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John F. Haldon

Oral History Interview with John F. Haldon, undertaken via Zoom by Nikos D. Kontogiannis and Viviana Lu on July 18, 2023. At Dumbarton Oaks, John Haldon was a Summer Fellow (1980), Visiting Scholar (2008-2009), and a Senior Fellow (2007-2013).

VL: This is Viviana Lu, the summer intern in Byzantine Oral history, and I’m interviewing Professor John Haldon with the Director of Byzantine Studies.

NK: Nikos Kontogiannis. And so thank you very much again, John, for agreeing to give us this interview. I would like to start the questions by asking, when was the first time that you heard of Dumbarton Oaks. What were your initial impressions of the institute?

JH: So, you know, this is a long time ago. I suppose it would have been when I was an undergraduate student. One of my professors was Anthony Bryer, and he had already been a fellow at DO, I think, when he was teaching me in the late 60’s. 1960’s, that is, not the 1860’s just in case you’re confused. And I’m pretty sure he mentioned DO sort of in passing a few times as a good place to, you know, to be an academic, do research. But of course, bear in mind that this is probably when I was a second year undergraduate. I didn’t really understand what research was, and I had very little knowledge of Byzantine history. It was just one course in my program on medieval history and archaeology.

But later on I got to hear a little bit more about it. It seemed to be a sort of fantastical place, somewhere in a very privileged environment, where elderly academics went to sort of do interesting stuff. That was the impression I had when I was like, you know, 19 or 20. And then after that, really, I mean, I didn’t get to go there until I think — oh, I know I visited it in 19 — When was the International Congress? Was it 1986? So maybe I went in 1980. Then I was a Summer Fellow there working with Heath Lowry, and with Patricia Karlin-Hayter. So between then between when I first heard of it, and when I first went, that was a good ten, twelve years, probably, ten years, twelve years. And in the interim I’d finished my PhD in ’75, and I’d gone to work in Germany for five years, and I think the summer fellowship was when I was towards the end of my time as a Humboldt fellow in Munich. 

I was looking for jobs, you know, the usual thing when you finish your PhD and then you find the postdoc, or something to do to avoid actually going to the real world and getting a proper job. So I was looking for jobs, at the same time was looking for academic opportunities, because, obviously, having done a PhD by then, I realized I was quite good at it, firstly, and I enjoyed it, and I’d made some interesting friends and contacts. And there were a lot of interesting research projects by then. And of course, by that time I’d become a specialist on the Byzantine side, having done another Master’s degree while I was in Munich, in medieval Greek, for example, and a whole bunch of other qualifications had been gained in terms of languages and so forth.

And so when I was thinking about leaving Munich, because I could have stayed in Munich for longer. I mean, there was an opportunity to become an assistant at Munich. But the professor, I really didn’t like him at all, and it would have been torture to work with him, so I decided I’d take my chances. And then the other thing to bear in mind is, I was a single parent family at that point, because I had a small child and I’d separated more or less from my first wife. So I had to think of him. When I finished in Munich, he would have been 9, I think. And so, staying there in terms of the long-term for him probably was more — I can’t remember now what my reasoning was, but anyway, I decided to not apply for a continuation at Munich and to go back to the UK. But luckily Anthony Bryer was still thriving, and he was involved with Heath Lowry at that point. I don’t know how they got together, but they had a few years previously to this, and they’d set up this Byzantine Early Ottoman demographic project with Patricia Karlin-Hayter, who was a specialist for the Athonite archives.

NK: Yes.

JH: And this trod to some extent on the toes of Angeliki Laiou, of course, who was also working on this material. Although I didn’t meet her at this point, I met her later on, which I’ll come to because there’s some amusing tales attached to that. But I applied for a research fellowship, a postdoc at University of Birmingham, where Bryer then was. And I got the job, which was great. So I had a small income. But after I’d been appointed, Bryer said, “Oh, by the way, it’s a job share. You only get half the income.” [laughing] So I always said, “you know, I didn't realize this is part of the deal.” 

But what was interesting was that the job share was with somebody who was like 50 years older than me, Patricia Karlin-Hayter. Her Greek, as you know, she was a very good specialist for medieval Greek language and literature, but she’d also got really involved in the study of Athonite archives and peasant society in the late Byzantine period, and was very involved in that. Her husband, Maurice, who was still alive at that point, was a mathematician, and this is again, bear in mind, this is before anyone had a computer. Basically, the only people who had computers at this point were scientists. And I remember meeting Patricia for the first time. I’d met her at symposia and conferences, and she seemed so utterly different from me, I mean, she came from a very privileged background. She was bilingual in French and English, although my French colleagues said, “Yes, but she’s really speaking Belgian French. It’s not the same.” [laughing] They’re very snotty about it. But she was very nice, very genteel, very traditional. She’d been brought up in the 1920’s and 30’s in England, a very privileged family background, and you know I was a son of a carpenter and coal miner. So we had nothing in common socially. And she found me, I think, quite hard to take, because I was then in my sort of — well, I haven’t really changed much, except I don’t do so much about it — but I was in my ultra, ultra leftist phase and I was going on demonstrations all the time and cursing the rich and so forth. And she found that quite difficult to handle.

But we got on okay, because we agreed, we sort of agreed to differ, and she respected what I could do and I respected what she could do. So we worked quite well together. And so that was my first proper job, although, interestingly, as a postdoc, I earned about a quarter of what I had as a German Humboldt Fellow in Munich. so life was quite tough.

So, without going into my sort of personal history too much, we stick to Dumbarton Oaks. The next time I was there — and then I carried on my research, my position became permanent. I got a lectureship at Birmingham. The initial job was actually lecturer in, in medieval and ancient and medieval Greek language and literature, not in Byzantine history at all, and I remember my the first course I had to teach was the Hellenistic novel, which was sheer torture. But I succeeded. I think I learned more from the students than they learned from me, actually.

Then I was able, with Bryer’s help, we converted that job into a lectureship in Byzantine history. I’m not quite sure how we finessed that. But I ended up as a Byzantine historian, so that was good. That saved my bacon. And then things moved on from there. Before that had happened, the summer fellowship was for me to go to Dumbarton Oaks and sit with Heath Lowry in his office, which was in the old building, in the old house. And it was quite close to Alexander Kazhdan’s office in fact, because I remember we used to bump into each other, it’s where I met him for the first time. And we used to meet every day, and the idea of this project was to compare the Ottoman Tapu Tahrir Defterleri, the archive documents, for particular areas of Athos, particular monastic holdings of Athos, both in the Aegean Islands and on the mainland with Greek documents. 

