "The Mandylion in the Tenth Century: The Original Copy"

  4. Kathleen Maxwell (Santa Clara University):
    "Modus Operandi of Scribes and Artists in Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Codex Grec 54"

Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople, in Word and Image

Elizabeth A. Fisher (The George Washington University)

Defender of the icons and Patriarch of Constantinople (80(-815), Nikephoros of Constantinople (758-828) inspired both a literary and an artistic response to the events of his life very soon after his death. The Life of Nikephoros by Ignatios the Deacon and the ninth- and tenth-century artistic representations of the Patriarch demonstate similar qualities, which serve to characterize those who honored and promoted the memory of Nikephoros' career after his death. The images of Nikephoros have not previously been studied in a comprehensive way nor in the context of Ignatios' Life.

Ignatios' Life of Nikephoros is a deluxe literary work. Elevated in its level of diction, demanding in its allusions to Christian and classical literature, and sophisticated in its literary design, the Life satisfies the expectations of an audience rhetorically trained, classically educated, and intellectually demanding. Similarly, the illustrated psalters, mosaic decoration, and liturgical vessels of the ninth and tenth centuries which preserve images of Nikephoros are costly items of exquisite craftsmanship appealing to an orthodox audience of substantial wealth and impeccable taste. Further, the narrative vignettes presented in the illustrated psalters and in the twelfth-century miniatures of the Madrid Skylitzes manuscript recapitulate incidents emphasized in Ignatios' Life. Finally, the patron of Ignatios' Life may have been the Patriarch Methodios (843-847); similarly, the mid-ninth century mosaic of Nikephoros which was installed in the patriarchal rooms of St. Sophia establishes the importance of his persona at the highest levels of the Church.

The manuscript tradition of Ignatios' Life indicates that the work enjoyed enduring appeal in some limited segment of Byzantine society, just as Nikephoros' presence in Cypriot and Serbian frescoes of the tv•elfth-fourteenth centuries suggests that he gained a lasting position among the institutional heroes of the Church.

Text vs. Image: The relationship between dream narratives and illustrations in mid-Byzantine illuminated manuscripts.

Margaret Kenny (The Queen's University of Belfast)

The importance of dreams and visions in Byzantine culture is attested by the volume and diversity of surviving literature in which they occur. While episodes retain their individuality, within the narrative scribes often employ a number of key-phrases and seemingly standard motifs. Artists when illustrating episodes also appear to embrace convention; employing motifs and depicting figures as if taken from "a vast file of well established portrait types" (N. Patterson Sevčenko, Illustrated manuscripts of the Metaphrastian Menologion,188). Within a manuscript, illustrator and scribe seem to follow their own conventions even when this causes a dislocation between the picture and text. The Madrid Skylitzes demonstrates such a dislocation. In this illustrated history the dream and vision narratives repeat specific phrases and contain seemingly prescribed descriptions, while the illustrations incorporate motifs and portraits that are paralleled in other genres and other media. Narrative and illustration, are not however, identical, and this leads to the question of how the audience understood the relationship between the text and the image, and how they embraced and resolved the ambiguities created by the tension between narrative and illustration.

Byzantine cognitive theory is not based on a twenty-four hour model involving merely the states of conscious and unconscious, but rather demonstrates a hierarchy of levels of consciousness that includes waking and sleeping. In the Byzantine thought­world the dream and vision experienced in sleep was as "concrete" and as "real" as the sensate-experience of wakefulness. Distinctions lay not in levels of reality but in levels of the participation by the divine, the demonic and the human. Depiction thus seeks to illuminate not the insubstantialness but the solidity, albeit to some extent incorporeal, of the event. If the levels of consciousness are not defined and separated into very distinct categories such as "real" and "unreal" then the principles underlying the techniques of depiction, whether pictures or narrative, need not be exclusive. The artist, scribe and illustrator can employ all the available techniques, generic, oneirological and idiosyncratic, to create the desired imagery. These artists create a representation that embodies not only the episode itself, but also the oneirological principles underpinning the episode. Thus while they are rarely the original recipients of the episode,  they attempt to compose a total representation, employing not only the tools and techniques of their craft, but also their own personal associations and perceptions about the dream and the vision process.

The Byzantine thought-world could and did accommodate the tension and ambiguity between a specific dream or vision and the oneirological principles underlying that episode, and perhaps in the same way, it could accommodate tension and dislocation between illustration and narrative. Viewed in this context, skill results in ambiguity while tension translates into complexity, and complexity and ambiguity were elements the Byzantines not only appreciated but actively sought.

The Mandylion in the Tenth Century: The Original Copy

Kathy Jo Wetter (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The text known as the Narratio de Imagine Edessena (Eatrologise Graeca 113:425 ff.) was written in the year 945 for the occasion of the first anniversary of the Mandylion's arrival in Constantinople The Mandylion was both a relic and an icon, a cloth that had come into contact with the face of Christ whose image was miraculously retained on it. By the time the Narratio was written in the tenth century, it was believed that Jesus had given the cloth to a messenger to take to King Abgar of Edessa and that when the King received the cloth, he was immediately cured of leprosy; after the death of Abgar, the Mandylion, placed within the walls of the city's gate, had continually protected Edessa from all aggressors. In 944, the Byzantine emperor Romanos Lekapenos acquired the Mandylion from the Edessenes (at the cost of twelve thousand silver pieces and two hundred prisoners of war, according to the author of the Narratio); the Mandylion was brought to Constantinople and escorted on a city-wide tour before being placed in the Pharos chapel within the imperial palace. The author of the Narratio associates the acquisition of the Mandybon with Constantine VII (RQ 113:448-449), despite the facts of the translation one year earlier.

Averil Cameron has traced the development of the legend of the Mandylion (in Okeanos: Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 [1983], 80-94) and has shown that the story of the miraculous cloth did not exist before the second half of the sixth century. She points out that the Narratio represents the culmination of the legend and that its text should not be considered in isolation; however, the Narratio , as the fullest account of the history of the Mandylion and, significantly, the end of the "telling of the story", is important as a post-Iconoclastic statement on the status of holy imagery.

In this paper, I will focus on the text of the Narratio. I will examine the terms used to describe the Mandylion, a two-dimensional image which is, at the same time, "ocvoadwC '(unpainted), "axetooteuxtoc" (not made with hands), and "row,cocuttoc" (original). I will discuss the relationship between these terns and the iconophile arguments of the two previous centuries. Finally, I will suggest that the paradoxical existence of the Mandylion should be seen in relation to the traditional notion of the incomprehensibility ("arcaTQArttjrfa") of God-a connection that the author of the Narratio establishes at the beginning of the text.

Modus Operandi of Scribes and Artists in Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Codex Grec 54

Kathleen Maxwell (Santa Clara University)

Much can be learned about the working methods of scribes and artists when they leave their product unfinished. Such is the case with the late thirteenth-century Palaeologan illustrated Gospelbook, Paris 54. It was intended to be a deluxe, bilingual (Greek and Latin) manuscript featuring a unique polychromatic text, full-page evangelist portraits, and an extensive narrative cycle of some fifty-one miniatures. In reality, almost half of its Latin text was left unfinished and only twenty-two miniatures in the text were actually completed. Five additional miniatures remain unfinished and space in the text was reserved for twenty-five more miniatures which were never even begun. This presentation will focus on the unfinished aspects of Paris 54's Latin text and its miniature cycle. The results of this study provide a rare opportunity to reconstruct the means by which a luxury manuscript was created.

An analysis of both the working methods of the scribe responsible for the Latin text (completed through fol. 150), and of the working methods of the artist who left five miniatures unfinished reveals intriguing parallels in their working methods. While the Greek text was executed continuously from start to finish in four different colors depending upon the speaker in the text, the Latin scribe completed his text by filling in one color at a time over a number of folios, in an effort to maintain a strict parallelism with the Greek text. Analogies can be drawn with the methods of the artist responsible for the five unfinished miniatures in Luke. He filled in the color of his miniatures in a method which is reminiscent of the "paint by number" kits. Thus, both scribe and artist have adopted similar time-saving techniques.

Paris 54 is often described as a copy of another thirteenth-century illustrated Gospelbook, Iviron 5. While there are significant points of comparisons between the two manuscripts (e.g., their evangelist portraits and many of the miniatures of Matthew and Mark), there are important differences. Iviron 5 features a Greek-only, monochromatic text with a narrative cycle of twenty-nine miniatures, all of which were completed. The question then arises as to the possible impact of Iviron 5 on the state of Paris 54's narrative miniatures as complete, incomplete, or uninitiated. The results of this study indicate that the state of a miniature in Paris 54 is entirely independent of whether or not that scene was included in Iviron 5's narrative cycle. Rather, a miniature's state in Paris 54 is wholly determined by its position within the text. Work evidently began with the narrative miniatures of Matthew's text and all of these were completed. The first four miniatures of Mark's cycle were completed; the last five were not even begun. In Luke the first ten miniatures were either completed or left unfinished (an exception is the uninitiated miniature of the Draught of Fishes); nine other miniatures were not begun. The only executed miniature in John is located in the first quire devoted exclusively to his text. Thus, miniatures located in the first quires of a Gospel were illustrated before those of later quires. However, the artists did not usually complete all of the miniatures of one quire before moving on to the next. Evidence derived from the text miniatures of Luke shows that these artists appear to have worked upon several miniatures in a number of physically related quires synchronously.

Finally, a codicological analysis of anomalies in the text and narrative cycle of Paris 54 demonstrates that artists and scribes worked together, presumably in the same location. Scholars have been hesitant to suggest the existence of scriptoria in the early Palaeologan period, but the evidence provided by Paris 54 presupposes production methods that are analogous to those one would expect to find in a scriptorium, that is, within a locale that provided expertise in both text and miniature production.


Chair: Alexander Alexakis (New York University/Dumbarton Oaks)

  1. Leslie Dossey (Harvard University):
    "Recovering the Popular Ecclesiastical Literature of Byzantine North Africa: An Anonymous Commentary on Job"

  2. Jennifer L. Hevelone-Harper (Princeton University):
    "St. Ephrem and the Surrender of Nisibis"

  3. Stephen H. Rapp, Jr. (Tucson, Arizona):
    "Sense of Community in Early Georgian Hagiography"

  4. John V. A. Fine (University of Michigan):
    "The Slavic Saint Jerome: An Entertainment"

  5. Hieromonk Alexander Golitzin (Marquette University):
    "Ascent to Heaven: Nicetas Stethatos, the Liturgies of Heaven and of the Heart, and Elements from the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha"

Recovering the popular ecclesiastical literature of Byzantine North Africa: An anonymous commentary on Job

Leslie Dossey (Harvard University)

The native literary tradition for Byzantine North Africa (534-698) is notable primarily for its absence. Except for Corippus' narrative of early military campaigns against the Moors, historians must rely on a hand-full of Catholic bishops who were more interested in participating in the controversy over the Three Chapters than in describing local conditions. What is missing is any account of how the local population adjusted to the change in rulers. My presentation will suggest how an anonymous Latin text might illuminate local attitudes towards the new Byzantine order.

My key text is a long Arian commentary on Job, which has been hidden among the corpus of pseudo-Origen. Although its author professes to he translating from the Greek, the text has contextual and stylistic features (including its version of the Latin Bible) which suggest that he may in fact have been an Arian North African cleric writing an original work. In this discursive, eccentric, and passionate commentary, he presents Job as the model for his own time - the ideal "dux provinciae," just in his judgments and generous in his largesse, who endured a loss of wealth and position without renouncing his God. The devil, circling from province to province, is the archetype for the various "devils" of this world - the "principes" who persecute the martyrs, the pseudo-Christian "omousioi" who tempt. the faithful to attend their assemblies, and even the nagging wives, who blame their husbands for their new poverty. While previous scholars have attributed this text to an Arian North African of the fifth century, its polemical subtext appears more suited to a cleric of the mid-sixth century, speaking to Arians who were having their offices and property confiscated soon after Belisarius' reconquest. He may have been one of the Arian clerics blamed by Procopius for inciting rebellion in the late 530's and 540's.

The focus of my presentation will be to make a case for attributing this commentary to mid-sixth century North Africa by analyzing its Biblical tradition, assumptions about administrative structures, and clues as to audience. Comparisons with other North African texts, in particular Ferrandus of Carthage and two late saints lives, will be useful. I will then discuss its potential importance for understanding the mentality of those who lost Justinian's wars.

S. Ephrem and the Surrender of Nisibis

Jennifer L. Hevelone-Harper (Princeton University)

The inhabitants of Syria in the fourth century had to cope with ongoing warfare between the Persian and Byzantine Empires. In addition to traditional wartime hazards of destroyed crops and besieged towns, there was also the issue of changing religious loyalties. Since the rule of Constantine, Byzantium had been identified with Christianity, while Zoroastrianism was the official cult of Persia. Some Christians within Persia, like Aphrahat, hoped for the Byzantine Empire to expand, while others remained loyal to the Persian government. When Julian became sole emperor, the connection which many Christians had come to accept, of Byzantium with Christianity, was challenged. For polytheists this return to their traditional religion was welcomed and Julian's untimely death a disaster.

The tensions between Persia and Byzantium were acutely felt in Nisibis, an important Byzantine fortress on the Byzantine-Persian frontier. The population of Nisibis successfully withstood three sieges led by Shapur, the Persian King of Kings. Following Julian's death in battle in 363, Jovian concluded a peace treaty which ceded the frontier town of Nisibis to the Persians. As a condition of the treaty the inhabitants of Nisibis were forced to evacuate the city. This settlement provoked outrage among both pagan and Christian commentators in Byzantium.

The pagan Ammianus Marcellinus, who was an eyewitness to the surrender of Nisibis, and the young John Chrysostom prior to his ordination both expressed similar sentiments over the surrender of Nisibis and the expulsion of its population. In their minds, the city was an innocent victim of failed imperial maneuvering. The writers differ only in which emperor they blame for the tragedy, Ammianus blaming Jovian and Chrysostom faulting Julian. Both authors see the surrender of Nisibis as a senseless catastrophe and the expulsion of the population as a harsh punishment.

This paper will consider the evidence of another eyewitness to the surrender of Nisibis. It will examine S. Ephrem's Nisibine Hymns and his Hymns against Julian in order to present the perspective of a person directly affected by Jovian's peace treaty with the Persians. S. Ephrem, who was among those inhabitants of Nisibis who were forced to emigrate, understood the surrender of the city differently than Ammianus or Chrysostom. Like a prophet from the Old Testament, S. Ephrem believed that God was chastising the Christians of Nisibis through their afflictions.

While Chrysostom and Animianus mourned the fate of the inhabitants of Nisibis, S. Ephrem told his fellow believers in his hymns that God had mixed mercy with punishment. He encouraged his companions by showing God's faithfulness in previous times when their city had been threatened. He comforted them in this circumstance by telling of God's graciousness in allowing them to move freely westward to Byzantine territory. He knew that the Persians had exiled entire populations of conquered cities eastward into the heart of the Persian Empire.

S. Ephrem's hymns illustrate the attitudes of western Syrian Christians towards the Byzantine Empire. Whether Byzantium was ruled by an apostate or a believer, God ultimately controlled the clash of empires. Even the Persian king could be an instrument of his will, to remind the Byzantine citizens of their primary loyalty.

Sense of Community in Early Georgian Hagiography

Stephen H. Rapp, Jr. (Tucson, Arizona)

The origin of the Georgian alphabet, and subsequent literature, is a matter of intense controversy. However. should more weight be given to tangible evidence than assumption. the most plausible conclusion is that the Georgian script, and subsequent works translated into and themselves composed in Georgian, date only from the early Christian period (the monarch of eastern Georgia, or K'art h/lberia was Christianized in the 330s). Therefore, it is not unexpected that the two earliest extant works of original Georgian literature are hagiographies composed in the fifth and sixth century respectively­TheMartyrdom of Shushanila (full title: The Martyrdom oj(Ourl Queen Shushanila, Camebay cnudisa shushanilasi dedop'lisay= Po8g8sa P&Robo 8084i5ojobn La9Leot°JC~b.~a), probably written in the fifth century by the priest Iakob C' urtaveli, describes the torture and murder of the Armenian princess Shushaniki (Susan, the daughter of the famous Vardan Mamikonean) by her apostatizing Georgian husband Varsk'en An anonymous hagiographer composed The Martyrdom of Evstat'i within the next hundred years. This vita relates the Christianization of the Persian cobbler Bk'robandavi, who had settled in the Georgian royal city of Mc' xet'a. Bk'robandavi came to fully accept the Christian religion there and assumed the Christian name Evstat i (Eustathius). However, the local Persian population learned of his apostasy and complained to the Persian administrators of Georgia. Evstat' i was put on trial and was eventually, mamTed The Martyrdoms of Shushanild and Evstat' i represent the earliest extant specimens of original Georgian literature. That they are inherently Christian is to be expected, since the Georgian script and ensuing literature were developed by missionaries and clerics in the late fourth/early fifth century. Though they are works of Georgian literature, their primary purpose is, quite obviously, to relate a specifically Christian history and to provide models of appropriate Christian behavior.

