About

I am a social historian specialising in the Middle East and Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, particularly Anatolia, Upper Mesopotamia and Caucasia (approximately modern-day Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as parts of northern Syria and Iraq). In particular my research focuses on the empire of New Rome (“Byzantium”), Armenian and Georgian polities in the central Middle Ages, and the city of Ani, between the ninth to and fourteenth centuries. I also takes a comparative perspective across the region, especially from Kurdish and Ottoman studies, as well as globally, from pre-history to the modern day. Through this research I theorise social-historical themes of hegemony and counterpower, ethnicity and nationhood, and critical political economy before, during and after the rise of capitalism. I aim towards a radical perspective on social history from an anarchist – that is, a methodologically anti-state – standpoint.

I received my first degree in Ancient & Medieval History from the University of Edinburgh, before moving to the University of Oxford to complete first a master’s degree in Late Antique & Byzantine Studies, and then a doctoral dissertation in the Faculty of Oriental Studies titled ‘Situating the History attributed to Aristakes Lastiverc‘i: The Empire of New Rome & Caucasia in the Eleventh Century’. During my time as a postgraduate student I co-founded the international research network The Long History of Ethnicity & Nationhood at The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH), running a number of workshops, conferences and seminar series.

At the IHR I will focus on developing my doctoral research into a monograph, and begin a new project titled ‘“The Fate of Unjust Cities”: Global History, Political Economy & the Abandoned City of Ani, 900-1400’. This radical global history and political economy of the abandoned city of Ani in central South Caucasia, modern-day eastern Turkey, will situate the city’s emergence, development and decline between the tenth and fourteenth centuries in macro regional and interregional transformations, particularly the Mediterranean Commercial Revolution and the emergent world-system generated by Mongol Eurasian hegemony, in connected micro analysis of developing social relations in the urban space. The project draws on Ani’s rich material remains, particularly the large corpus of monumental epigraphy, as well as numismatics, ceramics and architectural remains, supplemented by Armenian, Georgian, Greek and Islamic (Arabic & Persian) literary sources. Exploring and theorising the political economy of different state-systems, long durée histories of commercial capitalism, and subaltern resistance framed through the heuristics of hegemony and counterpower, the project touches on historical and social themes relevant across time and place.

 







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Education

University of Oxford DPhil. Oriental Studies

Title: ‘Aristakes of Lastiver’s History in Context: New Rome and Caucasia c.1000-1071’

October 2014 – September 2018

 

University of Oxford MPhil. Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

Thesis: ‘Situating the Seljuq Turks: Huns, Skythians and Kaiserkritik in East Roman Historiography, c.1050-1100’.

October 2012 – June 2014

 

University of Edinburgh MA Hons. Ancient and Medieval History

Thesis: ‘Royal Administrative and Legislative Policy towards the Peninsular Nobility in the Kingdom of Sicily, c.1130-1189: Crises & Responses’.

September 2008 – May 2012

Nicholas S.M. Matheou

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@nikmatheou

active 1 month ago