The Literary Puppetry of Heraclius: A Comparative Study of the Medieval Traditions
As part of my keen interest in the History and Literature of the Early Medieval Mediterranean and Middle East, my doctoral thesis focuses on the literary manipulations of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610-641 CE), comparatively examining how Greek, Georgian, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and Armenian writers used this figure and his role in the monumental events of his times for particular narrative and ideological purposes in subsequent centuries. I aim to demonstrate that these writers’ literary manipulations of Heraclius are a hitherto unrecognised key for understanding not only their attitudes towards the still-existent Byzantine empire, but even their variant envisionings of the scheme of Christian and Muslim history – past, present and future – and how they imagined their place within it.
My research is generously funded by the OOC AHRC DTP, the Clarendon Fund, and Magdalen College, Oxford; the same college at which I completed an MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, my thesis thereof exploring previously unrecognised literary aspects in a core chronicle of the early medieval Georgian historiographical canon.
This academic year (2023-2024), I am President of the Oxford University Byzantine Society, and will be organising its 26th Annual International Graduate Conference, this year on the theme ‘Transgression in Late Antiquity and Byzantium’, the proceedings of which will be edited for publication. I will also be running the society’s Annual Research Trip, this year visiting Georgia on a 10-day expedition which will culminate in a publicised report on its archaeological, artistic, and manuscriptorial heritage in relation to Late Antique and Byzantine Studies.
Additionally, I continue to act on my research interests as a member of relevant academic institutions, having been elected to postgraduate positions within the Royal Historical Society and the British Institute in Eastern Africa, and as Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.
‘Playful Subversion of Christian Ideals in the Elegies of Maximianus’ in The Classical Quarterly (forthcoming).