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Monks and Monasteries of Byzantine Thrace (Tenth to Fourteenth Century)

Georgios Makris, University of Birmingham, Junior Fellow 2014–2015

During my junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I completed my doctoral dissertation, which I will submit in the summer of 2015. By transcending the national boundaries that divide the region of Thrace, my study examines the life cycle of monastic foundations within a broader framework of historical phenomena and settlement patterns. Drawing upon a wide range of written evidence, including monastic archives and hagiographical works, as well as substantial archaeological material, my dissertation adds significantly to our fragmentary picture of monastic life in the Byzantine provinces and elucidates the concept of the “holy mountain” within the religious culture of the empire. The second objective is the fresh interpretation of the interplay between monastics and society in the region of Thrace, as attested in the surviving material culture and textual sources.

In the fall term, I revised two of the four principal chapters of my dissertation. I profited greatly in my research from access to essential publications and rare editions of texts. In the spring of 2015, I wrote the introduction and conclusion. In addition, I managed to complete the first draft of one article, which analyzes the function and architectural form of an outlying chapel that was excavated on the southern slopes of the Rhodope Mountains. Throughout the year, I was given the opportunity to implement new approaches in my research and contextualize my data through discussions with other fellows and scholars.