I decided that I would focus on the island of Lemnos in the North Aegean, which was a good choice. The archive was great, lots of really good documents. And actually, although these various and other sort of documents from the archive are quite technical, once you understand the technical language and what they’re talking about, they’re not hard. But Heath’s idea was that my Greek was so wonderful that I would simply sit down, he’d give me the French edition of the archival material, and I’d just translate straight off, and he’d sort of touch type it into his database. Which is a bit of a challenge. I mean, it worked okay. My translations, when I look back on them, weren’t at all bad. But it was hard now to stop and look a word up, and he would look astonished, like “you don’t know what that word means?” And I have to, you know, it is actually quite challenging to do this stuff.

So that worked very well. Heath and I got on like a house on fire. Extremely well, both heavy drinkers [laughing], both interested in challenging the establishment, both from similar working class backgrounds, actually. Heath, it turned out, although he comes from originally from the west coast of the U.S., came from a very similar sort of a background to me, although he’d had the more adventurous life up to then, because he'd been a bit like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. He’d actually run a bar in Morocco for a while, which was a revelation for an Ottomanist. I don't know if you’ve done an interview with Health, but you want to try and find him before he departs this life. He’s quite elderly now, living in Istanbul. 

NK: Of course. His daughter was here last week, and I haven’t thought about it. And that;s a wonderful idea, John, because they are selling the house that they have here, and she’s also going to Istanbul to be with Heath. She was telling me also about the Kazhdan and the days from her childhood impressions.

JH: Yeah, yeah. So Heath would be, he’s a fund of stories, and he’s also extremely — what's the right word — he doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to people he thinks are either stupid or annoying [laughing].

VL: We’ll be sure to reach out. 

JH: Anyway, I think I was only there for about six weeks, and I lived in the old apartments in 2702 Wisconsin [Avenue]. I don’t know if you remember those, or do you know about them? It's long before DO had anything else. I mean, I think 2702 was given up back in the 80’s, probably, maybe in the 90’s before they moved to the place before the one that the fellows are currently in.

Heath and I got on very well. We did a lot of work. And it started me off on a project which actually became quite important on which I worked later with both Heath and Aglaia Kasdagli, whom I’m sure you know the name of. And she and I were on Lemnos actually doing the field work for six weeks in the summer of I think it would have been ’82, perhaps.

NK: Aglaia is Anna-Maria’s sister?

JH: Anna Maria’s sister, yes. Anna-Maria’s big sister.

NK: Of course. I worked with them in Rhodes.

JH: Yes, Aglaia is wonderful. She’s great fun. I don't know whether she was ever at DO, though, I’m not sure that she ever was. So yeah, we got on. Pastricia was there at the same time. Heath didn't get on with Patricia at all because she was just that sort of old-fashioned patrician English woman, and being a Californian working class bloke, he had no patience for her at all. They weren’t rude to each other, but they clearly didn’t like each other, so I had to be the — as usual, I seem to do this a lot in my life — I had to be the bridge builder trying to keep them together and stop them arguing and things like that.

So that was a very good experience. It was horribly hot. I remember when I first arrived, never having been to the U.S. before, in the summer of 1980. I think I got a bus up to Georgetown — no, sorry, I found my way to Dumbarton Oaks, I picked up my stuff from the office, and they told me where to go. ​​I didn’t realize how far 2702 was up the hill, but I walked all the way up the hill, but on the way I saw an ice cream parlor. I thought, that’s pretty cool. I’ll pop in, get some ice cream. But being a European, and not used to that sort of heat, at least a Northern European, I couldn’t work out why they’re all sitting indoors eating their ice cream, so I thought, that's stupid. It’s nice and hot outside. So I took my ice cream outside, and of course it immediately melted all down my hand, and I thought, now I know why they’re indoors.

And then another funny experience was walking back down the hill. I had some trash which I wanted to get rid of, and I didn’t recognize what the public trash disposal things looked like, and I tried to stuff my trash in a U.S. mailbox because it looks like a British trash box, right?

And this cop walks up to me, he says, “Excuse me, sir, what do you think you’re doing?” I said, “I’m trying to put my trash in here.” He said, “You’re serious? This is U.S. mail. That’s a federal offense.” I went, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t understand that.” [laughing] He sort of let me off. He treated me like I was a sort of moron, he spoke very slowly, and said, “That is a trash can over there.” I said, “yes, officer,” so I managed to get rid of my rubbish. 

So, yeah, I had a good time, and I met Alexander [Kazhdan] for the first time. Obviously I was very much in awe of people like that. I think [Ihor] Ševčenko was around that summer as well, he popped in and out. Who else was around? I can't remember now. Oh, I met Michael McCormick, I think for the first time. He was there that year, either passing through or working, and then I met a chap for the first time. Sadly he died later on, of HIV-related things, Lowell Clucas. He was a DO fellow, and I think he died before the Oral History project got going. He died, probably would have been the 90’s I think he died. I actually first met him in Germany, and then he was back in Dumbarton Oaks, or maybe he was in Dumbarton Oaks for the first time. Probably in your records, you’ll find him there somewhere. But he and I got on pretty well. 

The other funny thing I remember was arriving for the first time and meeting the other Summer Fellows, and they were a mix internationally. I think we got on pretty well. I can't remember any of their names now, and I don’t know whether any of them went on to become professional scholars or got positions or anything, unfortunately, I should, really. But I remember there were like four Europeans plus myself and a couple of American Summer Fellows. And I remember one evening, we went across the road to — there’s a bar which may still be there, which has a sort of upstairs bar area on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue, just opposite 32nd Street.

And we went for a drink, and we had quite a few drinks, and we started talking politics. What was interesting was that the two Americans were obviously quite liberal and sort of left orientated, that’s fine, one of the Europeans was clearly neo-fascist, and the other two were sort of liberal, liberal, lefty people. But what was interesting was the political vocabulary. I understood the neo-fascist better than I understood the Americans, because we all knew what we meant when we said socialism or fascism or whatever. These words meant something to us as Europeans. And the Americans didn’t have a political vocabulary like that at all. At the same time, when they were talking about American politics, the Europeans didn’t understand that there are aspects of the old Republican party which are actually quite left wing and aspects of, say, Southern Democrats, which are really really right wing. And so we just assumed Democrat was good, Republican was bad, and we learned very quickly that’s complete rubbish. It just doesn’t work like that. Well, maybe it would now, given what’s happened in the last 10, 15 years. So it was an interesting experience, socially, definitely, and culturally. Having lived quite a lot in Greece by then and in Germany, I’ve never been to the States, and so, seeing the States, and breaking all my assumptions about what the the United States was like, which, as many Europeans, you know, it was based on TV, basically, and novels I’ve read.

That first DO stay was a really important one, I think, in terms of mind broadening, if you like. And of course also because it was a great experience and it was a lovely environment to work in the old — this is long before the new library was built, so we were just in the old building, and I used to really love going up to that top floor of the old building in the dark, puttering around the stacks, looking for utterly obscure Greek and Russian journals and things that obviously hadn’t been read for 50 years, and pulling them off the shelf and blowing the dust off them, and then sneaking them back down to my space in the reading room downstairs. It was a really nice experience. I really enjoyed it. It was good. 

And then, of course, the next time I came back was just casually in 1986. That was when the International Congress was in Georgetown. And that was interesting because I saw European colleagues out of their European environment, especially people like Paul Speck, for example, who who really let his hair down when he wasn’t in Germany, it was quite interesting, and quite a few other colleagues as well. That was a good Congress. I came for about four weeks, I think, and a friend of mine had gone off — she is African American — she’d gone off to West Africa. This is the decade when all African Americans were going to look for their roots, it seems, and she’d gone off, and she said, “Well, you can have my apartment and my car while I’m away.” So I thought, this is pretty good. She didn’t tell me the car was a rust bucket that was falling apart and was illegal. But, you know, I drove it around anyway. And I got a bunch of tickets for various offenses. I ended up going to traffic court downtown and then appearing in traffic court and paying. It’s a different story which isn’t to do with DO, so I won’t tell that one.

But that was an interesting Congress, and I went up to DO again, and I think Giles [Constable] was. I can’t remember when Giles became director of the whole outfit, but I think Giles was director at that point. I can’t remember the dates, and I have to say, when you said Ned Keenan was the director when I was there in the summer of 1980, I totally don’t remember Ned Keenan at all. Was it then, or was somebody else director then?

NK: One moment, Viviana has the records.

VL: I believe Ned Keenan was 1998 to 2007. So I thought there might have been some overlap. But Giles was before, so when you were a Summer Fellow, that would have been correct.

John Haldon: Oh, so Giles was director when I was a Summer Fellow. Okay, that’s right. Yeah, ‘cause we used to call him Jaws [laughing]. If you’ve ever met Giles, you’ll know why. But he was good fun, a very, very gentleman-like, rather traditional Harvard professor. And he actually, when we were working on the demography project — that’s right, because he invited me and Rowena Loverance to his club in London. And I remember I turned up, and I didn’t have a tie, so the doorman took one of the spare ties from behind the closet and gave me a tie to wear. It didn’t fit with my jeans and t-shirt, but nevertheless I had to wear a tie.

So that was 1980, that was a very good time, and then the short visit in ’86, and then I think I would have come back for just symposia, and so forth after that from time to time. I remember one symposium, it would have been in the mid 80’s, where I had my first tussle with Angeliki. Which was quite amusing, because we were in the Music Room, and she and I and Peter Topping, and various other people were talking about the island of Lemnos. There’s an absolutely notorious photograph of all the symposiasts at that meeting, with Bryer and Jacques Lefort and Heath Lowry sitting at the front. And my wife looked at that when it was first done, and she said, “You and Jacques are the only people who are alive. The other ones all look like they’re dead.” And it did. It did. When you look at all these aged Byzantinists, they all look like they’ve been sort of — they’re wax models.

But Bryer and Heath are at the front, and that’s before Bryer and Heath fell out. I can’t remember when that was, and it would have been the first half of the 1980’s, I suppose. 1983 or 4. Something like that. And out of that came that volume on Ottoman and Byzantine demography, and that’s where my big article on Lemnos with all the maps and stuff appeared. So we were at this meeting, I’d given a presentation, and Angeliki had given a presentation, then the panel met, and the audience who were throwing questions at us, and somebody asked me in the Q and A what the term prosalentis, or in the plural prosalentai means in the archival documents, and I began to explain it, and Angeliki sort of seized the microphone off me, one of the table stand microphones and said, “That’s completely wrong. Prosalentis means the following.” So I grab the microphone back off her. We were sort of pulling the microphone like this, I think Peter Topping’s between us, looking slightly worried, like I said, he’s gonna smack him over the head with a microphone. And I won, and I got the microphone back, and I said, “Yes, but you’re missing the point here. And obviously she was really pissed off that this junior sort of dared to challenge her in public in front of all these other people. That set us off on the wrong foot in a way. That was the only sort of a memorable thing from that Congress that I can remember, to be honest — that particular symposium, rather.

But a few years later, now, that would have been in the 90’s, 1991 or ’92, there was another symposium to which I was invited, and I remember by then Warren Treadgold had made a lot of his inflammatory critique of statements about all sorts of people, accusing, you know, Averil Cameron of being a Marxist, for example, and stuff like He’d already dismissed me as a terrible red, and one of his reviews ended with, “Haldon should crawl back under his Marxist stone,” which I thought was so good I framed it, put it on the wall in my office. 

So he and I didn’t hit it off. The reason we didn’t hit it off was because we’d already had the disagreement a few years earlier, and I’d criticized quite strongly, but in purely academic terms, scholarly terms, something he’d written. But he didn’t like that.

Anyway, he was at this event and Angeliki by then had decided I was okay. I think this is ’91 or ’92  because she gave this very nice introduction all about my excellent scholarship, and the fact that I just published two books in the same year, one of them was a critical edition, and so forth. And this is all very good, and I felt very sort of fluttered by all of this. I realized afterwards that although it was nice of it to do that anyway — and I’m sure it's quite genuine — but one of the reasons she wanted to praise me was because Warren Treadgold was in the audience, and she knew he hated me, and I thought he was an idiot.And also, of course, he’d been very critical in a nasty way, I mean a very personal way, about her and other people.

So at the end I gave my paper, and then another paper happened, and somebody else, and again we were in the music room, and we were on that stage. You know the way it’s set up. Then we had Q&A. And Warren, because normally, when they do Q&A, you have somebody running up and down with a microphone, giving it to the person who stands up, and you ask the question. Warren took the microphone and walked straight up onto the stage and then turned around and addressed the audience as though he was in charge. And he began to challenge all the things I said in my paper, which was fine, because most of what he said was easily refuted. So he finished, and he went and sat down. And Angeliki said to me, “I’m sure you have a response, Professor Haldon,” or Dr. Haldon, as I then was.

I said, “I certainly do.” And so I basically deconstructed everything he just said. It wasn’t hard to do, and Angeliki, as I handed the sort of the speakers’ mic back to her and sat down, she whispered, “Nicely done!” [laughing] Which I thought was quite funny.

Anyway, I was really pleased that we were friends. That’s good because she was a senior person, and she wasn’t actually all that much older than me, but she seemed terribly senior and important. And I remember later on, towards the end of the symposium, I thought she’d done a really good job as symposiarchissa, so I decided that I’d buy her some flowers, and in those days there was a Safeway just up the hill from 32nd St. 

NK: It is there.

JH: I know it’s been rebuilt a couple of times since then, but anyway, I went round to Safeway, bought a bunch of flowers. And as I was leaving, Steve [Stephen] Reinert — I don’t know if you know Steve, but he was one of Angeliki’s students, Ottomanist, Byzantinist, he’s somebody else who’s at DO that ought to be orally interviewed. 

NK: Steve?

JH: Steve Reinert. R-E-I-N-E-R-T. I think he may have retired now, I don’t know, but he was at Rutgers, anyway. Steve said, “Hey, John, where are you going?” I said, “I’m gonna get some flowers for Angeliki.” He said, “Oh, cactus?” [all laughing] She had a sort of spiky reputation.

So yes, that was a very good symposium, and Warren was firmly put in his place, which was quite pleasant to experience. And so the next time I was at DO, I must have been at several symposia over the years, and I really can’t remember which ones — they’re the ones that stand out. They’re all good because you’ll see old friends, and you have interesting times and discussions.

The next thing was getting an invitation to become a Senior Fellow. That was, I think I came to Princeton in 2004, and then in 2006, I think, I was invited to be a Senior Fellow. I had a nice letter from Jan [Ziolkowski], and also from John Duffy. And I already knew Ioli [Kalavrezou] by then. I’d known Ioli already for what, nearly 30 years by then, because when she was in Munich, I’d babysat for a couple of times when I was a postdoc. So we’ve known each other since she was in Munich, and she had a bad time with the same professor as I did. We both thought he was an awful person. 

But she got back to Harvard, or got to Harvard, and I went my way, and then we hadn’t seen each other for a long time, and then we met over the table at Senior Fellows meetings. It was in 2007 I think I began. That was good, actually, because I was able to work with people whose publications in research I was familiar with, whom I respected. It was also quite refreshing working with Jan, who seemed to want to do things differently and make a change, make a difference — whether other people thought that, I always got on with him quite well. Again, he was one of those Harvard patrician types, a little bit like Giles, and you know, fine. I mean, I’ve got used to them, having been in England for most of my life, you sort of bump into these people.

So, being a Senior Fellow was good fun, and you learned a lot more about the institution, how it worked it, about the politics behind it, and so forth. And that was a very interesting experience because it was interesting to contribute towards the selection of Fellows, and to try to push a particular policy which, perhaps — in my view, for example, archaeology had been rather badly ignored in spite of the promising early start. And so Albrecht Berger and I together worked very hard to try and pull archaeology back in, and I think we succeeded quite well. We really got archaeology back on the map, and we had a couple of symposia devoted to archaeological survey topics and things, which which did a lot, I think, to bring people who felt excluded from DO up till then because they weren’t philologists or art historians back into the DO fold. So I feel quite pleased that we — and Albrecht’s as much responsible for that desire, and the others joined in as well, they all agreed with us that you know we should do something, get archaeology back on the picture a little bit more prominently.

So that was good, and I think my years as a Fellow I really enjoyed. And also, by the time I started, the new library had been finished, and that was great as well. The other person I met early on who seemed to take a shine to me, and I’m never quite sure why, was Irfan Shahîd. We got on extremely well, maybe because I listened to his interminable recitations of Arabic poetry without complaining [laughing]. But he was a very knowledgeable, clever guy, and I learned a lot from him, and we actually had lots of interest in common, it turned out, on the purely historical side, although we disagreed fundamentally on one or two key issues. But yeah, we always got on quite well, and I even hinted one year — he looked at me when I said it, he said, “Now, now, don’t be cheeky,” — I mentioned one year, so I said, “Irfan, what will you do with your library when you retire. Can I have some?” [laughing] Because he had a fantastic library of Arabic texts and stuff.

Irfan was quite an important person. And then I forgot to mention an amusing story about Alexander and his wife, who I never got to know terribly well, I think Mike McCormick knew them much better than I did, and obviously he was very pleased about that. But I remember we were invited out to — I think actually it was a sort of party was being held by Heath and Demet Lowry. They had a big house in McLean, outside DC. And we were going to drive there, and Mrs. Kazhdan offered me and a couple of other people, plus Alexander, a lift in their car.

And I remember somebody said, as we were setting off, somebody said, “How are you getting there?” I said, “Oh, Mrs. Kazhdan’s driving us,” and the person — I just can’t remember who it was now — but I remember the look on their face. They said, “Oh, be careful.” And I thought, what the hell does that mean? So we got in the car and we drove off. And as we drove, I realized what he meant, because she was an appalling driver. She didn’t look in the mirror as she sort of wandered out across lanes, and people were hooting at us all the way, and well, she thought she was somewhere outside Moscow, you know, in mid-winter, or something.

But there’s the increasing smell of rubber, burning rubber, as we drove. We finally got to McLean, and she sort of pulled the handbrake on, and she said, “The handbrake doesn’t move.” And Alexander looked at it, he said, “It’s because it’s been on the whole time, dear.” And she had the handbrake on the whole trip, which is the smell of burning rubber, you know. I thought, wow, it’s lucky we got here without bursting into flame or something.

JH: So you’ve frozen. 

NK: Now you are frozen. You are unfrozen now.

JH: I can move. It may be my Internet signal, because I’m upstairs, away from the router. I can move. If it freezes again, I’ll go to a different room.

So yes, where was I? Yes, so Senior Fellow, that was good. There’s lots of things to tell you about that which I can’t remember. The time when I was a guest visiting professor, it was 2009-10, I’ll tell you who was really important was Fotini Kondyli because she made a huge difference to the whole relationship between the three different disciplines that you mentioned in your set of questions. And I remember the one thing that I did notice when I arrived in 2009 — I think it would have been early spring of 2009, no, I was in Turkey then. When was I the visiting professor? 

NK: Just a moment. Visiting scholar, it was 2008 and 2009.

JH:, And then after that, I went to Turkey for six months, because I was on leave. So the thing I noticed was that the three disciplines didn’t really talk to each other, and that had always been the case, never really challenged it very much, which was perhaps foolish of me, even when I was beginning as a Senior Fellow in 2007. I hadn’t really thought about it. But Fotini pointed out that actually when she came in 2009, I suppose, as a Fellow, she pointed out that the Byzantine archaeology at DO has really been Byzantine art history or architectural history. It hasn’t been archaeology in the proper sense. I mean, some of the people did proper field work, but really not all that many. I remember discussing this with her, and she said, “We need to do something about it.” I said, “Well, the first thing we can do is, why don’t we talk to some of the Pre-Columbianists?” Because actually, a lot of them, although technically they’re anthropologists, they’re actually archaeologists. That’s just the way it’s institutionally configured in the U.S.

