Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection in Washington, D.C. is an institute of Harvard University dedicated to supporting scholarship internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships, meetings, exhibitions, and publications. Located in Georgetown and bequeathed by Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks welcomes scholars to consult its books, images, and objects, and the public to visit its garden, museum, and music room for lectures and concerts.
- Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection Publications
- Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Saints Lives
- Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposia and Colloquia
- Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture
- Dumbarton Oaks Papers
- Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Series
- Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Symposia and Colloquia
- Dumbarton Oaks Studies
- Dumbarton Oaks Symposia and Colloquia
- Dumbarton Oaks Texts
- Ex Horto: Dumbarton Oaks Texts in Garden and Landscape Studies
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.Sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price »
In 1994, the “Dumbarton Oaks Conference, 1944–1994” brought together scholars and policymakers who have been involved with the study of international organizations or have played important roles in them. The conference papers in this volume examine both the formation of the United Nations and a number of current issues, including human rights, collective economic sanctions, peacekeeping operations, and the evolution of the role of the Secretary-General.
Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century is devoted to frontier studies and to the structures of the Arab federates of Byzantium. It deals mainly with the Ghassanids of Oriens in the sixth century, a time of transition from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The focus of this study is on the military, religious, and civil structures of the Ghassanids. The detailed study of these buildings contributes to our understanding of Byzantine provincial art and architecture in Oriens, as they were adopted by the federate Arabs and later adapted to their own use. As monuments of Christian architecture, these federate structures constitute the missing link in the development of Arab architecture in the region—the link between the earlier pagan (Nabataean and Palmyrene) and later Muslim (Umayyad).
The sections begin with a short essay on the region’s location and history. Each seal is illustrated and is accompanied—where appropriate—by full commentary regarding the specimen’s date, biographical information on its owner, peculiarities of orthography, and special features of iconography.
The combined Dumbarton Oaks and Fogg collection of Byzantine seals is one of the largest in the world, containing 17,000 specimens. Volume 6 in the catalogue presents the seals of emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople. More than 250 seals are illustrated and accompanied—where appropriate—by a full commentary regarding each specimen’s date, biographical information on its owner, peculiarities of orthography, and iconographic features.
This is the first fully illustrated catalogue of a major collection of late Roman and early Byzantine imperial coins. It follows the general layout of the Byzantine volumes in the Dumbarton Oaks series, with a substantial introduction dealing with the history of the coinage, including iconography, mints, and the monetary system.
Marvin Ross’s groundbreaking catalogue of jewelry in the Byzantine Collection at Dumbarton Oaks, first published in 1965, has long been out of print, but its enduring status led to a reprint—this time with color photographs and an addendum by Susan Boyd and Stephen Zwirn with 22 new objects acquired by Dumbarton Oaks since 1962.
In volume 2 of this series, Part I examines Phocas and Heraclius (602–641) and Part II covers the period between Heraclius Constantine to Theodosius III (602–717).
In volume three of this series, Part I covers the period between Leo III to Michale III (867–1081), while Part II covers Bail I to Nicephorus III (867–1081).
This volume is in two parts. Part I covers the reigns of Alexius I to Alexius V (1081–1204), and Part II covers the emperors of Nicea and their contemporaries (1204–1261).
Part I includes the introduction, appendices, and bibliography, while Part II continues with the catalogue, concordances, and indexes.
This catalogue focuses on the Greek and Roman antiquities of the collections at Dumbarton Oaks. The catalogue also includes other objects, such as a bronze horse, and four floor mosaics from Antioch.
These sculptures reflect the Blisses’ wide-ranging tastes and extraordinary connoisseurship. About a quarter are Greco-Roman; nearly two-thirds of the rest are Late Antique, mostly limestone carvings from Early Byzantine Egypt. Sculpture from the Middle Byzantine period is very rare, making the four pieces in this collection especially significant.
This catalogue focuses on numismatic gold jewelry, from pendants set with coins and medallions to stamped pseudo-medallions, or a combination of both. Special attention is given to the technical issues of mounting techniques.
Scarcely any object was as ubiquitous in Byzantine culture as the cross. This exhibition catalogue focuses on the figural processional cross, and the examples here provide opportunity to consider the various functions such crosses served in the imperial, ecclesiastic, military, and private sphere for both men and women.
This booklet covers phases of the coinage, gold, silver, and copper coinage, types and inscriptions, and ruler representations. Tables of values corresponding with various times in the empire’s history, a list of Byzantine emperors, and a glossary are also provided.
This book is the first general survey of lighting in Byzantium. The first part of the book discusses the technology and types of lighting devices and explains their decorative symbolism and social function. The second half illustrates this narrative by drawing on a Dumbarton Oaks exhibition.
This illustrated handbook presents a concise history of the development of the coinage of the early Arab caliphate in the seventh century. The historical introduction, which includes descriptions of all the basic types, is followed by a summary catalogue of the recently acquired collection of Arab-Byzantine coins at Dumbarton Oaks.
These ten holy women, whose vitae range from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, represent a wide variety of Byzantine female saints. From nuns disguised as monks to desert harlots, these holy women exemplify some of the divergent paths to sanctification in Byzantium. These vitae are also notable for their details of Byzantine life, providing information on family life and household management, monastic routines, and even a smallpox epidemic.
These vitae feature holy men and women who opposed imperial edicts and suffered for their defense of images, from the nun Theodosia whose efforts to save the icon of Christ Chalkites made her the first iconodule martyr, to Symeon of Lesbos, the pillar saint whose column was attacked by religious fanatics.
The vita of Lazaros, here translated into English for the first time, was written shortly after his death by a disciple, Gregory the Cellarer. The vita makes it clear that Lazaros’s reputation was questioned during his lifetime and reveals the existence of a sometimes startling hostility toward him on the part of local church officials, neighboring monasteries, and even his own monks. It is a refreshing piece of hagiography that provides a fascinating and unusual glimpse into the dynamics of the making, or breaking, of a holy man’s reputation.
The Old Testament in Byzantium contains papers from a Dumbarton Oaks symposium based on an exhibition of early Bible manuscripts titled “In the Beginning: Bibles before the Year 1000.” Topics include manifestations of the holy books in Byzantine manuscript illustration, architecture, and government, as well as in Jewish Bible translations.
Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium presents detailed information about children’s lives, and provides a basis for further study. This collection of eight articles covers matters relevant to daily life such as the definition of children in Byzantine law, procreation, death, breastfeeding patterns, and material culture.
A group of scholars, mostly Dutch, surveys what has been called the “golden age“ of Dutch garden design. Essays discuss the political context of William’s building and gardening activities at his palace; the development of a distinctively Dutch garden art during the 17th century; country house poetry; and specific estates and their gardens.
Regionalism has become a much-discussed design issue for landscape architects in recent years. Increased mobility, uprootedness, and the pace of change in an increasingly technological society have contributed to interest in this concept, which places value on cultural continuity in local areas. This approach to garden design attempts to capture the spirit of the place, the plant material, and symbolic qualities that define a region’s natural and cultural character. These essays lay the foundation for examining regionalism in American garden design. The organization of the papers is by geographical area, covering the West Coast, the Midwest, the South, and New England.
John Evelyn (1620–1706), an English virtuoso and writer, was a pivotal figure in seventeenth-century intellectual life in England. The contributors to this volume approach Evelyn and his work from diverse disciplines, including architectural and intellectual history and the histories of science, agriculture, gardens, and literature. They present a rich picture of the “Elysium Britannicum” as one of the central documents of late European humanism.
Places of Commemoration examines commemorative sites of different character, including gardens, landscapes, memorials, cemeteries, and sites of former Nazi concentration camps, detailing the ideas behind the creation of memorials and monuments and the struggles over the narratives they present.
The present renewal of garden art demands a new approach to garden aesthetics. This book considers exceptional creations around the world and proposes new forms of garden experience using a variety of critical perspectives.
Breaking with the idea that gardens are places of indulgence and escapism, these studies of ritualized practices reveal that gardens in Europe, Asia, the United States, and the Caribbean have in fact made significant contributions to cultural change.
This book highlights religious, artistic, political, and economic consequences of horticultural pursuits, exploring the roles of peasants, botanists, horticulturists, nurserymen, and gentlemen collectors in these developments, and offering a reflection on horticulture’s future in the context of environmental devastation and ecological uncertainty.
Studies of rituals in sacred gardens and landscapes offer tantalizing insights into the significance of gardens and landscapes in the societies of India, ancient Greece, Pre-Columbian Mexico, medieval Japan, post-Renaissance Europe, and America. Each section of this book is devoted to a different form of agency, together revealing a profound cultural significance of gardens previously overlooked by studies of garden style.
Composed of papers given at the 25th Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture, this volume examines gardens from twelfth-century China and western and northern Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. While these gardens were created in drastically different places and times, they may share a similar role in forming culture unintended by their designers. This volume looks at the changing reception of gardens long after they were designed, including the reception of historical gardens by contemporary tourists and art critics.
Dumbarton Oaks houses the extraordinary art collection begun by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. In this book the museum publishes the specialist collections in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, along with examples from the Blisses’ superb European collection, for the first time.
These seven chapters, originally given as lectures honoring the fiftieth anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks, cover a wide range of topics, from the relationship of Byzantium with its Islamic, Slavic, and Western European neighbors to the modern reception of Byzantine art.
These essays investigate the place of law in Byzantine ideology and society. Although the Byzantines had a formal legal system, deriving from Justinian’s codification, important questions remain. Was this a society which was meant to be governed by law? For answers, one must look at the intent of the legislators (to address specific problems, or to order society according to an ideal pattern?); the attitudes toward the law; the relationship between law, religion, literature, and art. The concepts of law and justice are quite different from each other, and the relationship between them is investigated here.
The authors reveal the scope, the forms, and the functioning of magic in Byzantine society, throwing light on a hitherto relatively little-known aspect of Byzantine culture, and, at the same time, expanding upon the contemporary debates concerning magic and its roles in pre-modern societies.
Although ethnicity is a modern concept and would not have been recognized by the Byzantines, throughout its history the Byzantine Empire was a multi-ethnic state. The papers in this volume examine questions of the uniformity and separateness of the various Byzantine populations and the degree and mechanisms of acculturation.
This collection of essays addresses a number of questions regarding the role of consent in marriage and in sexual relations outside of marriage in ancient and medieval societies. Ranging from ancient Greece and Rome to the Byzantine Empire and Western Medieval Europe.
From the walls and curtains of first-century Judaism to the tramezzo of Renaissance Italy, screens of various shapes and sizes have been used to separate the sacred from the secular. Drawn from papers presented at a recent Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies symposium, this volume provides insightful new research on the history of the iconostasis.
This fascinating two-volume set includes a photographic reproduction of an anonymous seventeenth-century Italian gardener’s notebook from Dumbarton Oaks’s Rare Books Collection. The notebook is a record of the planting of three flower gardens at San Lorenzo and provides insight into the creation of a seventeenth-century garden. Ada Segre’s accompanying study of the notebook is a groundbreaking example of garden archaeology.
The essays in this volume focus on the different aspects of Italian gardens of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is divided into two parts, with the first part concentrating on the decorations in Roman gardens of the sixteenth century, and the second considering two particular sites and their histories.
Until recently, little archaeological investigation has been dedicated to the Inka, the last great culture in Andean South America before the 16th-century arrival of the Spaniards. Using both theoretical and methodological approaches, scholars of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities provide a new understanding of Inka culture and history.
Gardens have exerted a deep influence on the culture of cities. Considering each city as a whole, this book presents the profoundly different roles of gardens in cultural development and social life. Gardens, City Life and Culture unveils an exciting domain of interplay between public and private action that is little known by citizen groups, city planners, and managers.
Marcus reconstructs Classic Maya political organization through the use of evidence derived from epigraphy, settlement pattern surveys, and locational analysis. This study describes the development of a four-tiered settlement hierarchy and its subsequent collapse.
Twenty-one papers on the Olmec were written for this volume in tribute to Matthew W. Stirling, “pioneer archaeologist, ethnologist, and the discoverer of the Olmec civilization.”
The body of Pre-Columbian art that Robert Bliss carefully assembled between 1912 and 1963, and which has been amplified slightly since his death, is a remarkably significant collection. This book is composed of five topical essays, shorter essays on the Andean cultures represented in the collection, and discussions of the individual objects.
The Plant Book for Dumbarton Oaks was prepared as a resource for those charged with maintenance of the gardens following their acquisition by Harvard University in 1941. Beatrix Farrand here explains the reasoning behind her plan for each of the gardens and stipulates how each should be cared for in order that its basic character remain intact.
Five authors explore the variety of relationships between garden making and cultural change in Argentina, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. They show how gardens express popular cultural invention and attempts at political manipulation, as well as provide places of cultural resistance by subjugated people.
This book explores the diverse traditions and dynamic interactions along the Mexican Gulf lowlands at the height of their cultural florescence. Best known for their elaborate ball game rituals and precocious inscriptions with long-count dates, these cultures served as a critical nexus between the civilizations of highland Mexico and the lowland Maya, influencing developments in both regions.
In 1969, House and Garden magazine commissioned one of the first minimalist artists, Patricia Johanson, to propose new directions for American garden art. Having never been exhibited or published before as a whole, the resulting garden proposals reveal an unknown dimension of the New York art world of the late 1960s.
This book summarizes research on the nature of El Niño events in the Americas and details specific historic and prehistoric patterns in Peru and elsewhere.
This book examines evidence for cultural interchange among the intellectual powerbrokers in Postclassic Mesoamerica, specifically those centered in the northern Maya lowlands and the central Mexican highlands. It includes a wealth of new data and interpretive frameworks in a comprehensive discussion of a critical time period in Mesoamerica.
Volume 60 explores a range of Byzantine subjects: the classification of stamping objects, the date and purpose of the construction of Constantinople’s church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, the Coptic Church’s literary construction of its identity in post-conquest Egypt, the evidence for the tenth-century revision of the so-called Chronicle of 811, an unusual development in the iconography of St. Menas, and versions of Niketas Choniates’ History.
This latest volume of Dumbarton Oaks Papers focuses in part on literary and historical texts: historicism in Byzantine thought and literature; the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa, encompassing the First Crusade and the Armenian diaspora; and a reappraisal of the satirical prose work Mazaris’s Journey to Hades.
