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A colorful painted fresco depicting standing people looking to the Christ and a man with withered hand.

Byzantine Studies Colloquium

November 15, 2024 | Georgios Makris and Maroula Perisanidi, Colloquiarchs

Disability in Middle and Late Byzantium

This event is by invitation only.

Disability is central to Byzantine history. From emperors like Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118) who spoke with a stutter, to scholars like Gregorios Antiochos whose chronic illness left him with a weakened  body, to all those who were punished with mutilation and blindness, disabled people were present and visible across Byzantine society. Impaired bodies also feature prominently in Byzantine accounts of miraculous cures performed by holy figures in both saints’ lives and visual art. Indeed, a careful examination of literary, artistic, and medical evidence reveals the Byzantines’ notable openness to explore the disabled body as a subject in creative media and a topic of scientific study. Yet, within broader studies of disability in ancient and medieval societies, historical surveys either ignore Byzantium altogether or express the view that east Roman society and law marginalized and even punished disability.

By bringing together scholars from history, art history, material culture, and literature, this colloquium aims to be the first decisive step towards a more nuanced and complex understanding of Byzantine disability as a social construct. To do so, we will examine how literary, physical, and visual representations of disability, including restricted mobility, blindness, and leprosy, were constructed depending on their intersection with other identity markers, such as the gender, social rank, and religious status of the individuals involved. In drawing attention to this much neglected, yet urgent, topic the colloquium will illustrate that integrating disability as an analytical category and a system of representation can deepen and challenge our understanding of Byzantine history.


  • George Makris, University of British Columbia
  • Maroula Perisanidi, University of Leeds


  • Stavroula Constantinou, University of Cyprus
  • Adam J. Goldwyn, North Dakota State University
  • Isabel Grimm-Stadelmann, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
  • Fotini Kondyli, University of Virginia
  • Jake Ransohoff, Princeton University
  • Maria Alessia Rossi, Princeton University

Image: Serbia, Monastery of Dečani, Christ Healing a Man with a Withered Hand (14th century). Courtesy of BLAGO Fund, USA/Serbia, (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License).

Past Topics


Armenian Scholars in Byzantium and Byzantine Scholarship in Armenian

November 3, 2023 | Emilio Bonfiglio, Colloquiarch


Scholarly interests into Armeno-Byzantine studies started in the 19th century thanks to the Mekhitarist publications of scores of original Armenian texts and Armenian translations of ancient Greek and Byzantine authors. The availability of a vast mass of previously unknown literary sources resulted in the gradual creation of a new field of studies that gained momentum from the 1960s, after the appearance of ground-breaking studies such as those by Adontz (Études arméno-byzantines, 1965), Charanis (The Armenians in the Byzantine Empire, 1963), and Der Nersessian (Études byzantines et arméniennes, 1973). In 1980, Dumbarton Oaks too joined in the growing awareness of the relevance of the Armenian element for the study of Byzantium with the famous Symposium East of Byzantium: Syria and Armenia in the Formative Period (organized by Garsoïan, Matthews, and Thomson).

Four decades later, and unhappily coinciding with unfolding tragic events in Nagorno-Karabach, this colloquium aimed at showcasing the current state of the art of Armeno-Byzantine Studies by going beyond the mere acknowledgment of Armenia and the Armenians as significant Eastern neighbors of the Empire of the New Rome. Building on a wealth of new studies, it re-examined the extent of the Armeno-Byzantine interconnectedness at both social and material level by focusing on the impact that Armenian scholars played for the dissemination of Byzantine culture, the repercussions of Greek scholarship for the formation of an Armenian identity, as well as the material underpinnings and technical aspects that made possible such a colossal cultural transfer.

