PhD students

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2011/2012
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2010/2011

    Provisional dissertation title: Neoplatonism and Indian Philosophy

    Research interests
    Comparative history of Greek and Indian philosophies
    Historical and intellectual interaction between Greeks and Indians
    Indian Ocean trade in Late Antiquity

    Degrees
    Master of Arts, Ancient Greek language and literature (ELTE, Budapest)
    Master of Arts, Indology (ELTE, Budapest)
    Master of Arts, Latin Language and Literature (ELTE, Budapest)

    Publication
    "Plutarch on friendship. Study and Hungarian translation of Plutarch's De amicorum multitudine." Antik Tanulmányok / Studia Antiqua 2015 Dec Vol 60 (forthcoming)

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2010/2011

    Ünige Bencze graduated History and Archaeology at the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca in 2007. She finished MA at the Department of Medieval Studies at the Central European University of Budapest in 2008. Ünige is currently a doctoral candidate at the same department at CEU. She works on the historical development of monastic orders in medieval Transylvania and their impact on the religious, social and economic life of the region. Her work will also focus on the landscape analysis of the researched monasteries with two special case studies, one on Carta (Kerc,Kerz) Cistercian monastery and the other on Cluj-Manastur (Kolozsmonostor) Benedictine monastery.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2011/2012

    Vedran Bileta graduated History at the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula in 2008. He finished MA at the Department of Medieval Studies at the Central European University of Budapest in 2010. Vedran is a student of late antiquity specializing in western Mediterranean area (with particular focus on Italy), and his research interests are socio-political and economical history of the Late Roman Empire with a focus on the relationship between the emperor, military and civil elites.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013

    Mariana Bodnaruk is a doctoral candidate studying Late Antiquity at the Medieval Studies Department, Central European University (Budapest). She is currently working on a doctoral project titled ‘Production of Distinction: Senatorial Self-representation in the Later Roman Empire, 306-395,’ mainly focusing on the socio-political rôle and representations of senatorial élites, eastern and western, in the later Roman Empire. She is also a research assistant at the Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv (Ukraine). Her research interests include social and political history of the later Roman Empire and early Byzantium, Late Roman aristocracies, late-antique epigraphy, cultural history, and visual studies.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2009/2010
  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Currently a probationary doctoral candidate, Elif is reading for a PhD in Medieval Studies on late Byzantine monasticism in Constantinople. After receiving her BA at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), she had two MA degrees, one in Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University (Istanbul, 2010-2012) with a focus on Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and another one in Comparative History at CEU (2012-2014). Her research interests include social and political history of the early Palaiologan period, identity and identity politics, monasticism as an institution and monastics as a social category.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2009/2010

    After graduating Classical Philology in Sofia University (BA) and defending her Master thesis on Byzantine historiography at CEU Ivana Dobcheva is currently a PhD student. Her research is devoted to the transmission and reception of the Aratea in the Latin West during the Early Middle Ages. The topic combines her primary interest in manuscript studies, classical literature, and transmission of ideas in the Middle Ages.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2009/2010

    Laszlo has earned his MA degrees in Archaeology and History at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and he also holds an MA in Medieval Studies from CEU. His dissertation will be a comparative study of the economy of Cistercian monasteries in Central Eastern Europe focusing on five Cistercian estates: Klostermarienberg (in Austria), Pilis, Szentgotthárd, Zirc (in Western Hungary) and Topuszko (in Croatia).

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2011/2012

    2009-2011: MA at Central European University, Department of Medieval Studies, Master’s thesis on “Anti-Muslim polemics of Ibn Taymiyya: The corruption of the Scriptures
    2006-2008: MA at Yerevan State University, Department of Oriental Studies, Master's thesis on “The role of Sayyid Qutb’s writings in the development of the modern trends of Sunni fundamentalism
    2004-2005: Institute of Arabic Language for Non-Arabic Speakers,Arab Republic of Syria, Dama
    2001-2006: Bachelor’s degree in Oriental Studies in the Field of Arabic Studies, Yerevan State University, Faculty of Oriental Studies
    Research Interests:
    Muslim-Christian Polemics
    Abbasid Freethinking

