Rhodes and the Knights Hospitaller – my internship with GRAPH-EAST

As it is rare for Master’s students to get the chance to contribute to research, I was happy to hear about the possibility to do an internship with the team of the ERC project GRAPH-EAST, which they announced during a presentation of their work to first year students of Medieval Studies in Poitiers. I was interested to learn how an international project of this scale is managed and to discover more about medieval epigraphy, a field that I had not yet explored before coming to Poitiers for my ERASMUS studies. Thus, I got in contact with Estelle Ingrand-Varenne and my internship was scheduled for five weeks in May and June 2023. It presented an instructive end to my studies in Poitiers, before returning to my home university in Heidelberg, Germany.

My work was centred around the medieval inscriptions in the Latin alphabet on Rhodes. From 1309 onwards, Rhodes was the main base of the Knights Hospitaller Order, until the island was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1522. Over the two centuries of their presence, the Knights left many archaeological and epigraphic traces around the town that are still visible today. My task was to register the inscriptions in the HEURIST database of the project, based on the information that I gathered from already published works.

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After an Epigraphic Expedition in Turkey and Greece…

Acting as a postdoctoral researcher for the ERC GRAPH-EAST project and its scientific team, I carried out a long field mission during summer 2022 in Turkey and some adjacent island of Greece. After a quite long, exhaustive series of travel arrangements as well as bureaucratic processes for permissions to inaccessible sites, the mission was overall a productive and, in some occasions, even surprisingly novel experience in my opinion. Therefore, I am feeling very glad on behalf of our project. In this case, I would like to share my documentations and discoveries in brief, accompanied by my impressions and research, concerning the Late Medieval Latin epigraphy in Turkey and Greece, also including the sites that I failed this time. My primary aim during the field mission was to document the inscriptions through detailed photography and taking basic measurements of them, which were formerly either omitted or considered superficially in the literature, so that our efforts shall produce new readings and interpretation in the context of epigraphy. The research is actually still ongoing and will be further elaborated during the 2022-2023 academic year.

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