You are here: Home / Studies Programs / Byzantine Studies / Byzantine Fellowship Reports / All Reports Remaining

All Reports Remaining

 

 

 

 

Pragmatics, Preaching and Social Change in Late Antiquity: The Sermons of John Chrysostom

Isabella Sandwell, University of Bristol

Fellow 2008/09

The past three and a half months have been a very productive time. When I arrived at Dumbarton Oaks, I had good knowledge of John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis and had carried out extensive reading in cognitive approaches to literature and communication. During my time here, I have been able to consolidate my knowledge of these cognitive approaches and begin applying them to Chrysostom's first ten homilies on Genesis. Writing up these ideas for my research report and for a paper delivered at the Antioch day at Catholic University has greatly clarified my thinking. I now have a clear idea of how I will organize the research for my book on cognitive and pragmatic approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching and the kinds of arguments I will be making. Some of the material used in the papers delivered at Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University will be used in an essay to be published in a collection I am co-editing with a colleague at Bristol University entitled Delivering the Word: Audience Reception of Exegetical Preaching in Western Christianity. My main goal for my time at Dumbarton Oaks was to write an article showing the problems and benefits of using cognitive approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching. By the end of my time here, I will have completed a draft version of this article with the aim of submitting to a suitable journal later in the summer. During my time here, I also gave a paper in the Classics Department of Harvard University.

 

 

Ancient Greek and Christian Rhetorical Tradition in the Work of Ioannes Sikeliotes

Panagiotis Roilos, Harvard University

Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks during the spring semester of 2009 I studied the influence of ancient Greek rhetoric and Christian literary tradition in the work of Ioannes Sikeliotes (late 10th–early 11th c.). Ioannes Sikeliotes is the author of the most extensive, innovative, and influential Byzantine commentary (almost 500 pages in C. Walz's monumental but occasionally problematic edition) on Hermogenes' Peri Ideon. My research has focused on Sikeliotes' dialogue not only with Hermogenes but also with Plato (especially his Gorgias), Ailios Aristeides, the Neoplatonist Olympiodoros, and Gregorios of Nazianzos. In addition, I continued working on my translation of Sikeliotes' commentary and have completed the translation of more than half of this work. I have also identified a number of problematic readings in Walz's edition, which I shall take into account in my future edition of Sikeliotes' commentary.

 

The Origins and Evolution of the Byzantine Rite for the Consecration of Churches

Vitalijs Permjakovs, University of Notre Dame

Junior Fellow 2008/09

In the course of my Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks I was working on a project investigating the evolution for the Byzantine rite of the dedication of churches (encaenia) from its origins in the Late Antiquity until the emergence of dedication rites in the 8th–12th century euchologia. As a result of my research, it was possible to investigate the complex origins of early Christian practices of dedication, especially with respect to the apparent appropriation of Roman traditions of dedicatio/consecratio of a new temple. I have examined the Christian sources from 4th to 6th centuries, reflecting the varied customs for the inauguration of a new church building in different urban centers of Eastern Roman empire with special focus on Jerusalem and Constantinople. As part of my work for this project I have prepared the translation of liturgical hymns pertaining to the annual feast of Dedication of the church of the Holy Anastasis in Jerusalem, which survived as part of the "Old iadgari" (Georgian translation of the 5th–8th century Jerusalem Tropologion). Also, using the resources at Dumbarton Oaks and the microfilm collection of the Library of Congress, I have translated and collated the texts pertaining to the annual festival of dedication from two unpublished Georgian manuscripts, Sinai iber. 12 (11th c.) and Sinai iber. 54 (10th c.), both of which appear to reflect the liturgical rite of Jerusalem at the end of the first millennium. At the same time, it was crucial to survey all the available (published and unpublished) manuscript sources for the Byzantine rite euchologion in order to observe the evolution of the rite of consecration of an altar and of the dedication of the church from the 8th to 13th century (ms. Grottaferrata G. b. I was the latest I studied), as well as the variety of other rites used for similar purposes in the Byzantine tradition (e.g. consecration of an antimension). Comparison with the rites for consecrating an altar in the West Syriac, Armenian and Coptic traditions has shown some significant parallels with similar texts of the Byzantine tradition which can indicate a common, possibly Palestinian, origin for this ritual, first attested in the euchologion Barberini gr. 336 at the end of the 8th century CE.

 

Constructing Ideas of Christian Life: The Strategies of Interpretation of the Biblical Texts by Palladius of Hellenopolis

Yuliya Minets, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Junior Fellow 2008/09

The main research question of my dissertation is the use of biblical texts to construct ideals of exemplary Christian lives in Late Antique writings; I pay particular attention to the different purposes and the target audiences of the texts analyzed. I investigate the narrative structures where the biblical quotations, references, and allusions to Scripture were used as well as their understanding and interpretation by Late Antique Christian authors, that is, the meanings which were read into the sacred texts and used for developing ideas and ideal images of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries. The main sources for the study are two texts of Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis—the Lausiac History and the Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom.

My goal this year at Dumbarton Oaks was to complete the main stages of research for my dissertation, and to write the first draft of the text. I was able to finish all three main parts of my work. Chapter 1 is devoted to contextualization of Palladius, as a Late Antique Christian author, and his works in the historical and intellectual situation of the 4th and 5th centuries. I investigated Palladius' biography, his educational and social background, his intellectual circle and teachers; I carried out the source study of the Lausiac History and Dialogue, and prepared the overview of secondary literature. The Lausiac History and the Dialogue are particularly interesting because they were written by a single author, but differ considerably both from a linguistic point of view and in their contents. The texts differ in features of style and rhetorical organization, in the level of theological understanding and elaboration of ideas, and in the use of well-known patterns and examples from the Bible, early Christian writings, and Classical literature.

In the second chapter I focused, firstly, on textual studies of the biblical quotations and references in the Lausiac History and Dialogue, paying attention to the sources of citation, and to any literal alterations which the text of the Bible underwent due to Palladius' intentional or unconscious changes, because of the methods of a Late Antique author's work and the influence of other authors; secondly, the narrative strategies and rhetorical construction which Palladius used to involve the biblical texts in his own narratives.

In the third chapter I considered the different interpretations of the biblical texts in Palladius' two works which result from different attitudes to certain issues, such as wisdom, eschatology, pride, the appearance of the Holy Man, mixed male and female communities of ascetics, etc. These issues were important in the Late Antique Christian discourse, and were variously evaluated and interpreted in different kinds of texts. Therefore, they work as a litmus test for a problem—to define the level of the particular text in its contemporary discourse. Correspondingly, they reflect the expectations, ideas, and worldview of the potential audience, and thus help us to define the place of Palladius' works in the different intellectual trends of Christianity of the 4th and 5th centuries.

In the Lausiac History Palladius tends to present ideas associated with the communities of monks in the Egyptian desert and, probably, with the lower layer of laypeople who sometimes were not so sophisticated in their understanding of biblical words. I do not mean that Palladius expressed simple ideas, rather he presented them in a form comprehensible to his audience. The Dialogue, on the other hand, is polemical narrative which delivers ideas appropriate for high-level and educated church authorities and secular officials. Its potential audience might be the members of John Chrysostom's party who in 400–410 needed to "create" their own hero, prove their heroism in supporting him, and justify their suffering for truth.

 

Late Byzantine Rural Sites in the North Aegean: Their Archaeology and Distribution Patterns

Fotini Kondyli, University of Birmingham

Junior Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks my aim was to prepare for both electronic and standard publication my recently completed PhD thesis entitled: Late Byzantine rural sites in the Northern Aegean: their archaeology and distribution patterns (successfully defended at the University of Birmingham in December 2008). For my PhD thesis I studied Late Byzantine site function and distribution, factors influencing sites' location, economic activities of rural sites, communication and trade routes, as well as the formation of fortification networks on the islands of Lemnos and Thasos in the North Aegean. My work focused not only on the identification and study of settlements but also of other sites such as forts, monastic estates and activity loci on the two islands. Further, I developed a methodological framework that integrated archaeology with primary sources and ethnography in order to develop a holistic understanding of economy, the use of space and societal change in the North Aegean during the Late Byzantine period.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I also focused on advancing my work regarding the archaeology and distribution of late Byzantine sites and the economic exploitation and spatial organization of the rural landscape in a series of articles and conference papers. In one article I am analyzing comparative material from excavations and multi-period surveys in Greece in order to discuss the role of Byzantine archaeology in multi-period projects in the Mediterranean. As part of this work, I am also critically evaluating the methodologies employed by previous studies in Byzantine settlement archaeology in order to develop a more sophisticated approach to understanding the Byzantine landscape. In doing so, I make intense use of reports, monographs, PhD theses and journals dealing with similar archaeological investigations around the Mediterranean. The second article completed during my fellowship explores the economic activities of Byzantine monasteries in the Late Byzantine period, using an inter-disciplinary approach and combining in my work archaeological, documentary and ethnographic data with GIS spatial analysis. The two conference papers I completed this year (both to be presented during June 2009), deal with aspects of trade and travelling in the late medieval Mediterranean.

The research I undertook during my fellowship attempted to present and analyze aspects of the Late Byzantine rural landscape and its settlements using an inter-disciplinary approach. I had the opportunity to provide new data and different approaches on methodology, analysis and interpretation of data, as well as discuss new aspects of the archaeology of the Late Byzantine village and of the human-landscape interface in the Byzantine world.

 

Intellectual Circles in Byzantium in the 10th century

Myriam Hecquet-Devienne, Université de Lille 3 (C.N.R.S.)

Fellow 2008/09

Thanks to the wonderful resources of Dumbarton Oaks, I completed the bibliographical material I had started to gather before my arrival, in particular about the intellectual circles in Byzantium in the 10th century, and the epistolary documents.

  1. I precisely described the features of the hands which copied Aristotle's manuscript, the Parisinus 1853, and the Venetus A of Homer; I gathered the codicological characteristics of these manuscripts in order to show their relationship with some other manuscripts which were probably copied by the same team of scribes. I also analyzed the work of textual criticism made on the text by the main scribe of each manuscript.
  2. I examined the two epigrams the scribes copied on free pages of these manuscripts, which belong to the Palatine Anthology (Ⅸ 387, composed by Adrian, and 577, by Ptolemaeus): both present interesting variant readings, not known otherwise.
  3. I translated some very difficult letters of the corpus of an anonymous professor from the 10th century, who was in relation with the monk Ephrem, a scribe belonging, I believe, to this team of scribes. These letters show the criteria of this professor for "editing" the texts he had to copy (he also was an occasional scribe). They reveal how these texts were given to him, and how he tried to find positions for his students. He wanted to be distinguished from the mere scribes who only worry about their handwriting, without intellectual concerns, and lamented that advanced high training was so little appreciated.

4. A Literary, Linguistic and Historical Analysis of the Poems of Manuel Philes

  1. 5. Marina Bazzani, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
  2. 6. Fellow 2008/09
  3. These months at Dumbarton Oaks have enabled me to work on the large corpus of poetry of the Byzantine author Manuel Philes (ca. 1270–1330s). I have focused on his historical, personal and occasional poems, while leaving aside epigrams on works of art and religious subjects. I spent the first term of my fellowship reading and translating the poems; this has allowed me to gain a good understanding of Philes' way of composing verses, his use of language, images and puns, as well as to observe how his style and tone may vary according to the recipients' status. During the second term, I have carried out a content and style analysis of several occasional poems composed to request gifts of various kinds (hats, clothes, food). The close reading and the breakdown of the text have revealed the presence of extremely interesting material in these poems, and have shown how the author is always proceeding on multiple levels of thought in his compositions. This is often achieved through a subtle and sophisticated use of language and images, either by employing the same words in different contexts or by loading them with a different nuance in meaning, thus creating clever and unexpected turns of ideas; such detailed analysis of the text has helped understand the important role rhetorical skills play in Philes' verses. This project has greatly benefited from the excellent library, the online resources and the stimulating environment at Dumbarton Oaks; I have been able to collect extensive material that I intend to use in the future to explore other aspects of Philes' poetry, such as the way the poet presents himself in his poems, his relation with contemporary intellectuals and his dedicatees, and the depiction of society his poetic texts convey. These texts are not only of interest in their own right, but they also offer key tools to gain a deeper comprehension of Byzantium and its society in the Palaeologan era.

 

The Church of the Kathisma on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road: Archaeological, Art Historical and Historical Study

Rina Avner, Israel Antiquities Authority

Fellow 2008/09

My project at Dumbarton Oaks was to prepare a manuscript of a comprehensive monograph, complementing the technical archaeological final report (submitted in 2003 to the monograph series IAA Reports), on the Church of the Kathisma situated near Jerusalem. The church was excavated under my direction on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavations revealed a large octagonal structure (41x 38 m.) with an unusual complex plan. Three strata were recognized (dated to the 5th, 6th, and 8th century CE). Archaeological evidence indicates that during the 8th century the building was used simultaneously as a mosque within the church.

My goal this year was to update and pursue a thematic expansion of my dissertation, namely, to put the Kathisma within a broader Christian and Islamic context (topics such as: the history of the building; pilgrimage; beginnings of the veneration and cult of the Theotokos in the Holy Land and abroad; mutual influences between Jewish, Christian, and Early Islamic traditions; architecture and art—the influence of the Kathisma on other martyria, including the Dome of the Rock; the artistic influence of the wall mosaic of the Dome of the Rock on two important floor mosaics in the Kathisma).

Besides completing a draft of my projected book, a year of residence at Dumbarton Oaks enabled me to meet and exchange views with different scholars (Dumbarton Oaks staff, fellows, and visiting scholars), thus yielding new ideas for future research.

 

Common Causes: the Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt

Philip Venticinque, University of Chicago

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my tenure as a junior fellow I engaged in the research and writing of what will be the final two chapters of my dissertation, tentatively titled Common Causes: The Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. I spent the fall term working towards producing a draft of the third chapter, one that probes the relationship between guilds (and craftsmen and merchants in general) and the local and imperial authorities as evidenced not only by the legal texts but also by the documentary evidence found inscribed on stone or written on papyrus. In this chapter I focused on two questions: the status of guilds as licit or illicit groups and the notion of the "bound" status of guild members during the Late Roman Period. Chapter 4 has occupied my time during much of the spring term. In this chapter I have set out to examine the economic activities of guilds and the ways that the rise of large estates, churches and monasteries as economic powers and the changing political and social landscape impacted individual craftsmen, traders and guilds as a whole. I intend that the dissertation project as a whole will engage in ongoing debates about the economy and society of the Roman and late antique periods by using guilds and those associated with them as a prism to focus on these larger questions. Dumbarton Oaks has provided an ideal setting and unparalleled access to editions of Greek and Coptic papyrological documents, Roman legal texts, and secondary sources which has resulted in an incredibly productive eight months and a much different, and better, dissertation than if I had not been afforded such access and freedom.

 

Byzantine Icons Collection in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Yuri Pyatnitsky, State Hermitage Museum

Fellow 2007/08

The goals of my research project at Dumbarton Oaks were to make progress on the catalogue of Byzantine icons in the Hermitage Museum, and to write several essays that will serve as the introduction to this catalogue. The resources at Dumbarton Oaks have permitted me to make great progress on my project. I have finished approximately ninety percent of the individual catalogue entries, including the complete bibliographies that can only be prepared efficiently in a library with comprehensive holdings in Byzantine studies. In addition, I have been able to read about new directions and approaches in contemporary art historical studies on Byzantine painting, especially icon painting of the 14th and 15th centuries. This has allowed me to refine many of the attributions of icons I have been discussing.

One of my introductory essays, presented as part of my research report, concerning the history of exhibiting icons at the Hermitage Museum, will be published in a special volume of the journal Ars Orientalis, edited by Helen Evans. Furthermore, two of the catalogue entries I wrote, one devoted to a seventh-century niello icon with the Virgin and the other to a late eleventh-century icon of St. Gregory, have been developed into two articles which will be published in the annual journal of the Hermitage.

Relevant to my work was the opportunity to study icons and several other objects in the Dumbarton Oaks collection. These include the two micro-mosaic icons of the Forty Martyrs and St. John Chrysostom, and the painting of St. Peter. In this latter icon, I was able to read the letters of Peter's name on the keys around his neck. This detail had not been previously observed, but my reading is supported by John Nesbitt. We plan to publish this discovery together in the near future.

 

Critical Edition with introduction and commentary of the unpublished works of Athanasios Ⅰ, patriarch of Constantinople

Emmanouil Patedakis, University of Crete

Fellow 2007/08

Apart from his extensive correspondence with the emperor Andronikos Ⅱ and the imperial family, Athanasios Ⅰ composed around sixty longer works that remain unedited (two long teachings and a letter to the emperor, several letters to bishops in general or to those of specific dioceses in Asia Minor, letters to monks of Mt. Athos, encyclical instructions to clerics and laymen, such as teachings that stress the necessity for charity by all subjects of the empire, as well as his Novel and Testament), with some of them regarded until now as lost.

I firstly had to study in detail Athanasios' monastic background and experience which influenced his subsequent two patriarchates.A parallel study on Symeon the New Theologian during the beginning of my stay functioned as an initiation course to the superb library of Dumbarton Oaks; it was completed and will be published in the volume ΙdaToth - N. Gaul (ed.), Reading in Byzantium and Beyond. A Collection of Papers to Honour Professors Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys (forthcoming). I also re-examined modern views on his so-called "Reform Policy".

Crucial introductory answers to such issues were offered through further research while preparing the apparatus criticus and apparatus fontium for the unedited texts. The linguistic and compositional features, literary and rhetorical figures as well as the convoluted style of writing (with long periods, syntax that deviates from classical usage, examples of absolute structures, repeated transitional words and phrases) function as a medium which continuously corroborates Athanasios' policy and demand for return (ἐπιστροφή) and repentance (μετάνοια). More than two thousand quotations from other texts (scriptural, patristic or ascetic) detected in his works were also used as a repetitive vehicle for transferring and applying his ideas and public interventions.

After completing the processing of the apparatuses for the unpublished part of Athanasios' writings, I have attempted a more precise understanding by preparing an English translation of the Greek text, which will be included in the final edition. I also continue to do research on some recently discovered theological anthologies on the Holy Spirit that are attributed to the patriarch, while I simultaneously attempt to clarify issues regarding the network of persons and places during Athanasios' life. The resonance and the fame of his personality especially in the first half of the fourteenth century were kept alive both through controversial references by contemporary authors and a number of manuscripts compiled not only in order to preserve his own writings but also to confirm his canonization as a saint in Constantinople. I have already started to compose the above mentioned case studies into a separate paper and articles.

I hope that after the generous hospitality of Dumbarton Oaks during the past year the critical edition for the whole corpus of Athanasios' unpublished works will be completed in the near future.

 

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America

Nadezhda F. Kavrus-Hoffmann, Glenmont, NY

Fellow 2007/08

During my four-month fall fellowship term I made considerable progress on my Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America. Specifically, I accomplished the following:

  1. Researched and wrote final catalogue entries for Part Ⅳ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.340–M.647," to be published in Manuscripta 52:1 (2008).
  2. Researched and wrote draft catalogue entries for Part Ⅴ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.652–M.874," to be published in Manuscripta 52:2 (2008).
  3. Researched and wrote an innovative article, "Two Solar Eclipses and the Date and Localization of the Kerasous Gospels from the Pierpont Morgan Library," to be published in Nea Rhome (2008).
  4. Visited the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, discovered two manuscripts that have never been catalogued before, and did all necessary research for catalogue entries of these manuscripts.

The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library was invaluable for my research. For example, new albums of sacred objects included manuscripts from St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Vatopedi and Protaton monasteries in Mount Athos, and Byzantine Calabria, and such sources helped me to date, localize, and identify scribes or artists in manuscripts from American collections. New albums of watermarks included R. Stanković, Filigranoshki Opis I Album (Sofia, 2006), which I could not find in any other library and which helped me to date several manuscripts more precisely. And, in addition to Dumbarton Oaks' many rare books and journals, its fine collection of microfilms of Greek manuscripts and new manuscript scanner were very useful.

I have accepted a one-year fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (beginning July 1, 2008), which will enable me to continue the long-term project I worked on during my stay at Dumbarton Oaks.

Personal Comments

I enjoyed my term at Dumbarton Oaks very much. I have exceptionally good feelings about the Byzantine studies fellows—we became really close and will certainly keep up personally and professionally. The friendly and warm atmosphere and the fellows' willingness and ability to help one another added greatly to my pleasant experience and research productivity.

I especially liked my comfortable and conveniently located office in the Library, where I was able to work extremely efficiently, with all the books and journals I needed at my fingertips. I also appreciated the library staff members who worked hard to rush-catalogue and bring books to my office, to find missing books, and to deliver books ordered through Interlibrary Loan. And librarians taught me how to use new scanners and other equipment.

I very much liked all of the Greek seminars and many of the lectures by Byzantine and other scholars. I also appreciated an opportunity to consult Prof. Irfan Shahid on Arabic notes in some of the Greek manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library collection.

My apartment in La Quercia was in the basement but was recently renovated, and Mario Garcia was very helpful in fixing small problems.

I looked forward to the company of fellows and staff during lunches—the Refectory helped us to get to know each other much better. The food, however, could have been more nutritious and varied.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the gardens, concerts, receptions, and dinners. I am especially grateful to Alice-Mary and Bill Talbot for inviting us to their home for Thanksgiving dinner and to Jan and Liz Ziolkowsky for a very enjoyable evening at their home.

 

The Tradition of the Byzantine Translator's Preface

Elizabeth A. Fisher, George Washington University

Fellow 2007/08

In addition to two Byzantine translator's prefaces that I analyzed in previous publications, I secured in the course of my fellowship eleven more texts that range in date from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries and accompany translations from Latin, Persian, Syriac and Arabic. Of these, one is published only partially and one is unpublished. I obtained manuscript facsimiles of these two prefaces and am preparing annotated editions of them to be published in separate articles.

As my project evolved, I recognized that a series of articles on individual prefaces or groups of prefaces is the most practical means of initially presenting the genre; I shall eventually draw these studies into a monograph as I locate additional prefaces. I shall also examine the antecedents of the Byzantine translator's prefaces. I plan one article on two second-century prefaces to translations from Latin and a second on the Latin source of Manuel Holobolos' thirteenth-century discussion of translation theory.

In addition to studying Byzantine translator's prefaces, I also prepared the first translation with annotations of Michael Psellos' Life of Symeon the Metaphrast and of his On the Usual Miracle at Blachernae, which was a special challenge because of its complex system of references to neo-Platonic doctrine and to Byzantine legal texts.

This year I have also prepared or revised five articles accepted for publication: three on Planoudes' Greek translations, one on the anonymous commentator to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Ⅶ, and one on monasteries and the Latin language in thirteenth-century Constantinople.

 

Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople before the Great Palace

Örgü Dalgıç, New York University

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks I completed the writing of my dissertation entitled Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople prior to the Great Palace. I successfully defended my dissertation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, just before the end of my fellowship period.

In my dissertation I brought together for the first time the complete corpus of floor mosaics from Istanbul, from thirteen sites, dating from the second to the sixth century C.E. This is also the first systematic and contextual study of this mostly unpublished material. The corpus is here divided into three groups: (1) the Belediye Sarayı (City Hall) mosaics at Saraçhane; (2) the Kocamustafapaşa mosaic; and (3) the rest of the mosaics from Istanbul, geometric and ornamental.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I finalized my conclusions and finished writing the first chapter, on the Belediye mosaics discovered in a salvage excavation in 1953. Bringing together unpublished site photographs and sketch plans from various archives and the literary references to the topography of Constantinople in the period, I suggested a new attribution for the mosaics: the paving for the peristyle of the gymnasium of the Thermae Constantianae, one of Constantinople's most prominent but long-lost public monuments.

I researched and wrote chapter three during the second semester of the fellowship year. In this chapter I considered non-figural mosaics from Istanbul in two parts, Roman (pre-Constantinian) mosaics, and the mosaics of Constantinople.

During the fellowship period, I delivered two papers: Mosaics of Constantinople: Paving the Way to the Great Palace at the Archaeology and the Cities of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity conference organized at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2008; and Saraçhane Mosaics: Reconstructing the Art, Architecture and Topography, in the 33rd Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Toronto, October 2007. I also prepared and submitted an article in collaboration with Thomas F. Mathews entitled A New Interpretation of the Church of Peribleptos and its Place in Middle Byzantine Architecture to be published in Proceedings of International Symposium in Memory of Sevgi Gönül-Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Istanbul 2007.

 

Theodore Metochites’ Commentary on Aristotle's De anima: Critical Edition with an English Translation

Börje Bydén, Göteborg University

Fellow 2007/08

A very considerable part of the extant philosophical literature from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages consists of commentaries on the works of Aristotle. In the last decades, the study of the Late Antique commentaries (c. AD 120–620) has come to occupy a central place in the field of ancient philosophy. By contrast, the Byzantine commentaries (c. 900–1453) are still relatively little known. This is partly due to the fact that most of them have never been edited. The Late Antique commentaries are studied on the basis of the editions in the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, published between 1882 and 1907 by the Royal Prussian Academy at Berlin. In 2007, a new series was launched in Berlin to complement and extend the CAG with editions mainly of Byzantine commentaries.

One of the most interesting of these is Theodore Metochites' commentary on the De anima (c. 1320). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks (which regrettably had to be reduced from two terms to one, on account of the duties connected with a new position) I have continued my preparations for a critical edition of this work, which is preserved in twelve manuscripts. The edition will be accompanied by an introduction and an English translation and published in the new Berlin series. I benefitted especially from the Dumbarton Oaks Library's excellent coverage not only of Byzantine intellectual history but also of its Late Antique background.

 

 

Andronikos Kamateros’ Sacred Arsenal: Critical edition, translation and commentary

Alessandra Bucossi, Genova, Italy

Fellow 2007/08

The Sacred Arsenal is one of the most important remaining Byzantine inedita of the twelfth century. It was written most probably around 1173 by the megas droungarios Andronikos Kamateros, an aristocrat from the Doukas family, active at the Constantinopolitan court during the second half of the twelfth century. The emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143–1180) commissioned this work of refutation of Latin and Armenian heresies during a period in which negotiations with the Latin and the Armenian churches about a possible reunion were proceeding fervently. This massive text is still unpublished, except for a small part (about 63 of 309 folia) which appears in Migne's Patrologia Graeca as part of the work written by John Bekkos, Refutationes adversus D. Andronici Camateri Viglae Drungarii super scripto traditis testimoniis de Spiritu Sancto animadversiones (PG 141, 396–613).

My PhD thesis, completed in 2006, focused on the prolegomena to the critical edition and on the edition of the first half of the text dedicated to the Catholic Church and the procession of the Holy Spirit "from the Son" (Filioque). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks, I concentrated on the second part of the Sacred Arsenal dedicated to the Armenian Church and I made substantial progress towards the edition of the entire volume transcribing and collating the text from the manuscripts Monacensis Gr. 229, ⅩⅢ century and Venetus Marcianus Gr. 158 (coll. 515), ⅩⅣ century. The Dumbarton Oaks fellowship also provided the library resources that enabled me to write two articles: the first on the dating of the Sacred Arsenal and the second on the relation between two icons described by the Codex Marcianus Graecus 524 and Kamateros' text. Moreover, Dumbarton Oaks' collection of microfilms gave me the possibility of analyzing the microfilm of the manuscripts Laurent. Gr. Plut. Ⅷ. 26 which contains, in addition to the already well-known and published Refutationes by John Bekkos against the anthology of the first half of the Sacred Arsenal (PG 141, 396–613), also the refutations by the same patriarch against the entire dialogue between the emperor Manuel Komnenos and the Roman cardinals. Finally, during the period of my fellowship I started to create a website dedicated to Andronikos Kamateros and the Sacred Arsenal, a project that gives access to information about the life of an unjustly forgotten author.

 

 

Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3

Ivan Yordanov, Konstantin Preslavsky University, Shumen, Bulgaria

Summer Fellow 2008/09

The project I have been researching at Dumbarton Oaks is volume Ⅲ of the Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria: Byzantine institutions (secular and ecclesiastical) located in the capital Constantinople. It will include nearly 1,200 seals of title-holders of various institutions (civil, military and ecclesiastical) who resided in Constantinople.

After the material was classified it turned out that more than 1,500 seals could not be attributed to any of the above rubrics. These are seals of private individuals containing one or two names, anonymous, monogrammatic and ca. 1000 seals which cannot be deciphered because their texts are incomplete. They are important for medieval Bulgarian history because they were found in various settlements of former medieval Bulgaria and thus their publication is also obligatory.

Meanwhile new Byzantine seals were found in Bulgaria which supplement or correct what was already published in the first two volumes.

Volume Ⅲ, the final stage of the project, will include all Byzantine seals found in modern Bulgaria arranged according to the existing classifications. It will include seals already published with references to the relevant publications and in cases of new finds or new readings they will be noted appropriately. Thus all the material will be documented so as to illustrate the ranks and official hierarchy in Byzantium as elucidated by the material from Bulgaria.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I arranged the text and the respective photos according to the following scheme:

  1. Imperial palace, nos.1–715

Imperial seals, nos. 1–126

Offices at the Palace, nos. 218–363

Titles at the Palace, nos 364–715

  1. Central administration, nos. 716–965
  2. Army, 966–1089
  3. Provincial administration, nos. 1100–1617
  4. Church, nos. 1618–1796
  5. Seals of private individuals, nos. 1797–2586
  6. Undeciphered seals, nos. 2587–3500.

 

 

Hellenistic Phantasia and Its Iconophile Offsprings

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

Starting from one of Theodore Studites' epistles to his pupil Naukratios (380 Fatouros), I studied the Byzantine views on the soul, image apprehension, and cognitive processing of visual stimuli during the iconoclastic struggle. Basing my research on Theodore's statements about the imaginative faculty of the soul (phantasia), I focused on the subtle but strong ties that link gaze and representation, as well as on the theoretical foundations legitimating the perception, comprehension, and reworking of religious images by their beholders. I envisaged the cultural role played by phantasia in this area as a legacy of Greek and Roman aesthetics. Resting upon the dissemination of the Hellenic cultural heritage during Late Antiquity, Byzantine culture shaped a body of symbolic landmarks through which the collectivity defined its behavior toward visual stimuli and imagination. In this process, the passage from sight to faith, from paganism to Christianity, left its unmistakable traces. Thus, the naïve and emotional approach to arts, banned as unsophisticated by imperial elites, became in Byzantine times an essential precondition to devotion. Although according to Theodore Studites and John of Damascus phantasia had a relevant role in promoting intellectual contemplation, emotional involvement was also seen as necessary to catch a glimpse of the divine mystery. Finally, I tried to outline how iconophile authors selected and highlighted different theoretical constructs from late antique Christian psychology and anthropology (Cappadocian Fathers and Nemesius of Emesa, above all), with a new emphasis on human ability to process both physical and mental images.

 

The Impact of Hesychasm on the Ecclesiastical and Political Life of the Southern Slavs during the 14th Century

Ilias Evangelou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Summer

Fellow 2009/10

My project, to be published as a monograph, will begin with an introduction to the history of mysticism in Eastern Christianity, followed by chapters covering the distribution of mysticism in the southern Slavic world, the acquaintance of the Southern Slavs with Hesychasm in the 14th century, and its effect in their spiritual, ecclesiastical, and political life. During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks as a summer fellow I completed my monograph, writing the last chapter concerning the effect of Hesychasm in the ecclesiastical and political life of the Southern Slavs in the 14th century. According to medieval sources and my secondary bibliography, which I had the opportunity to study in the library of Dumbarton Oaks, Hesychasts occupied important positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and promoted the idea of the unity of the Orthodox Christian people of the Balkans. Initially they restored the schisms between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria and Serbia, and afterward they promoted political and diplomatic unity in order to confront the Ottoman Turks, the biggest threat to the Christian people of the region. The rich library of Dumbarton Oaks helped me to check the footnotes of the entire study and to supplement it with a relevant bibliography.

 

Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth

Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

I had a fruitful and very stimulating six-week fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks. In the first days of my fellowship I finished an article entitled Decline of Political Culture: Ammianus Marcellinus' Characterization of the Reigns of Valentinian and Valens, to be published (hopefully) in the conference volume of Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity VⅢ: Shifting Cultural Frontiers (Ashgate). I also wrote an entry on the emperor Julian (361–363) for The Encyclopedia of the Roman Army, ed. Yann Le Bohec, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Finally, I wrote the first draft of an article on my principal project Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth. The first part of the article deals with some new perspectives on Helena's biography, in particular her journey to the Holy Land. The second part discusses two texts on the discovery of the Cross: two Syriac poems and Alexander Monachos's De inventione crucis. The article also gives attention to a rather peculiar and understudied version of the legend preserved in the Six Books' narratives of Mary's Dormition and Assumption.

 

 

•••••Religion of the Book? Christians and their Books in Late Antiquity: A Cultural History

Martin Wallraff, University of Basel,

Fellow 2009/10

Eusebian canon table. _

Within the framework of a larger project on the book in late antiquity, my research this term focused on a highly significant but largely neglected topic: the Eusebian canon tables of the gospels. Although they are part of hundreds of biblical manuscripts and although they are in many cases lavishly decorated, they are rarely studied as a witness to the culture of the book of their time. This complex synoptic system of the four gospels presupposes the tradition of the Alexandrian tradition of philology-a tradition familiar to Eusebius from his background in the school of Origen and Pamphilus. However, the synoptic tables were not only a useful scholarly tool; they also contributed to the beauty of the manuscript. Therefore they mark an important step in the process of the sacralization of the Christian book. Their success for many centuries can be explained by this combination of scholarly, aesthetic and spiritual features.

Despite their importance for New Testament textual criticism, for the history of art, and for the culture of the book, the Eusebian canon tables have been edited on the basis of manuscript evidence only once, and that was in the context of Erasmus's famous edition of the New Testament five hundred years ago. My research will lead to a new critical edition with full reproductions of several manuscripts. Since these tables of numbers are not just an ordinary text, they require a broader discussion of their production, structure, and significance. The edition is introduced by such a discussion.

 

Inventing Monasticism

Columba Stewart, Saint John's University,

Fellow 2009/10

I spent the fall term surveying the several geographical regions covered by my project on monastic culture, reading widely to build out my conceptual framework. I found myself dissatisfied with the current state of scholarship on the emergence of what we commonly think of as monasticism from the ascetic currents of early Christianity. The conditions and dynamics of this emergence are crucial for my interest in the development of the elements of monastic culture. I have therefore spent most of my time since January focused on observable moments in the emergence of the new monastic paradigm. A particularly observable moment occurs during the tenure of Rabbula, bishop of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia from 412–436. In this time and place the old and new forms of asceticism coexisted, with the traditional form in the towns and the new monastic version up there in the hills or out there in less inhabited regions. Very soon the new model would dominate, and then replace, the older form, a process evident in the manuscript tradition of Rabbula's regulations, to which I have paid particular attention. As I head to the Middle East for the remainder of my sabbatical year and settle in Jerusalem for several weeks, I will place Rabbula into a diptych with Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who in his much more famous Philotheos Historia surveys an adjoining region but sees and highlights different things. I hope to expand these observable moments into something like a new history of the origins of monasticism.

 

Political Power and Imperial Governance: The Transformation of the Imperial Office in the Later Roman Empire, ca. 367–527

Meaghan McEvoy, British School at Rome / University of Oxford,

Fellow 2009/10

My semester-long fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks gave me the opportunity to begin my three-year postdoctoral project on late Roman imperial politics, addressing the ways in which the symbolism of imperial power in 4th–6th centuries was restructured around a push to make acceptable and even normalise the rule of minors, particularly for the powerful senatorial and military elites of the empire, who had a direct stake in the dynastic successions of such young emperors. Fundamental to the process of making child-emperor rule acceptable was the continuing ceremonialization of the imperial office in the context of an increasing emphasis on specifically Christian virtues. These virtues were highlighted as a means of symbolic reassurance of divine support for the ruler, most conspicuously when that emperor was a child. My doctoral project focused on the nature, perception, and presentation of child rulers in the west. The new project expands this focus to encompass the eastern court, in particular the reign of Theodosius II, and moves the enquiry on through the 5th and into the 6th century.

Apart from beginning the detailed analysis of the relevant literary and other sources, a number of new and important questions have arisen, including that of how the sharp increase in the translation of relics to Constantinople starting ca. 395 fits into this picture, and also the changing emphasis of imperial ceremonial in the more urban and civilian (and less military) context of early to mid-fifth-century imperial rule. My semester at Dumbarton Oaks proved invaluable in enabling me to refine the research questions of the project, to more fully assess the relevant secondary literature on the subject, and to begin examining the complex source material.

 

Imperial Ceremonial in Palaiologan Constantinople

Ruth Macrides, University of Birmingham,

Fellow 2009/10

The so-called Treatise on Court Offices by Pseudo-Kodinos, a work of the fourteenth century, is the main textual source for ceremonial in the capital of the Byzantine Empire in the last 300 years of its existence. My research at Dumbarton Oaks from mid-January to mid-May 2010 was based on this text, as the necessary preliminary to any study of ceremonial in Byzantium. My project includes a translation, commentary, and study of the work, its method of composition, date, and its characteristics. I completed the commentary and revised it, filling in bibliographical lacunae; I wrote most of the introductory study on ceremonies, their origins, and their evolution. While I arrived with a good working knowledge of the issues raised by the text, I leave with a much broader and deeper knowledge of its significance. My research was on two levels: the identification of realia: clothing, hats, musical instruments, colours, and ceremonies represented in images; the evolution of the ceremonies.

Dumbarton Oaks was the ideal place to carry out this research, both in terms of physical and human resources. From the lectures and colloquia I attended (both Pre-Columbian and Byzantine), I was put into contact with work in related areas (e.g., architecture and liturgy, epigrams and objects on which they were inscribed). Scholars, both those passing through Dumbarton Oaks and other fellows, shared their knowledge of texts and bibliography. I was able to identify works on ceremony books and ceremony in the medieval west and the Islamic east, and to put Pseudo-Kodinos's text in this broader context. Finally, I have strengthened my knowledge of the character of the text so that I can argue confidently that this is a ceremony book that was more descriptive than prescriptive.

 

Slavery in Late Antiquity

Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder,

Fellow 2009/10

My project involves the composition of a monograph on the development of slavery in the Late Antique period (3rd to 7th centuries AD) in both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. I am grateful to Dumbarton Oaks for allowing me to make great progress on this and several other undertakings.

I came with several different projects in tow and spent the first half of the fellowship working on these. This resulted in the following:

  1. completion of an article on the Tyche medallions minted on the occasion of the foundation of Constantinople in 330;
  2. completion of one chapter for a monograph on Constantine which I hope to finish in summer 2010. I chose to write the chapter at Dumbarton Oaks because it was directly related to the Tyche article. It traces pagan elements in the foundation of the new capital;
  3. completion of three chapters and supporting materials (maps, timelines, glossaries, family trees, art captions) for a co-authored textbook of Roman history to appear with Oxford University Press next fall;
  4. completion of a translation of the seventh book of the Justinianic Code, my contribution to another co-authored publication to appear with Cambridge University Press.

In the spring I worked almost exclusively on the slavery project and accomplished the following:

  1. transfer of data on the subject from my extensive pre-existing Word files into a searchable database.
  2. completion of a review of a book on Byzantine slavery.
  3. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in the Novels of Justinian, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.
  4. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in Frankish Gaul, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.

During this period I have also expended great effort gathering further primary sources and secondary studies, assimilating these, and entering them into my database. This is a massive project for which the unparalleled library resources at Dumbarton Oaks have been immensely helpful. I am fortunate to have one more year of fellowship during which time I hope to finish the monograph.

 

All the World’s Knowledge: Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity

Scott Johnson, Washington and Lee University,

Fellow 2009/10

This year was a magnificent experience in every respect, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make such thorough use of the library, gardens, museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks community generally. My research project on Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity progressed in significant, if unexpected, ways over the year. The range of literature which I am now including in the project is much larger-in particular, I have expanded into high Byzantium and the medieval West through the inspiration of the Fellows and Staff at Dumbarton Oaks this year. Margaret Mullett organized numerous stimulating talks throughout the semester that also gave impetus to my project. In terms of measurable progress, I was able to put together an extensive primary bibliography, including critical texts and translations. I finished an article for Dumbarton Oaks Papers 64 which is the first fruit of my research, and I completed drafts of two chapters for my monograph. In addition, I made substantial progress toward submitting the final manuscript of the Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, of which I am the sole editor. All in all, it was a very productive year which included numerous invaluable benefits to my scholarly work.

 

Weaving Christ’s Body: Clothing, Femininity and Sexuality in the Marian Imagery of Byzantium

Maria Evangelatou, University of California, Santa Cruz,

Fellow 2009/10

The research project I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks fellow explores the extensive use of spinning, weaving, and clothing as symbols of Christ's Incarnation in Byzantine art and literature, especially in relation to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the rich theological symbolism of Byzantine iconography and to examine the sociocultural function of Marian imagery. This year I focused on the latest scholarly literature on the basic components of my project: Marian iconography, gender studies, and textile production and use. The last is an especially rapidly growing field with numerous publications on the social and cultural functions of textiles and clothing, and familiarizing myself with these topics has broadened the scope of my research with significant comparative material. Another concept that became increasingly important in my analysis is the projection of multivalent and often ambivalent or ambiguous gender ideals in Byzantine iconography, allowing for very different and often contradictory messages to be included or read into the material. This implies that the construction of femininity in Byzantium was a very dynamic process, in which submission and empowerment often went hand in hand. Therefore, exploring the variety of human experience and the coexistence of different ideologies have become central goals in my research. During this year I also developed a new project that focuses on the art of El Greco. This research will culminate in the publication of three articles that will shed more light on the role of the artist's Byzantine background, focusing on the treatment of space, the symbolism of color, and the use of signatures as statements of the artist's mediation in spiritual illumination.

_

 

In the Shadow of the Sphinx: Pharaonic Sacred Space in the Coptic Imagination

Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Chicago,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

As a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed a substantial portion of my dissertation, named above, which I will defend in September 2010. My research at Dumbarton Oaks was largely focused on the re-edition and analysis of a corpus of Byzantine graffiti from the mortuary temple of the Ramesside pharaoh Seti I at Abydos, in Upper Egypt. These inscriptions were written by a group of female ascetics during the period from ca. 600–900 CE, and they provide exceptional epigraphic evidence for female monasticism in Byzantine and early Islamic Egypt. Although the Christian graffiti from the site have long been taken as evidence for the establishment of a monastery within the temple precinct itself, I argue that the women's community was actually based in the nearby village of Bardis and that the temple was used only intermittently by that group. The graffiti written by these monastic women on the temple walls offer an interesting counterpoint to the rather polemical literary representation of that structure in the sixth-century Coptic Life of Moses of Abydos, and they suggest that by the early seventh century the temple's connection to pagan cultic practice had been largely overwritten by Christian activity in the area.

Throughout the course of the year, my research has benefitted greatly not only from the tremendous resources of the Dumbarton Oaks library and the generosity of its staff, but also from conversations and exchanges with Fellows and Readers across different fields. The support of the Dumbarton Oaks community was also extremely helpful to me as I negotiated the job market this year, and I will leave Washington to begin my career as a professor in the History Department at the University of Louisville.

 

Literature and Society in the Reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos: An Examination of the Letter-Collection of Nikephoros Choumnos

Alexander Riehle, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

During my eight months at Dumbarton Oaks, I focused on the elaboration and completion of the first two parts of my tripartite doctoral thesis, which includes basic information about the various collections of letters and their author, and a discussion of the literary aspects of single letters. Furthermore, I collected and arranged data for the third part, which deals with the social and political dimensions of the letters. More specifically, I prepared the following chapters:

  1. a biographical introduction that re-examines and re-evaluates problematic aspects of Nikephoros's life, e.g., his controversy with Theodore Metochites and its (supposed) relationship to Nikephoros's retirement;
  2. a prosopography of the addressees and other persons mentioned in the letters;
  3. a collation of all surviving textual witnesses for the letters;
  4. an examination of the collections focusing on their composition and chronology;
  5. a stylistic analysis of exemplary letters based on Hermogenes' treatise On Ideas.

The excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks provided me with all the resources I needed and allowed me to work quickly and efficiently. More importantly, my dissertation has been enriched during my stay by the constant exchange with other fellows and visiting scholars whose comments and ideas helped me to consider the methodology and contents of my thesis from a fresh perspective.

 

Ideology and Rhetoric in Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos's Texts

Florin Leonte, Central European University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

The fellowship project I undertook at Dumbarton Oaks sought to investigate the political messages embedded in several texts of Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos (r. 1391–1425). To gain a better understanding of the role of rhetoric in the political transactions of Manuel's reign, I followed three major paths of inquiry.

First, I focused on two of the emperor's texts: The Foundations of an Imperial Education and the so-called Seven Ethico-political Orations. Their study revealed the author's effort to arrange deliberative topics in a system of moral virtues meaningful for an emperor-to-be. In addition, the multitude of genres employed in the Seven Orations (protreptic discourse, philosophical essays, and homilies) attest to Manuel's will to experiment with different literary forms incorporated in a coherent, unified framework echoing ancient diatribes. If one considers the performance contexts of the orations, it emerges that these texts had a distinct didactic purpose. For instance, the sixth and the seventh orations provided expressis verbis a public criticism of young John, Manuel's son and co-emperor, who apparently did not keep with the conventional mores vis-à-vis other members of the political elite.

Second, based on extant late Byzantine letter collections, I identified the main aspects and functions of the emperor's circle of literati: places of performance (theatra), literary and aesthetic options, and their role as a group in the public affairs of the Byzantine state or diplomacy. I focused on the epistolary collections of Byzantine authors such as John Chortasmenos and Manuel Kalekas, as well as on selected letters of Italian intellectuals in contact with Byzantine scholars.

Third, I approached the emperor's ideological stance in relation to the competing political discourses dominant in late Byzantine society. On the one hand, the ecclesiasts' positions on political issues become visible in the texts of Symeon of Thessaloniki and Joseph Bryennios. On the other hand, Isidore of Kiev or Demetrios Chrysoloras represent a rather traditional political discourse surfacing in panegyrics. In contrast, Manuel seems to have developed a slightly different ideology which advocated reconciliation. In addition, his efforts to circulate his texts not only in Byzantium but also in the Latin West suggest that he consistently asserted the image of an emperor rhetorician.

All in all, the emperor's texts reflect three major rhetorical modes employed in late Byzantium for political communication: the dialogic mode, which he used in the Dialogue on Marriage with the Empress Mother, the narrative mode, manifest in the Funeral Oration for his Brother Theodore, Despot of Morea, and the didactic mode, emerging in the Precepts of an Imperial Education and the Seven Ethico-Political Orations.

 

The Formation of Constantinople as a Sacred Center

Sarah E. Insley, Harvard University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

This year of fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has been invaluable in terms of the progress I was able to make on my dissertation, and more generally with respect to my development as a scholar. When I arrived here in September, I had just defended my dissertation prospectus for a project titled Constructing the Sacred Center: Constantinople as a Holy City in Early Byzantine Literature. During the fall term, I was able to complete research on primary source material for the first two chapters of the dissertation, drafts of which were finished by mid-February. I spent the remainder of the spring term drawing together sources and completing preliminary research for a third chapter, which I will write in the first part of the summer. Thanks to my year at Dumbarton Oaks, I am on schedule to complete a full draft of the project by the end of the fall term next year, and to finish my degree next spring. Starting a dissertation is a critical, and at times daunting, period in a scholar's career. As I worked through the first stages of my own project, I could not have asked for a better community in which to shape my ideas than Dumbarton Oaks. The rich conversation and helpful suggestions of my fellow fellows; the variety of stimulating talks and events throughout the year; and the vigilance of staff in assuring that all of us had the resources necessary to complete our projects were central in giving me a solid foundation upon which I can finish my dissertation and my degree. My deepest thanks to you all: I will always have the fondest memories of my fellowship year at Dumbarton Oaks.

 

John Geometres: An Edition, Translation and Commentary of his Poems in Hexameter and Elegiac

Emilie van Opstall, University of Amsterdam

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Soldier and poet in the second half of 10th–century Constantinople, John Geometres writes in the tradition of the Macedonian Renaissance, which found its inspiration in Antiquity, but also shows signs of a new era in which Hellenistic form and Christian ideas merge. In 1841, J.A. Cramer published Geometres' poems for the first time.J. A. Cramer, Appendix ad excerpta poetica: codex 352 suppl., Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecae regiae Parisiensis, vol. Ⅳ (Oxford, 1841, repr. Hildesheim, 1967), 265–352. His edition is based on a single manuscript (the 13th–century Paris. suppl. gr. 352) and contains an amazing number of inaccuracies. Nonetheless, subsequent editors of Geometres' poems have used this edition without consulting the manuscripts themselves. The poems certainly deserve a better fate, for Geometres is a key figure in the history of Byzantine poetry, as has been observed time and again. I am preparing a new edition of his poems composed in hexameter and elegiacs with a (French) translation and commentary. This will enable not only scholars of Byzantine literature, but of Byzantine history and art as well, to arrive at a better formed judgement of Geometres and the cultural history of his time.

The summer at Dumbarton Oaks provided a unique opportunity to write the commentary on a series of poems in relation to their (art) historical context. Not only the extremely rich library, which provides easy access to art historical studies (sometimes not found elsewhere), but also the advice of the scholars present was very helpful, especially in the field of iconography.

To conclude, I will give a brief example of an epigram:

Parqe/ne, pambasi/leia, teo\j do/moj ou)rano/j e)stin,
e)/mbhj tw=n xqoni/wn prw=ta fe/rwn qala/mwn
ou(=toj e)kei= s' a)na/gei. Su\ de\ qh/kaj, Parqe/ne, gh=qen
a)/ntugoj ou)rani/hj h)eri/hn kli/maka.

Vierge, reine absolue, le ciel est ton palais;
toutefois, te prenant d'abord de tes demeures terrestres,
celui-ci t'emmène là-haut. Mais toi, Vierge, tu as placé depuis la terre
une échelle aérienne qui traverse la voûte céleste.

In this poem, an unidentified person (ou(=toj, a demonstrative pronoun) is taking (a)na/gei, present tense) the Virgin to the sky (e)kei=, a deictic adverb). The language used seems to refer to an icon representing the Koimesis, when Christ brings the soul of the Virgin to the heavens (Cf. illustration, Icon with the Koimesis, ivory, late 10th century, from H.C. Evans and W.D. Wixom [edd.], The Glory of Byzantium, Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843–1261 [New York, 1997], 155.). Even though the poet emphasizes the contrast between heaven and earth, he concludes with the comforting idea that the Virgin remains a ladder, an intermediary, between God and man.

 

The Monastery of St. Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis (Cyprus): The Wall-Paintings

Maria G. Parani, Nicosia, Cyprus

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis in Cyprus was founded in the late eleventh century by the monk George, who probably hailed from Syria-Palestine. A few years later, a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was constructed contiguous to the katholikon and adorned with magnificent wall-paintings (ca. 1100), which are now only partially preserved. The founder of the chapel and donor of its painted decoration was the governor of Cyprus Eumathios Philokales. The surviving wall-paintings of the Trinity chapel were conserved and recorded by a team from Dumbarton Oaks under Cyril Mango in the 1960s. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the monastery of St. Chrysostom, located in a Turkish military zone, became inaccessible and the wall-paintings were covered up by whitewash and large sheets of paper. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, the numerous black-and-white prints and, especially, the detailed color slides and transparencies in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive have come to constitute an invaluable source for the study of this important painted ensemble.

Koutsovendis, Monastery of St. John Chrysostom, Holy Trinity chapel: Ezekiel [after Mango, "St. Chrysostomos," DOP 44 (1990), fig. 113]

My study of the paintings of Holy Trinity constitutes part of a larger project undertaken in collaboration with Cyril Mango and Tassos Papacostas, with the aim of publishing a comprehensive study on Koutsovendis that will contain sections dedicated to the history of the monastery, its architecture, sculpture, and the chapel frescoes. The presence of Dr. Papacostas at Dumbarton Oaks, also as a summer fellow, provided me with an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with him and profit greatly from his expertise.

The iconographic study of the frescoes deals mainly with certain features that appear unusual. Some of these could probably be considered as reflecting current theological discussions and recent developments in the art of the period, while others are perhaps better associated with the donor and his motives, the chapel's function, its specific monastic milieu, or the influence of local historical conditions and artistic traditions. The stylistic study of the frescoes addresses primarily the problem of the artistic tradition to which they belong. Considering the links of the Koutsovendis monastic community with Syria-Palestine, the possibility that the Koutsovendis master came from the area of Antioch is being explored. Having access to the excellent reference library of Dumbarton Oaks was essential in pursuing further this line of comparative art-historical enquiry. The section on style also explores the relation of Koutsovendis to other Cypriot painted ensembles of the early twelfth century, with special emphasis on the paintings of Asinou, Trikomo, and Apsinthiotissa. As a consequence of 1974, the unpublished paintings of the latter church are now destroyed. The color slides from Apsinthiotissa in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive constitute a rare record of this little-known lost masterpiece.

 

The History and Architecture of the Monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis, Cyprus

Tassos C. Papacostas, King's College London

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Holy Trinity Chapel at Monastery of Koutsovendis, Cyprus, from the northeast (photo: Cyril Mango)

Part of Dumbarton Oaks' fieldwork in Cyprus during the 1960s was focused on the late 11th-c. Greek Orthodox monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis. At that time its surviving church of the Holy Trinity was being restored and its frescoes were cleaned and conserved. A preliminary report and a description of the wall-paintings were published (DOP 18 and 44). According to the plan envisaged by Cyril Mango, who initiated the study of this monument, these articles should be complemented by a publication comprising the following chapters:

  1. History

the founder George and the liturgical typikon

the patron Eumathios Philokales

Neophytos the Recluse and the Maronite community

later history of the monastery [later medieval & modern periods]

  1. Architecture & Sculpture [of the monastic churches]
  2. Iconography [of the surviving frescoes]
  3. Style & Ornament [of the surviving frescoes]

It was agreed that Maria Parani would take charge of the chapters on the frescoes, while I would prepare a major article on the history and architecture/sculpture for publication in DOP.

During the first weeks of my stay here I concentrated on the longest and most complex part of the work, namely sections I.a & I.b. These have now become rather extensive in length mainly on account of fresh evidence discovered here. I should stress that the library holdings and the seals collection have been crucial to this work. The latter in particular has provided some important unpublished specimens belonging to the monastery's patron and his family which supplement the information gleaned from the narrative sources. Specialists and colleagues in other fields have also been very helpful with other aspects of my research, and Michael Grünbart has agreed to edit as an appendix to the publication a letter of Nikon of the Black Mountain to the founder George. This is one of the key sources for the early history of the monastery.

In April of this year (2004) I visited a group of related churches in Cyprus itself; monuments in other parts of the Byzantine empire are even more important though for comparative purposes, since the architectural type of the main church (a domed octagon) was introduced here at Koutsovendis for the first time on the island, and its appearance requires some explanation.

Research on the architecture of the monastery's two churches (the Holy Trinity, and the main church, demolished in 1891 and known mainly from descriptions, sketches and an architectural plan) has been facilitated greatly by the Dumbarton Oaks photographic resources, since the site of Koutsovendis, currently within a military zone, has been inaccessible to scholars since 1974. The photographic archive has also been immensely useful for tracing comparative material.

 

The Early Armenian Scholia on the Corpus of Works Attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite

Sergio La Porta, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite was translated from Greek into Armenian by Step'anos Siwnec'i at the beginning of the eighth century. Subsequently, scholia on the corpus were composed in Armenian. I am currently preparing an edition and translation of the scholia attributed to Hamam Arewelc'i (9th c.) and the scholia attributed to Dawit' Kobayrec'i (d. c.1220) and a certain Yakob. My research has shown that none of these authors could have composed the scholia, since they must be dated to the second half of the thirteenth century. Furthermore, the sets of scholia attributed to Hamam and to Dawit' and Yakob share a complete set of scholia (Set A), while some manuscripts also preserve a second, possibly contemporaneous, set of scholia (Set B). In total there are approximately 1500 scholia, of which approximately 1200 or four-fifths may be assigned to Set A.

I have also been able to suggest the monastic communities around Mt. Sepuh in Erznka (Erzincan) as the center of either production or compilation of these scholia. The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius played an important role in the medieval Armenian monastic schools. The language of the scholia witnesses many Middle Armenian forms and words and may reflect the recording of oral classroom instruction. One may also detect loan words from Arabic or Persian. In addition to shedding light on how the Dionysian texts were read in the monasteries, the scholia highlight some of the pressing issues of the day especially concerning monastic and liturgical practice. The scholia display knowledge of Latin and Greek liturgical and monastic traditions and encourage tolerance for differing practices. The author may have tried to ease tensions between the Latin-influenced or informed Armenian clergy of the Kingdom of Cilicia and the more conservative Armenian clergy of Greater Armenia.

While at Dumbarton Oaks, I was able to complete a translation of all the scholia and assess the authorship, dating, and provenance of the scholia. I was further able to examine secondary literature on the Dionysian Corpus itself as well as on its role and reception in other Christian communities.

 

Sacred Art, Secular Context: Loan Exhibition from the Byzantine Collection of Dumbarton Oaks. May 14–November 6, 2005. The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

Asen Kirin, University of Georgia

Summer Fellow 2004/05

My summer fellowship was devoted to preparation of an exhibit and catalogue of objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection. Spanning from the fourth to the fifteenth century, the exhibition will include carved gems, jewels, golden coins, steelyards with weights, silverware, and sculptural reliefs. Approximately one half of the pieces are miniature in scale and are exquisitely crafted in gold, cloisonné enamel, and precious or semi-precious stones. All objects feature sacred images and/or inscriptions, even though they functioned in the secular context of personal adornment, dining, and dealings at the market place. In addition to the sphere of everyday life in Byzantium, the "secular context" alludes also to the environment within which Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss collected art in the early twentieth century. An accompanying exhibition will display ten works of modern American painting acquired at the same time as many of the Byzantine objects. Thus the overall display presents the phenomenon of collecting and studying works of Byzantine art as a lesser-known chapter in the history of American visual culture. As collectors, the Blisses followed the advanced discussions of art-historians about the sources and main currents in the history of Western art. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss shared the view that Byzantium preserved the Hellenistic and Roman intellectual and artistic traditions and conveyed them to late medieval and early Renaissance Italy.

One of the catalogue articles I completed involves an enigmatic carved gem—a rock crystal intaglio heretofore described as a sixth-century piece representing the Denial of Apostle Peter. My research demonstrated that this is a Roman object dating to the first century B.C.E. and that it depicts a scene from Aeschylus's tragedy The Seven Against Thebes.M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Medieval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. Volume One: Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, D.C., 1962), 94–95, No. 113, Plate LⅧ. G. Kornbluth has already suggested that this is the true subject matter of the gem, cf. 'Early Byzantine' Crystals: An Assessment, The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 53/53 (1994/95): 23–30, esp. 24, 29, No. 10. Nevertheless in her article Kornbluth does not discuss the gem's iconography and meaning, so this catalogue entry will do just this for the very first time. As rendered, the composition on the gem focuses on Amphiaraus—a legendary hero worshipped as a god in an oracular shrine dedicated to him. Therefore the gems on which this scene appears might have functioned as talismans for those in the military. On the whole, the popularity of this topic during the last century B.C.E. in Italy may have been a reflection of the high regard for Attic drama in Magna Graecia, the place of perpetual theater revivals. Also, it is possible that the stories about the fratricidal wars of the Greeks, as told by Aeschylus, acquired new relevance at that time when Romans were fighting against Romans in the civil wars that led to the establishment of the empire.

 

Preparation of a Catalogue of the Christian Oriental Seals in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections

Stefan Heidemann and Claudia Sode Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The borderlands between Byzantium and the Islamic Empire, namely Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia, fostered diverse religions, languages and cultures. Their mutual interaction is not well understood. Literary sources of one language tend to exclude others, and new primary documents are needed. Lead seals in Syriac, Arabic and Armenian languages, but in Byzantine style, emerged as a result of political, ecclesiastical and cultural expansion of the Byzantine Empire into Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia in the 10th–12th centuries. As documents they contribute to prosopography, art history, philology and even political and economic history. They provide information about political and cultural life at the fringes of the Empire, which is relatively scarce in Byzantine sources. Islamic studies focus on the political and economic renaissance of the cities during the late 11th–12th century in Syria and northern Mesopotamia. We have almost no primary documents, only a rich, self-referential historical literature, written after events. But half of the population was still Christian, Jewish or even pagan.

Dumbarton Oaks holds the largest collection of these seals, with about 100 specimens. The publication of these documents requires expertise in two different disciplines: Byzantine (C. Sode) as well as in Islamic and Syriac studies (S. Heidemann). Besides extracting new information about formulas, abbreviations, stylistic groups, etc., we have made some quite unexpected discoveries: A Syriac seal, depicting an intricate image of St. Nicholas, introduces the owner Yosef bar 'Isa as money changer (katallaktis) in Greek script. For the first time someone outside the political and ecclesiastical hierarchy is found on Oriental seals with the indication of his profession. This may well reflect that during the 11th century huge numbers of Byzantine gold and copper coins were traded as a commodity into the Islamic Empire, in order to circulate there for a further hundred years.

