City Making in Byzantine Athens
March 22, 2023 @ 6:00 pm CDT
Department of Classical Studies
New Orleans, LA 70118 United States
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society: New Orleans
Lecturer: Fotini Kondyli
My work seeks to reconstruct the topography and spatial layout of Byzantine Athens (4th-15th c AD), and better understand contemporary living conditions and socio-economic activities in the city. Emphasis is placed on city-making processes and particularly the role of non-elite, ordinary people in them. Like modern cities, Byzantine ones were stages of key political events ranging from rituals that celebrated imperial power to riots and acts of resistance. I thus approach Byzantine cities as highly political environments and explore city-making activities as political actions. In doing so, I pay equal attention to monumental public spaces as well as streets, open unbuilt areas, and common areas out and around houses. I also examine changes in the urban environment that point to ordinary people’s involvement and consider the impact of such activities in enhancing their social capital and political influence. My project provides new approaches to the reconstruction of Byzantine cities by attempting to rewrite Athens’ history from the perspective of ordinary people’s individual and collective experiences. It also contributed to a diachronic study of urban phenomena including civic groups, urban planning, and political action.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):
Kondyli, Fotini. “The View of Archaeology.” In The Byzantine Neighbourhood. Urban Space and Political Action, edited by Fotini Kondyli and Benjamin Anderson. Abingdon: Routledge, 2022, 44–68.
Bouras, Charalambos. Byzantine Athens, 10th–12th Centuries. London: Routledge, 2017.
Frantz, Alison. Late Antiquity: AD. 267–700 (The Athenian Agora, vol. XXIV). Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1988.
Kaldellis, Anthony. The Christian Parthenon: Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.