I shall examine the sense of community related in these two texts. According to the hagiographers, who were almost certainly Georgians, membership in the Christian community was far more significant than that in any earthly ore. That is to say, according to the hagiographers, the affiliation to Christianity was the essential and overriding form of identity. The dramaas personae of the aforementioned vitae amply demonstrate this point: the two martyrs, Shushanilo and Evstat' i were Armenian and Persian respectively, that is to say, non-Georgians. In fact, Shushaniki's apostate husband and murderer is identified as a Georgian nobleman. Thus, the Georgian character in the story renounces Christianity, accepts Zoroastrianism so as to advance at the Persian court, and then tortures to death his Christian Armenian wife. Only Persians play a prominent role in The Martyrdom of Evstat i. To these early hagiographers, it was of no great conxgueace that their subjects were non-Georgians because they were model Christians. The connection of the two vitae with Georgia is religious and geographical.

Neither of the Marrvrdoms dwells on the nature and constituency of the Georgian community, besides its basic religious and geographical dimensions. The hagiographers considered affiliation to Christianity to be paramount, though these accounts were intended to secure and maintain Georgian converts. Significantly, neither text alludes to the Georgian monarchy. In later historical and hagiographical works, the king is depicted as the pinnacle of society and the very embodiment of Georgia. His conspicuous absence is not easily explained It may be that the contemporary monarchy was exceedingly weak, or that the kings did not behave as good Christians. I shall also explore the possibility that the contemporary Georgian monarchy and nobility was intimately connected to Persia, and that this bind was largely unacceptable to Christian clerics, for the Zoroastrian Sasanids were regarded as their principal antagonist. It should be noted that subsequent Georgian histories, dating from ca. 800, willingly acknowledge - and praise as honorable - the inclusion of early Christian Georgia in the Persian commonwealth. According to them, Georgia's reorientation towards the Byzantine world occurred only from ascendancy of the Georgian Bagratid dynasty in the early ninth century.

The Slavic Saint Jerome: An Entertainment

John V.A. Fine (University of Michigan)

Despite the cantankerous character of the original, the Saint Jerome that emerged in Dalmatia and then spread to Slavic communities in Rome and eventually to the papal establishment was a loveable figure who contributed hugely to Slavic Catholic culture. In fact, Jerome, a fourth-century figure, lived prior to the Slavic migrations which began in the sixth century. Moreover, as is well known, the Slavonic written language was developed in the ninth century by Constantine/Cyril and Methodius and taken in the glagolitic alphabet to Moravia. In the 880s, in trouble with political authorities, the mission was run out of Moravia, and large numbers of its members showed up in Bulgaria. There glagolitic soon was replaced by Cyrillic. However, others arrived in Croatia, where under different Church jurisdiction, they kept the glagolitic and despite attempts by the educated Dalmatian hierarchy to force Latin on them, succeeded in certain places (like the diocese of Senj and the island of Krk) to keep Slavic (with glagolitic texts) into the nineteenth century.

Attacks upon glagolitic in Dalmatia, and neighboring parts of Croatia, began in the tenth century and were taken up at least once in every succeeding century by the Latin speaking hierarchy in Dalmatia. All sorts of edicts against Slavic came out of councils and from bishops, but exceptions were usually attached to these decrees since in large parts of this region priests simply did not know Latin. In the mid­thirteenth century, in response to one of these attacks, an appeal from the Bishop of Senj won papal exception for his whole diocese. We do not possess his letter, only the papal reply. I think it safe to assume that the justification given by the pope had in fact been provided by the Bishop of Senj. In any case, the pope, Pope Innocent IV, in a rescript in 1248 declared that since the Slavic language (understand the written version) and also the Slavic servicetmass had been created by Saint Jerome, and thus was an ancient heritage, he approved its use in that diocese. Four years later the Benedictines won similar papal approval for their establishments in this region. Once accepted, this myth spread throughout the whole Catholic Balkans and was to be used as justification of Slavic services and texts, each time the Latinists launched attacks. Interestingly there is no evidence that any opponents, even as late as the eighteenth century, ever challenged this myth. An interesting question is why not, which I cannot answer now, but hope to by the September meeting. But in any case, the development of the legend is itself a fascinating story in its own right. When Dalmatian intellectuals came to realize there was a chronological problem since Jerome preceded the invasions, they solved it by making the Illyrians into Slavs, and thus the invasions simply brought in other Slavs. And when the South Slavs came up with Illyrian for a name for themselves - and possibly the myth of Jerome contributed to this choice --, it certainly reinforced this myth. When they learned more about Cyril and Methodius, they solved that by crediting Cyril with Cyrillic, while making glagolitic the creation of Jerome. In the process, Jerome became a major patron saint, for whom numerous churches and Dalmatian infants were named as well as the Slavic guest house and its church for "Illyrian" pilgrims in Rome.

Ascent to Heaven: Nicetas Stethatos, the liturgies of heaven and of the heart, and elements from the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Hieromonk

Alexander Golitzin (Marquette University)

Toward the end of her recent book, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, Martha Himmelfarb observes that the "Old Testament pseudepigrapha continued to be copied into the Middle Ages and beyond" in Christian monasteries, and goes on to wonder "just how these texts were understood and how their transmission could be squared with the existence of a well-defined canon" (p.99). Her question finds perhaps a partial answer in the fact that the Old Testament canon was a more elastic affair in the Ethiopian Church than elsewhere, while in Slavonic-speaking lands it did not exist in complete translation until the end of the fifteenth century. I would like, though, to sketch the outlines of a more broadly satisfying reply by looking at the writings of Nicetas Stethatos (+ ca. 1090), the disciple and editor of Symeon the New Theologian, and underlining elements in them which neatly correspond to key motifs in the ascent tradition of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature as described by Himmelfarb herself, together with other scholars. Nicetas, I will maintain, represents a tradition in Christian ascetic literature which consistently interiorized these apocryphal stories, placing them in the context of the "liturgy of the heart" familiar to students of the Macarian Homilies and certain other fourth century, particularly Syrian Christian writers. The ascent to heaven and concelebration with the angels for him, and so for later as well as earlier monastic thinkers, begins now, in this life, and is accomplished at the altar of the heart. Given this interpretation, the survival of Old Testament apocrypha into "the Middle Ages and beyond" becomes less of a puzzle, and more of a piece with longstanding themes in Christian - especially Eastern Christian - spirituality.


Chair: Anthony Cutler (Pennsylvania State University)

  1. Bissera V. Pentcheva (Harvard University):
    "The Architecture of the Kathisma at the Constantinople Hippodrome"

  2. Gillian Mackie (University of Victoria):
    "A New Look at the Patronage of Santa Costanza, Rome"

  3. Carolyn L. Connor (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill):
    "The Epigram on the Church of Hagios Polyeuktos in Istanbul and its Byzantine Response"

The Architecture of the Kathisma at the Constantinople Hippodrome

Bissera V. Pentcheva (Harvard University)

Important new research on Roman circuses (Humphrey's Roman Circuses: Arenas for Chariot Racing, 1986) presents the opportunity to reassess the architecture of the Hippodrome at Constantinople. By taking Humphrey's publication into account, this paper considers the evolution of the Hippodrome within the wider context of tetrarchic circus-palace complexes and provides a reconstruction of the imperial box (kathisma).

It was only at Constantinople that Constantine built an entire circus-palace complex ex novo. This stands in contrast to his previous work on tetrarchic complexes which he either finished (Sirmium, Milan, Trier), or acquired already completed (Rome, Thessaloniki).

The front of the kathisma imitated the example of the pulvinar (imperial box) of the Circus Maximus in Rome. In contrast, the back of the Constantinople imperial loge followed the examples of the tetrarchic circuses, more specifically the Circus of Maxentius. A hypothetical reconstruction is provided, which draws on excerpts from Malalas, Chronicon Paschale, and De Ceremoniis, representations on relief sculpture and miniatures, as well as an analogy with the imperial boxes of other Roman circuses. The relationship between the kathisma and the stama (a colonnade in the shape of the Greek letter rri set in front of the imperial loge) is then interpreted as the formation of a new focus on the emperor in the circus.

This paper will discuss the role of the architecture of the kathisma and stama in Constantine's new political agenda of one man's rule.

A New Look at the Patronage of Santa Costanza, Rome.

Gillian Mackie (University of Victoria).

The church of Santa Costanza, Rome, which was originally an imperial mausoleum, and is adjacent to the Constantinian cemetery basilica of Sant'Agnese on the Via Nomentana, has traditionally been attributed to the patronage of Constantine, fulfilling the request of his daughter Constantina to build a basilica to St.Agnes and a baptistery at this site: the word 'baptistery' in this passage has been explained away by presuming that it is a textual error. However, the recent discovery beneath the mausoleum of a triconch which is coeval with the basilica necessitates the identification of the lower building, rather than Santa Costanza, as part of the Constantinian foundation. It is suggested here that the triconch may well have been the baptistery which Constantina requested, and which was the scene of her baptism and that of her aunt, Constantia. In that case, Santa Costanza must be redated and a precise function and a patron found for it. Ammianus Marcellinus stated that both Constantina, who died in 354, and her younger sister Helena, wife of the emperor Julian (the Apostate), were buried at the imperial estate on the Via Nomentana: the only two members of the imperial family for whom this is recorded. Previous opinion was that, rather than building a baptistery, Constantina had built Santa Costanza as her own tomb, where she was joined in death by her younger sister Helena, who died in 360. The necessity of demolishing the first building on the site, which was on imperial private property, in order to replace it by Santa Costanza, implies a powerful patron, certainly a member of the ruling house, one, moreover, who had need for a burial place at the Via Nomentana.

One patron fulfills both these criteria, the Emperor Julian. This paper suggests that the mausoleum was built for Helena by her husband between the winter of 360/361, when she died in Gaul, and 363, year of his death. Evidently, Helena's sister Constantina would have been re-interred beside her in the new mausoleum, rather than the reverse. Julian's patronage would help explain the ambiguous nature of the mosaic programme of Santa Costanza, which included a curious mixture of Bacchic and Christian imagery, as well as the imperial splendour of the appointments, including the magnificent sarcophagus of imperial porphyry which is now in the Vatican Museum.

The Epigram On the Church of Hagios Polyeuktos in Istanbul and Its Byzantine Response

Carolyn L. Connor (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The relief inscription that once appeared on the early Byzantine church of Hagios Polyeuktos in Constantinople has not been adequately explored beyond helping to identify that church. In this paper I will show how the elaborate epigram that figured so prominently in its sculptural decoration is not only a literary work of art in its own right, but also reveals the church's intended meaning. I will also suggest that the epigram influenced texts related to other churches of the time.

The surviving imperial churches of sixth-century Constantinople represent some of the most innovative and imposing examples of Byzantine architecture, making it all the more significant when a church that once stood among them but whose location was unknown is recovered. Until 1960 all that survived of the church of Hagios Polyeuktos was seventy-six lines of dactylic hexameter preserved in the Palatine Anthology and known to have been inscribed in that church. During preparation of a site for a new town hall in Istanbul, ruins of a large building were accidentally discovered. Ihor Sevčenko recognized on blocks excavated by Martin Harrison parts of the epigram from the lost sixth-century church of Hagios Polyeuktos.

Because the church's extensive, though fragmentary, remains were of such exceptionally high quality, it became clear that this building, dated to around 524-527, required evaluation in relation to Justinian's churches of SS Sergius and Bacchus (527-536), Hagia Sophia (532-537), and Hagia Irene (begun 532), built in the succeeding generation. However, while the Justianic churches had long been evocative of that emperor's ambition and vision as a builder, the church of Hagios Polyeuktos was commissioned by an aristocratic woman, Anicia Juliana, who, as the epigram states, intended to "surpass the wisdom of celebrated Solomon" with her new temple. Scholars have referred to the great church of Hagia Sophia as an architectural "response" to Anicia Juliana's church, for it became apparent that Justinian would have wished to exceed the marvels of her church and that this was part of his incentive in rebuilding Hagia Sophia in 532.

Anicia Juliana is best known for her portrait which appears in the manuscript known as the Vienna Dioscurides, but her major contribution to Byzantine culture was her buildings. Her role as a builder, referred to in the epigram, and in that surrounding her portrait in the Vienna Dioscurides, is substantiated through the physical remains of the church of Hagios Polyeuktos. Now that monumental remains and inscription have been reunited, I plan not only to point out the value of the epigram as a beautiful and highly crafted literary work, but also show that it served, and still serves, as testimony to its builder and to the function and meaning of the church within its sixth-century Constantinopolitan context. In addition I will propose connections between our epigram and the epigram in SS Sergius and Bacchus, and ekphraseis by Procopius and Paul the Silentiary on Hagia Sophia. In these texts we can recognize forms of literary "response" to Anicia Juliana's epigram from Hagios Polyeuktos.


Chair: Ronald J. Weber (University of Texas at El Paso)

  1. Daniel J. Sabas (University of Waterloo, Canada):
    "Photius's Diplomatic Missions to the Arabs: Religious and Theological Dimensions and Ramifications"

  2. Sophia Mergiah (University of Crete):
    "Relics as Diplomatic Gifts during the Reign of Manuel II Palaeologus"

  3. Liliana Simeonova (Sofia):
    "A Diplomat's Occupational Hazards: Near Eastern Diplomacy in the 1400s through the 1460s"

Photius' diplomatic missions to the Arabs: religious and theological dimensions and ramifications

Daniel J. Sahas (University of Waterloo)

In the period between 805 and 946, during which the Byzantines and the Arabs scored significant victories against each other, a number of meetings took place for the purpose of negotiating primarily the exchange of prisoners of war; al-Mas'udi has recorded twelve such exchanges, all of them by the Lamus river and with a more or less set protocol. Prior to becoming Patriarch of Constantinople (858-867, 877-886) Photius participated in at least two such missions, in 845, or earlier, and in 855. In one of them (845) to the Caliph's capital at Samarra, to plead for an end of the persecutions against the Christians, Photius was accompanied by Constantine the Philosopher (ca. 826/7-869), later monk and missionary to the Slavs under the name Cyril, who entered into a theological debate with his Muslim counterparts.

The dates of Photius' missions have been related to the writing of his Bibliotheca. Is there any conclusion which can be drawn from such a coincidence? Noticeable also is the fact that, at the time of another mission (855) on an exchange of prisoners of war, the government of the ardent Mu'tazili Caliph al-Wathiq was involved in imposing its own religious orthodoxy on the Muslim community by insisting that all officials accepted the doctrine of the createdness of the Qur'an (al-Tabari); so much so that, in the case of the prisoner exchange, any Muslim prisoners who refused to do so were returned t.^, the Byzantines! Given the immediate and crucial manifestations of the doctrine of the createdness-uncreatedness of the Qur'an in Muslim society, on the theological, political and social level, it would be intriguing to ponder whether such an experience had any alerting impact upon Photius' thought on the economy of the holy Spirit, indeed On the mystagogy of the holy Spirit, as he characteristically Photius entitled one of his best known works later!

The paper will examine such details of Photius' missions in an attempt to determine the reasons why Photius was chosen for these missions and his exact role in them, as well as what hypotheses may be made and what conclusions may be drawn about his thought and these two writings of his from such a coincidence.

Relics as diplomatic gifts during the reign of Manuel II Palaeologus

Sophia Mergiali (University of Crete)

With the growing decline of Byzantium, during the fourteenth century, Byzantine diplomacy had to adapt its traditional make-up to the new situation and look for more immediate and drastic means to draw the Westerners' attention to the plight of the empire. From this point of view, the offering of relics related to Christ, a well-established practice of Byzantine emperors from the middle of the sixth century and onwards, becomes a central feature in Manuel II Palaeologus' diplomatic relations with the Western courts.

