Monthly Archives: April 2014

Upcoming events: Research Seminars in Islamic Art, SOAS, London

indexThursday 22nd May 2014, 5.30pm in Room B104 (Brunei Building):

Eduardo Manzano Moreno (CSIC, Madrid) Delivering the Caliphate. The circulation of wealth and valuables in Umayyad ​Cordoba at the 10th/4th century

Broad views of “convivencia” as the main feature that pervades Umayyad Cordoba in the 10th/4th century have usually fostered a number of myths and misconceptions regarding its sudden “magnificence” and “splendor”. This has entailed that the material foundations of the Caliphate have usually been overlooked. The aim of this lecture is to show the role played by wealth and valuables in the social and political articulation of the Umayyad Caliphate, and how a proper assessment of these elements can render new insights for the knowledge of objects and material remains.

Thursday 5th June 2014, 5.30pm in Room B104 (Brunei Building):

Antonio Vallejo Triano (​former director of the Madinat Al-Zahara Architectural Complex, 1985 to 2013) The Cordoba Caliphate through Madinat Al-Zahra: from its proclamation to its consolidation

Madinat al-Zahra was the great urban creation of the Umayyad Caliphate of al-Andalus. It was built in the middle of the tenth century as part of the ideological-structural programme launched by Abd al-Rahman III after his self-proclamation as Amir al-muminin (Prince of Believers) and within the context of his rivalry with other Caliphates, especially the Fatimid Caliphate. Since Madinat al-Zahra was one of the Caliphate’s main means of propaganda and legitimisation, the lecture seeks to explain how city planning and architecture not only reflect the structure of the Caliphate State but also its most pressing concerns and issues. This direct relationship, guaranteed by the sovereign’s involvement in all decision-making processes regarding construction, is one of the aspects that the lecture aims to bring to light. Moreover, the changes in palace architecture also clearly reflect the changes made to the configuration of the State. Madinat al-Zahra was not a static city but underwent very important transformation processes that can be read and interpreted in an historical context as a reflection of the evolution of the Caliphate State from its proclamation to its consolidation. The analysis of the decoratives materials of Madinat al-Zahra in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which were uncovered in the first excavations, will help corroborate these hypotheses.

Conference: FLAWS Medieval Research Conference, UCL

logo[1]The London Medieval Graduate Network is pleased to announce that its annual conference will take place at UCL on 29th May 2014 with the theme of ‘Flaws.’ This inter-disciplinary conference examines how deliberate or mistaken defects, errors, limitations and imperfections have been perceived across the medieval period.

Flaws are something all researchers have to deal with; from flaws in our source material, to flaws in the approaches and theories we use. The late twentieth century witnessed a concerted effort from within the medieval discipline to challenge not only our theoretical approaches but also the validity of our disciplines themselves. These challenges encouraged researchers to be aware of the limitations of their evidence as well as mindful of the choices they make within their own research. As postgraduates and young researchers we are more aware than ever of the flaws which we face. We hope that this theme will give scope for the discussion of newer areas of medieval study, such as considerations of materiality, the built environment and psychological analyses, whilst also allow us to consider new approaches to more traditional discussions of the text, narratives and institutions.

Professor John Arnold (Birbeck) will give a keynote talk entitled, ‘Flaws in Medieval Belief.’

All welcome. Please email with any enquiries.

Tickets (free!):

Roberts Building Room 110, UCL)

9.30 – 10:00 Registration and tea

10:00 11:00 Keynote Address
Flaws in Medieval Belief – Professor John Arnold (Birkbeck, University of London)

11.15-11.30 TeaBreak

11.30-1:00 Manuscripts

Chaired by Sheri Chriqui (RHUL)

‘Exquisite Incongruities’: A Historiography of Medieval Marginalia’

Katherine Sedovic (University of Oxford)

Drypoint Corrections in an Old English Manuscript

Christine Wallis (University of Sheffield)

The Restrictions of National Boundaries: Flaws of Early Medieval Historiography and a Comparative Solution

Anthony Mansfield (University of Keele)

1:00 – 2.30 Lunch break

2.30-3.30 Source Analysis

Chaired by Rebecca Hardie (KCL)

Hildegard of Bingen’s epistolary correspondence and the problems of authenticity. Reflections on a flawed approach and proposals towards a new one

Dijana Bugarin (University of Bern)

The Context and Historical Value of the “Sleat History”

Mary MacTavish Crawford (University of Edinburgh)

2.30-3.30 Source Analysis

Chaired by Rebecca Hardie (KCL)

