I am chiefly interested in the political, religious, and administrative history of the Late Antique (Roman-Persian) and Medieval (Byzantine-Islamic) worlds, with the later Roman and then Byzantine Empire serving as my base of operations, so to speak, throughout this period. The majority of my research concentrates on the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East between the fifth and eighth centuries.
In my DPhil thesis, I am writing a religious and social history of the Byzantines who remained in the Near East after the Arab conquests of the mid-seventh century. In particular, I focus on the communities of Egypt and Palestine from c. 680 to c. 710 CE under the Marwānid dynasty of the Umayyad Caliphate. My thesis is largely, but not exclusively, dedicated to the extant literary output of a monastic raconteur and disputant who flourished during this period: Anastasius of Sinai, a Chalcedonian Greek-speaker based in Egypt and St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai. Originally from Cyprus, Anastasius first journeyed to Jerusalem and the Judean desert monasteries in the wake of the first Arab raids on Cyprus, and then used Saint Catherine's as a home base for his career in early Islamic Egypt. Our chief Greek-speaking witness to life in the ex-Byzantine provinces in the decades following the Arab conquests, Anastasius's oeuvre represents a number of marked shifts in the way Chalcedonian Byzantine communities organized themselves ecclesiastically, sought patronage from their new rulers, engaged in religious polemic, and underwent social and ideological reorientation during the transition from Byzantine to Islamic hegemony. Moreover, many of his texts bear witness to an important period of change in early Islamic history, during which Islam began to be more publicly identified with the caliphate. Despite offering us an unusually wide array of historical material, the works of Anastasius have never been studied in toto with a view to his multiple and complex historical contexts - a lacuna my thesis aims to fill.
My degree has been generously funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation DPhil Scholarship, providing me with full funding.
I hold a BA (summa cum laude) in Biblical Studies/Theology from Johnson University, an MPhil with Merit in Theology (Patristic Theology) from the University of Oxford, and an MA with Distinction in History (Late Antique and Byzantine Studies) from University College London.
My research interests include:
- The Later Roman Empire, in particular the Age of Justinian
- The Byzantine Empire to 1453, its administrative and ecclesiastical history
- Early Islamic history and the formation of the caliphate from the conquests to the Abbasids
- Byzantine foreign policy and diplomacy with the West and the East in the Middle Ages
- Greek and Syriac letter collections spanning the 7th to the 9th centuries
- Late Roman and early Islamic papyrology in Greek
Supervisors: Phil Booth & Alison Salvesen