The purpose of this paper is to shed light to this phenomenon, and to show that neither such relics should be viewed as merely diplomatic gifts offered by a bankrupt Byzantine emperor, nor that their offering was a wholesale distribution aimed simply at securing material benefits. The main and essential motivation of Manuel II may have actually been otherwise: to underline his identity as supreme leader of Christendom, presumed by Byzantine political ideology, and to rise the concern of the Western Christians as to the fate of Constantinople, the main depository of relics, now threatened mortally by a non-Christian enemy; an imminent enemy of the entire Christendom. In addition to the fact that the relics related to Christ were always considered as an emblem of political authority, in this instance they were counter­balancing the apparent humiliating impression of a Byzantine emperor acting himself as an ambassador.

A Diplomat's Occupational Hazards: Near Eastern Diplomacy in the 1400s through the 1460s

Liliana Simeonova (Sofia)

In the fifteenth-century Near East, the precarious political situation and the decreased value of human life in general turned diplomacy into an extremely dangerous undertaking. Tied up in a complicated, and by no means clearly defined, system of suzerain-vassal relationships and short-lived alliances, the last Byzantine emperors, the Ottoman sultans, the weakened Balkan rulers, and the local governors of Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor and the Aegean islands found themselves trapped in a situation in which diplomacy was viewed as an extension to warfare rather than a continuous peace-making effort.

The survey of the diplomatic missions carried out on different levels throughout the foresaid period shows that, more often than not, the previously accepted rules for treatment of diplomatic agents were openly disregarded. Emissaries who went to plead the cause of a supplicant prince, or emir, before a suzerain seemed to be the only ones who continued to enjoy the protection of the century-old principle of inviolability of ambassadors. Although humiliation, detention, and imprisonment of other rulers' diplomatic agents were not previously unknown to either Byzantium or its neighbors, now these violations became an almost regular practice at both Christian and Muslim courts. Intimidation of ambassadors, and through them of their master, became a practice too. Sometimes, making the diplomats convey a threatening message to their ruler was not enough and the envoys were to be disgraced in person through disrespectful treatment, such as having their beards shaved off, or getting them involved in a lasting vendetta that led to punitive castrations, etc.

Previously viewed as major, and extremely rare, violations of the established diplomatic rules, kidnapping of emissaries who had gone to the enemy camp to parley a truce as well as murder of messengers became very much part of the fifteenth-century near eastern reality too. With the exception of the torturous death which Mehmed II's ambassadors suffered at Dracula's hands, kidnapping of messengers, and torture and murder of diplomats were usually practiced by angry Ottoman sultans, or their top military.

Because of the great risks to which diplomats were exposed, the contemporary Christian courts were compelled to re-think the way in which they treated their own diplomatic agents. For example, the flight of scared ambassadors before they had reached their destination was no longer considered high treason. However, due to the general atmosphere of mistrust, ambassadors were sometimes accused of corruption, appropriation of diplomatic gifts, and acting as double agents; the penalty extracted from such diplomats was death. Mehmed II increased the efficiency of his emissaries' dealings with foreign courts by setting up deadlines for each mission: an ambassador's failure to comply with the time limit was punishable by death too.

While the Near East had witnessed certain acts of disregard of the established diplomatic rules before, in the fifteenth century the quickly unravelling conflict between Christianity and Islam gave an entirely new meaning to the word violation of the diplomatic etiquette. It was only their sense for civic duty and desperate hope that disaster could still be averted that made Christian diplomats continue going on perilous missions.


Chair: Robert W. Allison (Bates College, Lewiston)

  1. Naomi Janowitz (University of California-Davis):
    "Making Something out of Nothing: Monotheism, Evil, and Definitions of Gnosticism in Late Antique Society"

  2. Patrick T. R. Gray (York University):
    "Four Popes and a Council: The Victory of Obfuscation"

  3. Michael Redies (Freie Universitat Berlin):
    "Cyrill and Nestorius: A New Interpretation of the Origins of the Theotokos­Debate"

  4. David B. Evans (St. John's University, Jamaica NY):
    "Leontios of Byzantium and the Tradition of Byzantine Christology: Is the Human Nature of Jesus Christ and Enhypostasized Nature?"

Making Something out of Nothing: Monotheism, Evil, and Definitions of Gnosticism in Late Antique Society

Naomi Janowitz (University of California, Davis)

The Late Antique period saw a flurry of arguments about the creation of the world and the origins of evil. Modern scholars, taking these arguments at face value, have tried to sort them out and use them to characterize orthodoxy and heresy. Creation ex nihilo and free will epitomize orthodoxy Qewish and Christian); belief in an evil creator god and primordial evil epitomize heresy. As much as we would like to bring such neat order to contentious theological debates, this picture is much too simple. A careful reading of Late Antique interpretations of creation stories reveals nuanced and shifting explanations of evil.

A clear doctrine of creation ex nihilo was slow to emerge. From the 1st century B.C.E. for three hundred years Biblical exegetes imagined a deity who created the world from pre-existent matter but disagreed as to whether that matter was itself created. This variation stemmed in part from the numerous possible interpretations of Plato's creation stories and the references in the Hebrew Bible to pre-existent matter. Conceptions of evil were also fluid, based on the presentation of primordial evil also found in selected Biblical texts. These explanations fail to fall into neat categories and resist the "dualistic" classification of much modern scholarship.

In the Late Antique period these debates continue, since "monotheism" is itself understood in varying ways. As part of their play for power, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries some rabbis create a foil "heretic" who believes in two powers in heaven, thereby covering over their own highly suspect notion of the multiple aspects of the godhead. Not coincidentally, they argue for creation ex nihilo only when speaking against particular opponents. Similarly, the church fathers only adopt what we think of as standard theological stances because of polemical needs.

Attacks on the notions of orthodoxy and heresy are now decades old, but scholars have been slow at working out the implications of these attacks. The point of this paper is to present a less rigid way of explaining the theological nexus between evil and creation. The deeper philosophical problem was how to understand the relationship between one's own divinity and the many other forces at play in the cosmos. The point of the creation stories was not to explain evil, but to explain the establishment of the hierarchical systems which undergird the cosmos, and thereby any system of authority.

Four Popes and a Council: The Victory of Obfuscation

Patrick T.R. Gray (York University)

The Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II, of 553) was potentially an apple of discord between East and West, accepted as it was only after the fact by the very Pope Vigilius it had anathematized, and faced as it was by determined theological resistance in North Africa and northern Italy. Vigilius did not live to face the problem of explaining his acceptance of a council that was, to western eyes, perversely byzantine in its christology. His successors, Pelagius l, Pelagius 11, Gregory the Great, and Boniface IV could not escape the issue. An examination of the evidence reveals that their consistent tactic was, essentially, obfuscation: obfuscation of the facts about Vigilius, obfuscation of the facts about Constantinople's christological stand. In the end, the policy was a great success: Constantinople was "accepted" in the West, though not understood; only in recent times have there been second thoughts about it.

As a first tactical manoeuvre, the Latin acts of Constantinople 11, which in their long version revealed the whole sordid story of the tactics used against a resistant Vigilius and of his own later recantation, were apparently rewritten for a western audience to leave the impression that Vigilius had been a positive participant in the council from the beginning. It is impossible not to recognize that the popes colluded with imperial authorities in this attempt to represent Constantinople II in a form which, though more palatable to the West, entirely obscured the real nature of Vigilius' "approval."

Then too, in their correspondence with north-Italian church leaders on both sides of the Aquileian Schism, the later popes reveal that they knew perfectly well the real nature and importance of the council, but were willing to speak as if Constantinople 11 took no stand on theological matters, or as if it had never happened or was of no importance - this for the ears of a later generation of schismatics and, more importantly, their Lombard supporters. Though the correspondence of Columbanus with Boniface IV shows that, on both this point and the point of Vigilius' behaviour and treatment, it was still possible in the West to have a shrewd idea of what papal policy was sweeping under the carpet, it also shows that Boniface was continuing the by-then longstanding policy of obfuscation in his dealings with the Aquileians, the Lombards, and the exarchate in Ravenna.

Cyrill and Nestorius: A New Interpretation of the Origins of the Theotokos-Debate

Michael Redies (Freie Universitat Berlin)

In 431 A.D, the continued struggle between the Alexandrian bishop Cyrill and his Constantinopolitan counterpart Nestorius led to the council of Ephesus. Nestorius was deposed and exiled. He had, however, the good fortune of authoring an apologetical history which resurfaced in 1908 (l' edition 1910 by F.Nau) and has since greatly influenced modem historiography. The admittedly unscientific traditional picture of Cyrill as a courageous saint overcon»ng his heretical antagonist has since been greatly revised and has today reached an almost diametrically opposed interpretation.

In this century, historians of the subject such as N.Baynes, F.Loofs and E.Schwartz reconstructed - with help of the new source text - a scenario that turned out to be basically a mirror image of the deposition of John Chrysostom some 24 years earlier. Based mainly on Nestorius' own testimony, Cyrill, like his uncle and predecessor Theophilus before him, now appeared to be driven only by secular motives, sacrifying Nestorius on the altar of heresy solely in order to clear himself of secular accusations. The theological dimensions of the conflict were thought to have been negligible.

A redating of some central events however shows that Nestorius' account has some major flaws. Most central are two new findings: The Theotokos-debate, in which Nestorius questioned (or was thought to question) the `Theotokos'-attribute given to Mary (`Mother of God') and thus made an implication about the nature of Christ, had already spread throughout the Roman East before Cyrill's participation, proving that he can not have instigated it. Secondly. it emerges that he did participate in the debate before the secular accusations against him were raised.

Two conclusions can be drawn from this. The first concerns Cyrill. Although it can hardly be said that his conduct in the affair was as saintly as his later reputation would suggest, he clearly did not undertake to anathematize the second bishop of the Christian world solely for profane reasons. His interest in the christological debate was genuine and of theological nature.

The second conclusion must be more general and concerns the christological debate as a whole. Accordingly, the struggle about the natures of Christ rose - unlike the deposition of Chrysostom - not from secular motives, but from a genuine and deep preoccupation with religious questions. It was not the product of a corrupt bishop's quest for power, but rather that of the religious classes' sincere longing for truth.

Leontios of Byzantion and the Tradition of Byzantine Christology: Is the Human Nature of Jesus Christ an Enhypostasized Nature?

David B. Evans (St. John's University, Jamaica NY: retired)

This communication addresses a doctrine seldom if ever challenged in Byzantine Orthodox Christology: the enhypostasia of the human nature of Jesus Christ; that is, the teaching that the human nature assumed by the Son of God in his incarnation had no independent u76arams or exist­ence, but existed only in (iv) the hypostasis of the Son; so that the person or identity of Christ is none other than the person (i»r6aravts) of the Son himself.

On the evidence of the Byzantine tradition, early modern scholarship (e. g., Loofs 1886) traced this doctrine to Leontios of Byzantion (d. CE 543). This conclusion, although often repeated, is probably incorrect (Helmer 1962); and my own study of Leontios (1970) challenged it as also mis­representing his teaching: for Leontios, there are in Christ not one but (in the report of his con­temporary, Leontios of Jerusalem, Contra Nestorianos 2.13) "two enhypostasized natures". This can only mean that, in the Christology of Leontios of Byzantion, both divine and human natures are enhypostasized in a single tertium quid called Christ; so that Leontios's Christ reflects the vows Jesus of the heretical Christological myth of Evagrios of Pontos (d. CE 399). In fine, both the Byzantine tradition and modem scholars misunderstood Leontios, attributing to him not the definition of enhypostasized nature which he actually held but a definition reflecting the Christology of his NeoChalcedonian adversaries (Evans 1966 [dissertation], 1970; Meyendorff 1969, 1974; Gray 1979).

Recently the traditional understanding that Byzantine Orthodox Christology taught the enhypostasia of the human nature of Christ has been called into doubt (Shults 1996). Also called in question are the interpretations of T6 evuw6oraTov in Leontios's corpus by the Byzantine tradition and in my own analysis of his Christology (Grillmeier 1987, 1990; Daley 1993; Shults 1996). To these challenges this communication responds; and that in two ways.

First, it reaffirms the traditional interpretation of the enhypostasized human nature of Jesus Christ in Byzantine Christology. Then (following, e. g., Dorrie 1959; Gersh 1973) it breaks new ground by identifying the sources of this doctrine in the Neoplatonic distinctions between the absolute and relative states of, e. g., the Neoplatonic One; distinctions in which is rooted the classi­cal patristic distinction between the ouaia and the oircovopia of God (Athanasios of Alexandria; Gregorios of Nazianzos.

Second, it will rearticulate our earlier interpretation of Leontios's use of r6 svwr6ararov and radically expand it. Leontios's "two enhypostasized natures" in Christ it will derive from his teach­ing of three ov~uryiat or pairs of the "essential relations" of all beings (CNE 1.4=CNE 4 Daley). --These syzygies we have analyzed in a communication to Concilium Origenianum Septimum (Hof­geismar, August 1997; not yet published): the three syzygies reflect three triads, which represent Leontios's adoption and adaptation to (Origenist) Christian uses of the three triads of the noetic realm which Proklos (d. CE 485) found in the second hypothesis of Plato's Parmenides (Proclus, Theologie platonicienne, III Saffrey-Westerinck). --We now add: and the "two enhypostasized natures" of Leontios's Christology are the extremes (&Kp67ras) of (each of) the second and third of these triads united to their middle tern (r6 jtioov)--which therefore, as tertum quid, perfectly accords with the vows Jesus of the Christological myth of Evagrios of Pontos. --Accordingly, the components of Leontios's doctrine of Christ's enhypostasized human nature are three: first, the lan­guage canonized by the patristic and conciliar traditions in conflict in the Christological con­troversies of Leontios's times (e. g., oiuaia and ur6arams); second, the Christological myth of Evagrios; and finally, Leontios's revision of Neoplatonic teaching, by means of which he brought that myth to cognitive (specifically, theological) expression in a Christological metaphysics.


Chair: Robert Nelson (University of Chicago)

  1. Elizabeth Gittings (Harvard University):
    "A Re-Evaluation of Imperial Imagery, Icons, and Prayer in the Miniatures of the Late Eleventh-Century Barberini Psalter"

  2. Lynn Jones (Philadelphia, PA):
    "Imperial Dress in the Reign of Manuel I Komnenos: Decoration, Audience, and Interpretation"

  3. Irine Nikoleishvili (Tbilisi State University, Georgia):
    "The Images of Historical Persons on X-XI Century Georgian Altar Screens"

  4. Mark J. Johnson (Brigham Young University):
    "A Lost Mosaic Portrait of Roger 11 and Bishop Leontius 11 of Gerace"

A Re-evaluation of Imperial Imagery, Icons, and Prayer in the Miniatures of the Late Eleventh-Century Barberini Psalter

Elizabeth Gittings (Harvard University)

The richly-illuminated Barberini Psalter has been attributed to the patronage of various eleventh and twelfth­century Byzantine emperors, most recently to that of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118), Based on their analysis of the paleography and the style and subject matter of the miniature paintings in the Barberini. the authors of the recent facsimile edition of the psaher date it to the late eleventh century. For them, the three imperial personages represented in the frontispiece suggest imperial patronage of the manuscript. In this context, the numerous icons depicted in the psaher are interpreted as part of an imperial propaganda campaign, a conscious effort on the part of Alexios I to represent himself as a defender of orthodoxy. I argue that there are significant factors, mostly inherent to the manuscript, which call into question the attribution to Alexios.

The vestments worn by the imperial family in the frontispiece of the Barberini and by King David in many other miniatures do not resemble the vestments worn by Alexios in his official portraits. Instead, they recall those of earlier eleventh-century Byzantine rulers, in particular the emperor Michael VII Doukas (1071-1078) and his wife, the empress Mana of Alania. The ceremonial emphasis of the miniature and its inscription, both of which call attention to the scepter more than other elements of the regalia, is found in other portraits of Michael VII. The respect for ceremony evident in these portraits stands in marked contrast to the radically autocratic image of Alexios I Komne nos and the martial rhetoric associated with him. Perhaps the Barberini was made to celebrate the coronation of Michael's son, Constanti ne Doukas, in 1074_ This date is more logical than circa 1095, the date proposed by Anderson, if the Theodore and Barberini Psalters were produced by the same illuminator, as the painting and paleography suggest. The date of circa 1074 would place the Barberini only eight years after the Theodore instead of 26 years later.