The "Hypapante" between East and West: Liturgical themes and iconography of the Gospel event and feast of the Presentation of Christ Child in the Temple

October 28, 2022 | Mary B. Cunningham, Francesca Dell’Acqua, and Fr. Damaskinos Olkinuora, Colloquiarchs


The feast of the Hypapante celebrates the “Meeting” of the Holy Family with Symeon and Anna in the Temple of Jerusalem, a Gospel episode becoming a liturgical feast. Hypapante was (and is) celebrated on 2 February in the Byzantine and Eastern Christian Churches and was one of the earliest to be introduced into the Christian liturgical calendar. It appeared first in Jerusalem, where it is attested by the late fourth-century pilgrim, Egeria, and in the fifth-century Armenian Lectionary. It was adopted into the Constantinopolitan calendar in the sixth-century and transferred thence to Rome and the rest of Western Christendom. In the Greek church, the feast took the name of Hypapante. In the Latin church, the feast was initially the Birthday of St Symeon, followed by the Purification of Mary, taking the name Candlemas, and finally included Presentation in the Temple of the Christ Child. We should ask, then what changed, besides the name, in the understanding of the episode and feast? Did theological controversies between the seventh and the ninth centuries affect its perception in the medieval period, and how?

In this one-day workshop, speakers will explore the theme of the Hypapante with an interdisciplinary approach which combines theology, liturgical texts, and the visual arts for the purpose of a wide cultural history of the period. This collaborative analysis will help clarify how in this particular instance East and West developed an understanding of the Gospel episode and offer specialists of the medieval Eastern and Western Mediterranean the opportunity to dialogue on the transmission of ideas, beliefs, texts, and artifacts in a period in which the Near East was being transformed by the impact of expanding Islam.

Seals and Society in the Medieval World

October 29, 2021 | Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, Eric McGeer, and Jonathan Shea, Colloquiarchs


To mark the completion of the Dumbarton Oaks Online Catalogue of Byzantine Seals in 2021, Dumbarton Oaks is hosting a colloquium to explore the production, function, inscriptions, iconographic designs, and significance of seals. Building on the instant accessibility to the Byzantine seals collection and the research possibilities made available by the online catalogue, this colloquium invites scholars working on seals from Byzantine, European, and Middle Eastern medieval contexts to discuss and engage with each other’s material and to bring innovative, comparative perspectives to a specialized discipline entering a new phase.

The use and role of seals—documentary, diplomatic, literary, metaphorical, apotropaic, astrological, and medical—were contingent upon specific notions of materiality and representation. Seals were thus dynamic agents in cultural encounters. The materials, manufacture, and types of seals in the cultures within the colloquium’s scope, as well as their meanings and usages, were quite different from one another, and scholars have taken different approaches to their study and publication. Western seals tended to display more complex images with simple inscriptions, whereas in the Byzantine world texts of varying length and complexity often accompanied rich iconographic content. Equally different are the contexts in which seals from the different parts of the medieval world are found today and studied. Byzantine seals tend to be found detached from their original documents, in museum collections or archaeological contexts, whereas western seals are found in archival repositories, and their study is more likely linked to the fields of diplomatics, literacy, and documentary practices.

People and Power in Byzantium

November 5–6, 2020 | Virtual Colloquium, Claudia Rapp, Colloquiarch


Research on the social and economic history of Byzantium has tended to focus on the upper levels of society, where the evidence is abundant and relatively easily accessible. It has traditionally been dominated by attention to the large structures of church and state, represented through the key figures of patriarch and emperor, and how they implemented their economic and ideological interests. This has resulted in a top-down view of Byzantine society. In recent years, however, greater attention has been paid to the study of group formation, especially with a view to vertical mobility through patronage networks. This colloquium aims to foreground these recent advances in scholarship.

The colloquium brings together eight specialists who investigate the formation of groups based on shared purpose, whether social, economic, or religious. Of particular interest is the interplay between external pressures and internal motivation in the perception and representation of groups, on the one hand, and in the formation of groups and networks, on the other. This often involves searching out previously unknown or underappreciated sources, or subjecting better-known sources to new analytical questions.

By elucidating these phenomena in different periods of Byzantine history and in different geographical and social settings, this colloquium raises important issues of scope regarding the methodology and interpretive models for the study of Byzantine society.


The Insular Worlds of Byzantium

November 15, 2019 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium


Byzantine islands have been largely considered marginal to the dramatic political, social, and economic changes the Byzantine heartland experienced in the seventh century and at the onset of Arab expansion in the eastern Mediterranean. Major islands, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, and the Balearics, were lost forever. Others, like Crete and Cyprus, remained in flux until they were briefly reclaimed by Byzantium in the tenth century before coming under Latin control during the Crusades. Contrary to the perspectives offered by written sources (Byzantine, Arab, and Western), which for the most part dismiss them as marginal spaces, places of exile, or military outposts along maritime frontiers, islands constitute the best examples of the transformative adaptability of Byzantine society during periods of volatility and transition. Instead of decline and abandonment, archaeological work and results point to the existence of active communities, local and regional economic exchanges, and cultural continuities and interconnections during the period between the seventh century and the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders in 1204.

