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.
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.
Written during the last sixteen years of Liszt’s life, these letters are addressed to the Baroness Olga von Meyendorff, who shared his interests in a broad field of disciplines. Composed with warmth and humor, they reveal Liszt to have been an ardent, generous, and modest man, loyal and devoted to family and friends, pupils and colleagues alike.
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.
Volume 2 includes seals with place names from south of the Balkans, the islands, and the south of Asia Minor. Each section begins with an essay on the region’s history. Each seal is illustrated and accompanied—where appropriate—by commentary on date, its owner, peculiarities of orthography, and special features of iconography.
Volume 5 in the Byzantine Seals catalogue includes seals with place names from the East, Constantinople and its environs, and seals with uncertain readings. These seals contribute significantly to historical geography, the evolution of the Byzantine imperial administration, development in the Greek language, and decorative vogues.
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.
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 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.
Much has been written on the traditions of elite gardens but little attention has been directed to the gardens of more humble and popular cultures that reflect regional, localized, ethnic, personal, or folk creations. These articles reflect growing interest in a range of cultural artifacts that demonstrate how culture influences surroundings.
Increased mobility, uprootedness, and the pace of change in an increasingly technological society have contributed to interest in regionalism, which places value on cultural continuity in local areas. These essays lay the foundation for examining regionalism in American garden design.
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.
Garden history is a discipline of contested purposes. Perspectives on Garden Histories contributes to a self-critical examination of this emergent field of study, at the same time offering an overview of its main achievements in several domains—such as Italian and Mughal gardens—and of the new kinds of investigation to which they have led.
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.
The prevalence and influence of “theming” increased so dramatically during the 1990s that theme parks have become a metaphor for postmodern urban life. But few scholarly studies focus on the landscapes in theme parks. This volume’s authors examine themed landscapes in Asia, Europe, and North America in response to this worldwide development.
The essays in this volume explore the broad range of ideas about nature reflected in twentieth-century concepts of natural gardens and their ideological implications. They also investigate garden designers’ use of earlier ideas of natural gardens and their relationship to the rich model that nature offers.
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.
The essays in this volume investigate themes related to the place of law in Byzantine ideology and society. Was this a society which was meant to be governed by law? For answers, these essays look to the intent of the legislators; the attitudes toward the law; the relationship between law, religion, literature, and art.
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.
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.
This publication brings to a wider audience important new findings in the fields of medieval pottery and archaeometry. The new data that materials analysis provides about Byzantine ceramics and their production at times supports, modifies, and even contradicts conclusions derived from traditional archaeological methods.
Using the evidence of written documents, seed and plant lists, catalogues, and illustrations, the author attempts to show which annuals were popular and how they were used in the fifty-year period following the Civil War. Several commercial seed lists are reproduced to document the changing styles of gardening.
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.
American Garden Literature in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (1785–1900) offers insights into the holdings of the Garden Library at Dumbarton Oaks as well as the revolution of American garden culture and landscape architecture in the course of the nineteenth century.
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.
This book elucidates the birth of the new relationship between the Roman Empire and the Arabs and the rise of its institutional forms. Shahîd discusses the participation of the Arab foederati in Byzantium’s wars with her neighbors—the Persians and the Goths—during which those Arab allies contributed to the welfare of the imperium and the ecclesia.
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.
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 63 includes A. Sarantis, “War and Diplomacy in Pannonia and the Northwest Balkans during the Reign of Justinian: The Gepid Threat and Imperial Responses”; P. Hatlie, “Images of Motherhood and Self in Byzantine Literature”; M. Evangelatou, “Liturgy and the Illustration of the Ninth-Century Marginal Psalters”; and other essays.
This discussion considers the iconographic features and radiocarbon dates of two small wood figures reportedly found in the vicinity of Texcoco. One figure represents the water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, while the other, a nude male figure, may represent a rain deity.
Linares reinterprets the Classic rank-societies of the central Panamanian provinces using archaeological, ecological, iconographic, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic evidence, and concludes that the art of this area used animal motifs as a metaphor for the qualities of aggression and hostility characteristic of local social and political life.
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.
Papers from the 1986 Summer Seminar, “Empire, Province, and Village in Aztec History.”
This volume consists of papers from the 1992 Dumbarton Oaks conference marking the quincentennial of Columbus’s landing in the Americas.
This volume consists of papers from the 1992 Dumbarton Oaks conference marking the quincentennial of Columbus’s landing in the Americas.
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 Ćurčić.
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.