Byzantine history is like a mosaic: its scholars come from an exceptionally wide variety of backgrounds and some end up on the field through twists and turns – I certainly did. My interest for the Middle Ages was sparked 20 years ago, through the discovery of Early music and Latin. As a result, I soon found myself translating medieval Latin songs, with a special interest in the 12th century poems of Hildegard of Bingen. Right after finishing my secondary high school, I fulfilled my dream and embarked on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela – which was the beginning of a pilgrimage into medieval history. Before my academic career, I studied a range of topics from Mathematics and Geography to Modern History and Political sciences. I spent many years living abroad and working in roles including teaching and team leadership, gaining useful experience and skills that cannot be learnt in schools.
My interest in all things medieval took a turn to the east during the three years I worked as a guide in locations including India, Greece, Bulgaria – and Istanbul. There is no word to describe the importance of inspiring people. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for history gained from seeing, touching and visiting monuments and sites. A career in doing the same on a scholarly level was set for me. I moved to London and enrolled on a degree on Medieval India, with a special interest on Sanskrit and the Delhi sultanate.
Soon, the domes of golden Constantinople called me back westwards – and I ended up pursuing an academic career that would give the possibility to study Europe, Asia and their meeting points. All roads had led me to Constantinople and I thought my pilgrimage had reached its goal. During my Masters research, I began from the end: I passionately studied the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the whole Byzantine millennium that it ended. This research introduced me to the eastern lands of Trebizond, which became the focus of my second Masters research project and the subject of my PhD thesis. The rest is history – the details of which are specified below.