A conversation with Jennifer Davis (Catholic University of America) on the study of empire in a medieval context, contrasting the different ways in which Charlemagne and the Byzantine emperors ran theirs. What do we mean by empire after all? The discussion is based on her book Charlemagne's Practice of Empire (Cambridge 2015).
A conversation with Buket Bayrı (Koç University) about Turkish films that prominently feature Byzantine characters and settings, especially the films about Battal Gazi. For links to these films, see the Textual Appendices to the podcast's host platform: https://byzantiumandfriends.podbean.com (on the right). For Buket's work in this area, see her articles 'Contemporary Perception of Byzantium in Turkish Cinema: The Cross-Examination of Battal Gazi Films with the Battalname,' Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 37 (2013) 81-91; and 'The 10th International Congress of Byzantines Studies, Istanbul, September 15-21, 1955,' Yillik: Annual of Istanbul Studies 1 (2019) 123-144.
A conversation with Cecily Hilsdale (McGill University) about the coping strategies that late Byzantium used to counter, ameliorate, and reverse its imperial decline. We talk about the concepts of decline and soft power, and how art, literature, scholarship, and religious identity were deployed strategically to win over potential allies and disseminate a prestige Byzantine "brand." The conversation is based on her book Byzantine Art and Diplomacy in an Age of Decline (Cambridge University Press 2014).
A conversation with Garth Fowden (University of Cambridge) about how the peoples of the Caucasus (Armenians, Georgians, and Albanians) coped with living between two empires, how those empires sought to intervene in their region, and the cultural and religious changes that took place there during the first half of the first millennium. This episode demonstrates the illuminating ways in which global and regional history can be combined. (For a detailed map of the region in this period, click here.)
A conversation with Elizabeth Key Fowden (University of Cambridge) on the Parthenon mosque and Athens under the Ottomans. When the Parthenon was done being a Christian church (which lasted from the fifth to the fifteenth century), it became a mosque, but little has been written about that phase of its history. Fascinating new sources are now coming to light. Elizabeth is writing a book on the topic; for now, see her articles 'The Parthenon, Pericles and King Solomon: A Case Study of Ottoman Archaeological Imagination in Greece,'Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies42 (2018) 261-274; and 'The Parthenon Mosque, King Solomon, and the Greek Sages,' in Ottoman Athens: Archaeology, Topography, History (Athens 2019) 67-95.
A conversation with Marion Kruse (University of Cincinnati) about his book The Politics of Roman Memory: From the Fall of the Western Empire to the Age of Justinian (University of Pennsylvania Press 2019). By what standards can anyone say that Roman history ends at some point and Byzantine history begins? Or is Byzantine history rather a phase of Roman history (namely, by far the longest one)? How did eastern authors, including Justinian, who lived in the aftermath of the end of empire in the West (476 AD), understand their place in the long trajectory of Roman history? And how do these labels function politically, for them and for us?
A conversation with Stephen Morris (independent scholar) about the attitudes toward (male) homosexuality in different sites of Byzantine culture and the prospects for an orthodox recognition of same-sex marriages, based on his book “When Brothers Dwell in Unity”: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (McFarland & Company 2016).
13. The case for Shenute the Great and the Coptic tradition, with Sofia Torallas Tovar and David Brakke
A conversation with Sofia Torallas Tovar (University of Chicago) and David Brakke (The Ohio State University) about Coptic Egypt, the life and works of Shenute the Great, and how Coptic and Byzantine Studies can talk more with each other, just as the people they study talked to each other in the fourth-seventh centuries. For some of Shenute's works, see the Selected Discourses of Shenoute the Great: Community, Theology, and Social Conflict in Late Antique Egypt, translated by David Brakke and Andrew Crislip (Cambridge University Press 2015). For linguistic contacts, see Sofia Torallas Tovar, 'The Reverse Case: Egyptian Borrowing in Greek,' in Greek Influence on Egyptian-Coptic: Contact-Induced Change in an Ancient African Language (Hamburg 2017) 97-113.
A conversation with Siren Çelik (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University) about the new generation of Turkish Byzantine scholars, and the paths by which one might come to study Byzantium in Turkey and beyond.
A conversation with Steven Smith (Hofstra University) about worldly and sinful epigrams from the sixth century that talk about love, sex, food, and other pleasures, based on his book Greek Epigram and Byzantine Culture: Gender, Desire, and Denial in the Age of Justinian (Cambridge University Press 2019). For a translation of a sample of these epigrams, see https://byzantiumandfriends.podbean.com/p/byzantine-erotic-epigrams-of-the-sixth-century/.