ΙΣΤ 530 State and Society
This seminar focuses on the specifics of the State machinery and social structures in medieval political units. On the basis of selected examples from Byzantine history, we investigate fundamental notions, such as the bearers and exertion of State authority, the meaning of sovereignty, the dissemination and implementation of political decisions, the role of ceremony in political life, and so on. The second part of the seminar involves phenomena of the social stratification of Byzantium, such as the concept of social class, the self-perception of social groups, as well as their relationship with imperial authority.
BNE 531 Byzantine Law
This seminar provides an introduction both to the principles of Byzantine law (Justinian's Code and its Byzantine redactions, canon law) and to legal institutions (e.g. law courts), as well as to Byzantine jurisprudence (judicial decisions, opinions, etc.). Moreover, we examine texts witnessing everyday judicial procedures that concern primarily family and inheritance law (court decisions, wills), and which make clear that relations between legal theory, and social reality were strained.
ΙΣΤ 532 The Economy in the Medieval World
The Byzantine economic system, just as that of every other medieval state, was based to a great degree on agriculture, while trade did not surpass the level of local exchanges until this sector became a vital factor in economic development with the appearance of the Italian trading republics in the Byzantine world. In this context we examine sub-topics relating to the methods of production, the transportation of goods, taxation, the circulation of money, the market, etc. Special emphasis is placed on the question to what extent the economic history of a region can be written when statistical data are completely lacking.
ΙΣΤ 533 The Crusades
This seminar focuses on various themes concerning the "Holy Wars" between Western Christendom and Islam in Sicily, Spain, and especially the Middle East, from the 11th to the 15th century. Emphasis is placed on the role of the Greeks and the relations between Greeks and Latins during the preparation and conducting of the campaigns.
ΙΣΤ 534 Latin Rule in Greek Lands
This seminar investigates various aspects of the history of regions in which Greeks lived under Latin rule during the Middle Ages, namely Sicily and Southern Italy, Syria and Palestine, Cyprus, Frankish Greece, Constantinople, and Crete and other islands. Special attention is devoted to the political, ecclesiastical, and social position and situation of the Greeks.
BNE 535 Byzantine Masculinities and Femininities
What did it mean to be a man or a woman in Byzantine society? What were the masculine and feminine ideals of the Byzantine world? How did they evolve over time and vary according to social milieu? How are the male and female realms represented in Byzantine literature? These are some of the questions addressed in the context of this seminar through an examination of various texts from different genres and eras.
BNE 536 Private and Public Space in Daily Life
Through the examination of a broad spectrum of texts, this seminar approaches various problems in the study of everyday life and the investigation of Byzantine perceptions concerning the complementary but also contradictory meanings of "public" and "private" space. We discuss topics, such as diet and culinary practice, oenology, objects of everyday use, the place of baths in society and in economy, sexual activities and practical medicine. Parallel to this, we look into a number of methodological issues, such as the depiction of daily life in literature and the problems that arise for a satisfactory historical and archaeological interpretation of public and private space.
ΑΡΧ 537 'The Social Life of Things' in Byzantium
Artifacts played a significant role in various aspects of the public, religious and private life of the Byzantines, a role that was rarely exclusively utilitarian, since objects often functioned as symbols of social status and wealth, and as vehicles of cultural values. This complex role may be deciphered and become better understood through the combined examination of the available archaeological, artistic and written evidence.
BNE 539 Monastic Organisation
This seminar investigates the organisation of daily monastic life, and its economic and intellectual foundations mainly as reflected in monastic foundation rules, but also in saints' lives and other texts. We examine the rhythm of everyday life (canonical hours, sleep, work, the distribution of tasks) in addition to the management of the material supports of monastic life―mainly immovable property―and the tension between the ideal life devoted to God, and the requirements of interaction with the outside world.
