Research Area A


Research Area B


Research Area C


Research Area D




The Byzantine Empire: Institutions, Society, Economy

This Research Direction aims at the study of the history of Byzantium based on the primary sources. The main topics approached concern the institutions, the society and economy. The main research topics are the administration of the Empire, the development of political, military and ecclesiastical institutions, the relations between state and Church, internal politics, as well as the ideological and social dimensions of monasticism. Under study are also the social balances and changes that develop during the various periods. The main premise for the research of the above is the study of the historiographical and hagiographical texts, which highlight issues of political and economic ideology.

Particular weight is put on aspects of the economy, such as fiscal policy, the gap between theory and practice concerning the involvement of “aristocracy” in the economy and, particularly the commerce, as well as the development of trade networks. Moreover, it is put on the study of the attributes of Byzantine merchants during the middle and late Byzantine period (9th-15th c.), the discernment of their social characteristics, and the build-up of the relative prosopography. Finally, the Direction aims at examining the way by which social, moral and religious mechanisms affect the development of economic concepts, combined always with the developments in the economy.



The Research Direction’s beginnings can be traced back to 1981, when the Program “Byzantine History Data Bank” (later “Institutions, Society, Internal and External Policy of Byzantium”) was formed, supervised by Telemachos Lounghis until 2012 (and coordinated by Stylianos Lampakis until 2018), which studied important areas of Byzantine history, such as the administration of the empire, its social structures, its diplomacy and its foreign policy. Apart from the doctoral theses and monographs published within the Direction’s framework, four large collective books were published, approaching topics related to military administration, historical geography and prosopography, diplomacy and diplomatics (see Publications).

In 2004, the Program “Hagiography of the Late Byzantine Period (1204-1453)” began as a sub-action of the Program “Archival, Paleographic and Diplomatics Research”. Its object of research is hagiography during the last historical period of Byzantium (1204-1453). The hagiographical texts are studied as a means of honoring the saints, but also as a depiction of the society from which they came as well. One doctoral thesis was prepared from the available digitized material of the Program.

In 2018/2019, both the requirements of the research conducted, and the need to rearrange the structure of the Section of Byzantine Research led to the formation of this Research Direction, which included the aforementioned programs and the researchers with relevant pursuits.



Maria Gerolymatou, Research Director
Eleonora Kountoura-Galake, Research Director
Gerasimos Merianos, Senior Researcher
Kostis Smyrlis, Associate Researcher


Other members

Research Directors Emeriti and Former Researchers
Telemachos Lounghis (Research Director Emer.)
Vassiliki Vlyssidou (Research Director Emerita)

External Collaborators
Niki Koutrakou
Ekaterini Mitsiou
Alicia Simpson
Anna Sklaveniti


Research Projects


  • Anavathmis (2017-2020)
    a. “Enrichment of the Byzantine History Data Bank and development of the relevant web application” (Vassiliki Vlyssidou, Stylianos Lampakis, Telemachos Lounghis, Anna Sklaveniti, Maria Alysandratou, Marios-Konstantinos Ioannou).
    b. “Greek-speaking merchants in Byzantium (9th-15th c.)”. Enrichment of the database initiated by Krepis project, and development of the relevant digital application (Maria Gerolymatou).
    c. “Upgrade and enrichment of the database Hagiography of the late Byzantine period (1204-1453)” (Eleonora Kountoura-Galake, Eirini Kasapi).
  • Preparation of the collective volume titled “Vyzantinoí syngrafeís kai i epochí tous. Ékfrasi, ideología, koinonía” (Byzantine authors and their era. Expression, ideology, society) (Vassiliki Vlyssidou).



  • 1998-2001: Collaboration with the 2nd Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, Program “Byzantine Cyclades” (Eleonora Kountoura-Galake).

  • Post-doctoral programs:
    2011-2015: “The reign of Isaac II Angelos (1185-1195): Politics and society in the late twelfth century” (Alicia Simpson).
    2011-2015: “Female monasticism in the late Byzantine period (1204-1453)” (Ekaterini Mitsiou).

