Institutions, Society, Internal and Foreign Policy of Byzantium (formerly Byzantine History Data Bank)

Coordinator: Stylianos Lampakis
Team members: Vassiliki Vlyssidou
Research Director Emeritus: Telemachos Lounghis
Postdoctoral Researchers: Alicia Simpson
External collaborators:
A. Kaldellis (Ohio State University), S. Lazaris (CNRS Strasbourg), D. Stathakopoulos (King's College)
Graduate students: Maria Alysandratou, C. Chrysogelos, Ch. Kontonikolis

The Research Programme aims at investigating several key aspects of Byzantine History such as the administration of the empire and the institutions of state, societal structures, diplomacy, and foreign policy. On the above topics as well as historical geography and prosopography, the functioning of the state and society, diplomacy and diplomatics, and armed forces, the members of the Programme have already published four (4) major collective works (see below). Its extensive data base, which registers and analyzes all surviving information in the medieval textual sources, has proved an indispensable tool for the development of the Programme and the contributions it has made to the research of Byzantine history.

The Programme is currently engaged in a collaborative project entitled ''Index of geographical locations, place names and sites in Byzantine History''. The project will result in the publication of a detailed record of all the place names and sites mentioned in Byzantine textual sources (to date more than 5,900 are recorded in the data base). The fact that every place name in a given period is categorized according to geographical region and/or administrative divisions, allows us to monitor the administrative development of the Byzantine Empire since place names are noted throughout the long course of Byzantine history. Another important parameter is the classification of sites under thirty two (32) different categories (e.g. cities, villages, mountains, plains, rivers, forts, buildings, estates etc.). Place names will be recorded alphabetically and also by category, thus making it possible, for example, to find a specific category of sites located within a particular administrative region or city (e.g. villages in the various themes of Asia Minor or Europe) or even buildings such as palaces, mansions, churches, located in a particular city (e.g. Antioch, Alexandria). Each site registered will be accompanied by the relevant passages in the medieval texts. The place names included in the project will reflect the geographical and societal panorama of the Byzantine Empire. The project is estimated to be completed within the next five years (2014-2019).



The Research Programme was established in 1981. The fruits of the research carried out in the Programme over the years have appeared in the publication of major collective volumes and specialized individual monographs by the N.H.R.F, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Center for Scientific Research in Cyprus, and Herodotos and Vanias Publishers. Throughout the years the Programme has also trained young researchers, contributing to the completion of doctoral dissertations and undertaking the instruction and supervision of post-graduate students. The Programme has collaborated with various universities, research institutions, and independent researchers both in Greece and abroad. In 1997 it organized the international conference “Byzantine Asia Minor (6th-12th C.); in 2005 it conducted a seminar for the education of the attaches of the Academy of Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece (2005); in 2001 and 2004 it organized a series of lectures in the educational programme of the NHRF “Society of Science” (cf. publications-collective works, nos. 2,3,5).


Ongoing Projects

  • Index of geographical locations, place names and sites in Byzantine History (V. Vlyssidou – T. Lounghis – St. Lampakes – A. Simpson).
  • Philological and Historical Commentary on the History of George Pachymeres (St. Lampakes).
  • State and Church in the Era of the Macedonian Dynasty (V. Vlyssidou).
  • The Reign of Isaac II Angelos (1185-1195): Politics, Society, and Economy in the Late Twelfth Century (A. Simpson).



a. Collective Works
1. Η Μικρά Ασία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στη γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Μικράς Ασίας (7ος-11ος αι.) / Asia Minor and its Themes. Studies on the Geography and Prosopography of the Byzantine Themes of Asia Minor (7th-11th Century) [ΙΒR / NHRF – Research Series 1], Athens 1998.
2. Βυζαντινό κράτος και κοινωνία: σύγχρονες κατευθύνσεις της έρευνας / Byzantine State and Society: Contemporary Research Directions, Athens 2003.
3. Το Βυζάντιο και οι απαρχές της Ευρώπης / Byzantium and the Beginnings of Contemporary Europe, Athens 2004.
4. Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches von 476-565 [Zyprisches Forschungszentrum. Quellen und Studienzur Geschichte Zyperns 52], Nicosia 2005.
5. Byzantine Diplomacy: A Seminar, Athens 2007.
6. Bυζαντινά στρατεύματα στη Δύση (5ος-11ος αι.). Έρευνες πάνω στις χερσαίες και ναυτικές επιχειρήσεις: σύνθεση και αποστολή των βυζαντινών στρατευμάτων στη Δύση / Byzantine Armies in the West (5th-11thc.). Studies on the Operations on Land and at Sea: Composition and Mission of the Byzantine Task Forces in the West [ΙΒR / NHRF – Research Series 5], Athens 2008.

