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2002 Numismatics and Sigillography Summer Program

2002 Dumbarton Oaks Summer Program on Byzantine Numismatics and Sigillography

In July, The Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies (Washington, DC) offered, for the first time, a four-week seminar on Byzantine coins and seals. The seminar was organized and led by Cécile Morrisson (CNRS, Dumbarton Oaks) and John Nesbitt (Dumbarton Oaks), who presented multiple sessions on Byzantine numismatics and sigillography, respectively. Other sessions were devoted to the digital management and publication of numismatic and sigillographic scholarship (led by Karen Rasmussen, Archeographics), photography (led by Joe Mills), the seals of Preslav (led by visiting fellow Ivan Iordanov, prof. Shumen Univ., Bulgaria), and seal iconography (led by John Cotsonis, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology).


The six seminar participants assembled from a wide variety of places and disciplines. Todor Todorov (asst. prof., Shumen Univ., Bulgaria) conducted research and led a seminar on Byzantine seals of Preslav; Tassos Papacostas, (Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire, King’s College, London) discussed sigillographic clues toward a prosopography of the Bryennios family; Alicia Walker (Harvard Univ.) explored animal iconography on Byzantine lead seals; Pagona Papadopoulou (Paris) examined the question of Bulgarian imitative coinage; Eleni Lianta (Oxford Univ.) shared her analyses of Byzantine coin hoards of the 13th-15th c.; and Robert Hallman (New York Univ.) compared the coinage of Trebizond to neighboring currencies.


Although the program was shorter in duration than the American Numismatic Society’s summer seminar, the specific focus on Byzantium and the unparalleled depth of Dumbarton Oaks’ collection of seals and coins afforded participants an intensive introduction to a wide variety of themes, and helped fill a gap in the curriculum of Byzantine Studies in North American institutions. It is to be hoped that Dumbarton Oaks will find the opportunity to host a similar seminar in years to come.