History of the Centre 

Birmingham Byzantine Studies were launched in 1965 through the initiative of Sir Ellis Waterhouse, Director of the Barber Institute between 1952 and 1970. 

He created a Committee of Byzantine Studies (Com. BS) with the limited remit of establishing the Byzantine field as an academic subject at the postgraduate level. Both the ancient and modern Greek languages had been taught at the university since 1937 with the arrival of George Thomson.

Photo of George ThompsonIt was not until nearly the end of his career in 1965 that the decision to launch Byzantine studies as a separate academic enterprise was taken. In 1976 the initial success of the Byzantine programme was marked by the creation of a Centre for Byzantine Studies (CBS) and in the years 1976-1984 the centre operated separately from Modern Greek Studies until their merger led to the renaming of the joint enterprise as the Centre for Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek (CBS & MG). This joining of forces and linking of interests had already begun to take shape in 1975 with the establishment of a new journal called Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (BMGS) linking the two subject areas. At the same time (i.e, in the year 1984) the centre’s academic profile was expanded to include Ottoman Studies with the intention it should provide the bridging element between the study of the Greek world of the Balkans, Asia Minor and beyond between the end of the medieval period and the beginning of the modern era. 1988 marked the year both of the transferring of the permanent editorial home of the journal BMGS to Birmingham and the final renaming of the Centre as CBOMGS, the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies.

Note: this account is loosely organized around the sketch supplied by the founder and long-serving first director of the Centre Anthony Bryer (OBE), Professor Emeritus of Byzantine Studies at the University of Birmingham in Volume 12 of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies for the year 1988. See in particular pp. 21-22 and the title page which (for the first time) announces the affiliation of the journal with the newly created Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies.