The Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research



You can find details of recent events, colloquia, exhibitions, lectures and seminars on these pages

To view recent Special Lectures, click here

The Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies

66 St. Giles, Oxford


Chair: Prof. Averil Cameron

Director: Prof. Peter Frankopan

November 1-22 December 2010

Sacred Faces. Icons in Oxford.

An Exhibition of Russian and Greek icons from the collections of the Ashmolean and Christ Church was held at the Christ Church Picture Gallery

To download a catalogue of the exhibition, please click here

15-20 November 2010

An icon exhibition was held in Worcester College Chapel

Saturday 27 November 2010

Study day on the Manuscripts of St. Catherine’s monastery, Sinai of in honour of the late Professor . Ihor Ševčenko

in association with the St. Catherine’s Foundation and OCLA

A day looking at the conservation work currently being carried out on the important collection of ancient and medieval manuscripts housed in the library of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai. This work is organized and funded by the St. Catherine’s Foundation. The programme illustrated the prominent part played in the field of manuscript studies by scholars of Oxford University. It commemorated the contribution made to the study of the Sinai monastery by Ihor Ševčenko, member of the Foundation, past Visiting Fellow of All Souls and Wolfson Colleges, Oxford and member of the Editorial Board of Oxford Studies in Byzantium. A memorial fund in his name for the restoration of Slavonic manuscripts was announced.

For details of the day, please click here :

St. Catherine's Sinai study day

Saturday 30 April 2011, 1.30 - 6pm, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Late antiquity or Byzantium: The parting of the ways or the ways that never parted?

The periodization of late antiquity has received a huge amount of attention, including, for instance a set of opening articles in the new Journal of Late Antiquity. Was late antiquity short or long: did the Roman empire fall in the fifth century, or did late antiquity continue well into the Islamic period? And when did Byzantium begin: with the founding of Constantinople or only in the seventh century? The editors of the many recent Companions and Handbooks to late antiquity and Byzantium have all had to take a view on these issues. This joint workshop celebrated the collaboration between the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity (OCLA) and the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research (OCBR) and invited late antique scholars and Byzantinists to give their views on these questions, and to consider the effects of periodization in their field, and how much it matters.

The colloquium was convened by Averil Cameron and Neil McLynn and kindly sponsored by Paul Pheby.

Speakers included Arnaldo Marcone, Paul Stephenson, Mark Whittow, Peter Sarris and Judith Herrin. 

For the programme, please click here

4-5 March 2011

Oxford Byzantine Society: Graduate Symposium

The Oxford Byzantine Society hosted a two day graduate symposium ‘Between Constantines: Representations and Manifestations of Empire.’ Held at the History Faculty, the conference attracted students from across Europe and beyond. More than thirty five presentations were given by post-graduate students on a wide range of topics. Arranged by the Oxford Byzantine Society, the conference was supported with sponsorship from the OCBR, OCLA, the Oxford Medieval History Society and the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies.

For the Colloquium poster, please click here; for the schedule, please click here

For the the booklet containing abstracts of the symposium, please click here

Saturday 6-Sunday 7 November 2010

International Workshop on the Letters of Michael Psellos

This workshop, which forms part of a major project on The Transformation of Byzantium: Law, Society and Literature in the eleventh century, took place in Oxford, focusing on Michael Psellos. The workshop focused on the letters written by Psellos, one of the leading intellectuals in Constantinople in the eleventh century, looking both at the corpus as a whole and at individual letters of particular interest. Papers were given by Marc Lauxtermann, Michael Jeffreys and Dieter Reinsch, amongst others.

For details of the workshop, please click here:

Psellos workshop


20 January - 31 March ‘From the Bosporos to Oxford: Unseen Photographs of Professor Martin Harrison’s Byzantine Excavations in Istanbul’

In the 1960s, Prof. Martin Harrison led a major excavation of the Saddlers market in the centre of Istanbul, centring on the sixth century church of St. Polyeuktos, built by Anicia Juliana.

The exhibition, curated by Dr. Georgi Parpulov and Dr. Lukas Schachner and kindly supported by Elizabeth Harrison, celebrate the contribution made by scholars in Oxford to the excavations and to the interpretation of their findings.

To download a booklet about the exhibition, featuring a foreword by Prof. Cyril Mango, please click here

For information about the Martin Harrison Fellowship, which facilitates an exchange between Turkish archaeologists and Oxford University, click here

20-21 May 2011

The Transformation of Byzantium: Law, Society and Literature in the Eleventh Century

The next session in the Transformation of Byzantium project took place on 20-21 May and looked at Social Change in the eleventh century.

Speakers included Mark Whittow, Jean-Claude Cheynet, Konstantinos Smyrlis, Philipp Niewöhner, Jeroen Poblome and Eva Kaptijn, John Haldon, Dimitrios Krallis, Tim Greenwood, Ghislaine Noyé and Chris Wickham.

