Jesse W. Torgerson Profile picture
Jan 26 7 tweets 4 min read
A little #ByzantineHistory and #DH thread.
One project this semester is returning to data & visuals students & I pulled from chronicle of Theophanes.
Potentially can show a lot.
My interest: how ninth-century Constantinople saw the space of #Roman history. Image
Images all Jesse Simmons (superstar Res Assistant!).
This shows all cities/settlements in Chronicle of Theophanes.
One obvious thing (expected): East/West discrepancy.
One obvious thing (p'haps NOT expected): interest in Syria/Palestine over Greece! Image
We made the data sensitive to *when* (under what date) a city/settlement is mentioned.
Differentiates the "space" of different eras or emperors' reigns in the Chronicle.
Blue is "space" of Constantine's Rome (ca. 310-35)
Yellow is "space" of Irene & Nikephoros (ca. 780-810). ImageImage
I LOVE seeing the manifestation of the granularity (and vacancy) of places in the different regions of Asia Minor/Anatolia--"Rum".
This map shows all the cities/settlements in this region mentioned over the entire chronicle (AD 284-813) overlaid on a map of the Themata ca. 815. Image
Anyway, all of this is just to remind myself that I need to make progress on the project this semester.
Here is what my amazing team of undergrad researchers wrote about the project, just before the pandemic hit in March 2020.…
ALSO: a caveat!
Part of what needs to be worked on (unto the ages of ages) is data cleaning.
Those who are in the know will be able to spot places on here that are NOT in the right spot!!
OK, a final gratuitous pearl.
The group's favorite site to finally decide WAS a location and then PLACE as a location was "the Oak, which is now called Rufinianae (Ῥουφινιαναι)" where Theophilos plotted against John Chrysostom in 404/405. Image

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More from @JWTorg

Jan 29
What do we teach when we teach "Medieval Europe"?
Do we teach Europe to set up Historical #Comparison?
OR to teach a Global (or, Alex West @siwaratrikalpa's much more coherent Hemispheric) #MiddleAges?
Here's how I see the two options...
(obvs others, I'm a Byzantinist after all) Image
My students discuss CWickham's intro in
Medieval Europe (2016; Review: I like the book)
CW argues for "Medieval Europe" as artificial category with value in setting up historical #comparison.
There's a cleverness to that.
But here's my problem, as explained to my students... ImageImage
There is no comparison.
Practically speaking.
To do a comparison, you don't need to just find a region with some big similar stats (geog, pop, resources), you need to find something similarly studied, with comparable bibliographies.
MAYBE, in not too long, "Medieval China"? Image
Read 10 tweets
Jan 27
Arguing that 1) legal case is settled that #ExecutiveBranch has right to forgive student debt.
2) need is urgent: 89% of debtors will be in financial insecurity if required payments resume.
@SenWarren makes the point that $50k forgiven would release 36m citizens completely from debt.
Read 18 tweets

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