With respect to the significance of the numerous icons depicted in the Barberini, it is important to note that the Theodore Psalter, a contemporary psalter produced by the monastery of Saint John of Stoudios in Constantinople, also has an unusually large number of icons in relation to the other psahers of the marginal tradition. If the Barberini was also made at Stoudios, the presence of the icons may relate to the Stoudios Monastery's historic role in fighting iconoclasm and not necessarily to an attempt by Alexios to represent himself as a defender of orthodoxy. Nevertheless, an imperial paradigm seems to be offered in the Barberini: David's veneration of icons in the psaher emphasizes the necessity of regular devotional practices, particularly prayer directed to icons, to the constitution of an emperor. On another level, it suggests that icons and prayer have the same spiritual authority as Holy Writ and that contemplation of the psaher and its miniatures has the same spiritual value as praying to an icon. With the example of David, both as pious king and as a metaphor for the Psalms, and the gift of the luxurious Barberini Psalter, perhaps the monastic community of Stoudios once again demonstrated its political strength and autonomy, as it had during the period of iconoclasm, in providing a moral exemplar for an unpopular emperor opposed by the Church hierarchy. Finally, the authority and power of icons are expanded i n the Barberini miniatures in new ways; Icons assume diacritical, apotropaic, redemptive, and eschatological functions. This new image of the icon represents the resilience of the iconophile theology of the Stoudios monastery.

The most suilang and visually consistent aspect of the Barberini miniatures is the large number of solitary figures represented at prayer. The focus on prayer in the Barberini, which has not been studied in detail, is thus critical to understanding the purpose and meaning of the psaher: It emphasizes the spiritual value of individual prayer and reflects the increase in individual devotion and monastic renewal in the eleventh century, when prayer and the contemplative life provided spiritual reassurance in a disintegrating empire for people at all levels of society. But, more specifically, the Barberini reflects the autonomy, strength, and culture of the Stoudios Monastery, one of the most powerful in Byzantium: It reaffirms monastic values by emphasizing the importance of the contemplative life in prayer. The primacy and efficacy of prayer are stressed above all, above the power of any individual, emperor, king, or otherwise.

Imperial Dress in the Reign of Manuel I Komnenos: Decoration, Audience, and Interpretation

Lynn Jones (Philadelphia, PA)

This paper will address the remarkable evidence for the decoration of imperial robes presented in two texts. The first, an ekphrasis by an anonymous author published by Lampros, is generally accepted to describe a jousting tournament against Latin opponents which was hosted by Manuel I Komnenos. The second ekphrasis was written by John Kinnamos and describes the visit of the sultan Kilic Arslan II to Constantinople in 1161 and his imperial reception. The context of both descriptions is significant. In both instances Manuel appears before foreign rulers, and it may be suggested that they are the primary intended audience of the decoration on the emperor's robes. This paper will discuss the issues of audience and interpretation raised by these two texts.

The anonymous author tells of the emperor's participation in the joust and the resultant defeat of the Latin opponents, but the ekphrasis is most notable for the detailed description it provides of the imperial costume. The shoulders of the royal tunic are ornamented with golden griffins embellished with pearls, and white eagles outlined in pearls decorate the imperial shoes. The ekphrasis also supplies the symbolic meaning of these creatures. The griffins, according to the text, show that the emperor is "on high, and elevated and thundering, as it were, from heaven." The eagles convey a similar meaning, showing the "total elevation of the emperor, for he is spotless like a pearl, and high-flying like an eagle."

Eagles and griffins were of course standard elements in the visual expression of power, but it is significant that the anonymous author interprets them as expressions of imperial ascension rather than as general representations of imperial power. It will be argued that their symbolism for a Byzantine audience was in fact two-fold. They represent the ascension of Christ, reflecting a standard imperial topos which compares the emperor to Christ. They also reflect a second topos, the synkresis of the emperor with Alexander the Great, a synkresis given visual expression in ceremonial revived under Comnenian rule. For the Latins, it will be proposed that the imperial garments would evoke the synkresis with Alexander as well as the more general expression of imperial power. The iconography of Constantinopolitan ivories and silks sent to the West as diplomatic gifts demonstrates that the Latin aristocracy would have been familiar with these motifs and their interpretations.

Kinnamos describes the lavish reception accorded the sultan during his visit to Constantinople in 1161. Manuel received him seated on a golden throne studded with rubies, sapphires and pearls, and for the occasion the emperor wore a purple robe emblazoned with rubies and pearls. According to Kinnamos, these gems were not scattered about randomly on the garment but were arranged to form the image of "a genuine-looking meadow." The evidence presented by Kinnamos helps validate the information provided in the anonymous ekphrasis, for in both texts we see Manuel appearing before foreign dignitaries wearing robes which seem at first glance to feature non-Byzantine decoration. Kinnamos does not supply us with the symbolic meaning of the meadow, but it can be linked with the characterization of the emperor as a garden of graces, a characterization which recurs in panegyrics written for Manuel. The sultan and his entourage would have seen in this meadow the heavenly garden of Paradise and the secular paradise of the sultan's palace, the most tangible visual expression of muslim rule.

The Images of Historical Persons on X-XI Century Georgian Altar Screens

Irine Nikoleishvili (Tbilisi State University, Georgia)

The Georgian medieval art is distinguished by richness of sculptural reliefs, which are    - organic parts of temples decoration systems. Stone altar screens, on which historical persons are represented are an interesting material for investigation gives. For the present time only three altar screen slabs of this kind have survived: Skhieri St. George (middle of the 10 c.), Saorbisi St. George (the second half of the 10 c.) and Zedazeni Monastery's John the Baptist's churches (church-middle of 8 c.). All These altar screens have inscriptions. This gives possibility to identify the represented persons and so to date the slabs' with more precission.

The historical persons on the Skhieri and Saorbisi altar screen slabs are represented in the "Doomsday" composition. This composition was finally formed in 11 century and it became one of the essential themes in the decoration of church interiors. Skhieri and Saorbisi altar slabs give us possibility to roughly restore the altar screens whole oceanographic program. We think that these programs corresponding to the tenth century iconographic programmes (the mural paintings from Adduce St. George church and the relief s of the east window of Joisubani church ).

The 10 century "Doomsday" compositions present diverse interpretations of this iconograhpical theme which later would accept canonical appearance. The examples from Skhieri and Saorbisi illustrate important early state variety of this theme in the Eastern Christian art. All this makes these relief s a very important example of Early christian Art. From Zedazeni altar screen two slabs (the first half of 11 c.) have survived. One represents St. Simeon the Stylite in adoration pose. The second represents the king of Kakheti, the kingdom in eastern Georgia, Kvirike III the Great and the Osetian (North Caucasus) king Urdure. The figures look at each other with mutual meeting gestures. It seems, that these figures of the Georgian and Osetian Christian kings were made as an indication of their political alliance. This also implies figures meeting gestures, as a document of the historical event. Around the kings' figures in medallions are represented portraits of lay and clergyman who were connected with the historical events and this monastery. This might be suggested because of paleographic analyses of the inscriptions and historical evidences.

This composition is the unique and it does not have analogues not only in Georgian art history but in the whole Christian world. The develop of the stone plastic works in tenth and eleventh centuries is characterised with very interesting regularity.

The plastic searchings of this period are distinguished by well grasped artistic unity. Skhieri, Saorbisi and Zedazeni altar screen slabs are answered to the epoch demands and provide us by the possibility to define their place in main developing line of plastic works. These altar screens are not only significant artistic works but also provide important historical evidences, where are reflected complex processes in country's life.

A Lost Mosaic Portrait of Roger II and Bishop Leontius II of Gerace

Mark J. Johnson (Brigham Young University)

Another image of King Roger II may be added to the corpus of known representations of Norman royality in their kingdom of Sicily and southern Italy. Part of the lost decoration of the Cathedral of Gerace in southern Calabria consisted of a mosaic panel placed in the eastern part of the church in which were depicted Roger and the bishop of Gerace, Leontius II. A description of the mosaic is given in the Vitae episcoporum ecclesiae Hieracensis written by Ottaviano Pasqua, bishop of Gerace (15741591), and published in an obscure book (Constitutiones et acta Synody Hieracensis ab illustrissimo et reveren­dissimo domino Caesare Rossi Episcopo celebratae diebus 10, 11 et 12 Novembris 1754 (Naples, 1755), pp. 248-49). In discussing the life of Leontius Pasqua noted that, "in the cathedral, near the altar of SS. Salvatore [located in the south apse] one may still admire a mosaic [imago opere vermiculato] in which are depicted, in poses of devotion, on the right Leontius and on the left Count Roger. The former (is shown) with a gold mitre and cope, the other with a gold crown on his head, the royal scepter in his hand and a mantle covered with gold lilies." The fact that Roger wore a crown dates the mosaic to the period following his coronation in 1130. The mosaic was destroyed during the bishopric of Domenico Diez (1689-1729) so that a crucifix could be hung in its place.

This paper will examine the description, which has never been mentioned in connection with the Sicilian mosaics, and present a reconstruction of the mosaic. It will compare this image of Roger with those at S. Maria dell'Ammiraglio in Palermo and at Cefalu (destroyed) and with other known regal images of Norman Sicily. The recognition of this mosaic also allows for comments on the issue of placement of royal portraits in Norman churches (facade, narthex, sanctuary), as well as on episcopal images during this period, known at Cefalu and, possibly, in the Cathedral of Palermo. Finally, the paper will briefly examine the relationship of the Gerace mosaic to its possible Byzantine and papal prototypes.


Chair: Derek Krueger (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

  1. Nikos Kalogeras (University of Chicago):
    "Byzantine and Modern Perceptions of Byzantine Childhood: The Evidence of Early Byzantine Hagiography"

  2. Stephen M. Wagner (University of Delaware):
    "The Children Will Suffer No More: Images of Protection in Early Byzantine Thessalonic

  3. John W. Birkenmeier (The Catholic University of America):
    "Wounds and Wounding in Byzantium: Perception and Reality"

  4. Paul Halsall (Fordham University):
    "Wedded to Christ: Nuptiality and Gender Reversal in the Lives of Byzantine Male Saints"

  5. Patrick Viscuso (Chantilly. VA):
    "Sexual Intercourse and the Priesthood: Late Byzantine Views on Marriage and Ordination"

Byzantine and Modern Perceptions of Byzantine Childhood: The eNridence of Early Byzantine Hagiography

Nikos Kalogeras (The University of Chicago)

Childhood receives little attention in Byzantine historical writing. Imperial legislation, papyri, and hagiography are three among the few sources that cast light on the place of children in Byzantium. This paper uses samples of early Byzantine vitae to emphasize the distinction between "good" and "bad" children in Byzantium as established by religious biographers, a distinction which has long eluded us. In Saints Lives children are pictured in a dual form: as subjects, when the authors illuminate the childhood of their heroes, and as objects in such aspects as healing, exorcisms and miracles. Early Byzantine hagiography encompasses patterns of urban life, in which children have their own place.

After the prooimion, Saints' Lives contain a chapter or two on the early age of the heroes-saints. Sacred children are attested to have exceptional learning abilities, outstanding intelligence, and exemplary behavior. They study hard, attend the divine liturgy, and above all, they avoid corporal temptations. The majority of children, who do not follow the strict religious norms, fall into the opposite category. They are characterized by hagiographers as having bad qualities. They laugh, play games, and are vulnerable to demons. The Life of Theodore of Sykeon, for instance, is replete with examples of boys and girls who had been possessed by demons and, therefore, went to Theodore for healing.

The image then of a puer-sensx sharply contradicts the image of an ordinary child, which represents another aspect of Byzantine youth. The natural "childish" behavior was so unacceptable to the serious representatives of the ecclesiastical or monastic milieu, so that noisy and disobedient children were often represented as being demoniac. "Bad children" appear and act individually or in groups that wander within the boundaries of cities and cause disturbance. Groups of children in Saints' Lives were held in contempt by hagiographers who depicted them in pejorative accounts. In order to distinguish their heroes' unusual qualities, religious biographers pictured the characteristics of ordinary children as blemish and vicious. Children at large were associated with sinfulness and corruption, because they laughed and they took part in worthless pastimes. References to "bad children" were deliberately confined to comparisons to holy children. On the other hand, the idealized "old children" were considered as worth discussing in the pages of hagiography. They were intelligent, participated in serious discussions, studied hard, and were free from sexual temptations.

Childhood was objectionable for the earnest Byzantine monks and ecclesiastics. The latter viewed children less as children, but more as adults in the making. For them, childhood was an inevitable stage of life that led to adulthood. Hagiographers praised their young heroes and constantly deprecated children who do not exhibit the same seriousness and devotion. This contrast has not been fully evaluated by modern scholars since they have read too much importance in the odd attitude of saints for an interpretation of Byzantine childhood. The study of all types of children as depicted in Saints' Lives, as well as a thorough examination of the vocabulary used to describe them, has a twofold purpose: first, to get a better sense about the way that Byzantines viewed childhood; and, second, to attain a different outlook on a misunderstood period of life.

The Children Will Suffer No More: Images of Protection in Early Byzantine Thessalonica

Stephen M. Wagner (University of Delaware)

In a society that often relegated children to its margins, it is extraordinary to find them prominently featured in a group of mosaics produced in the sixth and seventh centuries for the basilica of St. Demetrius in Thessalonica. Two factors may account for this unique iconography. Thessalonica was a major city in the early Byzantine period that suffered from many problems, especially troubles peculiar to urban living. Repeated attacks by enemies and recurring outbreaks of disease are well-documented, and the association of images with the protection of the city has been shown by Robin Cormack and others. Another phenomenon, however, has received less attention. The abandonment of children, a legacy of antiquity, was a practice that early church fathers condoned in their exhortations for parents to put their pursuit of Christianity ahead of their familial responsibilities. Thessalonica's children were dealt a double threat. Parents who abandoned their children on church doorsteps allowed churchmen to raise them. When the children were grown, their parents often reclaimed and enslaved them.

In spite of the hostile environment children had defenders, and the depiction of the saint's direct protection of them in the mosaics reflects their influence. In the fourth century Basil of Caesarea's pioneering ideas on monasticism welcomed young children into the cenobitic community, whence they could not be reclaimed by parents. Two centuries later the most concrete protection came from emperor Justinian. He legislated reforms designed to protect children from servitude, prostitution, and abandonment, which, as John Boswell proposed, was the imperial response to activity taking place specifically in Thessalonica.

The mosaics under investigation have been the subject of several studies since their discovery in 1908. Discussions of the mosaics' style and dating, the saint's identity, his dress, and his role as protector of Thessalonica have dominated scholarly inquiries. Robin Cormack suggested in his 1969 article on Walter George's watercolor drawings of the church's mosaics that two fifth-century religious texts inspired the mosaic cycle that decorated the north inner aisle of the narthex. His explanation does not account for the presence of children in the later extant pier mosaic located in the chancel. Henry Maguire's recent book also discusses these mosaics, but his thesis focuses on the depictions of children and how they relate to developments in portrayals of saints before and after iconoclasm.

Because children are so conspicuous in the mosaics, and their presence so seldom paralleled elsewhere, one must imagine that their inclusion reflects more than simple votive offerings made by their parents to the saint. Their plight was on the minds of religious and political leaders, and perhaps placing them in the company of the saint represented an example of how to treat children consistent with the emperor's sense of morality and his legal reforms. While modern scholars can never be certain about the patron's exact motivation in producing the mosaics, this interpretation of them gives a voice to the long-silenced children and sheds light on how some of the fortunate ones might have lived.

Wounds and Wounding in Byzantium: Perception and Reality

John W. Birkenmeier (The Catholic University of America)

Byzantines had a fascination with wounds and diseases. One need only examine the exquisitely detailed accounts in Psellos, Anna Komnnne, Choniates, and Kinnamos to encounter this phenomenon. This paper focuses on one aspect of the Byzantine fascination with affliction: wounds.

Our sources' descriptions of wounds usually spring from two contexts. First, wounds are described when they occur in military settings: battles, sieges, and naval actions. Examples abound, from the emperor Stauracios, who suffered from a fatal, festering wound in the ninth century, to Stephanos Kontostephanos, crushed by a siege stone in the twelfth. Secondly, descriptions of wounds appear when they torment an emperor. These wounds may be the result of military action, but frequently the cause is more mundane. For example, Manuel I Komnenos suffered from the after-effects of a sword stroke to his chin, which he received in battle with the Hungarians. His father John II Komnenos died from a scratch received from a poisoned arrow while hunting. Our chroniclers revel in such examples of the intersection of fate and fatality.

The Byzantine middle period is particularly useful in this context because of the plethora of well-chronicled military events between the accession of Basil II and the death of Manuel I (976-1180). The goal of this paper is to examine wounds from this period, exploring three aspects of wounds. First, I will discuss what types of wounds Byzantines considered serious. We, as a society with hospitals, community doctors, and established medical methods, can all too easily transpose to our texts modern ideas about what constituted a 'serious' wound. Wounds were qualitatively different in the ancient and medieval worlds. A minor injury today could have killed a man in the twelfth century. This section of my talk will focus on what constituted a medically serious wound during the Byzantine period. Secondly, I will examine Byzantine perceptions of wounds. Were Byzantine perceptions of a'serious' wound commensurate with the chances of survival for a particular injury? Finally, I will examine Byzantine wound descriptions themselves. How frequently do Byzantine authors paraphrase and plagiarize wound descriptions from ancient sources? Is there any pattern to the words used to describe particular injuries, which might give us insight into Byzantine attitudes towards injury?

