Memory of empire: the post-imperial historiography of late Antiquity (2013-2017; ERC)
This project offers the first comprehensive interpretation and reconstruction of all historiographical traditions in the Mediterranean from 300 to 800 A.D., the crucial transitional period from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Including all languages and traditions (Greek, Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic and Arabic) in a single study, it advances the hypothesis that the historiography of this period should be understood as ‘post-imperial’: the literary, cultural, and political traditions of the Roman empire remained the point of reference at a time when that empire had, by the seventh century, largely disintegrated. New realities were thus still understood and described with long-lived categories – a situation that generated both tensions and great creativity in the genre. In order to be able to test this hypothesis, the project makes new sources available, increases the accessibility of existing ones, and explores various methodologies.
Collaborators: Dr. Maria Conterno, Dr. Lieve Van Hoof, Panagiotis Manafis, Marianna Mazzola.
The cultural meaning of antiquarianism in Late Antiquity (2013-2017; FWO/NWO; co-directed with Dr. J.W. Drijvers, Groningen)
Late ancient interest in the distant past developed under the influence of an increased awareness of the fundamental changes the world was undergoing, which increased the sensibility for the distance from the classical past. To study this phenomenon, this project will edit fragmentary antiquarian authors and situate the genre in its proper socio-literary context, namely the continued practice of rhetoric in late antique society.
Collaborators: Lorenzo Focanti, Raf Praet
Living texts. Historiography and literature in the early Byzantine Period (2012-2015; FWO; co-directed with Prof. M. De Groote)
Many histories were repeatedly and thoroughly reworked by copyists or other authors. Nevertheless, they often continued to circulate under the name of their first author as if they were the unchanged work of that author. This phenomenon serves as a lense to show that discussions about authorship, authority, and audience in early Byzantine historiography have so far been predicated on the idea of a text as a fixed entity produced by a single author.
Collaborator: Emerance Delacenserie
The Syriac chronicle of 1234: introduction, translation, and commentary (2010-2013; BOF)
This project seeks to revaluate the largely neglected Syriac chronicle of 1234 as an important source for the reconstruction of earlier Greek and Syriac historiographical traditions.
Collaborator: Andy Hilkens