This volume begins with a substantial investigation of the murder of several members of the imperial family during the summer of 337, following the death of Constantine. Among others, are two major articles devoted to well-known Byzantine illustrated manuscripts, the ninth-century Sacra Parallela and the fourteenth-century collection of theological works by the emperor John VI Kanta-kouzenos.
This volume includes a study of military and diplomatic initiatives in the northwestern Balkans during the reign of Justinian I, with a focus on the role of the Germanic tribe of Gepids, and an analysis of descriptions of motherhood in Byzantine literature. Other articles treat the illustration of ninth-century marginal psalters, re-evaluate the so-called Frame Group of twelfth-century ivories, suggesting a possible provenance from the Holy Land, and discuss the tombs in the Monastery of the Lips in Constantinople.
Olga Linares offers a reinterpretation of the Classic rank-societies of the central Panamanian provinces based on archaeological, ecological, iconographic, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic evidence, and concludes that the art style of this area used animal motifs as a metaphor in expressing the qualities of aggression and hostility characteristic of social and political life in the central provinces.
John Scott looks at the characteristics, stylistic evolution, ceramic relationships, and dating of the Danzantes of Monte Albán. The volume includes an illustrated catalogue of the reliefs and an appendix on their petrography and pigmentation.
Townsend offers an interpretation of major examples of Mexica monumental art by identifying three interrelated iconographic themes: the conception of the universe as a sacred structure, the correspondence of the social order and the territory of the nation with the cosmic structure, and the representation of Tenochtitlan as the historically legitimate successor to the civilization of the past.
The authors present evidence that specific place names do exist in Maya inscriptions, and show that identifying these names sheds considerable light on both past and present questions about the Maya.
The Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca was created at a pivotal transitional moment, bridging an era when pictorial manuscripts dominated and one that witnessed the rising hegemony of alphabetic texts. Script and Glyph is a particularly appropriate volume for Dumbarton Oaks, as it crosses the boundaries of Pre-Columbian and Landscape areas of study. The volume is beautifully illustrated with color images from the manuscript itself.
This volume is devoted to the archaeology of Formative Ecuador in order to bring new information on this important period of the region’s past to the attention of New World scholars.
Kings and nobles of ancient Mexico and Peru had luxurious administrative quarters in cities, and exquisite pleasure palaces in the countryside. This volume explores the great houses of the ancient New World, from palaces of the Aztecs and Incas, looted by the Spanish conquistadors, to those lost high in the Andes and deep in the jungle.
Until the 1980s, the Roman frontier in modern Jordan was among the least studied of the empire’s far-flung border regions. From 1980 until 1989, excavation focused on the late Roman legionary fortress of el-Lejjun as well as four smaller but contemporaneous forts. This report presents detailed results from the excavated forts, a broad range of material evidence from animal bones to bedouin burials, and provides a synthesis of the history of this frontier, which witnessed the first confrontation between the Byzantine Empire and the forces of Islam.
This is the first monographic study of the Glajor Gospel, a 14th-century illuminated Armenian manuscript. In addition to critical studies of the iconography of the illuminations, the authors provide the history of the manuscript and the political and cultural setting in which it was produced, and the history of the monastery and school of Glajor.
The “Parangelmata Poliorcetica“ and the “Geodesia,“ two Greek treatises on the construction of devices for siege warfare, are products of 10th-century Byzantium. The texts are presented here in critical editions based, for the first time, on the archetype manuscript “Vaticanus graecus 1605“ and accompanied by an English translation and commentary.
Leo’s firsthand experience of the campaigns and courts of two Byzantine emperors provides vivid descriptions of sieges, pitched battles, and ambushes. His account of the conspiracy against Nikephoros II Phokas, murdered as he slept on the floor in front of his icons, is one of the most dramatic in Byzantine narrative histories.
The Kariye Camii remains one of the most important and best-known monuments of the Byzantine world. Rebuilt and decorated in the early 14th century by statesman-scholar Theodore Metochites, the monument played a key role in the development of Late Byzantine art. Ousterhout presents a structural history and architectural analysis of this building.
The text explores the iconographic and stylistic sources of the Greek mosaicists, as well as the departures from Byzantine norms, and the relationship of the decoration to contemporary work in the royal foundations. Also included is a chapter on the architecture of the church by Slobodan Çurciç.
Sirarpie Der Nersessian’s scholarship has influenced the understanding of Armenian art and its Byzantine context. These two volumes are the culmination of six decades devoted to the exploration of Armenian art, and reflect a deep knowledge of the manuscripts and their creators.
This volume examines the use of florilegia—anthologies of earlier writings—by ecumenical councils. The manuscript provides new information concerning the beginning of the Filioque controversy and the use of Iconophile florilegia by the seventh ecumenical council in 787.
