IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1209: Skint: Peasants and Poverty in Byzantium, III

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 14.15-15.45

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:Eunice Dauterman Maguire, Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University
Paper 1209-aStatus and Shrouds: Investigating a Society through Funerary Garments
(Language: English)
Anna C. Kelley, Department of Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Byzantine Studies, Daily Life, Economics - General
Paper 1209-bEnigmatic Portraits: Servants in Byzantium
(Language: English)
Leslie Brubaker, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies / Institute of Archaeology & Antiquity, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Art History - General, Byzantine Studies, Daily Life, Social History
Paper 1209-c‘The Poor Shall Eat and Be Satisfied’: The Ideal of Christian Poverty in the Refectories of Constantinople
(Language: English)
Jessica Varsallona, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Byzantine Studies, Daily Life
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.