New publication!


This book examines the strategies and military tactics of the Byzantines and their enemies in Eastern Anatolia, Syria and in Upper Mesopotamia in the tenth century. This period of conflict is difficult to define: it was too inactive to be called a ‘war’ but too active to be called a ‘cold war’. Nevertheless, it was a ‘war’, even if it lacked the numerous pitched battles or protracted sieges that defined other periods or other operational theatres of war. This study examines the way the Byzantines innovated and adapted their strategies and tactics to those of their enemies in the East, giving a rich picture of tenth-century Byzantine warfare.
  • Examines the major and most important pitched battles of this period and the Byzantine and Arab military manuals which show how armies were organized and deployed in the battlefield
  • Looks at how the Byzantines adapted their strategies and tactics to those of their enemies in the 10th century Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia
  • Shows the transmission of military knowledge through the ages by comparing the military treatises of the 10th century with those from the Roman and Ancient Greek periods


18-20 October 2018
Universität Mainz

Conflicts significantly influenced medieval societies. The martial cultures which arose as a result developed not only in opposition to, but also under the influence of other cultures. Cultures of war are here understood as the norms, interpretations, attributions of meaning and reflections on war, as well as the forms and practices of war itself. The goal of this workshop is to analyze Euro-Mediterranean cultures of war and the importance of Byzantium for them in a comparative perspective on the basis of three concrete sets of topics: 

1) Remembering Victory and Defeat
2) Practices of Celebrating Victory and Triumphs
3) The Culture of Dealing with the Vanquished

Coping with victory and defeat in war touches upon questions of the legitimation of authority, for instance in historiography, panegyric, pictorial representations and architecture. The celebration of a triumph, by contrast, represents a means of direct communication between rulers, the army and the populace. In this context thanks is expressed to the army, generals, the ruler or another higher authority, and it is here that the embedding of the martial in each individual culture is expressed. The treatment of prisoners of war and the enemy dead likewise belongs to the frame of inquiry, yet is of greater importance for its praxis, as a similar treatment of one's own captives and possibly exchanges of prisoners would have been expected.

In order to facilitate a fruitful discussion and start a concise transcultural comparison, on the one hand, various regions are to be included, Latin Europe as well as the Slavic world, Byzantium or the Islamic-ruled Middle East. On the other hand, disciplines that principally work with texts as well as those that analyze material culture are to be called upon to produce a scholarly contribution.

A Conference of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Mainz at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Organized by: Johannes Pahlitzsch and Jörg Rogge

New Book!

 The Byzantine emperor Leo VI (886–912), was not a general or even a soldier, like his predecessors, but a scholar, and it was the religious education he gained under the tutelage of the patriarch Photios that was to distinguish him as an unusual ruler. This book analyses Leo's literary output, focusing on his deployment of ideological principles and religious obligations to distinguish the characteristics of the Christian oikoumene from the Islamic caliphate, primarily in his military manual known as the Taktika. It also examines in depth his 113 legislative Novels, with particular attention to their theological prolegomena, showing how the emperor's religious sensibilities find expression in his reshaping of the legal code to bring it into closer accord with Byzantine canon law. Meredith L. D. Riedel argues that the impact of his religious faith transformed Byzantine cultural identity and influenced his successors, establishing the Macedonian dynasty as a 'golden age' in Byzantium.

Book Tip!


Greece Reinvented discusses the transformation of Byzantine Hellenism as the cultural elite of Byzantium, displaced to Italy, constructed it. It explores why and how Byzantine migrants such as Cardinal Bessarion, Ianus Lascaris, and Giovanni Gemisto adopted Greek personas to replace traditional Byzantine claims to the heirship of ancient Rome. In Greece Reinvented, Han Lamers shows that being Greek in the diaspora was both blessing and burden, and explores how these migrants’ newfound ‘Greekness’ enabled them to create distinctive positions for themselves while promoting group cohesion. These Greek personas reflected Latin understandings of who the Greeks ‘really’ were but sometimes also undermined Western paradigms. Greece Reinvented reveals some of the cultural tensions that bubble under the surface of the much-studied transmission of Greek learning from Byzantium to Italy.

International Conference!


Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments
Split, 28-30 September 2018

Programme & Abstracts
The field of Byzantine Studies has recently gained impetus in Croatia from the establishment of the Croatian Society for Byzantine Studies, which aspires to become a cross-disciplinary research hub for experts in manifold disciplines related to Byzantine Studies not only in Croatia but in the region as well. Following the auspicious first steps of bringing Byzantine Studies into the focus of Croatian academia and the research community, the Croatian Society for Byzantine Studies now aims to attract internationally acclaimed researchers of diverse disciplinary backgrounds to a forum that will offer an opportunity to discuss a plethora of research topics and questions bearing on the presence of Byzantium in the Adriatic, and specifically to analyze the profile, genesis and transformation of the region in response to the Byzantine world system. The aim is to present and examine old as well as fresh ideas in an innovative way to provide a more complete and in-depth picture of the political, socio-economic, religious, legal, cultural aspects of Byzantine influence, both direct and indirect, detectable in the Adriatic, and particularly the eastern Adriatic coastal area, with a chronological span from the Age of Justinian I to the final disappearance of all vestiges of Byzantine authority and political sway in the region in the twelfth century.

The conference’s special thematic strands include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
§ defining ‘Byzantium’ and its influence in the Adriatic context
§ (dis)continuity of the Byzantine presence in the Adriatic region
§ Adriobyzantinism, Latin Byzantinism, Slavic Byzantinism
§ overlapping zones of influences: problems of centre, periphery and province
§ comparative studies: Ravenna, Pentapolis, Roman Duchy, Venice, Istria, Greece, Sicily, Sardinia, Apulia, Calabria, Benevento, Marche, etc.
§ Byzantium’s influence on the ethnogeneses in the Adriatic coastal area
§ transmission of texts
§ conversion, Christianization and the Church (the interference of jurisdictional and liturgical influences from Constantinople, Rome, Aquileia/Grado; the network of bishoprics; the Cyrillo-Methodian Mission)
§ Byzantine legal traditions
§ Byzantine traditions in diplomatics, language, anthroponymy, toponymy, hagiography
§ Byzantine traditions in social structures (urban elites, aristocracy, family and society)
§ manifestations of Byzantine authority: public institutions, administrative structures, circulation of Byzantine money, seals
§ Byzantine cultural circles in the Adriatic (Justinianic Age, Macedonian dynasty, etc.)
§ settlements, towns, urban history, spatial organization
§ material culture with Byzantine characteristics and provenance in the Adriatic (archaeology, cemeteries, jewellery, weapons, tools, costumes)
§ the so-called Byzantine limes marittimus in the Adriatic (forts, castra, defence systems)

New Publication!

Yannis Stouraitis (ed.), A Companion to the Byzantine Culture of War, ca. 300-1204, Leiden 2018, 490pp.


This collection of essays on the Byzantine culture of war in the period between the 4th and the 12th centuries offers a new critical approach to the study of warfare as a fundamental aspect of East Roman society and culture in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The book’s main goal is to provide a critical overview of current research as well as new insights into the role of military organization as a distinct form of social power in one of history’s more long-lived empires. The various chapters consider the political, ideological, practical, institutional and organizational aspects of Byzantine warfare and place it at the centre of the study of social and cultural history. 

Contributors are Salvatore Cosentino, Michael Grünbart, Savvas Kyriakidis, Tilemachos Lounghis, Christos Makrypoulias, Stamatina McGrath, Philip Rance, Paul Stephenson, Yannis Stouraitis, Denis Sullivan, and Georgios Theotokis.

New Publication!


This comprehensive volume offers new insights into a seminal period of medieval Eastern Roman imperial history: the rule of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (913/945–959). Its fifteen chapters are organized around the concepts of center, province and periphery and take the reader from the splendor of Constantinople to the fringes of the empire. They examine life in the imperial city in the age of Constantine VII, the cultural revivals in Byzantium and the Carolingian West, as well as the emperor’s historiographical projects, including his historical excerpts and the famous Book of Ceremonies. Entering the sphere of the provinces, the authors explore visual messages on the coinage of Romanos I Lekapenos and Constantine Porphyrogennetos and its circulation through the provinces, provincial legal culture in the tenth-century empire, and offer a new analysis of Constantine VII’s two military harangues. Spotlights on the empire’s periphery include chapters on borderland trade with the Muslim world, a compelling new theory of the untimely deaths of the children of King Hugh of Italy, and the origins of medieval Croatia in relation to information gained from Constantine VII’s De administrando imperio. The final chapter offers intriguing insights into Constantine VII’s legacy and reception, from later middle Byzantine historiography via the Renaissance editions of the emperor’s treatises to Bavarian King Louis II’s Constantinople-inspired building projects. The volume combines leading scholars and new voices and contains survey chapters with detailed case studies.