Master of Studies in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

Differences from 2016/17 to 2021/22

(See also the general notice at the commencement of these regulations.)

  • 1. Candidates must satisfy the Committee for Byzantine Studies and the appropriate Faculty Boards that they possess the necessary qualifications in Greek (ancient or modern) and/or Latin to profit by the course.

  • 2. Every candidate must follow for at least three terms a course of instruction in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Candidates will, when they enter for the examination, be required to produce from their society a certificate that they are following such a course.

  • 3. Candidates must take three of the following five papers. All candidates take the core paper on History, Art and Archaeology, or, if they already have the required linguistic competence, History and Byzantine Literature. For the remainder of their course they choose either the two Language and Literature papers, or, Auxiliary Disciplines and one Special Subject.

  • I. Core paper on History, Art and Archaeology , or History and Byzantine Literature:


    • (a) Late Antiquity (covering the Roman Empire and adjoining regions)

  • or

    • (b) Byzantium

  • The core paper will be taught in classes in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. Examination will be by two 5,000 word essays, to be  uploaded to the AssignmentsUniversity sectionapproved online assessment platform by Monday of thesixth Lateweek Antiqueof Hilary Term (essay 1) and Byzantine Studies WebLearn by Monday of sixth week of Trinity Term (essay 2). Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work.

  • II. and III. Language and Literature (teaching in Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic will normally be available).

    These papers are taught over three terms in classes, with reference to a selection of texts and/or extracts from texts which may vary from year to year according to the interests of candidates. Examination is by two three-hour papers (candidates are permitted the use of relevant bilingual dictionaries, which will be provided by the faculty):

    • (a) translation, and

    • (b) set texts (with passages for translation and comment).

  • Candidates who are embarking on the study of one of the above languages will normally be expected to take both examinations in that language, but the Committee for Byzantine Studies may in special circumstances permit them to substitute another paper for one of these examination papers. Candidates cannot normally offer an examination in the language which qualified them for admission to the degree programme in the first instance.

  • IV. Auxiliary Discipline(s):


    • (a) any two of the following: epigraphy, palaeography, numismatics, sigillography

  • or

    • (b) papyrology: Greek or Coptic or Arabic

  • or

    • (c) artefact studies: one of ceramics or metalwaremosaics or ivories or codices or carved marbles.

  • Paper IV will be taught by lectures/classes/tutorials. Examination will be by a three-hour paper, except for papyrology which is assessed by two 5,000 word essays on distinct aspects of the subject. The essays for papyrology are to be submitted by Monday of Week 9 of Trinity Term.

  • V. A Special Subject selected from the subject areas listed under 4. below.

  • Special Subjects will be taught by lectures/classes/tutorials. Examination will be either by two 5,000 word essays or by a 10,000 word dissertation (to be  uploaded to the AssignmentsUniversity sectionapproved ofonline theassessment Late Antique and Byzantine Studies WebLearn site platform by Monday of sixth week of Trinity Term). Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that it is their own work.

  • 4. Overview of Special Subject (for details please consult the Course Handbook)

    • (a) History: Special Subjects on offer deal either with specific periods or with certain aspects of late Roman and Byzantine history (including military, diplomatic, political, social economic and religious history) between the fourth and fifteenth centuries, as well as important developments in neighbouring regions.

    • (b) Art and Archaeology: Special Subjects on offer cover sculpture, portraiture, minor arts, monumental art and architecture of the late Roman, Byzantine and Islamic spheres of influence, as well as the archaeology of town and country throughout the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.

    • (c) Literature (texts prescribed in translation): Special Subjects on offer range through historiography, hagiography, poetry, popular literature and scholarship in the languages available for the degree programme.

    • (d) Religion: Special Subjects on offer cover theological debates and practical spirituality in the fields of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    • (e) Such other subjects as may be approved on application to the Committee for Byzantine Studies.

  • Candidates wishing to take an option paper/advanced paper (language varying by programme) from another programme offered by the History Faculty, and exceptionally, by other Faculties, may do so with the permission of the Programme Convenor, the person responsible for the delivery of the requested option/advanced paper, the candidates supervisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such candidates will be assessed according to the regulations with respect to the form of assessment and deadlines governing that option (ie the regulations of the programme under which the option/advanced paper is offered), but the modes of assessment and deadlines for the other course elements of the programme for which the candidate is registered will remain in force.

  • Note. The list of Special Subjects detailed in the Course Handbook reflects the expertise and interests of current postholders. The list may be altered from time to time with development of expertise and changes of interest on the part of the postholders.

  • 5. Teaching in all the options may not be available each year, and applicants for admission will be advised whether teaching will be available in the options of their choice.

  • 6. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.