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Course Description and Applications Procedure

July 5–29, 2011

In July of 2011 Dumbarton Oaks will again offer a summer program on Byzantine numismatics and sigillography, drawing upon its extensive holdings of coins and seals. The program will be under the direction of Dr. Cécile Morrisson, Advisor for Byzantine Numismatics, Dr. Eric McGeer, Advisor for Byzantine Sigillography, and Dr. Vivien Prigent (CNRS). A limited number of places will be available for graduate students of any nationality who are pursuing a doctoral degree in some field of Byzantine studies. Applications will also be accepted from junior faculty members teaching at least one course in Byzantine Studies at a college or university.

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Admission requirements

Applicants must be a doctoral student or junior faculty member in some area of Byzantine Studies. Candidates will be expected to have a reading knowledge of French and German and to have completed two years of college level Classical Greek (or its equivalent).

Course offerings

The seminars are intended as introductions to the study and uses of the auxiliary disciplines of numismatics and sigillography. The course will include several seminar meetings, each session of two and one-half hours in duration.


Among topics to be discussed will be bibliography, the basics of the discipline, coin hoards and the use of coins as evidence for Byzantine political, economic and art history. In separate workshop sessions students will be instructed how to read Byzantine coins, date them and write a catalog entry. Students who choose to focus on numismatics will present to the group a pre-determined research topic or a group of coins which they will have transcribed and dated by their own efforts. Participants may discuss their own material: e.g. excavation documentation in the form of casts or photographs or even better the coins themselves.


Members will be introduced to bibliography and will be instructed in the reading, dating and cataloging of Byzantine lead seals. Students who choose to focus on sigillography will present to the group a pre-determined research topic or a group of seals which they will have transcribed, dated, and interpreted by their own efforts. A further purpose of the seminars is to consider how the seals aid research in Byzantine history, literature and art.

As part of regular course work or in informal meetings a variety of special topics will be examined, such as photography of seals and coins, digital imagery, drawing of monograms, epigraphic fonts, construction of maps, construction of databases and electronic programs for statistical treatment.

Accommodation and expenses

Successful candidates will receive free housing (except for anyone living in the greater Washington area) and breakfast, in addition to lunch on weekdays in the Refectory. They will also be entitled to unlimited reader passes to the library for the month of July. They are, however, responsible for their own transportation costs.

Application procedure

Applicants must send a letter by February 15, 2011, to Margaret Mullett, Director of Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (1703 32nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20007), describing their academic background and listing specific reasons for wishing to be included in the summer program. All applicants should include a curriculum vitae; doctoral candidates should arrange for the sending of a transcript of their graduate school record. Two letters of recommendation should be sent separately, at least one of them from a faculty member who has instructed the candidate in an area of Byzantine studies. Selection criteria will include (but not be limited to) a demonstrated need for the seminar and the candidates' present and future research projects. For further information, write Margaret Mullett or Cécile Morrisson