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CAS Discussion Series: “Why Byzantium?”

11 May 2022 @ 14:00 - 16:00

The Centre for Advanced Study Sofia hosts a new discussion series under the theme:

Why Byzantium?

On the 11th of May, 2022 we will convene the second meeting of the series on the following topic:

“Mobile Memories: the Boat of Aeneas and the Palladion between Two Romes”

Lecturer: Prof. Elena Boeck (DePaul University)

11 May, 2022 (Wednesday), at 14:00h.

Presentation abstract:

In the middle of the sixth century Prokopios of Caesarea, a member of the Byzantine contingent that ‘liberated’ old Rome from the Goths, contemplated Rome and some of its historical monuments. Among them was a boat of Aeneas, an object which is only known from his description. At the same time Byzantine authors (including Prokopios) narratively dislocated the Palladion (a sacred image of Athena which was rescued from burning Troy) to the forum of Constantine in Constantinople. Taking as a starting point the boat and the Palladion, this presentation analyzes the resurgence of Troy-inspired memories in late antiquity.


About the discussion series:

The topic of this discussion series hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study, titled “Why Byzantium?”, deals with the influence and legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire, which withstood multiple waves of barbarian invasions and lasted more than a millennium after the fall of its western half, spanning the entire Middle Ages. Apart from being an Empire, however, Byzantium was a cultural and historical community of enormous influence that carried the Hellenic, Hellenistic and Roman heritage or inheritances, but already in their Christian form, into all spheres of its existence, transmitted them to other populations and continued to live long after its fall under the Ottoman Sultans. This influence took on a strongly identitarian character – recognized or not – for many peoples, states and social establishments. And thus, the circle of our interests is formed: how Byzantium comes to be perceived, studied, appreciated and understood. This takes place in various ways, some of which we are trying to trace, but one of the main ones is its comprehension in historical works – chronicles, narratives and scholarship – both in the Middle Ages and up to the present day. At the centre of our interest is the perception and conceptualization of the phenomenon of “Byzantium,” and not so much the phenomenon itself. This is achieved through various paths, only one of which is historiography. In addition to historians, the discussion series is addressed to representatives of various disciplines with an interest in the Middle Ages, the Modern Period or Late Antiquity – literary scholars, linguists, art historians, archaeologists – and to all those for whom the phenomenon of Byzantium could and should be of interest.


11 May 2022
14:00 - 16:00