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Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev Research Papers and Photographs

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Archives, Washington, D.C.


Repository: Dumbarton Oaks Archives, Washington, D.C.

Call Number: Byzantine Studies/Vasiliev Files

Location: Archives 058, C4

Name of Creator(s): Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev

Title: Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev Research Papers and Photographs

Inclusive Date: ca. 1930s to 1953

Language(s): Russian, Greek, Italian, French, German, and English

Quantity: 9 series of 83 folders housed in 11 boxes



Acquisition Information: These papers came to Dumbarton Oaks from an unknown source at an unknown date.

Processing Information: These papers were inventoried by James N. Carder in 1999 and processed by James W. Curtin and James N. Carder in 2013.

Terms of Use and Access: These papers can be used for research and publication purposes.

Physical Access: An appointment is required for access to these papers. For appointment and queries, fill out the online form.

Preferred Citation: Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev Research Papers and Photographs, Dumbarton Oaks Archives. Courtesy of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.



Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev (Александр Александрович Васильев) (1867–1953) was considered the foremost authority on Byzantine history and culture in the mid-20th century. His History of the Byzantine Empire (vols. 1–2, 1928) remains one of a few comprehensive accounts of the entire Byzantine history. Vasiliev studied under one of the earliest professional Byzantinists, Vasily Vasilievsky, at the University of St. Petersburg and later taught the Arabic language there. Between 1897 and 1900, he continued his education in Paris. In 1902, he accompanied Nicholas Marr on his trip to the St. Catherine Monastery in the Sinai. During his stay at the Tartu University (1904–1912), Vasiliev prepared and published an influential monograph, Byzantium and the Arabs (1907). He also worked in the Russian Archaeology Institute, established by Fyodor Uspensky in Constantinople. In 1912, he moved to the St. Petersburg University as a professor. He was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1919. In 1925, during his visit to Paris, Vasiliev was persuaded by Michael Rostovtzeff to emigrate to the West. It was Rostovtzeff who ensured a position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for him. Several decades later, Vasiliev moved to work at Dumbarton Oaks, where he was a Senior Scholar between 1944 and 1948 and thereafter a Scholar Emeritus. Towards the end of his life, he was elected President of the Nikodim Kondakov Institute in Prague and of the Association Internationale des Etudes Byzantines.

Milton V. Anastos, “Alexander A. Vasiliev: A Personal Sketch,” The Russian Review 13, no. 1 (January, 1954): 59–63.

Sirarpie Der Nersessian, “Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev, 1867–1953,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 9/10 (1956): 1–21.

Ionut Alexandru Tudorie, "Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev (1867-1953): The Patriarch of the Byzantine Studies," Byzantino-Slavica, Revue internationale des études byzantines 70, nos. 1-2 (2012): 283-323 [contains Vasiliev bibliography].

Adriana Maria van Breukelen (Адриана Мария ван Брукелен), "По случаю 150-й годовщины Александра Александровича Ваcильева (4 октября 1867 – 30 марта 1953); Его жизнь и работа." MAIET (Материалы и исследования по археологии, истории и этнографии Таврии) [Materials and investigations for archaeology, history and ethnography of Tavria] (Simferopol, 2018). (



The Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev Research Papers and Photographs contain his notes, correspondence, manuscript drafts, typescripts, newspaper clippings, reprints of journal articles by him and others, photographs, postcards, and an appointment calendar. The Dumbarton Oaks Archives also has holdings of Vasiliev’s 1951 office papers and related materials and photographs.



Series 1 of 9: Trebizond

Folder 1: Trebizond Notes, A-E

Folder 2: Trebizond Notes, F-L

Folder 3: Trebizond Notes, M-Z

Folder 4: Trebizond Before 1204, Notes

Folder 5: Trebizond, M. Panerotis Chronicle, Notes

Folder 6: Trebizond Sources, Notes

Folder 7: Trebizond Used Sheets, Notes

Folder 8: Trebizond, Miscellaneous Notes and Text

Folder 9: Empire of Trebizond, Notes

Folder 10: Trebizond in the 7th Century, Notes

Folder 11: Empire of Trebizond, Text, February 24, 1936, Classic Club, New York, NY

Folder 12: Empire of Trebizond in Literature


Series 2 of 9: Research Notes

Folder 1: Alexander the Great and Mahomet, Notes

Folder 2: Belthaudros et Chrysanza, Notes

Folder 3: Digenes Akrites, Notes

Folder 4: Kunik, A., On the Georgian Origin of the Grandmother of the First Trapezuntine Emperor, Notes

Folder 5: Pegolotti, Notes

Folder 6: Portraits of Byzantine Emperors and Empresses, Notes

Folder 7: Pope Gregory IX and Andronicus I Gidon, Notes and Text

Folder 8: Research I, Miscellaneous Notes

Folder 9: Research II, Miscellaneous Notes

Folder 10: Research III, Miscellaneous Notes

Folder 11: Seminary, 1st Seminar, 1933-1934, Notes

Folder 12: Tana / Tmutarakan, Notes

Folder 13: Theme: Talaya, Notes

Folder 14: Various References, Notes

Item 1: Cosmas Indicopleustes

Item 2: Arion Family

Item 3: The Edict of 301

Item 4: H.J. Bell. Jews and Christians in Egypt

Item 5: Julian the Apostate and his Misopogon

Item 6: Miscellaneous

Item 7: Saint Clement of Cherson [Kherson]