In this work, David and June Winfield discuss the language of Byzantine church decoration, methods of plastering, proportional rules, system of coloring, and the working methods of the Byzantine painter.
Replete with mosaics and revetment, the basilica was the center of the ecclesiastical administration until its destruction in the late seventh century. In this long-awaited report, Megaw and colleagues present in full the results of excavations from the 1930s, 1950s, and 1970s.
The military achievements of the emperors Nikephoros Phokas, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II brought the Byzantine Empire to the height of power by the early 11th century. This book presents new editions and translations of the Praecepta militaria of Nikephoros Phokas and the revised version included in the Taktika of Nikephoros Ouranos.
This is a reprint of the second revised edition of the text and translation written and compiled by Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century. The edition includes general and critical introductions, an index of proper names, and an extensive glossary, as well as grammatical notes and an index of sources and parallel passages.
Threatened on all sides by relentless enemies for a thousand years, the Byzantines needed ready armies and secure borders. To this end, experienced commanders compiled practical handbooks of military strategy. Three such manuals are presented here. These treatises provide information not only on tactics and weaponry but also on the motivations of the men who risked their lives to defend the empire.
This study highlights a selection of garden ornaments from Dumbarton Oaks, the Washington, D.C., estate of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. Drawings from Beatrix Farrand’s office and excerpts from her Plant Book for Dumbarton Oaks, combined with period photographs, endeavor to show the stylistic sources, evolution of design, and iconography.
This volume brings together essays on the nature of political organization of the Moche, a complex pre-Inca society that existed on the north coast of Peru from c. 100 to 800 CE. Since the discovery of the royal tombs of Sipán in 1987, the Moche have become one of the best-known pre-Hispanic cultures of the Americas and the focus of a number of archaeological projects. But the nature of Moche political organization is still debated. Based on a set of papers presented by 16 international scholars at the 2004 Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Studies symposium, this volume marks an important point in the development of Moche archaeology.
The body of Pre-Columbian art that Robert Bliss carefully assembled over a half-century between 1912 and 1963, and which has been amplified slightly since his death, is a remarkably significant collection. This volume, the third in a series, presents the outstanding collection of Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, and Classic Veracruz sculpture, jewelry, and painting. Four leading scholars present essays on the ancient art and archaeology of Mexico’s Central Highlands, Southwestern Highlands, and Gulf Lowlands as well as extensive catalogue entries of over 100 objects of jade, shell, fine ceramics, wood, and other materials.
The imperial court in Constantinople is central to the outsider’s vision of Byzantium. However, in spite of its fame in literature and scholarship, there have been few attempts to analyze the court in its entirety as a phenomenon. These studies provide a unified composition by presenting Byzantine courtly life in all its interconnected facets.
This volume considers the significance of stone monuments in Preclassic Mesoamerica, focusing on the period following the precocious appearance of monumental sculpture at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo and preceding the rise of the Classic polities in the Maya region and Central Mexico. By quite literally “placing” sculptures in their cultural, historical, social, political, religious, and cognitive contexts, the seventeen contributors utilize archaeological and art historical methods to understand the origins, growth, and spread of civilization in Middle America.
The church of San Marco of Venice has long played a central role in Venetian political, ceremonial, and religious life. Its renowned assemblage of mosaics, sculpture, metalwork, and reliquaries are, in origin, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, or Venetian imitation of Byzantine designs. In San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice, the authors assess the significance of the embellishment of the church and its immediate surroundings, especially during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when most of the Byzantine material was acquired, largely from Constantinople.
Early Byzantine Pilgrimage Art explores the portable artifacts of eastern Mediterranean pilgrimage from the fifth to the seventh century, presenting them in the context of contemporary pilgrims’ texts and the archaeology of sacred sites. The book shows how the iconography and devotional piety of Byzantine pilgrimage art changed, and it surveys the material and social culture of pilgrimage.
Michael McCormick rehabilitates a neglected source from Charlemagne’s revival of the Roman empire: the report of a fact-finding mission to the Christian church of the Holy Land. It preserves the most detailed statistical portrait before the Domesday Book of the finances, monuments, and female and male personnel of any major Christian church.
This volume catalogues the American art collection at Dumbarton Oaks and is published in conjunction with an exhibition, “American Art at Dumbarton Oaks.” An introductory essay describes the formation of this collection by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss and their parents Anna and William H. Bliss, while the subsequent catalogue entries elaborate on nineteen artworks by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Elihu Vedder, Walter Gay, Childe Hassam, Albert Edward Sterner, Henry Golden Dearth, and Bernice Cross. Richly illustrated with color plates and comparative illustrations, this catalogue will be an important and enduring reference for scholars, students, and admirers of American art.
