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The world of Byzantium – that of the ‘other’ Middle Ages of the Eastern Mediterranean – is a fabled and exotic one. If you’ve ever heard of Constantine or Justinian & Theodora, of Constantinople or Antioch, of Hagia Sophia or the Hippodrome, of the battle of Manzikert or the Fourth Crusade, of iconoclasts, monophysites or the schism of the churches, of eunuch courtiers or pillar saints, and if you’ve ever wondered who or what they really were, this is the course for you! This lecture will survey some of the most interesting and key aspects of Byzantine history, society and culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century. One aim of the course will be to familiarize students with the general shape of the political history of the Byzantine state during the nine hundred years from its foundation in Late Antiquity as the successor of Rome down to its final crippling and ultimately fatal encounters with the crusading powers of Western Medieval Europe and the emerging Ottoman Turks. The lectures also aim, through a series of snapshots of vital topics, to provide a broad understanding of some of the most important features of Byzantine society, culture, and belief as well as its complex identity. It will also attempt to give some sense of Byzantium’s place in the world – its relations with and attitudes towards the numerous and diverse peoples, powers, and religions of the regions that surrounded it. In doing so it will encourage broad interest in Medieval, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean studies while being of particular interest to students of the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans, as well as the history of Christianity and Islam.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.