Folder 15: Vita S. Pancratius of Tauromenon, Notes

Folder 16: Yahya, Notes

Folder 17: Yazid II, Notes


Series 3 of 9: Conferences, Lectures, and Addresses

Folder 1: Byzance et l'Ancienne Russie, Collège de France, Paris, 1939, Notes and Text

Folder 2: Byzantium and the Arabs under Muhammed and his Immediate Successors, Dumbarton Oaks Symposium, Washington, D.C.,1949, Notes and Text

Folder 3: Communication in Memory of Charles Diehl, 1945, Notes and Text

Folder 4: Contributions Made by the Russians and Slavs to Byzantine Scholarship, Dumbarton Oaks Symposium, Washington, D.C., 1947, Text

Folder 5: Crimea, Madison, Wisconsin, 1942, Text

Folder 6: Helenistic Civilization, Text

Folder 7: Imperial Tombs, Introduction

Folder 8: La Russie et les Etudes Byzantines, Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels, 1934, Notes and Text

Folder 9: Miscellaneous Addresses

Folder 10: My Farewell to the Library of the University of Wisconsin, 1948, Text

Folder 11: Oberlin Lectures, Notes and Texts

Item 1: The Formation of the Byzantine Ecclesiastical Position in the Fourth Century

Item 2: The Byzantine Ecclesiastical Position in the Fifth Century

Item 3: Justinian the Great and his Attempted Synthesis

Item 4: Iconoclastic Movement and the Results

Item 5: The Schism between East and West in the Ninth Century and Patriarch Photius

Item 6: Byzantium and Islam

Folder 12: Opening Address to the First Congress of Byzantino-Slavo-Oriental Studies, 1946 Lecture, Notes, and Related Correspondence

Folder 13: Slavs, Text

Folder 14: Talk at the Phi Kappa Phi fraternity, University of Madison, Wisconsin, 1936, Text

Folder 15: Talk before Members of History Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1926, Text and Correspondence

Folder 16: Untitled: On Alexander A. Vasiliev

Folder 17: Untitled: On Constantinople

Folder 18: Untitled: On Parisian Lectures


Series 4 of 9: Publications

Folder 1: Alexandre Le Grand, Byzance et L'Islam, Typescript

Folder 2: Alexandre le Grand, Byzance et L'Islam, Notes and Manuscript Text

Folder 3: Alexander the Great, Byzantium and Islam, Notes and Text

Folder 4: Bibliography

Folder 5: Economic Relations between Byzantium and Old Russia, Offprint

Folder 6: Goths in the Crimea, Reviews

Folder 7: History of the Byzantine Empire, Preface Text (Charles Diehl)

Folder 8: History of the Byzantine Empire, Correspondence

Folder 9: History of the Byzantine Empire, Reviews

Folder 10: Iconoclastic Edict of the Caliph Yazid II, Text

Folder 11: Prester John: Legend and History, Typescript

Folder 12: Review: Vizantisky Sbornik (M.V. Levchenko, Ed.), Offprint

Folder 13: Über die Sophien Kirche im Constantinopel, Text


Series 5 of 9: Personal Papers: Correspondence

Folder 1: Henri Grégoire, Correspondence

Folder 2: Louis Bréhier, Correspondence

Folder 3: Grigory Lionidovich Lozinsky, Correspondence and Notes

Folder 4: Miscellaneous Correspondence I

Folder 5: Miscellaneous Correspondence II

Folder 6: Miscellaneous Correspondence III

Folder 7: Miscellaneous Correspondence IV


Series 6 of 9: Personal Papers: Other

Folder 1: Ephemera

Folder 2: King's College Application

Folder 3: Letters of Recommendation, Copies and Miscellaneous [contains copies of letters of recommendation written by Vasiliev for: Kostis T. Argue, Anna M. Bourguina, Peter Charanis, John S. Schneider, and Peter Topping, among others]

Folder 4: Material for Musical Recollections, Notes and Text

Folder 5: Memoirs / Autobiography, Notes

Folder 6: Miscellaneous Personal Papers

Folder 7: Notebook

Folder 8: Notes on my Alaska Trip, June-July 1941, Notes and Miscellaneous

Folder 9: Reports, Dumbarton Oaks, 1946-1952

Folder 10: Reports on A. A. Vasiliev on his Work for the Year 1933-34 and Related Notes

Folder 11: Tahiti and St. Pierre and Miquelon Vacations, Notes and Miscellaneous

Folder 12: University of Wisconsin, Madison Position


Series 7 of 9: Newspaper Clippings

Folder 1: Newspaper Clippings I (Russian)

Folder 2: Newspaper Clippings II (Russian)

Folder 3: Newspaper Clippings III (Russian, French, English)

Folder 4: Newspaper Clippings IV (English)


    Series 8 of 9: Coptic Relief Elements

    Box 1: Coptic Relief Elements, Text (in Russian)


    Series 9 of 9: References in Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts

    Box 1: References in Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts

    Box 2: References in Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts II

    Box 3: References in Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts III