Byzantium and the Viking World: a Prepublication Conference, Uppsala
av Fedir Androschuk
The 22nd International Congress for Byzantine Studies took place in Soﬁa (Bulgaria) in August 2011 under the title “Byzantium without Borders”. The theme of the congress was thus perfect to accommodate a panel discussion on Nordic links to Byzantium. Twelve scholars from Bulgaria, Denmark, England, Island, Russia and Sweden took part in the Round Table “Byzantium and the Viking World”, convened by Fedir Androshchuk and Jonathan Shepard. After the congress the convenors decided to prepare a publication on the same topic as the Round Table discussion, and Ingela Nilsson and NBN were involved in the planning of a ‘prepublication conference’. Thanks to a generous grant from Riksbankens jubileumsfond such an event could take place in Uppsala on 3-5 May 2013.
This time twenty scholars had written papers that had been distributed in advance and then were presented at the conference for discussion. In contrast to previous research which has been more focussed on the North in the modern geographical and cultural sense, the present discussion took a new turn as it brought up and investigated the concepts of ‘Viking’ and ‘Viking world’ from the perspective of a Scandinavian cultural diaspora, especially in England and Rus’, along with cultural transfer between the ‘Viking world’ and Byzantium. The sessions of the conference were organised according to the planned sections of the forthcoming publication. The opening session discussed background and reasons for the contacts and the second section examined rune stones along with other known material evidence of the contacts. The third section brought up questions of Byzantium in saga literature and Old Russian chronicles, while the fourth and ﬁnal section focussed on the impact of Christianity and the intensiﬁed contacts with a point of departure in written and archaeological sources as well as art. The forthcoming volume (to be published in Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia in 2014) will contain new ﬁndings and interpretations, aiming at oﬀering a fuller and partly new picture for scholars interested in the history of Byzantium and the North.
The organizers would like to warmly thank all contributors as well as Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, and the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology at Uppsala University.
(Originally published on July 4, 2013)