b. Monographs
1. T. C. Lounghis, Η βυζαντινή κυριαρχία στην Ιταλία από το θάνατο του Μ. Θεοδοσίου ώς την άλωση του Μπάρι 395-1071 μ.Χ. / The Byzantine Domination in Italy from the Death of Theodosius I until the Fal lof Bari 395-1071 A.D., Athens 1989.
2. T. C. Lounghis, Κωνσταντίνου Πορφυρογέννητου, De administrando imperio, Μια μέθοδος ανάγνωσης/ Constantine Porphyrogenitos', De administrando imperio, A Reading Method, Thessalonica 1990.
3. V. Vlyssidou, Εξωτερική πολιτική και εσωτερικές αντιδράσεις την εποχή του Βασιλείου Α΄. Έρευνες για τονεντοπισμό των αντιπολιτευτικών τάσεων στα χρόνια 867-886 / Foreign Policy and Domestic Reactions under Basil I. An Investigation on Byzantine Oppositional Tendencies in the Years 867-886 [Historical Monographs 8], Αthens 1991.
4. T. C. Lounghis, Ιδεολογία της Βυζαντινής Ιστοριογραφίας / The Ideology of Byzantine Historiography, Athens 1993.
5. E. Kountoura-Galake, Ο βυζαντινός κλήρος και η κοινωνία των ''σκοτεινών αιώνων'' / Byzantine Clergy and Society in the Dark Centuries [IBR / NHRF – Monographs 3], Athens 1996.
6. V. Vlyssidou, Αριστοκρατικές οικογένειες και εξουσία (9ος-10ος αι.). Έρευνες πάνω στα διαδοχικά στάδια αντιμετώπισης της αρμενο-παφλαγονικής και καππαδοκικής αριστοκρατίας / Byzantine Aristocratic Families and State Power in the 9th-10th Century. Studies on the Conflict between the So-called Armeno-paphlagonian and the Cappadocian Aristocracy, Thessalonike 2001.
7. St. Lampakis, Γεώργιος Παχυμέρης, πρωτέκδικος και δικαιοφύλαξ. Εισαγωγικό δοκίμιο / Georgios Pachymeris, Protekdikos and Dikaiophylax. An Introductory Essay [IBR / NHRF – Monographs 5], Athens 2004.
8. T. C. Lounghis, Ιουστινιανός Πέτρος Σαββάτιος. Κοινωνία, ιδεολογία και πολιτική τον 6ο μ. Χ. αιώνα /Justinianus Petrus Sabbatius. Society, Ideology and Politics in the 6th c. A.D., Thessalonike 2005.
9. M. Leontsini, Κωνσταντίνος Δ΄ (668-685). Ο τελευταίος πρωτοβυζαντινός αυτοκράτορας / ConstantineIV (668-685). The Last Emperor of the Early Byzantine Period [IBR / NHRF – Monographs 7], Athens 2006.
10. T. C. Lounghis, Byzantium in Eastern Mediterranean: Safeguarding East Roman Identity (407-1204), Nicosia 2010.
11. T. C. Lounghis, Δοκίμιο για την κοινωνική εξέλιξη στη διάρκεια των λεγόμενων "σκοτεινών αιώνων" (602-867) / Essay on Social Evolution During the So-called "Dark Ages", Athens 2013 (2nd ed.).
12. A. Simpson, Niketas Choniates. A Historiographical Study, Oxford 2013.



  • Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Centre for Scientific Research (Cyprus)
  • University of Jagellonski (Krakow)



The basis of the Programme is an extensive Data Base in which some 55.000 passages from one hundred (100) medieval sources are registered, classified, and carefully analyzed (to date the Data Bank contains a total of 77.000 entries and more than 800.000 relevant links). The entries are stored in a central repository and can be combined in various ways through the assistance of subsystems / lateral files. The main ones are:
i) thematic entries (total number to date 279), classified in accordance to various subject areas of Byzantine history (e.g. administration, international relations, agriculture, family life).
ii) chronological data entries, recording the events of Byzantine history in chronological order.
iii) topoi, including place names (with a total 5,950 entries to date) arranged according to categories (e.g. cities, villages, forts, rivers), together with relevant geographical and administrative data, thus allowing the monitoring of administrative changes over time.
iv) prosopography (with 8.870 entries to date), where persons are registered together with their accompanying titles and positions so as to track their careers.
The flexibility and functionality of the database provides the researcher / user with easy access to its rich materials. The multiplicity of options offered (themes, persons, places, properties, events, dates, key words) allows for a variety of different searches to be conducted and permits diverse utilization of the data registered from the sources. The Data Base thus constitutes an extremely useful tool for advanced research, providing a wealth of materials to scholars for their investigations. The team members are currently seeking to develop World Wide Web application in order to be able to make the Data Base and its material freely accessible through the internet.




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