Konuşma: Tristan Schmidt

Selecting the Generals: Byzantine Senior Military Commanders in the Late 11th and 12th Centuries

Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Bizans Çalışmaları Araştırma Merkezi'nin düzenlediği "Selecting the Generals: Byzantine Senior Military Commanders in the Late 11th and 12th Centuries" başlıklı çevrimiçi konuşma,Tristan Schmidt tarafından 20 Mayıs 2021 tarihinde saat 17:00'da gerçekleştirilecektir.

Konuşma dili İngilizce olup, simültane çeviri yapılmayacaktır.


For several decades the so-called “long” 12th century (c. 1081–1204) has been an object of Byzantine studies. Yet, our knowledge of the Byzantine military during that period, its organization, maintenance, and combat history is still rather fragmentary. A particular concern that has not yet been thoroughly investigated is the selection, composition, and internal functioning of the senior military commanders who led the empire’s armies. Through several case studies, this lecture will show an approach to investigate this socially, economically, and ethnically diverse group of individuals, not only in their role as military leaders, but within their social and political environment, at court and among their kin and clients, in Constantinople and the provinces. A three-fold focus combines the search for structures that facilitated or hindered individual and family access to high command positions, formal and informal practices of selection and hierarchization as well as communication and self-representation among candidates and decision makers. The aim is to reach a better understanding of the circumstances under which senior positions in the military were claimed, reached, lost, or transmitted during the social, political, and military developments that took place in Byzantium in the age of the Komnenoi and the Angeloi.

Tristan Schmidt is a researcher in Byzantine history and culture. He studied History and Political Science at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. As a member of the German Research Foundation-Research Training Group 1876 “Early Concepts of Humans and Nature” at Mainz University, he completed his doctoral dissertation in 2018 on political zoology in Byzantium (now published as Politische Tierbildlichkeit in Byzanz, spätes 11. bis frühes 13. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2020). He held a short-term pre-doctoral residency at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington D.C. Currently, he is an A. W. Mellon Fellow in Byzantine Studies at the Boğaziçi University Byzantine Studies Research Center, Istanbul. His current postdoctoral project on Byzantine senior military commanders and assignment practices in late 11th- to early 13th-century Byzantium is part of the German Research Foundation-Research Group 1664 “Personalentscheidungen bei gesellschaftlichen Schlüsselpositionen” (Selecting personnel for social key positions), Frankfurt am Main, Mainz, Pavia. Since April 2021, he has been appointed as an assistant professor at the Silesian University in Katowice, Poland, to work in the project “Towards Byzantine Zoopoetics: Humans and Non-Human Animals in Byzantium (10th-12th Centuries)”.