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Trajectories in the Byzantine fabric of time: philosophical and narratological approaches to temporal (dis)order in middle Byzantium


ByzTime proposes to investigate the Byzantine concept of time from the vantage point of three distinct yet interrelated literary genres: philosophical treatises, apocalyptic prophecies, and historiographical narratives. The aim is to establish new and holistic insights into the elusive fabric of time conceptions during the later middle Byzantine period (11th– 13th c.). This timeframe allows us to consider one of the most productive periods of Byzantine thought while taking into account the disparate availability of different kinds of textual sources, namely (1) philosophical treatises that discuss the notion of time and eternity, (2) medieval Greek apocalypses that describe the end of times, and (3) historiographical narratives of the Komnēnian era, which advance various temporal strategies in narrating the course of events. The philosophical treatises will be analyzed in terms of their argumentative validity, historical significance, and conceptual approaches to time, while the historiographical and prophetic material will be examined regarding the literary strategies of narrating time, aspects in narrative speed, the (ir-)regularity of verb tenses, typological layers, and temporal motifs. The diversity of the sources and the nature of the project’s goals necessitate an interdisciplinary approach that combines Byzantine history, literary criticism, palaeography, philology, philosophy, religious studies, and digital humanities. ByzTime will produce 12 deliverables, including the participation in two international conferences and the publication of six peer-reviewed articles. Among the publications will be the critical edition of five treatises by the middle Byzantine philosopher John Italos and editiones principes of three Byzantine prophecies. A scholarly symposium on “Time in Byzantium” will also be organized. Ultimately, ByzTime promotes the “temporal turn” in Byzantine studies through the multidisciplinary investigation of the middle Byzantine notion(s) of time.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-RI - RI – Reintegration panel


Universitatsring 1
1010 Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 186 167,04