GRK 2304 Byzantium and the Euro-Mediterranean Martial Cultures (2019-2023)

Exchange, Differentiation and Reception

Wars both internal and external exert a large impact on the development of societies. The Byzantine Empire has always been in constant exchange and conflict with its neighbours and rivals due to its geographic position. Out of this arose a wide range of violent interactions with the Latin, Slavic and Islamic worlds, in addition to, as a consequence, manifold interrelationships between the respective martial cultures, which we define as the norms, interpretations, attributions of meaning and reflections related to war as well as its forms and practises.

The aim of this Research Training Group is to analyse Euro-Mediterranean martial cultures and the importance of Byzantium for them in a transcultural perspective for the first time. Starting with the two overriding fields of study of “expressional forms” and “interpretative concepts”, these reciprocal processes of exchange, of distinction or also of reception will be analysed by means of four concrete subject areas: 1) strategies of justification and legitimisation; 2) conceptualisations of persons and groups; 3) rituals and cultic practises; 4) knowledge and infrastructure. The diachronic scope extends from the Roman Imperial Period, whose inclusion is indispensable for the understanding of Byzantine martial cultures, until the Early Modern Period, when the Byzantine heritage, especially in Eastern Europe, was still very vibrant. Within this interdisciplinary-orientated Research Training Group textual and visual sources, archaeological objects, visual sources, music as well as other media will be investigated in equal measure and brought in connection with one another, in order to grasp mentality and materiality and the related semantics of martial cultures. Based on this clearly-defined thematic complex, the immanent significance of Byzantium for the culture and history of the Euro-Mediterranean area will be explored in a thorough and systematic manner for the very first time. 

Current Projects

A Bio-Prosographical Study of French Musicians during the Early Italian Wars (1494-1516)  
Africam defendere. Byzantinische Fortifikationen in der nordafrikanischen Region Thugga im 6. und 7. Jahrhundert  
Byzantium as an argument. Legitimizing Rule and War from rulership of Ivan Grozniy until Feodor Alekseevich (16th and 17th centuries)  
Captivity, Conditional Freedom, and Bondage in a Late Antique Ecclesiastical Landscape: Discourse and Practice in Sixth- and Seventh-Century Merovingian Francia  
Der Wehrbau im Wandel. Der spätantike und frühbyzantinische Festungsbau in der Dioecesis Daciae  
Die ‚Kriegshistoriographie‘ des Orosius – Geschichtsschreibung aus christlich-apologetischer Perspektive  
Varangians and Slavs as Byzantium's Threat in 18th and 19th Century Russian Pictorial and Textual Culture  
Geprägte Gelübde – Untersuchungen zu den Votaprägungen anlässlich der Regierungsjubiläen der römischen Kaiser von Antoninus Pius bis Iustinianus I. (138 bis 565 n. Chr.)  
Gerechtigkeit als konzeptuelle Legitimationsressource in der Propaganda der Kreuzzüge  
Horos, Sinor, Terminus. Conceptualization of border in Byzantines, Seljuk and Crusader cultures of war from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries  
The Language of Peace? – Analysing the language of Tertullian  
Kreuzzugsdebatten auf den allgemeinen Konzilien des 15. Jahrhunderts  
Kriegertum in Grenzgesellschaften – Waffengräber des 4. –7. Jh. an der byzantinischen Donaugrenze  
Kriegsdarstellungen und Deutungen in frühneuzeitlichen Reiseberichten zum Osmanischen Reich  
Recollecting Conflict: Descriptions of war in Early Medieval Italian Narratives  
Speaking of War: Moldavian and Wallachian Perceptions to the Ottoman Threat during the 14th-16th Centuries  
Untersuchungen zu Kavalleriedarstellungen in der Spätantike im Osten des Imperium Romanum  
Studies on the Reception of Byzantine Rulers and Military Conflicts in the Italian Musical Theatre of the Early Modern Period  
Untersuchungen zur Rolle von Equiden im römischen Militär-Kontext  
War Discourse in the Times of Crisis: Authorial Strategies in Byzantine Historical Literature of the 14th century  
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