Supporting sovereign decision-making

Experts and their knowledge in a transcultural and comparative perspective

Poster of the conference "Supporting sovereign decision-making"
© SFB 1150 | wikimedia

This conference aims at investigating which resources were available to premodern rulers in their decision-making duties. Through their knowledge, advisors and experts could assist the sovereign in taking decisions. Therefore, they took part in councils and thus were able to indicate solutions to problems and influence decisions. In so doing, they based their expertise on various resources of knowledge, amongst which the exact sciences (astronomy, astrology, as well as observations on natural phenomena like thunders and earthquakes) played an essential role. Normative and narrative sources refer to those sciences in many ways.

In the frame of this conference, the various modes of decision-making in the areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Arab world, and the Far East come under consideration. The transmission of specialized knowledge and its evaluation in the decision-making process led by the sovereign / (absolute) ruler / monarch is also addressed in comparison with similarly structured societies of premodern times.

The main questions addressed are: What kind of knowledge was available and suitable for supporting/backing the process of decision-making? What role or function did experts assume? Was there any organized way of consultation in the various ruling/power centres? In which fields was this backing/expertise utilized (e.g. military or administration)? To what extent was the ruler/sovereign dependent on or influenced by those resources? Were there (any) strategies for keeping knowledge under control?


Wednesday, 16. May 2018

14.00 Begrüßung und Einleitung Ulrich Pfister (Sprecher des SFB 1150), Michael Grünbart (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
14.30 Entscheiden im Rom des 9. Jahrhunderts Klaus Herbers (IKGF, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
15.15 Expertenwissen und Loyalitäten: Lateiner als Experten am byzantinischen Hof Leonie Exarchos (Graduiertenkolleg „Expertenkulturen des 12. bis 18. Jahrhunderts“, GAU Göttingen)
16.00 Pause
16.30 Counselors ex officio and Expert Advisors (Byzantium, 11th-14th Centuries) Demetrios Kyritses (University of Crete)
17.15 Pause

Abendvortrag: Royalty and Divine Communication in Didactic Writings of the Western Church (c.1050-1200)

Im Rahmen des Forschungskolloquiums “400-1500

Anke Holdenried
 (University of Bristol)

Thursday, 17. May 2018

Vorsitz: Michael Grünbart (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
09.00 Grundlagen herrschaftlicher Entscheidungsfindung im frühtraditionellen China Michael Schimmelpfennig (The Australian National University, Canberra)
09.45 Schlecht beraten? Irrationale Entscheidungsprozesse in
der Spätantike
Felix K. Maier  (JMU Würzburg)
10.30 Pause
Vorsitz: Susanne Spreckelmeier (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
11.00 Supporting or Superseding Decision-Making? Piccolomini’s Pentalogus, a Janus-faced Policy Paper Maximiliane Berger (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
11.45 Politik und Wahrsagerei an frühneuzeitlichen Höfen. Vorschlag zur Gewichtung eines Zusammenhangs Ulrike Ludwig (GU Frankfurt/Main)
12.30 Pause
14.00 Zu Funktion und Darstellung herrscherlicher Entscheidungsfindungen in der lateinisch-christlichen Historiografie Hans-Christian Lehner (IKGF, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
14.45 Jenseits der Astrologie - Mantische Praktiken als Entscheidungshilfe an westlichen Herrscherhöfen des Mittelalters Matthias Heiduk (IKGF, FAU Erlangen-
15.30 Pause
Vorsitz: Stefanos Dimitriadis (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
16.00 Astrology at the Court of Manuel I Komnenos Paul Magdalino (University of St. Andrews)
16.45 Prophecies as a Resource for Decision-Making: The Case
of Alexios Mourtzouphlos
András Kraft (American University of Central Asia, Division of General Education, Bischkek)
17.30 The Late Byzantine Oikeioi: Political Advice and Decision
Making at the Palaiologan Court
Florin Leonte (Palacký University Olomouc)

Friday, 18. May 2018

Vorsitz: Florin Filimon (SFB 1150, WWU Münster)
09.00 Predicting the Reliability of Astrologers: An Epistle of
al-Qabīṣī (4th/6th century)
Anne Regourd (University of Copenhagen)
09.45 Supporting Princely Decision-Making? al-Ashraf ‘Umar and His Kitāb al-Tabṣira (Yemen, 13th c.) Petra G. Schmidl (GU Frankfurt/Main)
10.30 Pause
11.00 Ancient or Modern? Astrological Handbooks in the Komnenoi Period Anne-Laurence Caudano (University of Winnipeg)
11.45 “The Oracles of Leo”: What the Emperor Does Not Know Benjamin Anderson (Cornell University, Ithaca N.Y.)
12.30 Non-rational Factors in Political Decision-Making in Byzantium Andrei Timotin (Institute for South-East European Studies, Bucharest)