A conversation with Jack Tannous about the “simple believers” who made up the majority of the population of Byzantium (as well as the caliphate and just about any premodern monotheistic society). They probably knew little about the minutiae of theology, but what did they know about their faith, and how important was theology for their religious identity?
Jack Tannous is Associate Professor of History and Hellenic Studies at Princeton University. His research focuses on the cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean, especially the Middle East, in the Late Antique and early medieval period. You can learn more about his work on his university webpage.
The discussion is based on Jack’s recent book The Making of the Medieval Middle East: Religion, Society, and Simple Believers (Princeton University Press, 2018), which highlights the role of religious practice and interpersonal attachments.
Byzantium & Friends is hosted by Anthony Kaldellis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. You can follow him on his personal website.
Top Image: Byzantine Medallion with Christ from an Icon Frame, c. 1100 – image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art