Speakers will address the topic of Byzantine islands through case studies viewed in their broader Mediterranean and comparative contexts. The exploration of islands as hubs where Byzantine, Islamic, and Western European cultures encountered and influenced the local political, economic, and social structures will permit new insights into the networks of island societies and their legacies. Not only were islands located along commercial shipping routes, but, as spaces of adaptive economic activities and social strategies that were molded by military and political realities, they presented unique opportunities for cultural interconnections. In this context, the “Insular Worlds of Byzantium” will provide new and revised perspectives on the Byzantine Mediterranean and beyond.

The Byzantine Neighborhood: Urban Space and Political Action

November 17, 2017 | Benjamin Anderson and Fotini Kondyli, Colloquiarchs


The role of neighborhoods in late antique and Byzantine cities remains little studied. This colloquium aims at a multidisciplinary investigation of neighborhoods as spatial, social, and political entities that mediate between communities and the state, and thus contribute to the establishment and maintenance of political sovereignty.

Drawing on archaeology, architecture, administrative history, and literature, speakers will investigate how Byzantines defined, organized, and conceptualized their neighborhoods, and how forms of collectivity that were shaped in neighborhoods translated to political action. The resulting conversations should contribute to a new understanding of Byzantine political and social life at the local level.

Byzantium, the Arabs, and the Rise of Islam: Colloquium in Memory of Irfan Shahîd (1926–2016)

October 13, 2017 | Georgetown University and Dumbarton Oaks, Emma Gannagé, Colloquiarch

Program Abstracts

“Byzantium, the Arabs, and the Rise of Islam” gathers leading scholars to explore areas that interested the late Irfan Shahîd. Within the broad framework of the relations between Byzantium and its Arab neighbors, speakers investigate a wide array of sources, from epigraphic and archaeological materials to the canon of Arabic poetry. Topics include the religion of the pre-Islamic nomads of Arabia, the Christian presence in the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, and the possible pre-Islamic Arabic translation of the Bible.

The morning session took place at Georgetown University in the CCAS Boardroom (ICC 241), and the afternoon session and reception were held at Dumbarton Oaks in the Oak Room, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue.

Co-organized by the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Cosponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Medieval Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Monumental Painting in Byzantium and Beyond: New Perspectives

November 4, 2016 | Ivan Drpić and Tolga Uyar, Colloquiarchs


The study of Byzantine monumental painting is ripe for critical assessment. While research into monumental pictorial art in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and increasingly Turkey remains a mainstay of art historical inquiry, in the United States this area of study has received less attention in recent years. Yet the monumental painting of the Byzantine world holds great potential for future research, not least because the material is tremendously rich and continues to be expanded with the discovery and publication of new pictorial ensembles.

This colloquium, organized by Ivan Drpić and Tolga Uyar, brings together new voices and well-established scholars to reinvigorate the study of Byzantine monumental painting. It will foster dialogue and pose new questions about reception, materiality, and the interplay of different representational forms and systems of signification. Topics range from how paintings evoked sound, to the role of liturgical practices, visual narrative, and non-figural imagery in decorated sacred spaces, to collaboration and interaction between patrons, architects, painters, and theological advisers. While some papers will focus on specific sacred landscapes such as Naxos and Cappadocia, others draw wide-ranging connections across Byzantium, the Slavic world, and the Mediterranean.

Managing Emotion: Passions, Emotions, Affects, and Imaginings in Byzantium

December 12-13, 2014 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium

Program Abstracts Bibliography Photos

Byzantinists were early into the field of the study of emotion with Henry Maguire’s groundbreaking article on sorrow, published in 1977. But since then classicists and western medievalists have developed new ways of understanding how emotional communities work and where the ancients’ concepts of emotion differ from our own. It is time perhaps to celebrate Maguire’s work, but also to look at what is distinctive about Byzantine emotion. We encourage speakers to focus on a single emotion and to use it as a vantage point to investigate central aspects of the Byzantine worldview. We want to look at emotions as both cognitive and relational processes. Our focus is not only the construction of emotions with respect to perception and cognition; we are also interested in how emotions were communicated and exchanged across broad (multi)linguistic, political and social boundaries. We expect to receive comment from classics, western medieval studies, philosophy, and psychology. The comparative stance will help us disclose what is peculiar to the Byzantine “emotional constellation.” Priorities are twofold: to arrive at an understanding of what the Byzantines thought of as emotions and to comprehend how theory shaped their appraisal of reality.

Visualizing Community: City and Village in Byzantine Greece

November 15–16, 2013 | Robert Ousterhout and Margaret Mullett, Colloquiarchs

2013 - NGA Speakers

Program Abstracts

Organized to foster linkages between the exhibit “Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections” at the National Gallery of Art and the research interests and collections of Dumbarton Oaks, the colloquium echoes the companion volume to the exhibition catalogue, Cities and Countryside in Byzantine Greece. With papers presented by major Greek and American Byzantinists, the colloquium addresses the many ways community was visualized: in the arts (including mosaics, frescoes, icons, and everyday objects), in architectural construction, and in settings for the ceremonies of daily life and death. Friday papers will be at the National Gallery; Saturday papers at Dumbarton Oaks.

Byzantine Survey Archaeology: Reflections and Approaches

March 29-30, 2013 | Sharon Gerstel and John Haldon, Colloquiarchs

Byzantine Survey Archaeology: Reflections and Approaches

Program Abstracts

This colloquium follows two conversations on Byzantine archaeology on general issues for the discipline in the twenty-first century, which were held in Dumbarton Oaks for North American archaeologists (2010) and representatives of American research centers abroad (2012). This meeting has a sharper focus—on surface survey. Initially seen as a precursor to excavation, the use of survey as an independent tool has expanded significantly and the method has been refined. Investigating settlement patterns, land use, cultural identity, and social hierarchies, survey archaeology—also called landscape archaeology—offers Byzantinists the ability to read history from the land, measuring information gleaned from texts against evidence offered or counter-offered by the material remains, quite often revealing information that is wholly absent from the written record. Survey archaeology provides data both chronologically broad and geographically wide, enabling us to understand small regions and their settlements, but also to compare regions and broad patterns. The use of field survey and the interpretation of its data, however, raise a number of questions for archaeologists of the medieval East. How does Byzantine survey archaeology fit within the broader field of survey archaeology? How do the research strategies of diachronic surveys account for an area that belongs more to the field of historical archaeology than to the field of classical and prehistoric archaeology? How do we evaluate the findings of older surveys that did not incorporate Byzantium fully into their initial research agenda? How reliable is the data collected from survey archaeology? In the absence of standardized methods (and chronological bands), how does one read across survey data? These and other questions were addressed by the speakers, who specialize in methods of archaeological survey, the analysis of data, and the interpretation of results.

The Social Network in Byzantium and its Neighbors

March 16–17, 2012 | Margaret Mullett and Adam Schor, Colloquiarchs

The Social Network in Byzantium and its Neighbors


This, the last of three related colloquia picks up from studies of friendship and other personal relations in March 2010 and the self in 2011 to look at communications and social networks in Byzantium as seen in a wider Mediterranean perspective. Recent attempts to apply network theory to interactive texts in the premodern world have had varying results, and we look beyond Byzantium to the ancient world, the medieval west and the Islamic world.

Talk of social networks may seem bound to this era of instant messages and Facebook revolutions. But pre-modern worlds were just as dependent on personal interaction, conducted through various cultural categories and modes of communication. For generations scholars have studied the friendships and patronage ties of classical Greece and Rome, the personal loyalties of medieval western Christendom, the threads of mentorship among early rabbis and early Islamic sages, the role of fama in consolidating (or disintegrating) communities. In each case, they have found amorphous webs of attachment, shaping community life more deeply than formal institutions. Byzantine society featured distinct patterns of relations, between civil and military elites, clergy and laity, landlords and peasants, merchants and bureaucrats. Equally Byzantium owed its distinction to links outside the empire, and the centrality of its members in wider Mediterranean relations.