And so we made an effort to pull them all together and do something about it, and it worked quite well, I think. She was a great party-thrower, also as the Visiting Fellow, I had the cottage next to the Director’s House, and so I had a really nice private apartment. It was quite spacious. Actually, it wasn’t the one. It was the one opposite the Director’s House, you know, the two, the joining cottages opposite Director’s house. 

NK: Yes, yes, it’s not the Acorn Cottage. It was the east cottage or the west.

JH: It was the one furthest away from the main building. 

NK: Okay, that’s, I think… 

JH: The west. Or the east.

NK: East? 

JH: Yeah. Anyway, we had quite a few interesting parties there. Of course the discussion was all scholarly and intellectual, as you know. Oh, you’re frozen again.

NK: Yes.

JH: Tell you what, I’ll move.

NK: Can you? Yes.

JH: I’m going to move to the room with more signal. Out of the way, dogs. There we go. I’m right next door to the router now, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

NK: We were at the parties, yes.

JH: Yes, that was interesting. But the crucial point about that was that it cemented the relationship between the Pre-Columbianists and the Byzantinists because a lot of the Pre Columbianists liked to party, and we devised various interesting seminars and other projects between us, starting from that sort of social basis which was really, really important, and worked very well. So that was good. I left my list of your questions upstairs, but you can remind me what they were in due course. Right, what do you want to talk about next?

VL: Oh, thank you so much. That’s all wonderful. You’ve answered a lot of the questions we have, but we’ll just run through all of them anyway, and feel free to add on any other stories you have.

JH: Yep, okay.

VL: The next question was asking what ways you made use of the Dumbarton Oaks resources, and how you found that the collection Dumbarton Oaks uniquely contributed to your research.

JH: So the first thing to say about it is that, compared with what I normally used to, it was a wonderful collection with stuff there that you wouldn’t normally find anywhere else. The one place where I did have a fantastic library might as well, when I was a research fellow in Munich, because the institute library in Munich is extraordinarily good. It was deep in terms of Byzantine stuff, but it wasn’t as wide-ranging. So, for example, because of the Fellows who’d been at DO over the decades, the library included lots of obscure Russian language literature, for example, which in Germany or in the U.K., you’d have to go to a more specialist library to find, whereas it’s all in one place in the so I was able to use nineteenth century Russian editions of Greek text which weren’t at that point available in any other format. For example, particularly monastic archival material, was really important, very obscure articles by famous Russian scholars like Fyodor Uspensky are in the DO library, and you can’t find them anywhere else except one or two specialist research libraries. So, having all that stuff there meant that we could actually work harder and faster on our Lemnos and demographic project than anywhere else. It was the DO facilities that really made that project doable in the timeframe that we had at our disposal, and with the people who were actually doing the work. Excuse me, now I’m downstairs I have to answer the front door one moment.

NK: Take your time.

JH: There’s my dogs.

NK: There they are! They just came back from their walk, I guess.

JH: No, we can’t take them for walks yet, because they’re rescue dogs, and they’ve been very brutally treated, and they’re still suffering. They’re very anxious, and they’ve never been on a lead in their lives or on the leash. And so we’re having to take it very slowly and acclimatize them to us. We’re getting there. but it’s slow work. So yeah, it’s quite a challenge. Not quite as challenging as having grandchildren. But it’s a challenge [laughing].

Okay, so library stuff. Really, that’s all I would say. The new library, it was obviously necessary, because I think a lot of the material that was stored in the original in the old house library, people never found out about it or couldn’t locate it or didn’t wander. I mean, I used to just like wandering around with a torch because it was so dark up there, scanning what’s on the shelves and seeing stuff, you know. But I think a lot of people didn’t do that, whereas in the new library everything’s much more accessible. Of course the catalog’s, all digital anyway. And so it’s much better, it’s a better research tool now than it was then. But given who had access to it, and how it was built up, it was a sort of pretty mind-blowing experience to be there, especially as a junior scholar in 1989, ’81. It was a real eye-opener.

NK: So, also, talk to us about some of the Byzantinists you interacted during all these appointments. Anyone else that comes to mind?

JH: So I told you about Alexander. He was an important figure. Of course Bryer was there on and off as well. But then I knew him, of course, anyway. Angeliki, I think I must have first met in 1981 at that, or ’82, whenever that symposium was for the first time. There are other people I met there, and I can’t remember who they are now. I remember Jacques Lefort who I got on with very well and stayed in contact with until sadly became very ill and died probably about what, 12, 15 years ago now. He was a good thing. I can’t remember who else was at that meeting. Quite a few interesting people. The trouble is, you know, if you don't keep up with people, and they’re not part of your particular group of friends whom you see, or connections and colleagues whom you see at meetings more often, you tend to forget who they are. And the ones who stand out are the ones that you stayed in touch with, or you know, have made an impression on you in terms of their work over a longer period. So they’re the names I tend to remember for the most part. 

But I’m just trying to think who else. I’m sure I’ve forgotten somebody terribly important. I think Cyril [Mango] was there a few times, but of course I knew him from the U.K. Ihor I also met for the first time, but that was a symposium in Birmingham. I think it would have been probably 1976, I think, I met him for the first time. It might have been later than that. I think it must have been less than that, because he asked me why I didn’t like his student, Warren Treadgold, I remember him asking me that, and I said, “because I think he’s an idiot,” and he looked quite taken aback [laughing]. So I had to retract, I said, “Well, I’m sure he’s not an idiot, but I find him very annoying, and he’s very positivistic in his approach to history.” Ihor didn’t like that. But there you go. But we always got on okay, I mean, he was always quite polite.

So I met some pretty interesting people over the years and there are probably others who I’ve completely forgotten about that I shouldn’t have forgotten about, but especially among the junior people, and also quite a lot of the Junior Fellows — I can see some of their faces now — some of the Junior Fellows that I was involved in selecting when I was a Senior Fellow, in particular, I think we had some very good years and a lot of very lively people who went on to get decent positions either here or back in their home country or somewhere else in Europe. And again, names escape me, but there are quite a few. 

