Mary Jaharis Center Lecture: The Sound of the Lectionary

The Mary Jaharis Center is pleased to announce our second lecture of 2021–2022: The Sound of the Lectionary: Chant, Architecture, and Salvation in Byzantium. In this lecture, Roland Betancourt, University of California, Irvine, considers the ways in which notions of salvation were sonically articulated in the Divine Liturgy during the Middle Byzantine period. Tracing the Gospel lectionary from text to illustration to recitation, Professor Betancourt explores how Byzantine artists produced a unified experience that took into consideration not only the text of the Gospel, but also how it would appear to the reader and his audience within the context of the Divine Liturgy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021  | 2:00–3:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time, UTC -5) | Zoom
The Sound of the Lectionary: Chant, Architecture, and Salvation in Byzantium
Roland Betancourt, University of California, Irvine

Advance registration required. Registration closes at 11:00 AM (EST) on November 30, 2021. Register:

Part of the Boston Byzantine Music Festival Lecture Series exploring the musical heritage of the Byzantine Empire. The Boston Byzantine Music Festival is a program of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture.

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

Byzantine Dialogues from the Gennadius Library: ‘By this conquer’: Relics as Weapons in Byzantium

Byzantine Dialogues from the Gennadius Library: ‘By this conquer’: Relics as Weapons in Byzantium
11/16/2021 7.00pm (Greece) – 12:00pm EST (USA)
The Gennadius Library
Brad Hostetler, Kenyon College
The weaponization of relics in Byzantium is attested in chronicles, military treatises, and inscriptions. This practice began with Constantine I, who, according to Eusebius, made a copy of the “sign” from his vision and carried it into the battle at Milvian Bridge. From that time forward, Byzantine emperors were accompanied on campaign with sacred objects, including relics of Christ, the Mother of God, and the saints. The sacred remains of holy figures were believed to be the protectors of, and divine aids to, the troops, the emperor, and the empire. One of the richest sources on this practice are epigrams that are, or were, inscribed on reliquaries. They document the power that was invoked to ensure victory over one’s enemies—both spiritual and earthly. This lecture examines the material and rhetorical strategies of epigrams, and the ways in which the visual and textual programs of reliquaries communicated and activated the martial function of relics.
About the speaker
Brad Hostetler is Assistant Professor of Art History at Kenyon College. He specializes in the art and material culture of Late Antiquity and Byzantium, with a focus on portable luxury objects from the ninth through the twelfth centuries. His research focuses on the relationships between texts and images, including ekphraseis about, and words inscribed on, works of art. He is currently working on a book that examines the nature and meaning of relics and reliquaries in Byzantium through the lens of inscriptions. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

East of Byzantium Lecture: Eternal ‘Silk Road’?

The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to announce the second East of Byzantium lecture of 2021–2022.

Monday, November 15, 2021 | 12:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time, UTC -5) | Zoom
Eternal ‘Silk Road’? The Rise of Sogdiana during the 3rd–4th Centuries A.D.
Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

Sören Stark will discuss the rise of Sogdiana as one of Eurasia’s economic power houses during Late Antiquity.

Advance registration required. Registration closes at 9:00 AM (ET) on November 15, 2021. Register:

East of Byzantium is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, that explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine empire in the late antique and medieval periods.

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

Byzantium at Ankara: Fall-Winter Seminar Series and Byzantine Music Workshop/Symposium, 11-12 November, 2021

We are happy to announce that Byzantium at Ankara is back with its brand new Fall-Winter Seminar Series.

On top of our “traditional” online lectures (scheduled for the month of December and featuring Dr. Elisa Tosi Brandi (University of Bologna) and Dr. Federica Broilo (University of Urbino), we are particularly proud of presenting students, scholars, and enthusiasts with an exciting initiative: a Workshop/Symposium on Byzantine Music entitled “Strolling through Echoes of the Past,” which will take place at Bilkent University on 11th and 12th November 2021. The Workshop/Symposium stems from a collaborative effort of Bilkent Saygun Center, Koç University-Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Bilkent Department of History, Byzantium at Ankara, Hacettepe University, and Hellenic Mediterranean University.

The event will include two morning sessions (in person) with the participation of students (max 15 due to Covid restrictions) who will be focusing on learning about Medieval and Byzantine music notation and chant under the supervision of Dr. Antonis Botonakis (Hellenic Mediterranean University).

We, therefore, invite students who are interested in participating in the workshops (to be held in the mornings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 November at Bilkent University- FEASS Building, C Block Amphi) to register to We regret that we could not offer accommodation or any reimbursement for travel expenses to those students who do not live or study in Ankara. Previous knowledge of Byzantine or Western notation is required.

These morning sessions will be followed by two afternoon sessions (hybrid) in which the world-famous composer Dimitri Terzakis, Cenk Güray, Alexander Lingas, and Antonis Botoniakis, among the others, will be delivering papers on Byzantine and Medieval Music Theory as well as on the influence of Ottoman culture on Modern Turkish and Greek music.

18th Rydén lecture – From Byzantium to ‘Byzantine’: how to approach medieval Greek literature today

You are cordially invited to the 18th lecture in the memory of Lennart Rydén (1931–2002), professor of Byzantine Studies at Uppsala University 1980–1996.
Thursday, 14 October 2021, 18.00 (6 pm), local time, presented in Zoom by the Newman Institute in Uppsala:
Meeting ID: 644 1021 1736
(host: Helena Bodin, <>)
From Byzantium to ‘Byzantine’: how to approach medieval Greek literature today
Ingela Nilsson, professor in Greek and Byzantine Studies, Uppsala University, and Director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, will look at the development of the study of Byzantine philology over the past couple of decades: the turn from texts as sources to texts as literature, the implementation of critical theory and the introduction of cross-cultural perspectives.
The event includes a book launch, starting at 19.00 (7 pm):
Reinhart Ceulemans and Barbara Crostini present their edited volume Receptions of the Bible in Byzantium: Texts, Manuscripts, and their Readers (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2021), available in open access:

Quackeries born of heathen and hellish folly: Translating polemic across the Mediterranean Monday, October 25 2:00pm – 3:30pm PDT

USC Center for the Premodern World
Quackeries born of heathen and hellish folly: Translating polemic across the Mediterranean
Dr. Sergio La Porta
Monday, October 25 2:00pm – 3:30pm PDT
This is a hybrid event.
For location and registration information:
The almost certainly apocryphal exchange of letters between the Byzantine Emperor Leo III (r. 717-741CE) and the Umayyad Caliph ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (r. 717-720CE) has survived in a set of texts that span a range of places, times, and languages. Preserved in Armenian, Arabic, Castilian, and Latin, the different versions of this royal, religious-polemical correspondence not only bear witness to the irreducible connectedness of the societies that produced them, but testify to the enduring reality and relevance of religious disputation in all of them. Although each of these linguistic iterations differs from the other, they share a set of central concerns that revolve around the nature of scripture and its interpretation, and of who has the authority to validate Truth. This talk will untangle the threads that intersect these texts and the complicated questions they raise about textual transmission, enduring relevance, and religious pluralism.
About the speaker: Dr. Sergio La Porta is the Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and the Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at California State University, Fresno. He received his Ph.D. in Armenian and Near Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 2001. Prior to coming to Fresno, Dr. La Porta taught Armenian and Religious Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research interests include medieval Armenian intellectual and social history, philology, and apocalyptic literature.

Seals and Society in the Medieval World

Seals and Society in the Medieval World
Virtual Colloquium in Byzantine Studies
Date: Friday, October 29th from 9:00-4:15pm ET
Where: Via Zoom
To mark the completion of the Dumbarton Oaks Online Catalogue of Byzantine Seals in 2021, Dumbarton Oaks is hosting a colloquium to explore the production, function, inscriptions, iconographic designs, and significance of seals. Building on the instant accessibility to the Byzantine seals collection and the research possibilities made available by the online catalogue, this colloquium invites scholars working on seals from Byzantine, European, and Middle Eastern medieval contexts to discuss and engage with each other’s material and to bring innovative, comparative perspectives to a specialized discipline entering a new phase.
Colloquiarchs: Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak (New York University), Eric McGeer (Dumbarton Oaks), and Jonathan Shea (Dumbarton Oaks)
Free and open to the public. Register here:

Worth Their Weight In Gold: The Significance of Lead Seals to Byzantine Studies

Worth Their Weight In Gold: The Significance of Lead Seals to Byzantine Studies
October 28, 2021 5:00-6:30pm EDT
Virtual Public Lecture with Alicia Walker
Byzantine sigillography is a specialized subdivision of an already esoteric field. Yet this seeming obscurity belies the substantial interdisciplinary value of lead seals. The iconographic, inscriptional, and functional aspects of these objects offer unique perspectives on diverse areas of interest, both within the study of Byzantine society and with respect to medieval intercultural dynamics. In this lecture, Alicia Walker presents Byzantine sigillography as a rich domain for interdisciplinary investigation and collaboration, highlighting lead seals as a nexus for exchange among the various fields of Byzantine studies and a vital conduit for contributions to medieval studies more broadly.
Alicia Walker (PhD, Harvard University) is professor of medieval art and architecture at Bryn Mawr College. Her primary fields of research are cross-cultural artistic interaction in the medieval world from the ninth to the thirteenth century and gender issues in the art and material culture of Byzantium. Her first monograph, The Emperor and the World: Exotic Elements and the Imaging of Middle Byzantine Imperial Power, Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries CE, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. She is coeditor of the essay collection Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art: Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist (Ashgate, 2009), and the special issue of the journal Medieval Encounters entitled Mechanisms of Exchange: Transmission in Medieval Art and Architecture of the Mediterranean, ca. 1000–1500 (Brill, 2012, vol. 18, no. 4­–5). She is an alumna of the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine coins and seals summer program and her research on exotic motifs in Byzantine lead seals has appeared in The Medieval History Journal.

Online Lecture: Documenting Diversity in Thessaloniki and Its Hinterlands (Oct. 9)

UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture | UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology | Archaeological Institute of America–Los Angeles County Society present
Dr. Anastassios C. Antonaras
Head of Exhibitions, Communication and Education Department
Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki
Register here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
This lecture examines the diverse population that lived in Byzantine Thessaloniki and the surrounding area through three case studies: a young girl with African religious beliefs who lived in the late 3rd century, a Slavic lady of the late 8th century, and a group of archers from the 14th – 15th century who were trained in the east. The first case study is a young girl who was buried in a simple pit tomb in the eastern necropolis of Thessaloniki. She wore two amulets: a wooden one, probably of ebony, in the shape of a male head with strong African features, and an amber one in the shape of feline bust. A Slavic lady, the second case study, is identified by a special bead that was found during excavations in the castle of Rentina, east of Thessaloniki. Such beads are characteristic of the Slavic tribes and similar examples have been found from the Volga region and Germany to Greece. A special type of men’s utilitarian jewelry, the ring of an archer, presents the third case study. This is a type of ring that initially had the sole purpose of protecting the thumb when the reflective bow’s string was released. These case studies demonstrate that among the population that lived in Byzantine Thessaloniki were a number of foreigners whose identity is only revealed through the careful examination of excavated objects.
Dr. Anastassios C. Antonaras, a specialist in the history of glass, jewelry and textiles, is an archaeologist and curator. He is Head of the Exhibitions, Communication and Education Department at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki. His books include: Glassworking, Ancient and Medieval: Terminology, Technology and Typology (2008); Roman and Early Christian Glassworking: Vessels from Thessaloniki and Its Region (which received a prize from the Academy of Athens in 2010); Fire and Sand: Ancient Glass in the Princeton University Art Museum (2012); Artisanal Production in Ancient and Byzantine Thessaloniki: Archaeological, Literary and Epigraphic Evidence (2016; repr. 2019); Glassware and Glassworking in Thessaloniki: 1st Century BC – 6th Century AD (2017); and The Art of Glass. Works from the Collection of the Museum of Byzantine Culture (2019). He is currently researching different aspects of glass production and glassware in Byzantine and Ottoman Empire and publishing the rich and diverse, ancient and Islamic glass collection of the Getty Villa Museum.

Series of Sinai Lectures Sponsored by the St. Catherine Foundation

Join us online for these free live events led by international experts. Learn about the monastery, its library and treasures and the work to conserve them.
Hosted by Case Western Reserve University
Organized by the Saint Catherine Foundation, London – New York – Geneva
To receive updates, join our mailing list at
12.00 EST / 17.00 GMT / 18.00 CET / 19.00 EET
Register at the links below.
9 October
Molitor Productions Ltd London
Filming the Transformation of the Saint Catherine’s Library
23 October
Professor – University of the Arts London
Academic Director – Benaki Museum Athens
A Pilgrim’s Way: The Journey to Sinai
13 November
Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art Emerita –
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
Elsie B Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts –
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland
Icons of Sinai: Public and Private Devotions
20 November
Saint Catherine’s Librarian
The Sinai Library: A Treasure Held in Trust

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