Byzantinistik, Byzantinische Kunstgeschichte und Neogräzistik

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International Conference: Chronicles as Literature at the Crossroad of Past and Present


The conference is organized by the Institute of the Byzantine Studies of the University of Munich (Sergei Mariev) and  the Section for Greek and Byzantine Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden (Ingela Nilsson). 

Dates and Venue

The conference will take place on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th of April, 2016 in Munich, Germany.

On Friday, 29th of April the conference will take place in the Egyptian Museum. The Address of the Museum is: Gabelsbergerstr. 35, 80333 München. You can reach the museum using metro lines U2 and U8 (stop Königsplatz)
tram line 27 (stop Karolinenplatz) and bus line 100 (stop Pinakotheken).

On Saturday, 30th of April, the conference will take place in the IBZ Munich. The address of the IBZ is: Amalienstraße 38, 80799 München. The map showing the detailed location can be found here.


All the participants can pick up their conference kit on 29.04.2016 between 11:00 and 13:00 in Historicum, Amalienstr. 52, 3rd floor, office 305. The "Historicum" is located across the street from the hotel "Hauser". For guests: there is no registration fee, if you are planning to attend the conference as a guest, please send an E-mail to Organizers using the following address

Final Program (as of April 24th, 2016):

 Note: all papers should be app. 20 minutes long, allowing 10 minutes for questions and discussion

29.04.2016Egyptian Museum
14:00–14:30 Welcome address by the vice dean of the Faculty for the Study of Culture of the LMU University of Munich, Prof. Dr. Martin Sökefeld, and by the Organizers
14:30–15:00 Paolo Odorico, “Chronique byzantine?”
15:00–15:30 Luisa Andriollo, “When universal history comes to present: narrative temporality, chronological references and the authorial presence in Zonaras' account of Alexios Komnenos' reign”
15:30–16:00 Adam Goldwyn, “World History as Anthology: Generic Hybridity in John Malalas’ Chronicle”
16.00–16:30 Coffee break
16.30–17:00 Sergei Mariev, “The literary identity of Byzantine Chronicles”
17:00–17:30 Richard Burgess, “Freeing Byzantine Historiography from the Tyranny of Krumbacher and Hunger”
17:30–18:00 Larisa Vilimonovic, “Questioning the Content, Assessing the Form – Reframing the Chronicle of Scylitzes Continuatus”
18:30–20:30 Reception in the foyer of the Museum
30.04.16IBZ München
9:00–9:30 Umberto Roberto, “John of Antioch and his sources”
9:30–10:00 Federico Montinaro, “The Scriptor incertus, Theophanes, and the continuation of Malalas”
10:00–10:30 Varvara Zharkaya, “The remnants of unknown miscellanea in the World Chronicle by Michael Glycas”
10.30–11:00 Coffee break
11:00–11:30 William Adler, “Symeon Logothete’s “Epitome” of Africanus”
11:30–12:00 Dmitry Afinogenov, “World chronicle as meccano: removed and replaced blocks in the vulgata of Georgius Monachus”
12:00–12:30 Christian Gastgeber, “Why and for whom writing an Eastern Chronicle in the 7th c.?”
12.30–14:30 Lunch
14:30–15:00 Roger Scott, “Good stories as a key distinguishing aspect of Byzantine chronicles”
15:00–15:30 Sotiria Protogirou, “Rhetoricity and History: The case of Zonaras ‘reproducing’ Psellos”
15:30–16:00 David Westberg, “The conceptual battle of Egypt: topographical metaphor as argument in Sozomen”
16:00–16.30 Coffee break
16:30–17:00 Theofili Kampianaki, “John Zonaras’ Epitome of Histories: Intellectual Networks and Readers”
17.00–17.30 AnnaLinden Weller, “Narratives of uncertainty at the end of the reign of Basil II: legitimacy, insurrection, and model rulership in the chronicle sources for the Xiphias-Phokas revolt”
18:30 Conference Dinner



So-called “Byzantine World Chronicles” have always presented a challenge to historians of Byzantine literature. While clearly understanding the flaws of past approaches to these texts, which variously viewed them as products of a monkish mentality, written by and for poorly educated monks thirsting for religious instruction (Krumbacher), or as pieces of “trivial literature” with an “admixture of sex and crime” (Hunger), Byzantinists are now facing the challenge of re-evaluating these texts in the light of our understanding of the processes of literary and rhetorical production and its reception in Byzantium.

The present conference aims at elaborating a variety of approaches to the so-called Byzantine World Chronicles as literary texts. The “literary identity” of a particular chronicle could be defined in terms of its relationship with those literary antecedents that were known or deliberately chosen as positive or negative models by its author and with other works of literature available or read at the time of its composition, with which it was meant to compete. Our understanding of chronicles as literature might be significantly deepened by comparing chronicles with works of history, novels, hagiographical literature and many other kinds of texts known to Byzantine readers. Attention could be paid to rhetorical aspects of these texts or to the presence of “learned” vs. “popular” elements in them.

We expect to publish the papers presented at the conference in a volume of collected essays.



Sergei Mariev Ingela Nilsson
University of Munich Uppsala University