Strand Definitions: Byzantine Studies

The study of the history and culture of the Byzantine empire is vital for the appreciation of the medieval world. Spanning the fourth to fifteenth centuries, and centred on the city of Constantinople, the empire was in a real sense the continuation of the Roman empire in the East, its inhabitants considering themselves to be Romans. It witnessed, and was directly involved in, some of the major events of the medieval world: the Christianisation of the Roman empire, the fall of the western Roman empire, the birth of Islam and the rise of the Arab empire, the emergence of alternative emperors in the West, the conversion and rise of the Rus, the birth and development of the crusading movement, the division between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, and the establishment of the Ottoman empire. Culturally, the empire is famed for its art, such as the icon, and its preservation of classical literature, although it has a rich literary heritage of its own.

Research trends include increasing interdisciplinary approaches, a particular interest in prosopographical study, and the development of gender studies. Subject areas covered by the strand include, Byzantine art and architecture, daily life, ecclesiastical history, gender studies, hagiography, historiography, language and literature, law, monasticism, numismatics, politics and diplomacy, rhetoric, sexuality, social history, theology, and women's studies.