For details of the workshop, please click here. To contact the convenor, please email

A report on this major collaborative project is available to download here.


4 June 2011

Book Production in the Byzantine World

This scholarly gathering was held in Oxford on 4 June to to pave the way for an interdisciplinary history of the book in Byzantium. Over the past decade, significant advances have been made in this field by identifying groups of interconnected manuscripts. These discoveries now need to be fitted into a larger framework;; the patronage and production of books ought to be discussed in a broader, diachronic perspective. The colloquium brought together palaeographers, philologists and art historians with the aim of surveying the current state and future directions of research.

Speakers included Lukas Schachner, Alessia Aletta, Andre Jacob, Zaza Skhirtladze, Karin Krause, Marc Lauxtermann, Elizabeth Jeffreys, Daniele Biaconi, John Lowden and John Lowden.

The Colloquium took place at the Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles.

For full details, including the programme, please click here:


14 May 2011

Economy and Society in Late Sassanian and Early Islamic Iraq

The Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity, in association with the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, hosted a colloquium on 14 May on Late Sassanian and Early Islamic Iraq. The colloquium was convened by Hugh Kennedy (SOAS) and included papers by scholars from the USA, the Netherlands and Paris, and from the LSE.

For details of the workshop, please click here.


24 January 2012

OCBR Special Lecture

Ioannou Centre, 5pm

Dr. Peter Frankopan, Director of the OCBR, will give an OCBR Special Lecture on The First Crusade: The Call from the East, to mark the publication of his new book on the origins of the Crusade. The book has been hailed in the US as ‘over-turning a millennium of scholarship’, and by critics in the UK as ‘dazzling’, ‘the most important book on the Crusades since Runciman’ and as a provocative and highly original explanation of the world-changing events that followed the First Crusade.’

The lecture will be followed by a reception. All are welcome to attend.

For a poster of the event, please click here.


4 February 2012

Byzantine and Ummayad urbanism in Late Antiquity

The Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity, in association with the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and the Khalili Centre, held a colloquium on 4 February on Urbanism in Byzantium and the Ummayad worlds in late antiquity.

The colloquium presented and discussed excavations at Jerash and other sites in the Near East/Levant which have recently produced abundant high-quality evidence from the Byzantine and early Islamic periods, including dwelling-houses, production sites, adapted streets, churches, and early mosques. 

The Colloquium took place in the Danson Room at Trinity College.

For the programme, including a list of speakers, please click here


24-26 March 2012

45th Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies

The OCBR was proud to offer its support to the 45th Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies which took take place in Oxford from 24-26 March at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies in St. Giles.


17 January 2012

OCLA Special Lecture

Ioannou Centre, 5pm

Prof. Philipp von Rummel will give an OCLA Special Lecture at the Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies entitled ‘The Fading Power of Images: Material culture and identity in late antiquity and the early middle ages’. All are welcome to attend.

For a poster of the event, please click here.


Byzantium is famed as a place where the seemingly insubstantial could hold great weight: where the operation of wills and natures was a matter of life and death, where images could save or damn, where the pomp of court held an empire together, and great processions heralded the invisible presence of the divine. Is this reputation justified, or just another Byzantine myth? And how were boundaries between the real and the illusory understood?

For a pdf with the abstracts of the papers given, please click here.


The focus of the Symposium ‘Byzantium was the 11th Century’

Speakers included Jean-Claude Cheynet, Paul Magdalino, Marc Lauxtermann, Michael Jeffreys, Peter Sarris, Catherine Holmes, Peter Frankopan, Mark Whittow, Leonora Neville, Jane Baun, Charlotte Roueche, Floris Bernard, Andrew Louth, Georgi Parpulov, Barbara Crostini, Jonathan Shepard, Juith Ryder, Demetrios Krallis, Robert Ousterhout, Anthony Eastmond, Florin Curta and Tim Greenwood and James Howard-Johnston.

For the programme, please click here.

17-18 February 2012

Oxford Byzantine Society - International Graduate Conference

Reality and Illusion: Seeing through the ‘Byzantine Mirage’

The Oxford Byzantine Society hosted its international graduate conference in Oxford from 17-18 Februrary, on the theme Reality and Illusion: Seeing through the ‘Byzantine Mirage

26 May 2012

In conjunction with the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity (OCLA) and the Khalili Centre, OCBR supported a colloquium entitled ‘From Temple to Mosque: the Transformation of Sacred Space in the Late Antique Near East’.

The colloquium took place on Saturday 26 May, from 9am-12pm.

Speakers included Judith McKenzie and Harry Munt (Oxford), Gideon Avni (Hebrew University/IAA), Fred Astren (San Francisco Univ), Heba Mostafa (Cambridge), Ross Burns (Sydney), Elias Khamis and Andres Reyes (Oxford).

