Conference: Experiencing Death in Byzantium (Newcastle, 29 May 2015)

This single day conference will consider the extent to which we can approach the individual experiences surrounding death in Byzantium and the relevance they have for our knowledge of Byzantine self-understanding. How can we approach experiences that played tangible social roles and yet were so irreducible to literal language and meaning that they remained couched in the language of allegory? To what extent were shared experiences and understandings of death and dying orchestrated for individuals? Can remaining physical and textual evidence reveal such intended experiences to us? This conference seeks to access the personal and contingent experiences surrounding death and dying in Middle Byzantine mortuary practices.

We will consider the affects of the objects, images, literatures and theologies connected to death, dying and the otherworld in Byzantium. In this way, both the material and immaterial aspects of death in Byzantium will be discussed from grave goods and eschatological literature, to the emotions and sensations of death along with images of death, dying and judgement. This conference takes seriously the evident dearth of systematic eschatological doctrine in Byzantium and Byzantine preference for allegorical understandings of death and the otherworld. It seeks to create a space to discuss and integrate the separate, and at times disparate and opaque, bodies of eschatological practice and knowledge across various spheres of Byzantine life.  It is hoped that this will reveal to us more profound and fundamental insights into eschatological thought, sentiment and action in Byzantium and their contribution to Byzantine self-understandings.

For further information and to register, please visit: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/historical/research/conferences/ExperiencingDeathinByzantium.htm

Organised by Dr Sophie Moore, Dr Niamh Bhalla and Dr Mark Jackson.

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