Student News

SNF Centre graduate member Tiffany VanWinkoop successfully defends MA thesis

July 20, 2021

The SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies is pleased to share the news that, yesterday, graduate member Tiffany VanWinkoop successfully defended her MA thesis, "Blueprints of Power: Roman Statecraft and Politics in Konstantinos VII's Book of Ceremonies." Tiffany completed her MA program under the supervision of Professor Dimitris Krallis, whose own research focuses on the social and political history of Byzantium.

This fall Tiffany will join the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a PhD program in the Department of History. We are incredibly proud of Tiffany's hard work and accomplishment and wish her the best of luck in the next step of her journey as a Byzantinist!

Thesis Abstract:

"Blueprints of Power: Roman Statecraft and Politics in Konstantinos VII's Book of Ceremonies"

Emperor Konstantinos VII Porphyrogennetos’ tenth-century Book of Ceremonies is one of the most important sources for Byzantine court culture. As such, it has served as the focal point for many negative assessments of the archaic bureaucratic nature of Byzantium. This thesis considers these recorded court ceremonies not as ritualistic formularies, but as moments of political dialogue between ceremonial participants. This examination follows our contemporary understanding of Eastern Roman politics, which has shifted from treating the Roman polity as an autocracy ruled by a God-given emperor to treating Byzantine governance as a form of “republican” monarchy accountable to “the people.” This revisionist examination of ceremonies is done in two parts. First the Book of Ceremonies is recontextualized as a product of tenth century political life. Second, the ceremonial templates of the Book of Ceremonies are applied to the eleventh century example of the attempted power grab of Michael V Kalaphates.


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