Hildegard of Bingen’s epistolary correspondence and the problems of authenticity. Reflections on a flawed approach and proposals towards a new one

Dijana Bugarin (University of Bern)

The Context and Historical Value of the “Sleat History”

Mary MacTavish Crawford (University of Edinburgh

3.30-3.45 Tea Break

3.45-5:00 Flawed Analysis

Chaired by Louisa Taylor (UCL)

Amiens and Visual Neuropsychology: Questioning Flaws in Gothic Cathedral Architecture

Mathew Jacobs (University of Oxford)

Mixing up lemons with melons: Errors and Confusions in the Depiction of Plants in Aldobrandino of Siena’s Le Régime du corps

Luis Ribeiro (Nova University of Lisbon)

Bums on seats: Between material and documentary evidence in the study of parish church sedilia

James Alexander Cameron (Courtauld Institute)

5:00 5:15 End Notes
7:00 Drinks Reception
All welcome!

Lectures: Late Antique and Byzantine Archaeology and Art Seminar, Oxford

Trinity Term 2014, Thursdays 11-12:30
St John’s College, New Seminar Room

images1 May   Prof. Wolfgang Hahn (University of Vienna; OCBR Visiting Professor), Some remarks on the Byzantine issues of the Roman mint during the 8th century
8 May   Prof. Andrew Wilson (All Souls), The nymphs and palms of late Roman Aphrodisias
15 May  Dr. Anne McCabe (CSAD), Equestrian sports in and near the Great Palace at Constantinople:  Part 1
22 May  Agnieszka Lic (St Cross),   The mosque at Sobata/Shivta in the Negev in the context of Muslim-Christian relations in Bilad al-Sham in the early Islamic period.
29 May  Dr Simon Davies, From statue to ‘relief icon’: transition in medieval Byzantine sculpture
5 June  Prof. Elizabeta Dimitrova (Skopje), Art and ritual in the sacred images of Macedonia paleocristiana: mosaics, frescoes, relief decoration
12 June Prof. Cyril Mango (Exeter), Equestrian sports in and near the Great Palace at Constantinople:  Part 2
19 June Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone (Corpus) and Dr. Philipp Niewöhner (Brasenose), The topography of  the Great Palace and the iconography of the Walker Trust Mosaics at Constantinople

Conveners:  Dr. Marlia Mango (St John’s) and Philipp Niewöhner (Brasenose)

Call for Session Proposals: Sponsored Panel at Kalamazoo 2015

mjc-logo-lrgTo encourage the integration of Byzantine studies within the scholarly community and medieval studies in particular, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 14–17, 2015. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies.

Session proposals must be submitted through the Mary Jaharis Center website ( The deadline for submission is May 19, 2014. Proposals should include:

-Session abstract
-Intellectual justification for the proposed session (about 300 words)

Successful applicants will be notified by May 28, 2014 if their proposal has been selected for submission to the International Medieval Congress. The Mary Jaharis Center will submit the session proposal to the Congress and will keep the potential organizer informed about the status of the proposal.

If the proposed session is approved, the Mary Jaharis Center will reimburse session participants (presenters and presider) up to $500 maximum for US residents and up to $1000 maximum for those coming abroad. Funding is through reimbursement only; advance funding cannot be provided. Eligible expenses include conference registration, transportation, and food and lodging. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

The session organizer may act as the presider or present a paper. The session organizer will be responsible for writing the Call for Papers. The CFP must be approved by the Mary Jaharis Center. A list of suggested speakers and abstracts may be appended to the session abstract. Session participants will be chosen by the session organizer and the Mary Jaharis Center.

Please contact Brandie Ratliff (, Director, The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.


Conference: Fifty Years After Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture. New Approaches, new Perspectives, New Material, London

TombofKingJohnIandQueenPhilippa_Batalha_000The Courtauld Institute of Art is holding this one-day conference in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Erwin Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture: Four Lectures on its Changing Aspects from Ancient Egypt to Bernini, comprising the lectures delivered originally in the fall of 1956 at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York. Panofsky’s lectures represented a new attempt to consider funerary monuments as artistic objects, charting developments in their iconography, style, form and function within the broader chronology of art history. Panofsky also emphasised the importance of tombs as evidence for changing (and sometimes contradictory) attitudes towards the deceased.

Examining monuments across Europe, from the Medieval to Early Modern periods, this conference will explore the legacy of Panofsky’s work as well as showcase the developments in research techniques and approaches that have led to new insights into tomb sculpture.

