Online Workshop: Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

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Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

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The purpose of this postgraduate and early-career workshop is to close the artificial divides, especially between "secular" and "ecclesiastical" politics, imposed on the sixth century by the specialisations of modern scholarship. The papers will explore how power was contested and secured "without limits", because only such an all-encompassing approach can adequately take account of the interconnectedness of the sixth-century world, the flexible array of political pressures to which those in power were subjected, and the sometimes unexpected consequences of responding to these pressures. The goal of this approach is to produce a more holistic, comprehensive understanding of sixth-century power struggles in order to better reflect their multivalent nature.

The workshop will take place over Zoom. Links will be distributed to all registered attendees. Please direct any questions and accessibility requests to the organisers (Matt Hassall,; Silvio Roggo,

The call for papers:

The schedule:

		Online Workshop: Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire image

		Online Workshop: Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire image


Online Workshop

7-8 December 2021


10:00 Opening Remarks (Matt Hassall & Silvio Roggo, Cambridge)

Conceptions of Imperial Power

10:20 Securing Legitimate Power: Roman Jurisprudence, God’s Justice, and the Res Publica (William Bunce, Oxford)

11:10 The Multiple Bases of Imperial Power in the Justinianic Dialogue On Political Science (René de Nicolay, Zürich)

12:00 Lunch

Literature at the Imperial Court

13:00 A Slayer of Tyrants: Celebrating Victory at the Court of Justin II (Sihong Lin, Sheffield)

13:50 Navigating a Culture Clash at the Court of Justinian I (Matt Hassall, Cambridge)

14:40 Break

Beyond Constantinople

15:00 Accession Oaths and the Dynamics of Power: The Parallel Cases of Anastasius and Athalaric (Michael Wuk, Lincoln)

15:50 Gregory of Tours and Imperial Power (Catherine-Rose Hailstone, York)

16:40 Imperial Power Negotiation in the Acts of Titus (Michael Scott Robertson, Twickenham)

17:30 Close of Play


Church Politics

11:00 The Miaphysite Persecution of the 570s and the Patriarchs of Constantinople (Silvio Roggo, Cambridge)

11:50 Roman Emperors and Christian Doctrine: Some Remarks Based on the Monothelete Controversy (Nadine Viermann, Durham)

12:40 Lunch

Civil and Sacred Administration

13:40 Holy Civil Servants: Monks and Monasteries as Key Elements of the Roman Fiscal Infrastructure in Sixth-Century Egypt (Thomas Laver, Cambridge

14:30 Scribing Late Antique Orthodoxy: The Cleric-Notary and his Functions in Fifth- and Sixth-Century Conciliar Disputation (Norman Underwood, New York)

15:20 Break

The Politics of Sacred Space

15:40 For Power and Prestige: The Political Dimensions of Anikia Juliana’s Ecclesiastical Matronage in Sixth-Century Constantinople (Maureen McGuire, California, Santa Cruz)

16:30 Paul the Silentiary’s Description of the Hagia Sophia: Ekphrasis and Encomium as Means of Political Authority in Late Antiquity (Manolis Spanakis, Crete)

17:20 Closing Remarks (Matt Hassall & Silvio Roggo, Cambridge)

17:40 Close of Play

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Organiser Matt Hassall & Silvio Roggo (University of Cambridge)

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