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OIKOS course Byzantine Cultural History

From:Tu 02-11-2021
Until:We 03-11-2021

From 2-3 November 2021, the OIKOS course Byzantine Cultural History will take place at the University of Ghent. ReMA and PhD-students of OIKOS can earn 3 EC by participating. It is the first time that this course will be offered.

Aim of the course

This course offers ReMA and PhD students an introduction to the cultural history of the Byzantine Empire (seventh to fifteenth century CE). From the viewpoint of five subdisciplines, participants will be familiarized with general characteristics of Byzantine culture, with the various sources that allow us to write the history of the Byzantine Empire, and with the methodological and conceptual questions that are being discussed in current research.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to orient themselves in the most important source categories and debates, they will have broad knowledge of Byzantine cultural history, and they will be able to deepen their knowledge on the basis of a research question of their choice and to deal with this question in an essay.

Note that the course does not treat Byzantine Greek. Instead, it focusses on extensive reading of sources in translation. Because of its interdisciplinary character, the course is suited for both ReMA students and for PhD students that want to look beyond their own discipline.

Format and programme

The course will be taught by five specialists from Belgian and Dutch universities and will be offered in English, unless there are no non-Dutch participants.

Day 1 - Tuesday 2 November
11.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m. Block 1: D. Slootjes (Amsterdam) on the sociopolitical history of Byzantium
2.00-4.30 p.m. Block 2: B. Stolte (Groningen) on Byzantine law
5.00-7.00 p.m. Block 3: F. Bernard (Ghent) on prose

Day 2 - Wednesday 3 November
9.00 a.m.-noon Block 4: J. Vroom (Leiden) on art and material culture
1.00-5.00 p.m. Block 5: E. van Opstall (Amsterdam) on poetry


For each block, there is a reader of two articles or chapters (ca. 60 pages) and a selection of sources connected to the theme of the block (i.e. ca. 300 pages in total). Every participant is asked to read the material and to prepare a question per article. These questions need to be submitted to the teachers a week before the course, so that the teachers can discuss the questions during their block.


The grade will be based on an essay on a topic of each participant's choice connected to the themes in the course. The essay is 5,000-6,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Participants need to decide on a topic before or during the course. The essay must be submitted within a month after the course ends and will be graded by two of the teachers.



Prof. Peter Van Nuffelen (peter.vannuffelen

Travel costs

Students can apply for a contribution to the costs for travel and accomodation. The amount depends on the number of of participants. We will also provide help in finding a place to stay for the night.