An excerpt from Veronica della Dora’s entry, Landscape, Nature and the Sacred in Byzantium

The reassuring enclosure of a garden and the overwhelming vastness of a desert swept by the wind; the majestic charisma of a mountain looming on the horizon and the impenetrable darkness of a cave; the flamboyant glistening of a torrent and the touch of the waves caressing the seashore as the sun is about to … Read more

An interview with Veronica della Dora, author of Landscape, Nature and the Sacred in Byzantium

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Veronica. Your book is full of descriptions of special places: gardens, mountains, caves, rivers. Do you have any particular favourites among the places that you have visited? I would say each of these places has its own special charm, and when it came to find the … Read more

An interview with Ivan Drpić, author of Epigram, Art, and Devotion in Later Byzantium

Ivan, thank you for speaking to us about your book. It is clear from the start that you must have studied hundreds of objects in the course of writing your book. How long was this book in the making? How much did you travel for research purposes? Where were most of your sources located, and … Read more

Ivan Drpić

An excerpt from Ivan Drpić’s entry, Epigram, Art, and Devotion in Later Byzantium

A reader familiar with the traditional periodization of Byzantine history may find it surprising that in this study the momentous events of 1204 – the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade and the subsequent disintegration of the Byzantine Empire – hardly figure as a meaningful chronological break.

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An interview with Sharon Gerstel, author of Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium

Sharon Gerstel, author of Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium, kindly agreed to answer a few questions. The answers are so interesting and so evocative of village life in Greece that even a second interview wouldn’t do justice to everything there is to say.

Sharon, you have made a very comprehensive study of life in villages in the Late Byzantine period. You distinguish your approach from that of some earlier studies. How would you characterise your own approach?

As a specialist in art history, archaeology, and ritual studies, my interest was to look across traditional disciplinary boundaries at Byzantine villages. Having lived for many years in Greece and having spent twenty years walking the landscape and discussing life stories with the older residents of small villages, it was also important for me to layer their stories onto the histories of their villages. While I’m very aware of the scholarly hazards of crossing between the medieval and modern periods, the fact that the villages and buildings have been in continuous habitation and use from the Late Byzantine to the modern period argued in favor of including personal testimonies within my research. Here, I was inspired by the work of a number of ethnographers, including that of Juliet du Boulay, who was a Runciman Award winner in 2010!

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