And I remembered a paper that Wright presented at the 30th Byzantine Studies Conference in Baltimore, "Was William of Moerbeke an Angevin Agent?"It's a fabulous piece of scholarship linking geopolitical agendas with antiquarianism. As far as I know, the paper is unpublished. I also wish I had been in Athens to see Wright's lecture, "Ottoman Venetian Cooperation in Post-War (1463-1478) Morea" (November 25, 2008). I'm also reminded of a paper that Siriol Davies gave a few years ago about a new discovery of a Venetian map in a Vienna. This map shows explicit classical antiquarian interests in the Venetian occupation of the Peloponnese. (I'll have to dig up the reference). Many thanks also to Guy Sanders and to Mary Lee Coulson, who have made Merbaka central to our scholarly concerns.
Going back to Cyriacus, I cannot help but share my favorite Cyriacus passage, where he describes the state of ancient cities as he rides by them. While visiting his fellow humanist Plethon at Mystras in 1448, Cyriacus inspected
"While contemplating en route from afar the ruins of once-famous Laconian towns, mulling this over in my mind, I thought, naturally, of that fact that, even though one must grieve to behold these noble, ancient, distinguished and richly adorned cities, now in our time in a state of utter collapse or demolition almost everywhere throughout the region, one must endure with an [even] heavier heart, in my opinion, the pitiable ruin of the human race, because the fact that the world’s outstanding towns, marvelous temples sacred to the gods, beautiful statues and other extraordinary trappings of human power and skill have fallen from the pristine grandeur seems not so serious as the fact that, throughout almost all the regions of the world, the pristine human virtue and renowned integrity of spirit has fallen into an [even] worse condition; and where they had once flourished most, there they had more and more departed."
The Renaissance antiquarian witnessed a landscape of devastation and abandonment, scarred by the neglect of time but also by wars, civil strife and plague. Seeing the ruins inspired lament for the loss of classical culture and the ideals it represented. Cyriacus’ countryside instructs in humility and virtue and offers a new interpretive paradigm. A. T. Grove and O. Rakcham have argued that Cyriacus' point of view was partially created by the perceptible difference between the Italian and Greek landscapes, see Mediterranean
The 2007 issue of Dumbarton Oaks Papers is a great issue for the archaeologist because it contains essays from the 2005 Symposium "Settlement Patterns in Anatolia and the Levant: New Evidence from Archaeology." In addition it contains a book-length article by Tassos Papacostas, "The History and Architecture of the Monastery of Saint John Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis, Cyprus," pp. 25-148 and the most recent excavation report from Amorium.