IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1109: Skint: Peasants and Poverty in Byzantium, II

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 11.15-12.45

Organisers:Anna C. Kelley, Department of Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Birmingham
Flavia Vanni, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, Department of Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Birmingham
Moderator/Chair:Henry Maguire, Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University
Paper 1109-aCompetitive Piety and the Politics of Church Construction: Peasant Patrons in Byzantine Palestine, 550-700
(Language: English)
Daniel K. Reynolds, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Ecclesiastical History, Lay Piety
Paper 1109-bNo Lilies of the Field: Teens and Children at Work
(Language: English)
Cecily Hennessy, Christie's Education
Index terms: Art History - General, Byzantine Studies, Daily Life
Paper 1109-c'Let Them Eat Cake': Female Philanthropy in the Palaiologan Period
(Language: English)
Lauren A. Wainwright, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Gender Studies, Social History, Women's Studies
Abstract

Byzantium as a political and cultural entity is one largely observed through the eyes and agency of its imperial and clerical elite. As the authors and commissioners of most of the documented sources that survive, the history of the Byzantine world of the 4th to 15th centuries, is essentially their history. Yet, such individuals and groups comprised only a fraction of the population living within the empire’s borders.

Harder to deduce are the roles and lives of its demographic majority: non-elites and the poor. Such groups are largely ignored in the written sources and therefore hold a diminished position in contemporary the scholarship. These sessions seek to remedy this issue. Scholars continue to develop new approaches for examining the daily interactions and activities of non-elite populations, including the peasantry, urban labourers, and the destitute. Equally fundamental are questions about how the poor were conceptualised and controlled by the primary custodians of wealth and power. Through a synthesis of archaeological, textual, and art historical remains this panel aims to explore a more dynamic understanding of poverty and the peasant condition within the pre-modern eastern Mediterranean.