16th Ohrid Summer University: International Summer School "Understanding Byzantium in the Balkans", 15-24 August 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Euro-Balkan University, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
contact email: 

International Summer School



15 - 24 August 2013, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia

- Call for Applications -


Professor JONATHAN SHEPARD, University of Cambridge, Great Britain
Professor FLORIN CURTA, University of Florida, United States




Director of the Summer School:
Professor Mitko B. Panov, Euro-Balkan University


The Summer School “Understanding Byzantium in the Balkans: Where the East met / parted from the West” will explore the fascinating phenomenon of Byzantium and its enduring impact on Medieval Balkans. The objective of the Summer School is to address the complex socio-economic, cultural and political processes that led to the transformation of the Roman world and emergence of Byzantium and the Balkans as gravitational zones between East and West. The leading international scholars in the field of Byzantine and medieval Balkan studies will present the latest insights in addressing the various questions concerning the re-evaluation of issues of group identity and ethnogenesis in the Balkans, the concept of making of the Slavs, the examination of Byzantium as Superpower and Soft Power and as an enduring appeal to external elite, along with development of the Balkans as highway and flashpoint between Latin West and Byzantine East. Through appliance of new approach in historical and archaeological research the Summer School will explore Byzantine and Balkan studies in the Western Europe and United States and put them in a dialogue with those taking place in Southeastern Europe. The main goal is to stimulate the critical thinking and to raise the understanding of Byzantium and the Balkans and their place in international history, grasping them not as a factor of East-West division but as a integrative component of the European cultural history.

The Summer School is integral part of Ohrid Summer University (OSU) which is an academic program for young faculty, PhD candidates, postgraduates, researchers and professionals, which offersi ntensive, problem oriented and research based courses from the domain of social sciences and humanities. OSU was foundedin 1998 and has functioned continuously since then, as one of the core programs of the Euro-Balkan University, involving a significant number of both junior and senior members of academic communities from various countries. To date Euro-Balkan University, trough OSU program, has organized more than 30 summer schools from various areas with over 900 participants, involving more than 100 prominent proffessors. During the 15 years-long period of its existence, OSU has engaged itself in adequate and effective training of the academic staff, demonstration of successful linkage of state-of-the-art scholarship and effective and innovative teaching, promotion of academic excellence and ability to facilitate creation and sustenance of active networks of academics, as well as collaborative advancement of learning in certain disciplines within the international context. Course participants have a chance to study in beautiful surroundings, make use of one of Europe’s best tourist attraction, meet and socialize with students from all over Europe and beyond, and discuss issues with the most eminent scholars in the field.


15 – 19 AUGUST
Professor FLORIN CURTA, University of Florida, United States

Description of the course:

The course deals with one of the least studied periods in the history of the Balkans, 500 to 900, a period for which there is dearth of written sources, but a relative abundance of archaeological material. This crucial period for the transition between Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages in the Balkans is worth a fresh look, if only to compare the situation in the Peninsula with the general paradigm of the "transformation of the Roman world," which is now dominant among historians in Western Europe and North America (see, for example, Chris Wickham's conspicuous neglect of the Balkans in his "Framing of the Early Middle Ages"). The purpose of this course will be to give an overview of the considerable progress made in archaeological research over the last two decades, especially in the field of numismatics (e.g., the publication of the catalogue of hoards found in the Balkans with tpq between 491 and 713), small finds (Mechthild Schulze-Dorrlamm's analysis of so-called Byzantine belt buckles and mounts in the collection of the Roman-Germanic Museum in Mainz), and the chronology of the Avar age (Peter Stadler's path-breaking studies based on correspondence analysis of a large number of burial assemblages, calibrated with radiocarbon dates). Besides a brief discussion of the problems posed by the few literary sources available (primarily the Miracles of St. Demetrius and Theophanes Confessor), this course will take a fresh look at the archaeological evidence pertaining to urban centers, rural settlements, and burials, as well as the numismatic evidence (both single finds and hoards). Moreover, the discussion will involve a re-evaluation of issues of group identity, primarily that connected to the early Slavs, Bulgars, Serbs, and Croats. In the light of the historical and archaeological evidence, the course advances a new interpretation of the spatial distribution of sites and of their occupation phases that is radically different from that proposed by most scholars who regard the seventh century as the period of the "Slavic tide" inundating the Balkans. Similar attention will be paid to the current debate surrounding the Croat ethnogenesis. The main theme of the course, however, is the implementation of the social and economic structures that marked a radical departure from Antiquity and the beginning of the medieval period in the history of the Balkans.


August 15: The last century of Roman power (500-620)
August 16: The early Slavs in the Balkans (650-620)
August 17: The short "Dark Ages" (620-680)
August 18: Bulgaria and the withdrawal of Avar power (700-800)
August 19: Serbs and Croats (800-900)

20–24 AUGUST
Professor JONATHAN SHEPARD, University of Cambridge, Great Britain

Course outline:

August 20: Scene-setting: Superpower, Soft Power and Charisma

The Byzantine empire’s enduring appeal to external elites, and Byzantium’s place in the study of international history, c.500-c.1550.

August 21: Elites, Competing Missions and Ambitions, c. 850-927

The main socio-political elites, along coastlines and across steppe-regions, and in the Balkan interior Dalmatian towns and trade. The Frankish rulers’ and churchmen’s interest in Bulgaria, and papal aspirations for Illyricum. The Byzantine response: a ‘cultural mission’ to the Moravians. The easterly Christian orientation of Boris and Symeon of Bulgaria, and Symeon’s bid to mould a loyal Slavo-Bulgarian elite.

August 22: The Balkans under the imperial lens, c.950, and after Constantine VII

Porphyrogenitus’ interest in the Balkans, as evidenced by his De administrando imperio and other works. The blanking out of Bulgaria from the DAI. Constantine’s sense of the relevance of the Dalmatian coast to power-games involving Franks, Germans, Venice and Rome. Events of the later tenth and earlier eleventh century: Tsar Samuel’s realm, and control of the Egnatian Way.

August 23: The Balkans as highway and flashpoint between Latin West and Byzantine East, c. 1018-c.1118:

The influx of western pilgrims into the Balkans from the early eleventh century onwards, and Emperor Basil II’s settlement for Bulgaria. Convergence and collision between western and eastern churchmen in the Balkans and in Rus: implications of the development of two great missionary churches. The writings of Leo of Ohrid, Cardinal Humbert, Metropolitan John II of Rus, and Theophylact of Ohrid. The thoughts and deeds of Popes Gregory VII and Urban II in relation to Jerusalem, Byzantium and the Balkans.

August 24: 1204 and after (August 24):

The ambitions of Innocent III, and his use of history in claiming jurisdiction over the Balkans. The Balkans as mission-field for Latins. The diverse objectives of the Fourth Crusaders and the fall of Constantinople in 1204. The diffusion of the Byzantine empire’s constituent parts, and the political ‘charge’ of Athos, ‘the Holy Mountain’. Local empire-builders and would-be patriarchs in the Byzantine lands: the role of ‘religious correctness’ (orthodoxy). The ‘resurrection’ of Tsargrad in 1261, and the resilience of the exemplary centre.


Professor Jonathan Shepard, University of Cambridge, former Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of Selwyn College and of Peterhouse; his major publications include inter alia: Jonathan Shepard and Simon Franklin, The Emergence of Rus, 750-1200 (Prentice Hall, 1996), Jonathan Shepard and Simon Franklin (eds), Byzantine Diplomacy (Aldershot, 1992); Jonathan Shepard, 'Byzantium's Overlapping Circles', Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies (Ashgate, 2006); Jonathan Shepard (ed.), The Expansion of Orthodox Europe: Byzantium, the Balkans and Russia (Ashgate, 2007); Jonathan Shepard (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c. 500-1492 (Cambridge University Press, 2008); Jonathan Shepard, Emergent Elites and Byzantium in the Balkans and East-Central Europe (Ashgate, 2011); Jonathan Shepard, Europe in Ferment: c. 950-110, Blackwell History of Europe (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

Professor Florin Curta, University of Florida, has taught at the University of Florida since 1999, and is the founding member of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies program. He is the recent recipient of a NEH fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens; a senior fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks; membership in the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies, in Princeton; and an American Council of Learned Societies postdoctoral fellowship in East European Studies. His major publications include inter alia: The Making of the Slavs (Cambridge University Press, 2001); Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250 (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050. The Early Middle Ages (Edinburgh University Press, 2011). Curta is the editor-in-chief of the Brill series "East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 450-1450". He is the director of the certificate program in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Florida.


