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Anna Christidou Memorial Lecture: Breaks in the narrative: The continuity of the Byzantine past in Muslim Anatolia

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Thursday, March 16, 2023, 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm

Breaks in the narrative: The continuity of the Byzantine past in Muslim Anatolia

This talk seeks to challenge enduring, Western notions of cultural continuity and discontinuity by focusing on the display of spolia, reused artifacts from the past, in Anatolia before 1500. Spolia have been at the heart of art historical and archaeological studies for many decades now, but have rarely been discussed in relation to concepts of history and cultural heritage. This talk explores their potential to question traditional epistemologies and to help us understand how history and heritage were constructed differently in the premodern era. Through a critical cultural heritage approach, I will study ideas of ownership of the past expressed through and mirrored in the use of spolia. The reuse of ancient and early Byzantine artifacts in Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman architecture in Anatolia is a thus-far underestimated tool to address these questions and to challenge ideas of cultural belonging, ownership, and historical continuity.

Armin Bergmeier teaches late antique, Byzantine, and Islamic material culture at Leipzig University. He has held a visiting professorship for late antique and Byzantine art history at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich in the fall semester of 2022/23. He has been a Fulbright Fellow at Columbia University in New York, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, and a senior fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul.

You can attend the seminar either in person or via Zoom. 

Please note that external guests need to register for events. If you are an external guest, please send an email to by March 15 at the latest. We will request a visitor card for you, which you can pick up from the reception desk when you arrive for the event.

If you plan to attend online, the zoom link:…

Meeting ID: 991 5694 4247

Passcode: 425216

Time: Mar 16, 2023 05:30 PM Budapest