Friday, September 11th 2020
The proceedings of the 2020 edition of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies began in earnest with a lecture by Associate Professor Ion Croitoru (“Wallachia” University of Târgoviște) on the topic of Greek-language Typographic Activity in Târgoviște at the Beginning of the 18th Century. Professor Croitoru highlighted the fact that for the longest time the only printing presses active in South-Eastern Europe could be found in the Romanian Provinces, owing to their relative autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. Professor Croitoru’s erudite intervention presented the activity of the typographic centres established during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu, the typographic activity in Târgoviște – the site of a private press operated by Saint Antim Ivireanul – and highlighted the notable features of several remarkable copies under print in these centres, authored in Greek, Slavonic and Romanian. The books printed in Romanian society, bearing the sigils of the King and the Church, were designed to slake the population’s thirst for culture and spiritual life and, at the same time, defend the ancient laws that had come to be identified with the Orthodox faith.
During her Brief Excursus into the Collections of the National History Museum of Romania from the Late Roman Empire to the Phanariotes and Beyond, Dr Andreea Ștefan (National Museum of History in Bucharest) presented a selection of artefacts from among the Museum’s collections that are highly representative of the Annual School’s theme. Her intervention highlighted the privileged relations the north-Danubian space had with its southern Imperial neighbour, the space constituting a political, cultural and spiritual centre which would see multiple reconfigurations over the vast time span under review, the Late Roman Empire of late Antiquity making way for the Mediaeval Christian Byzantine and, later, the Muslim empire of the Osmanoglu dynasty. However, a continuous flow of material and spiritual goods – albeit fluctuating in intensity at times – was maintained throughout the interval between the space north of the Danube and the Empire. Political-diplomatic relations (most lavishly exemplified by the 5th-century Pietroasa Hoard), spiritual connections (reflected in religious art ranging from mural painting to metalwork and liturgical weavings, without ignoring written culture), but also fashion influences (the oriental garb adopted by the elites, relatively well-documented for the late 18th – early 19th century) are all represented in the National History Museum’s collections.
Associate Professor Ion Croitoru (Valahia University of Târgoviște), Greek-language Typographic Activity in Târgoviște at the Beginning of the 18th Century („Activitatea tipografică din Târgoviște în limba greacă, la începutul secolului al XVIII-lea”) (in Romanian)
Dr Andreea Ștefan (National History Museum of Romania), Brief Excursus into the Collections of the National History Museum of Romania from the Late Roman Empire to the Phanariotes and Beyond – virtual guided tour (in English)