  • Kyrtou Plegmata – Krepis (2013-2015)
    a. “Routes of imperial sponsorships, 5th-12th c.” (Vassiliki Vlyssidou, Maria Gerolymatou, Georgios Kardaras, Stylianos Lampakis, Gerasimos Merianos) [])
    b. “Networks of merchants (9th-15th c.). The Greek-speaking merchants of the southern Balkans, Asia Minor and the islands” (Maria Gerolymatou, in collaboration with Gerasimos Merianos) [])
    c. “Networks of late-Byzantine Saints: Spatial and cultic networks” (Eleonora Kountoura-Galake, Demosthenis Kaklamanos)

  • 2017-2018: “Educational material for teaching Byzantine history in the schools of New York” (Gerasimos Merianos).



Conferences and Events


  • Η Βυζαντινή Μικρά Ασία (6ος-12ος αι.) [Byzantine Asia Minor (6th-12th c.)], (Athens 1997 – † N. Oikonomides – Τ. C. Lounghis)
  • Co-organized with the Holy Metropolis of Chios: Κωνσταντίνος Άμαντος. Δάσκαλος, Επιστήμων, Πολίτης [Constantinos Amantos. Teacher, Scholar, Citizen] (Chios, May 6-8, 2016).



  • “Byzantium, 1180-1204: The sad quarter of a century?” (June 20, 2014 – A. Simpson)
  • “Women and monasticism in the medieval eastern Mediterranean: Decoding a cultural map” (November 7-9, 2014 – E. Kountoura-Galake and Ek. Mitsiou)


Lecture cycles within the framework of the NHRF’s Public Lectures “Science in Society”

  • Βυζαντινό κράτος και κοινωνία: σύγχρονες κατευθύνσεις της έρευνας [Byzantine state and society: contemporary directions of research] (Athens 2001 – T. Lounghis).
  • Το Βυζάντιο και οι απαρχές της Ευρώπης [Byzantium and the beginnings of Europe] (Athens 2004 – T. Lounghis).
  • Οι κρίσεις και ο καταλυτικός τους ρόλος στον μεσαιωνικό κόσμο [Crises and their crucial role in the medieval world] (Athens 2012 – T. Kolias and G. Merianos).
  • Η εξορία στον βυζαντινό κόσμο ως τόπος και ως έννοια [Exile as a place and as a concept in the Byzantine world] (Athens 2017 – M. Koumanoudi and G. Merianos).
  • Αἱ τοῦ Κέκροπος καὶ τοῦ Κάδμου: Αθήνα και Θήβα στη μέση βυζαντινή περίοδο [Of Cecrops and Cadmus: Athens and Thebes during the middle Byzantine period] (Athens 2019 – M. Gerolymatou and A. Lampropoulou).
  • Έννοιες του Διαφωτισμού πριν από τον Διαφωτισμό [Notions of the Enlightenment before the Enlightenment] (Athens 2019 – E. Kountoura-Galake and Ur. Polykandrioti).



  • Seminars at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “Byzantine Diplomacy” (Athens 2005 – T. Lounghis).




Collaborations have been developed throughout the years with universities and research institutions, such as the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki and the Peloponnese, the Open University of Cyprus, the Institut für Byzanzforschung / Institut für Mittelalterforschung of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Wien) and the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, Section grecque et de l’Orient chrétien (Paris).


Databases - Websites

Byzantine History Data Bank

Members: Vassiliki Vlyssidou, Stylianos Lampakis
Seconded Researcher: Anna Sklaveniti
Research Assistants: Maria Alysandratou (PhD, University of Athens), Marios-Konstantinos Ioannou (PhD Candidate, University of Athens)
Research Director Emeritus: Telemachos Lounghis

An extensive data bank containing more than 59,000 edited records from more than 100 Byzantine and Latin sources (total of entries: 83,100, with more than 900,000 links). Every record includes the Byzantine excerpt of one and only event, together with a short summary in Modern Greek, its dating, the places and people mentioned, other parallel sources and contemporary bibliography. Finally, it includes the topics the excerpt is related to, such as economy, politics, military and ecclesiastical administration, diplomacy, family life, sciences, environment, and other. All these parameters (topics, people, places, events, dates, words) are connected between them, giving the data bank a tractability necessary for the best possible use of the material by the researcher/user.