§ Participants should be postgraduate students (preferably MA, PhD students or young researchers) interested in exploring the Byzantine and Balkans Studies or related studies.
§ Participants from all countries are eligible to participate.


Note that we offer 20% discount if the participant apply in the first application deadline and pays the total fee to 15th of May and 10% discount if the participant pay the total fee to 1st of June.

Applicants from the partner universities are offered 30% tuition fee discount

§ The fee covers tuition and study material during the school,
§ use of library at the Campus with free internet,
§ Coffee breaks and Refreshments
§ Cocktail Party for the opening of the OSU and one party for summer school participants.
§ Tour of the numerous medieval churches, ancient and medieval monuments in the UNESCO protected city of Ohrid, located at the shore of the unforgettably beautiful Ohrid Lake.
§ Memorable social events on the campus and at the Ohrid Lake.
§ Other arrangements for accommodation, transportation and other expenses should be arranged by applicants on themselves.
§ In regard to the high standards established by the Euro-Balkan University and due to its membership in the Erasmus Charter, the Summer School will grant the participants appropriate certificate with 8 credits (ECTS), applicable in the master or PhD studies of participant’s home universities.

Discounts: university partners, alumni and university groups

We currently offer tuition fee discounts to the following groups:

Strategic university partners: Students from these institutions will receive a discount on tuition fees

Bilateral Partners and ERASMUS network:

New Bulgarian University, Singidunum university, University of Maribor, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Konstantin Preslavsky University of Shumen.

CEEPUS network:

University of Mostar, University of Sarajevo, University of Pula, University of Zadar, University of Split, University of Zagreb, University Sts. Cyril and Methodius – Skopje, 'Adam Mickiewicz' University of Poznan, “BABES BOLYAI” UNIVERSITY OF CLUJ-NAPOCA, Belgrade University, Comenius University in Bratislava, Constantine The Philosopher University in Nitra, University of Ljubljana, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenija.

ISCH COST Action IS1203 - In search of transcultural memory in Europe (ISTME):

Network of 25 European Universities (University of Vienna, Ghent University, Roskilde University, University of Tartu, University of Turku, University of Paris I, Lueneburg Universty, University of Athens, Central European University,University of Iceland, UCD Humanities Institute, University College Cork, University of Teramo, Vytautas Magnus University, University of Malta, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, University of Stavanger, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Institute fot the Recent History of Serbia, University of Ljubljana, CSIC, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Lund University, Universtity of London - Birkbeck).

INTERNATIONAL THEATRE INSTITUTE, UNESCO, Paris, France (90 Centres and 22 Cooperating Institutional Members)

Previous Summer School students: We currently offer a tution fee discount to all previous Summer School students. Please select the appropriate option on the application.


Note that we can provide for the interested participants discount prices for accommodation in Hotel Pella where the Campus will be located.
Hotel Pela is situated near the city of Ohrid (4 km) in quite inspiring pine forest in the tourist settlement of St. Stefan. Nearest beach is only 100 meters away.

Capacity: 41 rooms (30 triple bed and 11 double bed rooms) and 3 apartments, all together Hotel Pela has maximum capacity of 120 guests.

Facilities/Standards: Cable TV, Wireless Internet, Direct Telephone Line, Mini Bar, Air Condition, Security Cameras, Balcony, Seminar Hall, Parking Spots, Football/Basketball Courts, Open Restaurant.

B/B Bed and breakfast
H/B Half Board
F/B Full Board
Single bed room
Double bed room
Triple bed room

· Tourist Tax and VAT are included in the prices

· Prices are in Euros and per person daily

More informations about Hotel Pela you can find at www.hotelpela.mk

City of Ohrid also offers cheap accommodation in private houses.



Early application deadline: 15 April

Late application deadline: 15 May

Download application form from www.euba.edu.mk

Send your application to:
Ivana Krajcinovik - Coordinator of the Summer School
e-mail: ivana.krajcinovik@gmail.com

Contact persons:

Dragana Karovska - Academic Coordinator of Ohrid Summer University
e-mail: ohridsummeruniversity@gmail.com

Ivana Krajcinovik - Coordinator of the Summer School
e-mail: ivana.krajcinovik@gmail.com

Euro-Balkan University
Address: Blvd. Partizanski Odredi 63, 1000, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
Tel/Fax. ++ 389 2 30 75 570
e-mail: contact@euba.edu.mk

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