Public Lecture

Hellenic Studies Seminar Series Presents Jovana Andjelkovic

November 10, 2017

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies is pleased to present a talk by Jovana Andjelkovic, a PhD Student in the Centre, entitled "Byzantium on celluloid - a survey of films on the Eastern Roman Empire." 

This public talk is presented as part of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies Fall Seminar Series, which features exciting, new research in Hellenic Studies from disciplines such as Archaeology, Classics, Literature, and Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek History.

Date: Nov. 10, 2017
Time: 2:30pm
Campus: SFU Burnaby
Room: Academic Quadrangle 6204

This event is free, but seating is limited, please RSVP to


Even in the decade of popular historical shows such as "Rome" (2005-2007), "The Tudors" (2007-2010), "The Borgias" (2011-2013) or even historically-inspired HBO's blockbuster series "Game of Thrones" (2011-), the image of the "other" Rome seems to somehow stay outside filmmakers' aspirations. This talk will consider in which circumstances Byzantium appeared on film. There is a small number of movies made specifically and purposefully about the Empire, however, certain stories do appear to be within its frame. Excluding the documentaries made on this historical topic, I would like to examine the represantation of Byzantium in several diferent historical and national contexts that produced them. From a silent movie about emperor Justinian's wife "Theodora" (1921), over some Bulgarian, Russian, Greek and Armenian dramas, and finally in a Turkish historical spectacle "Fetih 1453" (2012), the Eastern Roman Empire had quite interesting appearances on the screen. The lecture will consider the part Byzantium played in the artistic interpretations of national identity-creation and the way these portrayals generated a broadly distributed stereotype about the empire. Having all this in mind, alongside with the historical (in)accuracy of screenplays and some of the filming techniques employed in these creations, we might come a step closer to understanding the general absence of Byzantium in the movie theaters. 

Here are some of the films I will talk about: 

  • Leopoldo Carlucci "Theodora" (1921)
  • Riccardo Freda "Theodora Imperatrice de Byzance"  (1954)
  • Douglas Sirk "Sign of the Pagan" (1954)
  • Lionello De Felice "Costantino il grande" (1961)
  • Skalenakis Giorgos "Βυζαντινή ραψωδία" (1968)
  • Robert Siodmak "Kampf um Rom" (1968/1969)
  • Dako Dakovski "Калоян" (1963)
  • Natuk Baytan "Battal Gazi'nin Oğlu" (1974)
  • Ludmil Staikov "681: The Glory of Khan" (1981)
  • Aleksandr Inshakov "Рыцарский роман" (2000)
  • Vicente Aranda "Tirante el Blanco" (2006)
  • Yuriy Kulakov "Кня́зь Влади́мир" (2006)
  • Alejandro Amenábar "Agora" (2009)
  • Faruk Aksoy "Fetih 1453" (2012)