I work on the Byzantine Empire between 500 and 1200. I am currently interested primarily in its social and economic history, but I also work on historiography, the church, and bureaucracy. I try to see Byzantium in its broader context and am interested in its interactions with such neighbours as the Islamic world, the steppe nomads, the Slavs, and the Christian cultures of the Near East. I also work on early medieval slavery and slave trade, especially on the trade system that connected the Islamic world with Scandinavia and the Slavic lands (and to some extent Byzantium) in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Early medieval slavery and slave trade
The Islamic world until the Seljuqs
Early Slavic history
My doctoral dissertation on the monothelete controversy in the seventh century (whether Christ had one will or two) led me to a broader interest in the transformation of Byzantium in the 7th and 8th centuries. I am currently working on the Acts of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-1) which give a unique insight into this obscure period. I am also increasingly interested in the social and economic history of Byzantium in the 9th-11th centuries, and in the contacts of Byzantium with its neighbours such as the Islamic world, the steppe, the Slavs, the Scandinavians, and the western Europeans.
My post-doctoral project ‘Dirhams for Slaves’ (funded by the AHRC) attempted to explain the finds of hundreds of thousands of dirhams, mostly produced in Central Asia, all around the Baltic and in eastern Europe. Combined textual, numismatic and archaeological evidence reveals a major trade system, dealing mostly in slaves, that connected the Islamic world with Scandinavia and the Slavic lands in the 9th and 10th centuries. I am currently preparing a monograph on this slave trade system and its long-term implications (e.g. the emergence of states in Scandinavia and the Slavic lands). I am also increasingly interested in scientific methods that can be used to provenance silver and glass beads found in Viking-Age Scandinavia, and in the place of slavery in various medieval societies, including Byzantium.
Finally, I am interested in Eurasian connections in the middle ages and in comparative approaches, such as a study of imperial bureaucracies in Byzantium, the Abbasid Caliphate, Tang and Song China, and Heian Japan.
What Does the Slave Trade in the Saqaliba Tell Us about Early Islamic Slavery?
International Journal of Middle East Studies
<jats:p>The Saqaliba—a term that in medieval Arabic literature denoted the Slavic populations of central and eastern Europe (and possibly some of their neighbors)—offer a particularly insightful case study of the mechanisms of the early Islamic slave trade and the nature of the Muslim demand for slaves. What makes them such an ideal case study is their high visibility in texts produced in the Islamic world between the early 9th and early 11th centuries. Arab geographers and diplomats investigated their origins, while archaeological material, primarily hundreds of thousands of dirhams found in Scandinavia and the Slavic lands, contains traces of the trade in them. By combining these strands of evidence, we can build an exceptionally detailed image of slave trade systems that supplied Saqaliba to the Islamic markets, which, in turn, can be used to illustrate more general mechanisms governing the trade in and demand for slaves in the medieval Islamic world.</jats:p>
A New Date-List of the works of Maximus the Confessor
The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor
Studies in Theophanes
Dirhams for slaves: dirham hoards and the Slavic slave trade in the 10th c.