INSTITUTE OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH (IHR/NHRF) > Section of Byzantine Research (SBR)

Programmes

Research Area A

THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE: INSTITUTIONS, SOCIETY, ECONOMY

Research Area B

BYZANTINE SPACE AND CIVILIZATION

Research Area C

MEDIEVAL WORLD AND BYZANTIUM

Research Area D

ARCHIVAL, DIPLOMATIC, PALAEOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

 


 

Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium

The Program “Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium” was created with the aim of conducting research into aspects of Byzantine daily life and its connection to societal relations, with the aim of analyzing and understanding the perceptions of everyday habits and practices of life, as well as the reflection of these ideas in objects and in monumental and artistic expression. The Program covers two main thematic areas. The first aims to investigate aspects of daily activities and study, the interaction between social structures, and further trace the interests, and activities, collective and individualized, as these were manifested in public and private life. Among the objectives of the Program’s second thematic area is the study of production, processing-manufacturing, maintenance, distribution-marketing and consumption of agricultural, and livestock or marine products, but also of innovations and research in various fields (economy, artisanship, agriculture, cultivation, gastronomy). In collaboration with associate researchers – archaeologists, historians, agronomists, meteorologists, ambelographers, oenologists and chemists – the members of the Program have authored studies and articles which have been published in independent volumes, as well as proceedings of international academic meetings (nine volumes of the History of Wine series Οἶνον ἱστορῶ, four volumes of the MenSALe Program, many articles in themed publications from relevant conferences of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP), a volume of a conference organized by the Artifex project). In these publications, emphasis has been laid on research into Byzantine agricultural production, diet (chiefly the everyday dietary practices that were common in a variety of non-monastic milieux), more sophisticated culinary recipes and dishes, and their dissemination and interpretation at a symbolic level. Another component of the Program is research into questions related to the history of the environment as well as symbolic and literary representations of landscapes and places space.

 

History

The Program was founded in 2000 with the aim to study material life in Byzantium; it has gradually expanded its activities into related and multidisciplinary areas of Byzantine culture. From the outset, special emphasis was laid on international collaborative research on Byzantine wine, oil and diet (see Conferences and Events). Research and indexing of Saints Lives on cultivation equipment, construction devices and household tools was conducted experimentally between 1995-2000. Gradually, the Program encompassed research on perceptions, behavior and devotional practices, as expressed in written and visual sources; as well as the transition from the collective to the individual, and the formulation language of Byzantine imagination as reflected in the experience of dreams and visions. In cooperation with international colleagues the Program attempted to put together a database for Byzantine dreams-visions ("Dream experience in Byzantium") and for the senses in Byzantium. These topics were tackled in conferences organized between 2000 and 2005 (1. "Awakening of Consciousness and Personal Preferences, 11th-15th Century", Athens, IBR/NHRF, 24-25 November 2000, 2. "Dreams and Visions in Late Antiquity and Byzantium", Athens, IBR/NHRF, 23-24 May 2005). The papers presented in these conferences were published in proceedings [Byzantium matures: Choices, sensitivities and modes of expression (2004), Dreaming in Byzantium and Beyond (2014), see Publications].

Over time the Program has included new topics, such as the History of Economic Ideas and the History of Sciences, also topics on environmental history which in turn have produced monographs, articles and presentations in international conferences. A database on the Social History of Byzantium has also been developed in collaboration with the Program “Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium”. In the context of the study of perceptions and behaviors and in relation to the history of gender, religious identity, and literature in Byzantium, a research project is being prepared that envisages the edition and translation of the Greek Passions of Saints Barbara and Katherine (Daria Resh - David Konstan).

Since its beginning, the Program has developed a wide network of collaborations with scientific institutions, individual academics and independent researchers from Greece and abroad, inviting them for lectures and international symposia.

 

Members

Maria Leontsini, Senior Researcher, Program co-ordinator
Gerasimos Merianos, Senior Researcher
Niki Tsironis, Functional Researcher A

 

Other members

Research Directors Emeriti and Former Researchers
Christine Angelidi, Research Director Emerita
Ilias Anagnostakis, Research Director Emeritus
Εutychia Papadopoulou, Former IHR Researcher

External Collaborators:
Katerina Nikolaou, Associate Professor, University of Athens
Daria Resh, PhD, Research Collaborator, Department of Classics, New York University
Charis Messis, Laboratory Teaching Staff, Faculty of Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
George T. Calofonos, Byzantine historian, Research Associate

Former members:
Efi Ragia

 

 

Research Projects

As part of the Program, the following sub-projects have been published, or are ongoing, scheduled or in the process of preparation:

  • History of Byzantine wine.
  • History of the olive and olive oil.
  • History of Byzantine diet: Studies are being prepared or finalized for publication on daily diet and dietary behavior, relating to the production, preparation and consumption of bread, oil, dairy and animal products, honey, fish, spices and fruit in Byzantium.
  • History of the Environment. The aim of this research is to record the perceptions about nature and environmental exploitation strategies during the Byzantine period. In this regard, workshops and seminars are currently organized in collaboration with other academic bodies, while papers have been published in conference proceedings.

Current / ongoing Projects

Collaborative research Programs

The Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium Program has set up open-access databases covering various aspects of the Program, relating to technology, the handling of agricultural products in Byzantium (database partly published in volume IV of Οἶνον ἱστορῶ, Athens 2005, 77-167), and Byzantine diet and goods (mainly Byzantine furniture “Domestic equipment and handling networks. A diachronic approach”, see below Completed Programs). Research on domestic animals and wildlife in Greece (9th-15th cent.) is ongoing in the frame of the Project "History of the Environment". Aspects of contribution of the fauna to living and production processes, as well as symbolic interpretations and stereotypes in references to animals, are examined and recorded.

In the present phase the following databases are under way:
(entries have already been submitted for electronic configuration)

“Chrysothemis. Byzantine Gastronomy” [Abstracts]
Ilias Anagnostakis, 2017-2020
The project forms part of the collaborative project of IHR Anavathmis. Development of historical research. Studies and digital applications. The aim of the project is to collect and study Byzantine gastronomic material, which exists in Byzantine sources. The goal is to develop a database containing entries on Byzantine gastronomy. The database will appear under the title “CHRYSOTHEMIS. Byzantine Gastronomy”. The project consists of the following: a) identification, synthesis and processing of Byzantine culinary material, b) creation of a database of Byzantine gastronomic data entitled: “CHRYSOTHEMIS. Byzantine Gastronomy”.

“Domestic Animals and Wildlife in Greece (9th-15th century)” (http://fauna.anavathmis.eu)
Maria Leontsini, 2017-2020
Written testimonies and archaeological evidence related to the topics of domestic animals and wildlife in Greece are currently under indexing in order to develop a database in the context of the research project of the IHR / NHRF Αναβαθμίς. Development of historical research. Studies and digital applications. The project aims to: a) map the geographical, historical and environmental evidence regarding wildlife exploitation and the development of animal husbandry and fishing; b) record evidence on an open access data base.

 

Completed

  • G. Μerianos, 2012–2015
    Participation in the project: “Nature and Religion in South Eastern European Space: Mapping Science and Eastern Christianity Relations in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean – NARSES” of the EU-funded "Aristeia/Excellency" coordinated by Efthymios Nicolaidis. (http://narses.hpdst.gr/)

  • Post-Doctoral Researcher: Efi Ragia (2012-2015)
    “Electronic Database on the Social History of Byzantium from the 7th to the 12th Century: Sources, Problems and Approaches”

    Developed within the context of the Postdoctoral Research Program by Dr. Efi Ragia as part of the Action “Supporting Postdoctoral Researchers” of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (funded by the EU/European Social Fund), hosted by IHR/NHRF and included in the Program “Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium”.  
    (http://byzmettyhes.gr/)

  • Ilias Αnagnostakis, Μaria Leontsini
    “Domestic equipment and handling networks. A diachronic approach”
    Developed within the context of the collaborative Project of IHR “Kyrtou plegmata: Networks of economy, power and knowledge in the Hellenic space from prehistorical times until the modern age: analytic documentation – interpretive mapping – synthetic approaches”, under the Operational Program ‘Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship’ (National Strategic Reference Framework and the Attica Regional Operational Program, 2013-2015). The Project’s objective was to offer documentation and interpretative mapping of the networks developed (as part of wider economic market-networks) to distribute the various items that made up household equipment. Developed in co-operation with the IHR research team of the same name.
    (http://kyrtouplegmata.eie.gr/index.php/2015–03–08–11–36–09/1–4/ee2–11)

