This term’s LABS Seminars amount to a continuation of the conference held under the same title in Worcester College on September 27th-28th, by way of marking the centenary of Professor Dimitri Obolensky along with the impending half-century since publication of The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500-1453. The speakers are Oxford-based, and they are all either past or present post-holders in the University. Some will address topics germane to the ‘Commonwealth’ as Obolensky saw it, notably relations with the Slavonic-speaking world and the diffusion of texts, tales and imagery of Byzantine origin, together with the empire’s relationship with elites on the periphery and further afield, in the steppes. Others will be considering the circulation of texts and stories in sundry directions, with Byzantium serving as transmitter or intermediary. Alternative forms of a Commonwealth more or less under the emperor’s aegis will also feature, notably in the paper entitled ‘Byzantium and the Miaphysite Commonwealth’. So, too, will the constituent parts of Byzantium, both during the empire’s territorial existence and in its Afterlife, and our final speaker will view the subject of Empire and Commonwealth from the perspective of the present day.
Speaker: Professor Dame Averil Cameron