Denis Sullivan


Department of Teaching, Learning, Policy and Leadership

University of Maryland, College Park


Professor Sullivan’s research focuses on critical editions (from handwritten medieval manuscripts), annotated translations, and analyses of Medieval Greek texts, particularly military instructional manuals and hagiographical texts. He has thrice been awarded a Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University, research fellowship in Byzantine Studies (1991-92, 1998-99, 2005-06). He teaches courses on English grammar for ESL Teachers, historical exemplars of second language acquisition, as well as honors courses on Greek and Roman Engineering and on Warfare in Greece, Rome and Byzantium. He also serves as Executive Secretary, Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma of Maryland. He has a BA degree (Latin and Greek) from Tufts University and a PhD (Classical Philology) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1969 ranking, departmental history: faculty included Henry Immerwahr, George Kennedy, T.R.S. Broughton, Kenneth Reckford, Philip Stadter).  He is a member of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Byzantine Greek Advisory Board and appeared in the History Channel’s Engineering An Empire: the Byzantines.


Research supervision interests:

Historical exemplars of second language acquisition prior to 1900, particularly bilingualism in the Roman Empire and the teaching of Greek in Renaissance Italy.


Selected publications


      1. The Life of St. Nikon: Text, Translation and Commentary (Brookline, MA., Hellenic College Press, 1987).

      2. Siegecraft: Two Tenth-Century Instructional Manuals (Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks, 2000).  Partial Text  Reviews

      3. A-M. Talbot and D. Sullivan, The History of Leo the Deacon; Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century (Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks, 2005).  Text Review

      4. Byzantine Religious Culture: Studies in Honor of Alice-Mary Talbot, eds. D. Sullivan, E. Fisher and S. Papaioannou (Leiden, Brill, 2012),

including  pp. 395-409, D. Sullivan, “Siege Warfare, Nikephoros II Phokas, Relics and Personal Piety.” Click   Review

      5. The Life of St. Basil the Younger: Introduction, Critical Edition, and Annotated English Translation, D. Sullivan, A.-M. Talbot and S.

McGrath (Pp. 829, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, 2014).


Articles, Chapters

1. “The Versions of the Vita Niconis,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 32 (1978), 157–73.

2. “The Life of St. Ioannikios” (pp. 243-351 in A.-M. Talbot, ed., Byzantine Defenders of Images [Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks, 1998]).

3. “A Byzantine Instructional Manual on Siege Defense: The De obsidione toleranda,” (pp. 139-266 in Byzantine Authors: Literary Activities and Preoccupations, ed. J. Nesbitt [Leiden, Brill, 2003]).    Review

4. “Byzantium Besieged: Prescription and Practice” (pp. 509-522 in Byzantium. State and Society:  In Memory of Nikos Oikonomides, eds. Anna Avramea, Angeliki Laiou, E. Chrysos  [Athens, Institute for Byzantine Research, 2003]).

5. “Tenth-Century Byzantine Offensive Siege Warfare; Instructional Prescriptions and Historical Practice” (pp. 179-200, in N. Oikonomides (ed.), Byzantium at War  (9th-12th Century) [Athens 1998], reprinted in The International Library of Essays on Military History: Byzantine Warfare, J. Haldon (ed.) [Ashgate, 2007])  Volume   (downloads in 1 minute, 45 seconds).

6. “Byzantine Military Manuals; Prescriptions, Practice, Pedagogy”, in The World of Byzantium, ed. P. Stephenson, pp. 149-161 (London/New York,

 Routledge, 2010).  Click  Click

7. Eleven articles for The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (New York, OUP, 2010), including “Military

Treatises, Byzantine” and “Siege Warfare, Byzantine.”  Click

 8. “The Authorship of Anna Komnene’s Alexiad: the siege descriptions compared with the military instructional manuals and other historians,” in Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: Proceedings, ed. Ayla Odekan and N. Necipoglu, 51-56. Istanbul, 2010.  Sample:StGillesGonatasTower.pdf

9. Five articles for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History, including “Siegecraft, Byzantine” and “Warfare, Byzantium”

(Malden, MA, Wiley, 2012).   Click




1. LEIF PETERSEN, Siege Warfare and Military Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD), Byzantium, the West and Islam. Leiden & Boston: E. J. Brill, 2013. Pp. xxx, 820.


Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) forthcoming October 2014.



2. MICHAEL DECKER, The Byzantine Art of War, Yardley, PA. Westholme Publishing, 2013. Pp. x, 267.


Medieval Review 2014



 3. THE ARCHIMEDES PALIMPSEST: I, Catalog and Commentary, II, Images and Transcriptions, edited by Reviel Netz, William Noel, Natalie Tchernetska and Nigel Wilson   (Cambridge and Baltimore: Cambridge UP and the Walters Art Museum, 2011; pp. 340; 344;  Preprint


                  English Historical Review 128 #533 (August 2013) 927-928.


4. STEPHANOS EFTHYMIADIS (ed.), Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography. Volume I: Periods and Places. Ashgate research companions.   Farnham;  Burlington, VT:  Ashgate, 2011.  Pp. xix, 440.


                  Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2012.07.45

 5. THOMAS PRATSCH, Der hagiographische Topos: Griechische Heiligenviten in mittelbyzantinischer Zeit. (Millennium-Studien zu Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausends n. Chr., 6.) Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2005. Pp. xvi, 475.

                  Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 82 (2007), pp. 751-752.


6. DEREK KRUEGER, Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East. (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Pp. ix, 298; 11 black-and-white figures.


                  Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies 81 (2006), pp. 1220-1222.


 7. LEONORA NEVILLE. Authority in Byzantine Provincial Society, 950-1100. (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Pp. xi, 210.


                  Middle Eastern Studies Association Bulletin, 39:2 (2005), 209-210.


 8. J. LEFORT et al., eds. and trans. (into French), Géometries du fisc byzantin. (Realites Byzantines, 4.) Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1991. Paper. Pp. 295; 8 black-and-white plates following text.


                   Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 69 (1994), pp. 522-524.




Professor Elizabeth Fisher Webpage  Here