THE ANNUAL SCHOOL OF BYZANTINE STUDIES
The 2019 edition
STABILITY AND CHANGE AT THE BORDERS OF BYZANTIUM AND BEYOND
September 5th - 13th 2019
The official opening of the second edition of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies
Bucharest, September 5th 2019
The opening session of the 2019 edition of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies entitled ”Stability and change at the borders of Byzantium and beyond” took place on Thursday, 5th September 2019, at 5 p.m. in the afternoon at the Reading Room of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest. This year’s edition benefitted from the support of important partners, such as the University of Bucharest, the National School of Political and Administrative Studies, “Ovidius” University of Constan’a, the Romanian Foundation for Democracy and Raiffeisen Bank.
The opening speeches were delivered by Emil Constantinescu, President of the IASLCC Scientific Council, Professor Magdalena Platiș, Vice-Rector of the University of Bucharest, in charge with Quality Management and Professor Ernesto Mainoldi, from the University of Salerno. The moderator of the inaugural session was Cătălin Ștefan Popa – Director of the IASLCC Direction on the History of Levant Culture and Civilization, and also Coordinator of this year’s edition of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies, read the message sent by Răzvan Theodorescu, Vice-President of the Romanian Academy and Scientific Director of the School, who was not able to attend. Also, Professor Dan Grigorescu, Scientific Director of IASLCC read the message sent by Professor Sorin Rugină, Rector of the ”Ovidius” University from Constanța, one of the event’s partners.
The speakers highlighted the importance of Byzantine studies as a specific field of study in the greater landscape of national and international academia and research, as well as the necessity of programes like the Annual School of Byzantine Studies in order to create a framework of dialogue and interaction that would allow for a constructive exchange of ideas. Referring to the paradox residing inside this year’s topic, President Emil Constantinescu stated that :” Stability is the promise, never fulfilled, made by the powerful empires and nations through propaganda to the human beings, both from past and present, it is the dream of living in a predictable world, in peace and harmony. Change is, willingly or not, a constant of our life, that challenges ways of thinking, well-established formulas and shapes new dimensions.”
A large public was present at the opening session, including here the students of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies, the invited lecturers (both from Romania and abroad), representatives of the French and Greek embassies in Bucharest, as well as those passionate about Byzantine studies in general.
The main goal of this project is the coordinated action in the following fields: scientific research, public acknowledge, education and environment legislation on protecting and preserving natural and cultural sites on the ground (in situ), with particular scientific, educational and cultural significance, according to the European legislation and directives.
The project is structured on 3 annual stages, corresponding to the 3 geological and geographical regions of Dobrogea: South, Central and North.
The project is planned to start on December 1st, 2018, with a preparatory stage between May 1st – November 30th 2018, for signing partnership agreements and knowing the situation in situ of the representative sites protection in the 3 regions of Dobrogea.
Observations on Dobrogea
Dobrogea, a historic region, part of the Romanian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian territory, is representative for the region of Levant. Dwelt from the Neolithic period (Gumelnita and Hamangia cultures) during the VI-IV B.C. centuries, it will host the Greek colonies (poleis Histria, Callatis, Tomis) and the first state forms of the Getae. The territory of Dobrogea will belong successively to the Persian Empire (Darius), Macedonian Empire (Alexander the Great), Roman Empire (Moesia, Scytia Minor), to the Geto-Dacians, the Byzantine Empire, Bulgarian from Tara Romaneasca, and the Ottoman Empire.
Located at the intersection of the amber road (the North Sea – the Eastern Mediterranean) with the Silk Road (China – Western Europe), the end point of the Danubian limes, which connects it to Germany through the Central Europe, crossed by the Eastern migrations, frequented by Genoese merchants in the Middle Ages and battle field between Russia and Turkey, headqurters of the Danubian Commission at Sulina (Porto Franco), Dobrogea will be the host for many different cultures and civilizations during XIX and XX centuries.
Dobrogea used to be part of the expedition route of the Argonautes (Insula Șerpilor – The Island of the Snakes), it marked the life of the Latin poet Ovidius exiled by Rome, it was crossed by the Apostle Andrei at the beginning of the first millenium, and it has vestiges of the first 4 centuries of Christianity.
Dobrogea was also the place where the famous thinker and prophet Sari Saltuk Baba has lived, symbol of the unity of the Turkish culture in the XIII century from Central Asia to Europe. Dobrogea is mentioned in the travels of the Arab dervish originated in Maroc, Ibn Battuta, in XIV century.
Besides the majority Romanian population in the North and Bulgarian in the South, 16 ethnic minorities live in harmony, keeping their cultural and religious specific and beliefs, among which Turks (Anatolians, Seljuks from the Ottoman Empire), Lipovans (Russians come în the XVIII century after the schism of the Russian Orthodox Church), Tatars, Khokhols (from Ukarine), Germans (come after 1940 from the Tsarist territories), Macedo-Romanian (vlahi), Greeks, Armenians, Albanians, Gagauzes, Serbians, Jews, Roma people (gipsies).
The geological history of Dobrogea, where the Russian Platform (older than 1.6 billion years) extends, is covered by Proterozoic green shale (older than 600 billion years) and sedimentary rocks, by Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Neozoic, Quaternary and sedimentation currently deposited from the Danube alluvia.
On the territory of Dobrogea there are many geological, geomorphological, geographical, paleontological, paleobotanical, biological, archaeological, historical, architectural with actual or potential status of protected areas for their preservation and capitalization.
The preliminary work (until 30 November 2018) will be conducted in cooperation with the University of Constanta (Romania), Universities and research institutes from Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, Balkans and Caucasus, local administrations (Constanta, Tulcea, Varna, Danube Delta), Biosphere Administration, UNESCO World Heritage Centre.read more about Dobrogea, Witness of the Millennial Civilizations of the Levant...
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization purposes to create a library containing the most representative literary and scientific works for the culture of the Levant.
Therefore the Institute will contact the major libraries and cultural institutions from the countries of the Levant region, in order to sign cooperation agreements and implement this project regarding the masterpieces of the Levantine culture. The collections will be available for the Romanian and foreign researchers and interested public.
The Silk Road is an initiative that developed during the past decades focusing on the infrastructural and economic issues. President Emil Constantinescu has promoted the cultural importance and significance of the itinerary and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization can facilitate concretely the development of the projects dedicated to the cultural heritage of the countries crossed by the Road, especially in the Caucasus area (Georgia, Azerbaijan), but also in Romania (Constanta). As the network created in the historical times by the trade routes needs to be revived culturally, alongside the construction of high ways and gas and petroleum pipelines, the project will underline the heritage and development of cultural relations between China and the countries part of the Silk Road network.read more about The cultural revival of the Silk Road...
Cucuteni (or Cucuteni-Trypillian) culture is one of the most ancient civilizations of Europe, preceding the human settlements in Sumer and Ancient Egypt. The historical discoveries are presented in Romanian, Ukrainian, Moldavian and Bulgarian museums, facilitating the implementation of a regional project aiming to rememorize the contribution of Cucuteni civilization for Europe and especially for the Eastern regions (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia). The Iasi Museum Complex (North-East Romania) detains major collections of historical artefacts and important researchers are active in Iasi, but also in Piatra Neamţ, where the Museum of Eneolithical Art Cucuteni is the only museum dedicated exclusively to this civilisation, hosting also an International Centre for Cucuteni Culture Research (created in 1995).
Potential partners: Iasi Museum Complex, International Centre for Cucuteni Culture Research, Piatra Neamţ (Romania), researchers from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria.