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 Sean Strong

Sean Strong

Research student,

Overview

I am a PhD candidate researching leadership depictions in Theophylact Simocatta's History. My main research focus is the reign of Emperor Maurice (AD 582-602), but also extends to his predecessors, the Emperor Justin II (AD 565-578) and Tiberius II Constantine (AD 578-582). I have particular interest in imperial and military leadership of the Roman Empire, Sasanian Empire, and the Avar Khaganate which also encompasses the internal and external perception of leadership throughout the landscape of Eastern Europe and the Near East. My general research interests are expansive and vary throughout the Late Antique and Byzantine world, and include military, political, and social history.


Academic Background:



  • PhD, Ancient History (Byzantine Studies) - Cardiff University (2019 - Present) Thesis Title: 'Generals and Rulers in Theophylact Simocatta's History: A Study of Roman, Sasanian, and Avar Leadership Depictions, AD 565-602', Supervisors: Professor Shaun Tougher and Dr Eve MacDonald 

  • Mst, Medieval History (Byzantine Studies) - University of Oxford (2017-18) Thesis Title: 'Triumph and Treachery: A Comparative Study of Usurpation in the Late-Eleventh Century Byzantium - The ‘Saviour’, the ‘Tragic Insurgent’ and, the ‘Wolf in Waiting’', Supervisor: Professor James Howard-Johnston 

  • BA, Ancient and Medieval History - University of Wales, Lampeter (2014-17) Thesis Title: 'The Role of Emperor Justinian in the Decline of the Byzantine Empire', Supervisor: Dr Harriett Webster 

Research

Research interests



  • Late Roman and 'Byzantine' History (AD 330-1204)

  • Sasanian Iran (AD 224-651)

  • The Steppe Nomads and Balkan Powers (Avars, Lombards, Slavs, and Pechenegs) 

  • Imperial Leadership 

  • Usurpation in Late Antiquity and Byzantium 

  • Warfare, Frontiers, and their Landscapes (Diocletian to Alexios Komnenos) 


Conferences:



  • Forthcoming: University of Birmingham - The 21st Annual Postgraduate Colloquium of the Centre of Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek Studies (Theme: Colour, Emotion, and Senses) - (May 2021) - Paper Title: Emotion as Evidence for Legitimacy: The Public Reception of Emperor Maurice 

  • Forthcoming: University of Exeter - Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History (March 2021) - Paper Title: Becoming the Šāhanšāh in the Ērānshahr: Visual and Literary Evidence for Sasanian Investiture Rituals in the Late Sixth Century AD

  • University of Wales, Lampeter (UWICAH) - Themes of Isolation in, and in the Study of, the Ancient World (November 2020) - Paper Title: Being a Byzantinist: An Academic Discipline on the Periphery

  • University of Bristol - Follow the Leader: Medieval Leaders and Leadership (January 2020) - Paper Title: Rulership in Early Byzantium: The Case of Inauguration Speeches 

  • Sapienza: Università di Roma - Apprendistato dello Storico -  Dialettiche del Potere: rivendicazione, usurpazione, giustificazione (May 2019) - Paper Title: Nikephoros III Botaneiates and Nikephoros Bryennios: The Means and Ends to Usurp an Imperial Throne and the Precedent it set for Alexios I Komnenos in 1081 AD

  • St Anne’s College, Oxford – ‘Lampeter Legacies’, (November 2018) – Event in Honour of Professor Janet Burton - Paper Title: ό διπλωματία των Βυζαντινών: Religious Missionaries and their Role along the Northern Frontier, 8th Century – 12th Century AD [Invited]

  • Lancaster University - HistFest (June 2018) - Paper Title: Realism in Late Roman Warfare: A Military Arms Race between Rome and Sassanid Persia (The Concept of Development Over Time Between the 4th and 6th Century AD)

  • UWTSD Lampeter - Undergraduate Humanities Conference (May 2017) - Paper Title: The Role of Emperor Justinian in the Decline of the Byzantine Empire


Publications



  • Strong, S, ‘Reconstructing the Narrative: The Usurpation of Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder’, SHARE: Studies in History, Archaeology, Religion and Conservation 4.1 (2020), 1-27.

  • Strong, S, 'The Sword that Became Blunt: The Usurpation of Nikephoros Bryennios', in P. Konieczy (ed.), Medieval Warfare Magazine, 10, 2 (2020), 34-7.


Outreach



Academic Memberships:



  • Committee Member of the South-West and Wales Late Antique, Early Medieval, and Byzantine Network (LAEMB)

  • Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS) - (2017-Present)

  • The British Institute of Persian Studies (BIPS) - (2018-Present)

Thesis

Generals and Rulers in Theophylact Simocatta's History: A Study of Roman, Sasanian, and Avar Leadership Depictions, AD 565-602

This thesis is a study of Roman, Sasanian and Avar leadership portrayals depicted in Theophylact Simocatta’s History. Theophylact’s History is most noted for its narration of the Emperor Maurice’s wars (AD 582-602); however, the text has greater relevance to historians and a wider examination of it, within the context of royal and military leadership, will open up new avenues in order to better understand leadership during the late sixth and early seventh century. The research will focus on examining the Roman autokrator and Sasanian Šāhanšāh, alongside aspects of Avar leadership, and how the Khagan compares to his counterparts within Theophylact’s History. Key aspects of Late Antique leadership will be addressed such as legitimacy and dynasty, alongside offering an analysis into the transforming military role of the Late Roman autokrator and Sasanian Šāhanšāh

Supervisors

Shaun Tougher

Professor Shaun Tougher

Professor of Late Roman and Byzantine History

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Dr Eve MacDonald

Lecturer in Ancient History