Each of these questions is particularly applicable to a study of the tenth through twelfth centuries. During this era perceptions of the heroic and the noble were changing. Warfare became a glorious occupation. Receiving a wound became a mark of heroism. With this introductory examination of wounds and wounding I hope to give listeners an unusual pathway for examining changing Byzantine attitudes in this period, as well as a better understanding of an essential element of life in the medieval period.

Wedded to Christ: Nuptiality and Gender Reversal in the Lives of Byzantine Male Saints

Paul Halsall (Fordham University)

In recent years scholars have explored the gendering of Byzantine female saints, but have not undertaken the same work with male saints. And while sex in Byzantine saints Lives has been examined, sexuality has not. In both regards it is worth casting light on an hitherto unexamined, and perhaps minor, theme in male saints' Lives -- the nuptial relationship of male saints and Christ.

The topos of "bride of Christ" is extremely common, although not ubiquitous, in the lives of female saints of both the early Christian and Byzantine periods. What is less well known is that in some Byzantine texts male saints are also presented in nuptial relationship to Christ. In all cases Christ is the bridegroom [cf. frequent NT refs. Mt. 9:15, Lk. 5:34, etc.], but the role of the saint varies. Some texts, for instance the Philotheos Historia of Theodoret or Cyrrhus and the passio antiquior of Sergios and Bacchos, present male saints as brides of Christ. The gender reversal this involves is familiar in western medieval sources, but is seen also in the writings of Byzantine mystical authors such as Symeon the New Theologian. Other texts denote male saints as the bridegrooms [numphioi] of Christ. Although not common, this usage occurs in widely varied hagiographic contexts: for instance the fifth-century encomion of St. George by Theodotos of Ankyra (which survives in Coptic translation) uses the image repeatedly; Leontios of Neapolis in seventh century portrays Symeon of Emesa and his companion John as "most pure bridegrooms of Christ"; and much later Patriarch Athanasios of Constantinople is so labeled.

How could Byzantine writers cast male saints and, in the case of mystics, even themselves in a bridal relationship to Christ? One could argue that nuptial images simply feminize the saint, just as female saints are masculinized as "athletes" and "warriors". The imagery of male saints, however, does not just mirror that of females: the Christian masculinity of male saints, unlike the femininity of females, is well maintained by other metaphors. This paper proposes that two other approaches to understanding the nuptial imagery in male saints Lives may be fruitful: examination of the efforts of Byzantine writers to express a type of human-divine relationship which approached equality; and consideration of the working of erotic imagery in religious texts.

Sexual Intercourse and the Priesthood: Late Byzantine Views on Marriage and Ordination

Patrick Viscuso (Chantilly, VA)

Modern canonical and theological discussions of celibacy and married clergy often make reference to ancient laws of the Church governing the sexual life of clergy. Certain scholars believe that the early Church viewed participation in the Eucharist as incompatible with sexual relations between clergy and their lawful spouses. This study will present theological and canonical understandings shared by four important late Byzantine legal sources regarding the relationship between marriage and ordination. The four sources examined will be: The Alphabetical Collection of Matthew Blastares, and canonical commentaries of John Zonaras, Alexios Aristenos, and Theodore Balsamon.

The Alphabetical Collection was a popular nomokanon, a collection of civil and ecclesiastical law, which survives in a number of manuscripts. It was used extensively within the late Byzantine church and remains a standard Orthodox canonical reference. The commentaries of the jurists, John Zonaras (death after 1189), Alexios Aristenos (twelfth century), and Theodore Balsamon (c.1140 - c. 1195), covered the corpus of Byzantine canon law. These explanations of ecclesiastical legislation also continue to occupy an authoritative role in Eastern as well as Western canon law. While the authors and works under consideration are separated by time and location, when treating marriage and clergy these sources have in view the same ecclesiastical legislation and reveal common outlooks, presuppositions, and concepts.

This shared legislation on celibacy and married clergy will be briefly summarized. A theological and canonical analysis of the four sources will reveal that two types of defilement are distinguished. The first results from conscious sin, the second from contact with a person or object considered polluted and impure by nature often on the basis of Old Testament legislation. One of the overriding concerns in these sources is that the priest functions as a vessel for the imparting of sanctification. The sacerdotal vessel was believed to be rendered useless by defilement, which characterizes the effect of personal impurity on an attempted relationship with the divine or sacred. Chastity as a quality necessary for priesthood was defined in physical terms; lack of sexual intercourse. Intercourse was understood as a channel whereby a husband might involuntarily incur ritual defilement disqualifying him to function as a sacerdotal vessel.

Such understandings of defilement as well as views on purity will be shown to affect explanations and commentaries regarding marital qualifications necessary for ordination, spouses considered suitable for clergy, the effect of illicit unions on continuance in Holy Orders, the consequence of sexual sins on sacerdotal functions, and the definition of priesthood. The paper will close with late Byzantine views on the antericrity between marriage and ordination as well as remarriage of widowed or divorced clergy. Conclusions will contribute to a broader understanding of gender roles as well as the relationship between religious and sexual life in late Byzantine society.


Chair: Helen Saradi (University of Guelph)

  1. Asen Kirin (Princeton University):
    "Serdica of Constantine the Great"

  2. Timothy E. Gregory (The Ohio State University):
    "Archaeological Survey on the Island of Dokos in the Gulf of Argos, Greece"

  3. Susan T. Stevens (Randolph-Macon Woman's College):
    "A Suburban Christian Complex at Bir Ftouha (Carthage)"

  4. Christine Zitrides (University of Illinois at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign):
    "The Use of Opus Sectile in the Basilical Annex Building at Bir Ftouha near Carthage"

Serdica of Constantine the Great

Asen Kirin (Princeton University)

While the saying "Serdica is my Rome"(Anon. post Dionem. 15), ascribed to Constantine the Great is well known, the remains of this late antique city have not received much attention in the international scholarly community. It is well known that Serdica was an imperial city (Dagron, Krautheimer, Velkov), however the archaeological evidence confirming this is yet to be brought to light. Bulgarian scholars have made important efforts in this direction (Bobchev, Stancheva). Recently, preliminary information about an architectural complex of key importance has become available. In 1994 Magdalina Stancheva published a short article on a complex excavated between 1955 and 1965, identifying it as "the quarter of Constantine the Great."

Between 316 and 330 Constantine the Great spent long periods of time in Serdica (Velkov). A fourth-century source (Hist Arianorum 15,4) accounting for the Oecumenical council of Serdica (343) mentions the imperial palace itself. The palace complex occupied the south-east corner of the ancient city-its most elevated section next to the forum and the most important public buildings, the buleuterion among them. In the immediate proximity, just outside the city walls, was located the cathedral church. The palace-a conglomeration of buildings erected in two major construction periods (third and fourth century) was entered through a double arch, facing the forum. In the center of the complex stood a large peristyle court, flanked by residential spaces and a series of octagonal and circular chambers. A large octagonal hall, approached through an atrium and articulated with niches served certain representative functions. A small bath intended for private use was situated close to the service section, while a much larger bath building stood by the palace entrance.

The location of the palace next to the city walls is reminiscent of Thessaloniki and Milan, while the approach through arches symbolizing triumph and glorification recalls Hadrian's villa in Tivolli and Piazza Armerina. Placing next to each other the palace, the senate, and the cathedral church was a principle followed in Contantinople. Specific components of the ground plan of the palace in Serdica find close parallels in the palaces of Romuliana, Athens (Palace of the Giants), and Thessaloniki. As it was demonstrated in a recent study, placing of baths next to the entrance was a common feature in late antique palatine architecture (Curcic).

Thus, it becomes obvious that Serdica was one of the important examples illuminating the process of multiplication of imperial residences, which began during the Tetrarchy and culminated in the foundation of the new Christian capital-Constantinople.

Archaeological Survey on the Island of Dokos in the Gulf of Argos, Greece

Timothy E. Gregory (The Ohio State University)

The island of Dokos is a small rocky projection off the southern coast of the Argolid between the islands of Hydra and Spetses. Today uninhabited, the island was occupied in the Mycenaean period, and a famous Bronze Age wreck has been excavated just off its coast. Despite its barren and formidable aspect the island is crowned by an extensive fortification wall that encloses the remains of a substantial number of buildings, some of them apparently of monumental character. A large settlement surrounded the fortified area on its three accessible sides and extended down to the well protected harbor south of the castle. Two present-day chapels were built on earlier foundations in the lower settlement, and the remains of a possible large basilica can be seen within the fortifications of the kastro. No proper description or study of this large complex has ever been made, but quantities of pottery, lamps, and coins visible on the surface can all be assigned to the seventh century A.D., from early in the reign of Herakhos to the fourth year of Constantine IV.

The settlement on Dokos is the subject of a recent study by Adonis Kyrou (Aarcwvrxai Fnou6ai 21 1995197-118) which argues that it figured significantly in a story told by Paul of Monemvasia (saec. 10). According to the surviving Arabic translation of this account, the relics of three saints from Barcelona in Spain (Valerius, Vincent, and Eulalia) miraculously appeared at the castle of ashab al bakar, which has previously defied all attempts at identification. Kyrou, however, suggests that this place was the kastro of Dokos described above.

In 1996 and 1997 a team from The Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia carried out an exploration of the area of the kastro on Dokos. This fieldwork resulted in a plan of the complete circuit of the fortress wall, with a perimeter of ca. 575 m., enclosing an area of 16,535 sq. m. Two phases can clearly be identified: one presumably in the seventh century, the other probably to be assigned to a known Venetian rebuilding.

Below the kastro to the south, on a low saddle, is a small modern church dedicated to St. John the Theologian. This single-aisled church has a floor made of large ceramic tiles that presumably came from an earlier building. Architectural and ceramic evidence suggests that the present chapel was constructed on the remains of a much larger 3-aisled basilica, presumably dating to the 7°' century after Christ. On the basis of the surviving walls the nave of this basilica may be restored with a width of 9.00 m. and a length of 18.63 m. (excluding the apse). To the west there must have been an atrium, although its length cannot presently be determined.

The discovery of this earlier basilica is of considerable importance since it may well have been the resting place of the remains of the Spanish martyrs Valerius, Vincent, and Eulafa mentioned by Paul of Monemvasia.

A Suburban Christian Complex at Bir Ftouha (Carthage)

Susan T. Stevens (Randolph-Macon Woman's College)

In antiquity the Bir Ftouha field lay in the northern suburbs of Carthage, about 1 km. from the Theodosian city wall. Since 1880 the site has been known for its Christian structures. In the west end of the field in 1928-9, Pere Delattre discovered a building he interpreted as a baptistery, a three-apsed chapel containing sarcophagi and an adjacent columned hall. In 1897, some 100 m to the east, Paul Gauckler excavated a large floor mosaic inside and outside an immense apse, which he concluded was part of a great Byzantine basilica.

This paper will present the results of the 1997 excavation which will focus on the area between Delattre's and Gauckler's excavations, inside the presumed church, the missing link between Christian buildings in both the east and west ends of the field. These excavations will clarify the date, plan and decoration of the building(s) in the center of the Bir Ftouha field and make possible a reconstruction of the history of a church complex. The histories of most churches at Carthage were lost when the sites were hurriedly cleared in the 19th c. From the perspective of urban studies, the excavation will help to document the development of one suburban area of Carthage, perhaps the transformation of a Roman villa site into a Christian enclave of the Vandal and Byzantine period. Bir Ftouha, particularly the west and central part of the field, may produce evidence of early Islamic occupation so rare at ancient sites inside Carthage.

The three attached buildings at the east end of the field, interpreted as annexes to this church, revealed in two seasons of excavation (1994, 1996), attest to the architectural richness and remarkable extent of the Bir Ftouha complex. The northern-most is a tile-roofed building of undetermined plan with several phases of floor honeycombed with burials. In the center of the current area excavation is a vaulted structure of centralized plan, most of which has been recovered, though its function is still ambiguous. From its architecture and mosaic decoration it appears to be a church annex, perhaps a martyrium coverted to use as a baptistery. A stairs in the north corner of the centralized structure led down into the tile-roofed building. Southwest of the centralized structure is another large building of which only a very small part was excavated in 1996, the foundations of a floor around the outside of a curved wall. The 1997 excavations will test the hypothesis that this is the floor of an ambulatory around the apse of a basilica oriented E-W. Of these three buildings the tile-roofed building is stratigraphically earliest and the floor of the southwestern building is probably the latest. Ceramics from under the floor of the centralized building point to a construction date of the mid-fifth century and evidence from later floors indicate that the life of the annex extended into the seventh century.

The Use of Opus Secale in the Basifical Annex Building at Bir Ftouha near Carthage

Christine Zitrides (University of Dlinois at Urbana-Champaign)

In this paper I explore the use of opus secale panels in the fifth century basilical annex- building unearthed at Bir Ftouha near Carthage. Over three thousand fragments of opus secale in marble and plaster have been stratigaphically collected and catalogued at Bir Ftouha during the 1994 and 1996 excavation seasons. These fragments serve as the basis for a detailed analysis of the implementation of opus secale at this site. The presentation of this new data contributes valuable comparative material to the slowly growing corpus of archaeologically retrieved assemblages of opus secale fragments.

Two seasons of excavation have revealed a concave sided square structure of centralized plan. Nearly the entire floor surface of this annex building is covered in mosaic. and, therefore, it appears that the panels in opus sectile adorned the walls of this structure in some fashion. Based on the density of the fragments uncovered near the interior faces of the four corners of the turning walls, it seems likely that opus sectile panels were employed to decorate these comer spaces.

A catalogue was created for the study of this material, and in this paper I will present the data derived from statistical analysis of the collection and further explore the location of the panels within the structure. The results of my investigation demonstrate that though physical reconstruction of the panels is not possible, careful analysis of the artifacts themselves and of the archaeological context from which they derived has resulted in a clearer conception of the nature of this aspect of the decoration of the Bir Ftouha annex building. :Although these opus sectile panels do not remain in star, they make a major contribution to our understanding of the decorative program of the Bir Ftouha annex building.


Chair: Patrick T. R. Gray (York University)

  1. Cynthia J. Villagomez (University of California, Los Angeles):
    "Positive Attitudes towards Monastic Wealth in the Church of the East in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries"

  2. Monica J. Blanchard (Institute of Christian Oriental Research, The Catholic University of America):
    "The Georgian Heritage of Theodore Abu Qurrah"

  3. Michael Gaddis (Princeton University):
    "Patriarchs and Monks: Politics and Violence in the Fifth-Century Eastern Church"

  4. John F. Shean (University of Wisconsin-Madison):
    "Bogomilism: A Monastic Dualist Development?"

Positive Attitudes towards Monastic Wealth in the Church of the East in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries

Cynthia J. Villagomez (University of California, Los Angeles)

The monasteries of the Church of the East were important economic institutions within the sphere of the East Syrian Orient (Iraq and Iran) during the sixth and seventh centuries. Although these monasteries varied from rich to poor, many were quite wealthy, having substantial cash assets and landed property (including both agricultural fields and villages). The Church was quite favorable towards monastic wealth. This official support helped monasteries to become large and affluent communities by favoring their access to, and use and distribution of cash and commodities. Consequently, monasteries became significant and sometimes the dominant agents in both local and regional economic networks. The success of monasteries in becoming rich economic corporations certainly brought honor to the Church, but also allowed Church leaders to actively use them to provide social services such as charity and education.

While the monasteries of the Church of the East ranked among the most important economic corporations in Iraq and Iran in the late Sasanian and early Islamic times (the high point of monastic influence and expansion in this region), for the most part, economic issues related to East Syrian monasticism have been neglected. Clearly, one of the most important issues is the positive attitudes within the Church of the East which helped enable monasteries to attain their status as strong economic institutions. These attitudes provide a major key to understanding the material base of the cultural activity of the whole Church community--lay, ecclesiastical, and monastic--which tended to be institutionalized in monasteries.

