Byzantium from a Global Perspective II: Byzantium and the Islamicate World

28 June to 30 June 2023


Within the format of the Mainz History Talks, a series of three workshops organized by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (JGU) with the overarching title “Mainz-Princeton Symposia: Reflections on Byzantium from a Global Perspective” will take place from 2022 to 2025. These Mainz-Princeton Symposia will seek to situate conceptions of Byzantium within a “global” context by examining the relevance of Byzantium, with each of the three gatherings dedicated to a specific regional or chronological milieu and reflecting upon Byzantium from a global perspective. As a culture and polity geographically spanning three continents and chronologically bridging Antiquity and the Renaissance, Byzantium meant entirely different things to its neighbors at different points in its history. Moreover, beyond examining actual connections between Byzantium and other cultures, leading experts of various disciplines participating in these conversations will be called upon to reflect upon Byzantium and to describe what is Byzantium’s relevance in a general sense as a foil or a point of reference for them, for their approach to global history and their fields more broadly.

The second of these three workshops, which will take place from June 28th to 30th, 2023 on the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, will focus on Byzantium and the Islamicate world. The invitees represent a broad swathe of Byzantine Studies as well as fields touching upon the history of the premodern Middle East. Among other questions, the workshop participants will examine to what extent Byzantium can be understood as part of a broader premodern history of the Islamicate world, even though, despite the empire’s manifold political and cultural connections with that region, it is more often associated with western Latin Europe as well as the Slavic world. Other queries which the gathering’s attendees will attempt answer is what extent does Byzantium figure within conceptions of the premodern Islamicate world, in the sense of a shared cultural space, and what form future cooperation between Byzantine Studies and fields covering the premodern Middle East should take and to what degree disciplinary boundaries are here justified or rather a hindrance.

Scientific Organizers:



Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Pahlitzsch (JGU)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sabine Schmidtke (IAS Princeton) Dr. Zachary Chitwood (JGU)

Copyright Andrea Kane