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Byzantines, Ottomans, and Others in the Last Century of Byzantium, 1354–1453

Dimitris Kastritsis, University of St. Andrews, Fellow 2013–2014

I spent my fellowship researching the history and culture of the last century of Byzantium (1354–1453), a period coinciding with the development of the Ottoman state from a small principality into an empire. This research forms the foundation of my next monograph, an original study of the period that aims to transcend the often rigid boundaries separating Byzantine, Ottoman, and Medieval studies. This book is still in its early stages, but I have an advance contract for publication with Harvard University Press for 2018. I also worked on two text-based projects, both of which greatly benefitted from my time at Dumbarton Oaks. Far from being unrelated to my larger historical project, the detailed study of texts is essential to understanding the emergence of the Ottoman Empire in formerly Byzantine cultural spaces. The first project is a translation and commentary on an Ottoman historical compilation from 1484 known as the Oxford Anonymous Chronicle (Bodleian Marsh 313). This will appear in the series Translated Texts for Byzantinists in early 2015; it will be the first full translation of an early Ottoman chronicle into English. During my time at Dumbarton Oaks, I finished the extensive historical introduction as well as the bulk of the footnotes for this volume. The second project concerns the Ottoman captions on the Byzantine Alexander Romance in Venice (Hellenic Institute Codex gr. 5). These captions are quite extensive and almost certainly date from the late fifteenth century. Their relationship to the Byzantine images is complex, and they are highly revealing of the millenarian and universalist preoccupations of the time. I have already published an article on this subject, and intend to produce an annotated edition and translation over the next two years.