Since the 1960s sociologists have developed methods to map and measure modern social attachment, and to conceptualize the interplay between social interactions and individual and communal identity. Historians have variously adapted these methods and concepts to study Byzantium and other Mediterranean societies. But how should we understand the workings of pre-modern social networks, given the vast differences in technology and culture? How can we perceive these networks through our limited sources? How might we discern the way pre-modern social interactions employed cultural constructs and in turn shaped selves and communities?

This colloquium explored social connectedness in Byzantium and other related communities. Building on the recent Dumbarton Oaks colloquia about friendship and the self, this gathering focused on the use of network analysis and network concepts with a range of evidence (from collected sayings to documentary papyri) over the whole Byzantine period (from classical to late medieval and beyond). Special emphasis was placed on probing various methodologies for use in pre-modern studies and comparing the social and cultural patterns of Byzantium with those of its predecessors and neighbors.

The Byzantine Self

March 18-19, 2011 | Maria Mavroudi and Stratis Papaioannou, Colloquiarchs

The Byzantine Self

Program Abstracts

From at least the publication of Georg Misch’s monumental Geschichte der Autobiographie, the first volume of which appeared about a hundred years ago in 1907, the history—rather than the theory—of subjectivity has been the matter of much scholarly investigation. The Middle Ages and, especially, non-western medieval societies have always held an ambiguous position in such historiographical attempts, given the preoccupation with European modernity and Greco-Roman antiquity. In the late 1970s and with Alexander Kazhdan at the forefront, Byzantinists joined this debate and significant publications have appeared since then—including a history of Byzantine autobiography (Vienna, 1999) and a conference on the Discovery of the Senses and Personal Preferences (Athens, 2000). Nevertheless, compared to similar work on classical, late antique, and western medieval literatures and cultures, Byzantium still remains an uncharted territory for its place in the history of the self.

With an open-ended definition of selfhood, as constructed both by participation in collective identities and by individual choices, this colloquium explores aspects of the Byzantine self through different disciplinary perspectives applied to a series of Byzantine texts and practices. This is the second of three Dumbarton Oaks colloquia on the individual, personal relations, and social networks in Byzantium.

The Boundaries of Byzantine Friendship

March 5–6, 2010 | Margaret Mullett and Stratis Papaioannou, Colloquiarchs

The Boundaries of Byzantine Friendship

The Boundaries of Byzantine Friendship


Friendship is a human connection which appears to be recognisable in many societies, indeed to be universal, but which has the capacity to surprise. It is also the subject of interest in many periods (the ancient world, the eighteenth century) and disciplines (anthropology, political science, philosophy, history). The debate over Byzantine friendship in the 1980s led to a general agreement that is a profoundly important social tie, though it may have taken very different forms at different times and in a different milieux. The has been some agreement that is important to examine friendship in a comparative context and different schools and networks have used different comparators: the Freiburg Graduiertenkolleg looks at varieties of friendship from antiquity to the modern world; the Münster Exzelenzcluster sees it in the context of religion and politics; the British Academy Friendship network has looked comparatively at the nature of friendship in western medieval Europe, Byzantium and Scandinavia. The boundaries of Byzantine friendship were investigated in two ways: first, how friendship differs in other medieval societies, and second, in terms of its difference from other similar personal relations, from biological and fictive kinship, form patronage and lordship, from teacher-pupil relationships and erotic dyads. The presence of the three projects and of significant American scholars of friendship allowed consideration of future agendas, as well as conclusions about personal relations in Byzantium and its neighbous.


Light, Surface, Spirit: Phenomenology and Aesthetics in Byzantine Art

November 12–13, 2009 | Ioli Kalavrezou and Bissera Pentcheva, Colloquiarchs

Light, Surface, Spirit: Phenomenology Aesthetics in Byzantine Art

Program Abstracts

Byzantine liturgical and luxury objects were set in rich spaces of mosaics, marble, fragrance, and changing light. They possessed polymorphous appearances, which were set to perform when the vessels were carried in space or when shifting ambient light or density of air ruffled their variegated textures. The Byzantines called this spectacle of change poikilia (phenomenal presence effects experienced by the senses). Photios wrote about it in his ekphrasis of the Pharos chapel:

It is as if one had entered heaven itself with no one barring the way from any side, and was illuminated by the beauty in changing forms (polymorphos) shining all around like so many stars, so is one utterly amazed. […] It seems that everything is in ecstatic motion, and the church itself is circling around. For the spectator, through his whirling about in all directions and being constantly astir, which he is forced to experience by the variegated spectacle (poikilia) on all sides, imagines that his personal condition is transferred to the object

(Photios, Homily X, sect. 5,1, & Photiou Homiliai, ed. Laourdas, 101, tr. Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire, 185).

