Visiting Scholars



Nathanael Aschenbrenner, Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University.

A historian of empire, Nate Aschenbrenner investigates imperial failures and rebirths in late medieval and early modern Europe, and in particular, how an imperial collapse of epochal proportions transformed political activity around the Mediterranean world and beyond. His current research traces Byzantium’s enduring role in the construction of an early modern European identity and its ideological impact on European quests to subjugate the globe through trade, conquest, and colonization.

His dissertation asks how Byzantine ideas of empire changed in the last decades before the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and how Europeans appropriated the legacy of Byzantine imperial thought in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries—a refashioning that helped revitalize the Roman imperial project from an anemic legal fiction at the end of the Middle Ages into an ideological engine for global schemes of exploration, conquest, and state formation in early modernity.     

His next project examines how the study of Byzantium contributed to the early modern European scholarly enterprise, which stretched a new sense of Europe’s past and present across an increasingly sophisticated scholarly armature. Taking a new approach to this subject with the conviction that the production of Byzantine scholarship—like all others—was an inherently political activity, it will investigate how the creation of Byzantine Studies was a part of the formation of a European identity in a critical period of scholarly investigation and myth-making. 



Ihor Lylo, Assistant Professor in the History of the Middle Ages and Byzantine Studies, Department of History, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine.

A Home Among Strangers — A Stranger at Home: Portraits of Greek Emigrants and Travelers in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth (15th-17th Centuries). This project focuses on the question of how Greek immigrants, as representatives of Orthodox culture could become an integral part of the Western World. During this time period, the interaction of Orthodox culture of the East and the Catholic Culture of the West created an interesting phenomenon on the border of Eastern European civilization: it shaped the character of the people of this area and their understanding of the outside world.

Apart from scholarly work, Ihor Lylo is also a social activist and a journalist, who hosts a popular historical program on “Lviv Wave” 100.8 FM.


Ioannes Liritzis, Professor of Archaeometry at the University of the Aegean, on Rhodes, Greece, spent a term at UC San Diego on an Onassis Visiting Fellowship.