General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title The Byzantine Empire: history, culture, literature
Language English
Module lecturer dr Cezary Dobak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position senior lecturer
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 0000


Module aim (aims)

Medieval Europe can be understood as a history of two separate, although interconnected pillars of civilization, two offshoots of Antiquity: the Latin in the West and the Byzantine in the East, both of which spread its ideas among so-called “barbarians” and both of whom contended with their younger, vigorous and powerful counterpart of Islam. This course is dedicated to the latter – the Byzantine Empire, the only legitimate successor of the Roman Empire, the universal Christian superpower of the Middle Ages, and the direct continuator and promoter of the Greek culture.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium): terminology, periodization, territory, spheres of influence

The state, the court, the City: the Byzantine state and its heart


Monks, mysticism and hesychasm

Men, women and eunuchs

The Byzantine art

The Byzantine Commonwealth: Byzantium and the cultures that were born under its shadow and care

(Eastern) Romans and the rise of Islam. The Roman and Islam civilizations: rivalry and coexistence

Between Rome and Constantinople: a history of relationships between the two main Christian patriarchates

The Roman Empire and the West

Day-to-day life of the imperial subjects


Reading list


The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c. 500–1492, ed. J. Shepard, Cambridge 2008.


Various source materials (e.g. John of Damascus, Concerning Heresy; Anna Komenne, The Alexiad et al.).