The illustrated essays in this volume reveal how the Blisses’ wide-ranging interests in art, music, gardens, architecture, and interior design resulted in the creation of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
Using an integrated art historical and anthropological approach, the contributors consider the House of the Bacabs’ context as an elite Maya structure, its excavation and restoration, and its iconographic and epigraphic reconstruction and interpretation, to establish models for understanding Classic Maya social and political life.
The history of Pre-Columbian collecting is a social and aesthetic history—of ideas, people and organizations, and objects. This richly illustrated volume examines these histories by considering the collection and display of Pre-Columbian objects in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
Italian gardens have received more attention from historians than perhaps any other garden tradition. This volume presents eight richly illustrated essays by established and emerging scholars that suggest striking new directions, both quantitative and methodological, for future research.
This volume is a “must read” for all Mesoamericanists. Originally published in 2007, it revisits long-standing questions regarding the relationship between Chichén Itzá and Tula and considers their roles in the social, political, and economic relationships that emerged during the transition from the Epiclassic to the Early Postclassic period.
Landscape Body Dwelling documents and offers reflections on Charles Simond’s inaugural installation for Dumbarton Oaks’ contemporary art series, which launched in spring 2009. This volume demonstrates how contemporary culture connects us with the past, reinvigorating historical tropes while enlivening the institutions that continue to speak them.
Their Way of Writing considers substantive and theoretical issues concerning writing and signing systems in the ancient Americas. The contributions here not only present the latest thinking about graphic and tactile systems of communication but constitute a major contribution to our comparative and global understanding of writing and literacy.
Following its initial publication in 2005, A Byzantine Settlement in Cappadocia has become a seminal work in interpreting the rich material remains of Byzantine Cappadocia. This revised edition builds upon its predecessor with an updated preface, a new bibliography, and a new master map of the Çanlı Kilise site.
Tombs for the Living examines how mortuary practices functioned in different cultures across the Andes. By examining rich sets of archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric data, this collection enriches our understanding of the context and meaning of mortuary traditions in the region.
This volume explores how ancient Mesoamerican cities defined themselves through their built environments. Themes include the ways in which a kingdom’s monuments reflected geographic space, patron gods, and mythology, and how the Olmec, Maya, Mexica, Zapotecs, and others sought to center their world through architectural monuments and public art.
This illustrated volume examines how the natural world is transformed through the creative use of language. Its contributors do not assume that there is an opposition between nature and culture, but rather emphasize that forms of language are embedded in our understanding and appreciation of the natural environment across cultures and time periods.
How are markets in antiquity to be characterized? As comparable to modern free markets? As controlled by the State? Or in completely different terms, as free but regulated? Here, scholars address these and related questions by reexamining and reinterpreting records from Byzantium and its hinterland for local, regional, and interregional trade.
This introduction to Maya art is based on study of one of the most important collections in the United States, assembled by Robert Woods Bliss between 1935 and 1962. The catalogue, written by leading Maya scholars, contains detailed analyses of specific works of art along with thematic essays situating them within the context of Maya culture.
The fall of Acre in 1291 inspired many schemes for crusades to recover Jerusalem. One of these proposals is How to Defeat the Saracens, written around 1317 by William of Adam, a Dominican who traveled in the eastern Mediterranean, Persia, and parts of India. Extensive notes guide the reader through the historical context of this fascinating work.
The De Administrando Imperio, compiled by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century, is one of the most important historical documents surviving from the middle Byzantine period, containing information on foreign relations and internal administration. Long out of print, this most authoritative study of the text is once again available.
Built around 1100, the church of Asinou in Cyprus is decorated with accretions of images, from the fresco cycle executed shortly after construction to those made in the seventeenth century. This volume sets Asinou’s art and architecture in the context of the surrounding area’s changing fortunes under Byzantine, Lusignan, Venetian, and Ottoman rule.
Archaeological illustrations are often treated as neutral representations. This volume considers them instead as products of time and place that actively shape the construction of knowledge. Taking the visual presentation of the Pre-Columbian past from the fifteenth century to today, these essays explore the culture of archaeological illustration.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 64 includes “Apostolic Geography: The Origins and Continuity of a Hagiographic Habit”; “Byzantine Political Culture and Compilation Literature in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries”; “Tracing Monastic Economic Interests and Their Impact on the Rural Landscape of Late Byzantine Lemnos”; and other essays.
Whether threatened by habitat destruction or climate change, many wild animals have failed to thrive in the company of humans. The essays in Designing Wildlife Habitats explore how landscape architects and garden designers are drawing on the insights and practices of conservation ecology to create productive ecosystems and promote biodiversity.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 65/66 includes “Bishops and Territory: The Case of Late Roman and Byzantine North Africa”; “A Conflicted Heritage: The Byzantine Religious Establishment of a War Ethic”; “Hoards and Hoarding Patterns in the Early Byzantine Balkans”; “Light, Color, and Visual Illusion in the Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus”; and other essays.