Positive attitudes towards acquiring, creating, maintaining, and using monastic wealth are expressed in Syriac sources from the sixth and seventh centuries. Among these sources are the Church liturgy, synods, and histories, hagiographies, monastic rules, and the letters of ecclesiastical leaders. These sources reveal that ecclesiastical interest in monastic wealth was especially concerned with the protection of monastic communal property from members of the laity and church hierarchy and the equitable regional distribution of donations to monasteries. In addition, they demonstrate that the Church's favorable legal stance towards monastic wealth at times clashed with biblical and monastic models of poverty stressed within monastic circles. It will be argued that tensions over monastic wealth were resolved within these circles partly because of the high priority they gave to providing charity to the needy, and also due to the influences of ecclesiastical and lay notables, often dominated by the Persian Christian elite. Essentially, there was a confluence between the views of these Persian notables, and those derived from the Lives of the Desert Fathers and the teachings of the Greek Church Fathers. These latter views demonstrate Byzantine influences on the monastic and Church leaders who were often partly educated in Byzantium or at the School of Nisibis, and who were particularly instrumental in spreading these teachings in the East Syrian world. The diffusion of these teachings by their inclusion in the liturgy allowed monasteries to benefit financially from the deepened committment of the Church population to tithing and almsgiving.

The Georgian Heritage of Theodore Abu Qurrah

Monica J. Blanchard (Institute of Christian Oriental Research The Catholic University of America)


Patriarchs and Monks: Politics and Violence in the Fifth-Century Eastern Church

Michael Gaddis (Princeton University)

The early fifth century saw the emergence of monasticism as an organized political force actively involved in church controversies. At the Second Council of Ephesus (the so-called "Robber Council") in 449, patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria attempted to place his see in a dominant position in the ecclesiastical politics of the eastern empire and to undermine the rival patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch. He brought with him to Ephesus, as his predecessor Cyril had done in 431, a large force of monks and other supporters who seized control of the city and used intimidation or outright violence to influence the outcome of the council. Not all the monks involved in the tumultuous events of midcentury were as firmly under the thumb of their patriarch as were Dioscorus' Egyptians, however. Appearing by imperial invitation as the officially constituted representative of all the monks of Syria was Barsauma, a Syrian archimandrite long notorious for his violent harassment of Jews and other religious minorities. Although acting as an ally of Dioscorus, Barsauma and the monks who accompanied him seem to have acted as an independent political force, working outside the regular episcopal hierarchy. Indeed, his official role at the council was unprecedented in that I completely undercut the traditional and established authority of the patriarch of Antioch.

Strong, independent monastic organizations appear on both sides of the controversy: on the one hand, those aligned with Dioscorus and Barsauma in support of Eutyches, who later form the nucleus of resistance to Chalcedon; and on the other, groups such as the Akoimetai of Constantinople who oppose Eutyches and who for the remainder of the fifth century exert powerful pressure on the imperial court in favor of Chalcedon and against any compromise with the monophysites.

Focusing on the events of 448-451, I will use council acts along with hagiographies of some of the major players to analyze monastic participation (including, but not limited to, actual violence) in the power politics of the fifth-century church. The council of Chalcedon in 451 saw a counterattack against the doctrines of Eutyches and the power of Dioscorus. It also produced an assortment of canons intended to place monasticism firmly under episcopal control, discouraging monks from involvement in "ecclesiastical or secular matters" (canon 4) and especially prohibiting "conspiracy against bishops" (canon 18). As I will argue, this represents an attempt by the episcopal establishment to rein in monastic movements which had acted with excessive independence in the church controversies of the mid-fifth century.

Bogomilism: A Monastic Dualist Development?

John F. Shean (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Starting in the middle of the ninth century and continuing throughout the remainder of Byzantine history there appeared heretical movements which challenged the religious authority of orthodoxy on a much more fundamental basis than anything which had gone before. These were the dualist heresies which advocated not only extreme asceticism and moral rigorism but rejected the legitimacy of the Orthodox Church as well. The doctrines proclaimed by these groups showed that, despite their best efforts, the Byzantine authorities had been unable to eradicate heretical dualist doctrines whose origins date back almost to the beginning of Christianity. The persistence of these beliefs throughout the eastern Mediterranean during the Medieval period shows that there was always an undercurrent of Gnostic beliefs waiting in the wings for the right moment to expand. These moments came during times of institutional and social breakdown, such as Bulgaria was experiencing during the latter part of the 10th century. Such crises caused the faithful to call into question the legitimacy of the established order and thus provided fertile ground for the proselytizers of these heresies. Heresy may, in fact, have existed undetected within the Orthodox Church itself for generations. Many of our sources for Bogomilism and Messalianism have noted the close association of these sects with the monastic community. Since both these heretical sects allowed their adherents to go through the motions of outward conformity to the Orthodox Church, the monasteries would have been a logical place of refuge for those Gnostics who wished to escape detection. In fact, there is a long tradition among Gnostics of feigning outward conformity in order to avoid persecution. The eremitic communities, with their emphasis on asceticism and discipline, would have appealed to like-minded individuals, such as the dualist heretics, and may have provided the chief institutional setting for the survival and continual development of Gnostic beliefs throughout the Middle Ages. Bogomilism spread to the Byzantine Empire after the conquest of Bulgaria and attracted the attention of Byzantine intellectuals, both secular and monastic. The spiritual and intellectual influences of Byzantium would transform Bogomilism into a more developed and philosophical faith, reflecting the reconciliation of the various heretical traditions. Such influences could not have derived from Bulgarian folk tradition, but could only have been the result of sophisticated heretical minds carefully reworking these different doctrines into a coherent and systematic theological framework. Thus, Bogomilism represented the final stage of a long tradition of dualist theology stretching back almost a thousand years to Sassanian Persia. It was in this later, developed form that Bogomilism would be transmitted to the west in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries.


Chair: John W. Barker (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  1. Gregory Myers (Vancouver, B.C.):
    "The 'Melody of Speech:' The Slavonic Transformation of Byzantine Music and Poetry"

  2. Diane Touliatos (University of Missouri-St. Louis):
    "Revitalization of Byzantine Chant and Liturgy: State of the Question"

  3. Yioryos Bilalis (Philadelphia, PA):
    "Modem Greek Liturgical Practice and its Application in American Orthodoxy" [with musical illustrations performed by the ROMEIKO ENSEMBLE]

The "Melody of Speech:" The Slavonic Transformation of Byzantine Music and Poetry

Gregory Myers (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

At a recent meeting of Cantus Planus in Eger, Hungary, Professor Milos Velimirovic proposed the idea that letters of the alphabet sound differently in different languages, and made the point that the very Byzantine neumes when introduced into another culture, i.e., the Slavs, may sound differently, with completely different sound-values assigned to each letter of the alphabet. The following is an attempt to substantiate this theory by presenting material drawn from the oldest stratum of Paleoslavonic chant, the kondakarian repertory, melsimatic chants preserved in five Kievan sources dating from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. A selected chant is subjected to a comparison with corresponding Byzantine musical material drawn from the choir book or Asmatikon .

Chosen for illustration are two excerpts from the cycle of chants for the Christmas Vigil service: a psalm verse assigned to a solo chanter and a shorttropmion for a small chorus. each written in contrasting melodic and notational styles. While the Slavonic versions are direct translations of Greek Byzantine originals, there are few explicit points of contact. The divergencies between the respective settings reveal how the Slavic adaptors re-engineered the Byzantine melodic patterns, changing the nature of the neumes to fit the linguistic assonances of the new translations of the poetry, thereby establishing the foundations for an indigenous chant tradition.

Revitalization of Byzantine Chant and Liturgy: State of the Question

Diane Touliatos (University of Missouri-St. Louis)

The study and research of Byzantine music is the most neglected of all Byzantine studies, partly because of its loss of tradition. Today's music of the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece is very often referred to as "Byzantine Music"; but, this is a misnomer and not correct. The liturgical chant which is sung today in modern Greece is influenced by medieval Byzantine chant but is more appropriately named "Neo-Byzantine Music," Chrysanthine Music, or the "New Method." The reason for this is that in the early nineteenth century the late medieval Byzantine chant was reformed and in the process the music and the notation were drastically altered. Although some medieval melodic formulae were preserved in the new system of notation, the reforms and alterations do not preserve any tradition earlier than the eighteenth century. Consequently, the medieval tradition of Byzantine chant was not preserved and the medieval notation system became forgotten and undeciferable by both Greek and non-Greek scholars. It was only in the mid-1930s that this musical "rosetta stone" was rediscovered by a group of Western scholars named Egon Wellesz, H. J. W. Tillyard, and Carsten Hoeg, who found the missing key to decifering medieval Byzantine neumes into a transcribable and authentic notation. It is at this stage that the revitalization of the true medieval Byzantine chant begins. Although Greek musicologists were at first reluctant to accept the discoveries of non-Greeks on the transcription system, Greeks now willingly accept these findings with few reservations and have also made major contributions to the performance practice and revitalization of this music.

This presentation will focus on stages of preservation and revitalization of Byzantine music (secular and sacred) that have taken place in the latter part of this century.

Modern Greek Liturgical Practice and its Application in American Orthodoxy

Yioryos Bilalis (Philadelphia, PA)



Chair: John W. Barker (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  1. Walter K. Hanak (Shepherd College):
    "'Father' Francis Dvomik: An Indefatigable Scholar"

  2. Dale Kinney (Bryn Maw? College):
    "Richard Krautheimer as Teacher"

  3. Ellen C. Schwartz (Eastern Michigan University):
    "Hugo Buchthal: Manuscripts and Memories"

  4. David H. Wright (Oakland, CA):
    "Wilhelm Koehler and the Original Plan for Research at Dumbarton Oaks"

"Father" Francis Dvornik: An Indefatigable Scholar

Walter K. Hanak (Shepherd College)

For those who knew "Father Dvomik; " as he was commonly known, he was a man of warm countenance, stem admonition if he disagreed with you, and during the symposia at Dumbarton Oaks a perennial occupier of a reserved section of the sofa which once graced the Music Room. His claim to the sofa following the symposia lunches was not too often, if rarely, challenged. His impromptu responses from the rear of the room are notable.

Born on the 14th of November, 1893, in his native Moravia that is now a part of the Czech Republic, Father Dvomik had a varied career of teaching, university administrator, and most significantly writer-scholar. While contemporary revisionist historians may question a number of his conclusions. Dvomik's interest in Byzantium and its relations with the Slavs are well-reflected in the scholarly literature he produced. Foremost amongst his works are the study of the Cyril and Methodian mission to his native Moravia and the Photian Schism, focusing upon the history and the myth of the latter. These and other themes dominated his scholarly production throughout a gifted lifetime.

Though Father Dvomik never formally had any students in the United States, my mentor, George Soulis did through their associations at Dumbarton Oaks learn much from Father Dvornik and spoke very highly of him in his lectures. Soulis's lectures clearly evidence the Dvomik influence. And by extension, when Indiana University was seeking a dissertation supervisor for me, Dvomik was approached to supervise my dissertation, and of this I shall say a few more words.

Richard Krautheimer as Teacher

Dale Kinney (Bryn Mawr College)

When I first met Richard Krautheimer in 1966, he had recently completed the Pelican Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture (1965) and was preparing volumes 3 and 4 of the Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae (1967, 1970). Typically, he was already mentally reworking the Pelican, and the lectures and seminars that I took with him were part of that reconsideration: "Hagia Sophia", "Baptisteries", "Byzantine Architecture". Although lectures and seminars were quite different in tone and format, Krautheimer's approach to the material was monographic in both. We were assigned individual buildings for seminar reports, and lectures proceeded building by building, creating chains of linked yet distinctive sites that united regions all around the Mediterranean and made genealogical paths through time. Buildings were always completely described, from outside in, in three dimensions. Anything less was dismissed as "paper architecture". The dense parades of churches were punctuated by tart evaluations: the elevation of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus "doesn't click"; the capitals in St. Catherine's basilica on Mt. Sinai are of "unparalleled provincialism", but the palace church at Preslav is "very elegant".

There was no such thing as "theory". Instead we got rich doses of historiography (and volumes of bibliography), and historiography defined the current issues. Issues were questions that other scholars had been unable to resolve. Methodology was implicit; it was assumed that we would grasp it from reading and watching its enactment. Only much later, in 1981, did I receive a few words of methodological reflection: "I'm no Hegelian. Principles in general ... are heuristic and fundamentally ahistorical. I believe in historical circumstance determining the work of art - style, content, mode, in a precise relationship in which patron, artist, function, taste all enter and cause the work of art to differ from case to case. In short, I side with Peter Brown."

As a Byzantinist Krautheimer much preferred the earliest buildings to the precious miniatures of later eras - "all those domes and domelettes, every single one to be screwed on and off". He was most attracted by the monumental piles of the fourth through sixth centuries, which he treated as extensions of enormous personalities, above all Constantine, but also men like Ambrose of Milan: "not a geek [my son's suggestion] ... immensely attractive ... not at all studious, but a man of the world, an excellent administrator, and quite aggressive." Krautheimer enjoyed dealing with such people, in imagination and in person.

As a teacher he scorned servility, and usually rewarded independence. He dignified our work by assuming that anyone smart and hard-working enough could discover the truth, and by citing us when he thought that we had found it. He probably trained fewer Byzantinists than his peers at Harvard and Princeton, partly because at N.Y.U. he shared the field with Hugo Buchthal, and partly because his teaching range, like that of his publications, was much broader, including Renaissance architecture and Rome through the 18th century. Students attracted by the force of his mind and personality had many more pastures to play in. Although he was indeed a "pioneer of Byzantine studies", it would be wrong to classify him so narrowly. His impact should be defined in terms of art history as a whole.

Hugo Buchthal: Manuscripts and Memories

Ellen C. Schwartz (Eastern Michigan University)

This talk will present an overview of the lifetime work and achievement of Hugo Buchthal, pioneer in many areas of Byzantine art history. Professor Buch­thal was born in 1909 to an assimilated Jewish family in Berlin. His doctorate came from the University of Hamburg under Fritz Saxl and Erwin Panofsky. At the urging of the latter, he finished up his dissertation in two weeks in 1933 to re­ceive his doctorate before being forced to leave Germany in 1934. He fled to Lon­don, where he found work as a librarian (1941-49) at the Warburg Institute in its new home. It was in London that he met Maltschi, nee Amalia Serkin, who was to be his wife for almost 50 years. And at this time, he was appointed to the University of London, moving through the ranks to Professor in the History of Art between 1944 and 1965, and beginning his long association with students. In 1965 he was offered a position at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. In his ten years there, he mentored several generations of students. And along the way he garnered many honors: he was made a fellow of the British Academy and the Warburg Institute and was several times a member of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies. He received two Guggenheim Fellowships. He was the first re­cipient of the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Chair in Fine Arts (1970) which he held until his retirement in 1975. His last honor was the Presidential Medal of Honor from New York University, received in absentia at our XXI Byzantine Studies Conference in New York, 1995.

Buchthal's long list of publications include his well-known, canonical works on miniature painting as well as less-known writings on a number of wide-ranging topics. His book on the Miniatures of the Paris Psalter (1938) placed one of the major Byzantine manuscripts clearly in Constantinople in the tenth century, and his pioneering study of Crusader art, Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), spawned in Tom Mathews' words, "an academic industry." Other books explored secular traditions of representation and the then-newish field of late Byzantine artistic creation and influence, continuing his work on manuscripts and cross-cultural influences. But there are scores of other pieces, expressing less well-known interests--work on Syriac miniatures, Jewish iconography, and the influence of the classical style on Gandharan art in India--these too are excel­lent models of inquiry and exploration as well as convincing and far-reaching con­clusions. His numerous reviews offer critiques of major theories and publications in a variety of fields, serving generations of students and scholars through his reasoned and thoughtful responses.

A mere listing of honors and publications, however, must be augmented by an appreciation of Hugo Buchthal as teacher, mentor and man. His careful training of graduate students involved not only meticulously-crafted lectures and seminars; he also served as primary advisor and second reader on many thesis committees, helping to shape the work of a number of scholars in Byzantine art, western medi­eval art, trecento Italy and other fields. His ironic humor and humble attitude-­sparked by flashes of intense passion--enlivened our years in New York and after­ward, as many kept in touch by letter and visit to the Buchthal home in Highgate after his return to London at retirement. His death at the age of 87 in November of 1996--followed all too swiftly by the passing of his beloved Maltschi--has left a legacy of scholarship in a diversity of people and places, throughout the United States, Britain, the Middle East and elsewhere. Thus it can truly be said that he is survived not only by his daughter, Dr. Anna Buchthal, an anaesthesiolo­gist in Groningen, but by his intellectual offspring as well, many of us here to honor him in this session today.

