Byzantino-Serbian Border Zones in Transition: Migration and Elite Change in pre-Ottoman Macedonia (1282–1355)

The European continent as a whole and the European Union in particular are facing a period of increasing dynamics of internal migration as well as external immigration at the moment. Migration in all of its various aspects has always been a part of the history of the European continent. In medieval societies the question of migration is closely connected with the definition as well as the representation of medieval borders. Maps in historical atlases are designed to provide clear-cut lines of political formations and empires, which does not reflect the reality of civilizations neither in Antiquity, nor in the Middle Ages, nor in Early Modern Times. The dynamics of borders simultaneously shapes the dynamics of settlement patterns as well as of transportation networks.

The respective stand-alone project focuses on the borders of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire in medieval South-East Europe, namely in pre-Ottoman (i.e. Byzantine) Macedonia. Far-reaching political changes occurred in the Southern Balkan Peninsula from the end of the 13th until the middle of the 14th century, when the Serbian medieval kingdom expanded to the South under the king Stefan Uroš II Milutin at the expense of the Byzantine Empire, which lasted until the death of tsar Stefan Uroš IV Dušan (1355). This again had a severe impact on the border zones and cross-border societies between both realms in pre-Ottoman (i.e. Byzantine) Macedonia in the same period, especially in five selected target areas (the Strumica Valley, Lesnovo, Skopje, Ohrid, Prilep).

Although substantial publications exist on the population of as well as on the migration in Byzantine Macedonia, there is still an urgent need for this kind of research based on written sources and toponyms. Two interrelated research questions will be addressed in two distinct work packages: "Rivalling Political Concepts – Byzantium and the Medieval Serbian Oecumene” and "Cross-Border Societies and Elite Change in Byzantine Macedonia”.

The initial point form the medieval written sources, i.e. Serbian and Byzantine charters as main corpus, as well as other selected written sources from the medieval Serbian kingdom. The sources will be analysed from the viewpoint of the aforesaid research questions and strongly based on the methods deriving from Historical Geography. Special attention will be given to the analysis of formulations with regard to the Serbian expansion in the area of research, the acquisition of new territories and their administrative incorporation on the macro-level and to the localisation of conquered settlements with related settlement typologies as well as on the change of local elites on a micro-level. Moreover, tools from Digital Humanities in mapping and visualisation will be applied in order to communicate the achieved results to the interested public.

Funded by:

Austrian Science Fund

Project Number: P 30384-G28

Duration: 01.10.2017 - 31.03.2022

PI: Mihailo Popović

Employees:
  • Vratislav Zervan
  • Bernhard Koschiček-Krombholz
Cooperation and External Employees:
Interpretation of the Byzantino-Serbian Border between 1228 and 1334 from Different Authors

Interpretation of the Byzantino-Serbian Border between 1228 and 1334 from Different Authors