Viewing the Morea focuses on the late medieval Morea (Peloponnese), beginning with the bold attempt of Western knights to establish a kingdom on its soil. The authors explore how the groups of this contested region—Crusaders, Orthodox villagers, and Venetians—interacted, asserted identity, and recollected the ancient history of the Peloponnese.
Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World investigates the complex structure of economic systems in the pre-Hispanic Americas, with a focus on the central highlands of Mexico, the Maya Lowlands, and the central Andes. Essays examine the use of marketplaces, the role of merchants and artisans, and the operation of trade networks.
A window into the complex world of competing church factions, imperial powers, and the papacy, The Life of Patriarch Ignatius is the vivid account of two major ecclesiastical struggles of the ninth century. Critically edited with annotations, maps, and indexes, this important historical document is here translated into English for the first time.
By examining the connections between place and identity in the Classic Maya culture that thrived in the Yucatan peninsula and parts of Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras from 350 to 900 CE, Alexandre Tokovinine addresses one of the crucial research questions in anthropology: How do human communities define themselves in relation to landscapes?
First published in 2010, and now available in this updated, revised paper edition, this is the first modern critical edition of the complete text of Byzantine emperor Leo VI’s military treatise, The Taktika. The volume includes a facing English translation and explanatory notes by George T. Dennis, as well as extensive indexes.
John Haldon’s critical commentary on Byzantine emperor Leo VI’s Taktika, the first to appear in any language, addresses in detail the varied subjects touched on in the treatise. Three introductory chapters examine the context, sources, language, structure and content of the text and the military administration of the empire in Leo’s time.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 67 includes “The Canon Tables of the Psalms: An Unknown Work of Eusebius of Caesarea” by Martin Wallraff; “Melkites and Icon Worship during the Iconoclastic Period” by Juan Signes Codoñer; “Viewing and Description in Hysmine and Hysminias: The Fresco of the Virtues” by Paroma Chatterjee; and other essays.
Innovative landscape architect Leberecht Migge espoused an idea of “garden culture” that reflected the progressive political currents of early twentieth-century Germany. Garden Culture of the Twentieth Century details his vision, including an emphasis on the socioeconomic benefits of urban agriculture that prefigured this now popular trend.
This illustrated volume presents the never-before-published travel report by the Prussian court gardener Hans Jancke. Describing his 1874–1875 apprenticeship in England, the report contains extensive plant lists, measured drawings, and detailed descriptions of the horticultural regimens observed in the Knowsley Estate’s gardens and greenhouses.
Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places examines the nature of war in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Drawing on anthropological archaeology, bioarchaeology, and ethnohistory, the essays consider the similarities and differences of warfare in cross-cultural perspective, from the importance of captive-taking to rituals of sacrifice and performance.
One of the most important middle Byzantine saints’ lives, The Life of Saint Basil the Younger presents the life of a holy man who lived in Constantinople in the first part of the tenth century. The first critical edition in any language, this volume provides the Greek text facing the annotated English translation, as well as an introduction.
Technology and the Garden examines the role of technology in the shaping and visualization of landscapes. Essays discuss topics including the development of horticultural technologies; the construction of landscape through hydraulics, labor, and infrastructure; and the effect of emerging technologies on the experience of landscape.
Bringing together cartography, history, philosophy, philology, and other disciplines, Dante and the Greeks taps into the knowledge of scholars of the medieval West, Byzantium, and Dante. Essays discuss the presence of ancient Greek poetry, philosophy, and science in Dante’s writings, as well as the Greek characters who populate his works.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 68 includes “Exiling Bishops: The Policy of Constantius II” by Walt Stevenson; “In Search of Monotheletism” by Jack Tannous; Empire, Venice, and Local Autonomy” by Filip Van Tricht; “Archaeology Report: Results of the Tophane Area GPR Surveys, Bursa, Turkey” by Suna Çağaptay; and other essays.
In this companion to the two-volume Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library translation of The Histories by Laonikos Chalkokondyles, Anthony Kaldellis explores the ethnic dynamics that undergird the Histories, which recount the rise of the Ottoman empire and the decline of the Byzantine empire, all in the context of expanding western power.
Four Seasons of Flowers presents a selection of manuscripts, herbals, and printed botanical texts from the Rare Book Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. With each text accompanied by remarkable botanical illustrations, it offers an illuminating overview of the scientific history of botany, from its origins in the sixteenth century to the present day.
Anthony F. Aveni gathers specialists from diverse fields to discuss temporal concepts gleaned from the people of Mesoamerica and the Andes. Essays address how they reckon and register time and how they sense time and its moral dimensions. To them, time is a feature of the process of perception, not just the sharp present ingrained in Western minds.
Food and the City explores the physical, social, and political relations between the production of food and urban settlements. Essays offer a variety of perspectives—from landscape and architectural history to geography—on the multiple scales and ideologies of productive landscapes across the globe from the sixteenth century to the present.
