The term ‘symposium’ may mean ‘idle talk’, as the Symposiarch laughingly noted; but this was certainly not the case in the recent series of inspiring lectures and discussions organised as part of the SPBS programme of events designed to promote scholarship in the field.

Under the guiding title ‘Whose Mediterranean is it anyway? Cross-cultural interaction between Byzantium and the West 1204-1669’, healthy debate and scholarly disagreement ensued over questions of Byzantine religious practices, cultural hybridity and bricolage, art, influences from and upon the Western world and, most importantly, the “Byzantine-ness” of Byzantium itself as it is understood and studied. Byzantine studies can be quite a neglected area so it was very encouraging to see a mixture of established scholars, early-career researchers and students in attendance.

Catherine Jenkins