Project 2011–2014

During the four-year period (January 2011–December 2014), the associates of the Institute for Byzantine Studies, together with colleagues from abroad, will be carrying out their research within the project Tradition, innovation and identity in the Byzantine world (project leader Lj. Maksimović).

The project Tradition, innovation and identity in the Byzantine world is of a multi-disciplinary character, with a theoretical and empirical basis, the latter being related to field research concerning both historical monuments and geographical locations. It is focused on four inter-connected historical phenomena, which are of significance both for Byzantium and for the world of the Balkan region under its influence – Serbia and, in some aspects, Bulgaria.

1) State and society – In this project, research is focused on the development of the state and church institutions in Byzantium, Serbia and Bulgaria in the Byzantine period and during the first centuries of the Ottoman empire.

2) Every-day life. – The aforesaid research work provides opportunities for considering the position of the individual and the local community, as well as the examination of different concepts of time and space in medieval society, not only in Byzantium, but also in the Slavic states in the Balkans.

3) Sources of special importance. – The publication and translation of written sources (texts and inscriptions): the writings of Archbishop Demetrios Chomatenos, documents from Mount Athos, donors’ inscriptions from the 12th-15th century.

4) Ideological, religious, philosophical and historical aspects of the said phenomena – which concerns the examination of the cognitive, spiritual and, in a broader sense, cultural superstructure which contributed to the spreading of Byzantine phenomena in the Slavic world.  

The important aspect of the project is dedicated to the Archbishopric of Ohrid  in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period (1018 – 1767). Church, political, social and cultural relations within the territory of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, with a special focus on the relations between the lay and spiritual concepts of society, are to be covered through interdisciplinary research by the associates. In close connection with the aforementioned problems is the examination of the role Mount Athos played as an intermediary in cultural and social relations, as well as in the church organization between the Greeks and the Slavs in Byzantine and post-Byzantine (Ottoman) world.