14 OCTOBER 2019 / Oxford Announces SNF Director of Centre for Byzantine Research as Part of Broader Expansion

Peter Frankopan, an Oxford historian known for making the discipline accessible and relevant to a general public, has been named the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research.

Frankopan’s new appointment is one element of a recent SNF grant made to bolster Late Antique and Byzantine studies at the university.

With the support from SNF, the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research will add three new graduate scholarships and an administrative staff role in addition to the new directorship held by Frankopan. SNF has also endowed two professorships: the SNF Associate Professorship of Byzantine Archaeology and Visual Culture is held by scholar Ine Jacobs and the SNF Bywater & Sotheby Professorship of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature is held by scholar Marc Lauxtermann. Oxford provided matching funding for both the endowed professorships and the graduate scholarships.

When the SNF grant supporting Late Antique and Byzantine studies at Oxford was announced, SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos commented, “Understanding today’s world requires tracing the dots of history and connecting them through to the present. The Byzantine Empire sat at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa for over a thousand years. As a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, global empire, its legacy on our modern world remains far-reaching and continues to influence cultural and religious practices in Europe, Russia, and beyond. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is proud to help Late Antique and Byzantine studies at Oxford, and the field as a whole, grow and flourish in the years to come.”

Drawing these historical through lines for the public in articles for publications like The New York Times and The Guardian, as well as in TV documentaries, Frankopan’s scholarship focuses on the 11th-century Byzantine Empire and the history of Southeast Europe, Russia, and Asia Minor. He is author of the popular The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, among other books. Before appointment as the SNF Director of Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, he had served as Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research since 2010, the year it was established, and is Professor of Global History and Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College.

Few academic institutions, if any, have expertise and intellectual resources in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies to rival those of Oxford University, and fewer still have a history that extends back to existing concurrently with the Byzantine Empire. SNF has previously provided support for the construction of Oxford’s Stelios Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies and for endowment of the SNF Clarendon Associate Professor and Fellow of Ancient Greek Philosophy.