Fortifications in the Northern Macedonian Region in the 13/14th century

Fortifications in the Northern Macedonian Region in the 13/14th century

Road Model based on a k. u k. Marching Map

Road Model based on a k. u k. Marching Map

Markovi Kuli Castle near Prilep from the south, Republic of Northern Macedonia

Markovi Kuli Castle near Prilep from the south, Republic of Northern Macedonia

The Kale elevation in Skopje, Republic of Northern Macedonia

The Kale elevation in Skopje, Republic of Northern Macedonia

The old city gate of Ohrid, Republic of Northern Macedonia

The old city gate of Ohrid, Republic of Northern Macedonia

Ohrid and Samuilova tvrdina Castle, Republic of Northern Macedonia

Ohrid and Samuilova tvrdina Castle, Republic of Northern Macedonia

Publications

Author Title Location Date Pages
Mihailo St. Popović, Vratislav Zervan Signs and Maps of Power in Medieval Europe: A Case Study on Byzantine Macedonia (13th/14th). MEMO 2: Digital Humanities & Materielle Kultur, DOI: 10.25536/20180206 Krems 2018 105-121
Vratislav Zervan Local Elites in the Region of Polog in the Light of the Bogorodica Htetovska Charters. In: Popović, Mihailo St./ Polloczek, Veronika/Koschicek, Bernhard/ Eichert, Stefan (Eds.), Power in Landscape – Geographic and Digital Approaches on Historical Research. Leipzig 2019 275-356
Mihailo Popović, Rainer Simon Illustrating Workflows in Digital Humanities: Byzantine Macedonia in the 13th/14th Centuries and Its "Transformation" from Analogue to Digital, in: Power in Landscape – Geographic and Digital Approaches on Historical Research. Leipzip 2019 65-87
Vratislav Zervan, Mihailo St. Popović Die Beziehungen und Kontakte der Häuser Luxemburg und Valois zur serbischen Herrscherfamilie der Nemanjiden vor dem Hintergrund der päpstlichen Unionsversuche (13./14. Jh.), in: Byzanz und das Abendland VI. Studia Byzantino-Occidentalia (Antiquitas. Byzantium. Renascentia XXXVIII). Budapest 2019 179-199
Mihailo St. Popović, Vratislav Zervan, Toni Filiposki Über das Verhältnis von Herrschertiteln und Räumen: eine Fallstudie zu Makedonien unter dem König und Zaren Stefan Dušan (1331-1355). Zbornik Radova Vizantološkog Instituta 57 Beograd 2020 179-199
Vratislav Zervan Prosopographische Bemerkungen zu einer Grenzregion in Zeiten der Krise: Herausragende Akteure und Opfer nach den Eroberungszügen des serbischen Königs Stefan Uroš II. Milutin im byzantinischen Makedonien. Byzantinoslovaca 7 [Zborník k životnému jubileu profesora Miroslava Daniša] Wien 2020 141–151
Mihailo St. Popović Le changement des élites en Macédoine face à l’expansion serbe. Le cas de Skopje et ses environs au XIVe siècle, in: Byzance et ses voisins, XIIIe-XVe siècle. Art, identité, pouvoir, ed. E. Yota (Pour une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe 17). Bruxelles 2021 25-38
Bernhard Koschiček, Mihailo St. Popović, Vratislav Zervan Memories are Made of This: Tracing Ambulant Rulers, Local Elites and Shifting Borders in Byzantine Macedonia. In: Fruits of Devotion: Essays in Honor of Predrag Matejic (Ohio Slavic Papers 11) Columbus, OH in Druck
Mihailo St. Popović, Vratislav Zervan The “Fatherland” of the Serbian Kings Milutin and Dečanski or Some Additional Thoughts on the “Medieval Serbian Oecumene”. Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana 1 Sankt-Peterburg 2022 36-57
Mihailo St. Popović Espace et peuplement en Macédoine byzantine de l’Antiquité tardive à la fin du royaume serbe : l’apport de la Tabula Imperii Byzantini. Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie (CRAI) Paris in Druck
Vratislav Zervan Migration into the Borderzone: A Case Study on Byzantine Macedonia after the Serbian Conquest (1282-1355), in: Der den Kordax tanzt: Hommage an Johannes Koder und seine Forschungen über Byzanz und den Balkan Leipzig in Druck
Markus Breier, Bernhard Koschiček-Krombholz Border Interpretation and Its Cartographic Representation, in: Der den Kordax tanzt: Hommage an Johannes Koder und seine Forschungen über Byzanz und den Balkan Leipzig in Druck
Mihailo St. Popović Über „kurze Wege“ und „tiefe Gruben“ im Süden der Balkanhalbinsel: die Begriffe „preki put“ und „trap“ in altserbischen mittelalterlichen Quellen, in: Der den Kordax tanzt: Hommage an Johannes Koder und seine Forschungen über Byzanz und den Balkan Leipzig in Druck

