Rodriguez-Suarez, Alex

National Portrait Gallery

Research Topic: Bell-ringing: Bells and bell-towers in the Late Byzantine Period (1261-1453)

Dr. Rodriguez-Suarez studied history in Barcelona (UAB) and after he moved to London to conduct his MA (RHUL). His dissertation focused on the reasons behind Manuel I’s latinophilia. His PhD thesis (KCL, 2014), entitled The Western presence in the Byzantine Empire during the reigns of Alexios I and John II (1081-1143), included a section on the introduction of bell-ringing in Byzantium before 1204. At ANAMED he is going to continue my research on this topic by looking at bell-ringing during the Late Byzantine period (1261-1204). The use of large bells in Byzantium for religious purposes is a rather unknown aspect. Bell-ringing has not received much scholarly attention and Byzantinists have mainly looked at bell-towers. My aim is to study both the written sources (chronicles, travel accounts) and the archaeological remains (bells, bell-towers) in Turkey. While the remains of bells (Istanbul Archaeological Museums) and bell-towers (Hagia Sophia, Trabzon) are scarce, he aims to discover new material on this under-researched subject. Researching the real extent of the use of bells in Byzantium will provide us with information about the cultural changes that took place at different levels during the last centuries of Byzantium, resulting in innovations in architecture and religious traditions.