First Lecture Series:
Networks and Communication in Byzantium

Poulou Ν. «Polychrome Pottery (10th – 11th c.): The Long Journey of Decorative Themes» (17/3/2021)

The polychrome glazed pottery (Polychrome Ware) was an expensive and luxurious production of Constantinople dated in the 10th and 11th centuries. Among the decorated with written themes and glaze vessels, there are several types of luxurious tableware and tile covering surfaces. In the presentation reference was made to findings of table ceramics, which have been found and published by research in Greece, while tiles originating from Constantinople were presented and are either kept in the Archaeological Museum there, or are in collections of Museums in Europe and United States. Particular reference was made to decorative themes, the study of which indicates influences and interactions between remote areas and allows us to understand the long distances that products, ideas and techniques were going through the period of the Byzantine Middle Ages.

Gkinalis Α. «The Ports of Constantinople» (24/3/2021)

Regarding networks and communication in Byzantium, we observe that we often focus exclusively on the subject of trade, while there are other types of networks, such as the transfer of technology, ideas, information and building methods. Therefore, the port functioned not only as a commercial center, but also as a cultural and social meeting point, as well as a gateway for communication. Dr.Gkinalis presents a different aspect of the networks, which is reflected in the historical development of the ports of Istanbul. The capital of Byzantium and its ports functioned as the largest and most important hub of maritime networks that reflects every geopolitical, cultural and economic event.

Images: IAM Archive, IUYSP Archive, DAI Istanbul Archive/Photographers: A. Ercan, B. Köşker

Tantsis Α. «Observations on the Organization of the Network of the Cities from Thessaloniki to Durres during the Late Byzantine Period» (7/4/2021)

The interest in the western part of the Via Egnatia (from Thessaloniki to the Adriatic ports – Vlora and Durres) increased along with the passage of the crusaders who used it for their transportation. After 1204 the road was a field of competition and constant conflict for the claimants of Byzantium and after 1261 for Michael VIII Palaiologos and his successors. The victory in the battle of Pelagonia and the prevention of the capture of Veratius by the troops of Charles I of Anjou mark the supremacy of the Byzantines but also the importance of the wider region for the domination even in Constantinople. The lecture examines issues of organization of space through the establishment of ecclesiastical institutions in key positions of strategic importance.

Chotzakoglou Ch. «Monastic Networks as Carriers of Ecclesiastical Tendencies in Constantinople» (19/5/2021)

Since their foundation, the monastic establishments have been organized complexes, in which networks of communication were created depending on their geographical location, the needs of each confraternity and the personalities with the world outside of the monastery, but also with the other monastic centers. The announcement outlines aspects and cases of such monastic networks, as carrier of the ecclesiastical tendencies of Constantinople, which developed in the Byzantine Empire.

Maladakis V. «Venetian and Frankish Coinage in Macedonia: Trade Routes and Transactions in the 13th and 14th Centuries» (2/6/2021)

The dismemberment of the Byzantine territories that arose after the Fall of Constantinople of 1204, in addition to the political and administrative division, inevitably leads to the creation of commercial and therefore economic zones differentiated from the past. The role of the Byzantine currency in high-priced trade is receding and the Venetian economic factor in Macedonia is now determining the new realities with the circulation of ducati gold and grossi silver. The establishment of western states in southern Greece and the circulation of silver deniers tournois to the north exacerbates the monetary pluralism of the 13th century. What trade routes are opened in the land network of Macedonia and what is its position on the dominant sea voyages? How is the penetration of Westerners in the region’s monetary market structured? When are new commercial networks imposed and what kind of products are traded? These are some of the questions to which answers are attempted.

Siomkos Ν. Thoughts and Concerns on the Mobility of Painters in Byzantium (9/6/2021)

The impact of Byzantine art quickly transcended the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire, exerting charm on several peoples of the medieval world. Undoubtedly great creators bequeathed us paintings of incomparable beauty that create religious devotion to the believer and move the viewer to this day. However, in contrast to the Post-Byzantine period, there is little information we have about the origin and organization of Byzantine artists, their place in society, their action, and even their names. The comparative study of the works themselves, despite the often conflicting opinions, is sometimes the only source of information on the mobility of their creators and the spread of artistic tendencies. The lecture highlights certain characteristic cases, the examination of which allows to, at least to a certain extent, approach the above issues.