ΙΣΤ 540 Latins and Greeks in the First Crusade (1073-1111)
This seminar focuses on the controversial issue of the participation of Greeks and Latins in the planning of and preparation for the First Crusade, as well as the relations between Greeks and Latins (or the emperor and the crusaders) during the campaign and afterwards, with the foundation of the Crusader States in the East.
ΙΣΤ 541 The Latin Empire of Constantinople
This seminar examines the history of Constantinople and Frankish Greece from the conquest of the city by the Latins during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until its reconquest by Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261. This is an era of great interest but unfortunately there are very few sources and, therefore, many interpretive problems.
BNE 542 The Image of the 'Other' in Byzantine Literature
The image of the Other, who comes into conflict with the Self, is one of the motifs that appears in almost every Byzantine literary genre. The literary construction of the Other constitutes an especially significant characteristic of Byzantine texts and assumes many shapes. The subject of this seminar is the examination of the various appearances of the Other and their importance in the construction of Byzantine mentalities and ideologies.
ΑΡΧ 543 Dress: The Mirror of Byzantine Society
In Byzantium dress was one of the most important means by which individuals and social groups constructed and projected their identity outwards, and by which this identity was perceived by others. This seminar investigates how gender, age, family position, religious beliefs, moral values, ethnicity, profession, social status and economic situation are expressed in the choice of clothing and accessories, as well as in the adoption of particular hairstyles and make-up.
BNE 544 Byzantine Outsiders
Pagans, magicians, gays, whores, and invalids were some of the fringe groups of Byzantine society. In the context of this seminar we examine the portrayal of the world on the edges in Byzantine literature.
APX 545 Byzantine Diet
Through the examination of archaeological information (ceramic and metal table vessels, cooking pots, architectural and organic remains, human skeletal remains and animal bones), and with the aid of iconography and textual sources, this seminar explores issues related to Byzantine dietary preferences and cooking habits from the 5th to the 15th century. The seminar focuses on the kinds of foodstuffs that the Byzantines preferred, their quality, and the ways food was processed, served and consumed within the domestic sphere.
APX 546 The Archaeology of Byzantine Economy
This seminar examines issues related to economy and commercial enterprises in the Byzantine Empire, focusing not only on the study of archaeological finds, such as coins, amphorae and other items of commercial value, but also on the study of urban economy, the relationship between town and country and the exploitation of agricultural lands.
APX 547 Byzantine Fortifications
The aim of this seminar is the exploration of issues related to the system of defence of the byzantine lands through the study of fortifications and fortification networks. More specifically, this seminar examines the functional and symbolic role of fortifications (defended settlements and cities, towers and kastra) with the aid of written sources (about weaponry and fortification networks) and artistic testimonies (representation of sieges, walled cities-kastra in art etc.). Greater emphasis is given to periods of insecurity and transitions (e.g. Arab and Slav sieges, Crusader conquests, Seljuk and Ottoman attacks).
ΙΣΤ 548 Social History of the Latin East (11th - 13th c.)
The aim of the seminar is to compare the institutions that were created as a result of the conquest and settlement of areas in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Byzantine world by Westerners within the context of the crusades (Kingdom of Jerualem, Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus, Latin Empire of Constantinople, Principality of the Morea, and Venetian Crete). The study of the relationship between, on the one hand, the imported feudal political, legal, social, and economic institutions and, on the other, the preexisting ones allows the extraction of conclusions regarding the nature of the resulting system (whether it was entirely feudal, 'colonial', or hybrid) and the extent of the survival of the Byzantine institutions. Furthermore, it allows a better understanding of the formation of a cohabitation framework for the Latin settlers with the indigenous Greek and other groups in both the religious and the cultural domains as well as of those factors that determined the degree of adaptability and interaction and the creation of new identities.
APX 549 Art and Identity at the Time of the Crusades
The seminar explores the various forms of artistic expression that flourished in the service of the multicultural societies of the Eastern Mediterranean during the period of the Crusades. Special emphasis will be given to the study the fertile meeting between the art of East and West that is Crusader Art.