skip to main content

Byzantine Studies

Byzantine Studies

Programme Director: Professor Olga Gratziou
Information: Departmental Secretariat, tel: 0030 28310 773770030 28310 77377 , 77379, e-mail:

Ι. Presentation of the Programme
Since the academic year 1998-1999, in the School of Philosophy of the University of Crete runs an interdisciplinary postgraduate programme in “Byzantine Studies” (Β7/ 302/12.7.98 Greek State Official Gazette Issue 848/12-8-98 and Β7/848/6.11.2002 Greek State Official Gazette Issue 1465, vol.Β’/21.11.2002). This programme is organised by the Departments of History and Archaeology, Philology, Physics of the University of Crete, whereas the Technical University of Crete also collaborates.
The Programme addresses the study of history and civilization of Byzantium in a broader context both in the areas of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean, and in the Medieval Europe. Among its aims is also the utilization of the contemporary physical-chemical methods in the research of material residua and the familiarizing of the students, particularly those of Archaeology, with these methods.
The programme has three directions, which constitute also particular sections of specialization:
• Byzantine History
• Byzantine Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art
• Byzantine Philology.
Each direction offers seminars and exercises/laboratories that are compulsory or free choices. The seminars of each direction may be selected as ‘collateral’ by students of other directions. As collateral seminars a student may also select seminars of postgraduate programmes of other relative directions offered at the School of Philosophy.
Among the Programme’s broader aims is to represent in the most complete possible way the contemporary research schools and tendencies, and to familiarize the students with contemporary technology. Particularly the students of Byzantine Archaeology and Art are trained in the analytical methods and techniques of natural sciences. For this reason in the Programme also participate the Physics Department of the University of Crete (Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser – FORTH), as well as external cooperators from the Mineral Resources Engineering Department of the Technical University of Crete. Instructors of relative historical, philological and archaeological sections of other Greek and foreign Higher Education Institutions also collaborate with the Programme.

II. Degrees and Duration of Study
1. Degrees
The Postgraduate Study Programme (P.S.P.) in “Byzantine Studies” awards:
a) Postgraduate Specialization Degree (equivalent to Masters Degree) in the directions of:
• Byzantine History
• Byzantine Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art
• Byzantine Philology.
b) Ph.D./Doctoral Degree in the respective directions.

2. Duration of Study
The duration of studies for the Postgraduate Specialization Degree is five (5) at least and six (6) at most academic semesters, whereas for the award of the Ph.D./Doctoral Degree six to eight (6-8) academic semesters are required.

ΙΙΙ. Entry/Admission Requirements
1. Graduate Categories
Candidates for the Postgraduate Study Programme (P.S.P.) in “Byzantine Studies” must be graduates of departments of Philology, History and Archaeology, Philosophical and Social Sciences of Greek or foreign universities.
Furthermore the direction of Byzantine Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art admits also graduates from Greek or foreign Higher Education Institutions of the Departments of Social Anthropology and Architecture, whereas the direction of Byzantine History admits also graduates of Social Anthropology.
The selection of postgraduate students for the acquisition of the Postgraduate Specialization Degree in “Byzantine Studies” is made according to the article 12 of the law 2083/1992. In particular, the following factors (all in a 10-degree scale) are being quantified/co-estimated:
• Degree grade with coefficient 1
• Oral interview with coefficient 2
• Written exam on the main direction course with coefficient 2
• Oral exam with coefficient 2
• Foreign Language (English or French or German or Italian) with coefficient 1
• Written proposal of the candidate with coefficient 0.5
Necessary requirement for the candidate’s admission is to take a pass; on the whole at least 60 units of a total of 85 are required.
The entry exams are held every year during the last ten days of February or/and of October. The announcements concerning the topics to be examined and the number of students being admitted are released in December and March respectively.

2. Number of students being admitted
The total number of the Programme’s students is set at a maximum limit of twenty-five (25).

IV. Regulation and Curriculum
1. Programme of courses of the First Cycle of Postgraduate Studies
The courses, the teaching and research activity, the practical exercises and all other kinds of educative and research activities for the award of the Postgraduate Specialization Degree are described below:
Each postgraduate student must attend one module of interdisciplinary postgraduate seminars. These seminars are often carried out with the contribution of instructors of different specializations. The thematic modules of the seminars are:
1. Middle Ages in the East and West. Institutions, mentalities, art.
2. Aspects of Byzantium’s social and economic history
3. Archaeological evidence on the Byzantium’s history and civilization
4. Text and icon in Byzantium
In particular, the topics by direction are as follows:
a) Byzantine History
1. History of institutions in Byzantium
2. Centers, roads and media in Byzantium
3. Byzantium and the Slavic world
4. History of byzantine studies

b) Byzantine Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art
1. Byzantine architecture topics
2. Byzantine Art and Art of the Western European Middle Ages
3. The byzantine manuscript
4. The city and cities in the Byzantine Empire

c) Byzantine Philology
1. Tradition and textual criticism
2. Tradition of historiography in Byzantium
3. Historical reality and philological conventions
4. Hagiological philology

1. Byzantine palaeography and study of code
2. Byzantine numismatics and study of seals
3. Byzantine pottery
4. Byzantine epigraphy
5. Archaeological field research.

