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Workshop. Isaac Comnenus Porphyrogenitus: Walking the Line in Twelfth-Century Byzantium and Beyond

International workshop on Isaac Comnenus organized by Valeria Flavia Lovato in Odense, March 5-6 2020. Location: Convent of Noble Maidens

In the last decades, modern scholarship has devoted much attention to the Comnenian dynasty. Surprisingly, no comprehensive study has yet been devoted to Isaac Comnenus Porphyrogenitus, son of emperor Alexius I and brother of both John II and Anna Comnena. Isaac is an intriguing figure, at the crossroads between different worlds: classical scholarship, artistic patronage, courtly intrigues and international political alliances. Traditional divisions between scholarly fields have prevented a comprehensive exploration of Isaac’s many facets.
Challenging this very compartmentalization, this workshop aims to bring together Isaac’s different worlds, contributing to a better understanding of 12th-century Byzantium.

For more information about the workshop contact Valeria Flavia Lovato (


Thursday, March 5


Morning coffee


Valeria F. Lovato and Lars Boje Mortensen (SDU): welcome and introduction


Panel 1:Isaac and 12th-century literature

  • Nikolaos Zagklas (University of Vienna),“Isaak Komnenos and Theodore Prodromos: Forging Intellectual and Patronage Ties in Twelfth-Century Constantinople”

  • Marina Loukaki (University of Athens), “Notes on the construction of Isaakios Komnenos' profile by Theodoros Prodromos”

  • Aglae Pizzone (SDU),“Isaac against Proclus? A problem of authorship”


Lunch break


Panel 2:Homeric philology

  • André-Louis Rey (University of Geneva), “Isaac Comnenus and the scholarship of a learned prince”

  • Filippomaria Pontani (Ca’ Foscari University),“The dignity of kingship asserted: Isaac’s ‘political’ notes on theIliad”


Coffee break


Panel 3:Isaac as patron, literatus and founder

  • Kallirroe Linardou(Athens School of Fine Arts),“Komnenian Book-Culture: Tracing Tastes, Mapping Networks”

  • Margaret Mullett (University of Belfast), “A ‘barren and senseless shoot’, a ‘flawless ally’, and ‘an enkolpion of pearls’: Isaac'sKosmosoteira

  • Valeria F. Lovato (SDU),“What kind of exile? Isaac’s poem to the Virgin and the final days of a repented (?) usurper”


Speakers' dinner

Friday, March 6


Panel 4:Innovation, change and conflict in the Comnenianera (Part One)

  • Vlada Stanković(University of Belgrade),“Dynastic conflict in the Comnenian era”

  • Angeliki Papageorgiou (University of Athens), “Ties of blood, bids for power: Usurpation attempts during the reign of John II Komnenos”


Coffee break


Panel 4:Innovation, change and conflict in the Comnenianera (Part Two)

  • Maximilian Lau(Hitotsubashi University), “‘Ten Tongues’ on the Transformations of Isaakios”

  • Alex Rodriguez Suarez (Orient-Institut Beirut), “Change and innovation in twelfth-century Byzantium: The case of hair and hairstyles”


Final remarks


Goodbye lunch

Editing was completed: 05.03.2020