Middle East Studies Center Lecture Series: Landscapes of the Late Byzantine Village & Monastery: A View from the Morea
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 7:30pm
Middle East Studies Center Lecture Series: Landscapes of the Late Byzantine Village & Monastery: A View from the Morea

School of Business Auditorium, room 190, 631 SW Harrison St
Free & open to the public


In this lecture, Sharon Gerstel looks across the layered landscape of the Morea, the medieval Peloponnese, to investigate the relationship between villages and monasteries. Beginning with churches in Mystras, the Byzantine capital of the Morea, Gerstel looks at the region's topography,archaeological and artistic remains, and inscriptions to paint a picture of an ever-shifting landscape that has been romanticized in myths of the Crusades and lamented in Greek songs of loss.


Sharon Gerstel is Professor of Byzantine Art History and Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles Trained in art history and religious studies, Gerstel’s work focuses on the intersection of ritual and art, particularly monumental painting. Her first book, Beholding the Sacred Mysteries, was published as a CAA Monograph in 1999. She has also edited the volumes A Lost Art Rediscovered: The Architectural Ceramics of Byzantium (with J. Lauffenburger) (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001), Thresholds of the Sacred: Art Historical, Archaeological, Liturgical and Theological Views on Religious Screens, East and West (Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard University Press, 2007). Approaching the Holy Mountain: Art and Liturgy at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai (with Robert S. Nelson) (Brepols, 2010), and Viewing the Morea: Land and People in the Late Medieval Peloponnese (Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2012). She was awarded membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 2010-2011, and a J. Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011-2012 to complete her book, Landscapes of the Village: The Devotional Life and Setting of the Late Byzantine Peasant, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. In addition to her work in the field of art history, Gerstel has also been involved in numerous excavations in Greece, both as a field director and as a ceramics specialist. Her comprehensive study of the medieval village of Panakton appeared in Hesperia in 2003. Other archaeological publications have appeared in Hesperia and in several edited volumes. Her publications on ceramic tiles produced in Nicomedia (modern-day Izmit, Turkey) have appeared in the Journal of the Walters Art Museum and in volumes in honor of Thomas F. Mathews and Alice-Mary Talbot. Publications on Byzantine women, including empresses, village widows, and rural nuns, can be found in The Art Bulletin, the Deltion tes Christianikes Archaiologikes Hetaireieas, and the Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte. Gerstel currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Hesperia and Viator and of the series Studies in the Visual Culture of the Middle Ages.


The Portland State University Middle East Studies Center Lecture Series podcast features audio recordings from the series, including this event. Download the audio podcast of this lecture or subscribe to the podcase to receive future episodes by clicking here.

Other Resources

'Byzantium, not Constantinople: UCLA professor Sharon Gerstel to lecture at PSU', PSU Vanguard, May 13, 2013


Co-sponsored by the Portland Chapter of the Archeological Institute of America and the Department of History at Portland State University

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library. | | 503-725-4074