Wilhelm Koehler and the Original Plan for Research at Dumbarton Oaks

David H. Wright (Oakland, California)

Wilhelm Koehler was born in Reval, Estonia, in 1884. His father, from Thuringia. was Director of the Domschule, his mother was from a German family long established in Reval, but his father lost his position in 1892 during the Russification of the province and spent the rest of his career teaching in WSlfenbiittel and cataloguing Latin documents in the Ducal library. Wilhelm began his study of Kunstgeschichte with Georg Dehio in Strassburg, then with Paul Clemen in Bonn, and finished his degree on Michelangelo drawings in Vienna in 1907, when he was appointed Assistent to Franz Wickhoff. Two years later, as the Deutscher Verein fur Kunstwissenschaft divided up its great research projects, he was assigned Die Karolingische Miniaturen and embarked on a comprehensive survey of all possibly relevant manuscripts, a project interrupted by his military service, and held back after the war by his duties as Director of the Weimar Museum; the first volume was not published until 1930.

In that year he also became the first museum director to be subject to the Nazi ban on "entartete Kunst," a ban that included the work of his close friend Paul Klee. So he looked for an opportunity abroad and took a visiting position at Harvard in 1932, settling there in 1934. So it was that he was the obvious choice to lead the program of Dumbarton Oaks when the Blisses gave their estate and collection to Harvard in 1940. He went to Washington as "Senior Fellow in Charge of Research," with great hopes of establishing the kind of collaborative research center he had known in Vienna, the kind that we now might more easily recognize in the Deutsches Archhologisches Institut. Each of the Junior Fellows, who had mostly finished their degrees and were developing the basis for their future university careers, was to devote half his time to the collaborative project, half to his independent research and writing. The philologist-historians set out collectively to make a systematic compilation of sources bearing on Early Christian and Byzantine art, aiming towards publishing such a corpus. The art and archaeology scholars undertook a systematic inventory of monuments, necessarily on the basis of publications because of wartime conditions, the material to be made available to all concerned scholars in an archive in Dumbarton Oaks. Koehler led regular collective reviews of this work and published a brief description of the program in the Fogg Museum Bulletin, a brief report in the College Art Journal, and a full explanation in Speculum 18 (1943) 118-123.

The fast group of Junior Fellows included Paul Alexander, Herbert Bloch, and Ernst Kitzinger, as a demonstration of his cross-disciplinary program Koehler enlisted them to write a report to the Busses on the late Roman ivory with a scene of the cult of Isis they were then considering for purchase. It was a demonstration he specially valued, but the program did not endure. The war was on and although Koehler was the perfect continental gentleman he was German. Mrs Bliss ruled her foundation with a firm hand and she preferred the French, especially the charismatic and notoriously chauvinistic Henri Focillon, then at Yale. It is revealing that the four innaugural lectures quickly assembled for November 1940 included a remote and theoretical essay by Focillon "Pnhistoire et moyen ige," papers giving routine extracts from their published work by Rostovtzeff and Morey, and an entirely original and profoundly searching article by Koehler on "Byzantine Art and the West," which touched also on developments in philosophy in the twelfth century. But the administration in Cambridge looked on Dumbarton Oaks as a white elephant and found it easiest to dismiss Koehler and his program after two years, in short to let D. O. settle into comfortable mediocrity. Kitzinger s article on Stobi in the third Dumbarton Oaks Papers was the only specific fruit of the program though Kitzinger s other article in that volume and Bloch's on Montecassino were also the result of their fellowships at that time and of Koehler s encouraging supervision.

Koehler returned to teaching at Harvard deeply disappointed and never again attempted to organize any scholarly projects beyond his own work. The destruction of war plodded on, with the destruction of cities and monuments Koehler !ov--is older so-., a youth sopped a year at Ex„ in ozdez to get in a year at Hazard before voltntteer^.g for the celebrated 10th Mountain Division; like his father he loved the mountains. He was shipped to Italy in 1944 and soon promoted to Private First Class. He was sent to a unit on the frontier above Bologna, where the line had been stopped that fall. On 24 March, as plans for the advance were developing, because of his perfect knowledge of German, he was chosen to lead a dangerous patrol behind enemy lines. He was shot and he was left behind as this inexperienced squad withdrew under fire. Koehler received a letter from the commanding officer explaining the situation and holding out tittle hope. The body was found some three weeks later, legend at the Fogg Museum has it that Koehler s hair turned white during those weeks.

Always a perfectionist, always a solitary worker, Koehler's comprehensive study of Carolingian manuscripts proceded slowly. Volume two was published in 1958, volume three in 1960, but completed before his death in 1959. He arranged for Florentine Miitherich to continue the corpus, of which three more volumes have appeared and the seventh is in production. He was an imposing presence in a Department of little scholarly achievement, where museum training in connoisseurship and social skills was renowned, where college teaching emphasized rote memory and an occasional amusing anecdote. He was held in awe by graduate students and had fundamental influence on the best of them. He was deeply committed to general education and chose to devote all of his last year of teaching (1953) to the introductory course because he felt that his most important contribution to America, where, in fact, he never really felt at home, was to guide future citizens to a profound appreciation of the visual arts.


Chair: Frank M. Clover (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  1. Sheila McNally (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis):
    "Spiritual Progress: Alternative Models Shown on Two Textiles"

  2. Elizabeth S. Bolman (Bryn Mawr College):
    "Food for Salvation: The Coptic Galaktotrophousa"

  3. Jennifer L. Russell (Pennsylvania State University):
    "Confessional Markers or Signs of a Common Culture? Interpreting Late Antique Pyxides"

  4. Linda Jones Hall (Florida International University, Miami):
    "The Social Status of Artisans and Merchants in Late Antique Berytus and Tyre: NVealth and the Opportunity for Advancement"

Spiritual Progress: Alternative Models Shown on Two Textiles

Sheila McNally (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)


"Food for Salvation: The Coptic Galakrotrophousa"

Elizabeth S. Bolman, (Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA)

Coptic images of the galaktotrophousa have eluded persuasive interpretation. Focussing on five sixth- to seventh-century painted examples found in small cells in the monasteries of Apa Apollo at Bawit and Apa Jeremiah at Saqqara, a new meaning for the nursing image will be proposed. Drawing from second- to fourth-century Egyptian Christian texts which equate milk with flesh, blood, and the eucharist, and which explain that god is the source of the milk in the Virgin Mary's breasts, the galaktotrophousa reads as a metaphor for Christ's flesh and blood and for the consumption of these substances. This interpretation of the nursing image is amplified by the physical setting for these wall paintings, and the spiritual practices of the resident monks. This paper will explain not only what the galaktotrophousa meant, thus resolving a long-standing controversy, but will also explain why it was appropriate for a male monastic audience.

The quality and significance of milk in antiquity and the early byzantine period in Egypt was commonly thought to be affected by its source. For example, medical prescriptions call for the milk of a woman who has had a miscarriage, or who has bome a male child, or specify that the milk of a particular animal should be used. In the case of the Virgin Mary, the Egyptian sources describe the milk from her breasts as coming from god. The anonymous second-century C.E. "Odes of Solomon" say that god has breasts which are full of milk. The holy spirit milks god, and Christ is the medium by which the faithful consume this nourishment for salvation. "The Son is the cup, and the Father is he who was milked; and the Holy Spirit is she who milked him." (Ode 19) Clement of Alexandria expands on this theme, drawing on the Greek medical tradition when he states that milk is blood, colored white so as not to frighten infants, and that blood is actually "liquid flesh." Clement not only equates milk with flesh and blood, but also with the logos, and the eucharist. (Paed. I, VI) In the early church, milk was actually used in the celebration of the eucharist. Against this background, the galaktotrophousa reads as a metaphor for the eucharist.

Spiritual practices in Egyptian monasteries inhabited by men in the sixth and seventh centuries reinforce the eucharistic interpretation of the galaktotrophousa. The desert cell is the site for the monk's process of attaining salvation. One crucial aspect of this process was the eucharist: both preparing oneself to receive it, and actually consuming it. Whether or not the monastic inhabitants of the cells in which paintings of the galaktotrophousa were found actually celebrated the eucharist there is a disputed point, but a passage from the Apophthegmata Patrum directs the monk to exist as much as possible in a constant state of readiness to consume the eucharist. This conjunction of practice and image explains the choice of the galaktotrophousa, and illustrates one of the ways in which the images in these densely painted cells were used by their audience.

Confessional Markers or Signs of a Common Culture? Interpreting Late Antique Pyxides

Jennifer L. Russell (Pennsylvania State University)

The traditional approach to late antique art holds that ivories in general, and pyxides in particular, be classified according to subject matter, adhering to the artificial distinction between sacred and profane set out eighty years ago by W.F. Volbach in Elfenbeinarbeiten tier Spdtandke and ties fruhen Mittelalters (Mainz, 191611976). Scenes such as Christ's miracles or the Adoration of the Magi are understood in the context of sacred scripture, exegesis, and sermons, the Birth of Dionysus or the Infancy of Achilles as reactions to this same Christian climate. This paradigm supposes that images, fashioned at approximately the same time, functioned primarily as ideological statements that were divided sharply along religious lines. Few alternatives have been put forward that would lead to a framework less wholly dependent on a categorical distinction between Christian and pagan. I propose a view that treats the pyxides, variously assigned to the 4th-6th centuries and decorated with both sacred and secular images, as expressions of a shared, common culture.

By attributing meaning and value to mimesis, this paper examines the making, consumption, and reception of codified imagery. The recurrence of formulaic figures, motifs, and scenes, such as mother­and-child pairings, on both Christian and non-Christian pyxides, points to a prevalent, albeit limited,

visual vocabulary that was not restricted to, or determined by, iconography. Common pictorial conventions, such as the petrifaction of individual figures through simplification of form, elimination of superfluous detail, and lack of emotion, are not wholly unrelated to descriptions of contemporary events, such as the adventus of Constantius II at Rome or a simple wave of a hand and touch of a wand, the magical gestures of itinerant holy men. Dependence upon, and adaptation of, the model, was the way in which late antique artisans and craftsmen inflected the visual "raw material" to suit the wide range of tastes among their consumers.

From an aesthetic as well as an economic point of view, late antique ivory pyxides were notably unprepossessing, which makes of them ideal vehicles of popular culture. The consumption of such "ready-made" objects suggests that they functioned in a number of ways, not least of which was as outward signs of cultural legitimacy--self-defining markers of erudition and authority. As important, such social gestures were neither exclusively Christian nor pagan. To suggest that imitation was a normative behavior challenges the long-held notion that pagan imagery was either devoid of meaning or somehow anti-establishment--the exception to the Christian rule. Mythological creatures and characters were as essential to late antique art as their new Christian counterparts, because they served, by and large, to promote the appearance of a coherent system of well-understood traditions and values in a still classical society.

The Social Status of Artisans and Merchants in Late Antique Berytus and Tyre: Wealth and the Opportunity for Advancement

Linda Jones Hall (Florida International University, Miami)

Libanius, (Oratio 62.21) with his usual elitist bias, provides evidence that students from the artisan classes attended the law schools of Berytus. Although it was his intention to praise the students from the curial classes who pursued the traditional curriculum of rhetorical training in Antioch by contrasting them with the "working class" students who studied law in Berytus, logic would suggest that the families of the latter students had "surplus income" in order to provide such an education for their sons. The source of this revenue surely was the same trade and work that Libanius scorned as declasse.

The traditional view of the Late Roman economy has been that wealth and prestige in Late Antique cities accrued primarily to "leading citizens" who drew on income from agriculture (Jones, 1964). However, Pleket, in a series of articles, has argued that in a small number of cities, such as Tyre-Berytus, merchants and artisans dealing in luxury textiles and dyes rose to prominence in the conduct of affairs in their civitates. Moreover, the archeological evidence for smaller farms in the hilly terrain around Berytus, coupled with the evidence for wealth from trade, supports the re­interpretation of the relative social status of leading citizens in the coastal cities of Phoenicia.

The literary record supports the theory of a wealthy, influential class of merchants and artisans in Tyre and Berytus. Jerome, for example, speaks of the riches that the merchants of Tyre were able to accrue even in unstable times through their "inborn zeal for transacting businesg' and their "frenzy for trading". The particular merchandise was "damask, purple, and checked garments; linen also, and silk and cotton..." (Jerome, In Ezech. 27.15-16).

Additional details concerning the level of wealth for the traders and producers of silk garments and purple dyes come not only from such documents as travel narratives and the legal codes, but also from the inscriptions of Tyre and Berytus. Recent excavations in Beirut appear to confirm further the picture of a comfortable and successful artisan quarter in Late Antique Berytus. Such a "revised" paradigm of wealth and status for merchants and artisans in cities like Berytus and Tyre may help us understand Libanius' other remarks about the status and influence that law students could acquire through legal training. Real wealth may have preceded the prestige developed through "upward mobility" by success-oriented education.


Chair: Walter E. Kaegi, Jr. (University of Chicago)

  1. Jennifer L. Ball (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University):
    "Borderland Monuments in Hellas and Cappadocia: A Re-examination of Provincial"

  2. Charles M. Brand (Bryn Mawr College):
    "Adventures of an Imperial Translator"

  3. Nevra Necipoglu (Bogazigi University, Istanbul):
    "Ottoman Conquests and the Byzantine Local Aristocracy: The Archontes of Thessalonike"

Borderland Monuments in Hellas and Cappadocia: A Re-examination of Provincial

Jennifer L. Ball (Institute of Fine Arts, WYU)

Recent Byzantine studies on the concept of provincial artistic production have moved away from the view that provincial is synonymous with lesser quality. Robin Cormack, Annabel Wharton, Andre Grabar and others have each analyzed the notion of provincial art in its relation to the capital. In the predominant view, hegemonic artistic ideas flowed from Constantinople and mixed with local artistic traditions resulting in such edifices such as the Pigeon House Church at Cavusin. This concept of the Byzantine provinces presents the scholar with two problems. First, this notion does not take us away from the pervasive view of the provinces as periphery and the capital as center, thereby isolating the empire from its greater Medieval Mediterranean context. Second, the determination of what constitutes provincial and metropolitan are difficult given that no monumental art or architecture survives from tenth-century Constantinople, the time­frame for this paper. Therefore, our picture of Constantinopolitan monumental art is gleaned from other arts, such as manuscripts, where the skills needed to create illuminations are completely different from those needed to produce wall painting. Or, metropolitan styles are extracted from provincial monumental art, which forces scholars into making circular arguments about what was produced in the capital.

In an attempt to address questions surrounding the notions of provincial and metropolitan, I wish to show that in a greater Mediterranean context, the notions of center and periphery disappear. An examination of the provinces shows that artists and patrons actively looked to many sources for inspiration and may not have always seen Constantinople as the dominant cultural force. Using tenth-century Cappadocia, as the paradigmatic Byzantine province, I will demonstrate that Islamic conventions were as much a part of provincial cultural life as were Constantinopolitan norms, through an examination of some complexes and their decorative programs. The wealthy military patronage provided funds for a fertile artistic environment, which was not solely dependent on Constantinopolitan artists or conventions. As a second example of provincial monumental art, I will look at the monastery of Hosios Loukas, which serves as an apt comparison to Cappadocian monuments as both are of the tenth-century and were funded heavily by the military aristocracy. Though not typically viewed as a borderland, Hellas, the provincial theme in which Hosios Loukas was located, bordered many Islamic communities on Aegean islands, as we know from The Life of St. Luke of Steiris. Many historians, such as Theophanes Continuatus, describe accounts of periodic raiding, which parallel the constant Arab incursions on the Byzantines that occurred on the Cappadocian border.

The decorative programs and architecture found in these two regions can be ascribed to a culture that had continuous contact with many cosmopolitan centers and was not just a satellite of Constantinopolitan artistic production. The monuments of the themes of Hellas and Cappadocia show that the borders of the Byzantine Empire were porous, and allowed for participation in a pan-Mediterranean culture.

Adventures of an Imperial Translator

Charles M. Brand (Bryn Mawr College)

The fifth volume of the Historiens Occidentaux in the series Recueil des Historiens des Croisades contains a number of short sources related to the early crusades. While crusade scholars occasionally utilize them, they have attracted little attention from Byzantinists. I wish to draw attention to what can be learned about some events in Constantinople and in Chios early in the reign of John II. These appear as incidentals in a narrative of the transfer to Venice of the body of the martyr St. Isidore from Chios.

The author of the narrative names himself as "Cerbanus nomine et cognomine," i.e., Cerbanus Cerbani. The events in the narrative took place between 1123 and 1125; the account is dedicated to a bishop of Castello who died in 1133. Thus the text is closely datable, 1125 to 1133, immediately after the events narrated.

Cerbanus, at the start of his personal account, says that he was a Venetian cleric, who had been staying at the court of the emperor Alexius I. He had been briefly employed there under his son, John II, whom he calls a tyrant. (Early, in his reign, John fell out with the Venetians over their power and arrogance, and tried to expel them from the empire.) Since this "short time" amounts to five years (1118-1123/4), we must assume that he had been in Byzantine service for an appreciable length of time. Fearing that he would be found opposing his own people if open strife broke out, he secretly fled from Constantinople. He describes a recapture and a dramatic second flight from the capital, before reaching his meeting with his fellow-Venetians at Rhodes. He accompanied the expedition of 11245 to Chios, where he found the body of St. Isidore and supervised its removal to Venice.

A number of considerations show that Cerbanus had been an official of the Byzantine state, not merely someone staying at court ("in aula ... imperatoris"). He needed the emperor's permission to depart; he fled in secret ("clam"); he was arrested for lack of a

letter of discharge. While his position is unstated, Cerbanus certainly belonged to the corps of Latin intepreters maintained by the Byzantines. We know the names, and have the works, of a number of other 12th-century interpreters: Moses of Bergamo in the 1130's, the Pisan Leo Tuscus in the 1160's and '70's, perhaps even the latter's brother Hugh Eteriano. Cerbanus' translations include the four books of Maximus the Confessor, "De caritate ad Elpidium," commonly called "The Four Centuries on Charity," and John of Damascus' "De fide orthodoxa," Book III, chapters 1-8.

The paper will discuss Cerbanus' position at court, several events of his flight, and the significance of this unused narrative for our understanding of Byzantine administration in John's little-documented reign.

Ottoman. Conquests and the Byzantine Local Aristocracy: The Archontes of Thessalonike

Nevra Necipoglu (Bogazigi University)

The growing importance of the Byzantine local aristocracy in the later Palaiologan period, although essentially connected with decentralization., led in the face of ongoing Ottoman invasions to the enhanced role of this group in the administration and defense of provincial cities. The present paper is intended to shed further light on this significant issue by focusing on the archontes of Thessalonike in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.

The paper will begin by exploring how the archontes as a group responded to the Ottoman threat in Thessalonike and what course of action they favored in their foreign policy. Following a discussion of what contemporary sources additionally convey about their economic means and their social conduct, the recurrent conflicts of this period between the archontes and the common people of Thessalonike will be considered next. It will be shown that the lower classes were discontent with the resistance policy of their local governors against the Ottomans which over the long term increased their hardships, and that they were particularly enraged because the archontes who suppported the cause of war often declined from financially contributing to defense needs.

Isidore Glabas and Symeon of Thessalonike are our best sources of information concerning these social conflicts, respectively, of the last decade of the fourteenth century and of the early decades of the fifteenth century. However, there is a striking contrast between Isidore's favorable portrayal of the archontes and Symeon's critical, disapproving depiction of them. An evaluation. of these conflicting accounts will attempt to bring them into harmony with each other.

Finally, the general portrait that emerges from the narrative sources which often. present the archontes collectively, with hardly any explicit reference to specific individuals, will be supple­mented by prosopographic evidence from contemporary documents. On the basis of data derived primarily from Athonite documents, the following observations can be made: many archontes bear the names of the leading aristocratic families of Thessalonike (Metochitai, Tarchaneiotai, Angeloi, Choniatai, Deblitzenoi, Kasandrenoi, Iagoupai, etc.); certain family names show continuity over time (Metochites: 1373-76 and 1421, Komes: 1366 and 1404-19, Rhadenos: 1382;83-87 and 1415-21, Prinkips: 1406-09 and 1421); occasionally kinship ties can be traced between individuals bearing different family names (Manuel Deblitzencs, father-in-law of Bartholomaios Komes). Thus, we may conclude that a series of interrelated families yielded successive generations of archontes, forming a tightly linked, more or less homogeneous social group. Some archontes were connected, on the other hand, with guild-like asso­ciations, while some may have been engaged in business and banking. A comparison of the prosopographic data assembled from Byzantine documents with data registered in. a Venetian document of 1425, which lists the names of fifty-eight "gentilhameni e gentilhomeni picioli" from Thessalonike, will lead us to our final conclusions.


Chair: Noel Lenski (University of Colorado)

  1. Martin Beckmann (McMaster University):
    "A Geographical Study of the Palaeography of Early Byzantine Coin Inscriptions"

  2. Mary Margaret Fulghum and Florent Heintz (Harvard University):
    "A Hoard of Early Byzantine Glass Weights from Sardis"

  3. Florin Curta (Western Michigan University):
    "Tarkhans and Potlatch: Early Medieval Hoards of Iron Implements and Weapons in Eastern Europe"

  4. Rudi Paul Lindner (University of Michigan):
    "Coinage and Exchange in Thirteenth-Century Anatolia"

A Geographical Study of the Palaeography of Early Byzantine Coin Inscriptions

Martin Beckmann (McMaster University)

Essentially, the early coinage of the Byzantine Empire was a continuation of the Roman monetary tradition. This coinage, however, was not static and many of its aspects changed with time: alongside the usual monetary fluctuations in size, weight, and imperial portraits there was also a slow but steady change in the epigraphy of the coinage. While the language of the inscriptions remained predominately Latin until at least the 8th century, the actual forms of the letters went through a series of changes. There were two main influences governing these changes in letterform: the Greek language, and developments in the Latin script. While the general development of letterforms has been analysed for the empire as a whole and some peculiarities of certain mints noted, there has been no concerted attempt to study the letterforms used at each mint in comparison to the others. This study, based on a comprehensive analysis of the coinages of the mints at Constantinople, Antioch, Carthage, Rome and Ravenna between the reigns of Anastasius 1 (491-518) and Theodosius 111 (715-717), examines the changes in the forms of individual letters from both a chronological and a geographical perspective. The results demonstrate that the early Byzantine period saw the substantial influence of the Latin uncial alphabet on the traditional Latin monumental script used till then on Roman coinage; the direct influence of Greek letterforms was apparently small in comparison. The introduction of new letterforms (whether Latin uncial or Greek) tended to occur primarily at Constantinople; these new forms were most readily taken up by the eastern mint of Antioch, though they sometimes appeared at Rome, Ravenna, and to a lesser extent Carthage. However, while the occasional appearance of new forms concurrently at all mints upon the ascension of a new ruler suggests strong imperial control, there is a clear division in the overall choice of numismatic letterforms between mints in the east and mints in the west (a trend which is apparently also reflected in silver stamps from Constantinople and Carthage). The western mints, especially Carthage, tended to adhere more firmly to the traditional Roman monumental alphabet, while the mints in the east reflect much more closely the letterforms introduced at Constantinople; there are often clear connections between the numismatic letterforms used by a particular mint and the local epigraphic tradition. Thus this study indicates that in the early Byzantine period, while numismatic letterforms were often dictated by central imperial powers, distinct patterns of local influence are nonetheless visible in the output of individual mints; these patterns resolve into a geographical division of the empire, with the east open to the progressive introduction of Latin uncial letterforms while the west remained largely true to its Latin monumental heritage.

A Hoard of Early Byzantine Glass Weights from Sardis

Mary Margaret Fulghum and Florent Heintz (Harvard University)

Since the 1930's our understanding of the role of glass weights in Byzantine metrology and numismatics has not advanced significantly. However, recent discoveries at Sardis call for a reexamination of these small objects. In the 1996 field season a hoard of twenty-one of these weights was found at Sardis. This find appears to be unprecedented not only in its size but also in its secure archaeological context. The weights were recovered from the back room of an apsed reception hall within a large Late Roman/Early Byzantine domestic complex. They were apparently kept in a wooden box of which only the locks and nails survive. Associated with the glass weights were a bronze spatula with a speck of gold leaf, two folles of Herachus (respectively 614/15, 615/16) and a seventh-century African Red Slip plate. The weights can be dated to 616 at the latest, the year Sardis seems to have been abandoned under threat of Persian invasion. The majority of the twenty-one weights bear the same cruciform monogram containing the Greek letters: aa, alpha, kappa, omicronlupsilon and an as yet undeciphered letterform on the right arm of the cross. Each glass disc falls into one of three weight categories: ca. 4.2g, ca. 2.1 g, or ca. 1.4g. Ouf paper will include a full description of the find and a general discussion of whether glass weights were used as gold coin weights for tax payments and other transactions. Although still a subject of debate. this theory seems to be confirmed by the Sardis hoard. In conclusion, we will offer the most likely interpretation of the monogram and how it could affect our perception of Heraclius' monetary economy in the early years of his reign.

Tarkhans and potlatch: early medieval hoards of iron implements and weapons in Eastern Europe

Florin Curta (Western Michigan University)

The idea of a hoard is commonly associated with a large mass of gold or silver coins. But could we also treat a bundle of rusted tools or weapons as hoarded wealth? Agricultural implements found in such archaeological contexts often illustrate textbooks on medieval technology, but little, if any, attention is paid to their hoarding and burial.

The traditional approach to hoards is to consider them as a series of closed associations, essential for the construction of artifact chronologies. When it comes to the interpretation of deposition, archaeologists tend to view hoards as 'savings' stored for reasons of precaution in case of wars or theft. But unlike Roman hoards, early medieval ones include not only agricultural implements, but also weapons and horse equipment. What is the meaning behind this peculiar association? Do all hoards coincide in time? If so, what is the historical relevance of this coincidence?

This paper attempts to find an answer to these questions in the available archaeological evidence. I will first take into consideration the problem of chronology and emphasize the distribution and use of artifacts found in hoards. I will then focus on the meaning possibly attached to these collections. By means of several statistical analyses, I intend to bring into attention the symbolic value of various tools and weapons in relation to their occurrence in mortuary assemblages. My purpose is to raise the question of why was iron chosen as an important means for expressing social status and wealth. Since its primary use was in the production of weapons, iron was a strategic metal not to be exported from the Byzantine empire. But readily accesible ores with substantial phosphoric component made steel production possible in many areas beyond the Empire's frontiers, such as Bulgaria, the Late Avar chaganate, or Moravia. In those societies, blacksmithing also helped to define the social status or the aspirations of aristocratic groups known to early medieval sources as tarkhans. In late ninth-century Bulgaria, tarkhans were specifically linked to the exercise of important state offices.

I will eventually attempt to explain the hoarding phenomenon in relation to conspicuous consumption (potlatch), as a form of competition for prestige between individuals possessing or claiming a status commonly associated with the traditions of the steppe. I will argue that hoards of iron implements may signalize not simply political turmoil and constant warfare, such as those following the demise of the Avar chaganate, but also drastic social and political changes often associated with the rise of royal centers in early medieval Bulgaria and Moravia.

Coinage and Exchange in Thirteenth-Century

Anatolia Rudi Paul Lindner (The University of Michigan)

While the rest of the eastern Mediterranean was still recovering from what scholars have termed a "silver famine" in which, for example, coins minted in Egypt had a comparative low fineness, the coinages of Anatolia in the thirteenth century were pure and, at least on the plateau, produced in vast numbers. The purposes for which and the manner in which these coins were exchanged for each other and for goods comprise the matter of this investigation.

A precise enumeration of the output of the Anatolian mints eludes us. However, there are various means of devising an index to compare the outputs of different issues, and there are also means of estimating the order of magnitude of mint output. These latter procedures depend on die studies. and 1 describe a computer-assisted technique for improving, modestly, the accuracy of die links.

In order to determine how coins passed a metrological analysis is necessary. Work of very high quality has appeared from Cecile Morrisson and her collaborators. Frequency tables may be constructed, based upon collections both public and private. The basic studies of fineness began over twenty years ago in the laboratory of Adon Gordus, who has gathered a large amount of date from Islamic and Byzantine collections. Market behavior appears in the studies of John M. Smith, Jr., and Stephen Benin, and here I offer an extension of their work on "coinage communities" to the west.

Just why exchanges occurred across the Anatolian frontiers is a problem raising a number of issues, of which only two, bullion flows and trade routes, form part of this project. An immense amount of silver came from the Anatolian mines in the thirteenth century, and purpose as well as destination need to be addressed, especially given the reduced output of succeeding centuries.


Ball, Jennifer (XX)
Beckmann, Martin (XXI)
Bilalis, Yioryos (XVII)
Birkenmeier, John W (XIV)
Blanchard, Monica J (XVI)
Bolman, Elizabeth S (XIX)
Boyd, Susan A (V)
Brand, Charles M (XX)
Caseau, B6atrice (V)
Connor, Carolyn L (X)
Curta, Florin (XXI)
Cutler, Anthony (I)
Dietz, Maribel (IV)
Dossey, Leslie (IX)
Elton, Hugh (1I)
Evans, David B (XII)
Fine, John V A (IX)
Fisher, Elizabeth A (VIII)
French, Dorothea R (IV)
Fulghum, Mary Margaret (XXI)
Gaddis, Michael (XVI)
Gerstel, Sharon E J (II)
Gittings Elizabeth (XIII)
Golitzin, Hieromonk Alexander (IX)
Gray, Patrick T R (XII)
Gregory, Timothy E (XV)
Hall, Linda Jones (XIX)
Halsall, Paul (XIV)
Hanak, Walter K (XVIII)
Heintz, Florent (XXI)
Hevelone-Harper, Jennifer L (IX)
Hocker, Frederick M (VI)
Ivison, Eric A (I)
Janowitz, Naomi (XII)
Johnson, Mark J (XIII)
Jones, Lynn (XIII)
Kalas, Gregor (II)
Kalogeras, Nikos (XIV)
Kenny, Margaret (VIII)
Kinney, Dale (XVIII)
Kirin, Asen (XV)
Lindner, Rudi Paul (XXI)
Long, Jacqueline (VII)
Mackie, Gillian (X)
Mavroudi, Maria (VII)
Maxwell, Kathleen (VIII)
McNally, Sheila (XIX)
Mergiali, Sophia (XI)
Moore, R Scott (VI)
Myers, Gregory (XVII)
Necipoglu, Nevra (XX)
Nelson, Robert S (III)
Nikoleishvili, Trine (XIII)
Peers, Glenn (I)
Pentcheva, Bissera V (X)
Piguet-Panayotova, Dora (V)
Rapp, Claudia (II)
Rapp, Stephen H , Jr (IX)
Redies, Michael (XII)
Russell, Jennifer L (XIX)
Safran, Linda (III)
Sahas, Daniel (XI)
Schwartz, Ellen C (XVIII)
Shean, John F (XVI)
Simeonova, Liliana (XI)
Sivan, Hagith (VII)
Stevens, Susan T (XV)
Stricevic, George (III)
Talbot, Alice-Mary (IV)
Teteriatnikov, Natalia (I)
Todorova, Elisaveta (VI)
Touliatos, Diane (XVII)
Tuerk, Jacquelyn (V)
Villagomez, Cynthia J (XVI)
Viscuso, Patrick (XIV)
Wagner, Stephen M (XIV)
Wetter, Kathy Jo (VIII)
Wright, David H (XVIII)
Zitrides, Christine (XV)


Program Correction:

Please note a significant change over the previously printed program. Sessions Three and Thirteen have been switched with each other in the schedule (and in the Abstracts): "Interpretations of Church Decoration", originally Session XIII at 2:00 on Saturday, is now Session III at 11:15 on Friday, while "Imperial Images and Symbolism", originally Session III is now Session XIII.

Projection Equipment:

Pairs of slide projectors (handling carrousel drums) will be available as a matter of course for all sessions. Overhead projectors are also available, but BY ADVANCE REQUEST, as is the case for any other audio-visual facilities required. Please check with John Barker on these matters. Special Meeting Rooms:

Registered participants who would like to arrange for any extra or informal meetings may do so by making their needs known to John Barker, also indicating if projection facilities are needed.


1996-97 Officers:

To serve until the 2000 Conference:

  1. Robert Allison
  2. Patrick T. R. Gray
  3. Kathleen Corrigan
  4. Helen Saradi

To serve until the 1999 Conference:

To serve until the 1998 Conference:

To serve until the 1997 Conference:

Dumbarton Oaks Liaison Committee:

Program Committee:

Local Arrangements Committee:

The Byzantine Studies Conference is an annual forum for the presentation and discussion of papers embodying the current research on all aspects of Byzantine history and culture. The 1997 conference is supported by registration fees paid by all participants, supplemented by generous contributions from the following components of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Dean Phillip Certain, College of Letters & Science; The Anonymous Fund, L & S College; Lecture Committee, and Robert Reynolds Memorial Fund, Department of History.

© 2024 Byzantine Studies Association of North America, Inc. (BSANA) . All Rights Reserved.