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
1. Seen from across the Sea: India in the Byzantine Worldview
2. Byzantium beyond Byzantium: What about Greek(s) in Eighth-Century Italy?
3. Silk in the Byzantine World: Technology and Transmission
4. Composing World History at the Margins of Empire: Armenian and Byzantine Traditions in Comparative Perspective
5. Global Byzantium: Whirlwind Romance or Fundamental Paradigm Shift?
6. Global Art or Local Art? The Mosaic Panels of Justinian and Theodora in S Vitale, Ravenna
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
9. Magical Signs in Christian Byzantium, Judaism and Islam: A Global Language
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
13. The Helladic Paradigm in a Global Perspective
14. Secluded Place or Global Magnet? The Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai and its Manuscript Collection
15. Early Byzantine Art in China: A Test Case for Global Byzantium
16. Centre or Periphery? Constantinople and the Eurasian Trading System at the End of Antiquity
17. Transferring Skills and Techniques across the Mediterranean: Some Preliminary Remarks on Stucco in Italy and Byzantium
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
‘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.