The following laboratories are also offered for the direction of Byzantine Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art:
1. Interaction between radiation and material/substance. Introduction
2. Contemporary representational techniques
3. Laser applications in conservation and highlighting/elevation of monuments and works of art
4. Techniques of authentication and authenticity assurance
5. Construction materials of monuments
6. Conservation materials of monuments
7. Geophysical detection methods in archaeological sites

In order to meet the needs of the laboratories and field training/exercises original archival and archaeological material is being used, thanks to the contribution of the Archaeological Museums of Crete, the Historical Museum of Crete, the 13th and 28th Ephorates of Byzantine Antiquities.
Each seminar course is being taught three hours per week for thirteen weeks. The participation of students in the seminars is completed by the elaboration of a written seminar essay.
For the acquisition of the Postgraduate Specialization Degree in “Byzantine Studies” postgraduate students must accumulate a-hundred-and-fifty (150) credit units, deriving from the successful participation in five postgraduate seminars, two laboratories or exercises and from the elaboration of a Masters thesis. In particular, they must participate successfully in:
• three seminars of the main direction (13 credit units each)
• two ‘collateral’ seminars, which they can choose from those offered in the other directions (13 credit units each)
• two at least exercises/laboratories by choice (5 credit units each), and
• write, submit and present a Masters thesis. The writing of this thesis is supervised by an instructor of the specific direction and its sufficiency is judged by a three-member committee consisting of the supervisor and two more instructors appointed by the General Assembly of Special Composition, following a suggestion by the supervisor. It corresponds to 75 credit units.

2. Ph. D. degrees
Holders of the Postgraduate Specialization Degree (P.S.D.) of a Greek or foreign University are admitted as Ph.D. candidates by the General Assembly of Special Composition (G.A.S.C.) of one of the collaborating Departments, which also appoints the three-member committee.
In certain exceptional cases candidates without a P.S.D. may be admitted, if the Department’s General Assembly of Special Composition considers that the requirements of the Postgraduate Specialization Degree are met by their research and publications.
The enrolled students participate in the seminars of the Ph.D. candidates and each semester they submit a written report on the progress of their work. When the thesis is completed the G.A.S.C., following the suggestion of the supervisor, appoints the seven-member examination committee and the thesis is defended by the postgraduate student during an open meeting, according to the orders of the article 12 of the law 2083/1992.

3. Scholarships
An award in the memory of Stella Papadaki-Okland is being granted since the academic year 2003-2004.


V. Facilities/ Material and technical infrastructure
The University of Crete has a significant infrastructure for Byzantine Studies. The Central Library of the University at Rethymno contains more than 250,000 volumes and is constantly being enriched with books, periodicals/journals and microfilms, whereas lately it is also developing vigorously its electronic department (digital library, electronic journals, CD-ROMS). It currently subscribes to 1,300 periodicals and possesses complete series of all the important Greek and foreign periodicals on byzantine studies. It includes significant for the byzantine studies private libraries (Orlandos, Arvanitides, Merlier, Moatsos, Fytrakis, Galavaris, Kalokyris) and a good collection of old and valuable books.
The library is lending for the main part of its collection and owns a department of inter-lending from other libraries. The library’s electronic system offers one the possibility to search apart from its catalogue many Greek and foreign databases, thus facilitating the bibliographic information and continuous update. The network ERMES of the National Documentation Centre provides access to the Collective Catalogue of Periodicals of Greek libraries. The portal Zephyros provides access to all Greek academic libraries.
The microfilms archive of byzantine manuscripts of the Paleogaphy Laboratory, Department of Philology, and the Photo-library of the Department of History and Archaeology contain a wealth of material for the students’ update and practice. Part of the educative collection forms the pottery collection from late Roman to contemporary times, which the postgraduate students of the direction of Byzantine Archaeology and History of Art can use for their exercise/practice. Moreover at the students’ disposal are electronic databases with bibliography on byzantine studies, whereas they are also offered the possibility to practice themselves in the creation of databases for the byzantine monuments of Crete, the byzantine inscriptions and the electronic storage of iconographical/pictorial material.
Particularly for postgraduate students of Byzantine Archaeology, the proximity to the monuments of Crete assures contact with original material and the possibility for in situ exercise. The collaboration of the postgraduate study programme with the Ephorates of Antiquities of Crete for the classification, documentation and study of medieval pottery from excavations and for the study of byzantine churches provides essential ground for familiarizing the Archaeology students.
The Department houses a Laboratory which is at the students’ disposal. The Laboratory is equipped with an adequate number of computers and other inspectional devices necessary for the function of the P.S.P. The rich Photo-library of the Department is also at the students’ disposal. Furthermore, an educative collection is being structured at the Department of History and Archaeology with the collaboration of postgraduate students.

Bibliography for entry exams in Byzantine Studies