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A Rus traveller in Constantinople

King's Building, Strand Campus, London

22 Jan
Sappho statue
Part of CHS Late Antique & Byzantine Studies Seminar Series

The travel accounts of pilgrims from the Slavonic world offer insight into the shifting urban landscape of medieval Constantinople. Texts such as the ‘Pilgrim’s book’ of Anthony of Novgorod who describes Constantinople c.1200, provide fanciful accounts of the Constantinopolitan landscape loaded with anecdotes, amplifications, and interpolations.  One of the major shortcomings of the ‘Pilgrim’s book’, in terms of legibility, is that the description does not seem to follow any semblance of geographic order and zigzags from holy site to holy site, making it difficult to situate oneself topographically within the city based on what is written in the text. The narrative races between the church of St. Sophia, the Imperial Palace churches and shrines, and the churches of the environs of Constantinople, some of which are entirely unrecognizable, and this is by no means a question of literary genre. This talk will present possible reconstructions of the account based on extant manuscript witnesses, and the repercussions for using the text as a witness to the urban landscape of medieval Constantinople.

Alexandra Vukovich is a current research fellow at the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies at the University of Cambridge. Alexandra began her studies in Strasbourg and Paris where she read for a degree in Classics with a minor in Russian. Alexandra continued her studies at the University of Cambridge where she expanded her study of the Byzantine cultural sphere to early Rus and Muscovy. The book resulting from her doctorate and initial post-doctoral studies, is entitled Politics and Ritual in Early Rus. In the years following her doctorate, Alexandra has held fellowships at Newnham College (Cambridge), the French School at Rome, Dumbarton Oaks, and she was an Onassis Fellow at the British School at Athens.

Part of the Late Antique and Byzantine Studies seminar series.

This event is open to all and free to attend. No booking is required.

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