Thu, 06.06.2024 13:30

Connected Revivals?

Transregional Perspectives on the Syriac, Copto-Arabic and Armenian Cultural Renaissances (Eleventh-Fourteenth Centuries) | International Conference

Several periods of cultural renewal during the Middle Ages have been described by modern historians as times of “Renaissance” – from those of the Carolingians and Ottonians to the “Renaissance of the Twelfth Century” (Charles Haskins). Similarly, scholars have identified periods of such cultural flourishing in Byzantium (the “Palaiologan Renaissance”) and among the Christian communities of the Eastern Mediterranean. While some of these periodizations have been questioned and criticized, terms such as the “Syriac Renaissance” (Anton Baumstark, Jules Leroy), the “Copto-Arabic Renaissance” (Georg Graf, Adel Sidarus), or the Armenian “Silver Age” in Armenian Cilicia (also described in terms of a renaissance, e.g., by Seta Dadoyan) remain popular when describing the history of these communities in the 11th to 14th centuries.

The cultural and intellectual life of the Syrians, Copts and Armenians in this period have been mostly studied in isolation, even though there is extensive evidence that exchanges and interactions between these (and other) groups took place. In order to bridge this gap, the conference aims to bring together scholars working on the intellectual, cultural and religious history of the Eastern Christian communities in this period and to see to what extent these 'renaissances' were interconnected, if at all. While the topic is thus broader in scope than the precise focus of “RevIdEM” (i.e., the memory of the Egyptian Desert Fathers and the reception of the Apophthegmata Patrum), the conference will provide an ideal foundation for further research within the framework of the project. Moreover, the conference intends to highlight the important, yet often neglected contributions of Syriac, Coptic and Armenian Christians to the intellectual history of the Medieval Mediterranean.




* This conference is organised in the framework of the project “Reviving the Ascetic Ideal in the Eastern Mediterranean Entangled Memories of Early Egyptian Monasticism in Medieval Syriac, Arabic, and Armenian Christianity (969-1375 CE)” (RevIdEM), funded  by the European Union (ERC Starting Grant Nr. 101078631, PI: Adrian C. Pirtea).



DATE: 6-8 June 2024


Georg-Coch-Platz 2
3rd floor: Lecture Hall 3A
1010 Vienna

CONVENERS: Adrian Pirtea, Alice Croq, Benedetta Contin

CONFERENCE ORGANISATION: Philipp Abel, Ekaterini Mitsiou, Larisa Ficulle Santini

CONTACT: adrian.pirtea(at)