Apologies for the very late notice but if you are in London tomorrow, 5 November, try to make the Annual Lecture of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies which will be held in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29), King’s Building, Strand Campus, starting at 6.30 pm. Attendance is free and you don’t have to book.
James Howard-Johnston was University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at Oxford and Fellow of Corpus Christi College from 1971 to 2009 and will present a lecture entitled Byzantium’s first encounters with the Turks. A synopsis from the KCL website:
Turks first impinged on the consciousness of Mediterranean peoples as the dark force which impelled the Avars to migrate west, first to the north Caucasus, then, with Byzantine authorisation, across Ukraine into central Europe. The first encounter took place on the Turks’ initiative. The supreme khagan sent an embassy from the Tienshan mountains to Constantinople in 568, to establish an offensive alliance with the Byzantines. It is a moot point whether or not it proved effective. The second encounter, with which this lecture is primarily concerned, occurred many decades later, when the Byzantine empire, in its late antique incarnation, had been largely dismembered by the Sasanian Persian empire. This time the initiative was that of the Emperor Heraclius, who, in autumn 624, dispatched an ambassador from Caucasian Albania (modern Azerbaijan) with the aim of drawing the Turkish khaganate into the war. This mission had dramatic effects, which changed the course of history not only in the Middle East but also on the inner Asian frontiers of China.
For further details click here.