I remember one odd occasion, and I will remember her name if I see a list, but I remember, it would have been probably about 201o or ’11 I suppose, ’10 or ’11 something like that. And after the selection of the Fellows — they’d all come in, they’d given their spiel, and then we’d done the selection process, we’d gone through the different points, plus and minus, for and against. And we ended up with, I don’t know, six candidates that we were going to offer a fellowship to. And I remember one young woman who was very slender and obviously terribly nervous. And the reception in the Director’s House afterwards, where they can let the hair down and celebrate and relax, she obviously had not eaten all day. And I was talking to her, and I gave her a drink, and she just fainted into my arms, exhausted [laughing]. And I remember she was light as a feather. I picked her up and carried her across to a sofa, and I said we should probably get a doctor. and a doctor was called, and said she was fine, she just fainted because she hadn’t eaten properly all day. So we gave her some sweet stuff and she was perfectly alright. But she was really embarrassed that she’d fainted into the arms of one of the people who just sort of selected her for the job. A friend of mine said, “Do all young women fall into your arms like this?” I said, “Of course, naturally.” [laughing]

So that was quite an amusing occasion. That was when Jan was director still, so he thought the whole thing was terribly amusing. But I felt sorry for the young woman, whose name will come back to me at some point, but because she was just embarrassed, and you can understand why she would have been, she would have felt terrible. But you know, she was fine. She made a full recovery. And I didn’t remind her of it. I thought that would have been unfair. I mean, other names might come back to me, probably tomorrow or something. But I’ll let you know. Okay, next question. 

VL: Thanks. Yes, wonderful. So you’ve already kind of addressed this as well, but what was the social life at Dumbarton Oaks like during the years you were here?

JH: When I was a Summer Fellow, I can't remember, except that I’m sure that we definitely went out a few nights and had drinks, but I can’t remember the names of the people I went with. As Nikos will tell you, I’m the sort of person who likes to organize people to go to the pub and have a drink. And so I tend, without wishing to boss people around, I tend to sort of organize things a little bit, and you know, try to escape from the premises and sort of get into a more relaxed environment. So probably I did plenty of that. 

When I was there as the visiting professor, then I had that nice cottage at my disposal, so we had those evening drinks, events, and stuff. Nothing sort of or wild out of hand or anything like that, usually it was very pleasant, usually with just 3 or 4 people. And I’d buy some snacks and some wine, and you know it’d be very good again. I think a key person during that period when I was a visiting professor was Fotini because the last year she was there, and she was definitely, you know, the sort of person who really is very gregarious, very keen to bring people together and organize stuff. So you can imagine. So that was good. And we, between the 2 of us, especially since she was my former student from Birmingham, meant that we were a pretty dynamic duo

NK: Quite a duo, that’s true. That would have been quite the year, to be honest.

JH: It was good. But I think the social life there depends very much on the individual personalities who make up any particular cohort of Fellows. And I’ve heard from other people they didn’t have a very pleasant time. They got plenty work done, but there was not much going on socially, or they weren’t particularly happy emotionally. They didn’t like the environment or whatever. And I think that always just reflects the people who happen to be there, to some extent, as well as your own personality, and so forth. But I had a great time, and I always have a good time when I’m there. I mean, I just like being there. It’s very nice place to be. I don’t know whether I’ll ever get back there now that I’m retired. It’s unlikely, except maybe like when we met up in Georgetown recently, Nikos. If I happen to be around for another reason — I probably will be back at Georgetown at some point to work with Tim [Newfield] on stuff, so maybe I’ll try and drop by. But I can’t imagine myself going there on a fellowship or anything official anymore. I miss it in that sense. On the other hand, there you go. 

NK: Why not come back? Of course, of course you can come back.

JH: Too many dogs.

NK: But yes, with the dogs, we’ll find a way. You talked about the colloquia, symposia, and you told us about the ones that stand out in your memory. Any other ones that you remember?

JH: The one that I co-organized — I remember sitting, when Angeliki was a Senior Fellow, and I remember we were sitting around the table. I suppose it would be in 2009-ish, maybe, could have even been the year or the year after. But we were discussing what would be the topic of the next spring symposium and Angeliki looked at me and said, “Well, maybe John could organize one on military stuff.” So I said okay, so I put together a list of people, and it’s one of those — it was quite a difficult thing to do, because you couldn’t have a Dumbarton Oaks symposium on the Byzantine military or warfare or whatever without asking Walter Kaegi. Obviously. But Walter was by then really already a bit past it. And there’s only a limited number of people that were interested in talking about this sort of stuff, anyway. So I remember we invited — George Dennis was there. [Denis] Sullivan was there, we invited Youval Rotman.

We invited — what’s the name? — see, this is the trouble of getting old. You forget your friends’ names. It’ll come back to me in a minute, very famous late antique historian. He was at Yale for a while. No, he’s still at Yale, I think. Who’s at Yale who’s late antique? He’s worked on slavery.

NK: I should know that.

JH: Anyway. The point is, he was in the audience because I think he was a Fellow that year. And we also invited Edward Luttwak.

NK: Noel Lenski?

JH: Yes, yeah, Noel. And so Noel and Youval Rotman really didn’t hit it off okay because Rotman gave a very interesting talk on prisoners of war and slavery, and Noel stood up and just demolished the whole argument. I mean, it was really slightly embarrassing, showing that he misunderstood the text, and he’d misread the documents and stuff. So Rotman stayed calm, and they just had a bit of a ding-dong between them. And then things moved on. But the most embarrassing moment was, I think Walter’s talk was the most embarrassing, because I’d left him to give the sort of final talk, and it was embarrassing because he didn’t really have anything new to say, and he tried to sort of d0 — I’d given the talk about the digital age and modeling approach to the Manzikert campaign using digital, you know, GIS modeling and stuff like that. And Walter tried to sort of say that he was working on something similar, but he didn’t actually understand what I’d talked about. It was quite awful, really, because he just made a fool of himself. He should have declined the invitation, but at the same time. given the topic, we couldn’t not invite him to talk. You know what I mean.

But the most embarrassing talk after that was by Frank Trombley, who sadly also died of cancer, actually maybe less than 10 years ago. He was at University of Cardiff. But he’s an American. He was at Dumbarton Oaks for a long time, same time as Mike McCormick, whom he absolutely detested. Either you like Mike or you don’t like Mike, but Frank was a very eccentric, strange character in his own right, anyway. He gave a talk which he obviously had been trying to write on his laptop on the plane across the Atlantic, and it just didn’t work out. He didn’t have any stuff printed out. He stood at the lectern with his laptop open, trying to find which document he was looking for all the time. It’s just shambolic. And at one point he stopped to look up at the audience, and he said, “Something’s gone wrong with my talk.” [laughing] We all thought, sure right there.

I felt bad, because, you know, it was my conference, and I was supposed to be the Byzantine military person there, and I wanted this conference to be successful, and it wasn’t not successful, but it wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be.