We note that one seal belonged to the amir al-Hasan ibn Ghafras (Gabras), a descendant of Byzantine nobility, who usurped the Seljuq throne in 1192. This latter fact is documented only by this unique seal. Thus, it can be seen that, like coins, the seals provide hitherto untapped contemporary information. The last monograph on the subject, a booklet in Ottoman Turkish, was published in 1904.

Seal of al-Hasan ibn Ghafras, 12th c. Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Every day we made new, exciting discoveries. The library was very helpful for immediately following up on new ideas. Certain iconographic types could be checked on the spot with the numismatic collection and visually explored with the photographic resources.

 

 

From Holy Land to Holy Russia: The origins of the pilgrimage literature of the Rus'

Marcello Garzaniti, University of Florence

Summer Fellow 2004/05

After analyzing various witnesses of pilgrimage literature from Rus' and Muscovy, and reviewing previous research whose results are already published or in print, I propose to write a monograph on the pilgrimage and journey tale in medieval Rus' and Muscovy. Prior to the final draft of the book, my sojourn at Dumbarton Oaks has given me the possibility to use the rich library and especially to study the relations between Greek proskynetaria, Latin pilgrimage literature of the Crusader period, and East Slavic pilgrimage tales. Today one hears repeated, uncritically, the notion that East Slavic pilgrimage tales depend on Byzantine literature. The influence of pilgrimage literature of the Latin world in the period of the Crusades was also not excluded. On this question see the books of K.D. Seemann (Seemann 1976) and A. Külzer (Külzer 1994). After comparing Greek and Latin pilgrimage literatures with the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Hegumen Daniil, I did not find any direct textual dependence of the Slavic tale upon Greek and Latin pilgrimage tales. But this does not mean that the Pilgrimage of Daniil represents an original model. The first Slavic pilgrimage tale has in common with the Greek proskynetaria the Sitz im Leben, the liturgical and monastic tradition of the Byzantine world: the Palestinian guide of Hegumen Daniil, a monk of Mar Saba, played an important role in the creation of Daniil's work. From the other side, however, together with Latin pilgrimage literature, Daniil's Pilgrimage reflects the same social phenomenon of European pilgrimage. The Rus' shows a more open approach to the historical reality of the Latin Kingdom in comparison with the Byzantine world.

  1. Daniil egumeno, Itinerario in Terra santa, introduzione, traduzione e note a cura di M.Garzaniti, Rome 1991
  2. M. Garzaniti, Alle radici della concezione dello spazio nel mondo bizantino-slavo (Ⅸ–Ⅺ sec.), in Uomo e spazio nell'Alto Medioevo. L Settimana di studio del Centro Italiano sull'Alto Medioevo (4–8 aprile 2002), Spoleto 2003, pp.657–707
  3. A. Külzer, Peregrinatio graeca in Terram Sanctam. Studien zu Pilgerführern und Reisebeschreibungen über Syrien, Palästina und den Sinai aus byzantinischer und metabyzantinischer Zeit, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin, Bern, N.Y., Paris, Wien 1994
  4. Seemann 1976: K.-D. Seemann, Die altrussische Wallfahrtsliteratur. Theorie und Geschichte eines literarischen Genres, München 1976

 

Greek Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem under Mamluk Rule

Johannes Pahlitzsch, University of Mainz, Germany, 2011/12

The project for my stay during the fall term was to investigate the situation of the Greek Orthodox Christians, including the Georgians and the Arabic-speaking Melkites, under Mamluk rule at a specific period, namely the reign of the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328). However, the relationships of the Orthodox Christians in Palestine to the Mamluks cannot be viewed from an isolated, purely internal perspective. Their fate depended very much on the general state of relations between their Christian protective powers and the Mamluks. And indeed Byzantium and the Georgian kings intervened regularly in the affairs of the local communities looking after their own interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Of special interest in this context is the role of the Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem as well as those of Alexandria and Antioch, who were not only the representatives of the Byzantine emperor and the Orthodox church in the Orient, but at the same time served as intermediaries for the Mamluks with respect to Byzantium. During my term I was able to read several Arabic and Greek chronicles dealing with the situation of Christians in Egypt and Cairo during the time of the third reign of sultan an-Nasir Muhammad (1309–1341). I also dealt with the increasing number of anti-Christian treatises at this period. Another very important text I read is the oration of Theodoros Metochites on the neomartyr Michael of Alexandria which not only provides information about the situation of Melkite Christians in Egypt but could be read as an official statement about the policy of Andronikos II regarding the Mamluks. A third group of sources I dealt with have been yet unpublished Arabic documents issued by sultan an-Nasir Muhammad for the Greek orthodox communities in Jerusalem. I hope an extensive article on "Andronikos II and an-Nasir Muhammad. Byzantine-Mamluk Relations and Greek Orthodox Christians under Mamluk Rule in the Early Fourteenth Century" including the edition and translation of two Arabic documents will appear soon.

 

Enigmatic Literature in Byzantium: Authors and Texts

Simone Beta, University of Siena,

Fellow 2011/12

In the research proposal I submitted at the end of 2010 together with my application I proposed to edit the full Greek text of the Byzantine riddles, translate the poems into modern English, and write a commentary. After preliminary work in Italy (January-August 2011) and after the semester at Dumbarton Oaks (September-December 2011), I am not so positive about the first part of my goal. A thorough edition of Byzantine enigmatic poetry provided with a critical apparatus is a very difficult task indeed, since the number of Greek riddles written between the sixth and the fifteenth centuries is much greater than what can be guessed by the current published collections (including the most recent one, Celica Milovanovic's Byzantina ainigmata, with Serbian translation and commentary, edited in 1986); moreover, the fact that these riddles are scattered through so many manuscripts, and in such different versions, and with such different attributions, makes the task almost impossible (as it is shown by the case of the Greek scholar Spyridon Lampros, who spent most of his life collecting Byzantine riddles from Greek manuscripts without being able to publish a complete edition).

But, after my work at Dumbarton Oaks and the fruitful discussions with the excellent people I have had the chance to meet there (Jan Ziolkowski, Margaret Mullett, Alice-Mary Talbot, and the other Byzantine fellows), I am very positive about the other two parts. I think it is possible to collect and to edit in a serious and scholarly way a fairly good number of the enigmatic Byzantine poems; I am also sure that translating these riddles into modern English, together with an introduction and a commentary, would really fill a gap. The work I am going to do in the following months will not only shed light upon a peculiar (and so far neglected) feature of Byzantine culture, but will also make known to a wider audience a kind of poetry that can still be appreciated in our times as well.

 

An Early Byzantine Area in the Necropolis of Miletus

Philipp Niewöhner, Istanbul Department, German Archaeological Institute, Turkey,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

I studied a walled square that I have excavated recently in the necropolis of Miletus. The square dates from the 5th century CE and contains contemporary as well as earlier burials. One of them seems to have been venerated, and in the 6th century half of the square was built up with a church and martyrium. Originally, the square seems to have been conceived as an exclusive Christian cemetery or area, as they are known from Rome and elsewhere, but so far not from Anatolia.

Such areae were often surrounded by arcaded porticoes, and this seems to have been the case at Miletus, too. The interior was not necessarily plastered with graves, but typically contained a martyrium, and a church was often built in or next to the area. Some such examples in Greece are closely comparable to Miletus and date from the late 4th and the 5th century, when areae may have been a common feature on Christian necropoleis around the Aegean. No area that has come to my knowledge was built after the 5thcentury.

It remains to be determined whether areae were more frequent in coastal cities of western Asia Minor, and whether they also occurred beyond the Aegean littoral, along the south coast as well as in central Anatolia. A German version of my research forms a chapter in my book on the Byzantine basilicas of Miletus, and the fellowship gave me the opportunity to finish that manuscript.

 

Fellowship Report

Umayyad Illustrated Calendars and their Late Antique Sources: A Comparative Study

Nadia Ali, Université de Provence, Marseille,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

How the art of the Umayyads (661–750) responded to the encounter with late antique art in the Bilâd ash-Shâm has been a major debate for more than a century. Many scholars insisted on a rupture while others accepted the continuity explanation, but saw in the transition from late antiquity to early Islam some degeneration. Further recent refinements have posited an active rôle of the Umayyads in the shaping of their art. My research revisits Umayyad palatial iconography and considers the previously underrated role of the craftsmen's practice in the making of Umayyad iconography. How was a program produced in the 8th-century Bilâd ash-Shâm? What was transmitted from one generation of craftsmen to another? How was it transmitted?

To explore these problems, I decided to focus on three illustrated calendars that I began to identify in the frescoes of Qusayr 'Amra's central hall (Jordan, 715–730) and the stuccos of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi's court façade (Syria, 728) and Khirbat al-Mafjar's bath porch (Palestine, 724–743). Data from numerous catalogs, surveys, and excavation reports allow me to make a comparative analysis between the Umayyad calendars and a wide array of visual sources including neglected material such as the early Christian and Jewish mosaics of the Levant (Beisan-Scythopolis, Awzaii, Qabr Hiram, Jerash, Madaba, Nitl). The comparison confirms my hypothesis about what has been held by Oleg Grabar as the depiction of “princely cycles” inspired by Sasanian iconography: they actually represent agricultural calendars. A careful examination of the organizational patterns, iconographic types, and colocations of themes employed in the Umayyad calendars suggests a “pragmatic continuity” with early Christian and Jewish art of the Levant. My research also reveals that in the transmission of iconographic traditions from Byzantine Syria to the Umayyads, the role played by the Ghassanids, the Christianized Arabs who ruled parts of Syria in the 6th century, may have been more critical than has heretofore been accepted.

 

An Armenian Ekphrasis on a Late 10th-Century Byzantine Reliquary of the True Cross

Ioanna Rapti, Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Paris,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The focus of this project is a late 10th-century panegyric composed by the famous Armenian poet, Gregory of Narek, to celebrate the gift of an imperial reliquary to the monastery of Aparank in the area of Lake Van and the new church built to house it. Never translated into any western language, the text conceals much evidence for Byzantine policy in the East, Byzantine art, and Armenian architecture. During the fellowship I translated the major part of the text and analyzed its structure and vocabulary, establishing the outline of a potential publication. The main features that emerged are:

  1. Literary hybridism, based on rhetoric and poetry, borrowing from historiography and indebted to Byzantine ekphrasis.
  2. Gift-exchange and diplomacy during the critical period (979–983) after the defeat of Bardas Skleros. The donation was orchestrated by a former supporter of the rebel while the latter was still a serious threat. More than a testimony to the loyalty of the repentant rebel, the reliquary brought imperial authority to the homeland of the former rebel with weighty symbolism.
  3. Praise and propaganda: Gregory's praise of the co-emperors stresses their concordia and joint policy challenging the traditional distinction between the warrior and the administrator. Given the circumstances of the gift, the panegyric, addressed among others to three Armenian kings targeted by Byzantine expansion, becomes particularly meaningful.

Poetry and materiality: Gregory's ekphrasis leads the senses of his audience to perception of the reliquary and to the liturgical space. Through his sophisticated wording, which blends compounds and biblical references in avalanches of metaphors, he conjures a Byzantine staurotheke similar to that of Basil the parakoimomenos now in Limbourg. He also sketches a cross-in-square church with precious furnishing, sparkling within a smooth textile-covered interior enclosed by lush vegetation. His audience must have felt in paradise. Ironically but expectedly, this paradise was soon to be lost and the gift would soon return to the realm of the donor.

 

George of Trebizond and his Martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios: Edition, Translation, Commentaries

Ksenia Lobovikova, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The main goal of my project was to prepare a modern edition and English translation of the martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios, which was written in 1468 by George of Trebizond, a Greek émigré in Italy, a famous man of letters and a curial official. Following the advice of Ihor Ševčenko to hagiographers—first of all to produce reliable translations of Lives of the Saints into modern languages—I concentrated on making an English translation of the Latin text, which has never been translated before. The second part of my project was preparing commentaries to the text. In my research, I tried to answer the following questions: Why did a famous rhetorician like George of Trebizond decide to write the Life of St. Andreas? To whom was the Vita addressed? What was the main message of the martyrology? Was St. Andreas an Orthodox or a Catholic? In what Galata church was the body of the Saint buried after his death? We have an anonymous Greek passio of St. Andreas (Cod. Oxon. Bodl. Canonic. 126), and comparing these texts helped to answer some of these questions. Another task was to compare the Life of St. Andreas with other Lives of Byzantine neo-martyrs of the late Palaiologan period and early Ottoman times: the Lives of St. Niketas the Young, St. Theodoros the Young, St. Michael of Alexandria, St. Michael Mauroeides of Adrianople, and St. George of Adrianople. Many Lives of the Saints were also written in the Quattrocento in the Italian circle of humanists to which George of Trebizond belonged. During this fellowship I have tried to locate the Life of St. Andreas in the context of Latin hagiography of the Renaissance.

 

Controversy in Context: Christianity in Edessa in the Second Half of the Fourth Century

Emanuel Fiano, Duke University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My project was conceived as an examination of Christianity in Edessa in the second half of the 4th century. This was a time of particular conflict for the Church, which was engaged in the Trinitarian controversy. I intended to canvas this scenario by situating Edessa within its broader contexts, and to analyze the Trinitarian debates from a geo-ecclesiological perspective. During this pursuit I encountered the scantiness of strictly coeval sources (except for Ephrem and the Itinerary of Egeria). As a matter of fact, both the Letter of Aithallah, a potentially important witness to the diffusion of Nicene doctrines in Osrhoene, and the Teaching of Addai, testifying to an attempt on the part of Edessene elites to renegotiate the city's position on the map of contemporary Christianity (particularly in relation to Rome), are commonly considered slightly later artifacts. A combined use of prosopography, of the lists of conciliar subscriptions, and of Ecclesiastical Histories (Theodoret's, Sozomen's, and Rufinus's continuation of Eusebius's) provided me with some alternative sources to identify partisan affiliations of, and relationships among, some of the key episcopal figures of the region at this time. I was thus able to begin to shape a narrative of the unfolding of the Trinitarian strife in Edessa in its various contexts (e.g., in its intersections with the Meletian schism). In addition, I set out to test the hypothesis that Egyptian exile allowed some Syriac bishops to establish connections among geographically non-contiguous dioceses, and proved instrumental in providing them with models of episcopal centralization. In this connection, and in order to verify church historians' highly stereotyped representations of the exile destinations, I have devoted time to the investigation of the consistency and the nature of the Christian presence in Egyptian centers such as Antinoopolis and Philae, through archaeological reports, literary accounts, and papyrological evidence. This project represents in all respects a work in progress, which I hope to develop further in the near future.

 

An Island in Transition: History of Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages (ca. 500–800 A.D.)

Luca Zavagno, Eastern Mediterranean University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

Research on medieval Cyprus has always lingered on a chronological tri-partition, which focuses on the late antique "golden age" (5th to 7th century) and the so-called Byzantine reconquista (post-965) while overlooking the period in between, labeled as the Condominium era. The latter has been regarded as a phase during which local society became ruralised, de-urbanised, and rarefied in terms of density of settlement as a result of the dislocation brought about by the 7th-century Arab raids. But as Hegel put it in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the standard by means of which we measure the situation and establish that it is problematic is itself part of the problem and should be abandoned.

My research has indeed tried to reject “the usual standards” and to propose a complex but coherent picture of the fate of Cyprus in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. As for this very period, the analysis of Arab, Syriac, and Byzantine sources, the data from archaeological excavations, a recently published survey on local and imported ceramics, and already existing publications on coins and seals reveal the persistence of an imperial landowning elite (like the so-called 8th-century Fraggoummenoi, who took part in a Byzantine diplomatic mission to the Caliph); this elite commanded the local administrative and fiscal structures as integrated into the Byzantine political-military system of governance (seals of local archons and droungarioi of the Kibyrraiotai) and enhanced a degree of political control which paired with the continuous religious importance of the island as center of an important Archbishopric and as pilgrimage hub.

The notion of Condominium as a blank slate stemming from both the silence of documentary and literary sources and the idea of the Arabs and Byzantines sharing the local fiscal revenues of an impoverished island are clearly to be rejected. In this sense, my research has also proposed a comparison with other Mediterranean islands under the Byzantine sway (Sicily and Crete, but also the Balearics and Malta), allowing me to highlight a degree of persistence in the Cypriot economy. Here the tailing off of bronze coinage implies (incidentally as in Syria and Palestine) a “realigning and adaptive economic strategies by local communities.” As in Sicily (and possibly in Crete) the disappearance of Byzantine petty coinage reflects the introduction of a new imperial fiscal system (as stemming from the loss of Egypt). Indeed, Cyprus also retained its strategic relevance as commercial hub (mirrored in the presence of the so-called Arab-Byzantine coins and in the reassessment of pottery previously overlooked). The results of my research will be published in the form of an article to bolster the completion of my forthcoming book.

 

Dynamic Landscapes in Late Antique and Byzantine Anatolia: Pilgrimage, Travel Infrastructure, and Landscape Archaeology

Sarah Craft, Brown University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The connectivity of the ancient Mediterranean has been demonstrated in many publications over the last decade. This approach foregrounds travel and movement and considers landscape as a dynamic place where movement was the norm. My project is a contribution to the understanding of dynamic landscapes through the lens of early Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological and textual sources do not always allow us to reach them directly, but it is possible to outline the infrastructure of the world through which pilgrims journeyed. It is within this context that a landscape archaeology approach to early Christian pilgrimage is perfectly poised.

Specifically, I explore the negotiation between the phenomenon of early Christian pilgrimage, the infrastructure of travel-the roads, bridges, shrines, and cemeteries-and the landscape and communities in which it took place. Using the vast amount of scholarship that already exists on both early Christian pilgrims and the historical geography of ancient Asia Minor as a foundation, I chose four pilgrimage destinations as case studies in order to investigate the regional, dynamic, and diverse contexts of early Christian pilgrimage: St. John at Ephesos, St. Thekla at Meryemlik, St. Theodore at Euchaïta, and St. Michael at Germia. I combine textual attestation of pilgrimage with the material correlates of movement and with analysis of those features in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based environment. The practice of pilgrimage contributed to the forms that local economies, settlement patterns, and religious practices developed and changed over time.

The research undertaken contributes to my doctoral dissertation, the prospectus for which I completed while at Dumbarton Oaks. An integrated investigation of pilgrimage, travel infrastructure, and landscape archaeology can contribute not just to a better contextualized understanding of early Christian pilgrimage in Asia Minor, but also to the ways we investigate and interpret the wider worlds of the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean.

 

The Cambridge Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy

Ida Toth, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The seven weeks of sustained research work at the Dumbarton Oaks Library have enabled me to study a wide spectrum of primary sources and to select the most suitable illustrative material for the Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy, a practical guide through the main corpora and collections of extant epigraphic material and the main issues of reading and studying Byzantine inscriptions.

During my term as a summer fellow, I have been able to examine thousands of images from the Epigraphy Database and the Byzantine Photographs and Fieldwork Collections, and to choose nearly two hundred most representative samples, which will serve to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of the Byzantine epigraphic habit as well as filling gaps in the general understanding of some more idiosyncratic epigraphic practices.

In addition to focusing on broader epigraphic issues, I have also created a database of 11th-century inscriptions, which I intend to use for my contribution to the panel "Towards a Corpus of Byzantine Inscriptions" at the forthcoming 22nd Congress of Byzantine Studies in Sofia, and, in an extended version, as part of the chapter on middle Byzantine epigraphy. The historical information yielded by this material will also be incorporated into the database of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (further details regarding this collaboration remain to be confirmed at the meeting with the project director in October 2011).

Access to the DO Archive and Collections has given me far greater and more in-depth coverage of inscriptional material than I would be able to find in any other academic resource or institution. I have also enormously benefited from many stimulating conversations with resident specialists in related fields, who have always been generous with their advice and prompt to share their insights and expertise. As a result, I have strengthened my knowledge of the issues raised by the great variety of epigraphic material that I have been able to consult, and now leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of its significance and ramifications.

 

 

Isocrates in Byzantium

Juan Signes Codoñer, Universidad de Valladolid,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My topic was the reception of Isocrates in Byzantium since the 9th century. I aimed at an analysis of the different levels of recycling of his texts, ranking from the single quotation to a more elaborated recreation of his works or ideas, as in the anonymous dialogue Charidemos. Manuscript tradition was taken into account, especially before the end of the 14th century, when the number of manuscripts multiplies. Consultation of the original editions of the Byzantine authors and of the relevant bibliography to the works and manuscripts has allowed me to deepen my views in a just a few weeks and to come to definitive conclusions, which I hope to publish very soon in separate articles, ending perhaps in a book. Although Isocrates, in contrast to Demosthenes (somehow ubiquitous since his canonization through Hermogenes), was mainly indirectly quoted and appraised and even his most popular work (the Demonicea) was referred to through gnomologia or late antique parainetic texts, there were significant instances of direct reading and appraisal of his speeches by different Byzantine authors. They were attracted by the fame of the orator as transmitted by the late antique manuals, to which he owed his popularity. Significantly enough, the manuscript tradition up to the 14th century can be connected with the names of these very few Byzantine intellectuals at the capital who since the times of John Sardianos and Photios contributed to the diffusion of Isocrates's speeches as a model for prose style. They made it thus possible for Isocrates to appear in the canonical lists of orators and rhetoricians that turn up from time to time in the writings of Byzantine authors from Psellos to Joseph Rhakendytes. To these lists I will devote a particular study. A typology of the different kinds of re-writing of classical and Byzantine texts (such as epitome, paraphrasis, and metaphrasis) is also envisaged in the frame of a congress devoted to Textual Criticism and Quellenforschung to be held in Madrid in February 2012. It will include my work on Isocrates.

 

Marian Prefigurations in Byzantine Art: Evolution of the Main Types

Svetlana Sobkovitch, École pratique des hautes études, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Old Testament episodes interpreted as prophecies of the Mother of God, Marian prefigurations find their reflection in art throughout the history of Byzantium. Research on this important imagery has mostly centered on particular aspects of it, while my approach is to treat the most important of these types as a system of symbols elaborated for a varied exemplification of a single dogmatic content. The meaning of this dogma being the birth of God and man, the ever-virgin mother can be compared to the Burning Bush of Moses, intact in the divine fire, or to the Closed door of Ezekiel, letting the Lord pass while staying shut, etc.

Revealed by the study of sources reflecting developments in beliefs, the shared meaning of types corroborates the observation that their representations rely upon similar mechanisms for the visualization of this content. The study of examples also shows that the evolution of this iconography follows the general principles of Byzantine art, starting with the continuing close relation of the image to the text and to the overall context of the cult. Finally, these iconographies share elements which contribute to the visualization of the dogma.

The fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to consolidate the content base for my Ph.D. thesis on the subject, concerning its textual sources and examples of iconography. The use of Dumbarton Oaks Library, Rare Books and Images (ICFA) Collections has been an opportunity to study a variety of visual documents, as well as related earlier and recent works including theses, electronic resources and other materials less readily accessible elsewhere. Discussion with scholars has also been helpful in organizing my ideas as to the origins and evolution of the typological imagery related to Mary, as well as to its place in the history of Marian piety in Byzantium.

 

 

Optics and Aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites

Sergei Mariev, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The project Optics and aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites analyzes the references to the theories of visual perception which are found in the texts of Theodoros Metochites. In particular it focuses on the attempts of this author to describe the experience of beauty by making explicit use of the theories of visual perception.

In order to catalogue the passages of the text which contain references to the theories of visual perception, all the writings of Theodoros Metochites had to be reexamined. The examination revealed not only a significant number of these passages in the Semeioseis and in his Poems, but also in his commentaries on Aristotle (unedited for the most part; MSS and the Latin translation by Hervetus from the 16th century were used).

In an attempt to evaluate the knowledge of Metochites against the scientific background of his time, an attempt was made first to assess the extent of knowledge of optical theories in Metochites' time, and then in the larger context of Byzantine civilization.

The examination of Metochites' intellectual background demonstrated that the intellectual elite of his time was aware of antique optical theories; several detailed discussions on the subject were translated and analyzed (notoriously by Nikephoros Choumnos, the passage is inedited and had to be examined from the MS of the Westerink collection in the Library of Dumbarton Oaks).

The evaluation of the extent of knowledge of the visual theories in Byzantium has revealed several channels through which these theories were transmitted: Patristic tradition, esp. Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Nemesius, Theodoret and some others; Medical tradition (Oribasios, Alexander of Tralles, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Aegina, Meletios the Monk, Leo the Physician Theophanes Chryssobalantes, Symeon Seth and others); Neoplatonic tradition (Michael Psellos); commentaries on Aristotle of various dates.

Finally, the evaluation of the theoretical discourse on the subject (especially Archéologie de la vision by Gerard Simon and Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance by Robert Nelson) were used to make the newly discovered historical facts relevant to ongoing research on visuality and aesthetics in the Middle Ages and in Byzantium.

The work will lead to a seminar on the Reception of Visual Theories in Byzantium which I will conduct at the University of Munich in the Winter 2010/11; the findings will be presented and discussed at the national conference of the German Society of the Byzantine Studies in Leipzig in February 2011; an article on this subject will be offered for consideration for publication in Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

 

The Syriac Translation Movement: Shaping Greek Education for a Christian Society

Alberto Rigolio, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

As a Summer Fellow in Byzantine Studies in Dumbarton Oaks, I had the chance to work on my doctoral dissertation in this highly stimulating academic environment. The main topic of my research is the Classical heritage in early Christian communities. While the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire and its neighboring societies has always attracted interest, far less attention has been paid to the continuity of the pagan legacy among Jewish, Christian and Islamic communities. Paganism is itself, of course, a vague term, since it encloses the most wide-ranging variety of rituals, cults and philosophical stances, which the revealed religions often failed to acknowledge explicitly. Nonetheless, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were deeply influenced by the cultural context in which they grew, as shown firstly by their endorsement of pagan educational practices.

The section of my thesis I am working on at the moment concentrates on the endurance of the non-Christian culture among the West Syrians, as shown by the translations of Greek pagan texts into Syriac, which were produced between the fourth and sixth centuries AD. The translation into Syriac of orations and treatises with moral contents, mainly by Ps.-Isocrates, Plutarch, Lucian and Themistius, is an argument in support of a substantial continuity of pagan educational practices among West Syrian communities in the first centuries AD, as the reason for translation may have been the actual use of such texts in a scholastic environment. Indeed, the translations have been deliberately modified in view of their use and of their Christian audience. During my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I have worked on the English translation of the Plutarch's treatises which survive in Syriac, and I had the chance to analyse comprehensively the modifications of the Syriac translations in contrast with the Greek texts, taking into account the relevant Greek and Syriac manuscripts.

My overarching aim is to contextualize the environment in which pagan translations were carried out to shed light on their agency, their use and the cultural and intellectual traditions that produced them. An appealing achievement would be, for instance, to suggest a grouping for Syriac translations according to their environment of production, as has successfully been shown as for a number of translations into Arabic.

 

A Commentary and Translation of the Three Byzantine Dramatia: Katomyomachia, Dramation, and Bion Prasis

Przemysław Marciniak, University of Silesia, Poland,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Originally during my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I intended to work on the translation of and commentary on three Byzantine dramatia: Katomyomachia and Bion prasis by Theodore Prodromos and Dramation by Michael Haplucheir. The vast library of Dumbarton Oaks changed somewhat my initial plan.

I have focused mainly on the translation and commentary of the Bion prasis (The Auction of Celebrities) which is one of the most neglected texts written by Prodromos. There exists only one edition of the work from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scholarly literature dealing with this piece is also very paltry.

The Bion prasis is usually dismissed as the imitation of the work of Lucian with the similar title. This is, however, a simplification and misunderstanding. To use the modern term, Bion prasis was designed rather as a sequel to Lucian's work (this is clearly stated at the very beginning of the text) than in imitation of it. Whereas the Syrian author auctioned only philosophers, Prodromos included in his text the most important authors of Antiquity, e.g. Homer, Euripides, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Pomponius.

Having analyzed this work, I should like to propose the theory that the Bion prasis is a text designed for school purposes. In fact, the ancient authors who are sold at the auction form the core of the Byzantine curriculum studiorum (one might say ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία—a very loosely used term and difficult to define precisely). The utterances of the characters are built mostly from either their own texts or the works ascribed to them by both ancient and Byzantine tradition.

Since the text in question was so little studied the most of the work done was very positivistic in character. I have prepared the working Polish and English translation (with facing Greek original, to make it more widely available), I have determined the sources used in the text and studied language (Prodromos changes the language of a given character in accordance to his place of origin and dialect used in his works).

The library of Dumbarton Oaks gave me an opportunity to study the issues that the analysis of the text raises: children's education in Byzantium, the place of Homer in Byzantine curriculum, knowledge of Hippocrates's and Demosthenes's bioi and writings in Byzantium as well as Pomponius's legal writings.

Bion prasis will undoubtedly contribute to our knowledge of the use of ancient writers (including the single Roman example—Pomponius as regarded as legal authority) in Byzantine education.

 

A New Historical Introduction to Byzantine Chant

Alexander L. Lingas, City University London, United Kingdom / European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

I came to Dumbarton Oaks to continue work on a new introduction to the history of Byzantine chant from Late Antiquity to the present for the Yale University Press. This will be the first book-length survey of the field since Egon Wellesz, A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (Oxford: 1949; 2nd ed. 1961), significant portions of which have been rendered obsolete. This is in part due to advances in liturgical scholarship that have shown how Byzantium throughout its long history fostered vigorous competition between regionally and functionally differentiated forms of worship, the most significant of which were the so-called cathedral and monastic traditions of Constantinople and Palestine.

At Dumbarton Oaks I was able to consolidate much of my previous research into a bibliographic computer database of over 2000 entries, a task greatly aided by the helpful staff, open stacks and electronic resources of its superb library. These same resources were invaluable as I also worked to locate and absorb path-breaking new research that has appeared in the last decade on several areas that figure prominently in my narrative: the ancient liturgy of Jerusalem, the musical innovations of Stoudite monasticism, and musical interchange between Byzantium and its Slavic and Latin neighbors. The other major task that I accomplished during my eight weeks at Dumbarton Oaks was a 77-page draft of a study of the intellectual context for Byzantine liturgical singing synthesising material that I have been collecting over the last twenty years. This study, the writing of which was nourished by informal conversations with other Summer Fellows, will serve both as a freestanding introduction to Performing the Liturgy in Byzantium and as the interpretive framework for the musical data presented in my book for Yale Press. In conclusion, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to the administration, fellows and staff of Dumbarton Oaks for eight weeks that were not only very productive, but also most enjoyable.

 

Retelling the Family: Blood Ties in Egyptian Monasticism (Ⅳ–Ⅶ Centuries)

Mariachiara Giorda, University of Turin, Torino, Italy,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During these weeks of my Summer Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I worked on the last two chapters of my book about Egyptian monasteries and in particular about the "monastic family": within ascetic literature, it is common to read biblical quotations which imply that the path to perfection involves renouncing family ties. But this is only part of the story: at the same time there are holy couples and entire families which are attracted to the ascetic style of life.

Creating an alternative notion of family can transform blood ties and a new monastic identity may take one of a number of possible forms. So, a more attentive consideration of the ascetic families which emerged in Egypt has given me the possibility to understand the plurality of monastic strategies where family is always the focus, but forms of organization are different. The study of these family transformations also helped to define the complex relationship between asceticism as a way of life and monasticism as a form of social organization.

The first step of my research concerned the language of the family. The monastic family is no longer a biological family, but a spiritual family, which has adopted the contemporary Christian family as a model. The terms commonly used to define the roles within a family are referred to the duties of people living in the monastery: the relationships among mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons are re-used in a monastic context to define monastic links.

The use of the language of the family which helps to create a self-awareness of the family is accompanied by frequent recourse to images and metaphors of the family: for example many monastic cells in Egypt were lined with pictures of the Holy Family, the model of the family par excellence. On this premise, a second phase of my research was dedicated to analyzing the use of family imagery in monastic sources, with particular attention to the epigraphic and archaeological sources.

I had the unexpected possibility of working here with a Fellow who is a textiles expert. Therefore, I was able to spend some time researching the question of monastic identity in particular the issue of the monastic garment (habit) which, representing both the inside and outside, was a important symbol of what was individual and collective. Having analyzed iconographic sources, I came to the conclusion that the koukoullion is the most important part of the monastic vestment. For this reason, I have focused on the origins and the development of this part of the garment.

 

The Byzantine Aftermath of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata

Manfred Kraus, University of Tübingen,

Fellow 2010/11

My research project on the role of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata in Byzantine education and literary culture progressed during my semester at Dumbarton Oaks, yet it also expanded considerably. With the aid of the excellent library, the range of texts which could be incorporated and of the literature included was greatly enlarged. Although the material is vast, I was able to survey, map, and structure material from the long period from the fourth to the fifteenth century and to catch rare glimpses into Byzantine classrooms. Various new ideas and new questions emerged. Special topics I have looked at include the influence of iconoclasm on ekphrasis, the role of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate in promoting progymnasmatic exercises, the function of Nicaea as preserver of the tradition between 1204 and 1261, and the incorporation and ideological functionalization of Christian topics, Byzantine history and contemporaneous politics in model examples, particularly in ethopoeia, encomium and ekphrasis. In some thirteenth-century treatises, besides the dominant Aphthonian tradition, traces of non-Aphthonian strands (Theon, Minucianus?) emerged. The transfer of progymnasmata to the West in the Renaissance also turned out to be a more multifaceted process than generally assumed. The projected comprehensive repertory of surviving Byzantine model examples was still unfinished by the end of term. Besides work on my core project, I completed two articles, and had three more revised and sent off to press. I wrote and delivered two conference papers, and started work on a third one on rhetoric and law studies in early Byzantium. In all these endeavors, intensive communication with other fellows and staff helped immensely.

 

Mapping Sacred Landscapes in Byzantium

Veronica della Dora, University of Bristol, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My project interrogates non-linear landscape perceptions in late antiquity and medieval Byzantium.

Landscape is commonly deemed to be a western European Renaissance invention linked to the theorization of linear perspective as a distinctively modern way of looking at the world. In my discipline, cultural geography, pre-Renaissance representations of the environment have been generally dismissed as “artificial” and “disregardful of perspective.” In this project I attempted to challenge this view and offer a re-reading of this perceived “lack of technique,” or “lack of interest in nature” as a different “way of seeing” and making sense of the world, one emphasizing the visual energeia and memorability of singular elements (or places) over their modern linear integration; one resting on the repetition and superimposition of pre-existing topoi on the physical environment, rather than on its faithful description.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I carried out my research on two fronts. Firstly, I attempted at developing a conceptual framework to engage with “Byzantine landscape” as a specific “way of seeing” the world. Secondly, I researched perceptions of different types of environments, which will form the core of a monograph on Byzantine landscape. While most of my writing here has focused on perceptions of gardens and wilderness, I have also had the chance to expand my past research on mountains and caves, and I am currently gathering materials on oceans, rivers and springs, which will constitute the final substantial section of the book.

Published outputs

I am planning to submit a book proposal of the above-mentioned monograph to CUP over the next few weeks and I am hoping to complete an initial draft of the book by the end of the summer. Other publications I have been working on while here include:

  1. della Dora, V. Topia: Landscape before Linear Perspective, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, accepted.
  2. della Dora, V. Mapping Pathways to Heaven: Identity and the Holy on a Post-Byzantine Topographic Engraving of Meteora, Imago Mundi, currently under review.

della Dora, V. Setting and Blurring Boundaries: Pilgrims, Tourists, and Landscape in Mount Athos and Meteora, International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, just submitted.

 

Warfare in Later Byzantium

Mark C. Bartusis, Northern State University, Aberdeen,

Fellow 2010/11

My work focused on analyzing a representative collection of late Byzantine battles and creating new narratives in order to illustrate how the army operated in practice. I worked on the battle of Klokotnica (1230) in which Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria defeated Theodore Doukas of Epiros; the battle of Rupel pass (1255) in which Theodore II Laskaris defeated a force of rebel Bulgarians; the battle of Bapheus (Koyunhisar) (1302) in which the legendary Osman defeated the Byzantine commander Mouzalon; the battle of Apros (1305) in which the Aragonese adventurers of the Catalan Company defeated the Byzantines under Michael IX Palaiologos; the battle of Pelekanos (1329) in which the Ottoman emir Orhan defeated Andronikos III Palaiologos; and the battle of Peritheorion (1345) in which John Kantakouzenos defeated the Bulgarian bandit Momčilo. In connection with the battle of Rupel pass I spent some time working out the geography of Theodore II Laskaris's campaigns of 1255–56. In addition, I submitted a final draft of my book on pronoia to the publisher, found a suitable cover image for the book from material within Dumbarton Oaks's coin collection, wrote a book review, and wrote a long article on the institution of pronoia in medieval Serbia.

 

Vernacular Byzantine Translations and the Medieval European Romance, 1350–1550

Kostas Yiavis, Cornell University,

Fellow 2010/11

In 2010–11 I worked on two books seeking to rethink the transition from Byzantine to Early Modern. Both are part of an incipient literary history of the Greek Renaissance.

First, I concluded my critical edition of the rhymed romance Imperios and Margarona which was wildly popular throughout Europe (c.300 versions were traced from the twelfth-century French original to the 1970s German adaptations, including Hebrew and Armenian). Imperios was inscribed within the tradition not only of the West, but also crucially of the East.

The other project was the first assessment of the earliest adaptations of Western works into vernacular Greek in the 14th–16th centuries. These adaptations, often dismissed as unoriginal, are reclaimed as fiercely important-not least for their decisive enhancement of vernacular authority. The study involves comparisons with, inter alia, Boccaccio, Chaucer and Gower, and aims to reconfigure vernacular Greek literature as part of the total European field.

Diversion came in the form of an article that establishes the topos of external attacks on courtly feasts. The essay covers the period from the inception of the motif in Gilgameš, and its reinvention by Homer and Virgil, until the medieval and the composite production of the sixteenth century in a range of languages including Hebrew, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, Scottish, Middle High German, Italian, Old Norse, Medieval Greek, Middle Persian and Japanese.

Later in the year, I started thinking on a book on satire featuring the Cretan poet Sachlikis for the Byzantine section of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library edited by Alice-Mary Talbot.

 

Temple Sleep from Antiquity to Byzantium: Healing, Dreaming, and Storytelling

Ildiko Csepregi, University of Reading, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My research at Dumbarton Oaks focused on the transition of Greek temple sleep into Christian incubation ritual: sleeping in a sacred space to obtain healing through the dream-appearance of the healer (a god like Asclepius or later a physician saint). My sources were the miracles of Thekla, the two versions of Kosmas and Damian's miracles, the collection of Cyrus and John, and the corpus of St Artemios and Dometios, Therapon, Isaiah, Demetrios and St Michael. These collections, from the fifth to seventh centuries, from the eastern Mediterranean, together constitute a well-defined group, differing in kind from other contemporary Byzantine hagiographical records. I examined the transformation of the cult place, the cult function (healing) and the technique of healing as well as the ritual (temple sleep) and the medium (dream). My major interests were

  1. to detect the formation of such miracle stories,
  2. to analyze such issues as the compositional history of the tales,
  3. the figure of the hagiographer,
  4. the role of telling and listening to the miracles in the ritual experience,
  5. the tenacity of the cultic and narrative patterns, and
  6. the finality of the recording of these miracles

Thanks to the wonderfully easy access to both primary and secondary scholarship, some new ideas also emerged from this project that I plan to develop into three conference papers before integrating them into the monograph. While previously I concentrated mostly on the texts of incubation miracles, the resources and the archaeologists and art historians in Dumbarton Oaks provided invaluable help for broadening my perspective towards archaeological and pictorial sources. And I saw the gardens in their autumn splendor every day…

 

Icons of Military Saints in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean: Image and Community in the 9th–13th Centuries

Heather Badamo, University of Michigan,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

The project that I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks junior fellow was the completion of my dissertation, Image and Community, which I will defend in June 2011. In this project, I explore points of visual contact between Egyptian, Levantine, and Byzantine icons of military saints to write an account of the images—their emergence and characteristics—as a frontier phenomenon during the era of the Crusades. By focusing on icons that incorporate diverse visual vocabularies, I consider the ways in which images could remap cultural and religious geographies through their mobility, creating communal ties through the migration of saints' images. At the same time, as I show, militarized iconographies were deployed to consolidate Christian sentiment against religious others, thereby defining and enforcing communal boundaries, both between the monotheistic faiths and the sects within them. Ultimately, I seek to shed light on the complex interactions that took place among various constituencies in the eastern Mediterranean: image-makers and hagiographers, Christians and Muslims, and eastern Christians and Byzantines.

This year, I drew on the unparalleled resources at Dumbarton Oaks to draft three chapters of my dissertation (focusing on historiography, miracle accounts, and cult formation) and to revise the whole for submission. Over the course of the year, my work benefitted not simply from the excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks, but from cross-disciplinary exchanges with fellows, readers, and visiting scholars. I also benefitted from the engagement and support of the wonderful librarians and museum curators who made the collections accessible, as well as a pleasure to use. The generosity of the extended Dumbarton Oaks community, in making suggestions and sharing material, improved the dissertation in countless ways, for which I am grateful.

 

The Byzantine Hellene: Emperor Theodore Ⅱ Laskaris and the Transformation of Byzantine Culture after 1204

Dimiter G. Angelov, Harvard University / University of Birmingham, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My spring-term Fellowship in Byzantine Studies was devoted to work on the historical biography of the emperor and philosopher Theodore II Laskaris (1221/22–1258). In many ways Theodore Laskaris can be seen as the Byzantine counterpart of the thirteenth-century western emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Revolution from the top down, youthful radicalism, and experimental originality are among the terms best describing his unconventional spirit. As a reformer of the resurgent Byzantine empire in Anatolian exile, Theodore stirred up a dramatic political and ideological strife in the 1250s that set the stage for the rise to power of his archenemy Michael Palaiologos. Endowed with an inquisitive mind and an ever-observant eye, Theodore embarked in his mid-twenties on a pioneering series of literary, philosophical and theological works, where he often entered new and uncharted territory. The four months of my fellowship have enabled me to progress significantly with my writing. I have drafted five chapters or appendices and have completed fully my research for the book, including the study of key philosophical texts and all his letters as well as the transcription of a few essays by Theodore Laskaris in a Vienna manuscript that came to my attention only in the autumn of last year. I have also completed the critical edition, translation, and commentary of a hitherto unpublished text by Theodore Laskaris, Moral Pieces, which is due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

‘Imagine There's a Tragelaph’: Phantasia and Aesthetics in the Middle Byzantine Period (Ⅸ–Ⅻ Century)

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Fellow 2010/11

During the two terms of my fellowship I managed to complete a bibliographical survey which has paved the way for the first draft of my monograph on imagination in Byzantine aesthetics (provisional title: Fantasizing Gazes: Imagination and the Beholder in Byzantine Aesthetics). I completed three chapters devoted to imagination and emotions from the third to the ninth century CE. I also worked extensively on the third part of the book, dealing with the notion of fictionality both in art theory and in literature in the post-iconoclastic era and delivered a paper at Harvard on the subject. Moreover I finished and submitted a paper on visual imagination and sense perception in Byzantine culture from the seventh through the ninth century (for Knotenpunkt Byzanz, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, de Gruyter, 2011). Along with this major project I have been working on a paper focused on Synesios's treatise on dreams against the background of Patriarch Theophilos's anti-Origenistic politics in early fifth-century Alexandria (for the Brepols volume Synesios von Kyrene. Politik - Literatur - Philosophie). I also completed two more papers. The first one deals with the character of Thersites in Aeneas of Gaza, at the crossroads between pantomime and rhetorical exercises, for the volume Lectures et commentaires rhétoriques d'Homère par les Anciens (Rue d'Ulm - Presse de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure 2012). The second one is a literary study of the logos eucharisterios of John Eugenicus, to be submitted to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. To sum up, it has been a wonderful year, and not just for my research. I had eight months full of amazing experiences, unforgettable friendships, and warm, human relationships.

 

In Search of the ‘Eastern’ Image: Sacred Painting in Eighth and Ninth Century Rome

Annie Labatt,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

During my year as a Junior Fellow, I wrote the majority of the dissertation which I will defend in October 2011. My project focuses on the sacred iconography-specifically the Anastasis, the Transfiguration, the Maria Regina, and the image of the Sickness of King Hezekiah-of early medieval Rome. Previous scholars interpreted the eighth and ninth centuries by distinguishing between native Roman iconography and alien Eastern imports. But in many ways this was a period not of clear binary distinctions but of flux. Entirely new iconographies appeared, some of which had a powerful resonance in Rome and appeared on all varieties of church decoration, from apses to small devotional niches to portable icons. Other images appeared once, only to disappear from the canon of church painting for centuries. More mysterious yet were those iconographical types that had a brief moment of popularity, but then disappeared altogether. The deductive tinkering, to use current evolutionary language, at work in these iconographies shows that early medieval sacred painting in Rome was a whirlwind of inventiveness, experimentation, and innovation, not simply a warehouse for Byzantine iconography, as was once thought.

 

Papal Involvement in the Spread of Greek Culture to the Medieval Latin West

Réka Forrai, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary,

Fellow 2010/11

The aim of my project was to investigate the Papacy's role in spreading Greek culture to the Latin West from the 7th to the 13th centuries, from the reign of Gregory the Great to Boniface VIII. Specifically, I was looking at the cultural policies of the medieval papacy and their effect on the formation of Greek textual canons in the West. Rome's crucial role as mediator between East and West throughout the Middle Ages and beyond has been often noted. But so far no systematic study has been made of the papacy's share in this mediation.

Dumbarton Oaks is one of the rare libraries where the history of medieval east-west relations is thoroughly documented. Moreover, during the current academic year, Dumbarton Oaks hosted a number of fellows working on the subject of Byzantine-Western political and cultural interactions. This combination of a rich research material and a likeminded academic community provided me with ideal research conditions. It was during a previous Summer Fellowship at this institute that I laid down the foundations of this project, and now I had the chance to investigate in depth some methodological and theoretical concepts. I was primarily concerned with two related themes: censorship and the creation of canons.

The medieval papacy took an active role in filtering both pagan science and eastern religiosity, whether the Aristotelian canon, ancient medical corpora, ecclesiastical historiography, hagiography or theological documents. Texts were used strategically to build a cultural identity: appropriation of items of the Greek legacy via translation is governed by a rivalry with Byzantium. Claiming the role of mediator between Latin and Greek culture reflects also an anxiety for cultural control over Latin literary production. Translations served as spiritual weapons not only against the East, but also in competition with Western politico-cultural entities, such as the royal courts of Europe.

Translation is a strategic site from which institutions can control the impact of other cultures on their own, and implicitly shape the cultural identity of their community. The canonization of a body of texts limits contact between cultures to the segment desired by the regularizing institution. Unsurprisingly, the earliest occurrences of papal censorship concern translations. As Greek culture was perceived as both authoritative and threatening at the same time, patronage as a way of control was of primary interest for the papacy.

 

Agrarian Change in Byzantium c.630–1204

Peter Sarris, Trinity College, University of Cambridge,

Fellow 2010/11

My project for the term of my stay was to review the sources pertaining to large estates and their management in Byzantium from the seventh through to the thirteenth centuries, with a view to examining the survival of forms of direct management, wage labour, and tied labour. During the course of my stay I read all the post-Justinianic legal and jurisprudential sources from the reign of Justin II to the eleventh century (including the legal lexica); I read and surveyed the typika and monastic documentary sources from Athos and western Asia Minor; and I also read up on the latest archaeological studies whilst also reading the letters of Michael Psellus and a number of other literary sources. This research will form the basis of a monograph, but I wrote up my basic argument in a 12,000-word article to appear in the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire ('Large Estates and the Peasantry in Byzantium, c. 600–1100'). My research also fed into a chapter for a book on law and custom in the early middle ages to be edited by Alice Rio ('Law and Custom in the Byzantine Countryside From Justinian I to Basil II', 7,000 words), and a 13,000-word article for Early Medieval Europe responding to primitivist approaches to the late antique economy ('The Early Byzantine Economy in Context: Aristocratic Property and Economic Growth Reconsidered"). Lastly, I made use of the library's resources to make progress with a translation and commentary on Justinian's Novels that David Miller and I are preparing for Cambridge University Press, and I completed revising a 200,000-word book for Oxford University Press which was able to enter the production process (A Threshing Floor of Countless Races—Europe and the Mediterranean From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, c.500–700).

 

Characterization of Coptic Textiles: The Collection of the Textile and Clothing Museum of Barcelona

Ana Cabrera L., Museo Nacional De Artes Decorativas, Madrid, Spain,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During my time at Dumbarton Oaks I focused on one aspect of my dissertation, the artistic aspects and decorative patterns of the Coptic textiles. This was possible owing to the access to Dumbarton Oaks's splendid Byzantine Studies Library, the Index of Christian Art (relevant to identifying the iconographic themes of the textiles under study), the Black and White Collection, the Census of Byzantine Textiles in North American Collections, as well as the textile collection housed at Dumbarton Oaks, which provided a comparative reference for the textiles under study.

All this research is related to my dissertation topic: the Coptic textiles of the Museu Textil y d'Indumentaria de Barcelona. For some time now, the study of the so-called Coptic textiles has undergone a great development, thanks to the studies of important European collections such as Abbeg-Stiftung Foundation of Bern, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst of Vienna, the Musée du Louvre of Paris, and the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst of Berlin. My doctoral dissertation will complement and expand upon these studies by focusing on the Coptic textiles the Museum of Barcelona. This impressive collection of 178 textiles (mostly linen and wool) remains unstudied today.

My dissertation explores, on the one hand, the characterization of textile production techniques and raw materials and, on the other, the historical, socio-economic and artistic contexts. Thus, on top of the customary formal analyses, various scientific analyses are being carried out, including the analysis of dyes and fibers using high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and induced light optical microscopy. The results of this work will help us to better understand the raw materials used in Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The characterization of raw materials enables us to determine the extent of trading networks and the survival of cultural or aesthetic values despite the socio-political changes undergone in Egypt during antiquity and at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Additionally, I use radiocarbon dating to obtain a precise chronological context for these textiles, going beyond the traditional formal analysis for dating textile styles. Textiles with a clear archaeological context will be carefully considered, as these may enhance the knowledge of the development of these textile styles.

The study carried out at Dumbarton Oaks has permitted me to exchange views with the Dumbarton Oaks Collection curators, Dr. Gudrun Bühl and Dr. Stephen Zwirn. This time at Dumbarton Oaks was of fundamental importance because I had had access to unrivalled resources unavailable in my country, and the opportunity to complete one of the principal chapters of my dissertation.

The Barcelona museum intends to make the results of my work available to the scholarly community and beyond: after completion of the dissertation, information on the textiles studied will be available on the website of the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaria of Barcelona.

 

Ptochoprodromika: Edition, Translation, Commentary, with Introduction

Margaret B. Alexiou, Harvard University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

This project was to bring as close to publication as possible the text, translation and commentary of the Ptochoprodromika of Theodore Prodromos which was begun in collaboration with Michael Hendy, who died in 2008. A working text has been established for Poem I (MS G)(274 lines), Poem II (MS G) (117 lines)+ (MS H) (150 lines), the so-called "Maiuri Poem" (65 lines), Poem III (MS H) (c.550 lines) + MSS CSA and g (c.200), Poem IV (MS G) (167 lines), its Proem (MSS CSA) (56 lines), and the ending (MS g) (150 lines). Facing translation is now complete for all passages to be presented in the main section.

Since this will not be a full critical edition, no critical apparatus will appear beneath the Text and Translation. However, other MSS readings, which are of potential significance for literary, linguistic or historical reasons, will be presented, with translation as appropriate, and linguistic commentary will appear in this section, rather than below. For the commentary proper, sufficient material has now been collected on all aspects relevant to the interpretation of the poems, including: weights and coins; household economy; family life and law; court ceremonial; diets and dishes, foodstuffs and provenance; dress; monastic life, education and learning; City street life—and many more. This will be the first work to deal systematically and substantially—if not exhaustively—with the twelfth-century realia in the text, and the commentary will deal with items of historical, cultural, and literary interest.

Hesseling and Pernot provide a 172-page word list (with each form of all words cited), but meanings are only rarely hazarded. Eideneier has a partial glossary but some meanings given are inadequate or demonstrably wrong, especially where matters of ceremonial dress are concerned. E. Kriaras' Dictionary of Medieval Greek (MMG) remains the most reliable source, but it has only reached "pnevmonas". The number of rare words, compound coinages, and hapax legomena, both within these Poems and found in Theodore Prodromos' other works, is highly significant, especially when shared with medical texts or with ancient authors in specific contexts. I have made a list of such words, and carried out a thorough dictionary search. My TLG search is not yet complete, but where undertaken, the results look very promising, for alongside the realia, lexical links can be used to help solve questions of date and authorship.

Work on the Introduction included establishing why the poems are important, and their date and authorship (1140s for Poems I and II, 1150s or after for Poems II and IV, 1170s for Proem IV [CSA]). The twelfth-century context has required consideration of when "modern Greek" began, and the kinds of texts and genres its forms comprise. Literary qualities include consideration of imperial court theatron, street scenes, uses of dialogue and register variation, Byzantine forms of humor (verbal punning, invective, rude, slapstick), and scenes from everyday life covering all stages of human life—and death—for classes ranging from the emperor downwards to the basest. The poems demonstrate Byzantine aesthetics as viewed from the bottom up, not the top down, and substantial progress has been made towards publication, including the draft of a proposal to the press.

 

Late Roman and Byzantine Weights in the Collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Oğuz Tekin, Istanbul University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The scope of this project is to make a study and a catalogue of the nearly 500 hundred Late Roman and Byzantine weights in the collection of Istanbul Archaeology Museum. They are all unpublished and not in exhibition. There are mainly two groups of weights: Commercial weights and coin weights. Since the photographs and the technical measurements of the weights were taken previously in the museum, I could classified them according to their forms and units, thus I was able to make a tentative catalogue of them during my two-month study here. The chronological span for the weighs ranges from 4th century through the 13th century AD.

Researching through the museum catalogues and private collections, weights were classified in eight main types:

  1. Spherical commercial weights,
  2. Circular commercial weights,
  3. Square commercial weights,
  4. Octagonal commercial weights,
  5. Circular coin weights,
  6. Square coin weights,
  7. Octagonal coin weights, and
  8. Bowl-shaped weights

Types 2, 3, 5 and 6 form the majority in number.

While type 1 consists of Late Roman weights, the rest consists of Byzantine weights. All the weights except the bowl-shaped ones, are engraved or punched on the top with the denominational mark, mainly inlaid with silver. The largest unit is a 3 libra weight which weighs 975 gram and it is among the circular commercial weights (type 2).

Consequently, the above-given information is the basis of the tentative catalogue. Nearly all the weights were classified and catalogued by their forms and units, as well as their chronology. With some unique examples in the collection, the catalogue will make a contribution to the studies in the area of Byzantine weights. The catalogue will be published in the first half of 2010.

 

The Art of Death in Byzantium: Funerary Art and Architecture, 1204–1453

Sarah T. Brooks, James Madison University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Commemorations for the dead were central to the spiritual and social life of the Byzantine faithful. Whether laid to rest in monumental tombs or in unmarked graves beneath the church floor, the dead were present in nearly every church of Late Byzantium. Despite the centrality of death and burial to Byzantine religion and culture, there exists no focused study of how burial and these important practices honoring the dead shaped art and architecture in the empire's final centuries. My study explores the rich and fascinating history of funerary art and building, tomb patronage, and commemorative ritual during this period (1204–1453).

During the summer 2010 at Dumbarton Oaks, using especially the library's extensive holdings of literary and historical works, I made significant progress towards refining my analysis of tomb patronage. Diverse family, social and economic ties attracted tomb patrons to particular institutions and bound these individuals together in a network of giving that often began before death and could extend for decades thereafter. In the case of families supporting a single institution, these ties could last for several generations, even in the face of desperately declining financial resources. The relationships between church founders/restorers and subsequent tomb patrons are especially interesting and can be explored in both the archaeological and literary records, often with the two providing complementary information. Especially helpful to my research were the publications of the Athos Archives, including the many Late Byzantine wills and related primary source documentation that they contain, as well as the extensive prosopographical reference works that shed light on specific individuals of the Palaiologan period. Collaboration and discussion of this material with my summer colleagues in Late Byzantine literature, religion and history yielded some very fruitful results which enriched my work significantly.

Frescoed niche tomb commemorating the deceased Konstantinos (back wall, left) and a young woman (right intrados), joined by six family members including the church restorer, dated 1335/1336, Church of Hagios Phanourios, Rhodes, Greece (Drawing by Karen Rasmussen, Archeographics.com; Copyright: Sarah Brooks)

 

The Earliest Life of the Virgin: The First English Translation from the Old Georgian

Stephen J. Shoemaker, University of Oregon,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

During my fellowship period, I began work on an English translation of the earliest complete Life of the Virgin, a text originally written in Greek that now survives only in Old Georgian. Although it has been long overlooked by scholarship, this seventh-century Marian biography exercised a determinative influence on numerous Mariological writings of the Middle Ages. My translation, the first into English, will make this pivotal text more widely available to scholars and students of ancient and medieval Christianity, and should advance our understanding of the formation of Marian piety considerably.

The project has proven more difficult than I had initially anticipated, insofar as the critical edition of the text is often unreliable. The edition contains frequent misprints and other more serious errors in reading the manuscripts, and consequently translation has required regular consultation of the manuscript tradition in order to determine the text. Thus, my translation will also serve as something of a corrected edition of this important text. Despite these circumstances, I was able to translate roughly one-third of the text (about 60 pages) during the fellowship period. This is more than I had originally planned, an outcome that was greatly aided by the excellent resources of the library's Byzantine collection. While in residence, I focused my work particularly on sections of the text that were especially influential on the subsequent Byzantine tradition, in order to make the best use of the library's resources. The final result of this project will be a book-length translation of the complete text together with critical notes and an extended introduction to the Life and its broader cultural significance, and I anticipate its completion within the next year and half.

 

Byzantine Seals with Family Names in Dumbarton Oaks

Werner Seibt, Austrian Academy of Sciences,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

My summer fellowship arose from an invitation to serve as co-editor of the Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, volumes 7–9 (focusing on seals with family names; forthcoming) with John Nesbitt, which I accepted. In order to publish Dumbarton Oaks's collection of seals of family names, John Nesbitt first must identify the relevant seals and then pull the seals cards on which their transcriptions are recorded. From the cards he types two lists: a list of seals grouped alphabetically according to family name, with notation of accession number and negative number, and a list of seals grouped according to accession number, with notation of negative number and family name. The first list allows one to exercise control over the names being published. The second list allows one to identify in a methodical fashion the negatives which have to be pulled and given to Joe Mills (Dumbarton Oaks's photographer) for reproduction and transfer to CD. To date, John Nesbitt has compiled lists of seals with family names beginning with the letters "A," "B," "CH," D(oukai), K(omenos), and K(ontostephanos). So far, the total number of seals identified and listed amounts to 1,131 specimens. The number excludes seals that are cross-referenced with earlier publications. Before my arrival, John Nesbitt sent me these lists along with 1,131 photocopies of the cards on which the seal inscriptions are transcribed.

Using these lists, I focused on identifying seals with unusual, strange, or surprising names (according to initial transcriptions; all the readings on the cards are first impressions which need to be verified or refined). This work plan proved profitable since after my arrival at Dumbarton Oaks and my personal inspection of the seals I was able in a number of cases to propose alternate readings and corrections. The results will be checked in Vienna against my phototheke, the largest in the world.

Because the seals room closed in the early evening, I found that I had time to devote to two other projects. The first being the history of the metropolis of Caucasus in the 14th century (located presumably in the region east of Alania, an area occupied by the ancestors of the modern Os(s)etians, where Christianity was first introduced by the Georgians in the 12–13th centuries). The second project was a study of the continuation of Byzantine power in Iberia and Kars, at least during the first years of the reign of Alexios Komnenos, as confirmed by newly discovered seals. I have been pondering if the dux Alousianos mentioned on the seals could have been identical with the Alousianos who was governor of Antiocheia for the Seljuks and before the occupation of Antiocheia by the crusaders. Sigillography can throw much needed light on conditions in the eastern Byzantine provinces after the battle of Mantzikert. Some of my studies of this issue are already published, while others are in press.

My wife, the recipient of a post-doctoral stipend during the time of my fellowship, worked primarily on checking the readings of some 300 metrical seals that John Nesbitt had pulled and segregated in the seals safe prior to our arrival. She is near completion of a project that involves compiling a corpus of all metrical legends on seals—both published and unpublished. We are pleased to say that she was able to examine all 300 seals (and quite a few more before her departure). Many metrical verses include family names, so her studies also help to advance the progress of Seals 7–9.

 

 

 

 

Pragmatics, Preaching and Social Change in Late Antiquity: The Sermons of John Chrysostom

Isabella Sandwell, University of Bristol

Fellow 2008/09

The past three and a half months have been a very productive time. When I arrived at Dumbarton Oaks, I had good knowledge of John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis and had carried out extensive reading in cognitive approaches to literature and communication. During my time here, I have been able to consolidate my knowledge of these cognitive approaches and begin applying them to Chrysostom's first ten homilies on Genesis. Writing up these ideas for my research report and for a paper delivered at the Antioch day at Catholic University has greatly clarified my thinking. I now have a clear idea of how I will organize the research for my book on cognitive and pragmatic approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching and the kinds of arguments I will be making. Some of the material used in the papers delivered at Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University will be used in an essay to be published in a collection I am co-editing with a colleague at Bristol University entitled Delivering the Word: Audience Reception of Exegetical Preaching in Western Christianity. My main goal for my time at Dumbarton Oaks was to write an article showing the problems and benefits of using cognitive approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching. By the end of my time here, I will have completed a draft version of this article with the aim of submitting to a suitable journal later in the summer. During my time here, I also gave a paper in the Classics Department of Harvard University.

 

 

Ancient Greek and Christian Rhetorical Tradition in the Work of Ioannes Sikeliotes

Panagiotis Roilos, Harvard University

Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks during the spring semester of 2009 I studied the influence of ancient Greek rhetoric and Christian literary tradition in the work of Ioannes Sikeliotes (late 10th–early 11th c.). Ioannes Sikeliotes is the author of the most extensive, innovative, and influential Byzantine commentary (almost 500 pages in C. Walz's monumental but occasionally problematic edition) on Hermogenes' Peri Ideon. My research has focused on Sikeliotes' dialogue not only with Hermogenes but also with Plato (especially his Gorgias), Ailios Aristeides, the Neoplatonist Olympiodoros, and Gregorios of Nazianzos. In addition, I continued working on my translation of Sikeliotes' commentary and have completed the translation of more than half of this work. I have also identified a number of problematic readings in Walz's edition, which I shall take into account in my future edition of Sikeliotes' commentary.

 

The Origins and Evolution of the Byzantine Rite for the Consecration of Churches

Vitalijs Permjakovs, University of Notre Dame

Junior Fellow 2008/09

In the course of my Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks I was working on a project investigating the evolution for the Byzantine rite of the dedication of churches (encaenia) from its origins in the Late Antiquity until the emergence of dedication rites in the 8th–12th century euchologia. As a result of my research, it was possible to investigate the complex origins of early Christian practices of dedication, especially with respect to the apparent appropriation of Roman traditions of dedicatio/consecratio of a new temple. I have examined the Christian sources from 4th to 6th centuries, reflecting the varied customs for the inauguration of a new church building in different urban centers of Eastern Roman empire with special focus on Jerusalem and Constantinople. As part of my work for this project I have prepared the translation of liturgical hymns pertaining to the annual feast of Dedication of the church of the Holy Anastasis in Jerusalem, which survived as part of the "Old iadgari" (Georgian translation of the 5th–8th century Jerusalem Tropologion). Also, using the resources at Dumbarton Oaks and the microfilm collection of the Library of Congress, I have translated and collated the texts pertaining to the annual festival of dedication from two unpublished Georgian manuscripts, Sinai iber. 12 (11th c.) and Sinai iber. 54 (10th c.), both of which appear to reflect the liturgical rite of Jerusalem at the end of the first millennium. At the same time, it was crucial to survey all the available (published and unpublished) manuscript sources for the Byzantine rite euchologion in order to observe the evolution of the rite of consecration of an altar and of the dedication of the church from the 8th to 13th century (ms. Grottaferrata G. b. I was the latest I studied), as well as the variety of other rites used for similar purposes in the Byzantine tradition (e.g. consecration of an antimension). Comparison with the rites for consecrating an altar in the West Syriac, Armenian and Coptic traditions has shown some significant parallels with similar texts of the Byzantine tradition which can indicate a common, possibly Palestinian, origin for this ritual, first attested in the euchologion Barberini gr. 336 at the end of the 8th century CE.

 

Constructing Ideas of Christian Life: The Strategies of Interpretation of the Biblical Texts by Palladius of Hellenopolis

Yuliya Minets, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Junior Fellow 2008/09

The main research question of my dissertation is the use of biblical texts to construct ideals of exemplary Christian lives in Late Antique writings; I pay particular attention to the different purposes and the target audiences of the texts analyzed. I investigate the narrative structures where the biblical quotations, references, and allusions to Scripture were used as well as their understanding and interpretation by Late Antique Christian authors, that is, the meanings which were read into the sacred texts and used for developing ideas and ideal images of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries. The main sources for the study are two texts of Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis—the Lausiac History and the Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom.

My goal this year at Dumbarton Oaks was to complete the main stages of research for my dissertation, and to write the first draft of the text. I was able to finish all three main parts of my work. Chapter 1 is devoted to contextualization of Palladius, as a Late Antique Christian author, and his works in the historical and intellectual situation of the 4th and 5th centuries. I investigated Palladius' biography, his educational and social background, his intellectual circle and teachers; I carried out the source study of the Lausiac History and Dialogue, and prepared the overview of secondary literature. The Lausiac History and the Dialogue are particularly interesting because they were written by a single author, but differ considerably both from a linguistic point of view and in their contents. The texts differ in features of style and rhetorical organization, in the level of theological understanding and elaboration of ideas, and in the use of well-known patterns and examples from the Bible, early Christian writings, and Classical literature.

In the second chapter I focused, firstly, on textual studies of the biblical quotations and references in the Lausiac History and Dialogue, paying attention to the sources of citation, and to any literal alterations which the text of the Bible underwent due to Palladius' intentional or unconscious changes, because of the methods of a Late Antique author's work and the influence of other authors; secondly, the narrative strategies and rhetorical construction which Palladius used to involve the biblical texts in his own narratives.

In the third chapter I considered the different interpretations of the biblical texts in Palladius' two works which result from different attitudes to certain issues, such as wisdom, eschatology, pride, the appearance of the Holy Man, mixed male and female communities of ascetics, etc. These issues were important in the Late Antique Christian discourse, and were variously evaluated and interpreted in different kinds of texts. Therefore, they work as a litmus test for a problem—to define the level of the particular text in its contemporary discourse. Correspondingly, they reflect the expectations, ideas, and worldview of the potential audience, and thus help us to define the place of Palladius' works in the different intellectual trends of Christianity of the 4th and 5th centuries.

In the Lausiac History Palladius tends to present ideas associated with the communities of monks in the Egyptian desert and, probably, with the lower layer of laypeople who sometimes were not so sophisticated in their understanding of biblical words. I do not mean that Palladius expressed simple ideas, rather he presented them in a form comprehensible to his audience. The Dialogue, on the other hand, is polemical narrative which delivers ideas appropriate for high-level and educated church authorities and secular officials. Its potential audience might be the members of John Chrysostom's party who in 400–410 needed to "create" their own hero, prove their heroism in supporting him, and justify their suffering for truth.

 

Late Byzantine Rural Sites in the North Aegean: Their Archaeology and Distribution Patterns

Fotini Kondyli, University of Birmingham

Junior Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks my aim was to prepare for both electronic and standard publication my recently completed PhD thesis entitled: Late Byzantine rural sites in the Northern Aegean: their archaeology and distribution patterns (successfully defended at the University of Birmingham in December 2008). For my PhD thesis I studied Late Byzantine site function and distribution, factors influencing sites' location, economic activities of rural sites, communication and trade routes, as well as the formation of fortification networks on the islands of Lemnos and Thasos in the North Aegean. My work focused not only on the identification and study of settlements but also of other sites such as forts, monastic estates and activity loci on the two islands. Further, I developed a methodological framework that integrated archaeology with primary sources and ethnography in order to develop a holistic understanding of economy, the use of space and societal change in the North Aegean during the Late Byzantine period.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I also focused on advancing my work regarding the archaeology and distribution of late Byzantine sites and the economic exploitation and spatial organization of the rural landscape in a series of articles and conference papers. In one article I am analyzing comparative material from excavations and multi-period surveys in Greece in order to discuss the role of Byzantine archaeology in multi-period projects in the Mediterranean. As part of this work, I am also critically evaluating the methodologies employed by previous studies in Byzantine settlement archaeology in order to develop a more sophisticated approach to understanding the Byzantine landscape. In doing so, I make intense use of reports, monographs, PhD theses and journals dealing with similar archaeological investigations around the Mediterranean. The second article completed during my fellowship explores the economic activities of Byzantine monasteries in the Late Byzantine period, using an inter-disciplinary approach and combining in my work archaeological, documentary and ethnographic data with GIS spatial analysis. The two conference papers I completed this year (both to be presented during June 2009), deal with aspects of trade and travelling in the late medieval Mediterranean.

The research I undertook during my fellowship attempted to present and analyze aspects of the Late Byzantine rural landscape and its settlements using an inter-disciplinary approach. I had the opportunity to provide new data and different approaches on methodology, analysis and interpretation of data, as well as discuss new aspects of the archaeology of the Late Byzantine village and of the human-landscape interface in the Byzantine world.

 

Intellectual Circles in Byzantium in the 10th century

Myriam Hecquet-Devienne, Université de Lille 3 (C.N.R.S.)

Fellow 2008/09

Thanks to the wonderful resources of Dumbarton Oaks, I completed the bibliographical material I had started to gather before my arrival, in particular about the intellectual circles in Byzantium in the 10th century, and the epistolary documents.

  1. I precisely described the features of the hands which copied Aristotle's manuscript, the Parisinus 1853, and the Venetus A of Homer; I gathered the codicological characteristics of these manuscripts in order to show their relationship with some other manuscripts which were probably copied by the same team of scribes. I also analyzed the work of textual criticism made on the text by the main scribe of each manuscript.
  2. I examined the two epigrams the scribes copied on free pages of these manuscripts, which belong to the Palatine Anthology (Ⅸ 387, composed by Adrian, and 577, by Ptolemaeus): both present interesting variant readings, not known otherwise.
  3. I translated some very difficult letters of the corpus of an anonymous professor from the 10th century, who was in relation with the monk Ephrem, a scribe belonging, I believe, to this team of scribes. These letters show the criteria of this professor for "editing" the texts he had to copy (he also was an occasional scribe). They reveal how these texts were given to him, and how he tried to find positions for his students. He wanted to be distinguished from the mere scribes who only worry about their handwriting, without intellectual concerns, and lamented that advanced high training was so little appreciated.

4. A Literary, Linguistic and Historical Analysis of the Poems of Manuel Philes

  1. 5. Marina Bazzani, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
  2. 6. Fellow 2008/09
  3. These months at Dumbarton Oaks have enabled me to work on the large corpus of poetry of the Byzantine author Manuel Philes (ca. 1270–1330s). I have focused on his historical, personal and occasional poems, while leaving aside epigrams on works of art and religious subjects. I spent the first term of my fellowship reading and translating the poems; this has allowed me to gain a good understanding of Philes' way of composing verses, his use of language, images and puns, as well as to observe how his style and tone may vary according to the recipients' status. During the second term, I have carried out a content and style analysis of several occasional poems composed to request gifts of various kinds (hats, clothes, food). The close reading and the breakdown of the text have revealed the presence of extremely interesting material in these poems, and have shown how the author is always proceeding on multiple levels of thought in his compositions. This is often achieved through a subtle and sophisticated use of language and images, either by employing the same words in different contexts or by loading them with a different nuance in meaning, thus creating clever and unexpected turns of ideas; such detailed analysis of the text has helped understand the important role rhetorical skills play in Philes' verses. This project has greatly benefited from the excellent library, the online resources and the stimulating environment at Dumbarton Oaks; I have been able to collect extensive material that I intend to use in the future to explore other aspects of Philes' poetry, such as the way the poet presents himself in his poems, his relation with contemporary intellectuals and his dedicatees, and the depiction of society his poetic texts convey. These texts are not only of interest in their own right, but they also offer key tools to gain a deeper comprehension of Byzantium and its society in the Palaeologan era.

 

The Church of the Kathisma on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road: Archaeological, Art Historical and Historical Study

Rina Avner, Israel Antiquities Authority

Fellow 2008/09

My project at Dumbarton Oaks was to prepare a manuscript of a comprehensive monograph, complementing the technical archaeological final report (submitted in 2003 to the monograph series IAA Reports), on the Church of the Kathisma situated near Jerusalem. The church was excavated under my direction on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavations revealed a large octagonal structure (41x 38 m.) with an unusual complex plan. Three strata were recognized (dated to the 5th, 6th, and 8th century CE). Archaeological evidence indicates that during the 8th century the building was used simultaneously as a mosque within the church.

My goal this year was to update and pursue a thematic expansion of my dissertation, namely, to put the Kathisma within a broader Christian and Islamic context (topics such as: the history of the building; pilgrimage; beginnings of the veneration and cult of the Theotokos in the Holy Land and abroad; mutual influences between Jewish, Christian, and Early Islamic traditions; architecture and art—the influence of the Kathisma on other martyria, including the Dome of the Rock; the artistic influence of the wall mosaic of the Dome of the Rock on two important floor mosaics in the Kathisma).

Besides completing a draft of my projected book, a year of residence at Dumbarton Oaks enabled me to meet and exchange views with different scholars (Dumbarton Oaks staff, fellows, and visiting scholars), thus yielding new ideas for future research.

 

Common Causes: the Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt

Philip Venticinque, University of Chicago

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my tenure as a junior fellow I engaged in the research and writing of what will be the final two chapters of my dissertation, tentatively titled Common Causes: The Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. I spent the fall term working towards producing a draft of the third chapter, one that probes the relationship between guilds (and craftsmen and merchants in general) and the local and imperial authorities as evidenced not only by the legal texts but also by the documentary evidence found inscribed on stone or written on papyrus. In this chapter I focused on two questions: the status of guilds as licit or illicit groups and the notion of the "bound" status of guild members during the Late Roman Period. Chapter 4 has occupied my time during much of the spring term. In this chapter I have set out to examine the economic activities of guilds and the ways that the rise of large estates, churches and monasteries as economic powers and the changing political and social landscape impacted individual craftsmen, traders and guilds as a whole. I intend that the dissertation project as a whole will engage in ongoing debates about the economy and society of the Roman and late antique periods by using guilds and those associated with them as a prism to focus on these larger questions. Dumbarton Oaks has provided an ideal setting and unparalleled access to editions of Greek and Coptic papyrological documents, Roman legal texts, and secondary sources which has resulted in an incredibly productive eight months and a much different, and better, dissertation than if I had not been afforded such access and freedom.

 

Byzantine Icons Collection in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Yuri Pyatnitsky, State Hermitage Museum

Fellow 2007/08

The goals of my research project at Dumbarton Oaks were to make progress on the catalogue of Byzantine icons in the Hermitage Museum, and to write several essays that will serve as the introduction to this catalogue. The resources at Dumbarton Oaks have permitted me to make great progress on my project. I have finished approximately ninety percent of the individual catalogue entries, including the complete bibliographies that can only be prepared efficiently in a library with comprehensive holdings in Byzantine studies. In addition, I have been able to read about new directions and approaches in contemporary art historical studies on Byzantine painting, especially icon painting of the 14th and 15th centuries. This has allowed me to refine many of the attributions of icons I have been discussing.

One of my introductory essays, presented as part of my research report, concerning the history of exhibiting icons at the Hermitage Museum, will be published in a special volume of the journal Ars Orientalis, edited by Helen Evans. Furthermore, two of the catalogue entries I wrote, one devoted to a seventh-century niello icon with the Virgin and the other to a late eleventh-century icon of St. Gregory, have been developed into two articles which will be published in the annual journal of the Hermitage.

Relevant to my work was the opportunity to study icons and several other objects in the Dumbarton Oaks collection. These include the two micro-mosaic icons of the Forty Martyrs and St. John Chrysostom, and the painting of St. Peter. In this latter icon, I was able to read the letters of Peter's name on the keys around his neck. This detail had not been previously observed, but my reading is supported by John Nesbitt. We plan to publish this discovery together in the near future.

 

Critical Edition with introduction and commentary of the unpublished works of Athanasios Ⅰ, patriarch of Constantinople

Emmanouil Patedakis, University of Crete

Fellow 2007/08

Apart from his extensive correspondence with the emperor Andronikos Ⅱ and the imperial family, Athanasios Ⅰ composed around sixty longer works that remain unedited (two long teachings and a letter to the emperor, several letters to bishops in general or to those of specific dioceses in Asia Minor, letters to monks of Mt. Athos, encyclical instructions to clerics and laymen, such as teachings that stress the necessity for charity by all subjects of the empire, as well as his Novel and Testament), with some of them regarded until now as lost.

I firstly had to study in detail Athanasios' monastic background and experience which influenced his subsequent two patriarchates.A parallel study on Symeon the New Theologian during the beginning of my stay functioned as an initiation course to the superb library of Dumbarton Oaks; it was completed and will be published in the volume ΙdaToth - N. Gaul (ed.), Reading in Byzantium and Beyond. A Collection of Papers to Honour Professors Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys (forthcoming). I also re-examined modern views on his so-called "Reform Policy".

Crucial introductory answers to such issues were offered through further research while preparing the apparatus criticus and apparatus fontium for the unedited texts. The linguistic and compositional features, literary and rhetorical figures as well as the convoluted style of writing (with long periods, syntax that deviates from classical usage, examples of absolute structures, repeated transitional words and phrases) function as a medium which continuously corroborates Athanasios' policy and demand for return (ἐπιστροφή) and repentance (μετάνοια). More than two thousand quotations from other texts (scriptural, patristic or ascetic) detected in his works were also used as a repetitive vehicle for transferring and applying his ideas and public interventions.

After completing the processing of the apparatuses for the unpublished part of Athanasios' writings, I have attempted a more precise understanding by preparing an English translation of the Greek text, which will be included in the final edition. I also continue to do research on some recently discovered theological anthologies on the Holy Spirit that are attributed to the patriarch, while I simultaneously attempt to clarify issues regarding the network of persons and places during Athanasios' life. The resonance and the fame of his personality especially in the first half of the fourteenth century were kept alive both through controversial references by contemporary authors and a number of manuscripts compiled not only in order to preserve his own writings but also to confirm his canonization as a saint in Constantinople. I have already started to compose the above mentioned case studies into a separate paper and articles.

I hope that after the generous hospitality of Dumbarton Oaks during the past year the critical edition for the whole corpus of Athanasios' unpublished works will be completed in the near future.

 

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America

Nadezhda F. Kavrus-Hoffmann, Glenmont, NY

Fellow 2007/08

During my four-month fall fellowship term I made considerable progress on my Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America. Specifically, I accomplished the following:

  1. Researched and wrote final catalogue entries for Part Ⅳ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.340–M.647," to be published in Manuscripta 52:1 (2008).
  2. Researched and wrote draft catalogue entries for Part Ⅴ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.652–M.874," to be published in Manuscripta 52:2 (2008).
  3. Researched and wrote an innovative article, "Two Solar Eclipses and the Date and Localization of the Kerasous Gospels from the Pierpont Morgan Library," to be published in Nea Rhome (2008).
  4. Visited the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, discovered two manuscripts that have never been catalogued before, and did all necessary research for catalogue entries of these manuscripts.

The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library was invaluable for my research. For example, new albums of sacred objects included manuscripts from St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Vatopedi and Protaton monasteries in Mount Athos, and Byzantine Calabria, and such sources helped me to date, localize, and identify scribes or artists in manuscripts from American collections. New albums of watermarks included R. Stanković, Filigranoshki Opis I Album (Sofia, 2006), which I could not find in any other library and which helped me to date several manuscripts more precisely. And, in addition to Dumbarton Oaks' many rare books and journals, its fine collection of microfilms of Greek manuscripts and new manuscript scanner were very useful.

I have accepted a one-year fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (beginning July 1, 2008), which will enable me to continue the long-term project I worked on during my stay at Dumbarton Oaks.

Personal Comments

I enjoyed my term at Dumbarton Oaks very much. I have exceptionally good feelings about the Byzantine studies fellows—we became really close and will certainly keep up personally and professionally. The friendly and warm atmosphere and the fellows' willingness and ability to help one another added greatly to my pleasant experience and research productivity.

I especially liked my comfortable and conveniently located office in the Library, where I was able to work extremely efficiently, with all the books and journals I needed at my fingertips. I also appreciated the library staff members who worked hard to rush-catalogue and bring books to my office, to find missing books, and to deliver books ordered through Interlibrary Loan. And librarians taught me how to use new scanners and other equipment.

I very much liked all of the Greek seminars and many of the lectures by Byzantine and other scholars. I also appreciated an opportunity to consult Prof. Irfan Shahid on Arabic notes in some of the Greek manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library collection.

My apartment in La Quercia was in the basement but was recently renovated, and Mario Garcia was very helpful in fixing small problems.

I looked forward to the company of fellows and staff during lunches—the Refectory helped us to get to know each other much better. The food, however, could have been more nutritious and varied.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the gardens, concerts, receptions, and dinners. I am especially grateful to Alice-Mary and Bill Talbot for inviting us to their home for Thanksgiving dinner and to Jan and Liz Ziolkowsky for a very enjoyable evening at their home.

 

The Tradition of the Byzantine Translator's Preface

Elizabeth A. Fisher, George Washington University

Fellow 2007/08

In addition to two Byzantine translator's prefaces that I analyzed in previous publications, I secured in the course of my fellowship eleven more texts that range in date from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries and accompany translations from Latin, Persian, Syriac and Arabic. Of these, one is published only partially and one is unpublished. I obtained manuscript facsimiles of these two prefaces and am preparing annotated editions of them to be published in separate articles.

As my project evolved, I recognized that a series of articles on individual prefaces or groups of prefaces is the most practical means of initially presenting the genre; I shall eventually draw these studies into a monograph as I locate additional prefaces. I shall also examine the antecedents of the Byzantine translator's prefaces. I plan one article on two second-century prefaces to translations from Latin and a second on the Latin source of Manuel Holobolos' thirteenth-century discussion of translation theory.

In addition to studying Byzantine translator's prefaces, I also prepared the first translation with annotations of Michael Psellos' Life of Symeon the Metaphrast and of his On the Usual Miracle at Blachernae, which was a special challenge because of its complex system of references to neo-Platonic doctrine and to Byzantine legal texts.

This year I have also prepared or revised five articles accepted for publication: three on Planoudes' Greek translations, one on the anonymous commentator to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Ⅶ, and one on monasteries and the Latin language in thirteenth-century Constantinople.

 

Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople before the Great Palace

Örgü Dalgıç, New York University

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks I completed the writing of my dissertation entitled Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople prior to the Great Palace. I successfully defended my dissertation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, just before the end of my fellowship period.

In my dissertation I brought together for the first time the complete corpus of floor mosaics from Istanbul, from thirteen sites, dating from the second to the sixth century C.E. This is also the first systematic and contextual study of this mostly unpublished material. The corpus is here divided into three groups: (1) the Belediye Sarayı (City Hall) mosaics at Saraçhane; (2) the Kocamustafapaşa mosaic; and (3) the rest of the mosaics from Istanbul, geometric and ornamental.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I finalized my conclusions and finished writing the first chapter, on the Belediye mosaics discovered in a salvage excavation in 1953. Bringing together unpublished site photographs and sketch plans from various archives and the literary references to the topography of Constantinople in the period, I suggested a new attribution for the mosaics: the paving for the peristyle of the gymnasium of the Thermae Constantianae, one of Constantinople's most prominent but long-lost public monuments.

I researched and wrote chapter three during the second semester of the fellowship year. In this chapter I considered non-figural mosaics from Istanbul in two parts, Roman (pre-Constantinian) mosaics, and the mosaics of Constantinople.

During the fellowship period, I delivered two papers: Mosaics of Constantinople: Paving the Way to the Great Palace at the Archaeology and the Cities of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity conference organized at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2008; and Saraçhane Mosaics: Reconstructing the Art, Architecture and Topography, in the 33rd Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Toronto, October 2007. I also prepared and submitted an article in collaboration with Thomas F. Mathews entitled A New Interpretation of the Church of Peribleptos and its Place in Middle Byzantine Architecture to be published in Proceedings of International Symposium in Memory of Sevgi Gönül-Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Istanbul 2007.

 

Theodore Metochites’ Commentary on Aristotle's De anima: Critical Edition with an English Translation

Börje Bydén, Göteborg University

Fellow 2007/08

A very considerable part of the extant philosophical literature from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages consists of commentaries on the works of Aristotle. In the last decades, the study of the Late Antique commentaries (c. AD 120–620) has come to occupy a central place in the field of ancient philosophy. By contrast, the Byzantine commentaries (c. 900–1453) are still relatively little known. This is partly due to the fact that most of them have never been edited. The Late Antique commentaries are studied on the basis of the editions in the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, published between 1882 and 1907 by the Royal Prussian Academy at Berlin. In 2007, a new series was launched in Berlin to complement and extend the CAG with editions mainly of Byzantine commentaries.

One of the most interesting of these is Theodore Metochites' commentary on the De anima (c. 1320). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks (which regrettably had to be reduced from two terms to one, on account of the duties connected with a new position) I have continued my preparations for a critical edition of this work, which is preserved in twelve manuscripts. The edition will be accompanied by an introduction and an English translation and published in the new Berlin series. I benefitted especially from the Dumbarton Oaks Library's excellent coverage not only of Byzantine intellectual history but also of its Late Antique background.

 

 

Andronikos Kamateros’ Sacred Arsenal: Critical edition, translation and commentary

Alessandra Bucossi, Genova, Italy

Fellow 2007/08

The Sacred Arsenal is one of the most important remaining Byzantine inedita of the twelfth century. It was written most probably around 1173 by the megas droungarios Andronikos Kamateros, an aristocrat from the Doukas family, active at the Constantinopolitan court during the second half of the twelfth century. The emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143–1180) commissioned this work of refutation of Latin and Armenian heresies during a period in which negotiations with the Latin and the Armenian churches about a possible reunion were proceeding fervently. This massive text is still unpublished, except for a small part (about 63 of 309 folia) which appears in Migne's Patrologia Graeca as part of the work written by John Bekkos, Refutationes adversus D. Andronici Camateri Viglae Drungarii super scripto traditis testimoniis de Spiritu Sancto animadversiones (PG 141, 396–613).

My PhD thesis, completed in 2006, focused on the prolegomena to the critical edition and on the edition of the first half of the text dedicated to the Catholic Church and the procession of the Holy Spirit "from the Son" (Filioque). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks, I concentrated on the second part of the Sacred Arsenal dedicated to the Armenian Church and I made substantial progress towards the edition of the entire volume transcribing and collating the text from the manuscripts Monacensis Gr. 229, ⅩⅢ century and Venetus Marcianus Gr. 158 (coll. 515), ⅩⅣ century. The Dumbarton Oaks fellowship also provided the library resources that enabled me to write two articles: the first on the dating of the Sacred Arsenal and the second on the relation between two icons described by the Codex Marcianus Graecus 524 and Kamateros' text. Moreover, Dumbarton Oaks' collection of microfilms gave me the possibility of analyzing the microfilm of the manuscripts Laurent. Gr. Plut. Ⅷ. 26 which contains, in addition to the already well-known and published Refutationes by John Bekkos against the anthology of the first half of the Sacred Arsenal (PG 141, 396–613), also the refutations by the same patriarch against the entire dialogue between the emperor Manuel Komnenos and the Roman cardinals. Finally, during the period of my fellowship I started to create a website dedicated to Andronikos Kamateros and the Sacred Arsenal, a project that gives access to information about the life of an unjustly forgotten author.

 

 

Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3

Ivan Yordanov, Konstantin Preslavsky University, Shumen, Bulgaria

Summer Fellow 2008/09

The project I have been researching at Dumbarton Oaks is volume Ⅲ of the Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria: Byzantine institutions (secular and ecclesiastical) located in the capital Constantinople. It will include nearly 1,200 seals of title-holders of various institutions (civil, military and ecclesiastical) who resided in Constantinople.

After the material was classified it turned out that more than 1,500 seals could not be attributed to any of the above rubrics. These are seals of private individuals containing one or two names, anonymous, monogrammatic and ca. 1000 seals which cannot be deciphered because their texts are incomplete. They are important for medieval Bulgarian history because they were found in various settlements of former medieval Bulgaria and thus their publication is also obligatory.

Meanwhile new Byzantine seals were found in Bulgaria which supplement or correct what was already published in the first two volumes.

Volume Ⅲ, the final stage of the project, will include all Byzantine seals found in modern Bulgaria arranged according to the existing classifications. It will include seals already published with references to the relevant publications and in cases of new finds or new readings they will be noted appropriately. Thus all the material will be documented so as to illustrate the ranks and official hierarchy in Byzantium as elucidated by the material from Bulgaria.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I arranged the text and the respective photos according to the following scheme:

  1. Imperial palace, nos.1–715

Imperial seals, nos. 1–126

Offices at the Palace, nos. 218–363

Titles at the Palace, nos 364–715

  1. Central administration, nos. 716–965
  2. Army, 966–1089
  3. Provincial administration, nos. 1100–1617
  4. Church, nos. 1618–1796
  5. Seals of private individuals, nos. 1797–2586
  6. Undeciphered seals, nos. 2587–3500.

 

 

Hellenistic Phantasia and Its Iconophile Offsprings

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

Starting from one of Theodore Studites' epistles to his pupil Naukratios (380 Fatouros), I studied the Byzantine views on the soul, image apprehension, and cognitive processing of visual stimuli during the iconoclastic struggle. Basing my research on Theodore's statements about the imaginative faculty of the soul (phantasia), I focused on the subtle but strong ties that link gaze and representation, as well as on the theoretical foundations legitimating the perception, comprehension, and reworking of religious images by their beholders. I envisaged the cultural role played by phantasia in this area as a legacy of Greek and Roman aesthetics. Resting upon the dissemination of the Hellenic cultural heritage during Late Antiquity, Byzantine culture shaped a body of symbolic landmarks through which the collectivity defined its behavior toward visual stimuli and imagination. In this process, the passage from sight to faith, from paganism to Christianity, left its unmistakable traces. Thus, the naïve and emotional approach to arts, banned as unsophisticated by imperial elites, became in Byzantine times an essential precondition to devotion. Although according to Theodore Studites and John of Damascus phantasia had a relevant role in promoting intellectual contemplation, emotional involvement was also seen as necessary to catch a glimpse of the divine mystery. Finally, I tried to outline how iconophile authors selected and highlighted different theoretical constructs from late antique Christian psychology and anthropology (Cappadocian Fathers and Nemesius of Emesa, above all), with a new emphasis on human ability to process both physical and mental images.

 

The Impact of Hesychasm on the Ecclesiastical and Political Life of the Southern Slavs during the 14th Century

Ilias Evangelou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Summer

Fellow 2009/10

My project, to be published as a monograph, will begin with an introduction to the history of mysticism in Eastern Christianity, followed by chapters covering the distribution of mysticism in the southern Slavic world, the acquaintance of the Southern Slavs with Hesychasm in the 14th century, and its effect in their spiritual, ecclesiastical, and political life. During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks as a summer fellow I completed my monograph, writing the last chapter concerning the effect of Hesychasm in the ecclesiastical and political life of the Southern Slavs in the 14th century. According to medieval sources and my secondary bibliography, which I had the opportunity to study in the library of Dumbarton Oaks, Hesychasts occupied important positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and promoted the idea of the unity of the Orthodox Christian people of the Balkans. Initially they restored the schisms between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria and Serbia, and afterward they promoted political and diplomatic unity in order to confront the Ottoman Turks, the biggest threat to the Christian people of the region. The rich library of Dumbarton Oaks helped me to check the footnotes of the entire study and to supplement it with a relevant bibliography.

 

Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth

Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

I had a fruitful and very stimulating six-week fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks. In the first days of my fellowship I finished an article entitled Decline of Political Culture: Ammianus Marcellinus' Characterization of the Reigns of Valentinian and Valens, to be published (hopefully) in the conference volume of Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity VⅢ: Shifting Cultural Frontiers (Ashgate). I also wrote an entry on the emperor Julian (361–363) for The Encyclopedia of the Roman Army, ed. Yann Le Bohec, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Finally, I wrote the first draft of an article on my principal project Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth. The first part of the article deals with some new perspectives on Helena's biography, in particular her journey to the Holy Land. The second part discusses two texts on the discovery of the Cross: two Syriac poems and Alexander Monachos's De inventione crucis. The article also gives attention to a rather peculiar and understudied version of the legend preserved in the Six Books' narratives of Mary's Dormition and Assumption.

 

 

•••••Religion of the Book? Christians and their Books in Late Antiquity: A Cultural History

Martin Wallraff, University of Basel,

Fellow 2009/10

Eusebian canon table. _

Within the framework of a larger project on the book in late antiquity, my research this term focused on a highly significant but largely neglected topic: the Eusebian canon tables of the gospels. Although they are part of hundreds of biblical manuscripts and although they are in many cases lavishly decorated, they are rarely studied as a witness to the culture of the book of their time. This complex synoptic system of the four gospels presupposes the tradition of the Alexandrian tradition of philology-a tradition familiar to Eusebius from his background in the school of Origen and Pamphilus. However, the synoptic tables were not only a useful scholarly tool; they also contributed to the beauty of the manuscript. Therefore they mark an important step in the process of the sacralization of the Christian book. Their success for many centuries can be explained by this combination of scholarly, aesthetic and spiritual features.

Despite their importance for New Testament textual criticism, for the history of art, and for the culture of the book, the Eusebian canon tables have been edited on the basis of manuscript evidence only once, and that was in the context of Erasmus's famous edition of the New Testament five hundred years ago. My research will lead to a new critical edition with full reproductions of several manuscripts. Since these tables of numbers are not just an ordinary text, they require a broader discussion of their production, structure, and significance. The edition is introduced by such a discussion.

 

Inventing Monasticism

Columba Stewart, Saint John's University,

Fellow 2009/10

I spent the fall term surveying the several geographical regions covered by my project on monastic culture, reading widely to build out my conceptual framework. I found myself dissatisfied with the current state of scholarship on the emergence of what we commonly think of as monasticism from the ascetic currents of early Christianity. The conditions and dynamics of this emergence are crucial for my interest in the development of the elements of monastic culture. I have therefore spent most of my time since January focused on observable moments in the emergence of the new monastic paradigm. A particularly observable moment occurs during the tenure of Rabbula, bishop of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia from 412–436. In this time and place the old and new forms of asceticism coexisted, with the traditional form in the towns and the new monastic version up there in the hills or out there in less inhabited regions. Very soon the new model would dominate, and then replace, the older form, a process evident in the manuscript tradition of Rabbula's regulations, to which I have paid particular attention. As I head to the Middle East for the remainder of my sabbatical year and settle in Jerusalem for several weeks, I will place Rabbula into a diptych with Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who in his much more famous Philotheos Historia surveys an adjoining region but sees and highlights different things. I hope to expand these observable moments into something like a new history of the origins of monasticism.

 

Political Power and Imperial Governance: The Transformation of the Imperial Office in the Later Roman Empire, ca. 367–527

Meaghan McEvoy, British School at Rome / University of Oxford,

Fellow 2009/10

My semester-long fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks gave me the opportunity to begin my three-year postdoctoral project on late Roman imperial politics, addressing the ways in which the symbolism of imperial power in 4th–6th centuries was restructured around a push to make acceptable and even normalise the rule of minors, particularly for the powerful senatorial and military elites of the empire, who had a direct stake in the dynastic successions of such young emperors. Fundamental to the process of making child-emperor rule acceptable was the continuing ceremonialization of the imperial office in the context of an increasing emphasis on specifically Christian virtues. These virtues were highlighted as a means of symbolic reassurance of divine support for the ruler, most conspicuously when that emperor was a child. My doctoral project focused on the nature, perception, and presentation of child rulers in the west. The new project expands this focus to encompass the eastern court, in particular the reign of Theodosius II, and moves the enquiry on through the 5th and into the 6th century.

Apart from beginning the detailed analysis of the relevant literary and other sources, a number of new and important questions have arisen, including that of how the sharp increase in the translation of relics to Constantinople starting ca. 395 fits into this picture, and also the changing emphasis of imperial ceremonial in the more urban and civilian (and less military) context of early to mid-fifth-century imperial rule. My semester at Dumbarton Oaks proved invaluable in enabling me to refine the research questions of the project, to more fully assess the relevant secondary literature on the subject, and to begin examining the complex source material.

 

Imperial Ceremonial in Palaiologan Constantinople

Ruth Macrides, University of Birmingham,

Fellow 2009/10

The so-called Treatise on Court Offices by Pseudo-Kodinos, a work of the fourteenth century, is the main textual source for ceremonial in the capital of the Byzantine Empire in the last 300 years of its existence. My research at Dumbarton Oaks from mid-January to mid-May 2010 was based on this text, as the necessary preliminary to any study of ceremonial in Byzantium. My project includes a translation, commentary, and study of the work, its method of composition, date, and its characteristics. I completed the commentary and revised it, filling in bibliographical lacunae; I wrote most of the introductory study on ceremonies, their origins, and their evolution. While I arrived with a good working knowledge of the issues raised by the text, I leave with a much broader and deeper knowledge of its significance. My research was on two levels: the identification of realia: clothing, hats, musical instruments, colours, and ceremonies represented in images; the evolution of the ceremonies.

Dumbarton Oaks was the ideal place to carry out this research, both in terms of physical and human resources. From the lectures and colloquia I attended (both Pre-Columbian and Byzantine), I was put into contact with work in related areas (e.g., architecture and liturgy, epigrams and objects on which they were inscribed). Scholars, both those passing through Dumbarton Oaks and other fellows, shared their knowledge of texts and bibliography. I was able to identify works on ceremony books and ceremony in the medieval west and the Islamic east, and to put Pseudo-Kodinos's text in this broader context. Finally, I have strengthened my knowledge of the character of the text so that I can argue confidently that this is a ceremony book that was more descriptive than prescriptive.

 

Slavery in Late Antiquity

Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder,

Fellow 2009/10

My project involves the composition of a monograph on the development of slavery in the Late Antique period (3rd to 7th centuries AD) in both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. I am grateful to Dumbarton Oaks for allowing me to make great progress on this and several other undertakings.

I came with several different projects in tow and spent the first half of the fellowship working on these. This resulted in the following:

  1. completion of an article on the Tyche medallions minted on the occasion of the foundation of Constantinople in 330;
  2. completion of one chapter for a monograph on Constantine which I hope to finish in summer 2010. I chose to write the chapter at Dumbarton Oaks because it was directly related to the Tyche article. It traces pagan elements in the foundation of the new capital;
  3. completion of three chapters and supporting materials (maps, timelines, glossaries, family trees, art captions) for a co-authored textbook of Roman history to appear with Oxford University Press next fall;
  4. completion of a translation of the seventh book of the Justinianic Code, my contribution to another co-authored publication to appear with Cambridge University Press.

In the spring I worked almost exclusively on the slavery project and accomplished the following:

  1. transfer of data on the subject from my extensive pre-existing Word files into a searchable database.
  2. completion of a review of a book on Byzantine slavery.
  3. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in the Novels of Justinian, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.
  4. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in Frankish Gaul, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.

During this period I have also expended great effort gathering further primary sources and secondary studies, assimilating these, and entering them into my database. This is a massive project for which the unparalleled library resources at Dumbarton Oaks have been immensely helpful. I am fortunate to have one more year of fellowship during which time I hope to finish the monograph.

 

All the World’s Knowledge: Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity

Scott Johnson, Washington and Lee University,

Fellow 2009/10

This year was a magnificent experience in every respect, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make such thorough use of the library, gardens, museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks community generally. My research project on Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity progressed in significant, if unexpected, ways over the year. The range of literature which I am now including in the project is much larger-in particular, I have expanded into high Byzantium and the medieval West through the inspiration of the Fellows and Staff at Dumbarton Oaks this year. Margaret Mullett organized numerous stimulating talks throughout the semester that also gave impetus to my project. In terms of measurable progress, I was able to put together an extensive primary bibliography, including critical texts and translations. I finished an article for Dumbarton Oaks Papers 64 which is the first fruit of my research, and I completed drafts of two chapters for my monograph. In addition, I made substantial progress toward submitting the final manuscript of the Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, of which I am the sole editor. All in all, it was a very productive year which included numerous invaluable benefits to my scholarly work.

 

Weaving Christ’s Body: Clothing, Femininity and Sexuality in the Marian Imagery of Byzantium

Maria Evangelatou, University of California, Santa Cruz,

Fellow 2009/10

The research project I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks fellow explores the extensive use of spinning, weaving, and clothing as symbols of Christ's Incarnation in Byzantine art and literature, especially in relation to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the rich theological symbolism of Byzantine iconography and to examine the sociocultural function of Marian imagery. This year I focused on the latest scholarly literature on the basic components of my project: Marian iconography, gender studies, and textile production and use. The last is an especially rapidly growing field with numerous publications on the social and cultural functions of textiles and clothing, and familiarizing myself with these topics has broadened the scope of my research with significant comparative material. Another concept that became increasingly important in my analysis is the projection of multivalent and often ambivalent or ambiguous gender ideals in Byzantine iconography, allowing for very different and often contradictory messages to be included or read into the material. This implies that the construction of femininity in Byzantium was a very dynamic process, in which submission and empowerment often went hand in hand. Therefore, exploring the variety of human experience and the coexistence of different ideologies have become central goals in my research. During this year I also developed a new project that focuses on the art of El Greco. This research will culminate in the publication of three articles that will shed more light on the role of the artist's Byzantine background, focusing on the treatment of space, the symbolism of color, and the use of signatures as statements of the artist's mediation in spiritual illumination.

_

 

In the Shadow of the Sphinx: Pharaonic Sacred Space in the Coptic Imagination

Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Chicago,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

As a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed a substantial portion of my dissertation, named above, which I will defend in September 2010. My research at Dumbarton Oaks was largely focused on the re-edition and analysis of a corpus of Byzantine graffiti from the mortuary temple of the Ramesside pharaoh Seti I at Abydos, in Upper Egypt. These inscriptions were written by a group of female ascetics during the period from ca. 600–900 CE, and they provide exceptional epigraphic evidence for female monasticism in Byzantine and early Islamic Egypt. Although the Christian graffiti from the site have long been taken as evidence for the establishment of a monastery within the temple precinct itself, I argue that the women's community was actually based in the nearby village of Bardis and that the temple was used only intermittently by that group. The graffiti written by these monastic women on the temple walls offer an interesting counterpoint to the rather polemical literary representation of that structure in the sixth-century Coptic Life of Moses of Abydos, and they suggest that by the early seventh century the temple's connection to pagan cultic practice had been largely overwritten by Christian activity in the area.

Throughout the course of the year, my research has benefitted greatly not only from the tremendous resources of the Dumbarton Oaks library and the generosity of its staff, but also from conversations and exchanges with Fellows and Readers across different fields. The support of the Dumbarton Oaks community was also extremely helpful to me as I negotiated the job market this year, and I will leave Washington to begin my career as a professor in the History Department at the University of Louisville.

 

Literature and Society in the Reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos: An Examination of the Letter-Collection of Nikephoros Choumnos

Alexander Riehle, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

During my eight months at Dumbarton Oaks, I focused on the elaboration and completion of the first two parts of my tripartite doctoral thesis, which includes basic information about the various collections of letters and their author, and a discussion of the literary aspects of single letters. Furthermore, I collected and arranged data for the third part, which deals with the social and political dimensions of the letters. More specifically, I prepared the following chapters:

  1. a biographical introduction that re-examines and re-evaluates problematic aspects of Nikephoros's life, e.g., his controversy with Theodore Metochites and its (supposed) relationship to Nikephoros's retirement;
  2. a prosopography of the addressees and other persons mentioned in the letters;
  3. a collation of all surviving textual witnesses for the letters;
  4. an examination of the collections focusing on their composition and chronology;
  5. a stylistic analysis of exemplary letters based on Hermogenes' treatise On Ideas.

The excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks provided me with all the resources I needed and allowed me to work quickly and efficiently. More importantly, my dissertation has been enriched during my stay by the constant exchange with other fellows and visiting scholars whose comments and ideas helped me to consider the methodology and contents of my thesis from a fresh perspective.

 

Ideology and Rhetoric in Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos's Texts

Florin Leonte, Central European University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

The fellowship project I undertook at Dumbarton Oaks sought to investigate the political messages embedded in several texts of Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos (r. 1391–1425). To gain a better understanding of the role of rhetoric in the political transactions of Manuel's reign, I followed three major paths of inquiry.

First, I focused on two of the emperor's texts: The Foundations of an Imperial Education and the so-called Seven Ethico-political Orations. Their study revealed the author's effort to arrange deliberative topics in a system of moral virtues meaningful for an emperor-to-be. In addition, the multitude of genres employed in the Seven Orations (protreptic discourse, philosophical essays, and homilies) attest to Manuel's will to experiment with different literary forms incorporated in a coherent, unified framework echoing ancient diatribes. If one considers the performance contexts of the orations, it emerges that these texts had a distinct didactic purpose. For instance, the sixth and the seventh orations provided expressis verbis a public criticism of young John, Manuel's son and co-emperor, who apparently did not keep with the conventional mores vis-à-vis other members of the political elite.

Second, based on extant late Byzantine letter collections, I identified the main aspects and functions of the emperor's circle of literati: places of performance (theatra), literary and aesthetic options, and their role as a group in the public affairs of the Byzantine state or diplomacy. I focused on the epistolary collections of Byzantine authors such as John Chortasmenos and Manuel Kalekas, as well as on selected letters of Italian intellectuals in contact with Byzantine scholars.

Third, I approached the emperor's ideological stance in relation to the competing political discourses dominant in late Byzantine society. On the one hand, the ecclesiasts' positions on political issues become visible in the texts of Symeon of Thessaloniki and Joseph Bryennios. On the other hand, Isidore of Kiev or Demetrios Chrysoloras represent a rather traditional political discourse surfacing in panegyrics. In contrast, Manuel seems to have developed a slightly different ideology which advocated reconciliation. In addition, his efforts to circulate his texts not only in Byzantium but also in the Latin West suggest that he consistently asserted the image of an emperor rhetorician.

All in all, the emperor's texts reflect three major rhetorical modes employed in late Byzantium for political communication: the dialogic mode, which he used in the Dialogue on Marriage with the Empress Mother, the narrative mode, manifest in the Funeral Oration for his Brother Theodore, Despot of Morea, and the didactic mode, emerging in the Precepts of an Imperial Education and the Seven Ethico-Political Orations.

 

The Formation of Constantinople as a Sacred Center

Sarah E. Insley, Harvard University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

This year of fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has been invaluable in terms of the progress I was able to make on my dissertation, and more generally with respect to my development as a scholar. When I arrived here in September, I had just defended my dissertation prospectus for a project titled Constructing the Sacred Center: Constantinople as a Holy City in Early Byzantine Literature. During the fall term, I was able to complete research on primary source material for the first two chapters of the dissertation, drafts of which were finished by mid-February. I spent the remainder of the spring term drawing together sources and completing preliminary research for a third chapter, which I will write in the first part of the summer. Thanks to my year at Dumbarton Oaks, I am on schedule to complete a full draft of the project by the end of the fall term next year, and to finish my degree next spring. Starting a dissertation is a critical, and at times daunting, period in a scholar's career. As I worked through the first stages of my own project, I could not have asked for a better community in which to shape my ideas than Dumbarton Oaks. The rich conversation and helpful suggestions of my fellow fellows; the variety of stimulating talks and events throughout the year; and the vigilance of staff in assuring that all of us had the resources necessary to complete our projects were central in giving me a solid foundation upon which I can finish my dissertation and my degree. My deepest thanks to you all: I will always have the fondest memories of my fellowship year at Dumbarton Oaks.

 

John Geometres: An Edition, Translation and Commentary of his Poems in Hexameter and Elegiac

Emilie van Opstall, University of Amsterdam

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Soldier and poet in the second half of 10th–century Constantinople, John Geometres writes in the tradition of the Macedonian Renaissance, which found its inspiration in Antiquity, but also shows signs of a new era in which Hellenistic form and Christian ideas merge. In 1841, J.A. Cramer published Geometres' poems for the first time.J. A. Cramer, Appendix ad excerpta poetica: codex 352 suppl., Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecae regiae Parisiensis, vol. Ⅳ (Oxford, 1841, repr. Hildesheim, 1967), 265–352. His edition is based on a single manuscript (the 13th–century Paris. suppl. gr. 352) and contains an amazing number of inaccuracies. Nonetheless, subsequent editors of Geometres' poems have used this edition without consulting the manuscripts themselves. The poems certainly deserve a better fate, for Geometres is a key figure in the history of Byzantine poetry, as has been observed time and again. I am preparing a new edition of his poems composed in hexameter and elegiacs with a (French) translation and commentary. This will enable not only scholars of Byzantine literature, but of Byzantine history and art as well, to arrive at a better formed judgement of Geometres and the cultural history of his time.

The summer at Dumbarton Oaks provided a unique opportunity to write the commentary on a series of poems in relation to their (art) historical context. Not only the extremely rich library, which provides easy access to art historical studies (sometimes not found elsewhere), but also the advice of the scholars present was very helpful, especially in the field of iconography.

To conclude, I will give a brief example of an epigram:

Parqe/ne, pambasi/leia, teo\j do/moj ou)rano/j e)stin,
e)/mbhj tw=n xqoni/wn prw=ta fe/rwn qala/mwn
ou(=toj e)kei= s' a)na/gei. Su\ de\ qh/kaj, Parqe/ne, gh=qen
a)/ntugoj ou)rani/hj h)eri/hn kli/maka.

Vierge, reine absolue, le ciel est ton palais;
toutefois, te prenant d'abord de tes demeures terrestres,
celui-ci t'emmène là-haut. Mais toi, Vierge, tu as placé depuis la terre
une échelle aérienne qui traverse la voûte céleste.

In this poem, an unidentified person (ou(=toj, a demonstrative pronoun) is taking (a)na/gei, present tense) the Virgin to the sky (e)kei=, a deictic adverb). The language used seems to refer to an icon representing the Koimesis, when Christ brings the soul of the Virgin to the heavens (Cf. illustration, Icon with the Koimesis, ivory, late 10th century, from H.C. Evans and W.D. Wixom [edd.], The Glory of Byzantium, Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843–1261 [New York, 1997], 155.). Even though the poet emphasizes the contrast between heaven and earth, he concludes with the comforting idea that the Virgin remains a ladder, an intermediary, between God and man.

 

The Monastery of St. Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis (Cyprus): The Wall-Paintings

Maria G. Parani, Nicosia, Cyprus

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis in Cyprus was founded in the late eleventh century by the monk George, who probably hailed from Syria-Palestine. A few years later, a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was constructed contiguous to the katholikon and adorned with magnificent wall-paintings (ca. 1100), which are now only partially preserved. The founder of the chapel and donor of its painted decoration was the governor of Cyprus Eumathios Philokales. The surviving wall-paintings of the Trinity chapel were conserved and recorded by a team from Dumbarton Oaks under Cyril Mango in the 1960s. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the monastery of St. Chrysostom, located in a Turkish military zone, became inaccessible and the wall-paintings were covered up by whitewash and large sheets of paper. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, the numerous black-and-white prints and, especially, the detailed color slides and transparencies in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive have come to constitute an invaluable source for the study of this important painted ensemble.

Koutsovendis, Monastery of St. John Chrysostom, Holy Trinity chapel: Ezekiel [after Mango, "St. Chrysostomos," DOP 44 (1990), fig. 113]

My study of the paintings of Holy Trinity constitutes part of a larger project undertaken in collaboration with Cyril Mango and Tassos Papacostas, with the aim of publishing a comprehensive study on Koutsovendis that will contain sections dedicated to the history of the monastery, its architecture, sculpture, and the chapel frescoes. The presence of Dr. Papacostas at Dumbarton Oaks, also as a summer fellow, provided me with an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with him and profit greatly from his expertise.

The iconographic study of the frescoes deals mainly with certain features that appear unusual. Some of these could probably be considered as reflecting current theological discussions and recent developments in the art of the period, while others are perhaps better associated with the donor and his motives, the chapel's function, its specific monastic milieu, or the influence of local historical conditions and artistic traditions. The stylistic study of the frescoes addresses primarily the problem of the artistic tradition to which they belong. Considering the links of the Koutsovendis monastic community with Syria-Palestine, the possibility that the Koutsovendis master came from the area of Antioch is being explored. Having access to the excellent reference library of Dumbarton Oaks was essential in pursuing further this line of comparative art-historical enquiry. The section on style also explores the relation of Koutsovendis to other Cypriot painted ensembles of the early twelfth century, with special emphasis on the paintings of Asinou, Trikomo, and Apsinthiotissa. As a consequence of 1974, the unpublished paintings of the latter church are now destroyed. The color slides from Apsinthiotissa in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive constitute a rare record of this little-known lost masterpiece.

 

The History and Architecture of the Monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis, Cyprus

Tassos C. Papacostas, King's College London

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Holy Trinity Chapel at Monastery of Koutsovendis, Cyprus, from the northeast (photo: Cyril Mango)

Part of Dumbarton Oaks' fieldwork in Cyprus during the 1960s was focused on the late 11th-c. Greek Orthodox monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis. At that time its surviving church of the Holy Trinity was being restored and its frescoes were cleaned and conserved. A preliminary report and a description of the wall-paintings were published (DOP 18 and 44). According to the plan envisaged by Cyril Mango, who initiated the study of this monument, these articles should be complemented by a publication comprising the following chapters:

  1. History

the founder George and the liturgical typikon

the patron Eumathios Philokales

Neophytos the Recluse and the Maronite community

later history of the monastery [later medieval & modern periods]

  1. Architecture & Sculpture [of the monastic churches]
  2. Iconography [of the surviving frescoes]
  3. Style & Ornament [of the surviving frescoes]

It was agreed that Maria Parani would take charge of the chapters on the frescoes, while I would prepare a major article on the history and architecture/sculpture for publication in DOP.

During the first weeks of my stay here I concentrated on the longest and most complex part of the work, namely sections I.a & I.b. These have now become rather extensive in length mainly on account of fresh evidence discovered here. I should stress that the library holdings and the seals collection have been crucial to this work. The latter in particular has provided some important unpublished specimens belonging to the monastery's patron and his family which supplement the information gleaned from the narrative sources. Specialists and colleagues in other fields have also been very helpful with other aspects of my research, and Michael Grünbart has agreed to edit as an appendix to the publication a letter of Nikon of the Black Mountain to the founder George. This is one of the key sources for the early history of the monastery.

In April of this year (2004) I visited a group of related churches in Cyprus itself; monuments in other parts of the Byzantine empire are even more important though for comparative purposes, since the architectural type of the main church (a domed octagon) was introduced here at Koutsovendis for the first time on the island, and its appearance requires some explanation.

Research on the architecture of the monastery's two churches (the Holy Trinity, and the main church, demolished in 1891 and known mainly from descriptions, sketches and an architectural plan) has been facilitated greatly by the Dumbarton Oaks photographic resources, since the site of Koutsovendis, currently within a military zone, has been inaccessible to scholars since 1974. The photographic archive has also been immensely useful for tracing comparative material.

 

The Early Armenian Scholia on the Corpus of Works Attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite

Sergio La Porta, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite was translated from Greek into Armenian by Step'anos Siwnec'i at the beginning of the eighth century. Subsequently, scholia on the corpus were composed in Armenian. I am currently preparing an edition and translation of the scholia attributed to Hamam Arewelc'i (9th c.) and the scholia attributed to Dawit' Kobayrec'i (d. c.1220) and a certain Yakob. My research has shown that none of these authors could have composed the scholia, since they must be dated to the second half of the thirteenth century. Furthermore, the sets of scholia attributed to Hamam and to Dawit' and Yakob share a complete set of scholia (Set A), while some manuscripts also preserve a second, possibly contemporaneous, set of scholia (Set B). In total there are approximately 1500 scholia, of which approximately 1200 or four-fifths may be assigned to Set A.

I have also been able to suggest the monastic communities around Mt. Sepuh in Erznka (Erzincan) as the center of either production or compilation of these scholia. The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius played an important role in the medieval Armenian monastic schools. The language of the scholia witnesses many Middle Armenian forms and words and may reflect the recording of oral classroom instruction. One may also detect loan words from Arabic or Persian. In addition to shedding light on how the Dionysian texts were read in the monasteries, the scholia highlight some of the pressing issues of the day especially concerning monastic and liturgical practice. The scholia display knowledge of Latin and Greek liturgical and monastic traditions and encourage tolerance for differing practices. The author may have tried to ease tensions between the Latin-influenced or informed Armenian clergy of the Kingdom of Cilicia and the more conservative Armenian clergy of Greater Armenia.

While at Dumbarton Oaks, I was able to complete a translation of all the scholia and assess the authorship, dating, and provenance of the scholia. I was further able to examine secondary literature on the Dionysian Corpus itself as well as on its role and reception in other Christian communities.

 

Sacred Art, Secular Context: Loan Exhibition from the Byzantine Collection of Dumbarton Oaks. May 14–November 6, 2005. The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

Asen Kirin, University of Georgia

Summer Fellow 2004/05

My summer fellowship was devoted to preparation of an exhibit and catalogue of objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection. Spanning from the fourth to the fifteenth century, the exhibition will include carved gems, jewels, golden coins, steelyards with weights, silverware, and sculptural reliefs. Approximately one half of the pieces are miniature in scale and are exquisitely crafted in gold, cloisonné enamel, and precious or semi-precious stones. All objects feature sacred images and/or inscriptions, even though they functioned in the secular context of personal adornment, dining, and dealings at the market place. In addition to the sphere of everyday life in Byzantium, the "secular context" alludes also to the environment within which Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss collected art in the early twentieth century. An accompanying exhibition will display ten works of modern American painting acquired at the same time as many of the Byzantine objects. Thus the overall display presents the phenomenon of collecting and studying works of Byzantine art as a lesser-known chapter in the history of American visual culture. As collectors, the Blisses followed the advanced discussions of art-historians about the sources and main currents in the history of Western art. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss shared the view that Byzantium preserved the Hellenistic and Roman intellectual and artistic traditions and conveyed them to late medieval and early Renaissance Italy.

One of the catalogue articles I completed involves an enigmatic carved gem—a rock crystal intaglio heretofore described as a sixth-century piece representing the Denial of Apostle Peter. My research demonstrated that this is a Roman object dating to the first century B.C.E. and that it depicts a scene from Aeschylus's tragedy The Seven Against Thebes.M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Medieval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. Volume One: Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, D.C., 1962), 94–95, No. 113, Plate LⅧ. G. Kornbluth has already suggested that this is the true subject matter of the gem, cf. 'Early Byzantine' Crystals: An Assessment, The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 53/53 (1994/95): 23–30, esp. 24, 29, No. 10. Nevertheless in her article Kornbluth does not discuss the gem's iconography and meaning, so this catalogue entry will do just this for the very first time. As rendered, the composition on the gem focuses on Amphiaraus—a legendary hero worshipped as a god in an oracular shrine dedicated to him. Therefore the gems on which this scene appears might have functioned as talismans for those in the military. On the whole, the popularity of this topic during the last century B.C.E. in Italy may have been a reflection of the high regard for Attic drama in Magna Graecia, the place of perpetual theater revivals. Also, it is possible that the stories about the fratricidal wars of the Greeks, as told by Aeschylus, acquired new relevance at that time when Romans were fighting against Romans in the civil wars that led to the establishment of the empire.

 

Preparation of a Catalogue of the Christian Oriental Seals in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections

Stefan Heidemann and Claudia Sode Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The borderlands between Byzantium and the Islamic Empire, namely Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia, fostered diverse religions, languages and cultures. Their mutual interaction is not well understood. Literary sources of one language tend to exclude others, and new primary documents are needed. Lead seals in Syriac, Arabic and Armenian languages, but in Byzantine style, emerged as a result of political, ecclesiastical and cultural expansion of the Byzantine Empire into Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia in the 10th–12th centuries. As documents they contribute to prosopography, art history, philology and even political and economic history. They provide information about political and cultural life at the fringes of the Empire, which is relatively scarce in Byzantine sources. Islamic studies focus on the political and economic renaissance of the cities during the late 11th–12th century in Syria and northern Mesopotamia. We have almost no primary documents, only a rich, self-referential historical literature, written after events. But half of the population was still Christian, Jewish or even pagan.

Dumbarton Oaks holds the largest collection of these seals, with about 100 specimens. The publication of these documents requires expertise in two different disciplines: Byzantine (C. Sode) as well as in Islamic and Syriac studies (S. Heidemann). Besides extracting new information about formulas, abbreviations, stylistic groups, etc., we have made some quite unexpected discoveries: A Syriac seal, depicting an intricate image of St. Nicholas, introduces the owner Yosef bar 'Isa as money changer (katallaktis) in Greek script. For the first time someone outside the political and ecclesiastical hierarchy is found on Oriental seals with the indication of his profession. This may well reflect that during the 11th century huge numbers of Byzantine gold and copper coins were traded as a commodity into the Islamic Empire, in order to circulate there for a further hundred years.

