Hannah Seeger Davis Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2019-2020
Panagiotis Theodoropoulos is a post-doctoral fellow whose research focuses on the social and administrative evolution of the Byzantine Empire in the seventh and eighth centuries. He has a particular interest in the study of Byzantine Italy and the papacy in the aforementioned period. He received his B/A in Classics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2011) and M/A in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies from King’s College London (2014). He holds a PhD in Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies from King’s College London (2018) with a dissertation entitled The Riddle of the Greek Popes: Social Change and imperial Influence in Seventh and Eighth-Century Italy. He has undertaken training on Byzantine coins and seals during the 2015 Numismatics and Sigillography Summer Program at Dumbarton Oaks (Trustees for Harvard University), where he returned as a Summer-fellow in 2019 working on seals of the seventh and eighth-century civic apparatus.
This project aims to shed light on the mechanisms of Roman politics and the complexity of Roman society. It will attempt to define the limits of papal authority challenging the traditional notions regarding papal power which are based on written sources, the majority of which derive from the papal court itself. It will analyze the development of papal authority in conjunction with social and administrative changes in Italy and Rome as well as the political affairs of the period. It will also study the formation of lay elites in the city of Rome and their interaction with the papacy. In this regard, it will examine the formation of elite families which managed to hold important positions in the Church and the army of Rome as well as the imperial administration. Such families exerted considerable influence on the papacy in the ninth and tenth centuries. Currently there has been no study about their origin, thus by tracing the emergence of these families among the lay elites of Byzantine Rome this project will fill the gap in the bibliography linking late antiquity to the Middle Ages.