Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Byzantine World, c. 300-c. 1500

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s XVII International Graduate Conference, 27–28 February 2015, University of Oxford.

Byzantium, in all its forms, was an influential society, drawing many different peoples into its sphere. This influence, however, was neither one-way nor topdown. Cultures from beyond the borders of the Empire also impacted on life within it. Interaction and exchange between cultures was both direct and indirect, spanning from Scandinavia, Latin Europe, Africa and into the Islamic world and the Eurasian steppe. Learning, not exclusively classical knowledge, passed not only from culture to culture but from generation to generation; migration and settlement as well as trade and direct conflict all brought different communities into contact throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. What followed could include the translation of literature, the mimesis of art and architecture and religious conversions, as well as the practical adoption of customs, clothing and foods. The Roman Empire, its continuator in the Eastern Mediterranean and all the successor states were deeply involved in all manner of cross-cultural exchanges throughout their existences.

We are calling for papers which explore all possible approaches towards these issues, in all fields of Late Antique and Byzantine studies and beyond, including history, archaeology, history of art, theology, literature, intellectual history, and philology. Possible themes might include:

  • The inheritance of classical wisdom
  • Diplomatic exchanges and customs
  • Translations from Latin, Slavonic, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Hebrew, Latin and western vernaculars into Greek and vice versa
  • Transaction of medical and technological knowledge
  • Travel accounts
  • Religious debates and conversions
  • Military developments
  • Relations with nomadic peoples
  • Trade and the movements of material culture
  • Art and artists across borders
  • Prosopography

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at by Friday, 28 November 2014. Papers should be 20 minutes in length, and may be delivered in English or French.

As with our previous two conferences, there will be a publication of selected ontheme and inter-related papers, chosen and reviewed by specialist readers from the University of Oxford’s Late Antique and Byzantine Studies department. Any speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should try to be as on-theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

More details will be sent to successful submissions soon after the deadline. Subject to funding, the OUBS hopes to offer subsidised accommodation for visiting speakers.

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