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Between different worlds – International Symposium on “Byzantine Gold Coins in the World of Late Antiquity” opens new paths for understanding (ex)change and transformation

The Byzantine Empire, located at the nexus of Europe and Asia and having close relationship with the Sasanian Empire and the later Arabic Empire in the East, held a special role in the cultural and economic communication between the West and the East in the changing world of “Late Antiquity”. Thus, the international symposium on“Byzantine Gold Coins in the World of Late Antiquity” held at the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC) of Northeast Normal University (NENU), Changchun, China from July 23-25, 2017 opened new paths in many aspects.

Being the first international conference of Byzantine Studies with this theme in China, it was an important step towards the internationalization of Byzantine Studies in China. The new cooperation between international and Chinese scholars on a topic that connects both sides via the Silk Road will hopefully promote a globalization of this and other fields. The necessity of such cooperation the symposium achieved by focusing on the study of Byzantine Gold Coins as well as Sasanian and Arabian coinage outside the normal area of circulation.

Scholars from different countries discussed issues of migration and circulation of such coins in the Mediterranean Sea, middle Asia, Mongolia, India, Southeast Asia and China. Their research proved that Byzantine gold coins as well as other “western” coinage spread much through the Silk Road and other ways within Eurasia. Therefore, this migrating coinage does not only reflect economic exchange but also ancient-medieval diplomatic and commercial networks in terms of long-lasting communication and cultural contacts between the different civilizations of the Eurasian continent. These contacts and exchanges on various levels are an inspiring motivation for the modern international relations on the Eurasian continent, in respect of scholarship and beyond.

(Prof. Dr. Sven Guenther)