Saint Louis University




NEH Professor of Byzantine Studies



 Ph.D., Harvard University, 1977;

A.B., Harvard University, 1970





My field is the political, economic, military, social, and cultural history of the Byzantine Empire (285-1461). Though of course no one can know thoroughly every aspect of such a diverse and long-lasting state, trying to consult as much as possible of the relevant evidence helps for understanding a civilization so subtly unlike our own as Byzantium was. Modern (and especially postmodern) theories are usually obstacles to understanding Byzantium. The Byzantines considered race, class, and gender to be matters of very little theoretical interest, much as we regard red hair, business acumen, or physical strength. Thus Byzantine empresses seem to have had scarcely any interest in women as a group, and Byzantine aristocrats seem to have felt almost no class solidarity. Naturally Byzantines were interested in sex, but in theory they regarded sexuality only as a temptation to evil. One of the best reasons for doing research on Byzantium is that so much remains to be learned about it, in comparison with other branches of history of comparable importance to the modern world. In my research, which is now on the Byzantine historians, I often discover new and significant causes, effects, and facts. For example, I recently found that the works of two Byzantine historians (Eustathius of Epiphania and Trajan the Patrician), previously thought to be lost, are largely preserved in the works of other historians. For many of us, Byzantium also has the fascination of the curious and exotic, a strange combination of the familiar and unfamiliar. I recommend it.

Honors and Fellowships

  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship, 1996-97
  • Visiting Fellowship, All Souls College, Oxford, 1988-89
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Munich (1978-80) and Berlin (1982-83)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships (1987, 1996-97)
  • Earhart Foundation Fellowship (1982, 1985, 1989, 1992-93, and 1994)
  • Wilbur Foundation Fellowship

Courses Taught:

  • Byzantine Empire
  • Medieval History to 1100
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient and Medieval People
  • Introduction to Byzantine History
  • The Byzantine Historians
  • Byzantine-Western Relations
  • Late Antiquity

Scholarly Publications


  • The Middle Byzantine Historians (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, November 2013)
  • The Early Byzantine Historians (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  • A Concise History of Byzantium (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).
  • A History of the Byzantine State and Society (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).
  • Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995).
  • The Byzantine Revival, 780-842 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988).
  • The Byzantine State Finances in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries (New York: East European Monographs, 1982).
  • The Nature of the Bibliotheca of Photius (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1980).

Journal Articles

  • "The Life and Wider Significance of George Syncellus," Travaux et Mémoires 19 (2015; in proof)
  • "The Darkness of the Seventh-Century Near East," International Journal of the Classical Tradition 18 (2011), 579-92
  • "Byzantine Exceptionalism and Some Recent Books on Byzantium," Historically Speaking 12 (November 2010), 16-19
  • "The Byzantine World Histories of John Malalas and Eustathius of Epiphania," International History Review 29 (2007), 709-45.
  • "Predicting the Accession of Theodosius I," Mediterraneo Antico 8 (2005), 767-91.
  • "Standardized Numbers in the Byzantine Army," War in History 12 (2005), 1-14.
  • "The Diplomatic Career and Historical Work of Olympiodorus of Thebes," International History Review 26 (2004), 709-33.
  • "Travel and Trade in the Dark Ages," International History Review 26 (2004), 80-88.
  • "The Prophecies of the Patriarch Methodius," Revue des etudes byzantines 62 (2004): 229-37.
  • "The Historicity of Imperial Bride-Shows," Jahrbuch der Osterreichischen Byzantinistik 54 (2004): 39-52.
  • "Photius Before His Patriarchate," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 53 (2002): 1-17.
  • "Procopius and the Imperial Panels of San Vitale," Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 708-23. (Co-author).
  • "Taking Sources on Their Own Terms and on Ours: Peter Brown's Late Antiquity," Antiquite Tardive 2 (1994): 153-59.
  • "Imaginary Early Christianity," International History Review 15 (1993): 535-45.
  • "The Army in the Works of Constantine Porphyrogenitus," Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici, n.s. 29 (1992): 77-162.
  • "Byzantium in the Tenth Century," Rivista di Bizantinistica 2 (1992): 81-100.
  • "The Missing Year in the Revolt of Artavasdus," Jahrbuch der Osterreichischen Byzantinistik 42 (1992): 87-93.
  • "A Note on Byzantium's Year of the Four Emperors (641)," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 84 (1991): 431-33.
  • "Seven Byzantine Revolutions and the Chronology of Theophanes," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 31 (1990): 203-27.
  • "The Break in Byzantium and the Gap in Byzantine Studies," Byzantinische Forschungen 14 (1990): 289-316.
  • "On the Value of Inexact Numbers," Byzantinoslavica 50 (1989): 57-61.
  • "Three Byzantine Provinces and the First Byzantine Contacts with the Rus'," Harvard Ukrainian Studies 12/13 (1988/89): 132-44.
  • "The Empress Irene's Preparation for the Seventh Ecumenical Council," The Patristic and Byzantine Review 7 (1988): 49-58.
  • "The Preface of the Bibliotheca of Photius Once More," Symbolae Osloenses 61 (1986): 133-38. (Co-author).
  • "An Indirectly Preserved Source for the Reign of Leo IV," Jahrbuch der Osterreichischen Byzantinistik 34 (1984): 69-76.
  • "The Bulgars' Treaty with the Byzantines in 816," Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Slavi 4 (1984): 213-20.
  • "The Military Lands and the Imperial Estates in the Middle Byzantine Empire," Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 619-31.
  • "Remarks on the Work of Al-Jarmî on Byzantium," Byzantinoslavica 44 (1983): 205-12.
  • "The Unpublished Saint's Life of the Empress Irene," Byzantinische Forschungen 8 (1982): 237-51.
  • "Notes on the Numbers and Organization of the Ninth-Century Byzantine Army," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 21 (1980): 269-88.
  • "The Recently Completed Edition of the Bibliotheca of Photius," Byzantinoslavica 41 (1980): 50-61.
  • "The Revival of Byzantine Learning and the Revival of the Byzantine State," American Historical Review 84 (1979): 1245-66.
  • "The Chronological Accuracy of the Chronicle of Symeon the Logothete for the Years 813-845," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 33 (1979): 157-97.
  • "The Bride-Shows of the Byzantine Emperors," Byzantion 49 (1979): 395-413.
  • "Photius on the Transmission of Texts," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 19 (1978): 171-75.
  • "The Preface of the Bibliotheca of Photius," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 31 (1977): 343-49.
  • "A Verse Translation of the Lamiyah of Shanfara," Journal of Arabic Literature 6 (1975): 30-34.
  • "The Problem of the Marriage of the Emperor Theophilus," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 16 (1975): 325-41.

Edited Volumes

  • Renaissances Before the Renaissance: Cultural Revivals of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984).

Essays in Edited Volumes

  • "Paying the Army in the Theodosian Period," in Production and Prosperity in the Theodosian Period, ed. Ine Jacobs (Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2014), 303-18
  • "The Lost Secret History of Nicetas the Paphlagonian," in The Steppe Lands and the World Beyond Them: Studies in Honor of Victor Spinei on his 70th Birthday, ed. Florin Curta and Bogdan-Petru Maleon (Iaşi: Editura Universităṭii Alexandru Ioan Cuza, 2013), 645-76
  • "Opposition to Iconoclasm as Grounds for Civil War," in Byzantine War Ideology: Between Roman Imperial Concept and Christian Religion, ed. J. Köder and I. Stouraitis (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2012), 33-39
  • "Byzantium, the Reluctant Warrior," in Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities: Warfare in the Midle Ages, 378-1492, ed. Maya Yazigi and Niall Christie (Leiden: Brill, 2006), pp. 209-33.
  • "The Struggle for Survival (641-780)," in The Oxford History of Byzantium, ed. Cyril Mango (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 129-50.
  • "Observations on Finishing a General History of Byzantium," in Aetos: Studies in Honor of Cyril Mango (Stuttgart: B. G. Teubner, 1998).
  • "Photius and the Reading Public for Classical Philology in Byzantium," in Byzantium and the Classical Tradition, ed. M. Mullet and R. Scott (Birmingham, 1980).

Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students:
Frank Krajewski
Robert Olsen
Alexander Petras
Rebekah Sheldon
Joseph Western

Former Graduate Students:
Jason Fossella (The Emperor's Eyes: Communications, Diplomacy and Bureaucracy in the Byzantine Empire, 518-1204)
David Parnell (Justinian's Men: The Ethnic and Regional Origins of Byzantine Officers and Officials, ca. 518-610)
Joseph Reidy (An Alternative History of the Church: A Study of Two Lost "Arian" Historians)