Saturday, 21 June 2014 10.00 – 18.00 (with registration from 09.30), Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Speaker(s): Jessica Barker (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Marisa Costa (University of Lisbon), Martha Dunkelman (Canisius College), Shirin Fozi (University of Pittsburgh), Dr Phillip Lindley (University of Leicester), Professor Susie Nash (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Geoff Nuttall (Independent Scholar), Luca Palozzi (Edinburgh College of Art), Joana Ramôa Melo (New University of Lisbon), Christina Welch (University of Winchester), Kim Woods (The Open University)


Call for papers: Out of the Margins, Cambridge

manropingtext22The Marginalia Committee (Journal of the Medieval Reading Group, University of Cambridge) are delighted to announce that they will be holding a Tenth Anniversary Conference on September 19th and 20th, 2014. The conference is entitled ‘Out of the Margins: New Ideas on the Boundaries of Medieval Studies’ and our confirmed speakers include Professor Mary Carruthers, Professor Helen Cooper and Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh.

Abstracts for short papers are requested before 31st May to, and further information can be found on the poster and at

From the borders of material texts to the peripheries of society, the margins of medieval culture have been brought into unprecedented prominence by several generations of scholars across a wide range of disciplines. But have we over-privileged the radical, the liminal and the subversive? Or is it only by means of the edges that the centre can be defined at all? As interested in the edges of the material text as the fringes of society, and with a unique question to ask about how the marginal relates to the central narratives of medieval studies, we intend this conference to be both interdisciplinary and metadisciplinary.

 We invite submissions of 500-word abstracts for short papers, extending a particular welcome to graduate and early-career researchers working in disciplines including but not limited to History, History of Art, Music, English, Modern Languages, Philosophy, and Theology. Topics of papers might include:

  • Textual and Manuscript margins: What is articulated between the edge and the middle? The manuscript margins can be a site of confirmation, conversation or controversy—from the authoritative gloss to the casual doodle.
  • Intellectual margins: Boundaries, relations and tensions between the ‘clerical’ and the ‘lay’; the ‘latinate’ and the ‘vernacular’; the literary and the theological.
  • Radical margins: Controversial or heretical texts, individuals and groups. The question of the extent and generosity of ‘orthodoxy’ and its more or less hostile relationship to the ‘subversive’ or ‘heretical’.
  • Social and economic margins: Voices of the poor, women, of the non-elite and the ‘outcast’ in the Middle Ages, the queer, as well as those who might be considered—but need not always have been—socially ‘on the edge’?
  • Neomedievalism: How the medieval borders onto and interrogates modernity, and how postmodern critique may elucidate aspects of the pre-modern…and vice versa.

Conference: Visualising the Late Antique City, London

Saturday 7th June 2014, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly

fse_full-imageWe are pleased to announce the Visualisation of the Late Antique City conference 2014, which presents the results of the Leverhulme-funded research project by the University of Kent. The conference will explore all aspects of the urban experience in Mediterranean cities AD 300 – 600, including architecture, behaviour, costume, and material culture.

Admission is GBP 20 (GBP 10 for students and OAPs). All welcome.

Please contact Jo Stoner ( by the Saturday 25th May 2014 to reserve a place.



09.45-10.00 Ellen Swift – Visualising the late antique city.

Public Space

10.00-10.30 Luke Lavan – Streets in late antiquity: form and function.


10.30-11.00 Nikos Karydis – New approaches to the architectural reconstruction of churches.

11.00-11.30 Joe Williams – Object groups in ecclesiastical space.


11.30-12.00 Solinda Kamani – Architecture and decoration of modest houses.

12.00-12.30 Jo Stoner – Domestic material culture: function to cultural meaning.

12.30-12.45 Discussion


13.30-14.00 Aoife Fitzgerald – Architecture and decoration of colonnaded shops.

14.00-14.30 Joe Williams – Commercial object groups: production, storage and sale.

Guest Lecture

14.30-15.00 Tayfun Oner – Visualising Constantinople: recent work.


15.00-15.30 Faith Morgan – Manufacture, wear and repair of late antique garments, with a fashion show of historic costumes produced for the event.

From Research to Art

15.45-16.00 Ellen Swift – Artefact studies to everyday life: spoons and late antique dining habits

16.00-16.15 Will Foster – Drawing architecture, objects and dress.

Case Study

16.15-16.45 Luke Lavan – Late Roman Ostia: urban life in AD 387, as seen by St Augustine.

16.45-17.00 Discussion