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    In the first centuries of Christianity, eschatology had been rarely treated in a dogmatic way. Although some basic assumptions could not be neglected, ambiguities in Scripture left sufficient room for interpretation. Towards the end of the 6th century, the debate about the destiny of the soul after death became a matter of urgency. The two most outstanding authors dealing with this problem were Pope Gregory the Great and the Constantinopolitan presbyter Eustratius. While both author's works differ in style and focus, they betray an astonishing amount of similarities, especially concerning their refutation of the idea of a “soul sleep” after death. Their works indicate an interest in eschatological issues among the contemporaries that was transgressing the boarders between the so-called East and West. This should not surprise us: Neither politically nor economically, and even less culturally, have the Eastern and Western areas been strictly detached from each other, at least not in the period I am dealing with.
    However, both Gregory and Eustratius were not only shaped by their historical circumstances, but also based their thoughts (implicitly or explicitly) on the works of their theological predecessors. The importance of Augustine for Gregory's theology has been well-established by scholarship, and his thoughts might be also reflected in Eustratius work. Other authors have been important for 6th century eschatology as well. In order to contextualize the developments of the late sixth century appropriately in a diachronic perspective, it is inevitable to get an idea of the broader developments of the conceptions of the afterlife in Christianity, starting from as early as the Apostolic fathers up to at least the early seventh century.
    Although scholarship has broadened our knowledge about 6th century eschatology in the last decades, there is still the lack of a wider interpretative historical synthesis. Therefore, I attempt to analyze the thoughts of selected Christian authors about the life after death against a cultural and historical background, using as a starting point the works of Gregory the Great and Eustratius of Constantinople. Such an analysis requires a cultural historical approach, focusing not only on the intellectual influences but also on the social and cultural circumstances of each theologian dealing with the afterlife. What is more, it can just be successfully accomplished if it is based on a scrutinizing philological examination of the relevant sources.
    Within this proposed framework, it will be possible to specify the particularities of (late) 6th century eschatology. What were the important topics discussed among the contemporaries about the afterlife? In what respect were these debates continuations of long-lasting theological disputes? What were their innovative aspects, and what issues were ignored? Do eschatological conceptions differ between the various regions, between East and West, or can common debates be traced? What are the reasons for differences or similarities? A detailed analysis of the relevant sources together with a close investigation of the contemporary social and cultural circumstances will hopefully offer satisfying new answers to these intriguing questions.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013

    János Incze obtained a BA degree in History and an MA in Protection and evaluation of the cultural heritage at Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, and another MA degree in Medieval Studies at Central European University (CEU), Budapest. János is currently a PhD candidate of the Medieval Studies program at the CEU. His main research interest lies in King Sigismund of Luxemburg’s finances in Hungary.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    My dissertation deals with a special type of monastic life emerged in the fourth century, parallel with the rise of cenobitism. It involved associations of kindred men and women who dedicated their lives to God in the same monastic, “institutionalized” community, well-accepted and legitimized by Church Fathers. In these monasteries, monks and nuns lived secluded, in different buildings, sometimes separated by natural obstacles (such as rivers or mountains), and used to reunite only in certain conditions.
    Scholars have scarcely analyzed this type of cenobitic establishments, referring to them as “double monasteries.” However, the use of this denomination leads to several methodological problems, due to its anachronism and to the different roots of monasticism in different regions. Therefore, after a theoretical introduction into the subject, meant to present the problems posed by sources and the methodology needed to be used, this research will begin with a thorough assessment of the old terminology and will propose the use of “monastic family associations” instead ...

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013

    Andor Kelenhegyi received two MA degrees from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (in History, and in Hebrew Philology) specializing in the history of Biblical exegesis, and one from Central European University (in Medieval Studies). His primary research interest lies in Late Antique Jewish-Christian interrelations, especially in the field of exegetic thought. He was accepted to Medieval Studies Department at CEU as a doctoral student in 2012. The title of his dissertation in progress is Zoological Symbolism Constructing Identity and Difference in the Late Antique Exegetical Traditions of Jews and Christians

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2008/2009
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2011/2012