Saints and Sacred Matter explores the embodied aspects of the divine—physical remains of holy men and women and objects associated with them. Contributors explore how relics linked the past and present with an imagined future in essays that discuss Christian and other religious traditions from the ancient world such as Judaism and Islam.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 69 includes Jeffrey Wickes, “Mapping the Literary Landscape of Ephrem’s Theology of Divine Names”; Stefanos Alexopoulos, “When a Column Speaks: The Liturgy of the Christian Parthenon”; Margaret Alexiou, “Of Longings and Loves: Seven Poems by Theodore Prodromos”; and other essays.
The New Testament in Byzantium draws on the current state of textual scholarship and explores aspects of the New Testament, particularly as it was imagined in lectionaries, hymns, homilies, saints’ lives, miniatures, and monuments—framing Byzantine Christian theological inquiry, ecclesiastical controversy, and political thought.
Making Value, Making Meaning explores the concept of techné—the application of a thorough and masterful knowledge of a specific field—as an analytic tool useful for understanding how the production process created value and meaning for objects and public monuments in complex societies of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Andes.
The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century brings together international scholars to examine: the figure of the botanical explorer; links between imperial ambition and the impulse to survey, map, and collect specimens in “new” territories; and relationships among botanical knowledge, self-representation, and material culture.
Sign and Design addresses the pictorial dimension of writing systems from cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspectives. Historians, paleographers, and anthropologists engage with pictographic, ideographic, and logographic writing systems and alphabetic scripts, examining diverse examples of cross-pollination between language and art.
Trepanation is the oldest surgical procedure known from antiquity, but its origins, evolution, and the reasons for doing it remain unclear. Holes in the Head examines trepanation in ancient Peru and explores its origins and spread throughout the Central Andes, focusing on techniques, success rates, and possible motivations for trepanning.
Essays in North Africa under Byzantium and Early Islam include the legacy of Vandal rule in Africa, art and architectural history, archaeology, economics, theology, Berbers, and the Islamic conquest. They examine the ways in which the imperial legacy was re-interpreted, re-imagined, and put to new uses in Byzantine and early Islamic Africa.
Sound and Scent in the Garden explores the experiences of sound and smell as dimensions of garden design. The contributors explore the sensory experience of gardens as places and demonstrate a wide variety of approaches to apply to the study of sensory history.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 70 includes: P. Marciniak, “Reinventing Lucian in Byzantium”; R. Betancourt, “Why Sight Is Not Touch: Reconsidering the Tactility of Sight in Byzantium”; C. Wright, “Constantinople and the Coup d’État in Palaiologan Byzantium”; A. Caudano, “‘These Are the Only Four Seas’: The World Map of Bologna”; and many more.
Painted Words presents a facsimile and analysis of a 17th-century pictographic Catholic catechism from colonial Mexico at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This book shows they are better understood as indigenous expressions of devotional knowledge—with pictures to aid oral performance—rather than the products of evangelization.
Cappadocia is unrivaled in its preservation of the physical remains of the Byzantine Empire: churches, towns and villages, agricultural installations, storage facilities, and other examples of non-ecclesiastical architecture. Visualizing Community offers a critical reassessment of the historiography of Byzantine Cappadocia.
In this issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers: Drandaki, “Piety, Politics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Venetian Crete”; Baker, Dompieri, Gökyildirim, “The Reformed Byzantine Silver Based Currencies in the Light of the Hoards from the Belgrade Gate”; Vionis, “Understanding Settlements in Byzantine Greece: New Data and Approaches”; and more.
Hagia Sophia is the architectural jewel of Constantinople. The edifice is intact, yet only some of its original mosaics survive. Natalia Teteriatnikov analyzes the materials, the architectural and theological aesthetics, and the social conditions that led to the distinctive mosaics, alongside watercolors of lost mosaics by Gaspare Fossati.
Scholars have attended to aspects of sight and sound in Byzantine culture, but have generally left smell, taste, and touch undervalued and understudied. Through collected essays that redress the imbalance, the volume offers a fresh charting of the Byzantine sensorium as a whole.
The Archaeology of Mural Painting at Pañamarca, Peru is a richly illustrated volume offering a nuanced account of the modern history of exploration, archaeology, and image making at Pañamarca. It also offers detailed documentation of the new fieldwork carried out by the authors at the site.
Cities have been built alongside rivers throughout history—shaping the development of urban landscapes and altering ecologies. Yet we have rarely given these urban landscapes their due. River Cities, City Rivers explores how such histories have shaped the present and how they might inform our visions of the future.
Smoke, Flames, and the Human Body in Mesoamerican Ritual Practice address the traditions, circumstances, and practices that involved the burning of bodies and bone, to better understand the ideologies behind these acts. It brings together scholars working across Mesoamerica with different methodologies and interdisciplinary lenses.