Dr. Georgios Chatzelis (Advanced Academia Fellow, Oct ‘21 – Feb ‘22) will present his research project on the topic:
Stratagems and the Byzantine Culture of War: Theory, Practice, Report, Reception and Cross-Cultural Exchanges with the Muslim world
on 25 November, 2021 (Thursday) at 16:30 h.
Moderated by Dr. Mariana Bodnaruk.
The project studies stratagems and the Byzantine culture of war c. 800-1204. It focuses on Byzantine attitudes towards stratagems, and examines cross-cultural exchanges between the Byzantines and the Muslims, by exploring case studies of intertextual relationships and similarities/differences in the conduct of war when similar stratagems occur in Byzantine and Arab literature. The presentation will provide an overview of the project’s objectives and methodologies and it will evaluate preliminary results with regard to Byzantine attitudes towards stratagems. These attitudes will mainly be examined through the prism of historical contextualization, comparative and discourse analysis. Special emphasis will be put on primary sources which are largely neglected by current scholarship (e.g., the Bible and its exegesis, hagiography, iconography, legal treatises, rhetorical handbooks and orations). These will then be compared with more traditional sources for the study of military history, such as historical narratives and military manuals. The presentation will conclude with observations on how the different cultural backgrounds of the Byzantine empire, the Classical, the Jewish, and the Christian, contested and fed into each other, and ultimately, how they shaped Byzantine attitudes towards military ethics and trickery.