We note that one seal belonged to the amir al-Hasan ibn Ghafras (Gabras), a descendant of Byzantine nobility, who usurped the Seljuq throne in 1192. This latter fact is documented only by this unique seal. Thus, it can be seen that, like coins, the seals provide hitherto untapped contemporary information. The last monograph on the subject, a booklet in Ottoman Turkish, was published in 1904.

Seal of al-Hasan ibn Ghafras, 12th c. Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Every day we made new, exciting discoveries. The library was very helpful for immediately following up on new ideas. Certain iconographic types could be checked on the spot with the numismatic collection and visually explored with the photographic resources.

 

 

From Holy Land to Holy Russia: The origins of the pilgrimage literature of the Rus'

Marcello Garzaniti, University of Florence

Summer Fellow 2004/05

After analyzing various witnesses of pilgrimage literature from Rus' and Muscovy, and reviewing previous research whose results are already published or in print, I propose to write a monograph on the pilgrimage and journey tale in medieval Rus' and Muscovy. Prior to the final draft of the book, my sojourn at Dumbarton Oaks has given me the possibility to use the rich library and especially to study the relations between Greek proskynetaria, Latin pilgrimage literature of the Crusader period, and East Slavic pilgrimage tales. Today one hears repeated, uncritically, the notion that East Slavic pilgrimage tales depend on Byzantine literature. The influence of pilgrimage literature of the Latin world in the period of the Crusades was also not excluded. On this question see the books of K.D. Seemann (Seemann 1976) and A. Külzer (Külzer 1994). After comparing Greek and Latin pilgrimage literatures with the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Hegumen Daniil, I did not find any direct textual dependence of the Slavic tale upon Greek and Latin pilgrimage tales. But this does not mean that the Pilgrimage of Daniil represents an original model. The first Slavic pilgrimage tale has in common with the Greek proskynetaria the Sitz im Leben, the liturgical and monastic tradition of the Byzantine world: the Palestinian guide of Hegumen Daniil, a monk of Mar Saba, played an important role in the creation of Daniil's work. From the other side, however, together with Latin pilgrimage literature, Daniil's Pilgrimage reflects the same social phenomenon of European pilgrimage. The Rus' shows a more open approach to the historical reality of the Latin Kingdom in comparison with the Byzantine world.

  1. Daniil egumeno, Itinerario in Terra santa, introduzione, traduzione e note a cura di M.Garzaniti, Rome 1991
  2. M. Garzaniti, Alle radici della concezione dello spazio nel mondo bizantino-slavo (Ⅸ–Ⅺ sec.), in Uomo e spazio nell'Alto Medioevo. L Settimana di studio del Centro Italiano sull'Alto Medioevo (4–8 aprile 2002), Spoleto 2003, pp.657–707
  3. A. Külzer, Peregrinatio graeca in Terram Sanctam. Studien zu Pilgerführern und Reisebeschreibungen über Syrien, Palästina und den Sinai aus byzantinischer und metabyzantinischer Zeit, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin, Bern, N.Y., Paris, Wien 1994
  4. Seemann 1976: K.-D. Seemann, Die altrussische Wallfahrtsliteratur. Theorie und Geschichte eines literarischen Genres, München 1976

 

Greek Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem under Mamluk Rule

Johannes Pahlitzsch, University of Mainz, Germany, 2011/12

The project for my stay during the fall term was to investigate the situation of the Greek Orthodox Christians, including the Georgians and the Arabic-speaking Melkites, under Mamluk rule at a specific period, namely the reign of the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328). However, the relationships of the Orthodox Christians in Palestine to the Mamluks cannot be viewed from an isolated, purely internal perspective. Their fate depended very much on the general state of relations between their Christian protective powers and the Mamluks. And indeed Byzantium and the Georgian kings intervened regularly in the affairs of the local communities looking after their own interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Of special interest in this context is the role of the Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem as well as those of Alexandria and Antioch, who were not only the representatives of the Byzantine emperor and the Orthodox church in the Orient, but at the same time served as intermediaries for the Mamluks with respect to Byzantium. During my term I was able to read several Arabic and Greek chronicles dealing with the situation of Christians in Egypt and Cairo during the time of the third reign of sultan an-Nasir Muhammad (1309–1341). I also dealt with the increasing number of anti-Christian treatises at this period. Another very important text I read is the oration of Theodoros Metochites on the neomartyr Michael of Alexandria which not only provides information about the situation of Melkite Christians in Egypt but could be read as an official statement about the policy of Andronikos II regarding the Mamluks. A third group of sources I dealt with have been yet unpublished Arabic documents issued by sultan an-Nasir Muhammad for the Greek orthodox communities in Jerusalem. I hope an extensive article on "Andronikos II and an-Nasir Muhammad. Byzantine-Mamluk Relations and Greek Orthodox Christians under Mamluk Rule in the Early Fourteenth Century" including the edition and translation of two Arabic documents will appear soon.

 

Enigmatic Literature in Byzantium: Authors and Texts

Simone Beta, University of Siena,

Fellow 2011/12

In the research proposal I submitted at the end of 2010 together with my application I proposed to edit the full Greek text of the Byzantine riddles, translate the poems into modern English, and write a commentary. After preliminary work in Italy (January-August 2011) and after the semester at Dumbarton Oaks (September-December 2011), I am not so positive about the first part of my goal. A thorough edition of Byzantine enigmatic poetry provided with a critical apparatus is a very difficult task indeed, since the number of Greek riddles written between the sixth and the fifteenth centuries is much greater than what can be guessed by the current published collections (including the most recent one, Celica Milovanovic's Byzantina ainigmata, with Serbian translation and commentary, edited in 1986); moreover, the fact that these riddles are scattered through so many manuscripts, and in such different versions, and with such different attributions, makes the task almost impossible (as it is shown by the case of the Greek scholar Spyridon Lampros, who spent most of his life collecting Byzantine riddles from Greek manuscripts without being able to publish a complete edition).

But, after my work at Dumbarton Oaks and the fruitful discussions with the excellent people I have had the chance to meet there (Jan Ziolkowski, Margaret Mullett, Alice-Mary Talbot, and the other Byzantine fellows), I am very positive about the other two parts. I think it is possible to collect and to edit in a serious and scholarly way a fairly good number of the enigmatic Byzantine poems; I am also sure that translating these riddles into modern English, together with an introduction and a commentary, would really fill a gap. The work I am going to do in the following months will not only shed light upon a peculiar (and so far neglected) feature of Byzantine culture, but will also make known to a wider audience a kind of poetry that can still be appreciated in our times as well.

 

An Early Byzantine Area in the Necropolis of Miletus

Philipp Niewöhner, Istanbul Department, German Archaeological Institute, Turkey,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

I studied a walled square that I have excavated recently in the necropolis of Miletus. The square dates from the 5th century CE and contains contemporary as well as earlier burials. One of them seems to have been venerated, and in the 6th century half of the square was built up with a church and martyrium. Originally, the square seems to have been conceived as an exclusive Christian cemetery or area, as they are known from Rome and elsewhere, but so far not from Anatolia.

Such areae were often surrounded by arcaded porticoes, and this seems to have been the case at Miletus, too. The interior was not necessarily plastered with graves, but typically contained a martyrium, and a church was often built in or next to the area. Some such examples in Greece are closely comparable to Miletus and date from the late 4th and the 5th century, when areae may have been a common feature on Christian necropoleis around the Aegean. No area that has come to my knowledge was built after the 5thcentury.

It remains to be determined whether areae were more frequent in coastal cities of western Asia Minor, and whether they also occurred beyond the Aegean littoral, along the south coast as well as in central Anatolia. A German version of my research forms a chapter in my book on the Byzantine basilicas of Miletus, and the fellowship gave me the opportunity to finish that manuscript.

 

Fellowship Report

Umayyad Illustrated Calendars and their Late Antique Sources: A Comparative Study

Nadia Ali, Université de Provence, Marseille,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

How the art of the Umayyads (661–750) responded to the encounter with late antique art in the Bilâd ash-Shâm has been a major debate for more than a century. Many scholars insisted on a rupture while others accepted the continuity explanation, but saw in the transition from late antiquity to early Islam some degeneration. Further recent refinements have posited an active rôle of the Umayyads in the shaping of their art. My research revisits Umayyad palatial iconography and considers the previously underrated role of the craftsmen's practice in the making of Umayyad iconography. How was a program produced in the 8th-century Bilâd ash-Shâm? What was transmitted from one generation of craftsmen to another? How was it transmitted?

To explore these problems, I decided to focus on three illustrated calendars that I began to identify in the frescoes of Qusayr 'Amra's central hall (Jordan, 715–730) and the stuccos of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi's court façade (Syria, 728) and Khirbat al-Mafjar's bath porch (Palestine, 724–743). Data from numerous catalogs, surveys, and excavation reports allow me to make a comparative analysis between the Umayyad calendars and a wide array of visual sources including neglected material such as the early Christian and Jewish mosaics of the Levant (Beisan-Scythopolis, Awzaii, Qabr Hiram, Jerash, Madaba, Nitl). The comparison confirms my hypothesis about what has been held by Oleg Grabar as the depiction of “princely cycles” inspired by Sasanian iconography: they actually represent agricultural calendars. A careful examination of the organizational patterns, iconographic types, and colocations of themes employed in the Umayyad calendars suggests a “pragmatic continuity” with early Christian and Jewish art of the Levant. My research also reveals that in the transmission of iconographic traditions from Byzantine Syria to the Umayyads, the role played by the Ghassanids, the Christianized Arabs who ruled parts of Syria in the 6th century, may have been more critical than has heretofore been accepted.

 

An Armenian Ekphrasis on a Late 10th-Century Byzantine Reliquary of the True Cross

Ioanna Rapti, Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Paris,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The focus of this project is a late 10th-century panegyric composed by the famous Armenian poet, Gregory of Narek, to celebrate the gift of an imperial reliquary to the monastery of Aparank in the area of Lake Van and the new church built to house it. Never translated into any western language, the text conceals much evidence for Byzantine policy in the East, Byzantine art, and Armenian architecture. During the fellowship I translated the major part of the text and analyzed its structure and vocabulary, establishing the outline of a potential publication. The main features that emerged are:

  1. Literary hybridism, based on rhetoric and poetry, borrowing from historiography and indebted to Byzantine ekphrasis.
  2. Gift-exchange and diplomacy during the critical period (979–983) after the defeat of Bardas Skleros. The donation was orchestrated by a former supporter of the rebel while the latter was still a serious threat. More than a testimony to the loyalty of the repentant rebel, the reliquary brought imperial authority to the homeland of the former rebel with weighty symbolism.
  3. Praise and propaganda: Gregory's praise of the co-emperors stresses their concordia and joint policy challenging the traditional distinction between the warrior and the administrator. Given the circumstances of the gift, the panegyric, addressed among others to three Armenian kings targeted by Byzantine expansion, becomes particularly meaningful.

Poetry and materiality: Gregory's ekphrasis leads the senses of his audience to perception of the reliquary and to the liturgical space. Through his sophisticated wording, which blends compounds and biblical references in avalanches of metaphors, he conjures a Byzantine staurotheke similar to that of Basil the parakoimomenos now in Limbourg. He also sketches a cross-in-square church with precious furnishing, sparkling within a smooth textile-covered interior enclosed by lush vegetation. His audience must have felt in paradise. Ironically but expectedly, this paradise was soon to be lost and the gift would soon return to the realm of the donor.

 

George of Trebizond and his Martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios: Edition, Translation, Commentaries

Ksenia Lobovikova, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The main goal of my project was to prepare a modern edition and English translation of the martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios, which was written in 1468 by George of Trebizond, a Greek émigré in Italy, a famous man of letters and a curial official. Following the advice of Ihor Ševčenko to hagiographers—first of all to produce reliable translations of Lives of the Saints into modern languages—I concentrated on making an English translation of the Latin text, which has never been translated before. The second part of my project was preparing commentaries to the text. In my research, I tried to answer the following questions: Why did a famous rhetorician like George of Trebizond decide to write the Life of St. Andreas? To whom was the Vita addressed? What was the main message of the martyrology? Was St. Andreas an Orthodox or a Catholic? In what Galata church was the body of the Saint buried after his death? We have an anonymous Greek passio of St. Andreas (Cod. Oxon. Bodl. Canonic. 126), and comparing these texts helped to answer some of these questions. Another task was to compare the Life of St. Andreas with other Lives of Byzantine neo-martyrs of the late Palaiologan period and early Ottoman times: the Lives of St. Niketas the Young, St. Theodoros the Young, St. Michael of Alexandria, St. Michael Mauroeides of Adrianople, and St. George of Adrianople. Many Lives of the Saints were also written in the Quattrocento in the Italian circle of humanists to which George of Trebizond belonged. During this fellowship I have tried to locate the Life of St. Andreas in the context of Latin hagiography of the Renaissance.

 

Controversy in Context: Christianity in Edessa in the Second Half of the Fourth Century

Emanuel Fiano, Duke University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My project was conceived as an examination of Christianity in Edessa in the second half of the 4th century. This was a time of particular conflict for the Church, which was engaged in the Trinitarian controversy. I intended to canvas this scenario by situating Edessa within its broader contexts, and to analyze the Trinitarian debates from a geo-ecclesiological perspective. During this pursuit I encountered the scantiness of strictly coeval sources (except for Ephrem and the Itinerary of Egeria). As a matter of fact, both the Letter of Aithallah, a potentially important witness to the diffusion of Nicene doctrines in Osrhoene, and the Teaching of Addai, testifying to an attempt on the part of Edessene elites to renegotiate the city's position on the map of contemporary Christianity (particularly in relation to Rome), are commonly considered slightly later artifacts. A combined use of prosopography, of the lists of conciliar subscriptions, and of Ecclesiastical Histories (Theodoret's, Sozomen's, and Rufinus's continuation of Eusebius's) provided me with some alternative sources to identify partisan affiliations of, and relationships among, some of the key episcopal figures of the region at this time. I was thus able to begin to shape a narrative of the unfolding of the Trinitarian strife in Edessa in its various contexts (e.g., in its intersections with the Meletian schism). In addition, I set out to test the hypothesis that Egyptian exile allowed some Syriac bishops to establish connections among geographically non-contiguous dioceses, and proved instrumental in providing them with models of episcopal centralization. In this connection, and in order to verify church historians' highly stereotyped representations of the exile destinations, I have devoted time to the investigation of the consistency and the nature of the Christian presence in Egyptian centers such as Antinoopolis and Philae, through archaeological reports, literary accounts, and papyrological evidence. This project represents in all respects a work in progress, which I hope to develop further in the near future.

 

An Island in Transition: History of Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages (ca. 500–800 A.D.)

Luca Zavagno, Eastern Mediterranean University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

Research on medieval Cyprus has always lingered on a chronological tri-partition, which focuses on the late antique "golden age" (5th to 7th century) and the so-called Byzantine reconquista (post-965) while overlooking the period in between, labeled as the Condominium era. The latter has been regarded as a phase during which local society became ruralised, de-urbanised, and rarefied in terms of density of settlement as a result of the dislocation brought about by the 7th-century Arab raids. But as Hegel put it in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the standard by means of which we measure the situation and establish that it is problematic is itself part of the problem and should be abandoned.

My research has indeed tried to reject “the usual standards” and to propose a complex but coherent picture of the fate of Cyprus in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. As for this very period, the analysis of Arab, Syriac, and Byzantine sources, the data from archaeological excavations, a recently published survey on local and imported ceramics, and already existing publications on coins and seals reveal the persistence of an imperial landowning elite (like the so-called 8th-century Fraggoummenoi, who took part in a Byzantine diplomatic mission to the Caliph); this elite commanded the local administrative and fiscal structures as integrated into the Byzantine political-military system of governance (seals of local archons and droungarioi of the Kibyrraiotai) and enhanced a degree of political control which paired with the continuous religious importance of the island as center of an important Archbishopric and as pilgrimage hub.

The notion of Condominium as a blank slate stemming from both the silence of documentary and literary sources and the idea of the Arabs and Byzantines sharing the local fiscal revenues of an impoverished island are clearly to be rejected. In this sense, my research has also proposed a comparison with other Mediterranean islands under the Byzantine sway (Sicily and Crete, but also the Balearics and Malta), allowing me to highlight a degree of persistence in the Cypriot economy. Here the tailing off of bronze coinage implies (incidentally as in Syria and Palestine) a “realigning and adaptive economic strategies by local communities.” As in Sicily (and possibly in Crete) the disappearance of Byzantine petty coinage reflects the introduction of a new imperial fiscal system (as stemming from the loss of Egypt). Indeed, Cyprus also retained its strategic relevance as commercial hub (mirrored in the presence of the so-called Arab-Byzantine coins and in the reassessment of pottery previously overlooked). The results of my research will be published in the form of an article to bolster the completion of my forthcoming book.

 

Dynamic Landscapes in Late Antique and Byzantine Anatolia: Pilgrimage, Travel Infrastructure, and Landscape Archaeology

Sarah Craft, Brown University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The connectivity of the ancient Mediterranean has been demonstrated in many publications over the last decade. This approach foregrounds travel and movement and considers landscape as a dynamic place where movement was the norm. My project is a contribution to the understanding of dynamic landscapes through the lens of early Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological and textual sources do not always allow us to reach them directly, but it is possible to outline the infrastructure of the world through which pilgrims journeyed. It is within this context that a landscape archaeology approach to early Christian pilgrimage is perfectly poised.

Specifically, I explore the negotiation between the phenomenon of early Christian pilgrimage, the infrastructure of travel-the roads, bridges, shrines, and cemeteries-and the landscape and communities in which it took place. Using the vast amount of scholarship that already exists on both early Christian pilgrims and the historical geography of ancient Asia Minor as a foundation, I chose four pilgrimage destinations as case studies in order to investigate the regional, dynamic, and diverse contexts of early Christian pilgrimage: St. John at Ephesos, St. Thekla at Meryemlik, St. Theodore at Euchaïta, and St. Michael at Germia. I combine textual attestation of pilgrimage with the material correlates of movement and with analysis of those features in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based environment. The practice of pilgrimage contributed to the forms that local economies, settlement patterns, and religious practices developed and changed over time.

The research undertaken contributes to my doctoral dissertation, the prospectus for which I completed while at Dumbarton Oaks. An integrated investigation of pilgrimage, travel infrastructure, and landscape archaeology can contribute not just to a better contextualized understanding of early Christian pilgrimage in Asia Minor, but also to the ways we investigate and interpret the wider worlds of the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean.

 

The Cambridge Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy

Ida Toth, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The seven weeks of sustained research work at the Dumbarton Oaks Library have enabled me to study a wide spectrum of primary sources and to select the most suitable illustrative material for the Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy, a practical guide through the main corpora and collections of extant epigraphic material and the main issues of reading and studying Byzantine inscriptions.

During my term as a summer fellow, I have been able to examine thousands of images from the Epigraphy Database and the Byzantine Photographs and Fieldwork Collections, and to choose nearly two hundred most representative samples, which will serve to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of the Byzantine epigraphic habit as well as filling gaps in the general understanding of some more idiosyncratic epigraphic practices.

In addition to focusing on broader epigraphic issues, I have also created a database of 11th-century inscriptions, which I intend to use for my contribution to the panel "Towards a Corpus of Byzantine Inscriptions" at the forthcoming 22nd Congress of Byzantine Studies in Sofia, and, in an extended version, as part of the chapter on middle Byzantine epigraphy. The historical information yielded by this material will also be incorporated into the database of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (further details regarding this collaboration remain to be confirmed at the meeting with the project director in October 2011).

Access to the DO Archive and Collections has given me far greater and more in-depth coverage of inscriptional material than I would be able to find in any other academic resource or institution. I have also enormously benefited from many stimulating conversations with resident specialists in related fields, who have always been generous with their advice and prompt to share their insights and expertise. As a result, I have strengthened my knowledge of the issues raised by the great variety of epigraphic material that I have been able to consult, and now leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of its significance and ramifications.

 

 

Isocrates in Byzantium

Juan Signes Codoñer, Universidad de Valladolid,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My topic was the reception of Isocrates in Byzantium since the 9th century. I aimed at an analysis of the different levels of recycling of his texts, ranking from the single quotation to a more elaborated recreation of his works or ideas, as in the anonymous dialogue Charidemos. Manuscript tradition was taken into account, especially before the end of the 14th century, when the number of manuscripts multiplies. Consultation of the original editions of the Byzantine authors and of the relevant bibliography to the works and manuscripts has allowed me to deepen my views in a just a few weeks and to come to definitive conclusions, which I hope to publish very soon in separate articles, ending perhaps in a book. Although Isocrates, in contrast to Demosthenes (somehow ubiquitous since his canonization through Hermogenes), was mainly indirectly quoted and appraised and even his most popular work (the Demonicea) was referred to through gnomologia or late antique parainetic texts, there were significant instances of direct reading and appraisal of his speeches by different Byzantine authors. They were attracted by the fame of the orator as transmitted by the late antique manuals, to which he owed his popularity. Significantly enough, the manuscript tradition up to the 14th century can be connected with the names of these very few Byzantine intellectuals at the capital who since the times of John Sardianos and Photios contributed to the diffusion of Isocrates's speeches as a model for prose style. They made it thus possible for Isocrates to appear in the canonical lists of orators and rhetoricians that turn up from time to time in the writings of Byzantine authors from Psellos to Joseph Rhakendytes. To these lists I will devote a particular study. A typology of the different kinds of re-writing of classical and Byzantine texts (such as epitome, paraphrasis, and metaphrasis) is also envisaged in the frame of a congress devoted to Textual Criticism and Quellenforschung to be held in Madrid in February 2012. It will include my work on Isocrates.

 

Marian Prefigurations in Byzantine Art: Evolution of the Main Types

Svetlana Sobkovitch, École pratique des hautes études, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Old Testament episodes interpreted as prophecies of the Mother of God, Marian prefigurations find their reflection in art throughout the history of Byzantium. Research on this important imagery has mostly centered on particular aspects of it, while my approach is to treat the most important of these types as a system of symbols elaborated for a varied exemplification of a single dogmatic content. The meaning of this dogma being the birth of God and man, the ever-virgin mother can be compared to the Burning Bush of Moses, intact in the divine fire, or to the Closed door of Ezekiel, letting the Lord pass while staying shut, etc.

Revealed by the study of sources reflecting developments in beliefs, the shared meaning of types corroborates the observation that their representations rely upon similar mechanisms for the visualization of this content. The study of examples also shows that the evolution of this iconography follows the general principles of Byzantine art, starting with the continuing close relation of the image to the text and to the overall context of the cult. Finally, these iconographies share elements which contribute to the visualization of the dogma.

The fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to consolidate the content base for my Ph.D. thesis on the subject, concerning its textual sources and examples of iconography. The use of Dumbarton Oaks Library, Rare Books and Images (ICFA) Collections has been an opportunity to study a variety of visual documents, as well as related earlier and recent works including theses, electronic resources and other materials less readily accessible elsewhere. Discussion with scholars has also been helpful in organizing my ideas as to the origins and evolution of the typological imagery related to Mary, as well as to its place in the history of Marian piety in Byzantium.

 

 

Optics and Aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites

Sergei Mariev, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The project Optics and aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites analyzes the references to the theories of visual perception which are found in the texts of Theodoros Metochites. In particular it focuses on the attempts of this author to describe the experience of beauty by making explicit use of the theories of visual perception.

In order to catalogue the passages of the text which contain references to the theories of visual perception, all the writings of Theodoros Metochites had to be reexamined. The examination revealed not only a significant number of these passages in the Semeioseis and in his Poems, but also in his commentaries on Aristotle (unedited for the most part; MSS and the Latin translation by Hervetus from the 16th century were used).

In an attempt to evaluate the knowledge of Metochites against the scientific background of his time, an attempt was made first to assess the extent of knowledge of optical theories in Metochites' time, and then in the larger context of Byzantine civilization.

The examination of Metochites' intellectual background demonstrated that the intellectual elite of his time was aware of antique optical theories; several detailed discussions on the subject were translated and analyzed (notoriously by Nikephoros Choumnos, the passage is inedited and had to be examined from the MS of the Westerink collection in the Library of Dumbarton Oaks).

The evaluation of the extent of knowledge of the visual theories in Byzantium has revealed several channels through which these theories were transmitted: Patristic tradition, esp. Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Nemesius, Theodoret and some others; Medical tradition (Oribasios, Alexander of Tralles, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Aegina, Meletios the Monk, Leo the Physician Theophanes Chryssobalantes, Symeon Seth and others); Neoplatonic tradition (Michael Psellos); commentaries on Aristotle of various dates.

Finally, the evaluation of the theoretical discourse on the subject (especially Archéologie de la vision by Gerard Simon and Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance by Robert Nelson) were used to make the newly discovered historical facts relevant to ongoing research on visuality and aesthetics in the Middle Ages and in Byzantium.

The work will lead to a seminar on the Reception of Visual Theories in Byzantium which I will conduct at the University of Munich in the Winter 2010/11; the findings will be presented and discussed at the national conference of the German Society of the Byzantine Studies in Leipzig in February 2011; an article on this subject will be offered for consideration for publication in Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

 

The Syriac Translation Movement: Shaping Greek Education for a Christian Society

Alberto Rigolio, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

As a Summer Fellow in Byzantine Studies in Dumbarton Oaks, I had the chance to work on my doctoral dissertation in this highly stimulating academic environment. The main topic of my research is the Classical heritage in early Christian communities. While the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire and its neighboring societies has always attracted interest, far less attention has been paid to the continuity of the pagan legacy among Jewish, Christian and Islamic communities. Paganism is itself, of course, a vague term, since it encloses the most wide-ranging variety of rituals, cults and philosophical stances, which the revealed religions often failed to acknowledge explicitly. Nonetheless, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were deeply influenced by the cultural context in which they grew, as shown firstly by their endorsement of pagan educational practices.

The section of my thesis I am working on at the moment concentrates on the endurance of the non-Christian culture among the West Syrians, as shown by the translations of Greek pagan texts into Syriac, which were produced between the fourth and sixth centuries AD. The translation into Syriac of orations and treatises with moral contents, mainly by Ps.-Isocrates, Plutarch, Lucian and Themistius, is an argument in support of a substantial continuity of pagan educational practices among West Syrian communities in the first centuries AD, as the reason for translation may have been the actual use of such texts in a scholastic environment. Indeed, the translations have been deliberately modified in view of their use and of their Christian audience. During my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I have worked on the English translation of the Plutarch's treatises which survive in Syriac, and I had the chance to analyse comprehensively the modifications of the Syriac translations in contrast with the Greek texts, taking into account the relevant Greek and Syriac manuscripts.

My overarching aim is to contextualize the environment in which pagan translations were carried out to shed light on their agency, their use and the cultural and intellectual traditions that produced them. An appealing achievement would be, for instance, to suggest a grouping for Syriac translations according to their environment of production, as has successfully been shown as for a number of translations into Arabic.

 

A Commentary and Translation of the Three Byzantine Dramatia: Katomyomachia, Dramation, and Bion Prasis

Przemysław Marciniak, University of Silesia, Poland,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Originally during my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I intended to work on the translation of and commentary on three Byzantine dramatia: Katomyomachia and Bion prasis by Theodore Prodromos and Dramation by Michael Haplucheir. The vast library of Dumbarton Oaks changed somewhat my initial plan.

I have focused mainly on the translation and commentary of the Bion prasis (The Auction of Celebrities) which is one of the most neglected texts written by Prodromos. There exists only one edition of the work from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scholarly literature dealing with this piece is also very paltry.

The Bion prasis is usually dismissed as the imitation of the work of Lucian with the similar title. This is, however, a simplification and misunderstanding. To use the modern term, Bion prasis was designed rather as a sequel to Lucian's work (this is clearly stated at the very beginning of the text) than in imitation of it. Whereas the Syrian author auctioned only philosophers, Prodromos included in his text the most important authors of Antiquity, e.g. Homer, Euripides, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Pomponius.

Having analyzed this work, I should like to propose the theory that the Bion prasis is a text designed for school purposes. In fact, the ancient authors who are sold at the auction form the core of the Byzantine curriculum studiorum (one might say ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία—a very loosely used term and difficult to define precisely). The utterances of the characters are built mostly from either their own texts or the works ascribed to them by both ancient and Byzantine tradition.

Since the text in question was so little studied the most of the work done was very positivistic in character. I have prepared the working Polish and English translation (with facing Greek original, to make it more widely available), I have determined the sources used in the text and studied language (Prodromos changes the language of a given character in accordance to his place of origin and dialect used in his works).

The library of Dumbarton Oaks gave me an opportunity to study the issues that the analysis of the text raises: children's education in Byzantium, the place of Homer in Byzantine curriculum, knowledge of Hippocrates's and Demosthenes's bioi and writings in Byzantium as well as Pomponius's legal writings.

Bion prasis will undoubtedly contribute to our knowledge of the use of ancient writers (including the single Roman example—Pomponius as regarded as legal authority) in Byzantine education.

 

A New Historical Introduction to Byzantine Chant

Alexander L. Lingas, City University London, United Kingdom / European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

I came to Dumbarton Oaks to continue work on a new introduction to the history of Byzantine chant from Late Antiquity to the present for the Yale University Press. This will be the first book-length survey of the field since Egon Wellesz, A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (Oxford: 1949; 2nd ed. 1961), significant portions of which have been rendered obsolete. This is in part due to advances in liturgical scholarship that have shown how Byzantium throughout its long history fostered vigorous competition between regionally and functionally differentiated forms of worship, the most significant of which were the so-called cathedral and monastic traditions of Constantinople and Palestine.

At Dumbarton Oaks I was able to consolidate much of my previous research into a bibliographic computer database of over 2000 entries, a task greatly aided by the helpful staff, open stacks and electronic resources of its superb library. These same resources were invaluable as I also worked to locate and absorb path-breaking new research that has appeared in the last decade on several areas that figure prominently in my narrative: the ancient liturgy of Jerusalem, the musical innovations of Stoudite monasticism, and musical interchange between Byzantium and its Slavic and Latin neighbors. The other major task that I accomplished during my eight weeks at Dumbarton Oaks was a 77-page draft of a study of the intellectual context for Byzantine liturgical singing synthesising material that I have been collecting over the last twenty years. This study, the writing of which was nourished by informal conversations with other Summer Fellows, will serve both as a freestanding introduction to Performing the Liturgy in Byzantium and as the interpretive framework for the musical data presented in my book for Yale Press. In conclusion, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to the administration, fellows and staff of Dumbarton Oaks for eight weeks that were not only very productive, but also most enjoyable.

 

Retelling the Family: Blood Ties in Egyptian Monasticism (Ⅳ–Ⅶ Centuries)

Mariachiara Giorda, University of Turin, Torino, Italy,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During these weeks of my Summer Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I worked on the last two chapters of my book about Egyptian monasteries and in particular about the "monastic family": within ascetic literature, it is common to read biblical quotations which imply that the path to perfection involves renouncing family ties. But this is only part of the story: at the same time there are holy couples and entire families which are attracted to the ascetic style of life.

Creating an alternative notion of family can transform blood ties and a new monastic identity may take one of a number of possible forms. So, a more attentive consideration of the ascetic families which emerged in Egypt has given me the possibility to understand the plurality of monastic strategies where family is always the focus, but forms of organization are different. The study of these family transformations also helped to define the complex relationship between asceticism as a way of life and monasticism as a form of social organization.

The first step of my research concerned the language of the family. The monastic family is no longer a biological family, but a spiritual family, which has adopted the contemporary Christian family as a model. The terms commonly used to define the roles within a family are referred to the duties of people living in the monastery: the relationships among mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons are re-used in a monastic context to define monastic links.

The use of the language of the family which helps to create a self-awareness of the family is accompanied by frequent recourse to images and metaphors of the family: for example many monastic cells in Egypt were lined with pictures of the Holy Family, the model of the family par excellence. On this premise, a second phase of my research was dedicated to analyzing the use of family imagery in monastic sources, with particular attention to the epigraphic and archaeological sources.

I had the unexpected possibility of working here with a Fellow who is a textiles expert. Therefore, I was able to spend some time researching the question of monastic identity in particular the issue of the monastic garment (habit) which, representing both the inside and outside, was a important symbol of what was individual and collective. Having analyzed iconographic sources, I came to the conclusion that the koukoullion is the most important part of the monastic vestment. For this reason, I have focused on the origins and the development of this part of the garment.

 

The Byzantine Aftermath of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata

Manfred Kraus, University of Tübingen,

Fellow 2010/11

My research project on the role of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata in Byzantine education and literary culture progressed during my semester at Dumbarton Oaks, yet it also expanded considerably. With the aid of the excellent library, the range of texts which could be incorporated and of the literature included was greatly enlarged. Although the material is vast, I was able to survey, map, and structure material from the long period from the fourth to the fifteenth century and to catch rare glimpses into Byzantine classrooms. Various new ideas and new questions emerged. Special topics I have looked at include the influence of iconoclasm on ekphrasis, the role of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate in promoting progymnasmatic exercises, the function of Nicaea as preserver of the tradition between 1204 and 1261, and the incorporation and ideological functionalization of Christian topics, Byzantine history and contemporaneous politics in model examples, particularly in ethopoeia, encomium and ekphrasis. In some thirteenth-century treatises, besides the dominant Aphthonian tradition, traces of non-Aphthonian strands (Theon, Minucianus?) emerged. The transfer of progymnasmata to the West in the Renaissance also turned out to be a more multifaceted process than generally assumed. The projected comprehensive repertory of surviving Byzantine model examples was still unfinished by the end of term. Besides work on my core project, I completed two articles, and had three more revised and sent off to press. I wrote and delivered two conference papers, and started work on a third one on rhetoric and law studies in early Byzantium. In all these endeavors, intensive communication with other fellows and staff helped immensely.

 

Mapping Sacred Landscapes in Byzantium

Veronica della Dora, University of Bristol, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My project interrogates non-linear landscape perceptions in late antiquity and medieval Byzantium.

Landscape is commonly deemed to be a western European Renaissance invention linked to the theorization of linear perspective as a distinctively modern way of looking at the world. In my discipline, cultural geography, pre-Renaissance representations of the environment have been generally dismissed as “artificial” and “disregardful of perspective.” In this project I attempted to challenge this view and offer a re-reading of this perceived “lack of technique,” or “lack of interest in nature” as a different “way of seeing” and making sense of the world, one emphasizing the visual energeia and memorability of singular elements (or places) over their modern linear integration; one resting on the repetition and superimposition of pre-existing topoi on the physical environment, rather than on its faithful description.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I carried out my research on two fronts. Firstly, I attempted at developing a conceptual framework to engage with “Byzantine landscape” as a specific “way of seeing” the world. Secondly, I researched perceptions of different types of environments, which will form the core of a monograph on Byzantine landscape. While most of my writing here has focused on perceptions of gardens and wilderness, I have also had the chance to expand my past research on mountains and caves, and I am currently gathering materials on oceans, rivers and springs, which will constitute the final substantial section of the book.

Published outputs

I am planning to submit a book proposal of the above-mentioned monograph to CUP over the next few weeks and I am hoping to complete an initial draft of the book by the end of the summer. Other publications I have been working on while here include:

  1. della Dora, V. Topia: Landscape before Linear Perspective, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, accepted.
  2. della Dora, V. Mapping Pathways to Heaven: Identity and the Holy on a Post-Byzantine Topographic Engraving of Meteora, Imago Mundi, currently under review.

della Dora, V. Setting and Blurring Boundaries: Pilgrims, Tourists, and Landscape in Mount Athos and Meteora, International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, just submitted.

 

Warfare in Later Byzantium

Mark C. Bartusis, Northern State University, Aberdeen,

Fellow 2010/11

My work focused on analyzing a representative collection of late Byzantine battles and creating new narratives in order to illustrate how the army operated in practice. I worked on the battle of Klokotnica (1230) in which Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria defeated Theodore Doukas of Epiros; the battle of Rupel pass (1255) in which Theodore II Laskaris defeated a force of rebel Bulgarians; the battle of Bapheus (Koyunhisar) (1302) in which the legendary Osman defeated the Byzantine commander Mouzalon; the battle of Apros (1305) in which the Aragonese adventurers of the Catalan Company defeated the Byzantines under Michael IX Palaiologos; the battle of Pelekanos (1329) in which the Ottoman emir Orhan defeated Andronikos III Palaiologos; and the battle of Peritheorion (1345) in which John Kantakouzenos defeated the Bulgarian bandit Momčilo. In connection with the battle of Rupel pass I spent some time working out the geography of Theodore II Laskaris's campaigns of 1255–56. In addition, I submitted a final draft of my book on pronoia to the publisher, found a suitable cover image for the book from material within Dumbarton Oaks's coin collection, wrote a book review, and wrote a long article on the institution of pronoia in medieval Serbia.

 

Vernacular Byzantine Translations and the Medieval European Romance, 1350–1550

Kostas Yiavis, Cornell University,

Fellow 2010/11

In 2010–11 I worked on two books seeking to rethink the transition from Byzantine to Early Modern. Both are part of an incipient literary history of the Greek Renaissance.

First, I concluded my critical edition of the rhymed romance Imperios and Margarona which was wildly popular throughout Europe (c.300 versions were traced from the twelfth-century French original to the 1970s German adaptations, including Hebrew and Armenian). Imperios was inscribed within the tradition not only of the West, but also crucially of the East.

The other project was the first assessment of the earliest adaptations of Western works into vernacular Greek in the 14th–16th centuries. These adaptations, often dismissed as unoriginal, are reclaimed as fiercely important-not least for their decisive enhancement of vernacular authority. The study involves comparisons with, inter alia, Boccaccio, Chaucer and Gower, and aims to reconfigure vernacular Greek literature as part of the total European field.

Diversion came in the form of an article that establishes the topos of external attacks on courtly feasts. The essay covers the period from the inception of the motif in Gilgameš, and its reinvention by Homer and Virgil, until the medieval and the composite production of the sixteenth century in a range of languages including Hebrew, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, Scottish, Middle High German, Italian, Old Norse, Medieval Greek, Middle Persian and Japanese.

Later in the year, I started thinking on a book on satire featuring the Cretan poet Sachlikis for the Byzantine section of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library edited by Alice-Mary Talbot.

 

Temple Sleep from Antiquity to Byzantium: Healing, Dreaming, and Storytelling

Ildiko Csepregi, University of Reading, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My research at Dumbarton Oaks focused on the transition of Greek temple sleep into Christian incubation ritual: sleeping in a sacred space to obtain healing through the dream-appearance of the healer (a god like Asclepius or later a physician saint). My sources were the miracles of Thekla, the two versions of Kosmas and Damian's miracles, the collection of Cyrus and John, and the corpus of St Artemios and Dometios, Therapon, Isaiah, Demetrios and St Michael. These collections, from the fifth to seventh centuries, from the eastern Mediterranean, together constitute a well-defined group, differing in kind from other contemporary Byzantine hagiographical records. I examined the transformation of the cult place, the cult function (healing) and the technique of healing as well as the ritual (temple sleep) and the medium (dream). My major interests were

  1. to detect the formation of such miracle stories,
  2. to analyze such issues as the compositional history of the tales,
  3. the figure of the hagiographer,
  4. the role of telling and listening to the miracles in the ritual experience,
  5. the tenacity of the cultic and narrative patterns, and
  6. the finality of the recording of these miracles

Thanks to the wonderfully easy access to both primary and secondary scholarship, some new ideas also emerged from this project that I plan to develop into three conference papers before integrating them into the monograph. While previously I concentrated mostly on the texts of incubation miracles, the resources and the archaeologists and art historians in Dumbarton Oaks provided invaluable help for broadening my perspective towards archaeological and pictorial sources. And I saw the gardens in their autumn splendor every day…

 

Icons of Military Saints in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean: Image and Community in the 9th–13th Centuries

Heather Badamo, University of Michigan,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

The project that I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks junior fellow was the completion of my dissertation, Image and Community, which I will defend in June 2011. In this project, I explore points of visual contact between Egyptian, Levantine, and Byzantine icons of military saints to write an account of the images—their emergence and characteristics—as a frontier phenomenon during the era of the Crusades. By focusing on icons that incorporate diverse visual vocabularies, I consider the ways in which images could remap cultural and religious geographies through their mobility, creating communal ties through the migration of saints' images. At the same time, as I show, militarized iconographies were deployed to consolidate Christian sentiment against religious others, thereby defining and enforcing communal boundaries, both between the monotheistic faiths and the sects within them. Ultimately, I seek to shed light on the complex interactions that took place among various constituencies in the eastern Mediterranean: image-makers and hagiographers, Christians and Muslims, and eastern Christians and Byzantines.

This year, I drew on the unparalleled resources at Dumbarton Oaks to draft three chapters of my dissertation (focusing on historiography, miracle accounts, and cult formation) and to revise the whole for submission. Over the course of the year, my work benefitted not simply from the excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks, but from cross-disciplinary exchanges with fellows, readers, and visiting scholars. I also benefitted from the engagement and support of the wonderful librarians and museum curators who made the collections accessible, as well as a pleasure to use. The generosity of the extended Dumbarton Oaks community, in making suggestions and sharing material, improved the dissertation in countless ways, for which I am grateful.

 

The Byzantine Hellene: Emperor Theodore Ⅱ Laskaris and the Transformation of Byzantine Culture after 1204

Dimiter G. Angelov, Harvard University / University of Birmingham, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My spring-term Fellowship in Byzantine Studies was devoted to work on the historical biography of the emperor and philosopher Theodore II Laskaris (1221/22–1258). In many ways Theodore Laskaris can be seen as the Byzantine counterpart of the thirteenth-century western emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Revolution from the top down, youthful radicalism, and experimental originality are among the terms best describing his unconventional spirit. As a reformer of the resurgent Byzantine empire in Anatolian exile, Theodore stirred up a dramatic political and ideological strife in the 1250s that set the stage for the rise to power of his archenemy Michael Palaiologos. Endowed with an inquisitive mind and an ever-observant eye, Theodore embarked in his mid-twenties on a pioneering series of literary, philosophical and theological works, where he often entered new and uncharted territory. The four months of my fellowship have enabled me to progress significantly with my writing. I have drafted five chapters or appendices and have completed fully my research for the book, including the study of key philosophical texts and all his letters as well as the transcription of a few essays by Theodore Laskaris in a Vienna manuscript that came to my attention only in the autumn of last year. I have also completed the critical edition, translation, and commentary of a hitherto unpublished text by Theodore Laskaris, Moral Pieces, which is due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

‘Imagine There's a Tragelaph’: Phantasia and Aesthetics in the Middle Byzantine Period (Ⅸ–Ⅻ Century)

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Fellow 2010/11

During the two terms of my fellowship I managed to complete a bibliographical survey which has paved the way for the first draft of my monograph on imagination in Byzantine aesthetics (provisional title: Fantasizing Gazes: Imagination and the Beholder in Byzantine Aesthetics). I completed three chapters devoted to imagination and emotions from the third to the ninth century CE. I also worked extensively on the third part of the book, dealing with the notion of fictionality both in art theory and in literature in the post-iconoclastic era and delivered a paper at Harvard on the subject. Moreover I finished and submitted a paper on visual imagination and sense perception in Byzantine culture from the seventh through the ninth century (for Knotenpunkt Byzanz, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, de Gruyter, 2011). Along with this major project I have been working on a paper focused on Synesios's treatise on dreams against the background of Patriarch Theophilos's anti-Origenistic politics in early fifth-century Alexandria (for the Brepols volume Synesios von Kyrene. Politik - Literatur - Philosophie). I also completed two more papers. The first one deals with the character of Thersites in Aeneas of Gaza, at the crossroads between pantomime and rhetorical exercises, for the volume Lectures et commentaires rhétoriques d'Homère par les Anciens (Rue d'Ulm - Presse de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure 2012). The second one is a literary study of the logos eucharisterios of John Eugenicus, to be submitted to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. To sum up, it has been a wonderful year, and not just for my research. I had eight months full of amazing experiences, unforgettable friendships, and warm, human relationships.

 

In Search of the ‘Eastern’ Image: Sacred Painting in Eighth and Ninth Century Rome

Annie Labatt,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

During my year as a Junior Fellow, I wrote the majority of the dissertation which I will defend in October 2011. My project focuses on the sacred iconography-specifically the Anastasis, the Transfiguration, the Maria Regina, and the image of the Sickness of King Hezekiah-of early medieval Rome. Previous scholars interpreted the eighth and ninth centuries by distinguishing between native Roman iconography and alien Eastern imports. But in many ways this was a period not of clear binary distinctions but of flux. Entirely new iconographies appeared, some of which had a powerful resonance in Rome and appeared on all varieties of church decoration, from apses to small devotional niches to portable icons. Other images appeared once, only to disappear from the canon of church painting for centuries. More mysterious yet were those iconographical types that had a brief moment of popularity, but then disappeared altogether. The deductive tinkering, to use current evolutionary language, at work in these iconographies shows that early medieval sacred painting in Rome was a whirlwind of inventiveness, experimentation, and innovation, not simply a warehouse for Byzantine iconography, as was once thought.

 

Papal Involvement in the Spread of Greek Culture to the Medieval Latin West

Réka Forrai, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary,

Fellow 2010/11

The aim of my project was to investigate the Papacy's role in spreading Greek culture to the Latin West from the 7th to the 13th centuries, from the reign of Gregory the Great to Boniface VIII. Specifically, I was looking at the cultural policies of the medieval papacy and their effect on the formation of Greek textual canons in the West. Rome's crucial role as mediator between East and West throughout the Middle Ages and beyond has been often noted. But so far no systematic study has been made of the papacy's share in this mediation.

Dumbarton Oaks is one of the rare libraries where the history of medieval east-west relations is thoroughly documented. Moreover, during the current academic year, Dumbarton Oaks hosted a number of fellows working on the subject of Byzantine-Western political and cultural interactions. This combination of a rich research material and a likeminded academic community provided me with ideal research conditions. It was during a previous Summer Fellowship at this institute that I laid down the foundations of this project, and now I had the chance to investigate in depth some methodological and theoretical concepts. I was primarily concerned with two related themes: censorship and the creation of canons.

The medieval papacy took an active role in filtering both pagan science and eastern religiosity, whether the Aristotelian canon, ancient medical corpora, ecclesiastical historiography, hagiography or theological documents. Texts were used strategically to build a cultural identity: appropriation of items of the Greek legacy via translation is governed by a rivalry with Byzantium. Claiming the role of mediator between Latin and Greek culture reflects also an anxiety for cultural control over Latin literary production. Translations served as spiritual weapons not only against the East, but also in competition with Western politico-cultural entities, such as the royal courts of Europe.

Translation is a strategic site from which institutions can control the impact of other cultures on their own, and implicitly shape the cultural identity of their community. The canonization of a body of texts limits contact between cultures to the segment desired by the regularizing institution. Unsurprisingly, the earliest occurrences of papal censorship concern translations. As Greek culture was perceived as both authoritative and threatening at the same time, patronage as a way of control was of primary interest for the papacy.

 

Agrarian Change in Byzantium c.630–1204

Peter Sarris, Trinity College, University of Cambridge,

Fellow 2010/11

My project for the term of my stay was to review the sources pertaining to large estates and their management in Byzantium from the seventh through to the thirteenth centuries, with a view to examining the survival of forms of direct management, wage labour, and tied labour. During the course of my stay I read all the post-Justinianic legal and jurisprudential sources from the reign of Justin II to the eleventh century (including the legal lexica); I read and surveyed the typika and monastic documentary sources from Athos and western Asia Minor; and I also read up on the latest archaeological studies whilst also reading the letters of Michael Psellus and a number of other literary sources. This research will form the basis of a monograph, but I wrote up my basic argument in a 12,000-word article to appear in the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire ('Large Estates and the Peasantry in Byzantium, c. 600–1100'). My research also fed into a chapter for a book on law and custom in the early middle ages to be edited by Alice Rio ('Law and Custom in the Byzantine Countryside From Justinian I to Basil II', 7,000 words), and a 13,000-word article for Early Medieval Europe responding to primitivist approaches to the late antique economy ('The Early Byzantine Economy in Context: Aristocratic Property and Economic Growth Reconsidered"). Lastly, I made use of the library's resources to make progress with a translation and commentary on Justinian's Novels that David Miller and I are preparing for Cambridge University Press, and I completed revising a 200,000-word book for Oxford University Press which was able to enter the production process (A Threshing Floor of Countless Races—Europe and the Mediterranean From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, c.500–700).

 

Characterization of Coptic Textiles: The Collection of the Textile and Clothing Museum of Barcelona

Ana Cabrera L., Museo Nacional De Artes Decorativas, Madrid, Spain,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During my time at Dumbarton Oaks I focused on one aspect of my dissertation, the artistic aspects and decorative patterns of the Coptic textiles. This was possible owing to the access to Dumbarton Oaks's splendid Byzantine Studies Library, the Index of Christian Art (relevant to identifying the iconographic themes of the textiles under study), the Black and White Collection, the Census of Byzantine Textiles in North American Collections, as well as the textile collection housed at Dumbarton Oaks, which provided a comparative reference for the textiles under study.

All this research is related to my dissertation topic: the Coptic textiles of the Museu Textil y d'Indumentaria de Barcelona. For some time now, the study of the so-called Coptic textiles has undergone a great development, thanks to the studies of important European collections such as Abbeg-Stiftung Foundation of Bern, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst of Vienna, the Musée du Louvre of Paris, and the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst of Berlin. My doctoral dissertation will complement and expand upon these studies by focusing on the Coptic textiles the Museum of Barcelona. This impressive collection of 178 textiles (mostly linen and wool) remains unstudied today.

My dissertation explores, on the one hand, the characterization of textile production techniques and raw materials and, on the other, the historical, socio-economic and artistic contexts. Thus, on top of the customary formal analyses, various scientific analyses are being carried out, including the analysis of dyes and fibers using high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and induced light optical microscopy. The results of this work will help us to better understand the raw materials used in Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The characterization of raw materials enables us to determine the extent of trading networks and the survival of cultural or aesthetic values despite the socio-political changes undergone in Egypt during antiquity and at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Additionally, I use radiocarbon dating to obtain a precise chronological context for these textiles, going beyond the traditional formal analysis for dating textile styles. Textiles with a clear archaeological context will be carefully considered, as these may enhance the knowledge of the development of these textile styles.

The study carried out at Dumbarton Oaks has permitted me to exchange views with the Dumbarton Oaks Collection curators, Dr. Gudrun Bühl and Dr. Stephen Zwirn. This time at Dumbarton Oaks was of fundamental importance because I had had access to unrivalled resources unavailable in my country, and the opportunity to complete one of the principal chapters of my dissertation.

The Barcelona museum intends to make the results of my work available to the scholarly community and beyond: after completion of the dissertation, information on the textiles studied will be available on the website of the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaria of Barcelona.

 

Ptochoprodromika: Edition, Translation, Commentary, with Introduction

Margaret B. Alexiou, Harvard University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

This project was to bring as close to publication as possible the text, translation and commentary of the Ptochoprodromika of Theodore Prodromos which was begun in collaboration with Michael Hendy, who died in 2008. A working text has been established for Poem I (MS G)(274 lines), Poem II (MS G) (117 lines)+ (MS H) (150 lines), the so-called "Maiuri Poem" (65 lines), Poem III (MS H) (c.550 lines) + MSS CSA and g (c.200), Poem IV (MS G) (167 lines), its Proem (MSS CSA) (56 lines), and the ending (MS g) (150 lines). Facing translation is now complete for all passages to be presented in the main section.

Since this will not be a full critical edition, no critical apparatus will appear beneath the Text and Translation. However, other MSS readings, which are of potential significance for literary, linguistic or historical reasons, will be presented, with translation as appropriate, and linguistic commentary will appear in this section, rather than below. For the commentary proper, sufficient material has now been collected on all aspects relevant to the interpretation of the poems, including: weights and coins; household economy; family life and law; court ceremonial; diets and dishes, foodstuffs and provenance; dress; monastic life, education and learning; City street life—and many more. This will be the first work to deal systematically and substantially—if not exhaustively—with the twelfth-century realia in the text, and the commentary will deal with items of historical, cultural, and literary interest.

Hesseling and Pernot provide a 172-page word list (with each form of all words cited), but meanings are only rarely hazarded. Eideneier has a partial glossary but some meanings given are inadequate or demonstrably wrong, especially where matters of ceremonial dress are concerned. E. Kriaras' Dictionary of Medieval Greek (MMG) remains the most reliable source, but it has only reached "pnevmonas". The number of rare words, compound coinages, and hapax legomena, both within these Poems and found in Theodore Prodromos' other works, is highly significant, especially when shared with medical texts or with ancient authors in specific contexts. I have made a list of such words, and carried out a thorough dictionary search. My TLG search is not yet complete, but where undertaken, the results look very promising, for alongside the realia, lexical links can be used to help solve questions of date and authorship.

Work on the Introduction included establishing why the poems are important, and their date and authorship (1140s for Poems I and II, 1150s or after for Poems II and IV, 1170s for Proem IV [CSA]). The twelfth-century context has required consideration of when "modern Greek" began, and the kinds of texts and genres its forms comprise. Literary qualities include consideration of imperial court theatron, street scenes, uses of dialogue and register variation, Byzantine forms of humor (verbal punning, invective, rude, slapstick), and scenes from everyday life covering all stages of human life—and death—for classes ranging from the emperor downwards to the basest. The poems demonstrate Byzantine aesthetics as viewed from the bottom up, not the top down, and substantial progress has been made towards publication, including the draft of a proposal to the press.

 

Late Roman and Byzantine Weights in the Collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Oğuz Tekin, Istanbul University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The scope of this project is to make a study and a catalogue of the nearly 500 hundred Late Roman and Byzantine weights in the collection of Istanbul Archaeology Museum. They are all unpublished and not in exhibition. There are mainly two groups of weights: Commercial weights and coin weights. Since the photographs and the technical measurements of the weights were taken previously in the museum, I could classified them according to their forms and units, thus I was able to make a tentative catalogue of them during my two-month study here. The chronological span for the weighs ranges from 4th century through the 13th century AD.

Researching through the museum catalogues and private collections, weights were classified in eight main types:

  1. Spherical commercial weights,
  2. Circular commercial weights,
  3. Square commercial weights,
  4. Octagonal commercial weights,
  5. Circular coin weights,
  6. Square coin weights,
  7. Octagonal coin weights, and
  8. Bowl-shaped weights

Types 2, 3, 5 and 6 form the majority in number.

While type 1 consists of Late Roman weights, the rest consists of Byzantine weights. All the weights except the bowl-shaped ones, are engraved or punched on the top with the denominational mark, mainly inlaid with silver. The largest unit is a 3 libra weight which weighs 975 gram and it is among the circular commercial weights (type 2).

Consequently, the above-given information is the basis of the tentative catalogue. Nearly all the weights were classified and catalogued by their forms and units, as well as their chronology. With some unique examples in the collection, the catalogue will make a contribution to the studies in the area of Byzantine weights. The catalogue will be published in the first half of 2010.

 

The Art of Death in Byzantium: Funerary Art and Architecture, 1204–1453

Sarah T. Brooks, James Madison University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Commemorations for the dead were central to the spiritual and social life of the Byzantine faithful. Whether laid to rest in monumental tombs or in unmarked graves beneath the church floor, the dead were present in nearly every church of Late Byzantium. Despite the centrality of death and burial to Byzantine religion and culture, there exists no focused study of how burial and these important practices honoring the dead shaped art and architecture in the empire's final centuries. My study explores the rich and fascinating history of funerary art and building, tomb patronage, and commemorative ritual during this period (1204–1453).

During the summer 2010 at Dumbarton Oaks, using especially the library's extensive holdings of literary and historical works, I made significant progress towards refining my analysis of tomb patronage. Diverse family, social and economic ties attracted tomb patrons to particular institutions and bound these individuals together in a network of giving that often began before death and could extend for decades thereafter. In the case of families supporting a single institution, these ties could last for several generations, even in the face of desperately declining financial resources. The relationships between church founders/restorers and subsequent tomb patrons are especially interesting and can be explored in both the archaeological and literary records, often with the two providing complementary information. Especially helpful to my research were the publications of the Athos Archives, including the many Late Byzantine wills and related primary source documentation that they contain, as well as the extensive prosopographical reference works that shed light on specific individuals of the Palaiologan period. Collaboration and discussion of this material with my summer colleagues in Late Byzantine literature, religion and history yielded some very fruitful results which enriched my work significantly.

Frescoed niche tomb commemorating the deceased Konstantinos (back wall, left) and a young woman (right intrados), joined by six family members including the church restorer, dated 1335/1336, Church of Hagios Phanourios, Rhodes, Greece (Drawing by Karen Rasmussen, Archeographics.com; Copyright: Sarah Brooks)

 

The Earliest Life of the Virgin: The First English Translation from the Old Georgian

Stephen J. Shoemaker, University of Oregon,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

During my fellowship period, I began work on an English translation of the earliest complete Life of the Virgin, a text originally written in Greek that now survives only in Old Georgian. Although it has been long overlooked by scholarship, this seventh-century Marian biography exercised a determinative influence on numerous Mariological writings of the Middle Ages. My translation, the first into English, will make this pivotal text more widely available to scholars and students of ancient and medieval Christianity, and should advance our understanding of the formation of Marian piety considerably.

The project has proven more difficult than I had initially anticipated, insofar as the critical edition of the text is often unreliable. The edition contains frequent misprints and other more serious errors in reading the manuscripts, and consequently translation has required regular consultation of the manuscript tradition in order to determine the text. Thus, my translation will also serve as something of a corrected edition of this important text. Despite these circumstances, I was able to translate roughly one-third of the text (about 60 pages) during the fellowship period. This is more than I had originally planned, an outcome that was greatly aided by the excellent resources of the library's Byzantine collection. While in residence, I focused my work particularly on sections of the text that were especially influential on the subsequent Byzantine tradition, in order to make the best use of the library's resources. The final result of this project will be a book-length translation of the complete text together with critical notes and an extended introduction to the Life and its broader cultural significance, and I anticipate its completion within the next year and half.

 

Byzantine Seals with Family Names in Dumbarton Oaks

Werner Seibt, Austrian Academy of Sciences,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

My summer fellowship arose from an invitation to serve as co-editor of the Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, volumes 7–9 (focusing on seals with family names; forthcoming) with John Nesbitt, which I accepted. In order to publish Dumbarton Oaks's collection of seals of family names, John Nesbitt first must identify the relevant seals and then pull the seals cards on which their transcriptions are recorded. From the cards he types two lists: a list of seals grouped alphabetically according to family name, with notation of accession number and negative number, and a list of seals grouped according to accession number, with notation of negative number and family name. The first list allows one to exercise control over the names being published. The second list allows one to identify in a methodical fashion the negatives which have to be pulled and given to Joe Mills (Dumbarton Oaks's photographer) for reproduction and transfer to CD. To date, John Nesbitt has compiled lists of seals with family names beginning with the letters "A," "B," "CH," D(oukai), K(omenos), and K(ontostephanos). So far, the total number of seals identified and listed amounts to 1,131 specimens. The number excludes seals that are cross-referenced with earlier publications. Before my arrival, John Nesbitt sent me these lists along with 1,131 photocopies of the cards on which the seal inscriptions are transcribed.

Using these lists, I focused on identifying seals with unusual, strange, or surprising names (according to initial transcriptions; all the readings on the cards are first impressions which need to be verified or refined). This work plan proved profitable since after my arrival at Dumbarton Oaks and my personal inspection of the seals I was able in a number of cases to propose alternate readings and corrections. The results will be checked in Vienna against my phototheke, the largest in the world.

Because the seals room closed in the early evening, I found that I had time to devote to two other projects. The first being the history of the metropolis of Caucasus in the 14th century (located presumably in the region east of Alania, an area occupied by the ancestors of the modern Os(s)etians, where Christianity was first introduced by the Georgians in the 12–13th centuries). The second project was a study of the continuation of Byzantine power in Iberia and Kars, at least during the first years of the reign of Alexios Komnenos, as confirmed by newly discovered seals. I have been pondering if the dux Alousianos mentioned on the seals could have been identical with the Alousianos who was governor of Antiocheia for the Seljuks and before the occupation of Antiocheia by the crusaders. Sigillography can throw much needed light on conditions in the eastern Byzantine provinces after the battle of Mantzikert. Some of my studies of this issue are already published, while others are in press.

My wife, the recipient of a post-doctoral stipend during the time of my fellowship, worked primarily on checking the readings of some 300 metrical seals that John Nesbitt had pulled and segregated in the seals safe prior to our arrival. She is near completion of a project that involves compiling a corpus of all metrical legends on seals—both published and unpublished. We are pleased to say that she was able to examine all 300 seals (and quite a few more before her departure). Many metrical verses include family names, so her studies also help to advance the progress of Seals 7–9.

