Welcome to my blog! I’m currently a PhD student based at Manchester looking at how interconnected the Christian world was in the sixth and seventh centuries. More specifically, I am thinking about how ‘transnational monks’ (or as my friend put it, ‘monks on gap years’) allowed ideologies and debates to pass from one end of the Mediterranean to the other – some travelled as pilgrims, others as refugees, but they all passed through the diverse worlds of Christendom and made it a very colourful place. Beyond my current project, I am also interested in the political and cultural transformations of this period, which is still popularly known as the ‘Dark Ages’. Instead, I see it as a more dynamic period, in which many cultures flourished and continuity was the norm rather than the exception. This is something that I’ll do my best to explain in my posts here in the future.
As for the name of the blog, I was previously trained as a Byzantinist during my Master’s at Oxford and so have focused on studying the eastern Roman empire during late antiquity. I am now just as comfortable in the early medieval west as well (some have even called me an Anglo-Saxonist…), which has been invaluable for me as it allowed me to pick out patterns from two opposite sides of Europe. Though the past is often seen as a rather isolated place in which people rarely ventured beyond their homes, I prefer to point out the exceptions instead, which I think paints a very different picture. A ‘Byzantine’ perspective is therefore quite useful, as it provides a distinctly non-traditional vantage point on western history by involving the eastern Mediterranean. With this blog, I hope to show that the sixth and seventh centuries were fascinating times to study, not just for fans of history, but also for a broader audience, as I firmly believe that (ancient) history is still relevant in the modern world.
Well, that’s the hope anyway. I’m just getting started on this blog and there is so much more to learn, but I hope you will enjoin reading my thoughts nonetheless. I also tweet somewhat half-heartedly as @shlin28, so if you are interested in my more inane ramblings, please follow me on Twitter as well!