As part of the Program Anavathmis, the web application of the data bank is being developed, and from 2021 it will be accessible by everyone, thus allowing for a wide set of simple and – mainly – advanced searches. Indicatively, someone may search for: a) a specific category of places (e.g. forts or buildings) that belonged to a larger administrative region or city, b) persons related to one or more places during a specific time period, c) places connected directly to one particular person or topic lemma or particular moment, or d) topic entry. With all 279 topic lemmas the user can visit all topics concerning Byzantine history, in all aspects of the life of the medieval person. The data bank is an important tool for learning and creating new knowledge.


Hagiography of the Late Byzantine Period (1204-1453)

Members: Eleonora Kountoura-Galake
Other Αssociates: Demosthenes Kaklamanos, Eirini Kasapi, Niki Koutrakou

Within the framework of the Program “Hagiography of the Late Byzantine Period (1204-1453)” the database was created in 2009, with limited internet access, having 160 subscribers until now. The digital presentation of the late-Byzantine hagiographical texts offers an important research tool for the study of the rich literary production, the society and the ideological currents of the late Byzantine period. The Hagiography database is open to future processing and enrichment within the framework of the Program Anavathmis.




  • T. Lounghis, Κωνσταντίνου Ζ’ Πορφυρογέννητου De administrando imperio (Πρὸς τὸν ἴδιον υἱὸν Ῥωμανόν). Μια μέθοδος ανάγνωσης [Constantine VII Porphyrogennetus’ De administrando imperio – To his son Romanus. A method of reading], Athens 2018 (2nd edition).
  • G. Merianos – G. Gotsis, Managing financial resources in late Antiquity: Greek Fathers’ views on hoarding and saving [New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture], London 2017.
  • T. Lounghis, Δοκίμιο για την κοινωνική εξέλιξη στη διάρκεια των λεγόμενων "σκοτεινών αιώνων" (602-867) [An essay on social evolution during the so-called “dark centuries” (602-867)], Athens 2013 (2nd edition).
  • T. Lounghis, Byzantium in eastern Mediterranean: Safeguarding East Roman identity (407-1204), Nicosia 2010.
  • Μ. Gerolymatou, Αγορές, έμποροι και εμπόριο στο Βυζάντιο (9ος-12ος αι.) [Markets, merchants and trade in Byzantium (9th-12th c.)], ΙΒR / NHRF – Monographs 9, Athens 2008.
  • G. Merianos, Οικονομικές ιδέες στο Βυζάντιο τον 12ο αιώνα. Οι περί οικονομίας απόψεις του Ευσταθίου Θεσσαλονίκης [Economic ideas in the 12th century Byzantium: The views of Eustathios of Thessaloniki on economy], ΙΒR / NHRF – Monographs 13, Athens 2008.
  • T. Lounghis, Ιουστινιανός Πέτρος Σαββάτιος. Κοινωνία, πολιτική και ιδεολογία τον 6ο μ.Χ. αιώνα [Iustinianus Petrus Sabbatius. Society, politics and ideology during the 6th c. A.D.],Thessaloniki 2005.
  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake – Ch. Pennas,ΣπουδήγιατηΒυζαντινήΣίφνο (4ος-12οςαι.) [A study on Byzantine Siphnos (4th-12th c.)], Athens 2002.
  • V. Vlyssidou, Αριστοκρατικές οικογένειες και εξουσία (9ος-10ος αι.). Έρευνες πάνω στα διαδοχικά στάδια αντιμετώπισης της αρμενο-παφλαγονικής και καππαδοκικής αριστοκρατίας [Byzantine aristocratic families and state power in the 9th-10th century. Studies on the conflict between the so-called Armeno-paphlagonian and the Cappadocian aristocracy], Thessaloniki 2001.
  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake, βυζαντινὸς κλῆρος καὶ κοινωνία τῶν «σκοτεινῶν αἰώνων» [Byzantine clergy and society in the “dark centuries”],ΒR / NHRF – Monographs 3, Athens 1996.
  • T. Lounghis, Η ιδεολογία της βυζαντινής ιστοριογραφίας [The ideology of Byzantine historiography], Athens 1993.
  • V. Vlyssidou, Ἐξωτερικὴ πολιτικὴ καὶ ἐσωτερικὲς ἀντιδράσεις τὴν ἐποχὴ τοῦ Βασιλείου Α΄. Ἔρευνες γιὰ τὸν ἐντοπισμὸ τῶν ἀντιπολιτευτικῶν τάσεων στὰ χρόνια 867-886 [Foreign policy and domestic reactions under Basil I. An investigation on Byzantine oppositional tendencies in the years 867-886], Historical Monographs 8, Athens 1991.
  • T. Lounghis, Η βυζαντινή κυριαρχία στην Ιταλία από το θάνατο του Μ. Θεοδοσίου ώς την άλωση του Μπάρι 395-1071 μ.Χ. [The Byzantine domination in Italy from the death of Theodosius I until the fall of Bari 395-1071 A.D.], Athens 1989.


Collective works / Other publications

  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake – E. Mitsiou (eds.), Women and monasticism in the medieval eastern Mediterranean: Decoding a cultural map, IHR / NHRF – International Symposium 23, Athens 2019.
  • A. Simpson (ed.), Byzantium, 1180-1204: The sad quarter of a century?, IHR / NHRF – International Symposium 22, Athens 2015.
  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake, editing of the volume by Anna Avramea, Η Πελοπόννησος. Από τον 4ο ως τον 8ο αιώνα. Αλλαγές και συνέχεια [The Peloponnese. From the 4th to the 8th century. Changes and continuity], Athens 2012.
  • V. Vlyssidou – S. Lampakis – Μ. Leontsini – Τ. Lounghis, Bυζαντινά στρατεύματα στη Δύση (5ος-11ος αι.). Έρευνες πάνω στις χερσαίες και ναυτικές επιχειρήσεις: σύνθεση και αποστολή των βυζαντινών στρατευμάτων στη Δύση [Byzantine armies in the West (5th-11th c.). Studies on the operations on land and at sea: Composition and mission of the Byzantine task forces in the West],ΙΒR / NHRF – Research Series 5, Athens 2008.
  • S. Lampakis – M. Leontsini – T. Lounghis – V. Vlyssidou, Byzantine diplomacy. A seminar, Athens 2007.
  • T. C. Lounghis – B. Blysidu – St. Lampakes, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches von 476 bis 565, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte Zyperns 52, Nicosia 2005.
  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake (ed.), Οι ήρωες της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας. Οι νέοι άγιοι, 8ος-16ος αιώνας [The heroes of the Orthodox Church. The new saints, 8th-16th c.], ΙΒR / NHRF – International Symposium 15, Athens 2004.
  • Το Βυζάντιο και οι απαρχές της Ευρώπης [Byzantium and the beginnings of contemporary Europe], Athens 2004.
  • V. Vlyssidou (ed.), Η αυτοκρατορία σε κρίση (;). Το Βυζάντιο τον 11ο αιώνα (1025-1081) [The Empire in crisis (?) Byzantium in the 11th century (1025-1081)],ΙΒR / NHRF – International Symposium 11, Athens 2003.
  • Βυζαντινό κράτος και κοινωνία: σύγχρονες κατευθύνσεις της έρευνας [Byzantine state and society: Contemporary research directions], Athens 2003.
  • Ε. Kountoura-Galake (ed.), Οι σκοτεινοί αιώνες του Βυζαντίου (7ος-9ος αι.) [The dark centuries of Byzantium (7th-9th c.)], ΙΒR / NHRF – International Symposium 9, Athens 2001.
  • V. Vlyssidou – Ε. Kountoura – S. Lampakis – Τ. Lounghis – Α. Savvidis, H Μικρά Ασία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στην γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Μικράς Ασίας (7ος-11ος αι.) [Asia Minor and its themes. Studies on the geography and prosopography of the Byzantine themes of Asia Minor (7th-11th century)], Research Series 1, Athens 1998.









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