  • Μaria Leontsini (in collaboration with the “Historical Geography Program”)
    “Rural networks for the production and distribution of products in the Peloponnese during the Byzantine period”
    The project entailed the study, documentation and interpretive mapping of the production and distribution networks of agricultural products (Corinthia). The database was developed within the collaborative Project of IHR “Kyrtou plegmata: Networks of economy, power and knowledge in the Hellenic space from prehistoric times until the modern age: analytic documentation – interpretive mapping –synthetic approaches”, under the Operational Program ‘Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship’ (National Strategic Reference Framework and the Attica Regional Operational Program, 2013-2015).
    (http://kyrtouplegmata.eie.gr/index.php/databases–2/26–db2/95–db–ee2–9)

  • Ilias Αnagnostakis, Μaria Leontsini (in collaboration with the “Historical Geography Program”, 2013-2018)
    Participation in the Project: “Harbours from the Roman Period to the Middle Ages” (http://www.spp-haefen. de/en/home/). Data on the harbours of Messenia and the NE Peloponnese (4th-12th c.) were registered to the Project: “Harbours and landing places on the Balkan coasts of the Byzantine Empire (4th to 12th centuries)” (http://www.spp-haefen.de/en/projects/byzantine-harbours-on-the-balkan-coasts/).

 

 

Conferences and Events

Conferences

  • 2000: Η αφύπνιση των αισθήσεων και προσωπικές προτιμήσεις (11ος-15ος αιώνας) [The Awaking of the Senses and of Personal Choices], Athens, IBR/NHRF, 24-25 November.
  • 2005: Το βιβλίο στο Βυζάντιο: Βυζαντινή και μεταβυζαντινή βιβλιοδεσία [The Book in Byzantium: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Bookbinding], in collaboration with the IBR Program ''Archival, Palaeographical and Diplomatic Research'', Athens, IBR/NHRF, November, 13th-16th.
  • 2006: Μονεμβάσιος οίνος – Μονοβασ(ι)ά – Malvasia [Monemvasian Wine - Monovas(i)a - Malvasia'], in collaboration with the IBR Program ''Historical Geography of the Greek Region'', Athens, IBR/NHRF, May, 19th-20th.
  • 2008: Ζώα και περιβάλλον στο Βυζάντιο (7ος-12ος αιώνας) [Animals and Environment in Byzantium (7th-12th centuries)], Athens, IBR/NHRF, June, 6th-7th.
  • 2008: Όνειρα και οράματα στην ύστερη Αρχαιότητα και στο Βυζάντιο (Dreams and Visions in Late Antiquity and Byzantium), Athens, IBR/NHRF, May, 23th-24th.
  • 2015: Latte e Latticini. Aspetti della produzione e del consumo nelle società mediterranee dell’Antichità e del Medioevo, Convegno Internazionale di Studiopromosso dall’IBAM – CNR e dall’IRS – FNER nell’ambito del Progetto MenSALe, Athens, IHR/NHRF, October, 1st-3rd.

The Proceedings of the Symposia were edited by the respective Scientific Directors of the Program.

 

Meetings, Seminars, Workshops

  • 2013: Organization of a series of lectures: Πριν την οικολογία: Η διαχείριση του περιβάλλοντος στις προβιομηχανικές κοινωνίες [Before ecology: Management of the environment in pre-industrial societies], Workshop organized as part of the Hermoupolis Seminars, Hermoupolis (Syros Island), July, 5th -14th.
  • 2016: 2nd Two-day Conference on the History of the Environment: Ιστορικό και πολιτιστικό τοπίο: Παρεμβάσεις και διαχείριση, πρόσληψη και μετασχηματισμοί [Historical and Cultural Landscape: Interventions and Management, Understanding and Transformations], Historical Archives of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, November, 3rd -4th.
  • 2017: 3rd Two-day Conference on the History of the Environment: Φυσικοί και ενεργειακοί πόροι [Natural and energy resources], Historical Archives of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, November, 2nd -3rd.
  • 2018: 4th Two-day Conference on the History of the Environment: Περιβάλλον και Διατροφή [Environment and Nutrition], Conference Amphitheatre of the Agricultural University of Athens, December, 10th -11th.
  • 2019: 5th Two-day Conference on the History of the Environment: «Άλλοτε η θάλασσα»: Θαλάσσια οικοτοπία στις ελληνικές περιοχές [«Άλλοτε η θάλασσα»: Marine ecotopy in the Greek regions], Historical Archives of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, November, 6th -7th.

