Showing posts from February 10, 2013

Manuel I Komnenos and Michael Glycas: A Twelfth-Century Defence and Refutation of Astrology

Manuel I Komnenos and Michael Glycas: A Twelfth-Century Defence and Refutation of Astrology Manuel Komnenos I, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire composed a defence of astrology to the Church Fathers, in which he asserted that this discipline was compatible with Christian doctrine. Theologian Michael Glykas, possibly imprisoned and blinded by Manuel for political sedition, refuted this defence, claiming that the astrological art was heretical.

This is the first time that this exchange of treatises has been translated into any language since their composition in the twelfth-century. The introduction sets these works into their historical framework, at a time when the belief in the validity of astrology was held by some of the best scholars of this century as a result of the flood of Arabic astrological translations coming into the Latin West and Greek East. The writings of these two antagonists precipitated anew in mediaeval thought the problem of the correct relation…

Greco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium (Study)

Greco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium. After a brief introduction, I will start from the study of a pre-Byzantine author, Zosimos of Panopolis, and deal with the following questions : How, from a purely material viewpoint, were Zosimos’ writings handed down during the Byzantine period? Did Byzantine alchemists have access to his works and did they resort to them?
Was Zosimos known outside the alchemical Corpus; in other words, did Graeco Egyptian alchemists exert any kind of influence outside strictly alchemical circles? When and how was the alchemical Corpus put together? In a more general way, what evidence do we have, whether in the Corpus itself or in non-alchemical literature, that alchemy was practised in Byzantium? Answers (or at least partial answers) to these questions should help us to understand and define to some extent the place…

Article: The mosaics of Hagia Sophia by C. R. Morey

The art of creating mosaic patterns grew and developed with the rise of the Byzantine Empire in the 5th century. New characteristics appeared in mosaics with Eastern influences in style and the use of glass tesserae, known as smalti, sourced from northern Italy. This added new texture and life to the mosaic patterns being created, with the smalti, which were cut from thick sheets of colored glass and had a rough surface and tiny air bubbles throughout, being backed by reflective silver or gold leaf.

The application of mosaics also changed; while the Romans favored the use of mosaic patterns for flooring, the Byzantines took the art further and applied them to walls and ceilings. They kept their smalti un-grouted to allow light to reflect and refract through them and set their pieces at slight angles to capture the play of light as it moved through the space and allow the silver or gold backing to sparkle from every angle.

The mosaic patterns and themes melded together, …

Sources for the study of the Byzantine Empire: Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum

Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum By Warwick William Wroth , British Museum Dept . of Coins and Medals Published 1908.
Catalog of Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum - Vol I by

Renaissance Encounters: Greek East and Latin West (new book)

Edited by Marina S. Brownlee, Princeton University, and Dimitri Gondicas, Princeton University
The present volume has grown out of the conference held at Princeton University on November 12-14, 2009. Its essays explore a coherent, interrelated nexus of topics that illuminate our understanding of the cultural transactions (social, political, economic, religious and artistic) of the Greek East and Latin West: unexpected cultural appropriations and forms of resistance, continuity and change, the construction and hybridization of traditions in a wide expanse of the eastern Mediterranean.

Areas that the volume addresses include the benefits and liabilities of periodization, philosophical and political exchanges, monastic syncretism between the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, issues of romance composition, and economic currency and the currency of fashion as East and West interact.
Contributors are Roderick Beaton, Peter Brown, Marina S. Brownlee, Giles Constable, Maria Evangelatou,…

Byzantium and Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict is the first pontiff since Celestine V in 1294 to abdicate voluntarily.

He sparked a controversy on Islam when, during a conference in Regensburg, he quoted a passage from the text of a Byzantine ruler, Manuel II Palaeologus.

The Regensburg lecture was delivered on 12 September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he had once served as a professor of theology. It was entitled "Faith, Reason and the University — Memories and Reflections" (German: Glaube, Vernunft und Universit├Ąt — Erinnerungen und Reflexionen). The lecture is considered to be among the most important papal statements on world affairs since John Paul II's 1995 address to the United Nations, and sparked international reactions and controversy.

In his lecture, the Pope, speaking in German, quoted an unfavorable remark about Islam made at the end of the 14th century by Manuel II Palaiologos, the Byzantine emperor. As the English translation of the P…

Free Online Resources: The Classical Review

The Classical Review publishes informative reviews from leading scholars on new work covering the literatures and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Publishing over 150 high quality reviews and 50 brief notes every year, The Classical Review is an indispensable reference tool, essential for keeping abreast with current classical scholarship. 
We are pleased to offer you complimentary access to ten of the most popular reviews from the last five volumes of The Classical Review, free of charge until the 31st March 2013. 

Access the reviews here:

Read outgoing Editor Dr Neil Hopkinson's Blog post:

2013 Byzantine Symposium The New Testament in Byzantium

2013 Byzantine Symposium

The New Testament in Byzantium
Co-Symposiarchs: Robert Nelson and Derek Krueger

April 26 – 28, 2013

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Byzantine symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., from Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, 2013. Please note that the symposium will be two full days and one partial day session: sessions will begin at 9 am on Friday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.

The New Testament lay at the center of Byzantine Christian thought and practice. Scribes copied its gospels and epistles. Lectionaries apportioned much of its contents over the course of the liturgical calendar; its narratives structured the experience of liturgical time and shaped the nature of Christian preaching. Quoted, alluded to, and expounded, it inspired and fueled the genres of hagiography and hymnography. Patrons and illustrators brought scenes from the life of Christ and his apostles to m…