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The Aegean in the middle Byzantine period (7th-12th c.): a reconstruction of a tableau of the administration on the basis of old and new evidence

Bearbeiter: Dr. Christos Malatras

This project intends to collect the whole array of literary and archaeological evidence pertaining to the administration of the Aegean basin, analyse it in the light of the most recent advances in scholarly research and combine it in order to offer for the first time a complete and up-to-date reconstruction of the administrative environment of this vital region during the middle Byzantine period (7th-12th c.). By focusing on one particular region the research on Byzantine administration will look closer at regional particularities, in order to understand much better processes of transformation empire-wide and offer answers to a number of questions which are still the object of scholarly debate. More particularly, the project intends to examine the thematic system as an institution and its evolution in the Aegean basin, the formation of administration according to both central and peripheral needs, the place that fortifications had in the local and the wider defence and communication networks, and, finally, to construct a complete prosopographic catalogue of all the state officials active in the Aegean during this period accompanied by the relevant evidence on both sigillographic and non-sigillographic sources.

Previous research has relied heavily on written sources, with all their known now problems, offering thus a distorted picture of Byzantine administration. This picture is being gradually corrected thanks to the contribution of sigillography, a constantly expanding discipline that offers an unprecedented wealth of up-to-date information, allowing us to re-evaluate the evidence and offer a serious reassessment of the Byzantine administrative system. During this project research will be conducted using both old and recently discovered evidence with a particular emphasis on unpublished sigillographic material that has been located in museum collection or in auction sale catalogues.