Showing posts from January 13, 2013

Review: Macrides, Ruth. History as Literature in Byzantium. Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies Publications.

Review by Catherine Holmes: Historical writing was one of the most significant forms of cultural production in Byzantium. Certainly there were times of fat and times of thin, with some periods (e.g., the late eleventh century) rich in historical narratives, and others (especially the seventh and eighth centuries) rather more impoverished; but despite these ups and downs, it is clear that histories were compiled, annotated, simplified, complicated, reissued and updated across the Byzantine centuries. That there was variety, quantity, and sometimes real quality in Byzantine history writing is not in dispute. More curious, however, is the fact that Byzantine historiography has received so little sustained scholarly analysis. Social and political historians have habitually approached Byzantine histories with the rather limited aim of sifting solid nuggets of "fact" out of a superfluous chaff of literary allusions, digressions and distortions (a point made forcefully by Ruth Macr

Crossing boundaries in late antiquity

University of London School of Advanced Study INSTITUTE OF CLASSICAL STUDIES ANCIENT HISTORY SEMINAR SPRING TERM 2013 Crossing boundaries in late antiquity Organisers: Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe (KCL) and Benet Salway (UCL) THURSDAYS 4.30 pm Location: either room G22/26 or 349 (Painted Ceiling room) South block, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU 17 Jan. Michael Crawford (UCL): Between laissez-faire and dirigisme in the late Roman economy. Room G22/26 24 Jan. Benet Salway (UCL): Divide and rule: boundaries and jurisdictions in late antiquity. Room G22/26 31 Jan. Philip Wood (Aga Khan University, ISMC): Sasanian Christian perspectives on the reign of Khusrau II. Room 349 (Painted Ceiling room) 7 Feb. Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe (KCL): The devil in disguise: diabolical dressing-up games in late antiquity. Room 349 (Painted Ceiling room) --> 28 Feb. Averil Cameron (Oxford): Culture wars: history and literature in late antiquity. Room 349 (Painted Ceiling room)

Book Review: Judaism and Imperial Ideology in Late Antiquity

Alexei Sivertsev, Judaism and Imperial Ideology in Late Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Review by Pieter W. van der Horst, Utrecht,  Chapter 1 explores conceptual affinities between Byzantine imperial eschatology and eschatological motifs in rabbinic literature. The author shows that Jews developed their own supersessionist narrative that both internalized and inverted a traditional Christian Roman supersessionism (i.e., ‘the Church has replaced Israel’). “Jews were merely taking back what was originally theirs. The messianic kingdom of Israel was the restoration of the original Davidic kingdom that alone could be the true holder of sacred statehood" (13). However, the Jewish texts do not envision this messianic kingdom as a renovatio imperii Romani (as the Christians did), but rather as its replacement. Israel takes the place of Rome as the last world empire destined to rule forever. In this way, Byzantine Judaism actively engaged the supersessioni

Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts of the Book of Job

--> A book on the Byzantine books of Job: Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts of the Book of Job . A Preliminary Study of the Miniature Illustrations. Its Origin and Development. Of all the Old Testament books, the Book of Job remains acutely contemporary today. Written between the 6th and 3rd c. B.C., it deals with subjects such as the presence of evil in the world, the misery, the quest for justice, the faith, and the behavior of people when they face sudden twists and turns of life. It seems that the ancient text had been illustrated since the Early Christian period because of its fascinating novel-like narrative style. In her own study on the Book of Job, Stella Papadaki-Oekland probes into all the Byzantine illuminated manuscripts of the illustrated Greek text. The number of miniature illustrations included in these fifteen manuscripts, dating from the 9th to the 16th century, comes to more than 1800 of which 2/3 of the about 380 illustrated herein are previously unpublis

Ten freshly digitized manuscripts from Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale

Ten more digitized manuscript from Paris, BNF: Gr. 142 Gr. 519 Gr. 1470 Gr. 2032 Gr. 2042 Gr. 2935 Gr. 3032 Gr. 3051 Gr. 3059 Suppl. gr. 1232 Check the manuscripts at Paleografia Greca

A podcast on the history of Byzantium

“The History of Byzantium” is a podcast dedicated to the story of the Roman Empire from the fall of the West in 476 to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Robin Pierson is from London in the UK. He writes about American TV shows at and works for his father (an actor). Click here to visit the website of the webcast "The History of Byzantium"

Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams

The Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams is an ongoing project based at Ghent University. The database aims to provide access to texts and contextual information of all Byzantine book epigrams. The database is expected to be accessible online somewhere in 2013. This website offers information on the subject of book epigrams and on the progress and background of the DBBE project. Feel also free to contact us with any queries or with suggestions! Click here to access the database

The Alexander romance in Greek sources

The Alexander romance is any of several collections of legends concerning the mythical exploits of Alexander the Great. The earliest version is in Greek, dating to the 3rd century. Several late manuscripts attribute the work to Alexander's court historian Callisthenes, but the historical figure died before Alexander and could not have written a full account of his life. The unknown author is still sometimes called Pseudo-Callisthenes. The text was recast into various versions between the 4th and the 16th centuries, in Middle Greek, Latin, Armenian, Syriac, Hebrew, and most medieval European vernaculars. --> The Greek versions The oldest version of the Greek text, the Historia Alexandri Magni (Recensio α), can be dated to the 3rd century. It was subjected to various revisions during the Byzantine period, some of them recasting it into poetical form in Middle Greek vernacular. Recensio α is the source of a Latin version by Julius Valerius (4th century), and an Armenian