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The Inconvenient Civilization: Why we still can’t get “Byzantium” right

November 10, 2016IASEvents, IAS Thursdays0

The Inconvenient Civilization:
Why we still can’t get “Byzantium” right

Thursday, November 10, 2016, at 3:30pm
Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop

Free and open to the public

Image: Delacroix, Entry of the Crusaders in Constantinople

At a time when historical research is emphasizing the interconnections of global history, Byzantium – the continuation of the Roman empire in the East until 1453 AD – remains largely absent from curricula, theories of history, and broader debates about cultural genealogy. Its marginalization can, however, be explained by the long history of its peculiar reception in the West, where it has regularly been cast as a deformed version of Hellenism, Christianity, and Rome. From Charlemagne to the nineteenth century, Byzantium has been feminized and orientalized, exoticized and condemned, in order to make way for western imperial and ideological projects. Focusing on the false names that the eastern Roman empire has been given over the centuries – “Byzantium,” “empire of the Greeks,” “Orthodox Hellenism” – this lecture will show how its very existence inconvenienced western regimes, which created amenable imaginary versions of it. Our scholarship is still complicit in these medieval and early modern regimes of knowledge.

Anthony Kaldellis is Prof. of Classics at the Ohio State University.

Cosponsored by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, the Center for Early Modern History, the Departments of History and Classical and Near Eastern Studies, and the Modern Greek Studies Program. To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact the IAS (ias@umn.edu 612-626-5054) at least two weeks prior to the event.

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