Jeremy Johns, Neil McLynn, John Healey and Bryan Ward-Perkins chaired the sessions.

16 May 2012

An OCBR Special Lecture was delivered on 16 May at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies by Prof. Sabine Ladstätter of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Vienna. Prof. Ladstätter spoke about Ephesos in Late Antiquity and Beyond.


Prof. Anthony Cutler, (Evan Pugh Professor of Art History,

Pennsylvania State University and 2012 OCBR Visiting Professor

The Empire of Things:

Gifts and Gift Exchange in Byzantium,Early Islam, and Beyond

18 January (Week 1)

The Perfect Gift

25 January (Week 2)

Gifts to (and from) God The Sovereign Gift

1 February (Week 3)

The Objects of Gift (1)

8 February (Week 4)

The Objects of Gift (2)

15 February (Week 5)

Gifts, Treasures, Rarities

22 February (Week 6)

The Afterlives of Gifts: Entropy and Rebranding

29 February (Week 7)

Gifts in Theory

7 March (Week 8)

Gifts in Practice

9 June 2012 - OCBR workshop : Approaches to Middle Byzantine Miletus

This OCBR workshop was held in Oxford to mark a new phase of excavation in Miletus due to start in July 2012, which will pay particular attention to the Middle Byzantine period. So far, little is known about the Middle Byzantine archaeology of Miletus, and it can only be approached through circumstantial evidence, for example through the monumental remains of the subsequent Turkish period or through epigraphy, stonemasonry and geophysics.

Furthermore, Middle Byzantine Miletus has not yet been viewed in relation to other similar sites or in the wider context of the history of western Asia Minor. The workshop intends to shed more light on these issues, and to emphasize the significance of comparative and multidisciplinary approaches for our understanding of Middle Byzantine material culture. Where no clear understanding is yet possible, it will aim at formulating a research agenda for Miletus and other Middle Byzantine sites that are currently under investigation.


Saturday 9 June 2012, from 9am–6pm at the Institute of Archaeology - 36 Beaumont Street, Oxford

9            Introduction

9:20 Session 1: Historical Evidence from Miletus

Chair: Dr Mark Whittow (Oxford)

Dr Ida Toth (Oxford), Written Sources on Middle Byzantine Miletus

Dr Julian Baker (Ashmolean), 14th Century Latin-Style Silver Coins (Gigliati) from Miletus, and Their Production and Circulation in the Eastern Aegean

Dr Yaman Dalanay (Oxford), Turkish Miletus

11:40 Session 2: Archaeological Evidence from Miletus

Chair: Dr Marlia Mango (Oxford)

Dr Philipp Niewöhner (Oxford), Middle Byzantine Architecture at Miletus

Dr Harald Stümpel (Kiel), Geophysical Evidence from Miletus

1:40            Session 3: Other Case Studies

Chair: Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou (Reading)

Dr Jesko Fildhuth (Heidelberg), Middle Byzantine Priene

Prof Vincenzo Ruggieri, SJ (Rome), Early Medieval Urbanism in the Xanthos Valley. Tlos, Pinara, Patara, and Xanthos

3:40 Session 4: Western Asia Minor

Chair: James Howard-Johnston (Oxford)

Dr Marek Jankowiak (Oxford/Paris), The Arab Invasions of Western Asia Minor

Dr Adam Izdebski (Berlin), Paleonological Evidence for the Middle Byzantine Settlement History of Western Asia Minor

Fabian Stroth, MA (Heidelberg), Middle Byzantine Templon Epistyles of Western Asia Minor

13-18 August 2012

The highly successful International Summer School of Greek Palaeography took place at Lincoln College under the direction of Dr Georgi Parpulov, Dilts-Lyell Fellow in Greek Palaeography at Lincoln. OCBR was able to support a bursary. The Summer School will next run in 2014. For a copy of the 2012 programme, please click here.

The Dark Ages’ Dirty Secret? Medieval slavery from the British Isles to the Eurasian steppes and the Mediterranean world

This seminar will be held on Tuesdays at 5 pm in the Khalili Research Centre, 3 St John’s Street

19 May (Week 4)
James Howard-Johnston (Oxford):
Trading in fur in the early middle ages

26 May (Week 5)
Günter Prinzing (Mainz):
Slavery in Byzantium: the legal frame work, with some observations on life as lived by slaves c.641–1204

2 June (Week 6)
Ahmad Khan (Oxford):
Slavery in early Islamic law: a brief survey

9 June (Week 7)
Marie Favereau and Irina Shingiray (Oxford):
The captive, the currency, and the gift in the Khazar and Golden Horde empires

16 June (Week 8)
Andrew Roach (Glasgow):
The dynamics of the drug trade: a template for medieval slavery?

Conveners: Jonathan Shepard and Marek Jankowiak

For a poster, click here