 

Lecture series

  • 2006: Οίνος: Πολιτισμός και κοινωνία. Το χθες και το σήμερα [Wine: Culture and Society. Yesterday and today], “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, NHRF, May.
  • 2010: Άνθρωπος και Περιβάλλον στο Βυζάντιο [Man and Environment in Byzantium], “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, NHRF, March.
  • 2013: Παλιά και νέα φτώχεια και η εξουσία του χρήματος [Old and new poverty and the power of money], “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, NHRF, January-February.
  • 2014: «Κοινωνικά προφίλ» και «κοινωνικές» ομάδες: Αντιλήψεις περί κοινωνικής θέσης στο Βυζάντιο [Social profiles" and "social" groups: Concepts of social status in Byzantium], Workshop organized by E. Ragia, NHRF, December, 19th.
  • 2015: Ψηφιακές Ανθρωπιστικές Επιστήμες. Σκαρφαλώνοντας σε τραίνο εν κινήσει; [Digital Humanities: Climbing onto a Moving Train?] (co-organized with the "Byzantium and the West" Program), Workshop organized as part of the Hermoupolis Seminars 2015, NHRF, September 23rd -24th.
  • 2016: POMEDOR final conference: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Food and Foodways in the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean, organization of the International Symposium with the Program partners POMEDOR, Lyon, Paul Bocuse Institute, Ecully, Lyon, May 19th -21st.
  • 2017: Η διατροφή στη Μεσόγειο: Ιστορικές πτυχές και βιοχημικές προσεγγίσεις [Diet in the Mediterranean: Historical Aspects and Biochemical Approaches] (organized with the Hellenic Institute of Biological Research), “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, NHRF, March.
  • 2018: Νεότητα, αντιγήρανση και μακροζωία: Σύγχρονες προσεγγίσεις της βιολογικής ηλικίας μέσω των Ιστορικών και Βιολογικών Επιστημών [Youth, anti-ageing and longevity: Modern approaches to biological age through Historical and Biological Sciences] (co-organized with the Hellenic Institute of Biological Research), “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, NHRF, March.
  • 2018: Συνάντηση Ιστορίας και Λογοτεχνίας στη σύγχρονη έρευνα [Encounters of History and Literature in Modern research] (co-organised with the IHR, Section of the Neo-Hellenic Research Program: Modern Greek Literature and History of Ideas, 18th-20th c.), “Science in Society” – NHRF Lecture Series, February.

book cover        lectureseries        oinos_politismos_en

 

Collaborations

Collaborations with scientific bodies in Greece

Organization of two-day workshops in collaboration with the Historical Archives of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, the Faculty of History and the Archaeological Faculty of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Society for the Study of Modern Hellenism - Mnemon.
Collaboration also with the Scientific and Cultural Foundation of the Cyclades Islands and the Agricultural University of Athens.

International Academic Collaborations

The Program has developed collaborations with scientific bodies, organising meetings and international conferences:

  • 2010: L’équipe Mondes Anciens du CeRMAHVA et l’Institut Européen d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation (IEHCA). Organizing a conference at l’Université François-Rabelais de Tours on La viticulture grecque de l’époque hellénistique à l’époque byzantine: une approche interdisciplinaire des techniques viticoles grecques, November 12th-13th.
  • 2011: Koç University. Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations [RCAC], Organization of the Istanbul conference, Of Vines and Wines. The Production and Consumption of Wine in Anatolian Civilizations through the Ages, December 3th-4th.
  • 2012-2014: Partner in the Program Setorie e rappresentazioni della cultura dell’alimentazione regionale – MenSALe (Mense Storiche ed Artistiche Lucane), in collaboration with the Istituto per i beni archeologici et monumentali del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Basilicata, Italia.
  • 2013-2016: Partner in the POMEDOR Project: People, Pottery and Food in the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean, in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Céramologie, CNRS, UMR “Archéométrie et Archéologie”, Lyon, France (http://www.pomedor.mom.fr/pomedor–project,
    also https://www.pomedor.mom.fr/fields-and-labs/historical-sources).
  • 2017: The "Everyday and Social Life in Byzantium" Program, with its director H. Anagnostakis as historical consultant and presenter, participated (especially in the section devoted to the Byzantines) in the international documentary "The Journey of Food. Diet from Prehistory to Modern Times" Anemon Productions (http://www.latsis-foundation.org/eng/electronic-library/videos/2017/the-journey-of-food-documentary-series-episode-3-melting-pot).

