Summer School in Byzantine Greek Script and Book Culture
Athens, 22-27 June 2020

Course Outline

The Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) announces the organization of the Summer School in Byzantine Greek Script and Book Culture to be held in Athens between June 22 and 27, 2020.

The Summer School is a six-day intensive course on the history of the Greek Script and Book Culture from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity. Taught by a team of leading specialists, it includes classes on Greek Palaeography and Codicology (Zisis Melissakis, NHRF), Book Culture (Stratis Papaioannou, University of Crete), Diplomatics (Kostis Smyrlis, NHRF) and Epigraphy (Nicholas Melvani, University of Mainz/NHRF).

The Summer School will be mainly held at the premises of the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens and will include visits to the National Library of Greece, which holds one of world’s largest and most significant collections of Greek manuscripts, as well as to museums and archaeological sites in Attica. Participants of the Summer School will thus have the opportunity to inspect original medieval codices, documents, and inscriptions.

The 2020 Summer School is a successor of the well-received Summer School on Greek Palaeography and Byzantine Epigraphy, held on the island of Patmos in 2016 and 2017:

The number of participants is limited to 20. They will be selected on the basis of their CV and a short statement of purpose.

The course will be taught in English.
All participants will receive a certificate of participation.





  • Greek Script History, 6 hours
  • Codicology, 3 hours
  • Byzantine Book Culture, 7 hours
  • Training in Manuscript Reading, 5 hours
  • Byzantine Archives & Diplomatics, 5 hours
  • Training in Document Reading, 2 hours
  • Byzantine Epigraphy, 4 hours




Application Procedure

The Summer School is addressed to graduate and post-doctoral students as well as to advanced undergraduate students who will have completed at least two semesters of Ancient Greek by June 2020.

The final deadline for applying is 1 April 2020.

Candidates are invited to fill in and submit the online application form.

Applicants will be informed of the selection results by e-mail by 7 April 2020.





Zisis Melissakis

Zisis Melissakis is senior researcher at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. His main research interests are Greek Palaeography and Codicology and the History of the Greek printed book (15th-19th c.). His publications include: Catalogue of Manuscripts and Old Printed Books of the Tyrnavos Municipal Library, 2 vols. (2007, 2016); Archives of the Monastery of Esphigmenou. Summaries of Post-Byzantine Documents (2008). His current research focuses on the libraries of Mount Athos and of other monasteries. At present he leads the project to catalogue the Greek manuscripts of Saint John monastery on Patmos.

Full CV:


Nicholas Melvani

Nicholas Melvani is research associate at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. He has collaborated on several research projects of the Institute of Historical Research of the National Research Foundation in Athens, where he teaches a course in Byzantine Epigraphy since 2012. He is the author of Late Byzantine Sculpture (2013) and of studies on Byzantine sculpture, epigraphy, and on the history and topography of Constantinople. He has also published articles on Mount Athos and on Byzantine monasticism in general.



Stratis Papaioannou

Stratis Papaioannou is professor of Byzantine Literature at the University of Crete. He specializes in the literary culture and history of Byzantium and has taught at the Catholic University of America and at Brown University. His publications include: Michael Psellos: Rhetoric and Authorship in Byzantium (2013), Christian Novels from the Menologion of Symeon Metaphrastes (2017), and the critical edition of Psellos' epistolary corpus, Michael Psellus, Epistulae (2019).

Home page:


Kostis Smyrlis

Kostis Smyrlis is associate researcher at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. He has taught at New York University and Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. He has authored La fortune des grands monastères byzantins, fin du Xe-milieu du XIVe siècle (2006) and several studies on the empire’s economy and society, state finances and monastic history. As member of the Paris-based team editing (in the Archives de l’Athos series) the Byzantine documents kept in the monasteries of Mount Athos, he has co-edited Actes de Vatopédi II and III (2006 and 2019) and is currently preparing Actes de Zographou.







The Summer School will be held in Athens. All lectures will take place at the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF: The sessions involving inspection of medieval codices will be held at the premises of the new National Library of Greece ( For Byzantine inscriptions and documents, we will be visiting the Byzantine and Christian Museum. The NHRF is one of the leading scholarly institutions of Greece, comprising three Institutes of Research and regularly hosting conferences, educational events and exhibitions ( The Institute of Historical Research boasts a host of distinguished scholars working on the ancient, medieval and modern Eastern Mediterranean.

The NHRF is located in the heart of Athens. It is a few minutes’ walk to the Byzantine and Christian, Benaki and Modern Art museums and the National Art Gallery. It is also near to the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora as well as to the city’s old center of Plaka. There is easy access to public transportation, including the metro ("Evangelismos" station is 200 meters away).




Travel, Accommodation and Lunch

Participants are invited to make their own transportation and accommodation arrangements.
Central Athens and especially the area around the National Hellenic Research Foundation offer a rich selection of affordable hotels and rented apartments.

During the midday break, participants may lunch at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants situated in the immediate vicinity of the National Hellenic Research Foundation.




The Summer School will charge participant fees of 500 Euros. Successful candidates for the summer school must pay the fees by 27 April 2020. Fees include tuition, course material, access to the Library of NHRF and to the Libraries of the Institute of Historical Studies, and a welcome dinner on Sunday 21st June.

In the event of an insufficient number of students for the course to take place, participants will be notified by 28 April 2020 and the fees will be fully refunded.

Participants may not request a refund under any other circumstances, including their inability to attend the school.




For further information, you may contact Barbara Kondaxi by email ( or by telephone (+30 210 7273501).