Monday, May 19, 2014

Waldemar Ceran - Poland's Antiochiologist

Recently in my hunt for new sources of research on Antioch, I stumbled upon the existence of a body of works in Eastern Europe that were seldom quoted by Western scholars, presumably due to language issues. The most prominent scholar in recent times was Professor Waldemar Ceran. He was an eminent Polish academic with a focus on Byzantium. He was born in Lodz in 1936 and died on the 20th June 2009.

Interestingly his work was not only in Polish, but also in French. His most important contribution to the Antioch oeuvre was Byzantina Lodziensia XVIII: Artisans et commercants a Antioche et leur rang social, Wydawnictwo: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego ISBN: 978-83-7969-071-8. I shall be focusing on this work anon in a standalone posting. 

Professor Ceran was, for many years, the director of the Department, then the Chair of Byzantine History, at the University of Łódź – the first, and largest, of such academic units in Poland. Throughout his long academic career, he held a number of roles, amongst which he was the director of the Institute of History, University of Łódź, as well as the president (subsequently honorary president) of the Commission of Byzantine Studies at the Committee of Ancient Culture, Polish Academy of Sciences (the Polish national committee of the Association Internationale des Études Byzantines). He began his studies as a student, and then became a close collaborator, of Professor Halina Evert-Kappesowa, the doyen of Byzantine studies in Łódź. He received substantial specialized training from such noted foreign scholars in the field such as Professor Paul Lemerle and Professor Nina V. Pigulevskaya. 

Professor Ceran specialized in the history of Antioch during Late Antiquity, the relations between the Church and the Byzantine state as well as the history of the Mount Athos monasteries. He was an indefatigable propagator of ancient and medieval history (especially of the Byzantine Empire). Thus, the decision to name the newly founded Waldemar Ceran Research Centre for the History and Culture of the Mediterranean Area and South-East Europe after him seemed fitting to the founding members. The creation of the Ceraneum in a way fulfills the aspirations of Professor Ceran himself. He devoted all his life to developing the Byzantine studies community in Poland and popularizing the research on the history of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Some of his other works with Antiochene focus:

„Emporoi” we wczesnobizantyńskiej Antiochii, „Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Historica” 23, 1986, s. 17-28.

„Basileia” i „patris” w ujęciu Antiocheńczyków okresu wczesnobizantyńskiego, [w:] Pamiętnik XV Powszechnego Zjazdu Historyków Polskich, Gdańsk-Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek 1995, t. I, cz. 1, s. 107-116.

Libanius et Jean Chrysostome – deux attitudes envers la centralisation et la bureaucratisation de l’Empire byzantin au IVe siecle, [in:] Mélanges d’histoire byzantine offerts a Oktawiusz Jurewicz a l’occasion de son soixante-dixieme anniversaire, Byzantina Lodziensia III, Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwerstytetu Łódzkiego 1998, s. 29-42.

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