grouped by Dionisius Agius (27/10/03):
Abstract paper a-
In 1135, an anti-Norman alliance was made between Byzantium and Germany. Twenty years later, a Byzantine army was sent into Norman Apulia which occupied much of the Adriatic coastline until its expulsion the following year. All historians have assumed the goal of this military expedition to be territorial conquest, either as the re-conquest of the lost province, or as a buffer against future Norman attacks. I will show that in fact the campaign was merely a punitive expedition with no aims of conquest and that all the accompanying diplomacy from 1135 until Byzantium’s formal recognition of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1158 was aimed solely at deferring Norman attacks, not at wholesale conquest.
Abstract paper b
The descriptions of Rome that can be read in the works of the Arab geographers of the Middle Ages (IX-XV centuries) do not appear to correspond to the actual city itself. From the early geographers of the Abbasid Caliphate until the later compilations of Ibn al-Wardi and al-Bistami, there appears a city described as having three sides surrounded by the sea and with one side connected to the dry land, defended by a deep canal and powerful, double town-walls with two main gates. It also was said to have a great church in the middle called the ‘Church of Sion’ or the ‘Church of Nations’. But there is a twist in the tale, these were not descriptions of Rome, but Constantinople.