Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Marek Jankowiak

Associate Professor in Byzantine History


I was born in Gdańsk in Poland just in time to experience, as a teenager, the strikes in the Gdańsk Shipyard and the fall of the eastern bloc. We then moved to Paris, where I read Mathematics, and back to Poland, where I graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics with a master in Finance and Banking. I went on to work first in audit and then in a global strategic consultancy. None of this prepared me to be a Byzantinist – but it was useful life experience. I did, however, read history too. I was fascinated by Roman history since, for some reason, I read Suetonius at the age of seven. I took a degree in Humanities (in practice History and Classics) at the University of Warsaw and wrote my thesis in a co-tutelle between the University of Warsaw and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. I defended it in Paris in 2009. I came to Oxford in 2011 as a Newton Fellow of the British Academy (2011-13), and was Co-Investigator of the AHRC-funded project ‘Dirhams for Slaves’ (2013-17), Departmental Lecturer in Byzantine History at Oxford (2016-17), and Birmingham Fellow and Early Career Lecturer at Birmingham (2017-18). I returned to Oxford in 2018 as Associate Professor in Byzantine History. 


My research revolves around various aspects of the history of the medieval Roman (i.e., Byzantine) empire, often in a broader Eurasian context. For my doctorate, I worked on the monothelete controversy, an obscure theological dispute that provides, however, a fascinating insight into the transformation of the Roman empire in the seventh century. My post-doctoral project concerned slave trade between the Islamic world and northern Europe (i.e., Scandinavia and the Slavic lands) in the ninth and tenth centuries. This led me to a comparative study of slavery in Byzantium, the medieval Islamic world, Scandinavia, and western Europe, and to a broader interest in social and economic history of Byzantium. I am also interested in Byzantine historiography, in the interactions of Byzantium with its Muslim and northern neighbours, in state formation in northern Europe, and in comparative approaches to early medieval bureaucratic states such as Byzantium, the Caliphate, China, and Japan. 

Teaching and Supervision

I teach or tutor courses on Byzantine History (which, by convention, begins for us roughly at the time of Justinian). I am happy to supervise postgraduate students on a broad range of topics in the history of Byzantium and its neighbours, such as – but not limited to – those listed above. 

Major publications

“The First Arab Siege of Constantinople”, Travaux et Mémoires 17 (2013) 237- 320

“The Invention of Dyotheletism”, Studia Patristica 63 (2013) 335-42

“The Notitia 1 and the impact of Arab invasions on Asia Minor”, Millennium 10 (2013) 435-61

(with Phil Booth) “A New Date-List of the Works of Maximus the Confessor”, in: P. Allen and B. Neil (eds), Oxford Handbook to Maximus the Confessor (Oxford, 2015) 19-83

(edited, with Federico Montinaro) Studies in Theophanes. Travaux et Mémoires19 (Paris, 2015)

“Byzantine coins in Viking-Age northern lands”, in: F. Androshchuk, J. Shepard and M. White (eds), Byzantium and the Viking World (Uppsala, 2016) 117-39

(edited, with Felix Biermann) The invisible commodity? Archaeology of early medieval slavery – in preparation

(edited, with Jonathan Shepard and Jacek Gruszczyński) Silver, Slaves and Gotland – in preparation

(with Richard Price) The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 680-681, Translated Texts for Historians (Liverpool University Press) – in preparation

(with Gert Rispling and Luke Treadwell) Catalogue of early medieval dirham imitations – in preparation

Dirhams for slaves. Early medieval slave trade between the Islamic world, Scandinavia, and the Slavic lands – in preparation


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