The Annual School of Byzantine Studies – Third Edition
Byzantine and post-Byzantine culture and spirituality in Moldavia, Wallachia and the Balkans
September 10th-17th, 2020
The theme of this Third Edition of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies proposes an interdisciplinary incursion into the Byzantine and post-Byzantine literature, history, palaeography, archaeology, art and law present in the Balkan region, understood as a synthesis between Byzantine and local cultures. Moldavia and Wallachia are but two of the particular cases where post-Byzantine culture had a particularly pronounced influence.
From the point of view of the relationship between centre and periphery, Byzantine heritage played a central part in the dialectics of the creation and consolidation of nation-states in the Balkan space, in particular with regard to its deep political, cultural and artistic influences. All institutions in the Balkan and Romanian space were modelled after the Byzantine original, while society was ordered according to Byzantine law and Greek Orthodox canon. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the role of the Orthodox Church in maintaining the political unity of the Balkan peoples was essential: although the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople held a title honorary in all but name, the Church’s continued establishment of local metropolitans, the dissemination of its organisational framework – to speak nothing of its missionary and educational activities throughout the Balkans and the Romanian space – played a very important part in the continued spread of Byzantine civilization.
After 1453, part of the Byzantine intelligentsia took refuge in the Balkan space, and later travelled to Wallachia and Moldavia where, through the families they established in these places, contributed to the development of a post-Byzantine culture which the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga highlighted in his 1935 monograph which, concurrently, coined the title of a new national cultural trend: Byzance après Byzance. The advent of printing in the Romanian space also played a significant role – the first volume printed in the territories was the 1508 Liturgy of Macarie, a Balkan monk who sought refuge in Wallachia. Later, the establishment of the Royal Academies of Bucharest and Iași in the 18th century safeguarded the continuous transfer and integration of Byzantine knowledge within local specificity. Thus, Romanian culture was able creatively assimilate the older Byzantine tradition, which ensured its originality among the kaleidoscopic ensemble of European cultures.
The aim of the Annual School of Byzantine Studies is to aid the development of young researchers – Romanian and foreign alike – by facilitating access to recently uncovered sources and new methodologies in the field. The School offers an unmitigated rapport with some of the great scholars in Byzantine studies of worldwide acclaim, in an attempt to foster a community of young specialists in the field, aiming to revitalize Byzantine Studies in Romania, capitalise upon the Roman-Byzantine cultural heritage found in the Dobrogean region and strengthen professional and individual ties between Romanian professors and students on the one hand and foreign specialists on the other through the creation of international partnerships and mobilities.
This year, due to ongoing health and safety concerns, the School’s activities will move online, to be held via Zoom. The School’s programme features lectures given by invited professors, workshops presenting the newest methodologies and sources available in the field, presentation sessions where PhD candidates and Masters students can showcase their original research, palaeography workshops and virtual tours.