 

 

 

Pragmatics, Preaching and Social Change in Late Antiquity: The Sermons of John Chrysostom

Isabella Sandwell, University of Bristol

Fellow 2008/09

The past three and a half months have been a very productive time. When I arrived at Dumbarton Oaks, I had good knowledge of John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis and had carried out extensive reading in cognitive approaches to literature and communication. During my time here, I have been able to consolidate my knowledge of these cognitive approaches and begin applying them to Chrysostom's first ten homilies on Genesis. Writing up these ideas for my research report and for a paper delivered at the Antioch day at Catholic University has greatly clarified my thinking. I now have a clear idea of how I will organize the research for my book on cognitive and pragmatic approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching and the kinds of arguments I will be making. Some of the material used in the papers delivered at Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University will be used in an essay to be published in a collection I am co-editing with a colleague at Bristol University entitled Delivering the Word: Audience Reception of Exegetical Preaching in Western Christianity. My main goal for my time at Dumbarton Oaks was to write an article showing the problems and benefits of using cognitive approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching. By the end of my time here, I will have completed a draft version of this article with the aim of submitting to a suitable journal later in the summer. During my time here, I also gave a paper in the Classics Department of Harvard University.

 

 

Ancient Greek and Christian Rhetorical Tradition in the Work of Ioannes Sikeliotes

Panagiotis Roilos, Harvard University

Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks during the spring semester of 2009 I studied the influence of ancient Greek rhetoric and Christian literary tradition in the work of Ioannes Sikeliotes (late 10th–early 11th c.). Ioannes Sikeliotes is the author of the most extensive, innovative, and influential Byzantine commentary (almost 500 pages in C. Walz's monumental but occasionally problematic edition) on Hermogenes' Peri Ideon. My research has focused on Sikeliotes' dialogue not only with Hermogenes but also with Plato (especially his Gorgias), Ailios Aristeides, the Neoplatonist Olympiodoros, and Gregorios of Nazianzos. In addition, I continued working on my translation of Sikeliotes' commentary and have completed the translation of more than half of this work. I have also identified a number of problematic readings in Walz's edition, which I shall take into account in my future edition of Sikeliotes' commentary.

 

The Origins and Evolution of the Byzantine Rite for the Consecration of Churches

Vitalijs Permjakovs, University of Notre Dame

Junior Fellow 2008/09

In the course of my Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks I was working on a project investigating the evolution for the Byzantine rite of the dedication of churches (encaenia) from its origins in the Late Antiquity until the emergence of dedication rites in the 8th–12th century euchologia. As a result of my research, it was possible to investigate the complex origins of early Christian practices of dedication, especially with respect to the apparent appropriation of Roman traditions of dedicatio/consecratio of a new temple. I have examined the Christian sources from 4th to 6th centuries, reflecting the varied customs for the inauguration of a new church building in different urban centers of Eastern Roman empire with special focus on Jerusalem and Constantinople. As part of my work for this project I have prepared the translation of liturgical hymns pertaining to the annual feast of Dedication of the church of the Holy Anastasis in Jerusalem, which survived as part of the "Old iadgari" (Georgian translation of the 5th–8th century Jerusalem Tropologion). Also, using the resources at Dumbarton Oaks and the microfilm collection of the Library of Congress, I have translated and collated the texts pertaining to the annual festival of dedication from two unpublished Georgian manuscripts, Sinai iber. 12 (11th c.) and Sinai iber. 54 (10th c.), both of which appear to reflect the liturgical rite of Jerusalem at the end of the first millennium. At the same time, it was crucial to survey all the available (published and unpublished) manuscript sources for the Byzantine rite euchologion in order to observe the evolution of the rite of consecration of an altar and of the dedication of the church from the 8th to 13th century (ms. Grottaferrata G. b. I was the latest I studied), as well as the variety of other rites used for similar purposes in the Byzantine tradition (e.g. consecration of an antimension). Comparison with the rites for consecrating an altar in the West Syriac, Armenian and Coptic traditions has shown some significant parallels with similar texts of the Byzantine tradition which can indicate a common, possibly Palestinian, origin for this ritual, first attested in the euchologion Barberini gr. 336 at the end of the 8th century CE.

 

Constructing Ideas of Christian Life: The Strategies of Interpretation of the Biblical Texts by Palladius of Hellenopolis

Yuliya Minets, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Junior Fellow 2008/09

The main research question of my dissertation is the use of biblical texts to construct ideals of exemplary Christian lives in Late Antique writings; I pay particular attention to the different purposes and the target audiences of the texts analyzed. I investigate the narrative structures where the biblical quotations, references, and allusions to Scripture were used as well as their understanding and interpretation by Late Antique Christian authors, that is, the meanings which were read into the sacred texts and used for developing ideas and ideal images of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries. The main sources for the study are two texts of Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis—the Lausiac History and the Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom.

My goal this year at Dumbarton Oaks was to complete the main stages of research for my dissertation, and to write the first draft of the text. I was able to finish all three main parts of my work. Chapter 1 is devoted to contextualization of Palladius, as a Late Antique Christian author, and his works in the historical and intellectual situation of the 4th and 5th centuries. I investigated Palladius' biography, his educational and social background, his intellectual circle and teachers; I carried out the source study of the Lausiac History and Dialogue, and prepared the overview of secondary literature. The Lausiac History and the Dialogue are particularly interesting because they were written by a single author, but differ considerably both from a linguistic point of view and in their contents. The texts differ in features of style and rhetorical organization, in the level of theological understanding and elaboration of ideas, and in the use of well-known patterns and examples from the Bible, early Christian writings, and Classical literature.

In the second chapter I focused, firstly, on textual studies of the biblical quotations and references in the Lausiac History and Dialogue, paying attention to the sources of citation, and to any literal alterations which the text of the Bible underwent due to Palladius' intentional or unconscious changes, because of the methods of a Late Antique author's work and the influence of other authors; secondly, the narrative strategies and rhetorical construction which Palladius used to involve the biblical texts in his own narratives.

In the third chapter I considered the different interpretations of the biblical texts in Palladius' two works which result from different attitudes to certain issues, such as wisdom, eschatology, pride, the appearance of the Holy Man, mixed male and female communities of ascetics, etc. These issues were important in the Late Antique Christian discourse, and were variously evaluated and interpreted in different kinds of texts. Therefore, they work as a litmus test for a problem—to define the level of the particular text in its contemporary discourse. Correspondingly, they reflect the expectations, ideas, and worldview of the potential audience, and thus help us to define the place of Palladius' works in the different intellectual trends of Christianity of the 4th and 5th centuries.

In the Lausiac History Palladius tends to present ideas associated with the communities of monks in the Egyptian desert and, probably, with the lower layer of laypeople who sometimes were not so sophisticated in their understanding of biblical words. I do not mean that Palladius expressed simple ideas, rather he presented them in a form comprehensible to his audience. The Dialogue, on the other hand, is polemical narrative which delivers ideas appropriate for high-level and educated church authorities and secular officials. Its potential audience might be the members of John Chrysostom's party who in 400–410 needed to "create" their own hero, prove their heroism in supporting him, and justify their suffering for truth.

 

Late Byzantine Rural Sites in the North Aegean: Their Archaeology and Distribution Patterns

Fotini Kondyli, University of Birmingham

Junior Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks my aim was to prepare for both electronic and standard publication my recently completed PhD thesis entitled: Late Byzantine rural sites in the Northern Aegean: their archaeology and distribution patterns (successfully defended at the University of Birmingham in December 2008). For my PhD thesis I studied Late Byzantine site function and distribution, factors influencing sites' location, economic activities of rural sites, communication and trade routes, as well as the formation of fortification networks on the islands of Lemnos and Thasos in the North Aegean. My work focused not only on the identification and study of settlements but also of other sites such as forts, monastic estates and activity loci on the two islands. Further, I developed a methodological framework that integrated archaeology with primary sources and ethnography in order to develop a holistic understanding of economy, the use of space and societal change in the North Aegean during the Late Byzantine period.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I also focused on advancing my work regarding the archaeology and distribution of late Byzantine sites and the economic exploitation and spatial organization of the rural landscape in a series of articles and conference papers. In one article I am analyzing comparative material from excavations and multi-period surveys in Greece in order to discuss the role of Byzantine archaeology in multi-period projects in the Mediterranean. As part of this work, I am also critically evaluating the methodologies employed by previous studies in Byzantine settlement archaeology in order to develop a more sophisticated approach to understanding the Byzantine landscape. In doing so, I make intense use of reports, monographs, PhD theses and journals dealing with similar archaeological investigations around the Mediterranean. The second article completed during my fellowship explores the economic activities of Byzantine monasteries in the Late Byzantine period, using an inter-disciplinary approach and combining in my work archaeological, documentary and ethnographic data with GIS spatial analysis. The two conference papers I completed this year (both to be presented during June 2009), deal with aspects of trade and travelling in the late medieval Mediterranean.

The research I undertook during my fellowship attempted to present and analyze aspects of the Late Byzantine rural landscape and its settlements using an inter-disciplinary approach. I had the opportunity to provide new data and different approaches on methodology, analysis and interpretation of data, as well as discuss new aspects of the archaeology of the Late Byzantine village and of the human-landscape interface in the Byzantine world.

 

Intellectual Circles in Byzantium in the 10th century

Myriam Hecquet-Devienne, Université de Lille 3 (C.N.R.S.)

Fellow 2008/09

Thanks to the wonderful resources of Dumbarton Oaks, I completed the bibliographical material I had started to gather before my arrival, in particular about the intellectual circles in Byzantium in the 10th century, and the epistolary documents.

  1. I precisely described the features of the hands which copied Aristotle's manuscript, the Parisinus 1853, and the Venetus A of Homer; I gathered the codicological characteristics of these manuscripts in order to show their relationship with some other manuscripts which were probably copied by the same team of scribes. I also analyzed the work of textual criticism made on the text by the main scribe of each manuscript.
  2. I examined the two epigrams the scribes copied on free pages of these manuscripts, which belong to the Palatine Anthology (Ⅸ 387, composed by Adrian, and 577, by Ptolemaeus): both present interesting variant readings, not known otherwise.
  3. I translated some very difficult letters of the corpus of an anonymous professor from the 10th century, who was in relation with the monk Ephrem, a scribe belonging, I believe, to this team of scribes. These letters show the criteria of this professor for "editing" the texts he had to copy (he also was an occasional scribe). They reveal how these texts were given to him, and how he tried to find positions for his students. He wanted to be distinguished from the mere scribes who only worry about their handwriting, without intellectual concerns, and lamented that advanced high training was so little appreciated.

4. A Literary, Linguistic and Historical Analysis of the Poems of Manuel Philes

  1. 5. Marina Bazzani, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
  2. 6. Fellow 2008/09
  3. These months at Dumbarton Oaks have enabled me to work on the large corpus of poetry of the Byzantine author Manuel Philes (ca. 1270–1330s). I have focused on his historical, personal and occasional poems, while leaving aside epigrams on works of art and religious subjects. I spent the first term of my fellowship reading and translating the poems; this has allowed me to gain a good understanding of Philes' way of composing verses, his use of language, images and puns, as well as to observe how his style and tone may vary according to the recipients' status. During the second term, I have carried out a content and style analysis of several occasional poems composed to request gifts of various kinds (hats, clothes, food). The close reading and the breakdown of the text have revealed the presence of extremely interesting material in these poems, and have shown how the author is always proceeding on multiple levels of thought in his compositions. This is often achieved through a subtle and sophisticated use of language and images, either by employing the same words in different contexts or by loading them with a different nuance in meaning, thus creating clever and unexpected turns of ideas; such detailed analysis of the text has helped understand the important role rhetorical skills play in Philes' verses. This project has greatly benefited from the excellent library, the online resources and the stimulating environment at Dumbarton Oaks; I have been able to collect extensive material that I intend to use in the future to explore other aspects of Philes' poetry, such as the way the poet presents himself in his poems, his relation with contemporary intellectuals and his dedicatees, and the depiction of society his poetic texts convey. These texts are not only of interest in their own right, but they also offer key tools to gain a deeper comprehension of Byzantium and its society in the Palaeologan era.

 

The Church of the Kathisma on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road: Archaeological, Art Historical and Historical Study

Rina Avner, Israel Antiquities Authority

Fellow 2008/09

My project at Dumbarton Oaks was to prepare a manuscript of a comprehensive monograph, complementing the technical archaeological final report (submitted in 2003 to the monograph series IAA Reports), on the Church of the Kathisma situated near Jerusalem. The church was excavated under my direction on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavations revealed a large octagonal structure (41x 38 m.) with an unusual complex plan. Three strata were recognized (dated to the 5th, 6th, and 8th century CE). Archaeological evidence indicates that during the 8th century the building was used simultaneously as a mosque within the church.

My goal this year was to update and pursue a thematic expansion of my dissertation, namely, to put the Kathisma within a broader Christian and Islamic context (topics such as: the history of the building; pilgrimage; beginnings of the veneration and cult of the Theotokos in the Holy Land and abroad; mutual influences between Jewish, Christian, and Early Islamic traditions; architecture and art—the influence of the Kathisma on other martyria, including the Dome of the Rock; the artistic influence of the wall mosaic of the Dome of the Rock on two important floor mosaics in the Kathisma).

Besides completing a draft of my projected book, a year of residence at Dumbarton Oaks enabled me to meet and exchange views with different scholars (Dumbarton Oaks staff, fellows, and visiting scholars), thus yielding new ideas for future research.

 

Common Causes: the Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt

Philip Venticinque, University of Chicago

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my tenure as a junior fellow I engaged in the research and writing of what will be the final two chapters of my dissertation, tentatively titled Common Causes: The Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. I spent the fall term working towards producing a draft of the third chapter, one that probes the relationship between guilds (and craftsmen and merchants in general) and the local and imperial authorities as evidenced not only by the legal texts but also by the documentary evidence found inscribed on stone or written on papyrus. In this chapter I focused on two questions: the status of guilds as licit or illicit groups and the notion of the "bound" status of guild members during the Late Roman Period. Chapter 4 has occupied my time during much of the spring term. In this chapter I have set out to examine the economic activities of guilds and the ways that the rise of large estates, churches and monasteries as economic powers and the changing political and social landscape impacted individual craftsmen, traders and guilds as a whole. I intend that the dissertation project as a whole will engage in ongoing debates about the economy and society of the Roman and late antique periods by using guilds and those associated with them as a prism to focus on these larger questions. Dumbarton Oaks has provided an ideal setting and unparalleled access to editions of Greek and Coptic papyrological documents, Roman legal texts, and secondary sources which has resulted in an incredibly productive eight months and a much different, and better, dissertation than if I had not been afforded such access and freedom.

 

Byzantine Icons Collection in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Yuri Pyatnitsky, State Hermitage Museum

Fellow 2007/08

The goals of my research project at Dumbarton Oaks were to make progress on the catalogue of Byzantine icons in the Hermitage Museum, and to write several essays that will serve as the introduction to this catalogue. The resources at Dumbarton Oaks have permitted me to make great progress on my project. I have finished approximately ninety percent of the individual catalogue entries, including the complete bibliographies that can only be prepared efficiently in a library with comprehensive holdings in Byzantine studies. In addition, I have been able to read about new directions and approaches in contemporary art historical studies on Byzantine painting, especially icon painting of the 14th and 15th centuries. This has allowed me to refine many of the attributions of icons I have been discussing.

One of my introductory essays, presented as part of my research report, concerning the history of exhibiting icons at the Hermitage Museum, will be published in a special volume of the journal Ars Orientalis, edited by Helen Evans. Furthermore, two of the catalogue entries I wrote, one devoted to a seventh-century niello icon with the Virgin and the other to a late eleventh-century icon of St. Gregory, have been developed into two articles which will be published in the annual journal of the Hermitage.

Relevant to my work was the opportunity to study icons and several other objects in the Dumbarton Oaks collection. These include the two micro-mosaic icons of the Forty Martyrs and St. John Chrysostom, and the painting of St. Peter. In this latter icon, I was able to read the letters of Peter's name on the keys around his neck. This detail had not been previously observed, but my reading is supported by John Nesbitt. We plan to publish this discovery together in the near future.

 

Critical Edition with introduction and commentary of the unpublished works of Athanasios Ⅰ, patriarch of Constantinople

Emmanouil Patedakis, University of Crete

Fellow 2007/08

Apart from his extensive correspondence with the emperor Andronikos Ⅱ and the imperial family, Athanasios Ⅰ composed around sixty longer works that remain unedited (two long teachings and a letter to the emperor, several letters to bishops in general or to those of specific dioceses in Asia Minor, letters to monks of Mt. Athos, encyclical instructions to clerics and laymen, such as teachings that stress the necessity for charity by all subjects of the empire, as well as his Novel and Testament), with some of them regarded until now as lost.

I firstly had to study in detail Athanasios' monastic background and experience which influenced his subsequent two patriarchates.A parallel study on Symeon the New Theologian during the beginning of my stay functioned as an initiation course to the superb library of Dumbarton Oaks; it was completed and will be published in the volume ΙdaToth - N. Gaul (ed.), Reading in Byzantium and Beyond. A Collection of Papers to Honour Professors Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys (forthcoming). I also re-examined modern views on his so-called "Reform Policy".

Crucial introductory answers to such issues were offered through further research while preparing the apparatus criticus and apparatus fontium for the unedited texts. The linguistic and compositional features, literary and rhetorical figures as well as the convoluted style of writing (with long periods, syntax that deviates from classical usage, examples of absolute structures, repeated transitional words and phrases) function as a medium which continuously corroborates Athanasios' policy and demand for return (ἐπιστροφή) and repentance (μετάνοια). More than two thousand quotations from other texts (scriptural, patristic or ascetic) detected in his works were also used as a repetitive vehicle for transferring and applying his ideas and public interventions.

After completing the processing of the apparatuses for the unpublished part of Athanasios' writings, I have attempted a more precise understanding by preparing an English translation of the Greek text, which will be included in the final edition. I also continue to do research on some recently discovered theological anthologies on the Holy Spirit that are attributed to the patriarch, while I simultaneously attempt to clarify issues regarding the network of persons and places during Athanasios' life. The resonance and the fame of his personality especially in the first half of the fourteenth century were kept alive both through controversial references by contemporary authors and a number of manuscripts compiled not only in order to preserve his own writings but also to confirm his canonization as a saint in Constantinople. I have already started to compose the above mentioned case studies into a separate paper and articles.

I hope that after the generous hospitality of Dumbarton Oaks during the past year the critical edition for the whole corpus of Athanasios' unpublished works will be completed in the near future.

 

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America

Nadezhda F. Kavrus-Hoffmann, Glenmont, NY

Fellow 2007/08

During my four-month fall fellowship term I made considerable progress on my Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America. Specifically, I accomplished the following:

  1. Researched and wrote final catalogue entries for Part Ⅳ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.340–M.647," to be published in Manuscripta 52:1 (2008).
  2. Researched and wrote draft catalogue entries for Part Ⅴ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.652–M.874," to be published in Manuscripta 52:2 (2008).
  3. Researched and wrote an innovative article, "Two Solar Eclipses and the Date and Localization of the Kerasous Gospels from the Pierpont Morgan Library," to be published in Nea Rhome (2008).
  4. Visited the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, discovered two manuscripts that have never been catalogued before, and did all necessary research for catalogue entries of these manuscripts.

The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library was invaluable for my research. For example, new albums of sacred objects included manuscripts from St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Vatopedi and Protaton monasteries in Mount Athos, and Byzantine Calabria, and such sources helped me to date, localize, and identify scribes or artists in manuscripts from American collections. New albums of watermarks included R. Stanković, Filigranoshki Opis I Album (Sofia, 2006), which I could not find in any other library and which helped me to date several manuscripts more precisely. And, in addition to Dumbarton Oaks' many rare books and journals, its fine collection of microfilms of Greek manuscripts and new manuscript scanner were very useful.

I have accepted a one-year fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (beginning July 1, 2008), which will enable me to continue the long-term project I worked on during my stay at Dumbarton Oaks.

Personal Comments

I enjoyed my term at Dumbarton Oaks very much. I have exceptionally good feelings about the Byzantine studies fellows—we became really close and will certainly keep up personally and professionally. The friendly and warm atmosphere and the fellows' willingness and ability to help one another added greatly to my pleasant experience and research productivity.

I especially liked my comfortable and conveniently located office in the Library, where I was able to work extremely efficiently, with all the books and journals I needed at my fingertips. I also appreciated the library staff members who worked hard to rush-catalogue and bring books to my office, to find missing books, and to deliver books ordered through Interlibrary Loan. And librarians taught me how to use new scanners and other equipment.

I very much liked all of the Greek seminars and many of the lectures by Byzantine and other scholars. I also appreciated an opportunity to consult Prof. Irfan Shahid on Arabic notes in some of the Greek manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library collection.

My apartment in La Quercia was in the basement but was recently renovated, and Mario Garcia was very helpful in fixing small problems.

I looked forward to the company of fellows and staff during lunches—the Refectory helped us to get to know each other much better. The food, however, could have been more nutritious and varied.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the gardens, concerts, receptions, and dinners. I am especially grateful to Alice-Mary and Bill Talbot for inviting us to their home for Thanksgiving dinner and to Jan and Liz Ziolkowsky for a very enjoyable evening at their home.

 

The Tradition of the Byzantine Translator's Preface

Elizabeth A. Fisher, George Washington University

Fellow 2007/08

In addition to two Byzantine translator's prefaces that I analyzed in previous publications, I secured in the course of my fellowship eleven more texts that range in date from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries and accompany translations from Latin, Persian, Syriac and Arabic. Of these, one is published only partially and one is unpublished. I obtained manuscript facsimiles of these two prefaces and am preparing annotated editions of them to be published in separate articles.

As my project evolved, I recognized that a series of articles on individual prefaces or groups of prefaces is the most practical means of initially presenting the genre; I shall eventually draw these studies into a monograph as I locate additional prefaces. I shall also examine the antecedents of the Byzantine translator's prefaces. I plan one article on two second-century prefaces to translations from Latin and a second on the Latin source of Manuel Holobolos' thirteenth-century discussion of translation theory.

In addition to studying Byzantine translator's prefaces, I also prepared the first translation with annotations of Michael Psellos' Life of Symeon the Metaphrast and of his On the Usual Miracle at Blachernae, which was a special challenge because of its complex system of references to neo-Platonic doctrine and to Byzantine legal texts.

This year I have also prepared or revised five articles accepted for publication: three on Planoudes' Greek translations, one on the anonymous commentator to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Ⅶ, and one on monasteries and the Latin language in thirteenth-century Constantinople.

 

Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople before the Great Palace

Örgü Dalgıç, New York University

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks I completed the writing of my dissertation entitled Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople prior to the Great Palace. I successfully defended my dissertation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, just before the end of my fellowship period.

In my dissertation I brought together for the first time the complete corpus of floor mosaics from Istanbul, from thirteen sites, dating from the second to the sixth century C.E. This is also the first systematic and contextual study of this mostly unpublished material. The corpus is here divided into three groups: (1) the Belediye Sarayı (City Hall) mosaics at Saraçhane; (2) the Kocamustafapaşa mosaic; and (3) the rest of the mosaics from Istanbul, geometric and ornamental.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I finalized my conclusions and finished writing the first chapter, on the Belediye mosaics discovered in a salvage excavation in 1953. Bringing together unpublished site photographs and sketch plans from various archives and the literary references to the topography of Constantinople in the period, I suggested a new attribution for the mosaics: the paving for the peristyle of the gymnasium of the Thermae Constantianae, one of Constantinople's most prominent but long-lost public monuments.

I researched and wrote chapter three during the second semester of the fellowship year. In this chapter I considered non-figural mosaics from Istanbul in two parts, Roman (pre-Constantinian) mosaics, and the mosaics of Constantinople.

During the fellowship period, I delivered two papers: Mosaics of Constantinople: Paving the Way to the Great Palace at the Archaeology and the Cities of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity conference organized at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2008; and Saraçhane Mosaics: Reconstructing the Art, Architecture and Topography, in the 33rd Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Toronto, October 2007. I also prepared and submitted an article in collaboration with Thomas F. Mathews entitled A New Interpretation of the Church of Peribleptos and its Place in Middle Byzantine Architecture to be published in Proceedings of International Symposium in Memory of Sevgi Gönül-Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Istanbul 2007.

 

Theodore Metochites’ Commentary on Aristotle's De anima: Critical Edition with an English Translation

Börje Bydén, Göteborg University

Fellow 2007/08

A very considerable part of the extant philosophical literature from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages consists of commentaries on the works of Aristotle. In the last decades, the study of the Late Antique commentaries (c. AD 120–620) has come to occupy a central place in the field of ancient philosophy. By contrast, the Byzantine commentaries (c. 900–1453) are still relatively little known. This is partly due to the fact that most of them have never been edited. The Late Antique commentaries are studied on the basis of the editions in the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, published between 1882 and 1907 by the Royal Prussian Academy at Berlin. In 2007, a new series was launched in Berlin to complement and extend the CAG with editions mainly of Byzantine commentaries.

One of the most interesting of these is Theodore Metochites' commentary on the De anima (c. 1320). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks (which regrettably had to be reduced from two terms to one, on account of the duties connected with a new position) I have continued my preparations for a critical edition of this work, which is preserved in twelve manuscripts. The edition will be accompanied by an introduction and an English translation and published in the new Berlin series. I benefitted especially from the Dumbarton Oaks Library's excellent coverage not only of Byzantine intellectual history but also of its Late Antique background.

 

 

Andronikos Kamateros’ Sacred Arsenal: Critical edition, translation and commentary

Alessandra Bucossi, Genova, Italy

Fellow 2007/08

The Sacred Arsenal is one of the most important remaining Byzantine inedita of the twelfth century. It was written most probably around 1173 by the megas droungarios Andronikos Kamateros, an aristocrat from the Doukas family, active at the Constantinopolitan court during the second half of the twelfth century. The emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143–1180) commissioned this work of refutation of Latin and Armenian heresies during a period in which negotiations with the Latin and the Armenian churches about a possible reunion were proceeding fervently. This massive text is still unpublished, except for a small part (about 63 of 309 folia) which appears in Migne's Patrologia Graeca as part of the work written by John Bekkos, Refutationes adversus D. Andronici Camateri Viglae Drungarii super scripto traditis testimoniis de Spiritu Sancto animadversiones (PG 141, 396–613).

My PhD thesis, completed in 2006, focused on the prolegomena to the critical edition and on the edition of the first half of the text dedicated to the Catholic Church and the procession of the Holy Spirit "from the Son" (Filioque). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks, I concentrated on the second part of the Sacred Arsenal dedicated to the Armenian Church and I made substantial progress towards the edition of the entire volume transcribing and collating the text from the manuscripts Monacensis Gr. 229, ⅩⅢ century and Venetus Marcianus Gr. 158 (coll. 515), ⅩⅣ century. The Dumbarton Oaks fellowship also provided the library resources that enabled me to write two articles: the first on the dating of the Sacred Arsenal and the second on the relation between two icons described by the Codex Marcianus Graecus 524 and Kamateros' text. Moreover, Dumbarton Oaks' collection of microfilms gave me the possibility of analyzing the microfilm of the manuscripts Laurent. Gr. Plut. Ⅷ. 26 which contains, in addition to the already well-known and published Refutationes by John Bekkos against the anthology of the first half of the Sacred Arsenal (PG 141, 396–613), also the refutations by the same patriarch against the entire dialogue between the emperor Manuel Komnenos and the Roman cardinals. Finally, during the period of my fellowship I started to create a website dedicated to Andronikos Kamateros and the Sacred Arsenal, a project that gives access to information about the life of an unjustly forgotten author.

 

 

Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3

Ivan Yordanov, Konstantin Preslavsky University, Shumen, Bulgaria

Summer Fellow 2008/09

The project I have been researching at Dumbarton Oaks is volume Ⅲ of the Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria: Byzantine institutions (secular and ecclesiastical) located in the capital Constantinople. It will include nearly 1,200 seals of title-holders of various institutions (civil, military and ecclesiastical) who resided in Constantinople.

After the material was classified it turned out that more than 1,500 seals could not be attributed to any of the above rubrics. These are seals of private individuals containing one or two names, anonymous, monogrammatic and ca. 1000 seals which cannot be deciphered because their texts are incomplete. They are important for medieval Bulgarian history because they were found in various settlements of former medieval Bulgaria and thus their publication is also obligatory.

Meanwhile new Byzantine seals were found in Bulgaria which supplement or correct what was already published in the first two volumes.

Volume Ⅲ, the final stage of the project, will include all Byzantine seals found in modern Bulgaria arranged according to the existing classifications. It will include seals already published with references to the relevant publications and in cases of new finds or new readings they will be noted appropriately. Thus all the material will be documented so as to illustrate the ranks and official hierarchy in Byzantium as elucidated by the material from Bulgaria.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I arranged the text and the respective photos according to the following scheme:

  1. Imperial palace, nos.1–715

Imperial seals, nos. 1–126

Offices at the Palace, nos. 218–363

Titles at the Palace, nos 364–715

  1. Central administration, nos. 716–965
  2. Army, 966–1089
  3. Provincial administration, nos. 1100–1617
  4. Church, nos. 1618–1796
  5. Seals of private individuals, nos. 1797–2586
  6. Undeciphered seals, nos. 2587–3500.

 

 

Hellenistic Phantasia and Its Iconophile Offsprings

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

Starting from one of Theodore Studites' epistles to his pupil Naukratios (380 Fatouros), I studied the Byzantine views on the soul, image apprehension, and cognitive processing of visual stimuli during the iconoclastic struggle. Basing my research on Theodore's statements about the imaginative faculty of the soul (phantasia), I focused on the subtle but strong ties that link gaze and representation, as well as on the theoretical foundations legitimating the perception, comprehension, and reworking of religious images by their beholders. I envisaged the cultural role played by phantasia in this area as a legacy of Greek and Roman aesthetics. Resting upon the dissemination of the Hellenic cultural heritage during Late Antiquity, Byzantine culture shaped a body of symbolic landmarks through which the collectivity defined its behavior toward visual stimuli and imagination. In this process, the passage from sight to faith, from paganism to Christianity, left its unmistakable traces. Thus, the naïve and emotional approach to arts, banned as unsophisticated by imperial elites, became in Byzantine times an essential precondition to devotion. Although according to Theodore Studites and John of Damascus phantasia had a relevant role in promoting intellectual contemplation, emotional involvement was also seen as necessary to catch a glimpse of the divine mystery. Finally, I tried to outline how iconophile authors selected and highlighted different theoretical constructs from late antique Christian psychology and anthropology (Cappadocian Fathers and Nemesius of Emesa, above all), with a new emphasis on human ability to process both physical and mental images.

 

The Impact of Hesychasm on the Ecclesiastical and Political Life of the Southern Slavs during the 14th Century

Ilias Evangelou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Summer

Fellow 2009/10

My project, to be published as a monograph, will begin with an introduction to the history of mysticism in Eastern Christianity, followed by chapters covering the distribution of mysticism in the southern Slavic world, the acquaintance of the Southern Slavs with Hesychasm in the 14th century, and its effect in their spiritual, ecclesiastical, and political life. During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks as a summer fellow I completed my monograph, writing the last chapter concerning the effect of Hesychasm in the ecclesiastical and political life of the Southern Slavs in the 14th century. According to medieval sources and my secondary bibliography, which I had the opportunity to study in the library of Dumbarton Oaks, Hesychasts occupied important positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and promoted the idea of the unity of the Orthodox Christian people of the Balkans. Initially they restored the schisms between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria and Serbia, and afterward they promoted political and diplomatic unity in order to confront the Ottoman Turks, the biggest threat to the Christian people of the region. The rich library of Dumbarton Oaks helped me to check the footnotes of the entire study and to supplement it with a relevant bibliography.

 

Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth

Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

I had a fruitful and very stimulating six-week fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks. In the first days of my fellowship I finished an article entitled Decline of Political Culture: Ammianus Marcellinus' Characterization of the Reigns of Valentinian and Valens, to be published (hopefully) in the conference volume of Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity VⅢ: Shifting Cultural Frontiers (Ashgate). I also wrote an entry on the emperor Julian (361–363) for The Encyclopedia of the Roman Army, ed. Yann Le Bohec, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Finally, I wrote the first draft of an article on my principal project Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth. The first part of the article deals with some new perspectives on Helena's biography, in particular her journey to the Holy Land. The second part discusses two texts on the discovery of the Cross: two Syriac poems and Alexander Monachos's De inventione crucis. The article also gives attention to a rather peculiar and understudied version of the legend preserved in the Six Books' narratives of Mary's Dormition and Assumption.

 

 

•••••Religion of the Book? Christians and their Books in Late Antiquity: A Cultural History

Martin Wallraff, University of Basel,

Fellow 2009/10

Eusebian canon table. _

Within the framework of a larger project on the book in late antiquity, my research this term focused on a highly significant but largely neglected topic: the Eusebian canon tables of the gospels. Although they are part of hundreds of biblical manuscripts and although they are in many cases lavishly decorated, they are rarely studied as a witness to the culture of the book of their time. This complex synoptic system of the four gospels presupposes the tradition of the Alexandrian tradition of philology-a tradition familiar to Eusebius from his background in the school of Origen and Pamphilus. However, the synoptic tables were not only a useful scholarly tool; they also contributed to the beauty of the manuscript. Therefore they mark an important step in the process of the sacralization of the Christian book. Their success for many centuries can be explained by this combination of scholarly, aesthetic and spiritual features.

Despite their importance for New Testament textual criticism, for the history of art, and for the culture of the book, the Eusebian canon tables have been edited on the basis of manuscript evidence only once, and that was in the context of Erasmus's famous edition of the New Testament five hundred years ago. My research will lead to a new critical edition with full reproductions of several manuscripts. Since these tables of numbers are not just an ordinary text, they require a broader discussion of their production, structure, and significance. The edition is introduced by such a discussion.

 

Inventing Monasticism

Columba Stewart, Saint John's University,

Fellow 2009/10

I spent the fall term surveying the several geographical regions covered by my project on monastic culture, reading widely to build out my conceptual framework. I found myself dissatisfied with the current state of scholarship on the emergence of what we commonly think of as monasticism from the ascetic currents of early Christianity. The conditions and dynamics of this emergence are crucial for my interest in the development of the elements of monastic culture. I have therefore spent most of my time since January focused on observable moments in the emergence of the new monastic paradigm. A particularly observable moment occurs during the tenure of Rabbula, bishop of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia from 412–436. In this time and place the old and new forms of asceticism coexisted, with the traditional form in the towns and the new monastic version up there in the hills or out there in less inhabited regions. Very soon the new model would dominate, and then replace, the older form, a process evident in the manuscript tradition of Rabbula's regulations, to which I have paid particular attention. As I head to the Middle East for the remainder of my sabbatical year and settle in Jerusalem for several weeks, I will place Rabbula into a diptych with Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who in his much more famous Philotheos Historia surveys an adjoining region but sees and highlights different things. I hope to expand these observable moments into something like a new history of the origins of monasticism.

 

Political Power and Imperial Governance: The Transformation of the Imperial Office in the Later Roman Empire, ca. 367–527

Meaghan McEvoy, British School at Rome / University of Oxford,

Fellow 2009/10

My semester-long fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks gave me the opportunity to begin my three-year postdoctoral project on late Roman imperial politics, addressing the ways in which the symbolism of imperial power in 4th–6th centuries was restructured around a push to make acceptable and even normalise the rule of minors, particularly for the powerful senatorial and military elites of the empire, who had a direct stake in the dynastic successions of such young emperors. Fundamental to the process of making child-emperor rule acceptable was the continuing ceremonialization of the imperial office in the context of an increasing emphasis on specifically Christian virtues. These virtues were highlighted as a means of symbolic reassurance of divine support for the ruler, most conspicuously when that emperor was a child. My doctoral project focused on the nature, perception, and presentation of child rulers in the west. The new project expands this focus to encompass the eastern court, in particular the reign of Theodosius II, and moves the enquiry on through the 5th and into the 6th century.

Apart from beginning the detailed analysis of the relevant literary and other sources, a number of new and important questions have arisen, including that of how the sharp increase in the translation of relics to Constantinople starting ca. 395 fits into this picture, and also the changing emphasis of imperial ceremonial in the more urban and civilian (and less military) context of early to mid-fifth-century imperial rule. My semester at Dumbarton Oaks proved invaluable in enabling me to refine the research questions of the project, to more fully assess the relevant secondary literature on the subject, and to begin examining the complex source material.

 

Imperial Ceremonial in Palaiologan Constantinople

Ruth Macrides, University of Birmingham,

Fellow 2009/10

The so-called Treatise on Court Offices by Pseudo-Kodinos, a work of the fourteenth century, is the main textual source for ceremonial in the capital of the Byzantine Empire in the last 300 years of its existence. My research at Dumbarton Oaks from mid-January to mid-May 2010 was based on this text, as the necessary preliminary to any study of ceremonial in Byzantium. My project includes a translation, commentary, and study of the work, its method of composition, date, and its characteristics. I completed the commentary and revised it, filling in bibliographical lacunae; I wrote most of the introductory study on ceremonies, their origins, and their evolution. While I arrived with a good working knowledge of the issues raised by the text, I leave with a much broader and deeper knowledge of its significance. My research was on two levels: the identification of realia: clothing, hats, musical instruments, colours, and ceremonies represented in images; the evolution of the ceremonies.

Dumbarton Oaks was the ideal place to carry out this research, both in terms of physical and human resources. From the lectures and colloquia I attended (both Pre-Columbian and Byzantine), I was put into contact with work in related areas (e.g., architecture and liturgy, epigrams and objects on which they were inscribed). Scholars, both those passing through Dumbarton Oaks and other fellows, shared their knowledge of texts and bibliography. I was able to identify works on ceremony books and ceremony in the medieval west and the Islamic east, and to put Pseudo-Kodinos's text in this broader context. Finally, I have strengthened my knowledge of the character of the text so that I can argue confidently that this is a ceremony book that was more descriptive than prescriptive.

 

Slavery in Late Antiquity

Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder,

Fellow 2009/10

My project involves the composition of a monograph on the development of slavery in the Late Antique period (3rd to 7th centuries AD) in both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. I am grateful to Dumbarton Oaks for allowing me to make great progress on this and several other undertakings.

I came with several different projects in tow and spent the first half of the fellowship working on these. This resulted in the following:

  1. completion of an article on the Tyche medallions minted on the occasion of the foundation of Constantinople in 330;
  2. completion of one chapter for a monograph on Constantine which I hope to finish in summer 2010. I chose to write the chapter at Dumbarton Oaks because it was directly related to the Tyche article. It traces pagan elements in the foundation of the new capital;
  3. completion of three chapters and supporting materials (maps, timelines, glossaries, family trees, art captions) for a co-authored textbook of Roman history to appear with Oxford University Press next fall;
  4. completion of a translation of the seventh book of the Justinianic Code, my contribution to another co-authored publication to appear with Cambridge University Press.

In the spring I worked almost exclusively on the slavery project and accomplished the following:

  1. transfer of data on the subject from my extensive pre-existing Word files into a searchable database.
  2. completion of a review of a book on Byzantine slavery.
  3. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in the Novels of Justinian, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.
  4. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in Frankish Gaul, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.

During this period I have also expended great effort gathering further primary sources and secondary studies, assimilating these, and entering them into my database. This is a massive project for which the unparalleled library resources at Dumbarton Oaks have been immensely helpful. I am fortunate to have one more year of fellowship during which time I hope to finish the monograph.

 

All the World’s Knowledge: Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity

Scott Johnson, Washington and Lee University,

Fellow 2009/10

This year was a magnificent experience in every respect, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make such thorough use of the library, gardens, museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks community generally. My research project on Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity progressed in significant, if unexpected, ways over the year. The range of literature which I am now including in the project is much larger-in particular, I have expanded into high Byzantium and the medieval West through the inspiration of the Fellows and Staff at Dumbarton Oaks this year. Margaret Mullett organized numerous stimulating talks throughout the semester that also gave impetus to my project. In terms of measurable progress, I was able to put together an extensive primary bibliography, including critical texts and translations. I finished an article for Dumbarton Oaks Papers 64 which is the first fruit of my research, and I completed drafts of two chapters for my monograph. In addition, I made substantial progress toward submitting the final manuscript of the Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, of which I am the sole editor. All in all, it was a very productive year which included numerous invaluable benefits to my scholarly work.

 

Weaving Christ’s Body: Clothing, Femininity and Sexuality in the Marian Imagery of Byzantium

Maria Evangelatou, University of California, Santa Cruz,

Fellow 2009/10

The research project I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks fellow explores the extensive use of spinning, weaving, and clothing as symbols of Christ's Incarnation in Byzantine art and literature, especially in relation to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the rich theological symbolism of Byzantine iconography and to examine the sociocultural function of Marian imagery. This year I focused on the latest scholarly literature on the basic components of my project: Marian iconography, gender studies, and textile production and use. The last is an especially rapidly growing field with numerous publications on the social and cultural functions of textiles and clothing, and familiarizing myself with these topics has broadened the scope of my research with significant comparative material. Another concept that became increasingly important in my analysis is the projection of multivalent and often ambivalent or ambiguous gender ideals in Byzantine iconography, allowing for very different and often contradictory messages to be included or read into the material. This implies that the construction of femininity in Byzantium was a very dynamic process, in which submission and empowerment often went hand in hand. Therefore, exploring the variety of human experience and the coexistence of different ideologies have become central goals in my research. During this year I also developed a new project that focuses on the art of El Greco. This research will culminate in the publication of three articles that will shed more light on the role of the artist's Byzantine background, focusing on the treatment of space, the symbolism of color, and the use of signatures as statements of the artist's mediation in spiritual illumination.

_

 

In the Shadow of the Sphinx: Pharaonic Sacred Space in the Coptic Imagination

Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Chicago,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

As a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed a substantial portion of my dissertation, named above, which I will defend in September 2010. My research at Dumbarton Oaks was largely focused on the re-edition and analysis of a corpus of Byzantine graffiti from the mortuary temple of the Ramesside pharaoh Seti I at Abydos, in Upper Egypt. These inscriptions were written by a group of female ascetics during the period from ca. 600–900 CE, and they provide exceptional epigraphic evidence for female monasticism in Byzantine and early Islamic Egypt. Although the Christian graffiti from the site have long been taken as evidence for the establishment of a monastery within the temple precinct itself, I argue that the women's community was actually based in the nearby village of Bardis and that the temple was used only intermittently by that group. The graffiti written by these monastic women on the temple walls offer an interesting counterpoint to the rather polemical literary representation of that structure in the sixth-century Coptic Life of Moses of Abydos, and they suggest that by the early seventh century the temple's connection to pagan cultic practice had been largely overwritten by Christian activity in the area.

Throughout the course of the year, my research has benefitted greatly not only from the tremendous resources of the Dumbarton Oaks library and the generosity of its staff, but also from conversations and exchanges with Fellows and Readers across different fields. The support of the Dumbarton Oaks community was also extremely helpful to me as I negotiated the job market this year, and I will leave Washington to begin my career as a professor in the History Department at the University of Louisville.

 

Literature and Society in the Reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos: An Examination of the Letter-Collection of Nikephoros Choumnos

Alexander Riehle, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

During my eight months at Dumbarton Oaks, I focused on the elaboration and completion of the first two parts of my tripartite doctoral thesis, which includes basic information about the various collections of letters and their author, and a discussion of the literary aspects of single letters. Furthermore, I collected and arranged data for the third part, which deals with the social and political dimensions of the letters. More specifically, I prepared the following chapters:

  1. a biographical introduction that re-examines and re-evaluates problematic aspects of Nikephoros's life, e.g., his controversy with Theodore Metochites and its (supposed) relationship to Nikephoros's retirement;
  2. a prosopography of the addressees and other persons mentioned in the letters;
  3. a collation of all surviving textual witnesses for the letters;
  4. an examination of the collections focusing on their composition and chronology;
  5. a stylistic analysis of exemplary letters based on Hermogenes' treatise On Ideas.

The excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks provided me with all the resources I needed and allowed me to work quickly and efficiently. More importantly, my dissertation has been enriched during my stay by the constant exchange with other fellows and visiting scholars whose comments and ideas helped me to consider the methodology and contents of my thesis from a fresh perspective.

 

Ideology and Rhetoric in Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos's Texts

Florin Leonte, Central European University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

The fellowship project I undertook at Dumbarton Oaks sought to investigate the political messages embedded in several texts of Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos (r. 1391–1425). To gain a better understanding of the role of rhetoric in the political transactions of Manuel's reign, I followed three major paths of inquiry.

First, I focused on two of the emperor's texts: The Foundations of an Imperial Education and the so-called Seven Ethico-political Orations. Their study revealed the author's effort to arrange deliberative topics in a system of moral virtues meaningful for an emperor-to-be. In addition, the multitude of genres employed in the Seven Orations (protreptic discourse, philosophical essays, and homilies) attest to Manuel's will to experiment with different literary forms incorporated in a coherent, unified framework echoing ancient diatribes. If one considers the performance contexts of the orations, it emerges that these texts had a distinct didactic purpose. For instance, the sixth and the seventh orations provided expressis verbis a public criticism of young John, Manuel's son and co-emperor, who apparently did not keep with the conventional mores vis-à-vis other members of the political elite.

Second, based on extant late Byzantine letter collections, I identified the main aspects and functions of the emperor's circle of literati: places of performance (theatra), literary and aesthetic options, and their role as a group in the public affairs of the Byzantine state or diplomacy. I focused on the epistolary collections of Byzantine authors such as John Chortasmenos and Manuel Kalekas, as well as on selected letters of Italian intellectuals in contact with Byzantine scholars.

Third, I approached the emperor's ideological stance in relation to the competing political discourses dominant in late Byzantine society. On the one hand, the ecclesiasts' positions on political issues become visible in the texts of Symeon of Thessaloniki and Joseph Bryennios. On the other hand, Isidore of Kiev or Demetrios Chrysoloras represent a rather traditional political discourse surfacing in panegyrics. In contrast, Manuel seems to have developed a slightly different ideology which advocated reconciliation. In addition, his efforts to circulate his texts not only in Byzantium but also in the Latin West suggest that he consistently asserted the image of an emperor rhetorician.

All in all, the emperor's texts reflect three major rhetorical modes employed in late Byzantium for political communication: the dialogic mode, which he used in the Dialogue on Marriage with the Empress Mother, the narrative mode, manifest in the Funeral Oration for his Brother Theodore, Despot of Morea, and the didactic mode, emerging in the Precepts of an Imperial Education and the Seven Ethico-Political Orations.

 

The Formation of Constantinople as a Sacred Center

Sarah E. Insley, Harvard University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

This year of fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has been invaluable in terms of the progress I was able to make on my dissertation, and more generally with respect to my development as a scholar. When I arrived here in September, I had just defended my dissertation prospectus for a project titled Constructing the Sacred Center: Constantinople as a Holy City in Early Byzantine Literature. During the fall term, I was able to complete research on primary source material for the first two chapters of the dissertation, drafts of which were finished by mid-February. I spent the remainder of the spring term drawing together sources and completing preliminary research for a third chapter, which I will write in the first part of the summer. Thanks to my year at Dumbarton Oaks, I am on schedule to complete a full draft of the project by the end of the fall term next year, and to finish my degree next spring. Starting a dissertation is a critical, and at times daunting, period in a scholar's career. As I worked through the first stages of my own project, I could not have asked for a better community in which to shape my ideas than Dumbarton Oaks. The rich conversation and helpful suggestions of my fellow fellows; the variety of stimulating talks and events throughout the year; and the vigilance of staff in assuring that all of us had the resources necessary to complete our projects were central in giving me a solid foundation upon which I can finish my dissertation and my degree. My deepest thanks to you all: I will always have the fondest memories of my fellowship year at Dumbarton Oaks.

 

John Geometres: An Edition, Translation and Commentary of his Poems in Hexameter and Elegiac

Emilie van Opstall, University of Amsterdam

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Soldier and poet in the second half of 10th–century Constantinople, John Geometres writes in the tradition of the Macedonian Renaissance, which found its inspiration in Antiquity, but also shows signs of a new era in which Hellenistic form and Christian ideas merge. In 1841, J.A. Cramer published Geometres' poems for the first time.J. A. Cramer, Appendix ad excerpta poetica: codex 352 suppl., Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecae regiae Parisiensis, vol. Ⅳ (Oxford, 1841, repr. Hildesheim, 1967), 265–352. His edition is based on a single manuscript (the 13th–century Paris. suppl. gr. 352) and contains an amazing number of inaccuracies. Nonetheless, subsequent editors of Geometres' poems have used this edition without consulting the manuscripts themselves. The poems certainly deserve a better fate, for Geometres is a key figure in the history of Byzantine poetry, as has been observed time and again. I am preparing a new edition of his poems composed in hexameter and elegiacs with a (French) translation and commentary. This will enable not only scholars of Byzantine literature, but of Byzantine history and art as well, to arrive at a better formed judgement of Geometres and the cultural history of his time.

The summer at Dumbarton Oaks provided a unique opportunity to write the commentary on a series of poems in relation to their (art) historical context. Not only the extremely rich library, which provides easy access to art historical studies (sometimes not found elsewhere), but also the advice of the scholars present was very helpful, especially in the field of iconography.

To conclude, I will give a brief example of an epigram:

Parqe/ne, pambasi/leia, teo\j do/moj ou)rano/j e)stin,
e)/mbhj tw=n xqoni/wn prw=ta fe/rwn qala/mwn
ou(=toj e)kei= s' a)na/gei. Su\ de\ qh/kaj, Parqe/ne, gh=qen
a)/ntugoj ou)rani/hj h)eri/hn kli/maka.

Vierge, reine absolue, le ciel est ton palais;
toutefois, te prenant d'abord de tes demeures terrestres,
celui-ci t'emmène là-haut. Mais toi, Vierge, tu as placé depuis la terre
une échelle aérienne qui traverse la voûte céleste.

In this poem, an unidentified person (ou(=toj, a demonstrative pronoun) is taking (a)na/gei, present tense) the Virgin to the sky (e)kei=, a deictic adverb). The language used seems to refer to an icon representing the Koimesis, when Christ brings the soul of the Virgin to the heavens (Cf. illustration, Icon with the Koimesis, ivory, late 10th century, from H.C. Evans and W.D. Wixom [edd.], The Glory of Byzantium, Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843–1261 [New York, 1997], 155.). Even though the poet emphasizes the contrast between heaven and earth, he concludes with the comforting idea that the Virgin remains a ladder, an intermediary, between God and man.

 

The Monastery of St. Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis (Cyprus): The Wall-Paintings

Maria G. Parani, Nicosia, Cyprus

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis in Cyprus was founded in the late eleventh century by the monk George, who probably hailed from Syria-Palestine. A few years later, a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was constructed contiguous to the katholikon and adorned with magnificent wall-paintings (ca. 1100), which are now only partially preserved. The founder of the chapel and donor of its painted decoration was the governor of Cyprus Eumathios Philokales. The surviving wall-paintings of the Trinity chapel were conserved and recorded by a team from Dumbarton Oaks under Cyril Mango in the 1960s. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the monastery of St. Chrysostom, located in a Turkish military zone, became inaccessible and the wall-paintings were covered up by whitewash and large sheets of paper. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, the numerous black-and-white prints and, especially, the detailed color slides and transparencies in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive have come to constitute an invaluable source for the study of this important painted ensemble.

Koutsovendis, Monastery of St. John Chrysostom, Holy Trinity chapel: Ezekiel [after Mango, "St. Chrysostomos," DOP 44 (1990), fig. 113]

My study of the paintings of Holy Trinity constitutes part of a larger project undertaken in collaboration with Cyril Mango and Tassos Papacostas, with the aim of publishing a comprehensive study on Koutsovendis that will contain sections dedicated to the history of the monastery, its architecture, sculpture, and the chapel frescoes. The presence of Dr. Papacostas at Dumbarton Oaks, also as a summer fellow, provided me with an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with him and profit greatly from his expertise.

The iconographic study of the frescoes deals mainly with certain features that appear unusual. Some of these could probably be considered as reflecting current theological discussions and recent developments in the art of the period, while others are perhaps better associated with the donor and his motives, the chapel's function, its specific monastic milieu, or the influence of local historical conditions and artistic traditions. The stylistic study of the frescoes addresses primarily the problem of the artistic tradition to which they belong. Considering the links of the Koutsovendis monastic community with Syria-Palestine, the possibility that the Koutsovendis master came from the area of Antioch is being explored. Having access to the excellent reference library of Dumbarton Oaks was essential in pursuing further this line of comparative art-historical enquiry. The section on style also explores the relation of Koutsovendis to other Cypriot painted ensembles of the early twelfth century, with special emphasis on the paintings of Asinou, Trikomo, and Apsinthiotissa. As a consequence of 1974, the unpublished paintings of the latter church are now destroyed. The color slides from Apsinthiotissa in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive constitute a rare record of this little-known lost masterpiece.

 

The History and Architecture of the Monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis, Cyprus

Tassos C. Papacostas, King's College London

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Holy Trinity Chapel at Monastery of Koutsovendis, Cyprus, from the northeast (photo: Cyril Mango)

Part of Dumbarton Oaks' fieldwork in Cyprus during the 1960s was focused on the late 11th-c. Greek Orthodox monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis. At that time its surviving church of the Holy Trinity was being restored and its frescoes were cleaned and conserved. A preliminary report and a description of the wall-paintings were published (DOP 18 and 44). According to the plan envisaged by Cyril Mango, who initiated the study of this monument, these articles should be complemented by a publication comprising the following chapters:

  1. History

the founder George and the liturgical typikon

the patron Eumathios Philokales

Neophytos the Recluse and the Maronite community

later history of the monastery [later medieval & modern periods]

  1. Architecture & Sculpture [of the monastic churches]
  2. Iconography [of the surviving frescoes]
  3. Style & Ornament [of the surviving frescoes]

It was agreed that Maria Parani would take charge of the chapters on the frescoes, while I would prepare a major article on the history and architecture/sculpture for publication in DOP.

During the first weeks of my stay here I concentrated on the longest and most complex part of the work, namely sections I.a & I.b. These have now become rather extensive in length mainly on account of fresh evidence discovered here. I should stress that the library holdings and the seals collection have been crucial to this work. The latter in particular has provided some important unpublished specimens belonging to the monastery's patron and his family which supplement the information gleaned from the narrative sources. Specialists and colleagues in other fields have also been very helpful with other aspects of my research, and Michael Grünbart has agreed to edit as an appendix to the publication a letter of Nikon of the Black Mountain to the founder George. This is one of the key sources for the early history of the monastery.

In April of this year (2004) I visited a group of related churches in Cyprus itself; monuments in other parts of the Byzantine empire are even more important though for comparative purposes, since the architectural type of the main church (a domed octagon) was introduced here at Koutsovendis for the first time on the island, and its appearance requires some explanation.

Research on the architecture of the monastery's two churches (the Holy Trinity, and the main church, demolished in 1891 and known mainly from descriptions, sketches and an architectural plan) has been facilitated greatly by the Dumbarton Oaks photographic resources, since the site of Koutsovendis, currently within a military zone, has been inaccessible to scholars since 1974. The photographic archive has also been immensely useful for tracing comparative material.

 

The Early Armenian Scholia on the Corpus of Works Attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite

Sergio La Porta, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite was translated from Greek into Armenian by Step'anos Siwnec'i at the beginning of the eighth century. Subsequently, scholia on the corpus were composed in Armenian. I am currently preparing an edition and translation of the scholia attributed to Hamam Arewelc'i (9th c.) and the scholia attributed to Dawit' Kobayrec'i (d. c.1220) and a certain Yakob. My research has shown that none of these authors could have composed the scholia, since they must be dated to the second half of the thirteenth century. Furthermore, the sets of scholia attributed to Hamam and to Dawit' and Yakob share a complete set of scholia (Set A), while some manuscripts also preserve a second, possibly contemporaneous, set of scholia (Set B). In total there are approximately 1500 scholia, of which approximately 1200 or four-fifths may be assigned to Set A.

I have also been able to suggest the monastic communities around Mt. Sepuh in Erznka (Erzincan) as the center of either production or compilation of these scholia. The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius played an important role in the medieval Armenian monastic schools. The language of the scholia witnesses many Middle Armenian forms and words and may reflect the recording of oral classroom instruction. One may also detect loan words from Arabic or Persian. In addition to shedding light on how the Dionysian texts were read in the monasteries, the scholia highlight some of the pressing issues of the day especially concerning monastic and liturgical practice. The scholia display knowledge of Latin and Greek liturgical and monastic traditions and encourage tolerance for differing practices. The author may have tried to ease tensions between the Latin-influenced or informed Armenian clergy of the Kingdom of Cilicia and the more conservative Armenian clergy of Greater Armenia.

While at Dumbarton Oaks, I was able to complete a translation of all the scholia and assess the authorship, dating, and provenance of the scholia. I was further able to examine secondary literature on the Dionysian Corpus itself as well as on its role and reception in other Christian communities.

 

Sacred Art, Secular Context: Loan Exhibition from the Byzantine Collection of Dumbarton Oaks. May 14–November 6, 2005. The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

Asen Kirin, University of Georgia

Summer Fellow 2004/05

My summer fellowship was devoted to preparation of an exhibit and catalogue of objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection. Spanning from the fourth to the fifteenth century, the exhibition will include carved gems, jewels, golden coins, steelyards with weights, silverware, and sculptural reliefs. Approximately one half of the pieces are miniature in scale and are exquisitely crafted in gold, cloisonné enamel, and precious or semi-precious stones. All objects feature sacred images and/or inscriptions, even though they functioned in the secular context of personal adornment, dining, and dealings at the market place. In addition to the sphere of everyday life in Byzantium, the "secular context" alludes also to the environment within which Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss collected art in the early twentieth century. An accompanying exhibition will display ten works of modern American painting acquired at the same time as many of the Byzantine objects. Thus the overall display presents the phenomenon of collecting and studying works of Byzantine art as a lesser-known chapter in the history of American visual culture. As collectors, the Blisses followed the advanced discussions of art-historians about the sources and main currents in the history of Western art. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss shared the view that Byzantium preserved the Hellenistic and Roman intellectual and artistic traditions and conveyed them to late medieval and early Renaissance Italy.

One of the catalogue articles I completed involves an enigmatic carved gem—a rock crystal intaglio heretofore described as a sixth-century piece representing the Denial of Apostle Peter. My research demonstrated that this is a Roman object dating to the first century B.C.E. and that it depicts a scene from Aeschylus's tragedy The Seven Against Thebes.M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Medieval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. Volume One: Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, D.C., 1962), 94–95, No. 113, Plate LⅧ. G. Kornbluth has already suggested that this is the true subject matter of the gem, cf. 'Early Byzantine' Crystals: An Assessment, The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 53/53 (1994/95): 23–30, esp. 24, 29, No. 10. Nevertheless in her article Kornbluth does not discuss the gem's iconography and meaning, so this catalogue entry will do just this for the very first time. As rendered, the composition on the gem focuses on Amphiaraus—a legendary hero worshipped as a god in an oracular shrine dedicated to him. Therefore the gems on which this scene appears might have functioned as talismans for those in the military. On the whole, the popularity of this topic during the last century B.C.E. in Italy may have been a reflection of the high regard for Attic drama in Magna Graecia, the place of perpetual theater revivals. Also, it is possible that the stories about the fratricidal wars of the Greeks, as told by Aeschylus, acquired new relevance at that time when Romans were fighting against Romans in the civil wars that led to the establishment of the empire.

 

Preparation of a Catalogue of the Christian Oriental Seals in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections

Stefan Heidemann and Claudia Sode Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The borderlands between Byzantium and the Islamic Empire, namely Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia, fostered diverse religions, languages and cultures. Their mutual interaction is not well understood. Literary sources of one language tend to exclude others, and new primary documents are needed. Lead seals in Syriac, Arabic and Armenian languages, but in Byzantine style, emerged as a result of political, ecclesiastical and cultural expansion of the Byzantine Empire into Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia in the 10th–12th centuries. As documents they contribute to prosopography, art history, philology and even political and economic history. They provide information about political and cultural life at the fringes of the Empire, which is relatively scarce in Byzantine sources. Islamic studies focus on the political and economic renaissance of the cities during the late 11th–12th century in Syria and northern Mesopotamia. We have almost no primary documents, only a rich, self-referential historical literature, written after events. But half of the population was still Christian, Jewish or even pagan.

Dumbarton Oaks holds the largest collection of these seals, with about 100 specimens. The publication of these documents requires expertise in two different disciplines: Byzantine (C. Sode) as well as in Islamic and Syriac studies (S. Heidemann). Besides extracting new information about formulas, abbreviations, stylistic groups, etc., we have made some quite unexpected discoveries: A Syriac seal, depicting an intricate image of St. Nicholas, introduces the owner Yosef bar 'Isa as money changer (katallaktis) in Greek script. For the first time someone outside the political and ecclesiastical hierarchy is found on Oriental seals with the indication of his profession. This may well reflect that during the 11th century huge numbers of Byzantine gold and copper coins were traded as a commodity into the Islamic Empire, in order to circulate there for a further hundred years.

We note that one seal belonged to the amir al-Hasan ibn Ghafras (Gabras), a descendant of Byzantine nobility, who usurped the Seljuq throne in 1192. This latter fact is documented only by this unique seal. Thus, it can be seen that, like coins, the seals provide hitherto untapped contemporary information. The last monograph on the subject, a booklet in Ottoman Turkish, was published in 1904.