Hugh Elton, who’s a good old friend and obviously works with us at Avkat and our CCHI [Center for Collaborative History] Project. You met him, I think he was there that evening you came up for the drinks at the hotel in Georgetown recently. Hugh and I were chatting, and then I mentioned everyone had said before, “Well, you should think about Edward Luttwak, because he’s interested.” So we told him about it, we didn’t invite him to give a talk, but he sort of showed up. I don't know if you know anything about it, but basically I mean his family runs an aerial freight business out of Colombia. It’s all very suspicious. And he used to be in the British special forces in Malaysia, in the 1950’s, where he probably murdered a bunch of Indonesian and Malaysian rebels. But he was also apparently a gun runner, and he did all this sort of illegal stuff. But he did some of the gun running on behalf of the — covertly – on behalf of the CIA apparently, in the 1980’s. You know, the Iran-Contra stuff. And he was apparently involved in that. So he was a dodgy character at the best of times. But he was really keen for me and Hugh to take him on our next trip to Turkey. He kept saying things like, “I know there’s really good brothels in Turkey, I can show you all the right ones to go to.” We were going,“We don’t want to go to brothels. We’re going to do field work.” He was a very weird guy, but he’s one of those — he was very wealthy, and, you know, had his own private plane, and he flew around being important and talking to the State Department. Because of his book on the grand strategy of the Roman Empire, he’s one of those academics who got wheeled in, in the way that Niall Ferguson gets wheeled in, to advise various departments of government on stuff. They have to have a token academic, you know, and then they ignore them, of course. But he’s one of those, I think.

That was an amusing thing, and, oddly enough, a few, a couple of years later I was invited to give a talk at Lancaster College in Pennsylvania, which is just outside Lancaster township. It’s a really nice liberal arts college, very privileged, nice kids, good faculty. Obviously no grad students, it’s a liberal arts college. Excellent classics faculty, and they invited me to give a talk, but they invited Edward Luttwak to give a talk as well, on revolutionary movements and how to counter them. And I was sitting there as a sort of covert revolutionary going, “Okay, now how do I counter the counterrevolution here?” [all laughing] So I gave a slightly more liberal perspective. But I was meant to talk about the Byzantine army and Greek fire, and all that sort of stuff. That was an interesting person I met, not a Byzantinist.

VL: Yes, thank you for that. And I know you mentioned already the parties with the Pre-Columbianists. But, as you know, Dumbarton Oaks is very interesting, because it has the three very different disciplines all under one roof. So how would you characterize — and you’ve already talked about this — but how would you characterize that interaction among the fellows of the three different fields?

JH: So until 2009, I don’t think there was any institutional — I think individuals would seek each other out, maybe, if they had an interest. So I remember, for example, when Antony Littlewood, who is a Byzantine scholar, I think he’s somewhere in Ontario, anyway, I can’t remember where. When was at DO, he, because he was working on Byzantine gardens and descriptions of gardens in Byzantine texts, he reached out to some of the garden specialists and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were very interested in what he was doing, and that he could learn a lot from what they were doing. And that sort of private one-to-one under the horizon sort of contact was not unusual. I didn’t have any myself. But it didn’t become part of the day-to-day life of DO where you’d have shared seminars until after 2009, and that’s partly because of the work that Albrecht Berger and I did in pushing archaeology more. I remember giving a talk about our project in Turkey and the Pre-Columbianists, archaeologists, all came. And at the end they came up to me and they said, “Wow, that’s the first time we’ve heard a Byzantinist give a real archaeology talk.” [laughing] Because I talked about survey, field survey, GIS, and ceramic spreads and all this stuff. And I think that sort of started — again, I’m not claiming credit for myself for that. But we were part of a moment that changed the way those three units perceived each other, and so that that actually made a difference. And I think also, Fotini was very active. She ended up marrying one of those Pre-Columbianists that year, Andrew Scherer. They later got divorced, Andrew was a really nice guy. He and I and another guy called John, whose surname I’ve forgotten, got on extremely well together, and we did spend rather lots of time drinking in bars in downtown Georgetown. But again, a lot of academic and intellectual discussion went on in the course of those evenings, and they were very productive, in fact. So I think until 2009, not much, but I may be wrong, and if there was, it was individual to individual. But from 2009 on, I think it became more usual for the different groups, or at least members of the different groups to think they should be talking to each other whereas that was unusual beforehand.

NK: No, that’s true, and I mean, I think it’s more and more something that we realize that we are missing, to speak to the others

JH: Yes.

NK: And now, with the climate and all things environmental that can be part of the three groups’ activity. 

JH: I’ll tell you what, if you do organize something on climate and environment I'll come. I mean, that would be something I’d be interested in doing. And It’s a shame I missed the one that you did before. My group at Princeton, we represent a different perspective from the one that you probably got from Mike and his team, which is equally valid. But there are different approaches as well, and I think DO needs to experience the range of positions and arguments. So for a future symposium, if ever you’re interested in doing something on that, I’d be happy to be involved.

NK: Thank you. Thank you. Yes. We started with a little environmental, to start talking a little bit, start the discussion so that we can go somewhere. So I keep it in mind, would love that very much. And you told us a lot of stories. Anything that sounds in your mind that you would like to be part of the larger institutional memory? Any other stories?

JH: No, not particularly, only that I was there, I enjoyed being a Senior Fellow. I got a lot out of that, and I hope I put a fair amount back in communally with the other members of the group in terms of influencing policy and attitudes. But yeah, that’s all. I mean, it certainly has been a good thing to have done in terms of my own growth as a scholar, and in terms of — I’m not sure if it would have really, if it’s had any impact on my career. Probably it hasn’t. It has had an impact on my personal research agenda and my own network, which I suppose means that it has an impact on my career as well. But institutionally, I don’t think it helped me except that, you know, being at DO is your cv, et cetera, and that may have helped when I’ve applied for stuff. It’s hard to qualify or quantify that.

NK: So the other way around, when you said — I’m sorry, Viviana, I’m taking the next question —  you said when you came for the first time you were saying this was a place for old people. So did you see it changing over the years?

JH: The first thing is, that was my impression before I got there. Once I was there, I realized that that wasn’t correct. Because what I’d read about Dumbarton Oaks before I’d been there was that it was where Mango, Ševčenko, Romilly Jenkins, people like this, were, and these were all part of an old, white, male, middle-aged establishment of people. Now I have to say that I’m also now a white, male, middle-aged, established person. But you know what I’m trying to say [laughing]. But that was my idea of DO. All those sorts of people, you know, old, old blokes basically doing stuff.

