[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Workshop: November 16, 2012

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Fri Nov 9 13:53:15 PST 2012


Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Two Hegemonies, One Island:
Cyprus between the Byzantines and the Umayyads
(c.a. 650 - ca. 850 A.D.)

Luca Zavagno
Eastern Mediterranean University
Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies
      lzavagno at princeton.edu<mailto:lzavagno at princeton.edu>

Respondent: Helmut Reimitz, History

This workshop aims to assess the political and cultural status of the island of Cyprus as the only place within the Mediterranean where Christian heirs of Romans and Muslims shared the local tax revenue to create a buffer zone between two empires. Geographically isolated between the Constantinopolitan and Damascene hegemonies, and marginalized by emperors and caliphs alike, the development of Cyprus was destined to take a unique, perhaps problematic, trajectory.  Detailed examination of archaeological material (seals, coins, ceramics and material artifacts) suggests a different interpretative scheme to the one traditionally adopted to interpret the declining fate of Cyprus after the Muslim raids and the occupation of Syria and Palestine. Instead, I propose Cyprus and its cities were still active from late antiquity to the early middle ages, preserving a variable but still traceable degree of economic vitality (as mirrored into the circulation of Byzantine and Arab coinage and locally-made and imported pottery), which infers the maintenance of complex political, commercial and cultural relations between the Byzantine Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate.

Luca Zavagno graduated from the University of Venice (2002); he obtained his Ph.D. (2007) at the University of Birmingham with a dissertation on the society, economics and politics of Byzantine cities in the early middle ages. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus.  He is the author of Cities in Transition: Urbanism in Byzantium Between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (British Archaeological Reports-International Series, 2009). His research interests are in the area of Byzantine and early Islamic history and archaeology and early medieval settlement in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is also the co-organizer of the Conference of the Mediterranean Worlds (www.medworlds.org<http://www.medworlds.org>), Teaching Fellow of the School of Advanced Studies of the University of Salerno, and Associate Scholar of the Mediterranean Seminar (http://humweb.ucsc.edu/mediterraneanseminar/).

Friday, November 16, 2012
1:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

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