1st Edition

Global Byzantium Papers from the Fiftieth Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

Edited By Leslie Brubaker, Rebecca Darley, Daniel Reynolds Copyright 2023
    446 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    446 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Global Byzantium is, in part, a recasting and expansion of the old ‘Byzantium and its neighbours’ theme with, however, a methodological twist away from the resolutely political and toward the cultural and economic. A second thing that Global Byzantium – as a concept – explicitly endorses is comparative methodology. Global Byzantium needs also to address three further issues: cultural capital, the importance of the local, and the empire’s strategic geographical location. Cultural capital: in past decades it was fashionable to define Byzantium as culturally superior to western Christian Europe, and Byzantine influence was a key concept, especially in art historical circles. This concept has been increasingly criticised, and what we now see emerging is a comparative methodology that relies on the concept of ‘competitive sharing’, not blind copying but rather competitive appropriation. The importance of the local is equally critical. We need to talk more about what the Byzantines saw when they ‘looked out’, and what others saw in Byzantium when they ‘looked in’ and to think about how that impacted on our, very post-modern, concepts of globalism. Finally, we need to think about the empire’s strategic geographical position: between the fourth and the thirteenth centuries, if anyone was travelling internationally, they had to travel across (or along the coasts of) the Byzantine Empire. Byzantium was thus a crucial intermediary, for good or for ill, between Europe, Africa, and Asia – effectively, the glue that held the Christian world together, and it was also a critical transit point between the various Islamic polities and the Christian world.

    Introduction: The Future of Global Byzantium

    Rebecca Darley

    1. Seen from across the Sea: India in the Byzantine Worldview

    Rebecca Darley

    2. Byzantium beyond Byzantium: What about Greek(s) in Eighth-Century Italy?

    Francesca Dell’Acqua

    3. Silk in the Byzantine World: Technology and Transmission

    Julia Galliker

    4. Composing World History at the Margins of Empire: Armenian and Byzantine Traditions in Comparative Perspective

    Tim Greenwood

    5. Global Byzantium: Whirlwind Romance or Fundamental Paradigm Shift?

    Catherine Holmes

    6. Global Art or Local Art? The Mosaic Panels of Justinian and Theodora in S Vitale, Ravenna

    Liz James

    7. Movement and Mobility: Cotton and the Visibility of Trade Networks Across the Saharan Desert

    Anna C. Kelley

    8. Maniera Greca and Renaissance Europe: More than Meets the Eye

    Angeliki Lymberopoulou

    9. Magical Signs in Christian Byzantium, Judaism and Islam: A Global Language

    Henry Maguire

    10. How global was the Mediterranean in the Early Middle Ages? A view from the Western edge

    Eduardo Manzano Moreno

    11. Hegemony, Counterpower and Global History: Medieval New Rome and Caucasia in a Critical Perspective

    Nicholas S.M. Matheou

    12. What is "Byzantine"? Gender, Ethnicity and the Construction of Identities on Byzantium’s Literary Frontiers

    Stephanie Novasio

    13. The Helladic Paradigm in a Global Perspective

    Robert Ousterhout

    14. Secluded Place or Global Magnet? The Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai and its Manuscript Collection

    Claudia Rapp

    15. Early Byzantine Art in China: A Test Case for Global Byzantium

    Linda Safran

    16. Centre or Periphery? Constantinople and the Eurasian Trading System at the End of Antiquity

    Peter Sarris

    17. Transferring Skills and Techniques across the Mediterranean: Some Preliminary Remarks on Stucco in Italy and Byzantium

    Flavia Vanni

    18. Import, Export: The Global Impact of Byzantine Marriage Alliances during the Tenth Century

    Lauren A. Wainwright

    Conclusion: Post-Colonial Reflections and the Challenge of Global Byzantium

    Daniel Reynolds


    Leslie Brubaker is Professor Emerita of Byzantine art and Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham. She has published widely on Byzantine culture, with particular emphasis on manuscripts, iconoclasm, and gender. Her most recent projects have focussed on the cult of the Virgin in Byzantium, processions, and the Byzantine peasantry.

    Rebecca Darley is Lecturer in Global History, 500–1500 CE, at the University of Leeds. Her research focusses on Byzantine cultural history, especially perceptions of the foreign and on political and economic changes in the Western Indian Ocean in the first millennium CE, as well as all things numismatic.

    Daniel Reynolds is Senior Lecturer in Byzantine History at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham and co-director the Crossroads of Empires Project in Montecorvino Rovella, Italy. He completed his PhD at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies University of Birmingham and held a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship from 2014 to 2017.

    ‘This collection of expert papers [is] a worthy effort to put Byzantium back on the world stage, showing how it played a highly significant role in terms of connectivity well beyond the margins of the Mediterranean … the book overall stands as an important contribution to future directions in which Byzantine studies might usefully develop’ - Medieval Archaeology, 67/2, 2023.