And then when I got there and I discovered I was with five or six or seven people of my age or younger, who are all very different, all from different nationalities, all with interesting projects, some of which I didn’t understand, some of which I did understand, that immediately made me realize that my original impression based just on stuff I’d read was wrong. So I don’t think I would ever say that original impression was borne out in any of my experiences while I was there. It’s certainly not true when I was there as a Senior Fellow, for example. Or when I was there as a visiting professor, so I don’t think that’s a view. And I doubt whether anyone has that be anymore partly because that older generation who dominated DO in the 40’s and 50’s and early 60’s is gone, you know. They’re either dead or almost dead. Most of them are all dead, aren’t they? You know, Mango, Ševčenko, Bryer, they’re all gone. I think that traditional, elite sort of institutional impression is no longer reproduced. Put it that way. If that makes sense.

VL: That makes a lot of sense. So we just asked about how Dumbarton Oaks has changed. But do you have any thoughts on how Dumbarton Oaks’ role in the international context of Byzantine studies has changed, or what that is like in your perspective?

JH: So I think, I hate to say this, I think it’s become less important than it used to be. And I think that that’s not because it has in itself changed. I think it’s because the world of Byzantine studies has gotten much bigger. And so Dumbarton Oaks used to be a big fish in a small pond. and now it's a big fish in a very big pond. And so I think that’s what’s changed. However, having said that, if anyone ever is offered a chance, or, if you put the thought of “go to DO” in their heads, they immediately jump at it, because it’s still a place where people would like to go, definitely. I think that’s a combination of (a) everybody now who’s finished a doctorate needs somewhere to go, and the pinch, you know, the squeeze on positions and jobs is much worse than it’s been for a very long time, and so anywhere is better than nowhere. Having said that, Dumbarton Oaks is not just anywhere. It is a very special place in terms of its resources and facilities, and the most important part of it is the — and I think it’s more important now than it was when I first went there — I think the community aspect of it now is much more important.

And partly that’s just more the way people do their scholarship these days. And, you know, people want to be part of a community these days in a way that maybe they didn’t necessarily when they were young. I didn’t particularly, you know, when I was doing my PhD in the early 1970’s,. I had about three friends, and I just sat and worked all day,you know, and that’s all I did [laughing]. I don’t think people are happy with that sort of approach anymore. Having said that, I know from my own graduate students at Princeton, they will sit in the library for 18 hours and not talk to anybody. Mainly because I give them so much work to do. So you know, what else can they do? But it’s good for them.

NK: But it’s true also that you are doing also group projects more and more. 

JH: Yeah, yeah. That is different. I mean, the only people who used to do group projects in the Byzantine world before were the archaeologists. And they mostly weren’t coming to Dumbarton Oaks anyway, they were working in their own countries or in the field in other people’s countries, putting their teams together in the way that archaeologists always have done and have had to do. And that’s changed, I think, for the better, because now we have much more not just interdisciplinary, but transdisciplinary work, where you can only do your project if you work with somebody else who is a specialist in something you can’t do. And that’s good. It doesn’t affect all fields, obviously. If you’re working on a particular set of manuscripts for a particular text, that’s something only you can do. Although you can have a team to help collect the manuscript material if it’s a big tradition. If you’ve got 85 manuscripts, which is, you know, often the case with some of these texts, then doing that all by yourself — which is the way we used to do it, obviously it’s much easier now with digitized media and quick reference methods and so forth — but still working in a team in that context is a good thing. And the philological projects that seem to be doing the best work are the ones which are supported institutionally, and work in teams like in the CNRS in Paris, or in Munich or Heidelberg or Torino, or wherever. 

But sadly, it is also the case that the Anglo-Saxon tradition, i.e. U.K., Australia, North America, is to work by yourself. The European tradition, it has both. It has teams and individuals. And that’s something that I think we’ve learned in the last twenty years. It’s changed quite a lot now. And in the field that I’m currently working on, environmental history and archaeology, you can’t do anything by yourself. You have to be in the team.

NK: Also, you said that Jan, when you were here, he was trying to change things. How did the initiatives he took impact the field?

JH: Well, I think he wanted to modernize papers and have a more modern editorial team and approach, which he succeeded in doing. They had a very good team for many years with good editor, good senior editor, good proofreading, you know, good — the whole thing, I think, improved a lot. And also selection of articles and the selection of material to be published, making sure that selection was more evenly balanced and perhaps less reflective of particularly privileged individuals from privileged institutions, and so forth. I don’t think that was a major problem before, but I think it was a problem amongst others. So that was one thing. I don’t remember that he ever did anything to help bridge the gaps between the three discipline areas. But he might have done, I just didn’t know about it. And then I think he was, if I remember correctly, he was keen to do more to advertise what Dumbarton Oaks did for the field internationally rather than sit on its laurels and assume that people knew what Dumbarton Oaks did. He wanted to reach out a little bit more and advertise, if you like. To that end, he wanted ideas about how to maximize DO’s exposure in the scholarly world in terms of introducing different sorts of grants and fellowships. So I think it was during the time I was a Senior Fellow we introduced short-term visiting fellowships, which could be at different times of the year. The way the summer fellowships were organized, I think, was altered as well, updated, perhaps.

There were other things of that sort. So it was all to do with the day-to-day management, and the effectiveness of DO as an institution for research, not just for Byzantine, but for Garden and Pre-Columbian as well. But there are probably other things, Nikos, and I just can’t remember.

NK: No, no, it’s all right. I also believe that, you know, from time to time it needs to be updated and to cater for the field, for the new needs every time.

JH: Yeah.

VL: Those are actually our questions that we wanted to ask. Is there anything else that you wanted to add before we end our interview?

JH: Not that I can think of now. All the important things I’ll remember tomorrow, you know, midday or something when it’s too late. But if there’s anything really important, I’ll send you an email. But I don’t think there is. I mean, I have a lot of stories to tell about when I was in DC. But they’re not specifically to do with Dumbarton Oaks, they’re to do with me on the town doing stuff with friends. So that’s slightly different [laughing].

NK: The good thing is that you had a good time here, and you want to come back. That’s wonderful.

JH: Yeah. Yeah. Well, again, you know me reasonably well, Nikos. I’m the sort of person who usually has a good time wherever he is. So it's always possible to have a good time, if you know how.

NK: For all of us, I hope it’s here, and that you’ll come back, to be honest. 

JH: I don't think I’ll be coming back for a fellowship or anything like that, but I’ll be coming back for symposia and things like that. 

NK: Yes, we need to adapt, not the previous forms, we need to invent new ways. 

JH: Exactly. Okay, that was good.

VL: Yes, I really appreciate it. I’m going to stop the recording now, if that’s all right. 

NK: Thank you so much.