Byzantium on the Web: New Technologies at the Service of Museums and Educational Institutions for the Presentation of Byzantine Culture
By Vicky Foskolou
Byzantinische Zeitschrift, Volume 100, Issue 2 (2008)
Introduction: The rapid growth of web presentations related to Byzantine history and culture in the recent years is a fact that can easily be proven. One needs only to use the keyword Byzantine Culture in the Google search engine and he will get more than three million hits. However, in the first ten of these he will find the relevant Wikipedia entry, a website belonging to a religious organization, and an interactive site, which offers “an exploration of the Byzantine Empire (330– 1461) both through historical posts and by means of historically-informed roleplay”.
A website with role play games could of course be very entertaining, but it could not be recommended as a study aid or a bibliographical reference for a project. The same applies to quite a few other websites which appear on the first few pages of Google’s search, such as for example that of the “Neobyzantine Movement” which in its own words has the declared aim of creating a new Byzantine State “one country from Adriatic Sea to Korea and from Sinai desert to the North Sea …”. It might be very useful for anyone studying modern perceptions of Byzantium, but it seems unlikely to be a reliable source for anyone seeking to inform themselves about Byzantine culture.
The quest for Byzantine culture in Google presents clearly the problem that is created by the lack of a systematic organization, presentation and scientific evaluation of the electronic programs related to Byzantine Studies available on the Internet nowadays.