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.