Publications/Oct 20, 2022

New Issue of Revue des Études Byzantines

New Issue of Revue des Études Byzantines lead image

Revue des Études Byzantines, volume 80 (2022).


I codici autografi del diacono Giorgio Metochites e la tradizione manoscritta delle sue opere
Francesca SAMORÌ 

In spite of the role that he played during the so-called Union of Lyon of 1274, the deacon of the imperial clergy George Metochites (ca. 1250-1328) has been very little studied both as an historical figure and an author. This paper offers a detailed survey of the manuscript tradition of his works, which consists in four autograph manuscripts and six later copies. Three autographs of the Historia dogmatica are preserved (Vat. gr. 1583, Laur. plut. 7.31 and Marc. gr. II, 8), whereas the remaining autograph, Vat. gr. 1716, contains Metochites’ minor works (De processione Spiritus Sancti, In Maximum Planudem, In Manuelem Moschopulum). The manuscript tradition of the works of George Metochites is related to some of the most important figures in the history of the relations between the Byzantine and the Roman churches, i.e. the Dominican friar Filippo Incontri of Pera, cardinal Bessarion, and the 17th-century scholar Leone Allacci.

Contextualizing Theodore Metochites and his Refoundation of the Chora

This paper proposes a re-examination of the career of Theodore Metochites and of his foundation, the monastery of the Chora, based on known material as well as hitherto unused sources, namely a letter collection that is here ascribed to him and some monastic documents. One of these documents allows us to redate the completion of the Chora and Metochites’s promotion to megas logothetes to before 1317, events until now dated to 1321 on the basis of Nikephoros Gregoras’s History. The paper studies Metochites as an official and a magnate, arguing that he was a loyal and overall efficient administrator and stressing the role of entrepreneurship in his enrichment. Monastic refoundations, including the Chora, were a key element of the imperial project to revive Constantinople. It is suggested that this task was delegated by the emperor to his high dignitaries who had to act as civic benefactors. Although Metochites was obliged to participate in this project because of his rank, the Chora gave him also the opportunity to reach the top of the hierarchy.

The Office of the Byzantine Kensor/Κένσωρ and its Representatives

The paper examines the Byzantine institution of kensor and the persons appointed to this position. The office first appears in the Escurial Taktikon (971-973) and is mentioned mostly in 11th-century seals and written sources, from which it cannot be deduced that it was a judicial officer, as has been argued by certain scholars, but only that several kensores had legal training. The seal of the protokensor Nikolaos Chrysoberges and the mention of a 'tagma' of kensores on the seal of Ioannes Pentailas, in combination with the etymology of the term, lead us to the proposition that it had something to do with the keeping, revising and checking of tax lists. Finally, for the first time, a complete list of kensores is presented in alphabetical order, after a systematic review and critical (re)examination of the sigillographic material.

The Social Position of the Soldiers and the 'Military Lands': An Interpretation (6th-10th Centuries)

The social position of the soldiers in Byzantium, as it appears in the sources, particularly in the 10th century, depended primarily on the ownership of land plots that have been characterized as 'military lands'. Our information, which comes mainly from the legislation of the emperors of the Macedonian dynasty, is contradictory in itself, while other evidence indicates that soldiers were, most of the times, 'poor'. The present study attempts to interpret this 'poverty' through the origins of the 'military lands', the significance of service as a social condition, and the legislation from the 6th to the 10th centuries.

Political Use of the Old Testament in Byzantium: Encaenia, Dedication of a Church

This paper attempts to interpret the relationship between historical events and liturgical development in Constantinople, with a focus on the Byzantine Old Testament lectionary (prophetologion) and the feast of the dedication of a church, or encaenia, meaning the initial consecration or the re-dedication of a church, but also the annual commemoration of either of the two. An examination of the Old Testament texts read at this particular festival, and of their symbolic meaning, may tell us something about the political importance of the construction, or restoration, of churches by the emperor and his use of the encaenia to consolidate his position. The analysis comprises all three encaenia feasts present in the repertoire of the prophetologion: that of the Hagia Sophia, the church of the Saviour above the Chalke Gate, and the Anastasis church in Jerusalem.

Les mathématiques de Michel d'Éphèse
Fabio ACERBI and Bernard VITRAC

Two pieces of evidence are presented and discussed that connect the Byzantine commentator Michael of Ephesus with mathematics: the fact that he owned a reference manuscript of Euclid’s Elements, and traces of his reading of Nicomachus’ Introductio arithmetica.

«Sobre la demanda que vos e vuestras hermanas havedes en el emperio de Grecia»: Mujeres, poder y diplomacia en el Mediterráneo medieval: una mensajería de Fernando IV de Castilla a Bizancio en favor de Vataza Láscaris Ventimiglia

This article presents four letters informing us of a previously unknown 'mandadería' sent by Ferdinand IV of Castile to Andronicus II Palaeologus in 1312. The main objective of this diplomatic mission was to claim some property rights belonging to Vataza Laskaris Ventimiglia and her sisters. The article reviews the life of these women of the Laskaris family in the Crown of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal, and focuses mainly on their role on the complex stage of Iberian politics and diplomacy of the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The personal capacities of these women and the social prestige of their Byzantine origins allowed them to build an extensive network of political and economic relationships. These connections explain the despatch of a royal embassy solely to serve the interests of these women.

Sarmekia: Ein neues byzantinisches Thema?
Werner SEIBT and Alexandra-Kyriaki WASSILOU-SEIBT

During the eleventh century, some new Byzantine themata were established, especially in newly conquered territories, and placed under the command of a strategos (who was a subordinate of the doux or katepano). Quite often seals are the only documentation for them. For the period between 1040 and 1060, a new seal in the collection of Wassiliou-Seibt mentions a στρατηγὸς τῆς Σαρμεκήας with the title σπαθαροκανδιδᾶτος. This officer was apparently of a foreign origin, even if his first name and surname are not clearly readable. The authors propose to locate this Sarmekia on the eastern border of Vaspourakan, because of the toponym Saramerik (and similar forms) attested not far from the town of Salmās (in north-western Iran).

La sigillographie byzantine à l'épreuve du numérique: SigiDoc 1.0

This article introduces a tool for the digital scholarly editing of Byzantine seals called SigiDoc: this encoding standard, which uses the XML language and is directly based on the experience of EpiDoc (dedicated in particular to inscriptions and papyri), has recently been released in its first stable version, 1.0, by a Franco-German research team. SigiDoc was designed to allow Byzantine sigillography to express its still insufficiently exploited potential through a semantic markup system that does not require extensive training and that can be freely and independently used by anyone. Some examples are given of how SigiDoc processes selected information to make it available for different uses (searching, indexing, sharing, etc.), while highlighting the continuity and changes with the traditional work of the sigillographer. Thanks to research projects that have just been launched or will soon be launched, the SigiDoc team has also given itself the necessary resources to lay the foundations of a digital sigillography.