New research network 'Emotions through Time: from antiquity to Byzantium’ launched

A new international and interdisciplinary research network, based at the University of Edinburgh, will examine the interactions between ancient and Byzantine emotion. (Published 22 April 2016)

‘Emotions through Time: from antiquity to Byzantium’ involves academic colleagues from across Europe with Professor Douglas Cairns, Professor of Classics, taking the lead as Principal Investigator.

The Emotions through Time network studies the history of emotions as reflected in ancient and medieval Greek texts as well as in Byzantine iconographic sources, architectural space and liturgical settings.

In addition to publishing its research in an edited collection, the project will also create an online, open-source archive providing visual and textual evidence for Byzantine emotions.

For more information on the project, contact

About the project

Combining the methodologies of Classics, medieval and Byzantine studies and emotion history, the project explores the transformation and assimilation of ancient affectivity in Byzantium and the creation of new emotional paradigms and vocabulary. 

Bridging a gap in the history of emotions, ‘Emotions through Time’ will study the Byzantine emotional universe and its impact on medieval and early modern culture and at the same time illuminate ancient emotions by investigating their reception in Byzantium.

Particular topics that the project focuses on include:

  • literary, biblical and philosophical exegesis and the interaction between classical and biblical conceptualisations of emotions as elements in the religious sensibility of Byzantine society; 
  • literary representations of emotions in Byzantine narrative, for instance in novels and romances; 
  • the political, rhetorical and performative context of emotional display and experience; 
  • Byzantine use of classicizing Greek for the representation of everyday experiences such as emotions;
  • affective aspects of space in Byzantine art and architecture, affects and emotions in ritual and liturgical space and bodily expressions of emotions in Byzantine iconographic sources.


The members of the network come from institutions across Europe.

Participants from School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh

  • Professor Douglas Cairns, Principal Investigator
  • Professor Niels Gaul
  • Dr Divna Manolova,  Academic Network Facilitator

Participants from across Europe

  • Professor Martin Hinterberger (Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Cyprus), 
  • Dr Ioannis Papadogiannakis (Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London)
  • Dr Aglae Pizzone (Centre for Medieval Literature, University of Southern Denmark)
  • Professor Lioba Theis (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, University of Vienna)


This project is generously sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust.