Primary Sources

John F. Haldon

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Primary Sources

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A wide range of information sources are available to the student of Byzantine culture and civilization, but much of it presents major methodological and interpretative problems. An equally broad array of skills and competences are thus required to deal with those sources. Byzantine Studies as a discipline and as a "subject" evolved partly out of Classical Studies, making the primary sources for Byzantine history immensely complex. These sources can be divided notionally into two very crude categories: written and non-written or material. In many cases, written sources and material sources overlap and can be further classified into literary and non- or perhaps "less" literary. Primary sources encompass not only medieval documents and artefacts, but also a large body of specialist literature on each type of evidence. Palaeography, codicology, art history, and ceramology, for example, draw upon a history of technical knowledge and study much wider than the study of Byzantine history and culture alone, and are related to the study, as well as the history of the study, of other related medieval and ancient cultures.

Keywords: Byzantine Studies; Byzantine culture; Byzantine history; primary sources; written sources; evidence; material sources

Article.  4456 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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