Making Love and War in the Medieval Mediterranean: Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Middle and Late Byzantine Periods (Athens, Thessaloniki, Peloponnese)

This course will take a comparative approach to cross-cultural encounters in the Mediterranean from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, combining readings in a variety of genres (historiography, romance, novel, saint’s lives, crusader narratives, and others) alongside readings drawn from recent scholarship and complemented by site visits to help students understand the many ways in which rising and falling empires interacted with one another through war, travel, trade, and diplomacy. As narratives of cross-cultural encounters across space and social strata, readings in these genres allow for an exploration of a variety of central issues in considering the late Byzantine period, including political issues such as imperial conquest, social issues such as the rights of women, and more intimate issues, such as cross-cultural romance.

Course Details


This course requires a minimum enrollment of 10, with a maximum enrollment of 16.


60 contact hours

Essential Information

The course starts and ends in Athens. Transportation between Athens and the rest of the course’s destinations, as well as during day excursions is included in the course fee.

Enrolled students will have access to detailed information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and

IMPORTANT NOTE: This course involves extensive travel.  Be wary of overpacking.  Pack only what you can carry comfortably, because you will be required to check- in and out of accommodations for each stay/travel segment of this course. It will also be useful to bring with you travel-size cosmetics.


Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms; towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, with air-conditioned rooms.


The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.


When class is in Athens a full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m.  While traveling, breakfast will be offered at the Hotel.  A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included in the course fee.

Day-to-day Program & Itinerary

The day-to-day program and itinerary of the course are subject to change. Students are advised not to make plans for their free time or weekends in advance, as class schedules and site visits may be re-scheduled depending on local conditions.


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