Presentations

Presenter Title Conference Location Date
Vratislav Zervan Kritische Bemerkungen zu den Briefen Karls des IV. an Stefan Dušan und an Ioannes V. Paleologos Byzanz und das Abendland VI, Eötvös-József-Collegium Budapest 2018/04/17
Mihailo Popović Two Precious Charters from the 14th Century and Their Digital Footprint Workshop Archéologie, histoire et analyse spatiale. Dialogue interdisciplinaire sur la question des SIG archéologiques et historiques Lille 2018/05/31
Mihailo Popović Two Documents from the Hilandar Research Library and Their Digital Footprint 7th International Hilandar Conference „Preserving and Accessing Medieval Slavic Manuscripts“, The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio, USA 2018/06/15
Vratislav Zervan Border Warlords as Founders and Donators: Memory-Keeping in Monasteries and Churches of Byzantine Macedonia International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2018/07/03
Bernhard Koschiček Digital Memory-Keeping of Border. Warlords in Byzantine Macedonia in the OpenAtlas Database International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2018/07/03
Mihailo Popović Memories are Made of This: Tracing Local Elites in Byzantine Macedonia International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2018/07/03
Mihailo Popović Big Data in Byzantium? Thoughts on the Analysis of Byzantine Regions from the Viewpoint of Historical Geography and Digital Humanities Central European University – CEU Budapest 2018/10/10
Mihailo Popović Тумачење садржаја средњовековних повеља из угла историјске географије и дигиталне хуманистике Workshop „Дигиталне едиције средњовековних докумената: пројекат Српског дигиталног дипломатара“ Beograd 2018/11/28
Mihailo Popović The Myth of Big Data in Byzantium versus One of the Ways of Combining Byzantine / Medieval Studies, Historical Geography and Digital Humanities [Keynote] Četvrta medievistička znanstvena radionica u Rijeci Rijeka 2019/05/31
Mihailo Popović The (Im)Material Imperial in a Contested Area: The Attribute 'Tsar' in the Toponymy of Byzantine Macedonia International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2019/07/03
Vratislav Zervan The Material Culture of Everyday Life in the Northern Macedonia at the Turn of the 13th and 14th Centuries: The Case of the Border Warlords International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2019/07/03
Bernhard Koschiček Tracing Material Culture in Northern Macedonia via Spatial Visualisation (GIS) International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2019/07/03
Bernhard Koschiček Die digitale, geoanalystische Aufarbeitung von Grenzen, Orten und Verkehrswegen im Nordmazedonien des 14. Jahrhunderts: erste Ansätze Arbeitstreffen „Byzantino-Serbian Border Zones in Transition: Migration and Elite Change in pre-Ottoman Macedonia“, 17.-18. Oktober 2019 Wien 2019/10/18
Vratislav Zervan Prosopographische Bemerkungen zu einer Grenzregion in Zeiten der Krise: Herausragende Akteure und Opfer nach den Eroberungszügen des serbischen Königs Stefan Uroš II. Milutin im byzantinischen Makedonien Arbeitstreffen „Byzantino-Serbian Border Zones in Transition: Migration and Elite Change in pre-Ottoman Macedonia“, 17.-18. Oktober 2019 Wien 2019/10/17
Mihailo Popović Über das Verhältnis von Herrschertiteln und Räumen: eine Fallstudie zu Makedonien unter dem König und Zaren Stefan Dušan Arbeitstreffen „Byzantino-Serbian Border Zones in Transition: Migration and Elite Change in pre-Ottoman Macedonia“, 17.-18. Oktober 2019 Wien 2019/10/17
Mihailo Popović The Appropriation of Byzantine Macedonia by the King and Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan: Means and Outcome St. Petersburg International Historical Forum, 29. Octobre-3. November 2019 St. Petersburg 2019/10/30
Mihailo Popović, Bernhard Koschiček Roads of Conquest, Roads of Destruction: Settlement Desertion as Mirrored in the Byzantino-Serbian Antagonism in Byzantine Macedonia (13th/14th Centuries) International Digital Conference, Mapping Settlement Desertion in Southeastern Europe from Antiquity to the Modern Era Athen 2021/04/23
Mihailo Popović Espace et peuplement en Macédoine byzantine de l’Antiquité tardive à la fin du royaume serbe: l’apport de la Tabula Imperii Byzantini [Keynote] Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres Paris 2021/05/28
Mihailo Popović Current State and Outlook of the Research of the TIB Balkans: TIB Volumes, Digital Humanities and Geocommunication Seventh National Conference of Byzantine Studies Beograd 2021/06/24
Vratislav Zervan Microregional Change of Means on the Byzantino-Serbian Border during the 14th Century: New Insight into the Register of Property of the Church of Saint Stephen in the Village of Konče Seventh National Conference of Byzantine Studies Beograd 2021/06/24
Mihailo Popović The Perception of Space in the Serbian Medieval Realm under the Kings Stefan Milutin and Stefan Dečanski, 1282-1330 International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2021/07/07
Vratislav Zervan Migration within, into, and from the Border Zones: A Case Study on Byzantine Macedonia in Medieval Times, 13th-14th Centuries International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2021/07/07
Bernhard Koschiček The View of Borders: An Approach to (Re)Creating Medieval Border Zones in Byzantine Macedonia with Spatial Analysis 1282-1355 International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds Leeds 2021/07/07
Vratislav Zervan PLP Addenda: Die byzantinische Elite nach den Eroberungszügen der serbischen Herrscher in Makedonien Byzanz und das Abendland/Byzance et l'Occident VIII. Studia Byzantino-Occidentalia. Gallica-Italica-Graeca. Internationale Konferenz/Colloque International. Eötvös-József-Collegium/Collège Eötvös József, 23-25. May Budapest 2022/05/24
Bernhard Koschiček-Krombholz Medieval Borders in the Digital Age: Approaching the (Re)Creation of Medieval Border Zones through Digital Methods (OpenAtlas and GIS) International Medieval Congress Leeds, Großbritannien 2022/07/06
Vratislav Zervan The Governors of the Border Towns during the Serbian Expansion into Byzantine Macedonia, 1282-1355: Survey and Analysis of Elite Change International Medieval Congress Leeds, Großbritannien 2022/07/06
Mihailo Popović Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: On the Use and Usefulness of Digital Humanities in History and Beyond Searching Digital: Methods, Tools, and Standards of Research in Digital Humanities, Online workshops organised by the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Department of History, Goldsmiths University of London, CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership, Session 3 London, Großbritannien 2021/06/21
Vratislav Zervan The Serbian Conquest of Byzantine Macedonia (1282–1355) and Its Sociolinguistic Consequences: The Greek Borrowings in Serbian and the Slavic Loanwords in Greek 24th International Congress of Byzantine Studies Venice and Padua, Italy 2022/08/24