 

Publications
  • A. Kazhdan, in collaboration with L. F. Sherry – Chr. Angelidi, A History of Byzantine Literature (650–850), IBR/NHRF - Research Series 2, Athens 1999.
  • Chr. Angelidi (ed.), Το Βυζάντιο ώριμο για αλλαγές. Επιλογές, ευαισθησίες και τρόποι έκφρασης από τον ενδέκατο στον δέκατο πέμπτο αιώνα [Byzantium Matures. Choices, Sensitivities, and Modes of Expression (Eleventh to Fifteenth centuries)], International Symposium 13, IBR/NHRF, Athens 2004.
  • Κ. Νikolaou, Η γυναίκα στη μέση βυζαντινή εποχή. Κοινωνικά πρότυπα και καθημερινός βίος στα αγιολογικά κείμενa [The Woman in the Middle Byzantine Period: Social Models and Everyday Life in the Hagiographical Texts], Monographs 6, IBR/NHRF, Athens 2005.
  • A. Kazhdan, A History of Byzantine Literature (850–1000), ed. Chr. Angelidi, IBR/NHRF - Research Series 4, Athens 2006.
  • Μ. Leontsini, Κωνσταντίνος Δ΄ (668–685). O τελευταίος πρωτοβυζαντινός αυτοκράτορας [Constantine IV (668-685). The Last Emperor of the Early Byzantine Period], Monographs 7, IBR/NHRF, Athens 2006.
  • Οίνος: Πολιτισμός και κοινωνία, Το χθες και το σήμερα [Wine: Culture and Society, Yesterday and Today], NHRF - Science and Society], Athens 2006.
  • I. Anagnostakis, Βυζαντινός οινικός πολιτισμός. Το παράδειγμα της Βιθυνίας [Wine Culture in Byzantium: The Bithynian Example], Byzantium Today 6, IBR/NHRF], Athens 2008.
  • I. Anagnostakis(ed.), Μονεμβάσιος οίνος – Μονοβασ(ι)ά – Malvasia, [Monemvasian Wine – Monovas(i)a – Malvasia], Οίνον Ιστορώ V, International Symposium 17, IBR/NHRF], 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], Monographs 13, IBR/NHRF], Athens 2008.
  • I. Anagnostakis – T. G. Kolias – E. Papadopoulou (eds.), Ζώα και Περιβάλλον στο Βυζάντιο (7ος–12οςαι.) [Animals and Environment in Byzantium (7th-12th c.)], International Symposium 21, IBR/NHRF], Athens 2011.
  • Eir. Mergoupi-Savaidou – G. Merianos – F. Papanelopoulou – Ch. Christopoulou (eds.), Επιστήμη και Τεχνολογία. Ιστορικές και ιστοριογραφικές μελέτες [Science and Technology. Historical and Historiographical Studies], Society for the Study and Dissemination of the History of Science and Technology 1, Ekdotike Athenon, Athens 2013.
  • I. Anagnostakis (ed.), Flavours and Delights. Tastes and Pleasures of Ancient and Byzantine Cuisine, Athens 2013.
  • Chr. Angelidi – G. Calofonos (eds.), Dreaming in Byzantium and Beyond, Farnham – Burlington, VT 2014.
  • I. Anagnostakis – A. Pellettieri (eds.) Latte e Latticini. Aspetti della produzione e del consumo nelle società mediterranee dell’Antichità e del Medioevo, Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studiopromosso dall’IBAM – CNR e dall’IRS – FNER nell’ambito del Progetto MenSALe, Atene, 2–3 ottobre 2015, Lagonegro 2016.
  • S. Germanidou, Βυζαντινός μελίρρυτος πολιτισμός [Byzantine Honey Culture], Byzantium Today 7, IHR/NHRF, Athens 2016.
  • 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.
  • I. Anagnostakis – E. Balta (edited by – introduction), History of Olive Cultivation and Olive Oil in the Eastern Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Pre-Industrial Times, Piraeus Bank Cultural Foundation – Institute of Historical Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens 2020.

monemvasios_oinos_en         zwa_perivallon_en         dreaming_inbyzantium

 

financial     vyzantinos_melirytos_en     elia_ladi

 

 

Education

The program's researchers are actively involved in educational and academic activities, such as teaching at universities, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, lectures and seminars and they supervise MA dissertations and PhD theses, student internships.

 

 


 

 

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