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Workshop. Beyond Books: Rethinking Textual Circulation and Publication Practices in 12th-century Constantinople

Workshop 13-14 May 2022 at the Danish Institute in Athens organized by Chiara D’Agostini (SDU, CML) and Aglae Pizzone (SDU, DIAS, CML)

In the last decade medievalists became more and more aware that publishing contemporary works in the pre-print era was a complex, ever-changing, socially and culturally determined business. Material constraints – first and foremost the lack of cultural continuity – make it harder for historians to “see” the scope of these phenomena in the Byzantine cultural space. And yet, as indirect sources richly show, they were also undoubtedly present. This workshop explores textual production and circulation in twelfth-century Constantinople, targeting a specific aspect, namely the circulation of “unbound” material. We will test the assumption that a great deal of contemporary literature was “published” and circulated at first not in book form, but in more fluid forms, ranging from scrolls to unbound quires. The workshop arises from the awareness that the picture emerging from a quantitative and qualitative examination focused on the extant book material from the 12th century does not match with the richness and complexity of contemporary Constantinopolitan culture that transpires from historical sources. The organizers believe that this gap between different sets of data can be bridged via interdisciplinary communication, bringing together scholars who look at the same phenomena from different perspectives. The main theme of the workshop will allow forays into broader historiographical issues, such as the existence (or lack thereof) of a book market in Constantinople, the definition of intellectual property and plagiarism, the social and cultural implications of a broadening literacy. The workshop will bring together major players in the field of Byzantine literature and book culture. It will span over two days and include only very short presentations, so as to allow a more hands-on discussion of the textual and paleographic material.

Besides the participants in the workshop, we expect to have an audience of colleagues working on Byzantine culture from the University of Athens and other local research centers.


Friday 13 May


Introductory Remarks

Chiara D'Agostini (Southern Denmark)


Stefano Martinelli Tempesta (Milan): ‘Texts and Books in the Twelfth Century: Some Thoughts’


Coffee break


Session 1

Chair: Theodora Antonopoulou (Athens)


Marina Loukaki (Athens): ‘La Circulation des Textes Entre Eustathe deThessalonique et son Élève Grégoire Antiochos’


Elisabetta Barili (Southern Denmark):‘Rhetorical Commentaries and Epitomes in 12th-century Constantinople’


Paula Caballero Sanchez (Malaga): ‘Eustathios of Thessalonike’s Commentaries on Homer and Dionysius Periegetes:From the σχέδη to the Final Work’


Workshop dinner

Saturday, 14 May


Session 2

Chair: Chiara D'Agostini (Southern Denmark)


Nikos Zagklas (Vienna): ‘Circulation and Consumption of Occasional Literature in Twelfth-century Byzantium’


FoteiniSpingou (Edinburgh): ‘“Unbound” Documents & The Synod’


Coffee break


Session 3

Chair: StratisPapaioannou (Crete)


Renate Burri (Bern):‘The Letters of (Ps.-?)Aristaenetus between Twelfth and Thirteenth Century’


Aglae Pizzone (Southern Denmark):‘Unstable Formats: Risks and Opportunities (for New Genres)’


Lunch break


Session 4

Chair: Margaret Mullett (Belfast)


Raimondo Tocci (Thrace): ‘On the Production and Circulation of Chronicle Material in 12th Century Constantinople’


Chiara D'Agostini (Southern Denmark): ’Between μετάφρασις and πρωτοσχέδιος: Tzetzes’ Work on Ptolemy’sGeography


Response and conclusion

Aglae Pizzone (Southern Denmark)

Editing was completed: 13.05.2022