Social and cultural interactions across the Byzantine-Armenian frontier, c. 900–1045

  • Kosuke Nakada

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis explores understudied aspects of the interactions between Byzantium and Armenia through the ninth to the eleventh centuries. The period in question was a transformative era for Armenia. As a result of the Byzantine expansion, Armenians encountered differences and commonalities with the Byzantine Empire. Their response was multiple. Some accepted the new regime and culture, and others resisted. This led to the creation of new cultural and intellectual trends in the local societies, as to how they define themselves against others. However, hitherto such local-level interactions have not been adequately studied, because both Armenologists and Byzantinists have tended to focus on higher social strata. The former have employed a nationalistic framework whereas the latter have presupposed top-down rule. To tackle this problem, the present thesis defines Armenia in this period as a contact zone and explores multiple forms of transformation at a local level, produced by interactions among people with different views, interests and ideas. Firstly, Part One demonstrates that the political and diplomatic relationship between Byzantium and Armenia was not limited to the relationship between ‘states’ but involved various local figures. Secondly, Part Two argues, from close reading of Armenian colophons produced in the face of Byzantine expansion, that such local-level interactions facilitated cultural exchanges. It further contends that new cultural elements brought from Byzantium to Armenia were creatively re-used and promoted the development of new cultural trends. Finally, Part Three shows that Armenian identity was fragmented and transformed through such political upheavals and cultural changes. This is mainly studied through the work of Uxtanēs of Sebasteia. These studies enable us to understand Byzantine-Armenian relations in this period in terms of dynamic social and cultural exchanges and reveal active roles played by local figures in the encounters.
Date of AwardJun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorTimothy William Greenwood (Supervisor)


  • Byzantium
  • Armenia
  • Frontier
  • Medieval identity
  • Historiography
  • Relics
  • Cult of saints

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  • Full text embargoed until
  • 16th April 2025

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