The phenomenological effects gliding over the surfaces of objects stirred a sense of motion in the spectator, who in turn projected his psychological state, his pathema, back onto the object, transforming it in his perception into an empsychos graphe.

We have tended to study Byzantine objects in isolation and under steady electric light. As a result, we no longer have access to the Byzantine poikilia of phenomenal effects. By contrast, nineteenth-century scholarship right at the advent of photography and electricity was keenly aware how the mutable and polymorphous presence of Byzantine art could be drained by these new technologies. Nikodim Kondakov remarked on the emerald-jewel-like effect of green enamel, filled with the energy of iridescence. He observed how this same shimmering 'fish-scales' quality vanished in the steadied photographic snapshot.

This colloquium focused on the poikilia of changing appearances of icons and luxury vessels set in shifting ambient conditions and explore the power of this spectacle of phenomenal changes to generate a sense of animation. Following are some of the main questions this colloquium addressed: how did Byzantine objects perform in space; how was the spectacle of poikilia staged and experienced; to what extent was the Byzantine poikilia culture-specific especially when compared to Western or Islamic objects and their display?


  • 3.00 Welcome: Jan Ziolkowski and Margaret Mullett
  • 3.15 Introduction: Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford University)
  • 3.45 Tea
Aesthetics of Sound
  • 4.15 Michael Roberts (Wesleyan University): Light, Color, and Visual Illusion in the Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus
  • 4.45 Stratis Papaioannou (Brown University and Dumbarton Oaks): The Rhetorical Aesthetics of Poikilia
  • 5.15 Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford University): Byzantine Aesthetics: Hagia Sophia and the Acoustics of the Sea
  • 5.45 Discussion
  • 6.15 Speakers' Reception and Dinner in the Refectory
  • 8.30 Coffee
Aesthetics of the Material
  • 9.00 Herb Kessler (Johns Hopkins University): Images Borne on a Breeze
  • 9.30 Ioli Kalavrezou (Harvard University): Pearls for an Empire
  • 10.00 Coffee
  • 10.30 Rob Nelson (Yale University): Gold Grounds: Aesthetic, Symbolic, Functional, Perceptual?
  • 11.00 Gerhard Wolf (Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte): Response
  • 11.30 Discussion
  • 12.00 Lunch in the Orangery
  • 2.00 Coffee in the Founders' Room
Aesthetics of Light
  • 2.00 Nicoletta Isar (Copenhagen University): ΧΟΡÓΣ: being moved by light. Towards a Phenomenology of Vision in Byzantium
  • 2.30 Liz James (University of Sussex): Light and color in Byzantine mosaics
  • 3.00 Cynthia Robinson (Cornell University): The Light of Reason: 'Neo-Platonist' Aesthetics and Power in the Medieval Mediterranean, 11th–12th centuries AD
  • 3.30 Discussion
  • 4.00 Tea in the Study
  • 4.30 Conclusion and final discussion

Byzantine Literature: New Voices and Current Approaches

November 9–10, 2007 | John Duffy and Stratis Papaioannou, Organizers

Trade and Markets in Byzantium

Program Abstracts

From Enrico to Andrea Dandolo: Imitation, Appropriation and Meaning at San Marco in Venice

April 28, 2007 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium, Henry Maguire and Robert Nelson, Colloquiarchs


  • Robert Nelson (Yale University), The Piazzetta and Public Spaces in Genoa and Venice
  • Michael Jacoff (Millerton, NY), The Construction of Venetian Identity on the Exterior of San Marco
  • Debra Pincus (Washington, DC), Andrea Dandolo and the Baptistery of San Marco: Stylistic Diversity in the 14th Century
  • Fabio Barry (University of St. Andrews), Disiecta membra: Spolia and Capital Justice
  • Liz James (University of Sussex), Mosaic Matters
  • Thomas Dale (University of Wisconsin), Re-inventing Byzantium at San Marco: Byzantine Spolia and Middle Eastern Relics in the Ritual and Myth of Venice after the Fourth Crusade
  • Holger Klein (Cleveland Museum of Art), Refashioning Byzantium in the Venetian Lagoon, ca. 1200-1450
  • Henry Maguire (The Johns Hopkins University), The Aniketos Icon and the Display of Relics in the Decoration of San Marco
  • Maria Georgopoulou (Gennadeion Library), Relics, Icons and Rituals in San Marco
  • Robert Nelson, Concluding Remarks

Romanos the Melode

November 12, 2005 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium


Ernst Kitzinger Memorial

March 4–5, 2005 | Henry Maguire and Alice-Mary Talbot, Colloquiarchs

Program Obituary Essay by Alice-Mary Talbot

This colloquium was organized as a tribute to the memory of Ernst Kitzinger, who died in January 2003 at the age of 90. It was most appropriate for a memorial conference to be planned at Dumbarton Oaks, where Kitzinger spent a quarter century of his career (1941–1966), where he researched and wrote a significant portion of his scholarly oeuvre, and where he served as Director of Studies for eleven years (1955–1966), playing a formative role in the shaping of the Byzantine program.

The speakers, almost all of whom were doctoral students of Kitzinger's at Harvard, were asked to contribute papers on their mentor's career as scholar and teacher or to make a presentation that reflects Kitzinger's scholarly interests and his influence on their intellectual formation. At the close of Friday afternoon's session there was an opportunity for members of the audience to offer reminiscences of their teacher/colleague.

Occult Sciences

November 7-8, 2003 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium

Gardens of the Roman Empire

February 14–15, 2003 | Joint Byzantine Studies and Garden and Landscape Studies Colloquium


New Insights into Byzantine Monasticism: The Evidence of the Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents

March 3–4, 2000 | Alice-Mary Talbot, Colloquiarch


Byzantium in the Medieval World: Monetary Transactions and Exchange

1999 | Alice-Mary Talbot and Cécile Morrisson, Colloquiarchs

Computerized Access to Byzantine Saints' Lives: Roundtable on the Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database Project

March 1998 |  Alice-Mary Talbot, Colloquiarch

Byzantine Garden Culture

November 2–3, 1996 | Byzantine and Garden and Landscape Studies Colloquium, Henry Maguire and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn, Colloquiarchs

The Balkans and Cyprus in the Light of Recent Surveys and Digs: New Results for Settlement Patterns and Economy in the Byzantine Period (Fourth through Fifteenth Centuries)

Angeliki Laiou and Jean-Pierre Sodini, Colloquiarchs

Women's Space in Byzantium and the Medieval West

March 2–3, 1996 | Henry Maguire, Colloquiarch

Materials Analysis of Byzantine Pottery

April 1–2, 1995 | Henry Maguire, Colloquiarch

Internal Diaspora of the Byzantine Empire

October 1993 | Hélène Ahrweiler and Angeliki Laiou, Colloquiarchs

Magic and Visual Culture in Byzantium

Henry Maguire and Stanley Tambiah, Colloquiarchs

Sexual Relations in Marriage and outside Marriage in Ancient and Medieval Societies: The Issue of Consent

Angeliki Laiou, Colloquiarch

The Familiar Stranger: Byzantium in Modern Greece

May 24-6, 1991 | Margaret Alexiou, Colloquiarch


Byzantium and Armenia: Reciprocal Influences

November 14, 1987 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium

Mysticism and Philosophy

November 10-12, 1985 | Isadore Twersky and Robert Thomson, Colloquiarchs

Law and Society: Adaptations and Influences of Roman Law in Byzantium and the Medieval West

February 8-9, 1985 | Robert Benson and Angeliki Laiou, Colloquiarchs

Philosophy and Mysticism to the Sixteenth Century

November 13-15, 1983 | Giles Constable, Colloquiarch

Imperial Symbolism East and West

November 5-7, 1982 | Robert Benson and Florentine Mütherich, Colloquiarchs

Medieval Bulgaria between East and West (Seventh through Eleventh Century)

November 5–7, 1981 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium


The Transmission and Reception of Knowledge

May 5–7, 1977 | John Murdoch, Colloquiarch

Byzantine Books and Bookmen

April 29–May 1, 1971 | Byzantine Studies Colloquium, Cyril Mango and Ihor Ševčenko, Colloquiarchs