Seal of al-Hasan ibn Ghafras, 12th c. Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Every day we made new, exciting discoveries. The library was very helpful for immediately following up on new ideas. Certain iconographic types could be checked on the spot with the numismatic collection and visually explored with the photographic resources.

 

 

From Holy Land to Holy Russia: The origins of the pilgrimage literature of the Rus'

Marcello Garzaniti, University of Florence

Summer Fellow 2004/05

After analyzing various witnesses of pilgrimage literature from Rus' and Muscovy, and reviewing previous research whose results are already published or in print, I propose to write a monograph on the pilgrimage and journey tale in medieval Rus' and Muscovy. Prior to the final draft of the book, my sojourn at Dumbarton Oaks has given me the possibility to use the rich library and especially to study the relations between Greek proskynetaria, Latin pilgrimage literature of the Crusader period, and East Slavic pilgrimage tales. Today one hears repeated, uncritically, the notion that East Slavic pilgrimage tales depend on Byzantine literature. The influence of pilgrimage literature of the Latin world in the period of the Crusades was also not excluded. On this question see the books of K.D. Seemann (Seemann 1976) and A. Külzer (Külzer 1994). After comparing Greek and Latin pilgrimage literatures with the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Hegumen Daniil, I did not find any direct textual dependence of the Slavic tale upon Greek and Latin pilgrimage tales. But this does not mean that the Pilgrimage of Daniil represents an original model. The first Slavic pilgrimage tale has in common with the Greek proskynetaria the Sitz im Leben, the liturgical and monastic tradition of the Byzantine world: the Palestinian guide of Hegumen Daniil, a monk of Mar Saba, played an important role in the creation of Daniil's work. From the other side, however, together with Latin pilgrimage literature, Daniil's Pilgrimage reflects the same social phenomenon of European pilgrimage. The Rus' shows a more open approach to the historical reality of the Latin Kingdom in comparison with the Byzantine world.

  1. Daniil egumeno, Itinerario in Terra santa, introduzione, traduzione e note a cura di M.Garzaniti, Rome 1991
  2. M. Garzaniti, Alle radici della concezione dello spazio nel mondo bizantino-slavo (Ⅸ–Ⅺ sec.), in Uomo e spazio nell'Alto Medioevo. L Settimana di studio del Centro Italiano sull'Alto Medioevo (4–8 aprile 2002), Spoleto 2003, pp.657–707
  3. A. Külzer, Peregrinatio graeca in Terram Sanctam. Studien zu Pilgerführern und Reisebeschreibungen über Syrien, Palästina und den Sinai aus byzantinischer und metabyzantinischer Zeit, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin, Bern, N.Y., Paris, Wien 1994
  4. Seemann 1976: K.-D. Seemann, Die altrussische Wallfahrtsliteratur. Theorie und Geschichte eines literarischen Genres, München 1976

 

Greek Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem under Mamluk Rule

Johannes Pahlitzsch, University of Mainz, Germany, 2011/12

The project for my stay during the fall term was to investigate the situation of the Greek Orthodox Christians, including the Georgians and the Arabic-speaking Melkites, under Mamluk rule at a specific period, namely the reign of the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328). However, the relationships of the Orthodox Christians in Palestine to the Mamluks cannot be viewed from an isolated, purely internal perspective. Their fate depended very much on the general state of relations between their Christian protective powers and the Mamluks. And indeed Byzantium and the Georgian kings intervened regularly in the affairs of the local communities looking after their own interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Of special interest in this context is the role of the Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem as well as those of Alexandria and Antioch, who were not only the representatives of the Byzantine emperor and the Orthodox church in the Orient, but at the same time served as intermediaries for the Mamluks with respect to Byzantium. During my term I was able to read several Arabic and Greek chronicles dealing with the situation of Christians in Egypt and Cairo during the time of the third reign of sultan an-Nasir Muhammad (1309–1341). I also dealt with the increasing number of anti-Christian treatises at this period. Another very important text I read is the oration of Theodoros Metochites on the neomartyr Michael of Alexandria which not only provides information about the situation of Melkite Christians in Egypt but could be read as an official statement about the policy of Andronikos II regarding the Mamluks. A third group of sources I dealt with have been yet unpublished Arabic documents issued by sultan an-Nasir Muhammad for the Greek orthodox communities in Jerusalem. I hope an extensive article on "Andronikos II and an-Nasir Muhammad. Byzantine-Mamluk Relations and Greek Orthodox Christians under Mamluk Rule in the Early Fourteenth Century" including the edition and translation of two Arabic documents will appear soon.

 

Enigmatic Literature in Byzantium: Authors and Texts

Simone Beta, University of Siena,

Fellow 2011/12

In the research proposal I submitted at the end of 2010 together with my application I proposed to edit the full Greek text of the Byzantine riddles, translate the poems into modern English, and write a commentary. After preliminary work in Italy (January-August 2011) and after the semester at Dumbarton Oaks (September-December 2011), I am not so positive about the first part of my goal. A thorough edition of Byzantine enigmatic poetry provided with a critical apparatus is a very difficult task indeed, since the number of Greek riddles written between the sixth and the fifteenth centuries is much greater than what can be guessed by the current published collections (including the most recent one, Celica Milovanovic's Byzantina ainigmata, with Serbian translation and commentary, edited in 1986); moreover, the fact that these riddles are scattered through so many manuscripts, and in such different versions, and with such different attributions, makes the task almost impossible (as it is shown by the case of the Greek scholar Spyridon Lampros, who spent most of his life collecting Byzantine riddles from Greek manuscripts without being able to publish a complete edition).

But, after my work at Dumbarton Oaks and the fruitful discussions with the excellent people I have had the chance to meet there (Jan Ziolkowski, Margaret Mullett, Alice-Mary Talbot, and the other Byzantine fellows), I am very positive about the other two parts. I think it is possible to collect and to edit in a serious and scholarly way a fairly good number of the enigmatic Byzantine poems; I am also sure that translating these riddles into modern English, together with an introduction and a commentary, would really fill a gap. The work I am going to do in the following months will not only shed light upon a peculiar (and so far neglected) feature of Byzantine culture, but will also make known to a wider audience a kind of poetry that can still be appreciated in our times as well.

 

An Early Byzantine Area in the Necropolis of Miletus

Philipp Niewöhner, Istanbul Department, German Archaeological Institute, Turkey,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

I studied a walled square that I have excavated recently in the necropolis of Miletus. The square dates from the 5th century CE and contains contemporary as well as earlier burials. One of them seems to have been venerated, and in the 6th century half of the square was built up with a church and martyrium. Originally, the square seems to have been conceived as an exclusive Christian cemetery or area, as they are known from Rome and elsewhere, but so far not from Anatolia.

Such areae were often surrounded by arcaded porticoes, and this seems to have been the case at Miletus, too. The interior was not necessarily plastered with graves, but typically contained a martyrium, and a church was often built in or next to the area. Some such examples in Greece are closely comparable to Miletus and date from the late 4th and the 5th century, when areae may have been a common feature on Christian necropoleis around the Aegean. No area that has come to my knowledge was built after the 5thcentury.

It remains to be determined whether areae were more frequent in coastal cities of western Asia Minor, and whether they also occurred beyond the Aegean littoral, along the south coast as well as in central Anatolia. A German version of my research forms a chapter in my book on the Byzantine basilicas of Miletus, and the fellowship gave me the opportunity to finish that manuscript.

 

Fellowship Report

Umayyad Illustrated Calendars and their Late Antique Sources: A Comparative Study

Nadia Ali, Université de Provence, Marseille,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

How the art of the Umayyads (661–750) responded to the encounter with late antique art in the Bilâd ash-Shâm has been a major debate for more than a century. Many scholars insisted on a rupture while others accepted the continuity explanation, but saw in the transition from late antiquity to early Islam some degeneration. Further recent refinements have posited an active rôle of the Umayyads in the shaping of their art. My research revisits Umayyad palatial iconography and considers the previously underrated role of the craftsmen's practice in the making of Umayyad iconography. How was a program produced in the 8th-century Bilâd ash-Shâm? What was transmitted from one generation of craftsmen to another? How was it transmitted?

To explore these problems, I decided to focus on three illustrated calendars that I began to identify in the frescoes of Qusayr 'Amra's central hall (Jordan, 715–730) and the stuccos of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi's court façade (Syria, 728) and Khirbat al-Mafjar's bath porch (Palestine, 724–743). Data from numerous catalogs, surveys, and excavation reports allow me to make a comparative analysis between the Umayyad calendars and a wide array of visual sources including neglected material such as the early Christian and Jewish mosaics of the Levant (Beisan-Scythopolis, Awzaii, Qabr Hiram, Jerash, Madaba, Nitl). The comparison confirms my hypothesis about what has been held by Oleg Grabar as the depiction of “princely cycles” inspired by Sasanian iconography: they actually represent agricultural calendars. A careful examination of the organizational patterns, iconographic types, and colocations of themes employed in the Umayyad calendars suggests a “pragmatic continuity” with early Christian and Jewish art of the Levant. My research also reveals that in the transmission of iconographic traditions from Byzantine Syria to the Umayyads, the role played by the Ghassanids, the Christianized Arabs who ruled parts of Syria in the 6th century, may have been more critical than has heretofore been accepted.

 

An Armenian Ekphrasis on a Late 10th-Century Byzantine Reliquary of the True Cross

Ioanna Rapti, Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Paris,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The focus of this project is a late 10th-century panegyric composed by the famous Armenian poet, Gregory of Narek, to celebrate the gift of an imperial reliquary to the monastery of Aparank in the area of Lake Van and the new church built to house it. Never translated into any western language, the text conceals much evidence for Byzantine policy in the East, Byzantine art, and Armenian architecture. During the fellowship I translated the major part of the text and analyzed its structure and vocabulary, establishing the outline of a potential publication. The main features that emerged are:

  1. Literary hybridism, based on rhetoric and poetry, borrowing from historiography and indebted to Byzantine ekphrasis.
  2. Gift-exchange and diplomacy during the critical period (979–983) after the defeat of Bardas Skleros. The donation was orchestrated by a former supporter of the rebel while the latter was still a serious threat. More than a testimony to the loyalty of the repentant rebel, the reliquary brought imperial authority to the homeland of the former rebel with weighty symbolism.
  3. Praise and propaganda: Gregory's praise of the co-emperors stresses their concordia and joint policy challenging the traditional distinction between the warrior and the administrator. Given the circumstances of the gift, the panegyric, addressed among others to three Armenian kings targeted by Byzantine expansion, becomes particularly meaningful.

Poetry and materiality: Gregory's ekphrasis leads the senses of his audience to perception of the reliquary and to the liturgical space. Through his sophisticated wording, which blends compounds and biblical references in avalanches of metaphors, he conjures a Byzantine staurotheke similar to that of Basil the parakoimomenos now in Limbourg. He also sketches a cross-in-square church with precious furnishing, sparkling within a smooth textile-covered interior enclosed by lush vegetation. His audience must have felt in paradise. Ironically but expectedly, this paradise was soon to be lost and the gift would soon return to the realm of the donor.

 

George of Trebizond and his Martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios: Edition, Translation, Commentaries

Ksenia Lobovikova, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The main goal of my project was to prepare a modern edition and English translation of the martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios, which was written in 1468 by George of Trebizond, a Greek émigré in Italy, a famous man of letters and a curial official. Following the advice of Ihor Ševčenko to hagiographers—first of all to produce reliable translations of Lives of the Saints into modern languages—I concentrated on making an English translation of the Latin text, which has never been translated before. The second part of my project was preparing commentaries to the text. In my research, I tried to answer the following questions: Why did a famous rhetorician like George of Trebizond decide to write the Life of St. Andreas? To whom was the Vita addressed? What was the main message of the martyrology? Was St. Andreas an Orthodox or a Catholic? In what Galata church was the body of the Saint buried after his death? We have an anonymous Greek passio of St. Andreas (Cod. Oxon. Bodl. Canonic. 126), and comparing these texts helped to answer some of these questions. Another task was to compare the Life of St. Andreas with other Lives of Byzantine neo-martyrs of the late Palaiologan period and early Ottoman times: the Lives of St. Niketas the Young, St. Theodoros the Young, St. Michael of Alexandria, St. Michael Mauroeides of Adrianople, and St. George of Adrianople. Many Lives of the Saints were also written in the Quattrocento in the Italian circle of humanists to which George of Trebizond belonged. During this fellowship I have tried to locate the Life of St. Andreas in the context of Latin hagiography of the Renaissance.

 

Controversy in Context: Christianity in Edessa in the Second Half of the Fourth Century

Emanuel Fiano, Duke University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My project was conceived as an examination of Christianity in Edessa in the second half of the 4th century. This was a time of particular conflict for the Church, which was engaged in the Trinitarian controversy. I intended to canvas this scenario by situating Edessa within its broader contexts, and to analyze the Trinitarian debates from a geo-ecclesiological perspective. During this pursuit I encountered the scantiness of strictly coeval sources (except for Ephrem and the Itinerary of Egeria). As a matter of fact, both the Letter of Aithallah, a potentially important witness to the diffusion of Nicene doctrines in Osrhoene, and the Teaching of Addai, testifying to an attempt on the part of Edessene elites to renegotiate the city's position on the map of contemporary Christianity (particularly in relation to Rome), are commonly considered slightly later artifacts. A combined use of prosopography, of the lists of conciliar subscriptions, and of Ecclesiastical Histories (Theodoret's, Sozomen's, and Rufinus's continuation of Eusebius's) provided me with some alternative sources to identify partisan affiliations of, and relationships among, some of the key episcopal figures of the region at this time. I was thus able to begin to shape a narrative of the unfolding of the Trinitarian strife in Edessa in its various contexts (e.g., in its intersections with the Meletian schism). In addition, I set out to test the hypothesis that Egyptian exile allowed some Syriac bishops to establish connections among geographically non-contiguous dioceses, and proved instrumental in providing them with models of episcopal centralization. In this connection, and in order to verify church historians' highly stereotyped representations of the exile destinations, I have devoted time to the investigation of the consistency and the nature of the Christian presence in Egyptian centers such as Antinoopolis and Philae, through archaeological reports, literary accounts, and papyrological evidence. This project represents in all respects a work in progress, which I hope to develop further in the near future.

 

An Island in Transition: History of Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages (ca. 500–800 A.D.)

Luca Zavagno, Eastern Mediterranean University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

Research on medieval Cyprus has always lingered on a chronological tri-partition, which focuses on the late antique "golden age" (5th to 7th century) and the so-called Byzantine reconquista (post-965) while overlooking the period in between, labeled as the Condominium era. The latter has been regarded as a phase during which local society became ruralised, de-urbanised, and rarefied in terms of density of settlement as a result of the dislocation brought about by the 7th-century Arab raids. But as Hegel put it in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the standard by means of which we measure the situation and establish that it is problematic is itself part of the problem and should be abandoned.

My research has indeed tried to reject “the usual standards” and to propose a complex but coherent picture of the fate of Cyprus in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. As for this very period, the analysis of Arab, Syriac, and Byzantine sources, the data from archaeological excavations, a recently published survey on local and imported ceramics, and already existing publications on coins and seals reveal the persistence of an imperial landowning elite (like the so-called 8th-century Fraggoummenoi, who took part in a Byzantine diplomatic mission to the Caliph); this elite commanded the local administrative and fiscal structures as integrated into the Byzantine political-military system of governance (seals of local archons and droungarioi of the Kibyrraiotai) and enhanced a degree of political control which paired with the continuous religious importance of the island as center of an important Archbishopric and as pilgrimage hub.

The notion of Condominium as a blank slate stemming from both the silence of documentary and literary sources and the idea of the Arabs and Byzantines sharing the local fiscal revenues of an impoverished island are clearly to be rejected. In this sense, my research has also proposed a comparison with other Mediterranean islands under the Byzantine sway (Sicily and Crete, but also the Balearics and Malta), allowing me to highlight a degree of persistence in the Cypriot economy. Here the tailing off of bronze coinage implies (incidentally as in Syria and Palestine) a “realigning and adaptive economic strategies by local communities.” As in Sicily (and possibly in Crete) the disappearance of Byzantine petty coinage reflects the introduction of a new imperial fiscal system (as stemming from the loss of Egypt). Indeed, Cyprus also retained its strategic relevance as commercial hub (mirrored in the presence of the so-called Arab-Byzantine coins and in the reassessment of pottery previously overlooked). The results of my research will be published in the form of an article to bolster the completion of my forthcoming book.

 

Dynamic Landscapes in Late Antique and Byzantine Anatolia: Pilgrimage, Travel Infrastructure, and Landscape Archaeology

Sarah Craft, Brown University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The connectivity of the ancient Mediterranean has been demonstrated in many publications over the last decade. This approach foregrounds travel and movement and considers landscape as a dynamic place where movement was the norm. My project is a contribution to the understanding of dynamic landscapes through the lens of early Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological and textual sources do not always allow us to reach them directly, but it is possible to outline the infrastructure of the world through which pilgrims journeyed. It is within this context that a landscape archaeology approach to early Christian pilgrimage is perfectly poised.

Specifically, I explore the negotiation between the phenomenon of early Christian pilgrimage, the infrastructure of travel-the roads, bridges, shrines, and cemeteries-and the landscape and communities in which it took place. Using the vast amount of scholarship that already exists on both early Christian pilgrims and the historical geography of ancient Asia Minor as a foundation, I chose four pilgrimage destinations as case studies in order to investigate the regional, dynamic, and diverse contexts of early Christian pilgrimage: St. John at Ephesos, St. Thekla at Meryemlik, St. Theodore at Euchaïta, and St. Michael at Germia. I combine textual attestation of pilgrimage with the material correlates of movement and with analysis of those features in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based environment. The practice of pilgrimage contributed to the forms that local economies, settlement patterns, and religious practices developed and changed over time.

The research undertaken contributes to my doctoral dissertation, the prospectus for which I completed while at Dumbarton Oaks. An integrated investigation of pilgrimage, travel infrastructure, and landscape archaeology can contribute not just to a better contextualized understanding of early Christian pilgrimage in Asia Minor, but also to the ways we investigate and interpret the wider worlds of the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean.

 

The Cambridge Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy

Ida Toth, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The seven weeks of sustained research work at the Dumbarton Oaks Library have enabled me to study a wide spectrum of primary sources and to select the most suitable illustrative material for the Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy, a practical guide through the main corpora and collections of extant epigraphic material and the main issues of reading and studying Byzantine inscriptions.

During my term as a summer fellow, I have been able to examine thousands of images from the Epigraphy Database and the Byzantine Photographs and Fieldwork Collections, and to choose nearly two hundred most representative samples, which will serve to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of the Byzantine epigraphic habit as well as filling gaps in the general understanding of some more idiosyncratic epigraphic practices.

In addition to focusing on broader epigraphic issues, I have also created a database of 11th-century inscriptions, which I intend to use for my contribution to the panel "Towards a Corpus of Byzantine Inscriptions" at the forthcoming 22nd Congress of Byzantine Studies in Sofia, and, in an extended version, as part of the chapter on middle Byzantine epigraphy. The historical information yielded by this material will also be incorporated into the database of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (further details regarding this collaboration remain to be confirmed at the meeting with the project director in October 2011).

Access to the DO Archive and Collections has given me far greater and more in-depth coverage of inscriptional material than I would be able to find in any other academic resource or institution. I have also enormously benefited from many stimulating conversations with resident specialists in related fields, who have always been generous with their advice and prompt to share their insights and expertise. As a result, I have strengthened my knowledge of the issues raised by the great variety of epigraphic material that I have been able to consult, and now leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of its significance and ramifications.

 

 

Isocrates in Byzantium

Juan Signes Codoñer, Universidad de Valladolid,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My topic was the reception of Isocrates in Byzantium since the 9th century. I aimed at an analysis of the different levels of recycling of his texts, ranking from the single quotation to a more elaborated recreation of his works or ideas, as in the anonymous dialogue Charidemos. Manuscript tradition was taken into account, especially before the end of the 14th century, when the number of manuscripts multiplies. Consultation of the original editions of the Byzantine authors and of the relevant bibliography to the works and manuscripts has allowed me to deepen my views in a just a few weeks and to come to definitive conclusions, which I hope to publish very soon in separate articles, ending perhaps in a book. Although Isocrates, in contrast to Demosthenes (somehow ubiquitous since his canonization through Hermogenes), was mainly indirectly quoted and appraised and even his most popular work (the Demonicea) was referred to through gnomologia or late antique parainetic texts, there were significant instances of direct reading and appraisal of his speeches by different Byzantine authors. They were attracted by the fame of the orator as transmitted by the late antique manuals, to which he owed his popularity. Significantly enough, the manuscript tradition up to the 14th century can be connected with the names of these very few Byzantine intellectuals at the capital who since the times of John Sardianos and Photios contributed to the diffusion of Isocrates's speeches as a model for prose style. They made it thus possible for Isocrates to appear in the canonical lists of orators and rhetoricians that turn up from time to time in the writings of Byzantine authors from Psellos to Joseph Rhakendytes. To these lists I will devote a particular study. A typology of the different kinds of re-writing of classical and Byzantine texts (such as epitome, paraphrasis, and metaphrasis) is also envisaged in the frame of a congress devoted to Textual Criticism and Quellenforschung to be held in Madrid in February 2012. It will include my work on Isocrates.

 

Marian Prefigurations in Byzantine Art: Evolution of the Main Types

Svetlana Sobkovitch, École pratique des hautes études, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Old Testament episodes interpreted as prophecies of the Mother of God, Marian prefigurations find their reflection in art throughout the history of Byzantium. Research on this important imagery has mostly centered on particular aspects of it, while my approach is to treat the most important of these types as a system of symbols elaborated for a varied exemplification of a single dogmatic content. The meaning of this dogma being the birth of God and man, the ever-virgin mother can be compared to the Burning Bush of Moses, intact in the divine fire, or to the Closed door of Ezekiel, letting the Lord pass while staying shut, etc.

Revealed by the study of sources reflecting developments in beliefs, the shared meaning of types corroborates the observation that their representations rely upon similar mechanisms for the visualization of this content. The study of examples also shows that the evolution of this iconography follows the general principles of Byzantine art, starting with the continuing close relation of the image to the text and to the overall context of the cult. Finally, these iconographies share elements which contribute to the visualization of the dogma.

The fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to consolidate the content base for my Ph.D. thesis on the subject, concerning its textual sources and examples of iconography. The use of Dumbarton Oaks Library, Rare Books and Images (ICFA) Collections has been an opportunity to study a variety of visual documents, as well as related earlier and recent works including theses, electronic resources and other materials less readily accessible elsewhere. Discussion with scholars has also been helpful in organizing my ideas as to the origins and evolution of the typological imagery related to Mary, as well as to its place in the history of Marian piety in Byzantium.

 

 

Optics and Aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites

Sergei Mariev, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The project Optics and aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites analyzes the references to the theories of visual perception which are found in the texts of Theodoros Metochites. In particular it focuses on the attempts of this author to describe the experience of beauty by making explicit use of the theories of visual perception.

In order to catalogue the passages of the text which contain references to the theories of visual perception, all the writings of Theodoros Metochites had to be reexamined. The examination revealed not only a significant number of these passages in the Semeioseis and in his Poems, but also in his commentaries on Aristotle (unedited for the most part; MSS and the Latin translation by Hervetus from the 16th century were used).

In an attempt to evaluate the knowledge of Metochites against the scientific background of his time, an attempt was made first to assess the extent of knowledge of optical theories in Metochites' time, and then in the larger context of Byzantine civilization.

The examination of Metochites' intellectual background demonstrated that the intellectual elite of his time was aware of antique optical theories; several detailed discussions on the subject were translated and analyzed (notoriously by Nikephoros Choumnos, the passage is inedited and had to be examined from the MS of the Westerink collection in the Library of Dumbarton Oaks).

The evaluation of the extent of knowledge of the visual theories in Byzantium has revealed several channels through which these theories were transmitted: Patristic tradition, esp. Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Nemesius, Theodoret and some others; Medical tradition (Oribasios, Alexander of Tralles, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Aegina, Meletios the Monk, Leo the Physician Theophanes Chryssobalantes, Symeon Seth and others); Neoplatonic tradition (Michael Psellos); commentaries on Aristotle of various dates.

Finally, the evaluation of the theoretical discourse on the subject (especially Archéologie de la vision by Gerard Simon and Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance by Robert Nelson) were used to make the newly discovered historical facts relevant to ongoing research on visuality and aesthetics in the Middle Ages and in Byzantium.

The work will lead to a seminar on the Reception of Visual Theories in Byzantium which I will conduct at the University of Munich in the Winter 2010/11; the findings will be presented and discussed at the national conference of the German Society of the Byzantine Studies in Leipzig in February 2011; an article on this subject will be offered for consideration for publication in Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

 

The Syriac Translation Movement: Shaping Greek Education for a Christian Society

Alberto Rigolio, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

As a Summer Fellow in Byzantine Studies in Dumbarton Oaks, I had the chance to work on my doctoral dissertation in this highly stimulating academic environment. The main topic of my research is the Classical heritage in early Christian communities. While the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire and its neighboring societies has always attracted interest, far less attention has been paid to the continuity of the pagan legacy among Jewish, Christian and Islamic communities. Paganism is itself, of course, a vague term, since it encloses the most wide-ranging variety of rituals, cults and philosophical stances, which the revealed religions often failed to acknowledge explicitly. Nonetheless, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were deeply influenced by the cultural context in which they grew, as shown firstly by their endorsement of pagan educational practices.

The section of my thesis I am working on at the moment concentrates on the endurance of the non-Christian culture among the West Syrians, as shown by the translations of Greek pagan texts into Syriac, which were produced between the fourth and sixth centuries AD. The translation into Syriac of orations and treatises with moral contents, mainly by Ps.-Isocrates, Plutarch, Lucian and Themistius, is an argument in support of a substantial continuity of pagan educational practices among West Syrian communities in the first centuries AD, as the reason for translation may have been the actual use of such texts in a scholastic environment. Indeed, the translations have been deliberately modified in view of their use and of their Christian audience. During my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I have worked on the English translation of the Plutarch's treatises which survive in Syriac, and I had the chance to analyse comprehensively the modifications of the Syriac translations in contrast with the Greek texts, taking into account the relevant Greek and Syriac manuscripts.

My overarching aim is to contextualize the environment in which pagan translations were carried out to shed light on their agency, their use and the cultural and intellectual traditions that produced them. An appealing achievement would be, for instance, to suggest a grouping for Syriac translations according to their environment of production, as has successfully been shown as for a number of translations into Arabic.

 

A Commentary and Translation of the Three Byzantine Dramatia: Katomyomachia, Dramation, and Bion Prasis

Przemysław Marciniak, University of Silesia, Poland,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Originally during my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I intended to work on the translation of and commentary on three Byzantine dramatia: Katomyomachia and Bion prasis by Theodore Prodromos and Dramation by Michael Haplucheir. The vast library of Dumbarton Oaks changed somewhat my initial plan.

I have focused mainly on the translation and commentary of the Bion prasis (The Auction of Celebrities) which is one of the most neglected texts written by Prodromos. There exists only one edition of the work from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scholarly literature dealing with this piece is also very paltry.

The Bion prasis is usually dismissed as the imitation of the work of Lucian with the similar title. This is, however, a simplification and misunderstanding. To use the modern term, Bion prasis was designed rather as a sequel to Lucian's work (this is clearly stated at the very beginning of the text) than in imitation of it. Whereas the Syrian author auctioned only philosophers, Prodromos included in his text the most important authors of Antiquity, e.g. Homer, Euripides, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Pomponius.

Having analyzed this work, I should like to propose the theory that the Bion prasis is a text designed for school purposes. In fact, the ancient authors who are sold at the auction form the core of the Byzantine curriculum studiorum (one might say ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία—a very loosely used term and difficult to define precisely). The utterances of the characters are built mostly from either their own texts or the works ascribed to them by both ancient and Byzantine tradition.

Since the text in question was so little studied the most of the work done was very positivistic in character. I have prepared the working Polish and English translation (with facing Greek original, to make it more widely available), I have determined the sources used in the text and studied language (Prodromos changes the language of a given character in accordance to his place of origin and dialect used in his works).

The library of Dumbarton Oaks gave me an opportunity to study the issues that the analysis of the text raises: children's education in Byzantium, the place of Homer in Byzantine curriculum, knowledge of Hippocrates's and Demosthenes's bioi and writings in Byzantium as well as Pomponius's legal writings.

Bion prasis will undoubtedly contribute to our knowledge of the use of ancient writers (including the single Roman example—Pomponius as regarded as legal authority) in Byzantine education.

 

A New Historical Introduction to Byzantine Chant

Alexander L. Lingas, City University London, United Kingdom / European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

I came to Dumbarton Oaks to continue work on a new introduction to the history of Byzantine chant from Late Antiquity to the present for the Yale University Press. This will be the first book-length survey of the field since Egon Wellesz, A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (Oxford: 1949; 2nd ed. 1961), significant portions of which have been rendered obsolete. This is in part due to advances in liturgical scholarship that have shown how Byzantium throughout its long history fostered vigorous competition between regionally and functionally differentiated forms of worship, the most significant of which were the so-called cathedral and monastic traditions of Constantinople and Palestine.

At Dumbarton Oaks I was able to consolidate much of my previous research into a bibliographic computer database of over 2000 entries, a task greatly aided by the helpful staff, open stacks and electronic resources of its superb library. These same resources were invaluable as I also worked to locate and absorb path-breaking new research that has appeared in the last decade on several areas that figure prominently in my narrative: the ancient liturgy of Jerusalem, the musical innovations of Stoudite monasticism, and musical interchange between Byzantium and its Slavic and Latin neighbors. The other major task that I accomplished during my eight weeks at Dumbarton Oaks was a 77-page draft of a study of the intellectual context for Byzantine liturgical singing synthesising material that I have been collecting over the last twenty years. This study, the writing of which was nourished by informal conversations with other Summer Fellows, will serve both as a freestanding introduction to Performing the Liturgy in Byzantium and as the interpretive framework for the musical data presented in my book for Yale Press. In conclusion, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to the administration, fellows and staff of Dumbarton Oaks for eight weeks that were not only very productive, but also most enjoyable.

 

Retelling the Family: Blood Ties in Egyptian Monasticism (Ⅳ–Ⅶ Centuries)

Mariachiara Giorda, University of Turin, Torino, Italy,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During these weeks of my Summer Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I worked on the last two chapters of my book about Egyptian monasteries and in particular about the "monastic family": within ascetic literature, it is common to read biblical quotations which imply that the path to perfection involves renouncing family ties. But this is only part of the story: at the same time there are holy couples and entire families which are attracted to the ascetic style of life.

Creating an alternative notion of family can transform blood ties and a new monastic identity may take one of a number of possible forms. So, a more attentive consideration of the ascetic families which emerged in Egypt has given me the possibility to understand the plurality of monastic strategies where family is always the focus, but forms of organization are different. The study of these family transformations also helped to define the complex relationship between asceticism as a way of life and monasticism as a form of social organization.

The first step of my research concerned the language of the family. The monastic family is no longer a biological family, but a spiritual family, which has adopted the contemporary Christian family as a model. The terms commonly used to define the roles within a family are referred to the duties of people living in the monastery: the relationships among mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons are re-used in a monastic context to define monastic links.

The use of the language of the family which helps to create a self-awareness of the family is accompanied by frequent recourse to images and metaphors of the family: for example many monastic cells in Egypt were lined with pictures of the Holy Family, the model of the family par excellence. On this premise, a second phase of my research was dedicated to analyzing the use of family imagery in monastic sources, with particular attention to the epigraphic and archaeological sources.

I had the unexpected possibility of working here with a Fellow who is a textiles expert. Therefore, I was able to spend some time researching the question of monastic identity in particular the issue of the monastic garment (habit) which, representing both the inside and outside, was a important symbol of what was individual and collective. Having analyzed iconographic sources, I came to the conclusion that the koukoullion is the most important part of the monastic vestment. For this reason, I have focused on the origins and the development of this part of the garment.

 

The Byzantine Aftermath of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata

Manfred Kraus, University of Tübingen,

Fellow 2010/11

My research project on the role of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata in Byzantine education and literary culture progressed during my semester at Dumbarton Oaks, yet it also expanded considerably. With the aid of the excellent library, the range of texts which could be incorporated and of the literature included was greatly enlarged. Although the material is vast, I was able to survey, map, and structure material from the long period from the fourth to the fifteenth century and to catch rare glimpses into Byzantine classrooms. Various new ideas and new questions emerged. Special topics I have looked at include the influence of iconoclasm on ekphrasis, the role of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate in promoting progymnasmatic exercises, the function of Nicaea as preserver of the tradition between 1204 and 1261, and the incorporation and ideological functionalization of Christian topics, Byzantine history and contemporaneous politics in model examples, particularly in ethopoeia, encomium and ekphrasis. In some thirteenth-century treatises, besides the dominant Aphthonian tradition, traces of non-Aphthonian strands (Theon, Minucianus?) emerged. The transfer of progymnasmata to the West in the Renaissance also turned out to be a more multifaceted process than generally assumed. The projected comprehensive repertory of surviving Byzantine model examples was still unfinished by the end of term. Besides work on my core project, I completed two articles, and had three more revised and sent off to press. I wrote and delivered two conference papers, and started work on a third one on rhetoric and law studies in early Byzantium. In all these endeavors, intensive communication with other fellows and staff helped immensely.

 

Mapping Sacred Landscapes in Byzantium

Veronica della Dora, University of Bristol, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My project interrogates non-linear landscape perceptions in late antiquity and medieval Byzantium.

Landscape is commonly deemed to be a western European Renaissance invention linked to the theorization of linear perspective as a distinctively modern way of looking at the world. In my discipline, cultural geography, pre-Renaissance representations of the environment have been generally dismissed as “artificial” and “disregardful of perspective.” In this project I attempted to challenge this view and offer a re-reading of this perceived “lack of technique,” or “lack of interest in nature” as a different “way of seeing” and making sense of the world, one emphasizing the visual energeia and memorability of singular elements (or places) over their modern linear integration; one resting on the repetition and superimposition of pre-existing topoi on the physical environment, rather than on its faithful description.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I carried out my research on two fronts. Firstly, I attempted at developing a conceptual framework to engage with “Byzantine landscape” as a specific “way of seeing” the world. Secondly, I researched perceptions of different types of environments, which will form the core of a monograph on Byzantine landscape. While most of my writing here has focused on perceptions of gardens and wilderness, I have also had the chance to expand my past research on mountains and caves, and I am currently gathering materials on oceans, rivers and springs, which will constitute the final substantial section of the book.

Published outputs

I am planning to submit a book proposal of the above-mentioned monograph to CUP over the next few weeks and I am hoping to complete an initial draft of the book by the end of the summer. Other publications I have been working on while here include:

  1. della Dora, V. Topia: Landscape before Linear Perspective, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, accepted.
  2. della Dora, V. Mapping Pathways to Heaven: Identity and the Holy on a Post-Byzantine Topographic Engraving of Meteora, Imago Mundi, currently under review.

della Dora, V. Setting and Blurring Boundaries: Pilgrims, Tourists, and Landscape in Mount Athos and Meteora, International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, just submitted.

 

Warfare in Later Byzantium

Mark C. Bartusis, Northern State University, Aberdeen,

Fellow 2010/11

My work focused on analyzing a representative collection of late Byzantine battles and creating new narratives in order to illustrate how the army operated in practice. I worked on the battle of Klokotnica (1230) in which Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria defeated Theodore Doukas of Epiros; the battle of Rupel pass (1255) in which Theodore II Laskaris defeated a force of rebel Bulgarians; the battle of Bapheus (Koyunhisar) (1302) in which the legendary Osman defeated the Byzantine commander Mouzalon; the battle of Apros (1305) in which the Aragonese adventurers of the Catalan Company defeated the Byzantines under Michael IX Palaiologos; the battle of Pelekanos (1329) in which the Ottoman emir Orhan defeated Andronikos III Palaiologos; and the battle of Peritheorion (1345) in which John Kantakouzenos defeated the Bulgarian bandit Momčilo. In connection with the battle of Rupel pass I spent some time working out the geography of Theodore II Laskaris's campaigns of 1255–56. In addition, I submitted a final draft of my book on pronoia to the publisher, found a suitable cover image for the book from material within Dumbarton Oaks's coin collection, wrote a book review, and wrote a long article on the institution of pronoia in medieval Serbia.

 

Vernacular Byzantine Translations and the Medieval European Romance, 1350–1550

Kostas Yiavis, Cornell University,

Fellow 2010/11

In 2010–11 I worked on two books seeking to rethink the transition from Byzantine to Early Modern. Both are part of an incipient literary history of the Greek Renaissance.

First, I concluded my critical edition of the rhymed romance Imperios and Margarona which was wildly popular throughout Europe (c.300 versions were traced from the twelfth-century French original to the 1970s German adaptations, including Hebrew and Armenian). Imperios was inscribed within the tradition not only of the West, but also crucially of the East.

The other project was the first assessment of the earliest adaptations of Western works into vernacular Greek in the 14th–16th centuries. These adaptations, often dismissed as unoriginal, are reclaimed as fiercely important-not least for their decisive enhancement of vernacular authority. The study involves comparisons with, inter alia, Boccaccio, Chaucer and Gower, and aims to reconfigure vernacular Greek literature as part of the total European field.

Diversion came in the form of an article that establishes the topos of external attacks on courtly feasts. The essay covers the period from the inception of the motif in Gilgameš, and its reinvention by Homer and Virgil, until the medieval and the composite production of the sixteenth century in a range of languages including Hebrew, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, Scottish, Middle High German, Italian, Old Norse, Medieval Greek, Middle Persian and Japanese.

Later in the year, I started thinking on a book on satire featuring the Cretan poet Sachlikis for the Byzantine section of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library edited by Alice-Mary Talbot.

 

Temple Sleep from Antiquity to Byzantium: Healing, Dreaming, and Storytelling

Ildiko Csepregi, University of Reading, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My research at Dumbarton Oaks focused on the transition of Greek temple sleep into Christian incubation ritual: sleeping in a sacred space to obtain healing through the dream-appearance of the healer (a god like Asclepius or later a physician saint). My sources were the miracles of Thekla, the two versions of Kosmas and Damian's miracles, the collection of Cyrus and John, and the corpus of St Artemios and Dometios, Therapon, Isaiah, Demetrios and St Michael. These collections, from the fifth to seventh centuries, from the eastern Mediterranean, together constitute a well-defined group, differing in kind from other contemporary Byzantine hagiographical records. I examined the transformation of the cult place, the cult function (healing) and the technique of healing as well as the ritual (temple sleep) and the medium (dream). My major interests were

  1. to detect the formation of such miracle stories,
  2. to analyze such issues as the compositional history of the tales,
  3. the figure of the hagiographer,
  4. the role of telling and listening to the miracles in the ritual experience,
  5. the tenacity of the cultic and narrative patterns, and
  6. the finality of the recording of these miracles

Thanks to the wonderfully easy access to both primary and secondary scholarship, some new ideas also emerged from this project that I plan to develop into three conference papers before integrating them into the monograph. While previously I concentrated mostly on the texts of incubation miracles, the resources and the archaeologists and art historians in Dumbarton Oaks provided invaluable help for broadening my perspective towards archaeological and pictorial sources. And I saw the gardens in their autumn splendor every day…

 

Icons of Military Saints in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean: Image and Community in the 9th–13th Centuries

Heather Badamo, University of Michigan,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

The project that I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks junior fellow was the completion of my dissertation, Image and Community, which I will defend in June 2011. In this project, I explore points of visual contact between Egyptian, Levantine, and Byzantine icons of military saints to write an account of the images—their emergence and characteristics—as a frontier phenomenon during the era of the Crusades. By focusing on icons that incorporate diverse visual vocabularies, I consider the ways in which images could remap cultural and religious geographies through their mobility, creating communal ties through the migration of saints' images. At the same time, as I show, militarized iconographies were deployed to consolidate Christian sentiment against religious others, thereby defining and enforcing communal boundaries, both between the monotheistic faiths and the sects within them. Ultimately, I seek to shed light on the complex interactions that took place among various constituencies in the eastern Mediterranean: image-makers and hagiographers, Christians and Muslims, and eastern Christians and Byzantines.

This year, I drew on the unparalleled resources at Dumbarton Oaks to draft three chapters of my dissertation (focusing on historiography, miracle accounts, and cult formation) and to revise the whole for submission. Over the course of the year, my work benefitted not simply from the excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks, but from cross-disciplinary exchanges with fellows, readers, and visiting scholars. I also benefitted from the engagement and support of the wonderful librarians and museum curators who made the collections accessible, as well as a pleasure to use. The generosity of the extended Dumbarton Oaks community, in making suggestions and sharing material, improved the dissertation in countless ways, for which I am grateful.

 

The Byzantine Hellene: Emperor Theodore Ⅱ Laskaris and the Transformation of Byzantine Culture after 1204

Dimiter G. Angelov, Harvard University / University of Birmingham, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My spring-term Fellowship in Byzantine Studies was devoted to work on the historical biography of the emperor and philosopher Theodore II Laskaris (1221/22–1258). In many ways Theodore Laskaris can be seen as the Byzantine counterpart of the thirteenth-century western emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Revolution from the top down, youthful radicalism, and experimental originality are among the terms best describing his unconventional spirit. As a reformer of the resurgent Byzantine empire in Anatolian exile, Theodore stirred up a dramatic political and ideological strife in the 1250s that set the stage for the rise to power of his archenemy Michael Palaiologos. Endowed with an inquisitive mind and an ever-observant eye, Theodore embarked in his mid-twenties on a pioneering series of literary, philosophical and theological works, where he often entered new and uncharted territory. The four months of my fellowship have enabled me to progress significantly with my writing. I have drafted five chapters or appendices and have completed fully my research for the book, including the study of key philosophical texts and all his letters as well as the transcription of a few essays by Theodore Laskaris in a Vienna manuscript that came to my attention only in the autumn of last year. I have also completed the critical edition, translation, and commentary of a hitherto unpublished text by Theodore Laskaris, Moral Pieces, which is due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

‘Imagine There's a Tragelaph’: Phantasia and Aesthetics in the Middle Byzantine Period (Ⅸ–Ⅻ Century)

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Fellow 2010/11

During the two terms of my fellowship I managed to complete a bibliographical survey which has paved the way for the first draft of my monograph on imagination in Byzantine aesthetics (provisional title: Fantasizing Gazes: Imagination and the Beholder in Byzantine Aesthetics). I completed three chapters devoted to imagination and emotions from the third to the ninth century CE. I also worked extensively on the third part of the book, dealing with the notion of fictionality both in art theory and in literature in the post-iconoclastic era and delivered a paper at Harvard on the subject. Moreover I finished and submitted a paper on visual imagination and sense perception in Byzantine culture from the seventh through the ninth century (for Knotenpunkt Byzanz, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, de Gruyter, 2011). Along with this major project I have been working on a paper focused on Synesios's treatise on dreams against the background of Patriarch Theophilos's anti-Origenistic politics in early fifth-century Alexandria (for the Brepols volume Synesios von Kyrene. Politik - Literatur - Philosophie). I also completed two more papers. The first one deals with the character of Thersites in Aeneas of Gaza, at the crossroads between pantomime and rhetorical exercises, for the volume Lectures et commentaires rhétoriques d'Homère par les Anciens (Rue d'Ulm - Presse de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure 2012). The second one is a literary study of the logos eucharisterios of John Eugenicus, to be submitted to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. To sum up, it has been a wonderful year, and not just for my research. I had eight months full of amazing experiences, unforgettable friendships, and warm, human relationships.

 

In Search of the ‘Eastern’ Image: Sacred Painting in Eighth and Ninth Century Rome

Annie Labatt,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

During my year as a Junior Fellow, I wrote the majority of the dissertation which I will defend in October 2011. My project focuses on the sacred iconography-specifically the Anastasis, the Transfiguration, the Maria Regina, and the image of the Sickness of King Hezekiah-of early medieval Rome. Previous scholars interpreted the eighth and ninth centuries by distinguishing between native Roman iconography and alien Eastern imports. But in many ways this was a period not of clear binary distinctions but of flux. Entirely new iconographies appeared, some of which had a powerful resonance in Rome and appeared on all varieties of church decoration, from apses to small devotional niches to portable icons. Other images appeared once, only to disappear from the canon of church painting for centuries. More mysterious yet were those iconographical types that had a brief moment of popularity, but then disappeared altogether. The deductive tinkering, to use current evolutionary language, at work in these iconographies shows that early medieval sacred painting in Rome was a whirlwind of inventiveness, experimentation, and innovation, not simply a warehouse for Byzantine iconography, as was once thought.

 

Papal Involvement in the Spread of Greek Culture to the Medieval Latin West

Réka Forrai, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary,

Fellow 2010/11

The aim of my project was to investigate the Papacy's role in spreading Greek culture to the Latin West from the 7th to the 13th centuries, from the reign of Gregory the Great to Boniface VIII. Specifically, I was looking at the cultural policies of the medieval papacy and their effect on the formation of Greek textual canons in the West. Rome's crucial role as mediator between East and West throughout the Middle Ages and beyond has been often noted. But so far no systematic study has been made of the papacy's share in this mediation.

Dumbarton Oaks is one of the rare libraries where the history of medieval east-west relations is thoroughly documented. Moreover, during the current academic year, Dumbarton Oaks hosted a number of fellows working on the subject of Byzantine-Western political and cultural interactions. This combination of a rich research material and a likeminded academic community provided me with ideal research conditions. It was during a previous Summer Fellowship at this institute that I laid down the foundations of this project, and now I had the chance to investigate in depth some methodological and theoretical concepts. I was primarily concerned with two related themes: censorship and the creation of canons.

The medieval papacy took an active role in filtering both pagan science and eastern religiosity, whether the Aristotelian canon, ancient medical corpora, ecclesiastical historiography, hagiography or theological documents. Texts were used strategically to build a cultural identity: appropriation of items of the Greek legacy via translation is governed by a rivalry with Byzantium. Claiming the role of mediator between Latin and Greek culture reflects also an anxiety for cultural control over Latin literary production. Translations served as spiritual weapons not only against the East, but also in competition with Western politico-cultural entities, such as the royal courts of Europe.

Translation is a strategic site from which institutions can control the impact of other cultures on their own, and implicitly shape the cultural identity of their community. The canonization of a body of texts limits contact between cultures to the segment desired by the regularizing institution. Unsurprisingly, the earliest occurrences of papal censorship concern translations. As Greek culture was perceived as both authoritative and threatening at the same time, patronage as a way of control was of primary interest for the papacy.

 

Agrarian Change in Byzantium c.630–1204

Peter Sarris, Trinity College, University of Cambridge,

Fellow 2010/11

My project for the term of my stay was to review the sources pertaining to large estates and their management in Byzantium from the seventh through to the thirteenth centuries, with a view to examining the survival of forms of direct management, wage labour, and tied labour. During the course of my stay I read all the post-Justinianic legal and jurisprudential sources from the reign of Justin II to the eleventh century (including the legal lexica); I read and surveyed the typika and monastic documentary sources from Athos and western Asia Minor; and I also read up on the latest archaeological studies whilst also reading the letters of Michael Psellus and a number of other literary sources. This research will form the basis of a monograph, but I wrote up my basic argument in a 12,000-word article to appear in the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire ('Large Estates and the Peasantry in Byzantium, c. 600–1100'). My research also fed into a chapter for a book on law and custom in the early middle ages to be edited by Alice Rio ('Law and Custom in the Byzantine Countryside From Justinian I to Basil II', 7,000 words), and a 13,000-word article for Early Medieval Europe responding to primitivist approaches to the late antique economy ('The Early Byzantine Economy in Context: Aristocratic Property and Economic Growth Reconsidered"). Lastly, I made use of the library's resources to make progress with a translation and commentary on Justinian's Novels that David Miller and I are preparing for Cambridge University Press, and I completed revising a 200,000-word book for Oxford University Press which was able to enter the production process (A Threshing Floor of Countless Races—Europe and the Mediterranean From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, c.500–700).

 

Characterization of Coptic Textiles: The Collection of the Textile and Clothing Museum of Barcelona

Ana Cabrera L., Museo Nacional De Artes Decorativas, Madrid, Spain,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During my time at Dumbarton Oaks I focused on one aspect of my dissertation, the artistic aspects and decorative patterns of the Coptic textiles. This was possible owing to the access to Dumbarton Oaks's splendid Byzantine Studies Library, the Index of Christian Art (relevant to identifying the iconographic themes of the textiles under study), the Black and White Collection, the Census of Byzantine Textiles in North American Collections, as well as the textile collection housed at Dumbarton Oaks, which provided a comparative reference for the textiles under study.

All this research is related to my dissertation topic: the Coptic textiles of the Museu Textil y d'Indumentaria de Barcelona. For some time now, the study of the so-called Coptic textiles has undergone a great development, thanks to the studies of important European collections such as Abbeg-Stiftung Foundation of Bern, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst of Vienna, the Musée du Louvre of Paris, and the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst of Berlin. My doctoral dissertation will complement and expand upon these studies by focusing on the Coptic textiles the Museum of Barcelona. This impressive collection of 178 textiles (mostly linen and wool) remains unstudied today.

My dissertation explores, on the one hand, the characterization of textile production techniques and raw materials and, on the other, the historical, socio-economic and artistic contexts. Thus, on top of the customary formal analyses, various scientific analyses are being carried out, including the analysis of dyes and fibers using high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and induced light optical microscopy. The results of this work will help us to better understand the raw materials used in Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The characterization of raw materials enables us to determine the extent of trading networks and the survival of cultural or aesthetic values despite the socio-political changes undergone in Egypt during antiquity and at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Additionally, I use radiocarbon dating to obtain a precise chronological context for these textiles, going beyond the traditional formal analysis for dating textile styles. Textiles with a clear archaeological context will be carefully considered, as these may enhance the knowledge of the development of these textile styles.

The study carried out at Dumbarton Oaks has permitted me to exchange views with the Dumbarton Oaks Collection curators, Dr. Gudrun Bühl and Dr. Stephen Zwirn. This time at Dumbarton Oaks was of fundamental importance because I had had access to unrivalled resources unavailable in my country, and the opportunity to complete one of the principal chapters of my dissertation.

The Barcelona museum intends to make the results of my work available to the scholarly community and beyond: after completion of the dissertation, information on the textiles studied will be available on the website of the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaria of Barcelona.

 

Ptochoprodromika: Edition, Translation, Commentary, with Introduction

Margaret B. Alexiou, Harvard University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

This project was to bring as close to publication as possible the text, translation and commentary of the Ptochoprodromika of Theodore Prodromos which was begun in collaboration with Michael Hendy, who died in 2008. A working text has been established for Poem I (MS G)(274 lines), Poem II (MS G) (117 lines)+ (MS H) (150 lines), the so-called "Maiuri Poem" (65 lines), Poem III (MS H) (c.550 lines) + MSS CSA and g (c.200), Poem IV (MS G) (167 lines), its Proem (MSS CSA) (56 lines), and the ending (MS g) (150 lines). Facing translation is now complete for all passages to be presented in the main section.

Since this will not be a full critical edition, no critical apparatus will appear beneath the Text and Translation. However, other MSS readings, which are of potential significance for literary, linguistic or historical reasons, will be presented, with translation as appropriate, and linguistic commentary will appear in this section, rather than below. For the commentary proper, sufficient material has now been collected on all aspects relevant to the interpretation of the poems, including: weights and coins; household economy; family life and law; court ceremonial; diets and dishes, foodstuffs and provenance; dress; monastic life, education and learning; City street life—and many more. This will be the first work to deal systematically and substantially—if not exhaustively—with the twelfth-century realia in the text, and the commentary will deal with items of historical, cultural, and literary interest.

Hesseling and Pernot provide a 172-page word list (with each form of all words cited), but meanings are only rarely hazarded. Eideneier has a partial glossary but some meanings given are inadequate or demonstrably wrong, especially where matters of ceremonial dress are concerned. E. Kriaras' Dictionary of Medieval Greek (MMG) remains the most reliable source, but it has only reached "pnevmonas". The number of rare words, compound coinages, and hapax legomena, both within these Poems and found in Theodore Prodromos' other works, is highly significant, especially when shared with medical texts or with ancient authors in specific contexts. I have made a list of such words, and carried out a thorough dictionary search. My TLG search is not yet complete, but where undertaken, the results look very promising, for alongside the realia, lexical links can be used to help solve questions of date and authorship.

Work on the Introduction included establishing why the poems are important, and their date and authorship (1140s for Poems I and II, 1150s or after for Poems II and IV, 1170s for Proem IV [CSA]). The twelfth-century context has required consideration of when "modern Greek" began, and the kinds of texts and genres its forms comprise. Literary qualities include consideration of imperial court theatron, street scenes, uses of dialogue and register variation, Byzantine forms of humor (verbal punning, invective, rude, slapstick), and scenes from everyday life covering all stages of human life—and death—for classes ranging from the emperor downwards to the basest. The poems demonstrate Byzantine aesthetics as viewed from the bottom up, not the top down, and substantial progress has been made towards publication, including the draft of a proposal to the press.

 

Late Roman and Byzantine Weights in the Collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Oğuz Tekin, Istanbul University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The scope of this project is to make a study and a catalogue of the nearly 500 hundred Late Roman and Byzantine weights in the collection of Istanbul Archaeology Museum. They are all unpublished and not in exhibition. There are mainly two groups of weights: Commercial weights and coin weights. Since the photographs and the technical measurements of the weights were taken previously in the museum, I could classified them according to their forms and units, thus I was able to make a tentative catalogue of them during my two-month study here. The chronological span for the weighs ranges from 4th century through the 13th century AD.

Researching through the museum catalogues and private collections, weights were classified in eight main types:

  1. Spherical commercial weights,
  2. Circular commercial weights,
  3. Square commercial weights,
  4. Octagonal commercial weights,
  5. Circular coin weights,
  6. Square coin weights,
  7. Octagonal coin weights, and
  8. Bowl-shaped weights

Types 2, 3, 5 and 6 form the majority in number.

While type 1 consists of Late Roman weights, the rest consists of Byzantine weights. All the weights except the bowl-shaped ones, are engraved or punched on the top with the denominational mark, mainly inlaid with silver. The largest unit is a 3 libra weight which weighs 975 gram and it is among the circular commercial weights (type 2).

Consequently, the above-given information is the basis of the tentative catalogue. Nearly all the weights were classified and catalogued by their forms and units, as well as their chronology. With some unique examples in the collection, the catalogue will make a contribution to the studies in the area of Byzantine weights. The catalogue will be published in the first half of 2010.

 

The Art of Death in Byzantium: Funerary Art and Architecture, 1204–1453

Sarah T. Brooks, James Madison University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Commemorations for the dead were central to the spiritual and social life of the Byzantine faithful. Whether laid to rest in monumental tombs or in unmarked graves beneath the church floor, the dead were present in nearly every church of Late Byzantium. Despite the centrality of death and burial to Byzantine religion and culture, there exists no focused study of how burial and these important practices honoring the dead shaped art and architecture in the empire's final centuries. My study explores the rich and fascinating history of funerary art and building, tomb patronage, and commemorative ritual during this period (1204–1453).

During the summer 2010 at Dumbarton Oaks, using especially the library's extensive holdings of literary and historical works, I made significant progress towards refining my analysis of tomb patronage. Diverse family, social and economic ties attracted tomb patrons to particular institutions and bound these individuals together in a network of giving that often began before death and could extend for decades thereafter. In the case of families supporting a single institution, these ties could last for several generations, even in the face of desperately declining financial resources. The relationships between church founders/restorers and subsequent tomb patrons are especially interesting and can be explored in both the archaeological and literary records, often with the two providing complementary information. Especially helpful to my research were the publications of the Athos Archives, including the many Late Byzantine wills and related primary source documentation that they contain, as well as the extensive prosopographical reference works that shed light on specific individuals of the Palaiologan period. Collaboration and discussion of this material with my summer colleagues in Late Byzantine literature, religion and history yielded some very fruitful results which enriched my work significantly.

Frescoed niche tomb commemorating the deceased Konstantinos (back wall, left) and a young woman (right intrados), joined by six family members including the church restorer, dated 1335/1336, Church of Hagios Phanourios, Rhodes, Greece (Drawing by Karen Rasmussen, Archeographics.com; Copyright: Sarah Brooks)

 

The Earliest Life of the Virgin: The First English Translation from the Old Georgian

Stephen J. Shoemaker, University of Oregon,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

During my fellowship period, I began work on an English translation of the earliest complete Life of the Virgin, a text originally written in Greek that now survives only in Old Georgian. Although it has been long overlooked by scholarship, this seventh-century Marian biography exercised a determinative influence on numerous Mariological writings of the Middle Ages. My translation, the first into English, will make this pivotal text more widely available to scholars and students of ancient and medieval Christianity, and should advance our understanding of the formation of Marian piety considerably.

The project has proven more difficult than I had initially anticipated, insofar as the critical edition of the text is often unreliable. The edition contains frequent misprints and other more serious errors in reading the manuscripts, and consequently translation has required regular consultation of the manuscript tradition in order to determine the text. Thus, my translation will also serve as something of a corrected edition of this important text. Despite these circumstances, I was able to translate roughly one-third of the text (about 60 pages) during the fellowship period. This is more than I had originally planned, an outcome that was greatly aided by the excellent resources of the library's Byzantine collection. While in residence, I focused my work particularly on sections of the text that were especially influential on the subsequent Byzantine tradition, in order to make the best use of the library's resources. The final result of this project will be a book-length translation of the complete text together with critical notes and an extended introduction to the Life and its broader cultural significance, and I anticipate its completion within the next year and half.

 

Byzantine Seals with Family Names in Dumbarton Oaks

Werner Seibt, Austrian Academy of Sciences,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

My summer fellowship arose from an invitation to serve as co-editor of the Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, volumes 7–9 (focusing on seals with family names; forthcoming) with John Nesbitt, which I accepted. In order to publish Dumbarton Oaks's collection of seals of family names, John Nesbitt first must identify the relevant seals and then pull the seals cards on which their transcriptions are recorded. From the cards he types two lists: a list of seals grouped alphabetically according to family name, with notation of accession number and negative number, and a list of seals grouped according to accession number, with notation of negative number and family name. The first list allows one to exercise control over the names being published. The second list allows one to identify in a methodical fashion the negatives which have to be pulled and given to Joe Mills (Dumbarton Oaks's photographer) for reproduction and transfer to CD. To date, John Nesbitt has compiled lists of seals with family names beginning with the letters "A," "B," "CH," D(oukai), K(omenos), and K(ontostephanos). So far, the total number of seals identified and listed amounts to 1,131 specimens. The number excludes seals that are cross-referenced with earlier publications. Before my arrival, John Nesbitt sent me these lists along with 1,131 photocopies of the cards on which the seal inscriptions are transcribed.

Using these lists, I focused on identifying seals with unusual, strange, or surprising names (according to initial transcriptions; all the readings on the cards are first impressions which need to be verified or refined). This work plan proved profitable since after my arrival at Dumbarton Oaks and my personal inspection of the seals I was able in a number of cases to propose alternate readings and corrections. The results will be checked in Vienna against my phototheke, the largest in the world.

Because the seals room closed in the early evening, I found that I had time to devote to two other projects. The first being the history of the metropolis of Caucasus in the 14th century (located presumably in the region east of Alania, an area occupied by the ancestors of the modern Os(s)etians, where Christianity was first introduced by the Georgians in the 12–13th centuries). The second project was a study of the continuation of Byzantine power in Iberia and Kars, at least during the first years of the reign of Alexios Komnenos, as confirmed by newly discovered seals. I have been pondering if the dux Alousianos mentioned on the seals could have been identical with the Alousianos who was governor of Antiocheia for the Seljuks and before the occupation of Antiocheia by the crusaders. Sigillography can throw much needed light on conditions in the eastern Byzantine provinces after the battle of Mantzikert. Some of my studies of this issue are already published, while others are in press.

My wife, the recipient of a post-doctoral stipend during the time of my fellowship, worked primarily on checking the readings of some 300 metrical seals that John Nesbitt had pulled and segregated in the seals safe prior to our arrival. She is near completion of a project that involves compiling a corpus of all metrical legends on seals—both published and unpublished. We are pleased to say that she was able to examine all 300 seals (and quite a few more before her departure). Many metrical verses include family names, so her studies also help to advance the progress of Seals 7–9.

 

 

 

Pragmatics, Preaching and Social Change in Late Antiquity: The Sermons of John Chrysostom

Isabella Sandwell, University of Bristol

Fellow 2008/09

The past three and a half months have been a very productive time. When I arrived at Dumbarton Oaks, I had good knowledge of John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis and had carried out extensive reading in cognitive approaches to literature and communication. During my time here, I have been able to consolidate my knowledge of these cognitive approaches and begin applying them to Chrysostom's first ten homilies on Genesis. Writing up these ideas for my research report and for a paper delivered at the Antioch day at Catholic University has greatly clarified my thinking. I now have a clear idea of how I will organize the research for my book on cognitive and pragmatic approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching and the kinds of arguments I will be making. Some of the material used in the papers delivered at Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University will be used in an essay to be published in a collection I am co-editing with a colleague at Bristol University entitled Delivering the Word: Audience Reception of Exegetical Preaching in Western Christianity. My main goal for my time at Dumbarton Oaks was to write an article showing the problems and benefits of using cognitive approaches to John Chrysostom's preaching. By the end of my time here, I will have completed a draft version of this article with the aim of submitting to a suitable journal later in the summer. During my time here, I also gave a paper in the Classics Department of Harvard University.

 

 

Ancient Greek and Christian Rhetorical Tradition in the Work of Ioannes Sikeliotes

Panagiotis Roilos, Harvard University

Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks during the spring semester of 2009 I studied the influence of ancient Greek rhetoric and Christian literary tradition in the work of Ioannes Sikeliotes (late 10th–early 11th c.). Ioannes Sikeliotes is the author of the most extensive, innovative, and influential Byzantine commentary (almost 500 pages in C. Walz's monumental but occasionally problematic edition) on Hermogenes' Peri Ideon. My research has focused on Sikeliotes' dialogue not only with Hermogenes but also with Plato (especially his Gorgias), Ailios Aristeides, the Neoplatonist Olympiodoros, and Gregorios of Nazianzos. In addition, I continued working on my translation of Sikeliotes' commentary and have completed the translation of more than half of this work. I have also identified a number of problematic readings in Walz's edition, which I shall take into account in my future edition of Sikeliotes' commentary.

 

The Origins and Evolution of the Byzantine Rite for the Consecration of Churches

Vitalijs Permjakovs, University of Notre Dame

Junior Fellow 2008/09

In the course of my Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks I was working on a project investigating the evolution for the Byzantine rite of the dedication of churches (encaenia) from its origins in the Late Antiquity until the emergence of dedication rites in the 8th–12th century euchologia. As a result of my research, it was possible to investigate the complex origins of early Christian practices of dedication, especially with respect to the apparent appropriation of Roman traditions of dedicatio/consecratio of a new temple. I have examined the Christian sources from 4th to 6th centuries, reflecting the varied customs for the inauguration of a new church building in different urban centers of Eastern Roman empire with special focus on Jerusalem and Constantinople. As part of my work for this project I have prepared the translation of liturgical hymns pertaining to the annual feast of Dedication of the church of the Holy Anastasis in Jerusalem, which survived as part of the "Old iadgari" (Georgian translation of the 5th–8th century Jerusalem Tropologion). Also, using the resources at Dumbarton Oaks and the microfilm collection of the Library of Congress, I have translated and collated the texts pertaining to the annual festival of dedication from two unpublished Georgian manuscripts, Sinai iber. 12 (11th c.) and Sinai iber. 54 (10th c.), both of which appear to reflect the liturgical rite of Jerusalem at the end of the first millennium. At the same time, it was crucial to survey all the available (published and unpublished) manuscript sources for the Byzantine rite euchologion in order to observe the evolution of the rite of consecration of an altar and of the dedication of the church from the 8th to 13th century (ms. Grottaferrata G. b. I was the latest I studied), as well as the variety of other rites used for similar purposes in the Byzantine tradition (e.g. consecration of an antimension). Comparison with the rites for consecrating an altar in the West Syriac, Armenian and Coptic traditions has shown some significant parallels with similar texts of the Byzantine tradition which can indicate a common, possibly Palestinian, origin for this ritual, first attested in the euchologion Barberini gr. 336 at the end of the 8th century CE.

 

Constructing Ideas of Christian Life: The Strategies of Interpretation of the Biblical Texts by Palladius of Hellenopolis

Yuliya Minets, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Junior Fellow 2008/09

The main research question of my dissertation is the use of biblical texts to construct ideals of exemplary Christian lives in Late Antique writings; I pay particular attention to the different purposes and the target audiences of the texts analyzed. I investigate the narrative structures where the biblical quotations, references, and allusions to Scripture were used as well as their understanding and interpretation by Late Antique Christian authors, that is, the meanings which were read into the sacred texts and used for developing ideas and ideal images of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries. The main sources for the study are two texts of Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis—the Lausiac History and the Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom.

My goal this year at Dumbarton Oaks was to complete the main stages of research for my dissertation, and to write the first draft of the text. I was able to finish all three main parts of my work. Chapter 1 is devoted to contextualization of Palladius, as a Late Antique Christian author, and his works in the historical and intellectual situation of the 4th and 5th centuries. I investigated Palladius' biography, his educational and social background, his intellectual circle and teachers; I carried out the source study of the Lausiac History and Dialogue, and prepared the overview of secondary literature. The Lausiac History and the Dialogue are particularly interesting because they were written by a single author, but differ considerably both from a linguistic point of view and in their contents. The texts differ in features of style and rhetorical organization, in the level of theological understanding and elaboration of ideas, and in the use of well-known patterns and examples from the Bible, early Christian writings, and Classical literature.

In the second chapter I focused, firstly, on textual studies of the biblical quotations and references in the Lausiac History and Dialogue, paying attention to the sources of citation, and to any literal alterations which the text of the Bible underwent due to Palladius' intentional or unconscious changes, because of the methods of a Late Antique author's work and the influence of other authors; secondly, the narrative strategies and rhetorical construction which Palladius used to involve the biblical texts in his own narratives.

In the third chapter I considered the different interpretations of the biblical texts in Palladius' two works which result from different attitudes to certain issues, such as wisdom, eschatology, pride, the appearance of the Holy Man, mixed male and female communities of ascetics, etc. These issues were important in the Late Antique Christian discourse, and were variously evaluated and interpreted in different kinds of texts. Therefore, they work as a litmus test for a problem—to define the level of the particular text in its contemporary discourse. Correspondingly, they reflect the expectations, ideas, and worldview of the potential audience, and thus help us to define the place of Palladius' works in the different intellectual trends of Christianity of the 4th and 5th centuries.

In the Lausiac History Palladius tends to present ideas associated with the communities of monks in the Egyptian desert and, probably, with the lower layer of laypeople who sometimes were not so sophisticated in their understanding of biblical words. I do not mean that Palladius expressed simple ideas, rather he presented them in a form comprehensible to his audience. The Dialogue, on the other hand, is polemical narrative which delivers ideas appropriate for high-level and educated church authorities and secular officials. Its potential audience might be the members of John Chrysostom's party who in 400–410 needed to "create" their own hero, prove their heroism in supporting him, and justify their suffering for truth.

 

Late Byzantine Rural Sites in the North Aegean: Their Archaeology and Distribution Patterns

Fotini Kondyli, University of Birmingham

Junior Fellow 2008/09

During my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks my aim was to prepare for both electronic and standard publication my recently completed PhD thesis entitled: Late Byzantine rural sites in the Northern Aegean: their archaeology and distribution patterns (successfully defended at the University of Birmingham in December 2008). For my PhD thesis I studied Late Byzantine site function and distribution, factors influencing sites' location, economic activities of rural sites, communication and trade routes, as well as the formation of fortification networks on the islands of Lemnos and Thasos in the North Aegean. My work focused not only on the identification and study of settlements but also of other sites such as forts, monastic estates and activity loci on the two islands. Further, I developed a methodological framework that integrated archaeology with primary sources and ethnography in order to develop a holistic understanding of economy, the use of space and societal change in the North Aegean during the Late Byzantine period.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I also focused on advancing my work regarding the archaeology and distribution of late Byzantine sites and the economic exploitation and spatial organization of the rural landscape in a series of articles and conference papers. In one article I am analyzing comparative material from excavations and multi-period surveys in Greece in order to discuss the role of Byzantine archaeology in multi-period projects in the Mediterranean. As part of this work, I am also critically evaluating the methodologies employed by previous studies in Byzantine settlement archaeology in order to develop a more sophisticated approach to understanding the Byzantine landscape. In doing so, I make intense use of reports, monographs, PhD theses and journals dealing with similar archaeological investigations around the Mediterranean. The second article completed during my fellowship explores the economic activities of Byzantine monasteries in the Late Byzantine period, using an inter-disciplinary approach and combining in my work archaeological, documentary and ethnographic data with GIS spatial analysis. The two conference papers I completed this year (both to be presented during June 2009), deal with aspects of trade and travelling in the late medieval Mediterranean.

The research I undertook during my fellowship attempted to present and analyze aspects of the Late Byzantine rural landscape and its settlements using an inter-disciplinary approach. I had the opportunity to provide new data and different approaches on methodology, analysis and interpretation of data, as well as discuss new aspects of the archaeology of the Late Byzantine village and of the human-landscape interface in the Byzantine world.

 

Intellectual Circles in Byzantium in the 10th century

Myriam Hecquet-Devienne, Université de Lille 3 (C.N.R.S.)

Fellow 2008/09

Thanks to the wonderful resources of Dumbarton Oaks, I completed the bibliographical material I had started to gather before my arrival, in particular about the intellectual circles in Byzantium in the 10th century, and the epistolary documents.

  1. I precisely described the features of the hands which copied Aristotle's manuscript, the Parisinus 1853, and the Venetus A of Homer; I gathered the codicological characteristics of these manuscripts in order to show their relationship with some other manuscripts which were probably copied by the same team of scribes. I also analyzed the work of textual criticism made on the text by the main scribe of each manuscript.
  2. I examined the two epigrams the scribes copied on free pages of these manuscripts, which belong to the Palatine Anthology (Ⅸ 387, composed by Adrian, and 577, by Ptolemaeus): both present interesting variant readings, not known otherwise.
  3. I translated some very difficult letters of the corpus of an anonymous professor from the 10th century, who was in relation with the monk Ephrem, a scribe belonging, I believe, to this team of scribes. These letters show the criteria of this professor for "editing" the texts he had to copy (he also was an occasional scribe). They reveal how these texts were given to him, and how he tried to find positions for his students. He wanted to be distinguished from the mere scribes who only worry about their handwriting, without intellectual concerns, and lamented that advanced high training was so little appreciated.

4. A Literary, Linguistic and Historical Analysis of the Poems of Manuel Philes

  1. 5. Marina Bazzani, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
  2. 6. Fellow 2008/09
  3. These months at Dumbarton Oaks have enabled me to work on the large corpus of poetry of the Byzantine author Manuel Philes (ca. 1270–1330s). I have focused on his historical, personal and occasional poems, while leaving aside epigrams on works of art and religious subjects. I spent the first term of my fellowship reading and translating the poems; this has allowed me to gain a good understanding of Philes' way of composing verses, his use of language, images and puns, as well as to observe how his style and tone may vary according to the recipients' status. During the second term, I have carried out a content and style analysis of several occasional poems composed to request gifts of various kinds (hats, clothes, food). The close reading and the breakdown of the text have revealed the presence of extremely interesting material in these poems, and have shown how the author is always proceeding on multiple levels of thought in his compositions. This is often achieved through a subtle and sophisticated use of language and images, either by employing the same words in different contexts or by loading them with a different nuance in meaning, thus creating clever and unexpected turns of ideas; such detailed analysis of the text has helped understand the important role rhetorical skills play in Philes' verses. This project has greatly benefited from the excellent library, the online resources and the stimulating environment at Dumbarton Oaks; I have been able to collect extensive material that I intend to use in the future to explore other aspects of Philes' poetry, such as the way the poet presents himself in his poems, his relation with contemporary intellectuals and his dedicatees, and the depiction of society his poetic texts convey. These texts are not only of interest in their own right, but they also offer key tools to gain a deeper comprehension of Byzantium and its society in the Palaeologan era.

 

The Church of the Kathisma on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road: Archaeological, Art Historical and Historical Study

Rina Avner, Israel Antiquities Authority

Fellow 2008/09

My project at Dumbarton Oaks was to prepare a manuscript of a comprehensive monograph, complementing the technical archaeological final report (submitted in 2003 to the monograph series IAA Reports), on the Church of the Kathisma situated near Jerusalem. The church was excavated under my direction on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavations revealed a large octagonal structure (41x 38 m.) with an unusual complex plan. Three strata were recognized (dated to the 5th, 6th, and 8th century CE). Archaeological evidence indicates that during the 8th century the building was used simultaneously as a mosque within the church.

My goal this year was to update and pursue a thematic expansion of my dissertation, namely, to put the Kathisma within a broader Christian and Islamic context (topics such as: the history of the building; pilgrimage; beginnings of the veneration and cult of the Theotokos in the Holy Land and abroad; mutual influences between Jewish, Christian, and Early Islamic traditions; architecture and art—the influence of the Kathisma on other martyria, including the Dome of the Rock; the artistic influence of the wall mosaic of the Dome of the Rock on two important floor mosaics in the Kathisma).

Besides completing a draft of my projected book, a year of residence at Dumbarton Oaks enabled me to meet and exchange views with different scholars (Dumbarton Oaks staff, fellows, and visiting scholars), thus yielding new ideas for future research.

 

Common Causes: the Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt

Philip Venticinque, University of Chicago

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my tenure as a junior fellow I engaged in the research and writing of what will be the final two chapters of my dissertation, tentatively titled Common Causes: The Social World of Guilds and Associations in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. I spent the fall term working towards producing a draft of the third chapter, one that probes the relationship between guilds (and craftsmen and merchants in general) and the local and imperial authorities as evidenced not only by the legal texts but also by the documentary evidence found inscribed on stone or written on papyrus. In this chapter I focused on two questions: the status of guilds as licit or illicit groups and the notion of the "bound" status of guild members during the Late Roman Period. Chapter 4 has occupied my time during much of the spring term. In this chapter I have set out to examine the economic activities of guilds and the ways that the rise of large estates, churches and monasteries as economic powers and the changing political and social landscape impacted individual craftsmen, traders and guilds as a whole. I intend that the dissertation project as a whole will engage in ongoing debates about the economy and society of the Roman and late antique periods by using guilds and those associated with them as a prism to focus on these larger questions. Dumbarton Oaks has provided an ideal setting and unparalleled access to editions of Greek and Coptic papyrological documents, Roman legal texts, and secondary sources which has resulted in an incredibly productive eight months and a much different, and better, dissertation than if I had not been afforded such access and freedom.

 

Byzantine Icons Collection in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Yuri Pyatnitsky, State Hermitage Museum

Fellow 2007/08

The goals of my research project at Dumbarton Oaks were to make progress on the catalogue of Byzantine icons in the Hermitage Museum, and to write several essays that will serve as the introduction to this catalogue. The resources at Dumbarton Oaks have permitted me to make great progress on my project. I have finished approximately ninety percent of the individual catalogue entries, including the complete bibliographies that can only be prepared efficiently in a library with comprehensive holdings in Byzantine studies. In addition, I have been able to read about new directions and approaches in contemporary art historical studies on Byzantine painting, especially icon painting of the 14th and 15th centuries. This has allowed me to refine many of the attributions of icons I have been discussing.

One of my introductory essays, presented as part of my research report, concerning the history of exhibiting icons at the Hermitage Museum, will be published in a special volume of the journal Ars Orientalis, edited by Helen Evans. Furthermore, two of the catalogue entries I wrote, one devoted to a seventh-century niello icon with the Virgin and the other to a late eleventh-century icon of St. Gregory, have been developed into two articles which will be published in the annual journal of the Hermitage.

Relevant to my work was the opportunity to study icons and several other objects in the Dumbarton Oaks collection. These include the two micro-mosaic icons of the Forty Martyrs and St. John Chrysostom, and the painting of St. Peter. In this latter icon, I was able to read the letters of Peter's name on the keys around his neck. This detail had not been previously observed, but my reading is supported by John Nesbitt. We plan to publish this discovery together in the near future.

 

Critical Edition with introduction and commentary of the unpublished works of Athanasios Ⅰ, patriarch of Constantinople

Emmanouil Patedakis, University of Crete

Fellow 2007/08

Apart from his extensive correspondence with the emperor Andronikos Ⅱ and the imperial family, Athanasios Ⅰ composed around sixty longer works that remain unedited (two long teachings and a letter to the emperor, several letters to bishops in general or to those of specific dioceses in Asia Minor, letters to monks of Mt. Athos, encyclical instructions to clerics and laymen, such as teachings that stress the necessity for charity by all subjects of the empire, as well as his Novel and Testament), with some of them regarded until now as lost.

I firstly had to study in detail Athanasios' monastic background and experience which influenced his subsequent two patriarchates.A parallel study on Symeon the New Theologian during the beginning of my stay functioned as an initiation course to the superb library of Dumbarton Oaks; it was completed and will be published in the volume ΙdaToth - N. Gaul (ed.), Reading in Byzantium and Beyond. A Collection of Papers to Honour Professors Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys (forthcoming). I also re-examined modern views on his so-called "Reform Policy".

Crucial introductory answers to such issues were offered through further research while preparing the apparatus criticus and apparatus fontium for the unedited texts. The linguistic and compositional features, literary and rhetorical figures as well as the convoluted style of writing (with long periods, syntax that deviates from classical usage, examples of absolute structures, repeated transitional words and phrases) function as a medium which continuously corroborates Athanasios' policy and demand for return (ἐπιστροφή) and repentance (μετάνοια). More than two thousand quotations from other texts (scriptural, patristic or ascetic) detected in his works were also used as a repetitive vehicle for transferring and applying his ideas and public interventions.

After completing the processing of the apparatuses for the unpublished part of Athanasios' writings, I have attempted a more precise understanding by preparing an English translation of the Greek text, which will be included in the final edition. I also continue to do research on some recently discovered theological anthologies on the Holy Spirit that are attributed to the patriarch, while I simultaneously attempt to clarify issues regarding the network of persons and places during Athanasios' life. The resonance and the fame of his personality especially in the first half of the fourteenth century were kept alive both through controversial references by contemporary authors and a number of manuscripts compiled not only in order to preserve his own writings but also to confirm his canonization as a saint in Constantinople. I have already started to compose the above mentioned case studies into a separate paper and articles.

I hope that after the generous hospitality of Dumbarton Oaks during the past year the critical edition for the whole corpus of Athanasios' unpublished works will be completed in the near future.

 

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America

Nadezhda F. Kavrus-Hoffmann, Glenmont, NY

Fellow 2007/08

During my four-month fall fellowship term I made considerable progress on my Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America. Specifically, I accomplished the following:

  1. Researched and wrote final catalogue entries for Part Ⅳ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.340–M.647," to be published in Manuscripta 52:1 (2008).
  2. Researched and wrote draft catalogue entries for Part Ⅴ, "The Pierpont Morgan Library, Greek manuscripts M.652–M.874," to be published in Manuscripta 52:2 (2008).
  3. Researched and wrote an innovative article, "Two Solar Eclipses and the Date and Localization of the Kerasous Gospels from the Pierpont Morgan Library," to be published in Nea Rhome (2008).
  4. Visited the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, discovered two manuscripts that have never been catalogued before, and did all necessary research for catalogue entries of these manuscripts.

The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library was invaluable for my research. For example, new albums of sacred objects included manuscripts from St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Vatopedi and Protaton monasteries in Mount Athos, and Byzantine Calabria, and such sources helped me to date, localize, and identify scribes or artists in manuscripts from American collections. New albums of watermarks included R. Stanković, Filigranoshki Opis I Album (Sofia, 2006), which I could not find in any other library and which helped me to date several manuscripts more precisely. And, in addition to Dumbarton Oaks' many rare books and journals, its fine collection of microfilms of Greek manuscripts and new manuscript scanner were very useful.

I have accepted a one-year fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (beginning July 1, 2008), which will enable me to continue the long-term project I worked on during my stay at Dumbarton Oaks.

Personal Comments

I enjoyed my term at Dumbarton Oaks very much. I have exceptionally good feelings about the Byzantine studies fellows—we became really close and will certainly keep up personally and professionally. The friendly and warm atmosphere and the fellows' willingness and ability to help one another added greatly to my pleasant experience and research productivity.

I especially liked my comfortable and conveniently located office in the Library, where I was able to work extremely efficiently, with all the books and journals I needed at my fingertips. I also appreciated the library staff members who worked hard to rush-catalogue and bring books to my office, to find missing books, and to deliver books ordered through Interlibrary Loan. And librarians taught me how to use new scanners and other equipment.

I very much liked all of the Greek seminars and many of the lectures by Byzantine and other scholars. I also appreciated an opportunity to consult Prof. Irfan Shahid on Arabic notes in some of the Greek manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library collection.

My apartment in La Quercia was in the basement but was recently renovated, and Mario Garcia was very helpful in fixing small problems.

I looked forward to the company of fellows and staff during lunches—the Refectory helped us to get to know each other much better. The food, however, could have been more nutritious and varied.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the gardens, concerts, receptions, and dinners. I am especially grateful to Alice-Mary and Bill Talbot for inviting us to their home for Thanksgiving dinner and to Jan and Liz Ziolkowsky for a very enjoyable evening at their home.

 

The Tradition of the Byzantine Translator's Preface

Elizabeth A. Fisher, George Washington University

Fellow 2007/08

In addition to two Byzantine translator's prefaces that I analyzed in previous publications, I secured in the course of my fellowship eleven more texts that range in date from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries and accompany translations from Latin, Persian, Syriac and Arabic. Of these, one is published only partially and one is unpublished. I obtained manuscript facsimiles of these two prefaces and am preparing annotated editions of them to be published in separate articles.

As my project evolved, I recognized that a series of articles on individual prefaces or groups of prefaces is the most practical means of initially presenting the genre; I shall eventually draw these studies into a monograph as I locate additional prefaces. I shall also examine the antecedents of the Byzantine translator's prefaces. I plan one article on two second-century prefaces to translations from Latin and a second on the Latin source of Manuel Holobolos' thirteenth-century discussion of translation theory.

In addition to studying Byzantine translator's prefaces, I also prepared the first translation with annotations of Michael Psellos' Life of Symeon the Metaphrast and of his On the Usual Miracle at Blachernae, which was a special challenge because of its complex system of references to neo-Platonic doctrine and to Byzantine legal texts.

This year I have also prepared or revised five articles accepted for publication: three on Planoudes' Greek translations, one on the anonymous commentator to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Ⅶ, and one on monasteries and the Latin language in thirteenth-century Constantinople.

 

Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople before the Great Palace

Örgü Dalgıç, New York University

Junior Fellow 2007/08

During my junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks I completed the writing of my dissertation entitled Late Antique Floor Mosaics in Constantinople prior to the Great Palace. I successfully defended my dissertation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, just before the end of my fellowship period.

In my dissertation I brought together for the first time the complete corpus of floor mosaics from Istanbul, from thirteen sites, dating from the second to the sixth century C.E. This is also the first systematic and contextual study of this mostly unpublished material. The corpus is here divided into three groups: (1) the Belediye Sarayı (City Hall) mosaics at Saraçhane; (2) the Kocamustafapaşa mosaic; and (3) the rest of the mosaics from Istanbul, geometric and ornamental.

At Dumbarton Oaks, I finalized my conclusions and finished writing the first chapter, on the Belediye mosaics discovered in a salvage excavation in 1953. Bringing together unpublished site photographs and sketch plans from various archives and the literary references to the topography of Constantinople in the period, I suggested a new attribution for the mosaics: the paving for the peristyle of the gymnasium of the Thermae Constantianae, one of Constantinople's most prominent but long-lost public monuments.

I researched and wrote chapter three during the second semester of the fellowship year. In this chapter I considered non-figural mosaics from Istanbul in two parts, Roman (pre-Constantinian) mosaics, and the mosaics of Constantinople.

During the fellowship period, I delivered two papers: Mosaics of Constantinople: Paving the Way to the Great Palace at the Archaeology and the Cities of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity conference organized at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2008; and Saraçhane Mosaics: Reconstructing the Art, Architecture and Topography, in the 33rd Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Toronto, October 2007. I also prepared and submitted an article in collaboration with Thomas F. Mathews entitled A New Interpretation of the Church of Peribleptos and its Place in Middle Byzantine Architecture to be published in Proceedings of International Symposium in Memory of Sevgi Gönül-Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Istanbul 2007.

 

Theodore Metochites’ Commentary on Aristotle's De anima: Critical Edition with an English Translation

Börje Bydén, Göteborg University

Fellow 2007/08

A very considerable part of the extant philosophical literature from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages consists of commentaries on the works of Aristotle. In the last decades, the study of the Late Antique commentaries (c. AD 120–620) has come to occupy a central place in the field of ancient philosophy. By contrast, the Byzantine commentaries (c. 900–1453) are still relatively little known. This is partly due to the fact that most of them have never been edited. The Late Antique commentaries are studied on the basis of the editions in the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, published between 1882 and 1907 by the Royal Prussian Academy at Berlin. In 2007, a new series was launched in Berlin to complement and extend the CAG with editions mainly of Byzantine commentaries.

One of the most interesting of these is Theodore Metochites' commentary on the De anima (c. 1320). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks (which regrettably had to be reduced from two terms to one, on account of the duties connected with a new position) I have continued my preparations for a critical edition of this work, which is preserved in twelve manuscripts. The edition will be accompanied by an introduction and an English translation and published in the new Berlin series. I benefitted especially from the Dumbarton Oaks Library's excellent coverage not only of Byzantine intellectual history but also of its Late Antique background.

 

 

Andronikos Kamateros’ Sacred Arsenal: Critical edition, translation and commentary

Alessandra Bucossi, Genova, Italy

Fellow 2007/08

The Sacred Arsenal is one of the most important remaining Byzantine inedita of the twelfth century. It was written most probably around 1173 by the megas droungarios Andronikos Kamateros, an aristocrat from the Doukas family, active at the Constantinopolitan court during the second half of the twelfth century. The emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143–1180) commissioned this work of refutation of Latin and Armenian heresies during a period in which negotiations with the Latin and the Armenian churches about a possible reunion were proceeding fervently. This massive text is still unpublished, except for a small part (about 63 of 309 folia) which appears in Migne's Patrologia Graeca as part of the work written by John Bekkos, Refutationes adversus D. Andronici Camateri Viglae Drungarii super scripto traditis testimoniis de Spiritu Sancto animadversiones (PG 141, 396–613).

My PhD thesis, completed in 2006, focused on the prolegomena to the critical edition and on the edition of the first half of the text dedicated to the Catholic Church and the procession of the Holy Spirit "from the Son" (Filioque). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks, I concentrated on the second part of the Sacred Arsenal dedicated to the Armenian Church and I made substantial progress towards the edition of the entire volume transcribing and collating the text from the manuscripts Monacensis Gr. 229, ⅩⅢ century and Venetus Marcianus Gr. 158 (coll. 515), ⅩⅣ century. The Dumbarton Oaks fellowship also provided the library resources that enabled me to write two articles: the first on the dating of the Sacred Arsenal and the second on the relation between two icons described by the Codex Marcianus Graecus 524 and Kamateros' text. Moreover, Dumbarton Oaks' collection of microfilms gave me the possibility of analyzing the microfilm of the manuscripts Laurent. Gr. Plut. Ⅷ. 26 which contains, in addition to the already well-known and published Refutationes by John Bekkos against the anthology of the first half of the Sacred Arsenal (PG 141, 396–613), also the refutations by the same patriarch against the entire dialogue between the emperor Manuel Komnenos and the Roman cardinals. Finally, during the period of my fellowship I started to create a website dedicated to Andronikos Kamateros and the Sacred Arsenal, a project that gives access to information about the life of an unjustly forgotten author.

 

 

Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3

Ivan Yordanov, Konstantin Preslavsky University, Shumen, Bulgaria

Summer Fellow 2008/09

The project I have been researching at Dumbarton Oaks is volume Ⅲ of the Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria: Byzantine institutions (secular and ecclesiastical) located in the capital Constantinople. It will include nearly 1,200 seals of title-holders of various institutions (civil, military and ecclesiastical) who resided in Constantinople.

After the material was classified it turned out that more than 1,500 seals could not be attributed to any of the above rubrics. These are seals of private individuals containing one or two names, anonymous, monogrammatic and ca. 1000 seals which cannot be deciphered because their texts are incomplete. They are important for medieval Bulgarian history because they were found in various settlements of former medieval Bulgaria and thus their publication is also obligatory.

Meanwhile new Byzantine seals were found in Bulgaria which supplement or correct what was already published in the first two volumes.

Volume Ⅲ, the final stage of the project, will include all Byzantine seals found in modern Bulgaria arranged according to the existing classifications. It will include seals already published with references to the relevant publications and in cases of new finds or new readings they will be noted appropriately. Thus all the material will be documented so as to illustrate the ranks and official hierarchy in Byzantium as elucidated by the material from Bulgaria.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I arranged the text and the respective photos according to the following scheme:

  1. Imperial palace, nos.1–715

Imperial seals, nos. 1–126

Offices at the Palace, nos. 218–363

Titles at the Palace, nos 364–715

  1. Central administration, nos. 716–965
  2. Army, 966–1089
  3. Provincial administration, nos. 1100–1617
  4. Church, nos. 1618–1796
  5. Seals of private individuals, nos. 1797–2586
  6. Undeciphered seals, nos. 2587–3500.

 

 

Hellenistic Phantasia and Its Iconophile Offsprings

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

Starting from one of Theodore Studites' epistles to his pupil Naukratios (380 Fatouros), I studied the Byzantine views on the soul, image apprehension, and cognitive processing of visual stimuli during the iconoclastic struggle. Basing my research on Theodore's statements about the imaginative faculty of the soul (phantasia), I focused on the subtle but strong ties that link gaze and representation, as well as on the theoretical foundations legitimating the perception, comprehension, and reworking of religious images by their beholders. I envisaged the cultural role played by phantasia in this area as a legacy of Greek and Roman aesthetics. Resting upon the dissemination of the Hellenic cultural heritage during Late Antiquity, Byzantine culture shaped a body of symbolic landmarks through which the collectivity defined its behavior toward visual stimuli and imagination. In this process, the passage from sight to faith, from paganism to Christianity, left its unmistakable traces. Thus, the naïve and emotional approach to arts, banned as unsophisticated by imperial elites, became in Byzantine times an essential precondition to devotion. Although according to Theodore Studites and John of Damascus phantasia had a relevant role in promoting intellectual contemplation, emotional involvement was also seen as necessary to catch a glimpse of the divine mystery. Finally, I tried to outline how iconophile authors selected and highlighted different theoretical constructs from late antique Christian psychology and anthropology (Cappadocian Fathers and Nemesius of Emesa, above all), with a new emphasis on human ability to process both physical and mental images.

 

The Impact of Hesychasm on the Ecclesiastical and Political Life of the Southern Slavs during the 14th Century

Ilias Evangelou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Summer

Fellow 2009/10

My project, to be published as a monograph, will begin with an introduction to the history of mysticism in Eastern Christianity, followed by chapters covering the distribution of mysticism in the southern Slavic world, the acquaintance of the Southern Slavs with Hesychasm in the 14th century, and its effect in their spiritual, ecclesiastical, and political life. During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks as a summer fellow I completed my monograph, writing the last chapter concerning the effect of Hesychasm in the ecclesiastical and political life of the Southern Slavs in the 14th century. According to medieval sources and my secondary bibliography, which I had the opportunity to study in the library of Dumbarton Oaks, Hesychasts occupied important positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and promoted the idea of the unity of the Orthodox Christian people of the Balkans. Initially they restored the schisms between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria and Serbia, and afterward they promoted political and diplomatic unity in order to confront the Ottoman Turks, the biggest threat to the Christian people of the region. The rich library of Dumbarton Oaks helped me to check the footnotes of the entire study and to supplement it with a relevant bibliography.

 

Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth

Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

I had a fruitful and very stimulating six-week fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks. In the first days of my fellowship I finished an article entitled Decline of Political Culture: Ammianus Marcellinus' Characterization of the Reigns of Valentinian and Valens, to be published (hopefully) in the conference volume of Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity VⅢ: Shifting Cultural Frontiers (Ashgate). I also wrote an entry on the emperor Julian (361–363) for The Encyclopedia of the Roman Army, ed. Yann Le Bohec, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Finally, I wrote the first draft of an article on my principal project Helena Revisited: Cross and Myth. The first part of the article deals with some new perspectives on Helena's biography, in particular her journey to the Holy Land. The second part discusses two texts on the discovery of the Cross: two Syriac poems and Alexander Monachos's De inventione crucis. The article also gives attention to a rather peculiar and understudied version of the legend preserved in the Six Books' narratives of Mary's Dormition and Assumption.

 

 

•••••Religion of the Book? Christians and their Books in Late Antiquity: A Cultural History

Martin Wallraff, University of Basel,

Fellow 2009/10

Eusebian canon table. _

Within the framework of a larger project on the book in late antiquity, my research this term focused on a highly significant but largely neglected topic: the Eusebian canon tables of the gospels. Although they are part of hundreds of biblical manuscripts and although they are in many cases lavishly decorated, they are rarely studied as a witness to the culture of the book of their time. This complex synoptic system of the four gospels presupposes the tradition of the Alexandrian tradition of philology-a tradition familiar to Eusebius from his background in the school of Origen and Pamphilus. However, the synoptic tables were not only a useful scholarly tool; they also contributed to the beauty of the manuscript. Therefore they mark an important step in the process of the sacralization of the Christian book. Their success for many centuries can be explained by this combination of scholarly, aesthetic and spiritual features.

Despite their importance for New Testament textual criticism, for the history of art, and for the culture of the book, the Eusebian canon tables have been edited on the basis of manuscript evidence only once, and that was in the context of Erasmus's famous edition of the New Testament five hundred years ago. My research will lead to a new critical edition with full reproductions of several manuscripts. Since these tables of numbers are not just an ordinary text, they require a broader discussion of their production, structure, and significance. The edition is introduced by such a discussion.

 

Inventing Monasticism

Columba Stewart, Saint John's University,

Fellow 2009/10

I spent the fall term surveying the several geographical regions covered by my project on monastic culture, reading widely to build out my conceptual framework. I found myself dissatisfied with the current state of scholarship on the emergence of what we commonly think of as monasticism from the ascetic currents of early Christianity. The conditions and dynamics of this emergence are crucial for my interest in the development of the elements of monastic culture. I have therefore spent most of my time since January focused on observable moments in the emergence of the new monastic paradigm. A particularly observable moment occurs during the tenure of Rabbula, bishop of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia from 412–436. In this time and place the old and new forms of asceticism coexisted, with the traditional form in the towns and the new monastic version up there in the hills or out there in less inhabited regions. Very soon the new model would dominate, and then replace, the older form, a process evident in the manuscript tradition of Rabbula's regulations, to which I have paid particular attention. As I head to the Middle East for the remainder of my sabbatical year and settle in Jerusalem for several weeks, I will place Rabbula into a diptych with Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who in his much more famous Philotheos Historia surveys an adjoining region but sees and highlights different things. I hope to expand these observable moments into something like a new history of the origins of monasticism.

 

Political Power and Imperial Governance: The Transformation of the Imperial Office in the Later Roman Empire, ca. 367–527

Meaghan McEvoy, British School at Rome / University of Oxford,

Fellow 2009/10

My semester-long fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks gave me the opportunity to begin my three-year postdoctoral project on late Roman imperial politics, addressing the ways in which the symbolism of imperial power in 4th–6th centuries was restructured around a push to make acceptable and even normalise the rule of minors, particularly for the powerful senatorial and military elites of the empire, who had a direct stake in the dynastic successions of such young emperors. Fundamental to the process of making child-emperor rule acceptable was the continuing ceremonialization of the imperial office in the context of an increasing emphasis on specifically Christian virtues. These virtues were highlighted as a means of symbolic reassurance of divine support for the ruler, most conspicuously when that emperor was a child. My doctoral project focused on the nature, perception, and presentation of child rulers in the west. The new project expands this focus to encompass the eastern court, in particular the reign of Theodosius II, and moves the enquiry on through the 5th and into the 6th century.

Apart from beginning the detailed analysis of the relevant literary and other sources, a number of new and important questions have arisen, including that of how the sharp increase in the translation of relics to Constantinople starting ca. 395 fits into this picture, and also the changing emphasis of imperial ceremonial in the more urban and civilian (and less military) context of early to mid-fifth-century imperial rule. My semester at Dumbarton Oaks proved invaluable in enabling me to refine the research questions of the project, to more fully assess the relevant secondary literature on the subject, and to begin examining the complex source material.

 

Imperial Ceremonial in Palaiologan Constantinople

Ruth Macrides, University of Birmingham,

Fellow 2009/10

The so-called Treatise on Court Offices by Pseudo-Kodinos, a work of the fourteenth century, is the main textual source for ceremonial in the capital of the Byzantine Empire in the last 300 years of its existence. My research at Dumbarton Oaks from mid-January to mid-May 2010 was based on this text, as the necessary preliminary to any study of ceremonial in Byzantium. My project includes a translation, commentary, and study of the work, its method of composition, date, and its characteristics. I completed the commentary and revised it, filling in bibliographical lacunae; I wrote most of the introductory study on ceremonies, their origins, and their evolution. While I arrived with a good working knowledge of the issues raised by the text, I leave with a much broader and deeper knowledge of its significance. My research was on two levels: the identification of realia: clothing, hats, musical instruments, colours, and ceremonies represented in images; the evolution of the ceremonies.

Dumbarton Oaks was the ideal place to carry out this research, both in terms of physical and human resources. From the lectures and colloquia I attended (both Pre-Columbian and Byzantine), I was put into contact with work in related areas (e.g., architecture and liturgy, epigrams and objects on which they were inscribed). Scholars, both those passing through Dumbarton Oaks and other fellows, shared their knowledge of texts and bibliography. I was able to identify works on ceremony books and ceremony in the medieval west and the Islamic east, and to put Pseudo-Kodinos's text in this broader context. Finally, I have strengthened my knowledge of the character of the text so that I can argue confidently that this is a ceremony book that was more descriptive than prescriptive.

 

Slavery in Late Antiquity

Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder,

Fellow 2009/10

My project involves the composition of a monograph on the development of slavery in the Late Antique period (3rd to 7th centuries AD) in both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. I am grateful to Dumbarton Oaks for allowing me to make great progress on this and several other undertakings.

I came with several different projects in tow and spent the first half of the fellowship working on these. This resulted in the following:

  1. completion of an article on the Tyche medallions minted on the occasion of the foundation of Constantinople in 330;
  2. completion of one chapter for a monograph on Constantine which I hope to finish in summer 2010. I chose to write the chapter at Dumbarton Oaks because it was directly related to the Tyche article. It traces pagan elements in the foundation of the new capital;
  3. completion of three chapters and supporting materials (maps, timelines, glossaries, family trees, art captions) for a co-authored textbook of Roman history to appear with Oxford University Press next fall;
  4. completion of a translation of the seventh book of the Justinianic Code, my contribution to another co-authored publication to appear with Cambridge University Press.

In the spring I worked almost exclusively on the slavery project and accomplished the following:

  1. transfer of data on the subject from my extensive pre-existing Word files into a searchable database.
  2. completion of a review of a book on Byzantine slavery.
  3. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in the Novels of Justinian, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.
  4. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in Frankish Gaul, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.

During this period I have also expended great effort gathering further primary sources and secondary studies, assimilating these, and entering them into my database. This is a massive project for which the unparalleled library resources at Dumbarton Oaks have been immensely helpful. I am fortunate to have one more year of fellowship during which time I hope to finish the monograph.

 

All the World’s Knowledge: Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity

Scott Johnson, Washington and Lee University,

Fellow 2009/10

This year was a magnificent experience in every respect, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make such thorough use of the library, gardens, museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks community generally. My research project on Geography and Literature in Late Antiquity progressed in significant, if unexpected, ways over the year. The range of literature which I am now including in the project is much larger-in particular, I have expanded into high Byzantium and the medieval West through the inspiration of the Fellows and Staff at Dumbarton Oaks this year. Margaret Mullett organized numerous stimulating talks throughout the semester that also gave impetus to my project. In terms of measurable progress, I was able to put together an extensive primary bibliography, including critical texts and translations. I finished an article for Dumbarton Oaks Papers 64 which is the first fruit of my research, and I completed drafts of two chapters for my monograph. In addition, I made substantial progress toward submitting the final manuscript of the Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, of which I am the sole editor. All in all, it was a very productive year which included numerous invaluable benefits to my scholarly work.

 

Weaving Christ’s Body: Clothing, Femininity and Sexuality in the Marian Imagery of Byzantium

Maria Evangelatou, University of California, Santa Cruz,

Fellow 2009/10

The research project I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks fellow explores the extensive use of spinning, weaving, and clothing as symbols of Christ's Incarnation in Byzantine art and literature, especially in relation to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the rich theological symbolism of Byzantine iconography and to examine the sociocultural function of Marian imagery. This year I focused on the latest scholarly literature on the basic components of my project: Marian iconography, gender studies, and textile production and use. The last is an especially rapidly growing field with numerous publications on the social and cultural functions of textiles and clothing, and familiarizing myself with these topics has broadened the scope of my research with significant comparative material. Another concept that became increasingly important in my analysis is the projection of multivalent and often ambivalent or ambiguous gender ideals in Byzantine iconography, allowing for very different and often contradictory messages to be included or read into the material. This implies that the construction of femininity in Byzantium was a very dynamic process, in which submission and empowerment often went hand in hand. Therefore, exploring the variety of human experience and the coexistence of different ideologies have become central goals in my research. During this year I also developed a new project that focuses on the art of El Greco. This research will culminate in the publication of three articles that will shed more light on the role of the artist's Byzantine background, focusing on the treatment of space, the symbolism of color, and the use of signatures as statements of the artist's mediation in spiritual illumination.

_

 

In the Shadow of the Sphinx: Pharaonic Sacred Space in the Coptic Imagination

Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Chicago,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

As a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed a substantial portion of my dissertation, named above, which I will defend in September 2010. My research at Dumbarton Oaks was largely focused on the re-edition and analysis of a corpus of Byzantine graffiti from the mortuary temple of the Ramesside pharaoh Seti I at Abydos, in Upper Egypt. These inscriptions were written by a group of female ascetics during the period from ca. 600–900 CE, and they provide exceptional epigraphic evidence for female monasticism in Byzantine and early Islamic Egypt. Although the Christian graffiti from the site have long been taken as evidence for the establishment of a monastery within the temple precinct itself, I argue that the women's community was actually based in the nearby village of Bardis and that the temple was used only intermittently by that group. The graffiti written by these monastic women on the temple walls offer an interesting counterpoint to the rather polemical literary representation of that structure in the sixth-century Coptic Life of Moses of Abydos, and they suggest that by the early seventh century the temple's connection to pagan cultic practice had been largely overwritten by Christian activity in the area.

Throughout the course of the year, my research has benefitted greatly not only from the tremendous resources of the Dumbarton Oaks library and the generosity of its staff, but also from conversations and exchanges with Fellows and Readers across different fields. The support of the Dumbarton Oaks community was also extremely helpful to me as I negotiated the job market this year, and I will leave Washington to begin my career as a professor in the History Department at the University of Louisville.

 

Literature and Society in the Reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos: An Examination of the Letter-Collection of Nikephoros Choumnos

Alexander Riehle, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

During my eight months at Dumbarton Oaks, I focused on the elaboration and completion of the first two parts of my tripartite doctoral thesis, which includes basic information about the various collections of letters and their author, and a discussion of the literary aspects of single letters. Furthermore, I collected and arranged data for the third part, which deals with the social and political dimensions of the letters. More specifically, I prepared the following chapters:

  1. a biographical introduction that re-examines and re-evaluates problematic aspects of Nikephoros's life, e.g., his controversy with Theodore Metochites and its (supposed) relationship to Nikephoros's retirement;
  2. a prosopography of the addressees and other persons mentioned in the letters;
  3. a collation of all surviving textual witnesses for the letters;
  4. an examination of the collections focusing on their composition and chronology;
  5. a stylistic analysis of exemplary letters based on Hermogenes' treatise On Ideas.

The excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks provided me with all the resources I needed and allowed me to work quickly and efficiently. More importantly, my dissertation has been enriched during my stay by the constant exchange with other fellows and visiting scholars whose comments and ideas helped me to consider the methodology and contents of my thesis from a fresh perspective.

 

Ideology and Rhetoric in Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos's Texts

Florin Leonte, Central European University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

The fellowship project I undertook at Dumbarton Oaks sought to investigate the political messages embedded in several texts of Manuel Ⅱ Palaiologos (r. 1391–1425). To gain a better understanding of the role of rhetoric in the political transactions of Manuel's reign, I followed three major paths of inquiry.

First, I focused on two of the emperor's texts: The Foundations of an Imperial Education and the so-called Seven Ethico-political Orations. Their study revealed the author's effort to arrange deliberative topics in a system of moral virtues meaningful for an emperor-to-be. In addition, the multitude of genres employed in the Seven Orations (protreptic discourse, philosophical essays, and homilies) attest to Manuel's will to experiment with different literary forms incorporated in a coherent, unified framework echoing ancient diatribes. If one considers the performance contexts of the orations, it emerges that these texts had a distinct didactic purpose. For instance, the sixth and the seventh orations provided expressis verbis a public criticism of young John, Manuel's son and co-emperor, who apparently did not keep with the conventional mores vis-à-vis other members of the political elite.

Second, based on extant late Byzantine letter collections, I identified the main aspects and functions of the emperor's circle of literati: places of performance (theatra), literary and aesthetic options, and their role as a group in the public affairs of the Byzantine state or diplomacy. I focused on the epistolary collections of Byzantine authors such as John Chortasmenos and Manuel Kalekas, as well as on selected letters of Italian intellectuals in contact with Byzantine scholars.

Third, I approached the emperor's ideological stance in relation to the competing political discourses dominant in late Byzantine society. On the one hand, the ecclesiasts' positions on political issues become visible in the texts of Symeon of Thessaloniki and Joseph Bryennios. On the other hand, Isidore of Kiev or Demetrios Chrysoloras represent a rather traditional political discourse surfacing in panegyrics. In contrast, Manuel seems to have developed a slightly different ideology which advocated reconciliation. In addition, his efforts to circulate his texts not only in Byzantium but also in the Latin West suggest that he consistently asserted the image of an emperor rhetorician.

All in all, the emperor's texts reflect three major rhetorical modes employed in late Byzantium for political communication: the dialogic mode, which he used in the Dialogue on Marriage with the Empress Mother, the narrative mode, manifest in the Funeral Oration for his Brother Theodore, Despot of Morea, and the didactic mode, emerging in the Precepts of an Imperial Education and the Seven Ethico-Political Orations.

 

The Formation of Constantinople as a Sacred Center

Sarah E. Insley, Harvard University,

Junior Fellow 2009/10

This year of fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has been invaluable in terms of the progress I was able to make on my dissertation, and more generally with respect to my development as a scholar. When I arrived here in September, I had just defended my dissertation prospectus for a project titled Constructing the Sacred Center: Constantinople as a Holy City in Early Byzantine Literature. During the fall term, I was able to complete research on primary source material for the first two chapters of the dissertation, drafts of which were finished by mid-February. I spent the remainder of the spring term drawing together sources and completing preliminary research for a third chapter, which I will write in the first part of the summer. Thanks to my year at Dumbarton Oaks, I am on schedule to complete a full draft of the project by the end of the fall term next year, and to finish my degree next spring. Starting a dissertation is a critical, and at times daunting, period in a scholar's career. As I worked through the first stages of my own project, I could not have asked for a better community in which to shape my ideas than Dumbarton Oaks. The rich conversation and helpful suggestions of my fellow fellows; the variety of stimulating talks and events throughout the year; and the vigilance of staff in assuring that all of us had the resources necessary to complete our projects were central in giving me a solid foundation upon which I can finish my dissertation and my degree. My deepest thanks to you all: I will always have the fondest memories of my fellowship year at Dumbarton Oaks.

 

John Geometres: An Edition, Translation and Commentary of his Poems in Hexameter and Elegiac

Emilie van Opstall, University of Amsterdam

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Soldier and poet in the second half of 10th–century Constantinople, John Geometres writes in the tradition of the Macedonian Renaissance, which found its inspiration in Antiquity, but also shows signs of a new era in which Hellenistic form and Christian ideas merge. In 1841, J.A. Cramer published Geometres' poems for the first time.J. A. Cramer, Appendix ad excerpta poetica: codex 352 suppl., Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecae regiae Parisiensis, vol. Ⅳ (Oxford, 1841, repr. Hildesheim, 1967), 265–352. His edition is based on a single manuscript (the 13th–century Paris. suppl. gr. 352) and contains an amazing number of inaccuracies. Nonetheless, subsequent editors of Geometres' poems have used this edition without consulting the manuscripts themselves. The poems certainly deserve a better fate, for Geometres is a key figure in the history of Byzantine poetry, as has been observed time and again. I am preparing a new edition of his poems composed in hexameter and elegiacs with a (French) translation and commentary. This will enable not only scholars of Byzantine literature, but of Byzantine history and art as well, to arrive at a better formed judgement of Geometres and the cultural history of his time.

The summer at Dumbarton Oaks provided a unique opportunity to write the commentary on a series of poems in relation to their (art) historical context. Not only the extremely rich library, which provides easy access to art historical studies (sometimes not found elsewhere), but also the advice of the scholars present was very helpful, especially in the field of iconography.

To conclude, I will give a brief example of an epigram:

Parqe/ne, pambasi/leia, teo\j do/moj ou)rano/j e)stin,
e)/mbhj tw=n xqoni/wn prw=ta fe/rwn qala/mwn
ou(=toj e)kei= s' a)na/gei. Su\ de\ qh/kaj, Parqe/ne, gh=qen
a)/ntugoj ou)rani/hj h)eri/hn kli/maka.

Vierge, reine absolue, le ciel est ton palais;
toutefois, te prenant d'abord de tes demeures terrestres,
celui-ci t'emmène là-haut. Mais toi, Vierge, tu as placé depuis la terre
une échelle aérienne qui traverse la voûte céleste.

In this poem, an unidentified person (ou(=toj, a demonstrative pronoun) is taking (a)na/gei, present tense) the Virgin to the sky (e)kei=, a deictic adverb). The language used seems to refer to an icon representing the Koimesis, when Christ brings the soul of the Virgin to the heavens (Cf. illustration, Icon with the Koimesis, ivory, late 10th century, from H.C. Evans and W.D. Wixom [edd.], The Glory of Byzantium, Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843–1261 [New York, 1997], 155.). Even though the poet emphasizes the contrast between heaven and earth, he concludes with the comforting idea that the Virgin remains a ladder, an intermediary, between God and man.

 

The Monastery of St. Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis (Cyprus): The Wall-Paintings

Maria G. Parani, Nicosia, Cyprus

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis in Cyprus was founded in the late eleventh century by the monk George, who probably hailed from Syria-Palestine. A few years later, a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was constructed contiguous to the katholikon and adorned with magnificent wall-paintings (ca. 1100), which are now only partially preserved. The founder of the chapel and donor of its painted decoration was the governor of Cyprus Eumathios Philokales. The surviving wall-paintings of the Trinity chapel were conserved and recorded by a team from Dumbarton Oaks under Cyril Mango in the 1960s. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the monastery of St. Chrysostom, located in a Turkish military zone, became inaccessible and the wall-paintings were covered up by whitewash and large sheets of paper. Because of these unfortunate circumstances, the numerous black-and-white prints and, especially, the detailed color slides and transparencies in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive have come to constitute an invaluable source for the study of this important painted ensemble.

Koutsovendis, Monastery of St. John Chrysostom, Holy Trinity chapel: Ezekiel [after Mango, "St. Chrysostomos," DOP 44 (1990), fig. 113]

My study of the paintings of Holy Trinity constitutes part of a larger project undertaken in collaboration with Cyril Mango and Tassos Papacostas, with the aim of publishing a comprehensive study on Koutsovendis that will contain sections dedicated to the history of the monastery, its architecture, sculpture, and the chapel frescoes. The presence of Dr. Papacostas at Dumbarton Oaks, also as a summer fellow, provided me with an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with him and profit greatly from his expertise.

The iconographic study of the frescoes deals mainly with certain features that appear unusual. Some of these could probably be considered as reflecting current theological discussions and recent developments in the art of the period, while others are perhaps better associated with the donor and his motives, the chapel's function, its specific monastic milieu, or the influence of local historical conditions and artistic traditions. The stylistic study of the frescoes addresses primarily the problem of the artistic tradition to which they belong. Considering the links of the Koutsovendis monastic community with Syria-Palestine, the possibility that the Koutsovendis master came from the area of Antioch is being explored. Having access to the excellent reference library of Dumbarton Oaks was essential in pursuing further this line of comparative art-historical enquiry. The section on style also explores the relation of Koutsovendis to other Cypriot painted ensembles of the early twelfth century, with special emphasis on the paintings of Asinou, Trikomo, and Apsinthiotissa. As a consequence of 1974, the unpublished paintings of the latter church are now destroyed. The color slides from Apsinthiotissa in the Dumbarton Oaks Photograph Archive constitute a rare record of this little-known lost masterpiece.

 

The History and Architecture of the Monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis, Cyprus

Tassos C. Papacostas, King's College London

Summer Fellow 2004/05

Holy Trinity Chapel at Monastery of Koutsovendis, Cyprus, from the northeast (photo: Cyril Mango)

Part of Dumbarton Oaks' fieldwork in Cyprus during the 1960s was focused on the late 11th-c. Greek Orthodox monastery of St. John Chrysostom at Koutsovendis. At that time its surviving church of the Holy Trinity was being restored and its frescoes were cleaned and conserved. A preliminary report and a description of the wall-paintings were published (DOP 18 and 44). According to the plan envisaged by Cyril Mango, who initiated the study of this monument, these articles should be complemented by a publication comprising the following chapters:

  1. History

the founder George and the liturgical typikon

the patron Eumathios Philokales

Neophytos the Recluse and the Maronite community

later history of the monastery [later medieval & modern periods]

  1. Architecture & Sculpture [of the monastic churches]
  2. Iconography [of the surviving frescoes]
  3. Style & Ornament [of the surviving frescoes]

It was agreed that Maria Parani would take charge of the chapters on the frescoes, while I would prepare a major article on the history and architecture/sculpture for publication in DOP.

During the first weeks of my stay here I concentrated on the longest and most complex part of the work, namely sections I.a & I.b. These have now become rather extensive in length mainly on account of fresh evidence discovered here. I should stress that the library holdings and the seals collection have been crucial to this work. The latter in particular has provided some important unpublished specimens belonging to the monastery's patron and his family which supplement the information gleaned from the narrative sources. Specialists and colleagues in other fields have also been very helpful with other aspects of my research, and Michael Grünbart has agreed to edit as an appendix to the publication a letter of Nikon of the Black Mountain to the founder George. This is one of the key sources for the early history of the monastery.

In April of this year (2004) I visited a group of related churches in Cyprus itself; monuments in other parts of the Byzantine empire are even more important though for comparative purposes, since the architectural type of the main church (a domed octagon) was introduced here at Koutsovendis for the first time on the island, and its appearance requires some explanation.

Research on the architecture of the monastery's two churches (the Holy Trinity, and the main church, demolished in 1891 and known mainly from descriptions, sketches and an architectural plan) has been facilitated greatly by the Dumbarton Oaks photographic resources, since the site of Koutsovendis, currently within a military zone, has been inaccessible to scholars since 1974. The photographic archive has also been immensely useful for tracing comparative material.

 

The Early Armenian Scholia on the Corpus of Works Attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite

Sergio La Porta, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite was translated from Greek into Armenian by Step'anos Siwnec'i at the beginning of the eighth century. Subsequently, scholia on the corpus were composed in Armenian. I am currently preparing an edition and translation of the scholia attributed to Hamam Arewelc'i (9th c.) and the scholia attributed to Dawit' Kobayrec'i (d. c.1220) and a certain Yakob. My research has shown that none of these authors could have composed the scholia, since they must be dated to the second half of the thirteenth century. Furthermore, the sets of scholia attributed to Hamam and to Dawit' and Yakob share a complete set of scholia (Set A), while some manuscripts also preserve a second, possibly contemporaneous, set of scholia (Set B). In total there are approximately 1500 scholia, of which approximately 1200 or four-fifths may be assigned to Set A.

I have also been able to suggest the monastic communities around Mt. Sepuh in Erznka (Erzincan) as the center of either production or compilation of these scholia. The corpus of works attributed to Dionysius played an important role in the medieval Armenian monastic schools. The language of the scholia witnesses many Middle Armenian forms and words and may reflect the recording of oral classroom instruction. One may also detect loan words from Arabic or Persian. In addition to shedding light on how the Dionysian texts were read in the monasteries, the scholia highlight some of the pressing issues of the day especially concerning monastic and liturgical practice. The scholia display knowledge of Latin and Greek liturgical and monastic traditions and encourage tolerance for differing practices. The author may have tried to ease tensions between the Latin-influenced or informed Armenian clergy of the Kingdom of Cilicia and the more conservative Armenian clergy of Greater Armenia.

While at Dumbarton Oaks, I was able to complete a translation of all the scholia and assess the authorship, dating, and provenance of the scholia. I was further able to examine secondary literature on the Dionysian Corpus itself as well as on its role and reception in other Christian communities.

 

Sacred Art, Secular Context: Loan Exhibition from the Byzantine Collection of Dumbarton Oaks. May 14–November 6, 2005. The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

Asen Kirin, University of Georgia

Summer Fellow 2004/05

My summer fellowship was devoted to preparation of an exhibit and catalogue of objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection. Spanning from the fourth to the fifteenth century, the exhibition will include carved gems, jewels, golden coins, steelyards with weights, silverware, and sculptural reliefs. Approximately one half of the pieces are miniature in scale and are exquisitely crafted in gold, cloisonné enamel, and precious or semi-precious stones. All objects feature sacred images and/or inscriptions, even though they functioned in the secular context of personal adornment, dining, and dealings at the market place. In addition to the sphere of everyday life in Byzantium, the "secular context" alludes also to the environment within which Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss collected art in the early twentieth century. An accompanying exhibition will display ten works of modern American painting acquired at the same time as many of the Byzantine objects. Thus the overall display presents the phenomenon of collecting and studying works of Byzantine art as a lesser-known chapter in the history of American visual culture. As collectors, the Blisses followed the advanced discussions of art-historians about the sources and main currents in the history of Western art. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss shared the view that Byzantium preserved the Hellenistic and Roman intellectual and artistic traditions and conveyed them to late medieval and early Renaissance Italy.

One of the catalogue articles I completed involves an enigmatic carved gem—a rock crystal intaglio heretofore described as a sixth-century piece representing the Denial of Apostle Peter. My research demonstrated that this is a Roman object dating to the first century B.C.E. and that it depicts a scene from Aeschylus's tragedy The Seven Against Thebes.M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Medieval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. Volume One: Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, D.C., 1962), 94–95, No. 113, Plate LⅧ. G. Kornbluth has already suggested that this is the true subject matter of the gem, cf. 'Early Byzantine' Crystals: An Assessment, The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 53/53 (1994/95): 23–30, esp. 24, 29, No. 10. Nevertheless in her article Kornbluth does not discuss the gem's iconography and meaning, so this catalogue entry will do just this for the very first time. As rendered, the composition on the gem focuses on Amphiaraus—a legendary hero worshipped as a god in an oracular shrine dedicated to him. Therefore the gems on which this scene appears might have functioned as talismans for those in the military. On the whole, the popularity of this topic during the last century B.C.E. in Italy may have been a reflection of the high regard for Attic drama in Magna Graecia, the place of perpetual theater revivals. Also, it is possible that the stories about the fratricidal wars of the Greeks, as told by Aeschylus, acquired new relevance at that time when Romans were fighting against Romans in the civil wars that led to the establishment of the empire.

 

Preparation of a Catalogue of the Christian Oriental Seals in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections

Stefan Heidemann and Claudia Sode Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Summer Fellow 2004/05

The borderlands between Byzantium and the Islamic Empire, namely Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia, fostered diverse religions, languages and cultures. Their mutual interaction is not well understood. Literary sources of one language tend to exclude others, and new primary documents are needed. Lead seals in Syriac, Arabic and Armenian languages, but in Byzantine style, emerged as a result of political, ecclesiastical and cultural expansion of the Byzantine Empire into Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Armenia in the 10th–12th centuries. As documents they contribute to prosopography, art history, philology and even political and economic history. They provide information about political and cultural life at the fringes of the Empire, which is relatively scarce in Byzantine sources. Islamic studies focus on the political and economic renaissance of the cities during the late 11th–12th century in Syria and northern Mesopotamia. We have almost no primary documents, only a rich, self-referential historical literature, written after events. But half of the population was still Christian, Jewish or even pagan.

Dumbarton Oaks holds the largest collection of these seals, with about 100 specimens. The publication of these documents requires expertise in two different disciplines: Byzantine (C. Sode) as well as in Islamic and Syriac studies (S. Heidemann). Besides extracting new information about formulas, abbreviations, stylistic groups, etc., we have made some quite unexpected discoveries: A Syriac seal, depicting an intricate image of St. Nicholas, introduces the owner Yosef bar 'Isa as money changer (katallaktis) in Greek script. For the first time someone outside the political and ecclesiastical hierarchy is found on Oriental seals with the indication of his profession. This may well reflect that during the 11th century huge numbers of Byzantine gold and copper coins were traded as a commodity into the Islamic Empire, in order to circulate there for a further hundred years.

We note that one seal belonged to the amir al-Hasan ibn Ghafras (Gabras), a descendant of Byzantine nobility, who usurped the Seljuq throne in 1192. This latter fact is documented only by this unique seal. Thus, it can be seen that, like coins, the seals provide hitherto untapped contemporary information. The last monograph on the subject, a booklet in Ottoman Turkish, was published in 1904.

Seal of al-Hasan ibn Ghafras, 12th c. Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Every day we made new, exciting discoveries. The library was very helpful for immediately following up on new ideas. Certain iconographic types could be checked on the spot with the numismatic collection and visually explored with the photographic resources.

 

 

From Holy Land to Holy Russia: The origins of the pilgrimage literature of the Rus'

Marcello Garzaniti, University of Florence

Summer Fellow 2004/05

After analyzing various witnesses of pilgrimage literature from Rus' and Muscovy, and reviewing previous research whose results are already published or in print, I propose to write a monograph on the pilgrimage and journey tale in medieval Rus' and Muscovy. Prior to the final draft of the book, my sojourn at Dumbarton Oaks has given me the possibility to use the rich library and especially to study the relations between Greek proskynetaria, Latin pilgrimage literature of the Crusader period, and East Slavic pilgrimage tales. Today one hears repeated, uncritically, the notion that East Slavic pilgrimage tales depend on Byzantine literature. The influence of pilgrimage literature of the Latin world in the period of the Crusades was also not excluded. On this question see the books of K.D. Seemann (Seemann 1976) and A. Külzer (Külzer 1994). After comparing Greek and Latin pilgrimage literatures with the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Hegumen Daniil, I did not find any direct textual dependence of the Slavic tale upon Greek and Latin pilgrimage tales. But this does not mean that the Pilgrimage of Daniil represents an original model. The first Slavic pilgrimage tale has in common with the Greek proskynetaria the Sitz im Leben, the liturgical and monastic tradition of the Byzantine world: the Palestinian guide of Hegumen Daniil, a monk of Mar Saba, played an important role in the creation of Daniil's work. From the other side, however, together with Latin pilgrimage literature, Daniil's Pilgrimage reflects the same social phenomenon of European pilgrimage. The Rus' shows a more open approach to the historical reality of the Latin Kingdom in comparison with the Byzantine world.

  1. Daniil egumeno, Itinerario in Terra santa, introduzione, traduzione e note a cura di M.Garzaniti, Rome 1991
  2. M. Garzaniti, Alle radici della concezione dello spazio nel mondo bizantino-slavo (Ⅸ–Ⅺ sec.), in Uomo e spazio nell'Alto Medioevo. L Settimana di studio del Centro Italiano sull'Alto Medioevo (4–8 aprile 2002), Spoleto 2003, pp.657–707
  3. A. Külzer, Peregrinatio graeca in Terram Sanctam. Studien zu Pilgerführern und Reisebeschreibungen über Syrien, Palästina und den Sinai aus byzantinischer und metabyzantinischer Zeit, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin, Bern, N.Y., Paris, Wien 1994
  4. Seemann 1976: K.-D. Seemann, Die altrussische Wallfahrtsliteratur. Theorie und Geschichte eines literarischen Genres, München 1976

 

Greek Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem under Mamluk Rule

Johannes Pahlitzsch, University of Mainz, Germany, 2011/12

The project for my stay during the fall term was to investigate the situation of the Greek Orthodox Christians, including the Georgians and the Arabic-speaking Melkites, under Mamluk rule at a specific period, namely the reign of the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328). However, the relationships of the Orthodox Christians in Palestine to the Mamluks cannot be viewed from an isolated, purely internal perspective. Their fate depended very much on the general state of relations between their Christian protective powers and the Mamluks. And indeed Byzantium and the Georgian kings intervened regularly in the affairs of the local communities looking after their own interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Of special interest in this context is the role of the Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem as well as those of Alexandria and Antioch, who were not only the representatives of the Byzantine emperor and the Orthodox church in the Orient, but at the same time served as intermediaries for the Mamluks with respect to Byzantium. During my term I was able to read several Arabic and Greek chronicles dealing with the situation of Christians in Egypt and Cairo during the time of the third reign of sultan an-Nasir Muhammad (1309–1341). I also dealt with the increasing number of anti-Christian treatises at this period. Another very important text I read is the oration of Theodoros Metochites on the neomartyr Michael of Alexandria which not only provides information about the situation of Melkite Christians in Egypt but could be read as an official statement about the policy of Andronikos II regarding the Mamluks. A third group of sources I dealt with have been yet unpublished Arabic documents issued by sultan an-Nasir Muhammad for the Greek orthodox communities in Jerusalem. I hope an extensive article on "Andronikos II and an-Nasir Muhammad. Byzantine-Mamluk Relations and Greek Orthodox Christians under Mamluk Rule in the Early Fourteenth Century" including the edition and translation of two Arabic documents will appear soon.

 

Enigmatic Literature in Byzantium: Authors and Texts

Simone Beta, University of Siena,

Fellow 2011/12

In the research proposal I submitted at the end of 2010 together with my application I proposed to edit the full Greek text of the Byzantine riddles, translate the poems into modern English, and write a commentary. After preliminary work in Italy (January-August 2011) and after the semester at Dumbarton Oaks (September-December 2011), I am not so positive about the first part of my goal. A thorough edition of Byzantine enigmatic poetry provided with a critical apparatus is a very difficult task indeed, since the number of Greek riddles written between the sixth and the fifteenth centuries is much greater than what can be guessed by the current published collections (including the most recent one, Celica Milovanovic's Byzantina ainigmata, with Serbian translation and commentary, edited in 1986); moreover, the fact that these riddles are scattered through so many manuscripts, and in such different versions, and with such different attributions, makes the task almost impossible (as it is shown by the case of the Greek scholar Spyridon Lampros, who spent most of his life collecting Byzantine riddles from Greek manuscripts without being able to publish a complete edition).

But, after my work at Dumbarton Oaks and the fruitful discussions with the excellent people I have had the chance to meet there (Jan Ziolkowski, Margaret Mullett, Alice-Mary Talbot, and the other Byzantine fellows), I am very positive about the other two parts. I think it is possible to collect and to edit in a serious and scholarly way a fairly good number of the enigmatic Byzantine poems; I am also sure that translating these riddles into modern English, together with an introduction and a commentary, would really fill a gap. The work I am going to do in the following months will not only shed light upon a peculiar (and so far neglected) feature of Byzantine culture, but will also make known to a wider audience a kind of poetry that can still be appreciated in our times as well.

 

An Early Byzantine Area in the Necropolis of Miletus

Philipp Niewöhner, Istanbul Department, German Archaeological Institute, Turkey,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

I studied a walled square that I have excavated recently in the necropolis of Miletus. The square dates from the 5th century CE and contains contemporary as well as earlier burials. One of them seems to have been venerated, and in the 6th century half of the square was built up with a church and martyrium. Originally, the square seems to have been conceived as an exclusive Christian cemetery or area, as they are known from Rome and elsewhere, but so far not from Anatolia.

Such areae were often surrounded by arcaded porticoes, and this seems to have been the case at Miletus, too. The interior was not necessarily plastered with graves, but typically contained a martyrium, and a church was often built in or next to the area. Some such examples in Greece are closely comparable to Miletus and date from the late 4th and the 5th century, when areae may have been a common feature on Christian necropoleis around the Aegean. No area that has come to my knowledge was built after the 5thcentury.

It remains to be determined whether areae were more frequent in coastal cities of western Asia Minor, and whether they also occurred beyond the Aegean littoral, along the south coast as well as in central Anatolia. A German version of my research forms a chapter in my book on the Byzantine basilicas of Miletus, and the fellowship gave me the opportunity to finish that manuscript.

 

Fellowship Report

Umayyad Illustrated Calendars and their Late Antique Sources: A Comparative Study

Nadia Ali, Université de Provence, Marseille,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

How the art of the Umayyads (661–750) responded to the encounter with late antique art in the Bilâd ash-Shâm has been a major debate for more than a century. Many scholars insisted on a rupture while others accepted the continuity explanation, but saw in the transition from late antiquity to early Islam some degeneration. Further recent refinements have posited an active rôle of the Umayyads in the shaping of their art. My research revisits Umayyad palatial iconography and considers the previously underrated role of the craftsmen's practice in the making of Umayyad iconography. How was a program produced in the 8th-century Bilâd ash-Shâm? What was transmitted from one generation of craftsmen to another? How was it transmitted?

To explore these problems, I decided to focus on three illustrated calendars that I began to identify in the frescoes of Qusayr 'Amra's central hall (Jordan, 715–730) and the stuccos of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi's court façade (Syria, 728) and Khirbat al-Mafjar's bath porch (Palestine, 724–743). Data from numerous catalogs, surveys, and excavation reports allow me to make a comparative analysis between the Umayyad calendars and a wide array of visual sources including neglected material such as the early Christian and Jewish mosaics of the Levant (Beisan-Scythopolis, Awzaii, Qabr Hiram, Jerash, Madaba, Nitl). The comparison confirms my hypothesis about what has been held by Oleg Grabar as the depiction of “princely cycles” inspired by Sasanian iconography: they actually represent agricultural calendars. A careful examination of the organizational patterns, iconographic types, and colocations of themes employed in the Umayyad calendars suggests a “pragmatic continuity” with early Christian and Jewish art of the Levant. My research also reveals that in the transmission of iconographic traditions from Byzantine Syria to the Umayyads, the role played by the Ghassanids, the Christianized Arabs who ruled parts of Syria in the 6th century, may have been more critical than has heretofore been accepted.

 

An Armenian Ekphrasis on a Late 10th-Century Byzantine Reliquary of the True Cross

Ioanna Rapti, Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Paris,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The focus of this project is a late 10th-century panegyric composed by the famous Armenian poet, Gregory of Narek, to celebrate the gift of an imperial reliquary to the monastery of Aparank in the area of Lake Van and the new church built to house it. Never translated into any western language, the text conceals much evidence for Byzantine policy in the East, Byzantine art, and Armenian architecture. During the fellowship I translated the major part of the text and analyzed its structure and vocabulary, establishing the outline of a potential publication. The main features that emerged are:

  1. Literary hybridism, based on rhetoric and poetry, borrowing from historiography and indebted to Byzantine ekphrasis.
  2. Gift-exchange and diplomacy during the critical period (979–983) after the defeat of Bardas Skleros. The donation was orchestrated by a former supporter of the rebel while the latter was still a serious threat. More than a testimony to the loyalty of the repentant rebel, the reliquary brought imperial authority to the homeland of the former rebel with weighty symbolism.
  3. Praise and propaganda: Gregory's praise of the co-emperors stresses their concordia and joint policy challenging the traditional distinction between the warrior and the administrator. Given the circumstances of the gift, the panegyric, addressed among others to three Armenian kings targeted by Byzantine expansion, becomes particularly meaningful.

Poetry and materiality: Gregory's ekphrasis leads the senses of his audience to perception of the reliquary and to the liturgical space. Through his sophisticated wording, which blends compounds and biblical references in avalanches of metaphors, he conjures a Byzantine staurotheke similar to that of Basil the parakoimomenos now in Limbourg. He also sketches a cross-in-square church with precious furnishing, sparkling within a smooth textile-covered interior enclosed by lush vegetation. His audience must have felt in paradise. Ironically but expectedly, this paradise was soon to be lost and the gift would soon return to the realm of the donor.

 

George of Trebizond and his Martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios: Edition, Translation, Commentaries

Ksenia Lobovikova, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The main goal of my project was to prepare a modern edition and English translation of the martyrology of St. Andreas of Chios, which was written in 1468 by George of Trebizond, a Greek émigré in Italy, a famous man of letters and a curial official. Following the advice of Ihor Ševčenko to hagiographers—first of all to produce reliable translations of Lives of the Saints into modern languages—I concentrated on making an English translation of the Latin text, which has never been translated before. The second part of my project was preparing commentaries to the text. In my research, I tried to answer the following questions: Why did a famous rhetorician like George of Trebizond decide to write the Life of St. Andreas? To whom was the Vita addressed? What was the main message of the martyrology? Was St. Andreas an Orthodox or a Catholic? In what Galata church was the body of the Saint buried after his death? We have an anonymous Greek passio of St. Andreas (Cod. Oxon. Bodl. Canonic. 126), and comparing these texts helped to answer some of these questions. Another task was to compare the Life of St. Andreas with other Lives of Byzantine neo-martyrs of the late Palaiologan period and early Ottoman times: the Lives of St. Niketas the Young, St. Theodoros the Young, St. Michael of Alexandria, St. Michael Mauroeides of Adrianople, and St. George of Adrianople. Many Lives of the Saints were also written in the Quattrocento in the Italian circle of humanists to which George of Trebizond belonged. During this fellowship I have tried to locate the Life of St. Andreas in the context of Latin hagiography of the Renaissance.

 

Controversy in Context: Christianity in Edessa in the Second Half of the Fourth Century

Emanuel Fiano, Duke University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My project was conceived as an examination of Christianity in Edessa in the second half of the 4th century. This was a time of particular conflict for the Church, which was engaged in the Trinitarian controversy. I intended to canvas this scenario by situating Edessa within its broader contexts, and to analyze the Trinitarian debates from a geo-ecclesiological perspective. During this pursuit I encountered the scantiness of strictly coeval sources (except for Ephrem and the Itinerary of Egeria). As a matter of fact, both the Letter of Aithallah, a potentially important witness to the diffusion of Nicene doctrines in Osrhoene, and the Teaching of Addai, testifying to an attempt on the part of Edessene elites to renegotiate the city's position on the map of contemporary Christianity (particularly in relation to Rome), are commonly considered slightly later artifacts. A combined use of prosopography, of the lists of conciliar subscriptions, and of Ecclesiastical Histories (Theodoret's, Sozomen's, and Rufinus's continuation of Eusebius's) provided me with some alternative sources to identify partisan affiliations of, and relationships among, some of the key episcopal figures of the region at this time. I was thus able to begin to shape a narrative of the unfolding of the Trinitarian strife in Edessa in its various contexts (e.g., in its intersections with the Meletian schism). In addition, I set out to test the hypothesis that Egyptian exile allowed some Syriac bishops to establish connections among geographically non-contiguous dioceses, and proved instrumental in providing them with models of episcopal centralization. In this connection, and in order to verify church historians' highly stereotyped representations of the exile destinations, I have devoted time to the investigation of the consistency and the nature of the Christian presence in Egyptian centers such as Antinoopolis and Philae, through archaeological reports, literary accounts, and papyrological evidence. This project represents in all respects a work in progress, which I hope to develop further in the near future.

 

An Island in Transition: History of Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages (ca. 500–800 A.D.)

Luca Zavagno, Eastern Mediterranean University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

Research on medieval Cyprus has always lingered on a chronological tri-partition, which focuses on the late antique "golden age" (5th to 7th century) and the so-called Byzantine reconquista (post-965) while overlooking the period in between, labeled as the Condominium era. The latter has been regarded as a phase during which local society became ruralised, de-urbanised, and rarefied in terms of density of settlement as a result of the dislocation brought about by the 7th-century Arab raids. But as Hegel put it in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the standard by means of which we measure the situation and establish that it is problematic is itself part of the problem and should be abandoned.

My research has indeed tried to reject “the usual standards” and to propose a complex but coherent picture of the fate of Cyprus in the passage from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. As for this very period, the analysis of Arab, Syriac, and Byzantine sources, the data from archaeological excavations, a recently published survey on local and imported ceramics, and already existing publications on coins and seals reveal the persistence of an imperial landowning elite (like the so-called 8th-century Fraggoummenoi, who took part in a Byzantine diplomatic mission to the Caliph); this elite commanded the local administrative and fiscal structures as integrated into the Byzantine political-military system of governance (seals of local archons and droungarioi of the Kibyrraiotai) and enhanced a degree of political control which paired with the continuous religious importance of the island as center of an important Archbishopric and as pilgrimage hub.

The notion of Condominium as a blank slate stemming from both the silence of documentary and literary sources and the idea of the Arabs and Byzantines sharing the local fiscal revenues of an impoverished island are clearly to be rejected. In this sense, my research has also proposed a comparison with other Mediterranean islands under the Byzantine sway (Sicily and Crete, but also the Balearics and Malta), allowing me to highlight a degree of persistence in the Cypriot economy. Here the tailing off of bronze coinage implies (incidentally as in Syria and Palestine) a “realigning and adaptive economic strategies by local communities.” As in Sicily (and possibly in Crete) the disappearance of Byzantine petty coinage reflects the introduction of a new imperial fiscal system (as stemming from the loss of Egypt). Indeed, Cyprus also retained its strategic relevance as commercial hub (mirrored in the presence of the so-called Arab-Byzantine coins and in the reassessment of pottery previously overlooked). The results of my research will be published in the form of an article to bolster the completion of my forthcoming book.

 

Dynamic Landscapes in Late Antique and Byzantine Anatolia: Pilgrimage, Travel Infrastructure, and Landscape Archaeology

Sarah Craft, Brown University,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The connectivity of the ancient Mediterranean has been demonstrated in many publications over the last decade. This approach foregrounds travel and movement and considers landscape as a dynamic place where movement was the norm. My project is a contribution to the understanding of dynamic landscapes through the lens of early Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological and textual sources do not always allow us to reach them directly, but it is possible to outline the infrastructure of the world through which pilgrims journeyed. It is within this context that a landscape archaeology approach to early Christian pilgrimage is perfectly poised.

Specifically, I explore the negotiation between the phenomenon of early Christian pilgrimage, the infrastructure of travel-the roads, bridges, shrines, and cemeteries-and the landscape and communities in which it took place. Using the vast amount of scholarship that already exists on both early Christian pilgrims and the historical geography of ancient Asia Minor as a foundation, I chose four pilgrimage destinations as case studies in order to investigate the regional, dynamic, and diverse contexts of early Christian pilgrimage: St. John at Ephesos, St. Thekla at Meryemlik, St. Theodore at Euchaïta, and St. Michael at Germia. I combine textual attestation of pilgrimage with the material correlates of movement and with analysis of those features in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based environment. The practice of pilgrimage contributed to the forms that local economies, settlement patterns, and religious practices developed and changed over time.

The research undertaken contributes to my doctoral dissertation, the prospectus for which I completed while at Dumbarton Oaks. An integrated investigation of pilgrimage, travel infrastructure, and landscape archaeology can contribute not just to a better contextualized understanding of early Christian pilgrimage in Asia Minor, but also to the ways we investigate and interpret the wider worlds of the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean.

 

The Cambridge Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy

Ida Toth, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

The seven weeks of sustained research work at the Dumbarton Oaks Library have enabled me to study a wide spectrum of primary sources and to select the most suitable illustrative material for the Handbook to Byzantine Epigraphy, a practical guide through the main corpora and collections of extant epigraphic material and the main issues of reading and studying Byzantine inscriptions.

During my term as a summer fellow, I have been able to examine thousands of images from the Epigraphy Database and the Byzantine Photographs and Fieldwork Collections, and to choose nearly two hundred most representative samples, which will serve to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of the Byzantine epigraphic habit as well as filling gaps in the general understanding of some more idiosyncratic epigraphic practices.

In addition to focusing on broader epigraphic issues, I have also created a database of 11th-century inscriptions, which I intend to use for my contribution to the panel "Towards a Corpus of Byzantine Inscriptions" at the forthcoming 22nd Congress of Byzantine Studies in Sofia, and, in an extended version, as part of the chapter on middle Byzantine epigraphy. The historical information yielded by this material will also be incorporated into the database of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World (further details regarding this collaboration remain to be confirmed at the meeting with the project director in October 2011).

Access to the DO Archive and Collections has given me far greater and more in-depth coverage of inscriptional material than I would be able to find in any other academic resource or institution. I have also enormously benefited from many stimulating conversations with resident specialists in related fields, who have always been generous with their advice and prompt to share their insights and expertise. As a result, I have strengthened my knowledge of the issues raised by the great variety of epigraphic material that I have been able to consult, and now leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of its significance and ramifications.

 

 

Isocrates in Byzantium

Juan Signes Codoñer, Universidad de Valladolid,

Summer Fellow 2011/12

My topic was the reception of Isocrates in Byzantium since the 9th century. I aimed at an analysis of the different levels of recycling of his texts, ranking from the single quotation to a more elaborated recreation of his works or ideas, as in the anonymous dialogue Charidemos. Manuscript tradition was taken into account, especially before the end of the 14th century, when the number of manuscripts multiplies. Consultation of the original editions of the Byzantine authors and of the relevant bibliography to the works and manuscripts has allowed me to deepen my views in a just a few weeks and to come to definitive conclusions, which I hope to publish very soon in separate articles, ending perhaps in a book. Although Isocrates, in contrast to Demosthenes (somehow ubiquitous since his canonization through Hermogenes), was mainly indirectly quoted and appraised and even his most popular work (the Demonicea) was referred to through gnomologia or late antique parainetic texts, there were significant instances of direct reading and appraisal of his speeches by different Byzantine authors. They were attracted by the fame of the orator as transmitted by the late antique manuals, to which he owed his popularity. Significantly enough, the manuscript tradition up to the 14th century can be connected with the names of these very few Byzantine intellectuals at the capital who since the times of John Sardianos and Photios contributed to the diffusion of Isocrates's speeches as a model for prose style. They made it thus possible for Isocrates to appear in the canonical lists of orators and rhetoricians that turn up from time to time in the writings of Byzantine authors from Psellos to Joseph Rhakendytes. To these lists I will devote a particular study. A typology of the different kinds of re-writing of classical and Byzantine texts (such as epitome, paraphrasis, and metaphrasis) is also envisaged in the frame of a congress devoted to Textual Criticism and Quellenforschung to be held in Madrid in February 2012. It will include my work on Isocrates.

 

Marian Prefigurations in Byzantine Art: Evolution of the Main Types

Svetlana Sobkovitch, École pratique des hautes études, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Old Testament episodes interpreted as prophecies of the Mother of God, Marian prefigurations find their reflection in art throughout the history of Byzantium. Research on this important imagery has mostly centered on particular aspects of it, while my approach is to treat the most important of these types as a system of symbols elaborated for a varied exemplification of a single dogmatic content. The meaning of this dogma being the birth of God and man, the ever-virgin mother can be compared to the Burning Bush of Moses, intact in the divine fire, or to the Closed door of Ezekiel, letting the Lord pass while staying shut, etc.

Revealed by the study of sources reflecting developments in beliefs, the shared meaning of types corroborates the observation that their representations rely upon similar mechanisms for the visualization of this content. The study of examples also shows that the evolution of this iconography follows the general principles of Byzantine art, starting with the continuing close relation of the image to the text and to the overall context of the cult. Finally, these iconographies share elements which contribute to the visualization of the dogma.

The fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to consolidate the content base for my Ph.D. thesis on the subject, concerning its textual sources and examples of iconography. The use of Dumbarton Oaks Library, Rare Books and Images (ICFA) Collections has been an opportunity to study a variety of visual documents, as well as related earlier and recent works including theses, electronic resources and other materials less readily accessible elsewhere. Discussion with scholars has also been helpful in organizing my ideas as to the origins and evolution of the typological imagery related to Mary, as well as to its place in the history of Marian piety in Byzantium.

 

 

Optics and Aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites

Sergei Mariev, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The project Optics and aesthetics in Theodoros Metochites analyzes the references to the theories of visual perception which are found in the texts of Theodoros Metochites. In particular it focuses on the attempts of this author to describe the experience of beauty by making explicit use of the theories of visual perception.

In order to catalogue the passages of the text which contain references to the theories of visual perception, all the writings of Theodoros Metochites had to be reexamined. The examination revealed not only a significant number of these passages in the Semeioseis and in his Poems, but also in his commentaries on Aristotle (unedited for the most part; MSS and the Latin translation by Hervetus from the 16th century were used).

In an attempt to evaluate the knowledge of Metochites against the scientific background of his time, an attempt was made first to assess the extent of knowledge of optical theories in Metochites' time, and then in the larger context of Byzantine civilization.

The examination of Metochites' intellectual background demonstrated that the intellectual elite of his time was aware of antique optical theories; several detailed discussions on the subject were translated and analyzed (notoriously by Nikephoros Choumnos, the passage is inedited and had to be examined from the MS of the Westerink collection in the Library of Dumbarton Oaks).

The evaluation of the extent of knowledge of the visual theories in Byzantium has revealed several channels through which these theories were transmitted: Patristic tradition, esp. Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Nemesius, Theodoret and some others; Medical tradition (Oribasios, Alexander of Tralles, Aetius of Amida, Paul of Aegina, Meletios the Monk, Leo the Physician Theophanes Chryssobalantes, Symeon Seth and others); Neoplatonic tradition (Michael Psellos); commentaries on Aristotle of various dates.

Finally, the evaluation of the theoretical discourse on the subject (especially Archéologie de la vision by Gerard Simon and Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance by Robert Nelson) were used to make the newly discovered historical facts relevant to ongoing research on visuality and aesthetics in the Middle Ages and in Byzantium.

The work will lead to a seminar on the Reception of Visual Theories in Byzantium which I will conduct at the University of Munich in the Winter 2010/11; the findings will be presented and discussed at the national conference of the German Society of the Byzantine Studies in Leipzig in February 2011; an article on this subject will be offered for consideration for publication in Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

 

The Syriac Translation Movement: Shaping Greek Education for a Christian Society

Alberto Rigolio, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

As a Summer Fellow in Byzantine Studies in Dumbarton Oaks, I had the chance to work on my doctoral dissertation in this highly stimulating academic environment. The main topic of my research is the Classical heritage in early Christian communities. While the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire and its neighboring societies has always attracted interest, far less attention has been paid to the continuity of the pagan legacy among Jewish, Christian and Islamic communities. Paganism is itself, of course, a vague term, since it encloses the most wide-ranging variety of rituals, cults and philosophical stances, which the revealed religions often failed to acknowledge explicitly. Nonetheless, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were deeply influenced by the cultural context in which they grew, as shown firstly by their endorsement of pagan educational practices.

The section of my thesis I am working on at the moment concentrates on the endurance of the non-Christian culture among the West Syrians, as shown by the translations of Greek pagan texts into Syriac, which were produced between the fourth and sixth centuries AD. The translation into Syriac of orations and treatises with moral contents, mainly by Ps.-Isocrates, Plutarch, Lucian and Themistius, is an argument in support of a substantial continuity of pagan educational practices among West Syrian communities in the first centuries AD, as the reason for translation may have been the actual use of such texts in a scholastic environment. Indeed, the translations have been deliberately modified in view of their use and of their Christian audience. During my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I have worked on the English translation of the Plutarch's treatises which survive in Syriac, and I had the chance to analyse comprehensively the modifications of the Syriac translations in contrast with the Greek texts, taking into account the relevant Greek and Syriac manuscripts.

My overarching aim is to contextualize the environment in which pagan translations were carried out to shed light on their agency, their use and the cultural and intellectual traditions that produced them. An appealing achievement would be, for instance, to suggest a grouping for Syriac translations according to their environment of production, as has successfully been shown as for a number of translations into Arabic.

 

A Commentary and Translation of the Three Byzantine Dramatia: Katomyomachia, Dramation, and Bion Prasis

Przemysław Marciniak, University of Silesia, Poland,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Originally during my stay in Dumbarton Oaks I intended to work on the translation of and commentary on three Byzantine dramatia: Katomyomachia and Bion prasis by Theodore Prodromos and Dramation by Michael Haplucheir. The vast library of Dumbarton Oaks changed somewhat my initial plan.

I have focused mainly on the translation and commentary of the Bion prasis (The Auction of Celebrities) which is one of the most neglected texts written by Prodromos. There exists only one edition of the work from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scholarly literature dealing with this piece is also very paltry.

The Bion prasis is usually dismissed as the imitation of the work of Lucian with the similar title. This is, however, a simplification and misunderstanding. To use the modern term, Bion prasis was designed rather as a sequel to Lucian's work (this is clearly stated at the very beginning of the text) than in imitation of it. Whereas the Syrian author auctioned only philosophers, Prodromos included in his text the most important authors of Antiquity, e.g. Homer, Euripides, Aristophanes, Demosthenes, Pomponius.

Having analyzed this work, I should like to propose the theory that the Bion prasis is a text designed for school purposes. In fact, the ancient authors who are sold at the auction form the core of the Byzantine curriculum studiorum (one might say ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία—a very loosely used term and difficult to define precisely). The utterances of the characters are built mostly from either their own texts or the works ascribed to them by both ancient and Byzantine tradition.

Since the text in question was so little studied the most of the work done was very positivistic in character. I have prepared the working Polish and English translation (with facing Greek original, to make it more widely available), I have determined the sources used in the text and studied language (Prodromos changes the language of a given character in accordance to his place of origin and dialect used in his works).

The library of Dumbarton Oaks gave me an opportunity to study the issues that the analysis of the text raises: children's education in Byzantium, the place of Homer in Byzantine curriculum, knowledge of Hippocrates's and Demosthenes's bioi and writings in Byzantium as well as Pomponius's legal writings.

Bion prasis will undoubtedly contribute to our knowledge of the use of ancient writers (including the single Roman example—Pomponius as regarded as legal authority) in Byzantine education.

 

A New Historical Introduction to Byzantine Chant

Alexander L. Lingas, City University London, United Kingdom / European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

I came to Dumbarton Oaks to continue work on a new introduction to the history of Byzantine chant from Late Antiquity to the present for the Yale University Press. This will be the first book-length survey of the field since Egon Wellesz, A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (Oxford: 1949; 2nd ed. 1961), significant portions of which have been rendered obsolete. This is in part due to advances in liturgical scholarship that have shown how Byzantium throughout its long history fostered vigorous competition between regionally and functionally differentiated forms of worship, the most significant of which were the so-called cathedral and monastic traditions of Constantinople and Palestine.

At Dumbarton Oaks I was able to consolidate much of my previous research into a bibliographic computer database of over 2000 entries, a task greatly aided by the helpful staff, open stacks and electronic resources of its superb library. These same resources were invaluable as I also worked to locate and absorb path-breaking new research that has appeared in the last decade on several areas that figure prominently in my narrative: the ancient liturgy of Jerusalem, the musical innovations of Stoudite monasticism, and musical interchange between Byzantium and its Slavic and Latin neighbors. The other major task that I accomplished during my eight weeks at Dumbarton Oaks was a 77-page draft of a study of the intellectual context for Byzantine liturgical singing synthesising material that I have been collecting over the last twenty years. This study, the writing of which was nourished by informal conversations with other Summer Fellows, will serve both as a freestanding introduction to Performing the Liturgy in Byzantium and as the interpretive framework for the musical data presented in my book for Yale Press. In conclusion, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to the administration, fellows and staff of Dumbarton Oaks for eight weeks that were not only very productive, but also most enjoyable.

 

Retelling the Family: Blood Ties in Egyptian Monasticism (Ⅳ–Ⅶ Centuries)

Mariachiara Giorda, University of Turin, Torino, Italy,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During these weeks of my Summer Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I worked on the last two chapters of my book about Egyptian monasteries and in particular about the "monastic family": within ascetic literature, it is common to read biblical quotations which imply that the path to perfection involves renouncing family ties. But this is only part of the story: at the same time there are holy couples and entire families which are attracted to the ascetic style of life.

Creating an alternative notion of family can transform blood ties and a new monastic identity may take one of a number of possible forms. So, a more attentive consideration of the ascetic families which emerged in Egypt has given me the possibility to understand the plurality of monastic strategies where family is always the focus, but forms of organization are different. The study of these family transformations also helped to define the complex relationship between asceticism as a way of life and monasticism as a form of social organization.

The first step of my research concerned the language of the family. The monastic family is no longer a biological family, but a spiritual family, which has adopted the contemporary Christian family as a model. The terms commonly used to define the roles within a family are referred to the duties of people living in the monastery: the relationships among mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons are re-used in a monastic context to define monastic links.

The use of the language of the family which helps to create a self-awareness of the family is accompanied by frequent recourse to images and metaphors of the family: for example many monastic cells in Egypt were lined with pictures of the Holy Family, the model of the family par excellence. On this premise, a second phase of my research was dedicated to analyzing the use of family imagery in monastic sources, with particular attention to the epigraphic and archaeological sources.

I had the unexpected possibility of working here with a Fellow who is a textiles expert. Therefore, I was able to spend some time researching the question of monastic identity in particular the issue of the monastic garment (habit) which, representing both the inside and outside, was a important symbol of what was individual and collective. Having analyzed iconographic sources, I came to the conclusion that the koukoullion is the most important part of the monastic vestment. For this reason, I have focused on the origins and the development of this part of the garment.

 

The Byzantine Aftermath of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata

Manfred Kraus, University of Tübingen,

Fellow 2010/11

My research project on the role of Aphthonius's Progymnasmata in Byzantine education and literary culture progressed during my semester at Dumbarton Oaks, yet it also expanded considerably. With the aid of the excellent library, the range of texts which could be incorporated and of the literature included was greatly enlarged. Although the material is vast, I was able to survey, map, and structure material from the long period from the fourth to the fifteenth century and to catch rare glimpses into Byzantine classrooms. Various new ideas and new questions emerged. Special topics I have looked at include the influence of iconoclasm on ekphrasis, the role of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate in promoting progymnasmatic exercises, the function of Nicaea as preserver of the tradition between 1204 and 1261, and the incorporation and ideological functionalization of Christian topics, Byzantine history and contemporaneous politics in model examples, particularly in ethopoeia, encomium and ekphrasis. In some thirteenth-century treatises, besides the dominant Aphthonian tradition, traces of non-Aphthonian strands (Theon, Minucianus?) emerged. The transfer of progymnasmata to the West in the Renaissance also turned out to be a more multifaceted process than generally assumed. The projected comprehensive repertory of surviving Byzantine model examples was still unfinished by the end of term. Besides work on my core project, I completed two articles, and had three more revised and sent off to press. I wrote and delivered two conference papers, and started work on a third one on rhetoric and law studies in early Byzantium. In all these endeavors, intensive communication with other fellows and staff helped immensely.

 

Mapping Sacred Landscapes in Byzantium

Veronica della Dora, University of Bristol, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My project interrogates non-linear landscape perceptions in late antiquity and medieval Byzantium.

Landscape is commonly deemed to be a western European Renaissance invention linked to the theorization of linear perspective as a distinctively modern way of looking at the world. In my discipline, cultural geography, pre-Renaissance representations of the environment have been generally dismissed as “artificial” and “disregardful of perspective.” In this project I attempted to challenge this view and offer a re-reading of this perceived “lack of technique,” or “lack of interest in nature” as a different “way of seeing” and making sense of the world, one emphasizing the visual energeia and memorability of singular elements (or places) over their modern linear integration; one resting on the repetition and superimposition of pre-existing topoi on the physical environment, rather than on its faithful description.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks I carried out my research on two fronts. Firstly, I attempted at developing a conceptual framework to engage with “Byzantine landscape” as a specific “way of seeing” the world. Secondly, I researched perceptions of different types of environments, which will form the core of a monograph on Byzantine landscape. While most of my writing here has focused on perceptions of gardens and wilderness, I have also had the chance to expand my past research on mountains and caves, and I am currently gathering materials on oceans, rivers and springs, which will constitute the final substantial section of the book.

Published outputs

I am planning to submit a book proposal of the above-mentioned monograph to CUP over the next few weeks and I am hoping to complete an initial draft of the book by the end of the summer. Other publications I have been working on while here include:

  1. della Dora, V. Topia: Landscape before Linear Perspective, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, accepted.
  2. della Dora, V. Mapping Pathways to Heaven: Identity and the Holy on a Post-Byzantine Topographic Engraving of Meteora, Imago Mundi, currently under review.

della Dora, V. Setting and Blurring Boundaries: Pilgrims, Tourists, and Landscape in Mount Athos and Meteora, International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, just submitted.

 

Warfare in Later Byzantium

Mark C. Bartusis, Northern State University, Aberdeen,

Fellow 2010/11

My work focused on analyzing a representative collection of late Byzantine battles and creating new narratives in order to illustrate how the army operated in practice. I worked on the battle of Klokotnica (1230) in which Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria defeated Theodore Doukas of Epiros; the battle of Rupel pass (1255) in which Theodore II Laskaris defeated a force of rebel Bulgarians; the battle of Bapheus (Koyunhisar) (1302) in which the legendary Osman defeated the Byzantine commander Mouzalon; the battle of Apros (1305) in which the Aragonese adventurers of the Catalan Company defeated the Byzantines under Michael IX Palaiologos; the battle of Pelekanos (1329) in which the Ottoman emir Orhan defeated Andronikos III Palaiologos; and the battle of Peritheorion (1345) in which John Kantakouzenos defeated the Bulgarian bandit Momčilo. In connection with the battle of Rupel pass I spent some time working out the geography of Theodore II Laskaris's campaigns of 1255–56. In addition, I submitted a final draft of my book on pronoia to the publisher, found a suitable cover image for the book from material within Dumbarton Oaks's coin collection, wrote a book review, and wrote a long article on the institution of pronoia in medieval Serbia.

 

Vernacular Byzantine Translations and the Medieval European Romance, 1350–1550

Kostas Yiavis, Cornell University,

Fellow 2010/11

In 2010–11 I worked on two books seeking to rethink the transition from Byzantine to Early Modern. Both are part of an incipient literary history of the Greek Renaissance.

First, I concluded my critical edition of the rhymed romance Imperios and Margarona which was wildly popular throughout Europe (c.300 versions were traced from the twelfth-century French original to the 1970s German adaptations, including Hebrew and Armenian). Imperios was inscribed within the tradition not only of the West, but also crucially of the East.

The other project was the first assessment of the earliest adaptations of Western works into vernacular Greek in the 14th–16th centuries. These adaptations, often dismissed as unoriginal, are reclaimed as fiercely important-not least for their decisive enhancement of vernacular authority. The study involves comparisons with, inter alia, Boccaccio, Chaucer and Gower, and aims to reconfigure vernacular Greek literature as part of the total European field.

Diversion came in the form of an article that establishes the topos of external attacks on courtly feasts. The essay covers the period from the inception of the motif in Gilgameš, and its reinvention by Homer and Virgil, until the medieval and the composite production of the sixteenth century in a range of languages including Hebrew, Old French, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, Scottish, Middle High German, Italian, Old Norse, Medieval Greek, Middle Persian and Japanese.

Later in the year, I started thinking on a book on satire featuring the Cretan poet Sachlikis for the Byzantine section of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library edited by Alice-Mary Talbot.

 

Temple Sleep from Antiquity to Byzantium: Healing, Dreaming, and Storytelling

Ildiko Csepregi, University of Reading, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My research at Dumbarton Oaks focused on the transition of Greek temple sleep into Christian incubation ritual: sleeping in a sacred space to obtain healing through the dream-appearance of the healer (a god like Asclepius or later a physician saint). My sources were the miracles of Thekla, the two versions of Kosmas and Damian's miracles, the collection of Cyrus and John, and the corpus of St Artemios and Dometios, Therapon, Isaiah, Demetrios and St Michael. These collections, from the fifth to seventh centuries, from the eastern Mediterranean, together constitute a well-defined group, differing in kind from other contemporary Byzantine hagiographical records. I examined the transformation of the cult place, the cult function (healing) and the technique of healing as well as the ritual (temple sleep) and the medium (dream). My major interests were

  1. to detect the formation of such miracle stories,
  2. to analyze such issues as the compositional history of the tales,
  3. the figure of the hagiographer,
  4. the role of telling and listening to the miracles in the ritual experience,
  5. the tenacity of the cultic and narrative patterns, and
  6. the finality of the recording of these miracles

Thanks to the wonderfully easy access to both primary and secondary scholarship, some new ideas also emerged from this project that I plan to develop into three conference papers before integrating them into the monograph. While previously I concentrated mostly on the texts of incubation miracles, the resources and the archaeologists and art historians in Dumbarton Oaks provided invaluable help for broadening my perspective towards archaeological and pictorial sources. And I saw the gardens in their autumn splendor every day…

 

Icons of Military Saints in Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean: Image and Community in the 9th–13th Centuries

Heather Badamo, University of Michigan,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

The project that I undertook as a Dumbarton Oaks junior fellow was the completion of my dissertation, Image and Community, which I will defend in June 2011. In this project, I explore points of visual contact between Egyptian, Levantine, and Byzantine icons of military saints to write an account of the images—their emergence and characteristics—as a frontier phenomenon during the era of the Crusades. By focusing on icons that incorporate diverse visual vocabularies, I consider the ways in which images could remap cultural and religious geographies through their mobility, creating communal ties through the migration of saints' images. At the same time, as I show, militarized iconographies were deployed to consolidate Christian sentiment against religious others, thereby defining and enforcing communal boundaries, both between the monotheistic faiths and the sects within them. Ultimately, I seek to shed light on the complex interactions that took place among various constituencies in the eastern Mediterranean: image-makers and hagiographers, Christians and Muslims, and eastern Christians and Byzantines.

This year, I drew on the unparalleled resources at Dumbarton Oaks to draft three chapters of my dissertation (focusing on historiography, miracle accounts, and cult formation) and to revise the whole for submission. Over the course of the year, my work benefitted not simply from the excellent library at Dumbarton Oaks, but from cross-disciplinary exchanges with fellows, readers, and visiting scholars. I also benefitted from the engagement and support of the wonderful librarians and museum curators who made the collections accessible, as well as a pleasure to use. The generosity of the extended Dumbarton Oaks community, in making suggestions and sharing material, improved the dissertation in countless ways, for which I am grateful.

 

The Byzantine Hellene: Emperor Theodore Ⅱ Laskaris and the Transformation of Byzantine Culture after 1204

Dimiter G. Angelov, Harvard University / University of Birmingham, United Kingdom,

Fellow 2010/11

My spring-term Fellowship in Byzantine Studies was devoted to work on the historical biography of the emperor and philosopher Theodore II Laskaris (1221/22–1258). In many ways Theodore Laskaris can be seen as the Byzantine counterpart of the thirteenth-century western emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Revolution from the top down, youthful radicalism, and experimental originality are among the terms best describing his unconventional spirit. As a reformer of the resurgent Byzantine empire in Anatolian exile, Theodore stirred up a dramatic political and ideological strife in the 1250s that set the stage for the rise to power of his archenemy Michael Palaiologos. Endowed with an inquisitive mind and an ever-observant eye, Theodore embarked in his mid-twenties on a pioneering series of literary, philosophical and theological works, where he often entered new and uncharted territory. The four months of my fellowship have enabled me to progress significantly with my writing. I have drafted five chapters or appendices and have completed fully my research for the book, including the study of key philosophical texts and all his letters as well as the transcription of a few essays by Theodore Laskaris in a Vienna manuscript that came to my attention only in the autumn of last year. I have also completed the critical edition, translation, and commentary of a hitherto unpublished text by Theodore Laskaris, Moral Pieces, which is due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

‘Imagine There's a Tragelaph’: Phantasia and Aesthetics in the Middle Byzantine Period (Ⅸ–Ⅻ Century)

Aglae Pizzone, University of Milan,

Fellow 2010/11

During the two terms of my fellowship I managed to complete a bibliographical survey which has paved the way for the first draft of my monograph on imagination in Byzantine aesthetics (provisional title: Fantasizing Gazes: Imagination and the Beholder in Byzantine Aesthetics). I completed three chapters devoted to imagination and emotions from the third to the ninth century CE. I also worked extensively on the third part of the book, dealing with the notion of fictionality both in art theory and in literature in the post-iconoclastic era and delivered a paper at Harvard on the subject. Moreover I finished and submitted a paper on visual imagination and sense perception in Byzantine culture from the seventh through the ninth century (for Knotenpunkt Byzanz, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, de Gruyter, 2011). Along with this major project I have been working on a paper focused on Synesios's treatise on dreams against the background of Patriarch Theophilos's anti-Origenistic politics in early fifth-century Alexandria (for the Brepols volume Synesios von Kyrene. Politik - Literatur - Philosophie). I also completed two more papers. The first one deals with the character of Thersites in Aeneas of Gaza, at the crossroads between pantomime and rhetorical exercises, for the volume Lectures et commentaires rhétoriques d'Homère par les Anciens (Rue d'Ulm - Presse de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure 2012). The second one is a literary study of the logos eucharisterios of John Eugenicus, to be submitted to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. To sum up, it has been a wonderful year, and not just for my research. I had eight months full of amazing experiences, unforgettable friendships, and warm, human relationships.

 

In Search of the ‘Eastern’ Image: Sacred Painting in Eighth and Ninth Century Rome

Annie Labatt,

Junior Fellow 2010/11

During my year as a Junior Fellow, I wrote the majority of the dissertation which I will defend in October 2011. My project focuses on the sacred iconography-specifically the Anastasis, the Transfiguration, the Maria Regina, and the image of the Sickness of King Hezekiah-of early medieval Rome. Previous scholars interpreted the eighth and ninth centuries by distinguishing between native Roman iconography and alien Eastern imports. But in many ways this was a period not of clear binary distinctions but of flux. Entirely new iconographies appeared, some of which had a powerful resonance in Rome and appeared on all varieties of church decoration, from apses to small devotional niches to portable icons. Other images appeared once, only to disappear from the canon of church painting for centuries. More mysterious yet were those iconographical types that had a brief moment of popularity, but then disappeared altogether. The deductive tinkering, to use current evolutionary language, at work in these iconographies shows that early medieval sacred painting in Rome was a whirlwind of inventiveness, experimentation, and innovation, not simply a warehouse for Byzantine iconography, as was once thought.

 

Papal Involvement in the Spread of Greek Culture to the Medieval Latin West

Réka Forrai, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary,

Fellow 2010/11

The aim of my project was to investigate the Papacy's role in spreading Greek culture to the Latin West from the 7th to the 13th centuries, from the reign of Gregory the Great to Boniface VIII. Specifically, I was looking at the cultural policies of the medieval papacy and their effect on the formation of Greek textual canons in the West. Rome's crucial role as mediator between East and West throughout the Middle Ages and beyond has been often noted. But so far no systematic study has been made of the papacy's share in this mediation.

Dumbarton Oaks is one of the rare libraries where the history of medieval east-west relations is thoroughly documented. Moreover, during the current academic year, Dumbarton Oaks hosted a number of fellows working on the subject of Byzantine-Western political and cultural interactions. This combination of a rich research material and a likeminded academic community provided me with ideal research conditions. It was during a previous Summer Fellowship at this institute that I laid down the foundations of this project, and now I had the chance to investigate in depth some methodological and theoretical concepts. I was primarily concerned with two related themes: censorship and the creation of canons.

The medieval papacy took an active role in filtering both pagan science and eastern religiosity, whether the Aristotelian canon, ancient medical corpora, ecclesiastical historiography, hagiography or theological documents. Texts were used strategically to build a cultural identity: appropriation of items of the Greek legacy via translation is governed by a rivalry with Byzantium. Claiming the role of mediator between Latin and Greek culture reflects also an anxiety for cultural control over Latin literary production. Translations served as spiritual weapons not only against the East, but also in competition with Western politico-cultural entities, such as the royal courts of Europe.

Translation is a strategic site from which institutions can control the impact of other cultures on their own, and implicitly shape the cultural identity of their community. The canonization of a body of texts limits contact between cultures to the segment desired by the regularizing institution. Unsurprisingly, the earliest occurrences of papal censorship concern translations. As Greek culture was perceived as both authoritative and threatening at the same time, patronage as a way of control was of primary interest for the papacy.

 

Agrarian Change in Byzantium c.630–1204

Peter Sarris, Trinity College, University of Cambridge,

Fellow 2010/11

My project for the term of my stay was to review the sources pertaining to large estates and their management in Byzantium from the seventh through to the thirteenth centuries, with a view to examining the survival of forms of direct management, wage labour, and tied labour. During the course of my stay I read all the post-Justinianic legal and jurisprudential sources from the reign of Justin II to the eleventh century (including the legal lexica); I read and surveyed the typika and monastic documentary sources from Athos and western Asia Minor; and I also read up on the latest archaeological studies whilst also reading the letters of Michael Psellus and a number of other literary sources. This research will form the basis of a monograph, but I wrote up my basic argument in a 12,000-word article to appear in the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire ('Large Estates and the Peasantry in Byzantium, c. 600–1100'). My research also fed into a chapter for a book on law and custom in the early middle ages to be edited by Alice Rio ('Law and Custom in the Byzantine Countryside From Justinian I to Basil II', 7,000 words), and a 13,000-word article for Early Medieval Europe responding to primitivist approaches to the late antique economy ('The Early Byzantine Economy in Context: Aristocratic Property and Economic Growth Reconsidered"). Lastly, I made use of the library's resources to make progress with a translation and commentary on Justinian's Novels that David Miller and I are preparing for Cambridge University Press, and I completed revising a 200,000-word book for Oxford University Press which was able to enter the production process (A Threshing Floor of Countless Races—Europe and the Mediterranean From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, c.500–700).

 

Characterization of Coptic Textiles: The Collection of the Textile and Clothing Museum of Barcelona

Ana Cabrera L., Museo Nacional De Artes Decorativas, Madrid, Spain,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

During my time at Dumbarton Oaks I focused on one aspect of my dissertation, the artistic aspects and decorative patterns of the Coptic textiles. This was possible owing to the access to Dumbarton Oaks's splendid Byzantine Studies Library, the Index of Christian Art (relevant to identifying the iconographic themes of the textiles under study), the Black and White Collection, the Census of Byzantine Textiles in North American Collections, as well as the textile collection housed at Dumbarton Oaks, which provided a comparative reference for the textiles under study.

All this research is related to my dissertation topic: the Coptic textiles of the Museu Textil y d'Indumentaria de Barcelona. For some time now, the study of the so-called Coptic textiles has undergone a great development, thanks to the studies of important European collections such as Abbeg-Stiftung Foundation of Bern, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst of Vienna, the Musée du Louvre of Paris, and the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst of Berlin. My doctoral dissertation will complement and expand upon these studies by focusing on the Coptic textiles the Museum of Barcelona. This impressive collection of 178 textiles (mostly linen and wool) remains unstudied today.

My dissertation explores, on the one hand, the characterization of textile production techniques and raw materials and, on the other, the historical, socio-economic and artistic contexts. Thus, on top of the customary formal analyses, various scientific analyses are being carried out, including the analysis of dyes and fibers using high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and induced light optical microscopy. The results of this work will help us to better understand the raw materials used in Roman and Byzantine Egypt. The characterization of raw materials enables us to determine the extent of trading networks and the survival of cultural or aesthetic values despite the socio-political changes undergone in Egypt during antiquity and at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Additionally, I use radiocarbon dating to obtain a precise chronological context for these textiles, going beyond the traditional formal analysis for dating textile styles. Textiles with a clear archaeological context will be carefully considered, as these may enhance the knowledge of the development of these textile styles.

The study carried out at Dumbarton Oaks has permitted me to exchange views with the Dumbarton Oaks Collection curators, Dr. Gudrun Bühl and Dr. Stephen Zwirn. This time at Dumbarton Oaks was of fundamental importance because I had had access to unrivalled resources unavailable in my country, and the opportunity to complete one of the principal chapters of my dissertation.

The Barcelona museum intends to make the results of my work available to the scholarly community and beyond: after completion of the dissertation, information on the textiles studied will be available on the website of the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaria of Barcelona.

 

Ptochoprodromika: Edition, Translation, Commentary, with Introduction

Margaret B. Alexiou, Harvard University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

This project was to bring as close to publication as possible the text, translation and commentary of the Ptochoprodromika of Theodore Prodromos which was begun in collaboration with Michael Hendy, who died in 2008. A working text has been established for Poem I (MS G)(274 lines), Poem II (MS G) (117 lines)+ (MS H) (150 lines), the so-called "Maiuri Poem" (65 lines), Poem III (MS H) (c.550 lines) + MSS CSA and g (c.200), Poem IV (MS G) (167 lines), its Proem (MSS CSA) (56 lines), and the ending (MS g) (150 lines). Facing translation is now complete for all passages to be presented in the main section.

Since this will not be a full critical edition, no critical apparatus will appear beneath the Text and Translation. However, other MSS readings, which are of potential significance for literary, linguistic or historical reasons, will be presented, with translation as appropriate, and linguistic commentary will appear in this section, rather than below. For the commentary proper, sufficient material has now been collected on all aspects relevant to the interpretation of the poems, including: weights and coins; household economy; family life and law; court ceremonial; diets and dishes, foodstuffs and provenance; dress; monastic life, education and learning; City street life—and many more. This will be the first work to deal systematically and substantially—if not exhaustively—with the twelfth-century realia in the text, and the commentary will deal with items of historical, cultural, and literary interest.

Hesseling and Pernot provide a 172-page word list (with each form of all words cited), but meanings are only rarely hazarded. Eideneier has a partial glossary but some meanings given are inadequate or demonstrably wrong, especially where matters of ceremonial dress are concerned. E. Kriaras' Dictionary of Medieval Greek (MMG) remains the most reliable source, but it has only reached "pnevmonas". The number of rare words, compound coinages, and hapax legomena, both within these Poems and found in Theodore Prodromos' other works, is highly significant, especially when shared with medical texts or with ancient authors in specific contexts. I have made a list of such words, and carried out a thorough dictionary search. My TLG search is not yet complete, but where undertaken, the results look very promising, for alongside the realia, lexical links can be used to help solve questions of date and authorship.

Work on the Introduction included establishing why the poems are important, and their date and authorship (1140s for Poems I and II, 1150s or after for Poems II and IV, 1170s for Proem IV [CSA]). The twelfth-century context has required consideration of when "modern Greek" began, and the kinds of texts and genres its forms comprise. Literary qualities include consideration of imperial court theatron, street scenes, uses of dialogue and register variation, Byzantine forms of humor (verbal punning, invective, rude, slapstick), and scenes from everyday life covering all stages of human life—and death—for classes ranging from the emperor downwards to the basest. The poems demonstrate Byzantine aesthetics as viewed from the bottom up, not the top down, and substantial progress has been made towards publication, including the draft of a proposal to the press.

 

Late Roman and Byzantine Weights in the Collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Oğuz Tekin, Istanbul University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

The scope of this project is to make a study and a catalogue of the nearly 500 hundred Late Roman and Byzantine weights in the collection of Istanbul Archaeology Museum. They are all unpublished and not in exhibition. There are mainly two groups of weights: Commercial weights and coin weights. Since the photographs and the technical measurements of the weights were taken previously in the museum, I could classified them according to their forms and units, thus I was able to make a tentative catalogue of them during my two-month study here. The chronological span for the weighs ranges from 4th century through the 13th century AD.

Researching through the museum catalogues and private collections, weights were classified in eight main types:

  1. Spherical commercial weights,
  2. Circular commercial weights,
  3. Square commercial weights,
  4. Octagonal commercial weights,
  5. Circular coin weights,
  6. Square coin weights,
  7. Octagonal coin weights, and
  8. Bowl-shaped weights

Types 2, 3, 5 and 6 form the majority in number.

While type 1 consists of Late Roman weights, the rest consists of Byzantine weights. All the weights except the bowl-shaped ones, are engraved or punched on the top with the denominational mark, mainly inlaid with silver. The largest unit is a 3 libra weight which weighs 975 gram and it is among the circular commercial weights (type 2).

Consequently, the above-given information is the basis of the tentative catalogue. Nearly all the weights were classified and catalogued by their forms and units, as well as their chronology. With some unique examples in the collection, the catalogue will make a contribution to the studies in the area of Byzantine weights. The catalogue will be published in the first half of 2010.

 

The Art of Death in Byzantium: Funerary Art and Architecture, 1204–1453

Sarah T. Brooks, James Madison University,

Summer Fellow 2010/11

Commemorations for the dead were central to the spiritual and social life of the Byzantine faithful. Whether laid to rest in monumental tombs or in unmarked graves beneath the church floor, the dead were present in nearly every church of Late Byzantium. Despite the centrality of death and burial to Byzantine religion and culture, there exists no focused study of how burial and these important practices honoring the dead shaped art and architecture in the empire's final centuries. My study explores the rich and fascinating history of funerary art and building, tomb patronage, and commemorative ritual during this period (1204–1453).

During the summer 2010 at Dumbarton Oaks, using especially the library's extensive holdings of literary and historical works, I made significant progress towards refining my analysis of tomb patronage. Diverse family, social and economic ties attracted tomb patrons to particular institutions and bound these individuals together in a network of giving that often began before death and could extend for decades thereafter. In the case of families supporting a single institution, these ties could last for several generations, even in the face of desperately declining financial resources. The relationships between church founders/restorers and subsequent tomb patrons are especially interesting and can be explored in both the archaeological and literary records, often with the two providing complementary information. Especially helpful to my research were the publications of the Athos Archives, including the many Late Byzantine wills and related primary source documentation that they contain, as well as the extensive prosopographical reference works that shed light on specific individuals of the Palaiologan period. Collaboration and discussion of this material with my summer colleagues in Late Byzantine literature, religion and history yielded some very fruitful results which enriched my work significantly.

Frescoed niche tomb commemorating the deceased Konstantinos (back wall, left) and a young woman (right intrados), joined by six family members including the church restorer, dated 1335/1336, Church of Hagios Phanourios, Rhodes, Greece (Drawing by Karen Rasmussen, Archeographics.com; Copyright: Sarah Brooks)

 

The Earliest Life of the Virgin: The First English Translation from the Old Georgian

Stephen J. Shoemaker, University of Oregon,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

During my fellowship period, I began work on an English translation of the earliest complete Life of the Virgin, a text originally written in Greek that now survives only in Old Georgian. Although it has been long overlooked by scholarship, this seventh-century Marian biography exercised a determinative influence on numerous Mariological writings of the Middle Ages. My translation, the first into English, will make this pivotal text more widely available to scholars and students of ancient and medieval Christianity, and should advance our understanding of the formation of Marian piety considerably.

The project has proven more difficult than I had initially anticipated, insofar as the critical edition of the text is often unreliable. The edition contains frequent misprints and other more serious errors in reading the manuscripts, and consequently translation has required regular consultation of the manuscript tradition in order to determine the text. Thus, my translation will also serve as something of a corrected edition of this important text. Despite these circumstances, I was able to translate roughly one-third of the text (about 60 pages) during the fellowship period. This is more than I had originally planned, an outcome that was greatly aided by the excellent resources of the library's Byzantine collection. While in residence, I focused my work particularly on sections of the text that were especially influential on the subsequent Byzantine tradition, in order to make the best use of the library's resources. The final result of this project will be a book-length translation of the complete text together with critical notes and an extended introduction to the Life and its broader cultural significance, and I anticipate its completion within the next year and half.

 

Byzantine Seals with Family Names in Dumbarton Oaks

Werner Seibt, Austrian Academy of Sciences,

Summer Fellow 2009/10

My summer fellowship arose from an invitation to serve as co-editor of the Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, volumes 7–9 (focusing on seals with family names; forthcoming) with John Nesbitt, which I accepted. In order to publish Dumbarton Oaks's collection of seals of family names, John Nesbitt first must identify the relevant seals and then pull the seals cards on which their transcriptions are recorded. From the cards he types two lists: a list of seals grouped alphabetically according to family name, with notation of accession number and negative number, and a list of seals grouped according to accession number, with notation of negative number and family name. The first list allows one to exercise control over the names being published. The second list allows one to identify in a methodical fashion the negatives which have to be pulled and given to Joe Mills (Dumbarton Oaks's photographer) for reproduction and transfer to CD. To date, John Nesbitt has compiled lists of seals with family names beginning with the letters "A," "B," "CH," D(oukai), K(omenos), and K(ontostephanos). So far, the total number of seals identified and listed amounts to 1,131 specimens. The number excludes seals that are cross-referenced with earlier publications. Before my arrival, John Nesbitt sent me these lists along with 1,131 photocopies of the cards on which the seal inscriptions are transcribed.

Using these lists, I focused on identifying seals with unusual, strange, or surprising names (according to initial transcriptions; all the readings on the cards are first impressions which need to be verified or refined). This work plan proved profitable since after my arrival at Dumbarton Oaks and my personal inspection of the seals I was able in a number of cases to propose alternate readings and corrections. The results will be checked in Vienna against my phototheke, the largest in the world.

Because the seals room closed in the early evening, I found that I had time to devote to two other projects. The first being the history of the metropolis of Caucasus in the 14th century (located presumably in the region east of Alania, an area occupied by the ancestors of the modern Os(s)etians, where Christianity was first introduced by the Georgians in the 12–13th centuries). The second project was a study of the continuation of Byzantine power in Iberia and Kars, at least during the first years of the reign of Alexios Komnenos, as confirmed by newly discovered seals. I have been pondering if the dux Alousianos mentioned on the seals could have been identical with the Alousianos who was governor of Antiocheia for the Seljuks and before the occupation of Antiocheia by the crusaders. Sigillography can throw much needed light on conditions in the eastern Byzantine provinces after the battle of Mantzikert. Some of my studies of this issue are already published, while others are in press.

My wife, the recipient of a post-doctoral stipend during the time of my fellowship, worked primarily on checking the readings of some 300 metrical seals that John Nesbitt had pulled and segregated in the seals safe prior to our arrival. She is near completion of a project that involves compiling a corpus of all metrical legends on seals—both published and unpublished. We are pleased to say that she was able to examine all 300 seals (and quite a few more before her departure). Many metrical verses include family names, so her studies also help to advance the progress of Seals 7–9.

Document Actions