    Eszter Konrád has earned her MA degrees in English and Italian language and literature at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (2009) and she also holds an MA in Medieval Studies from CEU (2010). Currently she is working on her doctoral dissertation about with the cults and the representations of the saints and blessed of the Order of Preachers and the Order of Minor Brothers in medieval Hungary. Her research interest include cult of saints, late medieval devotional literature (especially vernacular hagiography), and philology.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    Thesis Topic: Late Gothic Wall Painting in Transylvania
    Abstract: The Late Gothic period is often regarded as one of decline for the genre of wall painting. After a flourishing period in the first third of the fifteenth century, several authors speak about a loss of significance of the genre compared to other contemporary art forms (e.g. panel painting). This perception of decline contributed to Late Gothic wall painting being an understudied area of the art of medieval Hungary.
    It seems, however, that in the light of the surviving material this view of decline needs to be reconsidered and refined in several respects, while ultimately the usefulness of focusing on this concept can be questioned.
    In Transylvania, approximately thirty wall painting ensembles from this period are known. While only some of the ensembles stand out for their high quality, the material as a whole – although fragmentary – gives a sense of richness and variety.
    My thesis aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Late Gothic wall painting in Transylvania concentrating on the following wider problems:
    • Questions related to style. Establishing stylistic connections between the wall painting ensembles and searching for models, analogies and stylistic connections with works from other regions; questions of dating.
    • The question of interaction with other genres, especially with panel painting: questions of production, masters active in both genres, specific techniques and formats characteristic for panel painting applied in wall painting. How innovations in other genres affect wall painting?
    • The study of specific iconographic themes, their way of representation, meanings and associations; the correlation of their iconography and their placement within the space of the church; studying patterns of decoration, iconographic programs, patterns in the selection of the iconographic themes; examining how these choices can be explained and interpreted in the contexts of late medieval religiosity and devotion, also considering possible patrons and audiences.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2011/2012
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    About my dissertation topic:
    Starting from the by now well accepted assumption that Iconoclasm, in addition to the theological dispute involved, had a strong political component, empowering the emperor in ways which served him and his supporters and of which they found themselves involuntarily stripped in the years after 843, my dissertation project takes issue with the seemingly firm division of modern Byzantinist historiography into an iconoclast (until 843, or 850) and a post-iconoclast period, as this precludes, to my understanding, a proper assessment of certain post-843 events and developments. My thesis shall seek to exemplify this by analyzing the negotiations of imperial power conducted between 843 and 912 between the respective imperial cliques and their opponents within Byzantine élite, with the special attention given to the church and its representatives. My working hypothesis is that emperors and/or their advisors sought to make up somewhat for the loss of imperial prestige with the end of Iconoclasm, and that this quest to re-establish imperial power over Christian doctrine accounts for certain developments and peculiar incidents of the period 843 to 912 – e.g. the disinterment and the destruction of the emperor Constantine V’s remains; Patriarch Photios, his policy, and political legacy; Emperor Leo VI and his efforts to establish himself as an emperor and if not priest, then preacher. The ‘battlefield’ where the presupposed ideological struggle is taking place can be (at least partly) identified. The limits of two authorities were not clear-cut and the negotiation of power is embedded in the political discourse that occurs in this gray zone. Stepping over the invisible boundaries thus opposing, contesting, or challenging, the authority of the other is what will be under scrutiny. The task is to delineate the dominant political discourse and identify (subtle or not so subtle) statements in the discourse between the two entities which shift (or try to) the balance of power and pose a challenge, or a reaction to one posed, and analyze the dynamics and character of power-politics in Byzantium for the period under scrutiny.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2007/2008

    Academic/research topics:

    medieval archaeology
    post-medieval archaeology
    archaeology of ethnicities
    archaeology and art of the Reformation
    Renaissance art and material culture

  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Radu Mustaţă studied classical philology at the University of Bucharest, and humanities at the Vivarium Novum Academy in Rome. He received his MA in Medieval Studies at Central European University in 2014, and his doctoral research focuses on the Syriac manuscripts of the Saint Thomas Christians from South India.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2010/2011
  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2012/2013
  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Zsuzsa Pető graduated from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest with a BA in History and Archaeology (Archaeology of Medieval and Early Modern Ages and Ancient Greek Archaeology) in 2009. She recieved her MA summa cum laude from ELTE in Archaeology (Archaeometry and Archaeology of Medieval and Early Modern Ages) in 2013 and a MA in Medieval Studies from CEU in 2014, where she is a PhD student currently. Her dissertation deals with the medieval monastic space of the Pauline order in the Carpathian Basin. Her research interests include landscape archaeology of medieval Europe, material culture, political, social, and environmental history, archaeological methodology (GIS and other applied methods), and the archaeology of monasteries, churches, settlements, and castles. She worked as a visiting lecturer at the University of Pécs and as an archaeologist at several institutions (currently at the Hungarian National Museum).

  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Stephen Pow previously got an MA from the University of Calgary in history. The aim of his doctoral dissertation is primarily to provide an explanation for the abrupt Mongol withdrawal from Europe, or more precisely Latin Christendom, in 1242, while then explaining the purposes of continued Mongol involvement in Europe for the next half-century. A single, satisfying explanation for the sudden withdrawal of the Mongols in 1242 is still a desideratum in medieval and military historiography. The causes were likely manifold, though they related to larger military problems such as the lack of willing allies, the relatively small numbers of invaders, and the major issue of numerous fortresses and fortified settlements. Moreover, recent scholarship on the Mongols has increasingly recognized the importance that negotiations, blandishments, offers of alliance, and ultimatums all played in the successful expansion of the Mongol Empire across Eurasia. Thus, we can see Mongol diplomatic efforts, renewed invasions, and continual threats to European powers after 1242 as being part of a continuing project of the Mongols to eventually subjugate the region.
    This dissertation is a “re-visiting” of all the relevant issues pertaining to the first Mongol invasion, the reasons for the withdrawal, and the subsequent role of the Golden Horde in Europe. It is my view that a satisfying explanation to the Mongol withdrawal in 1242 has not yet been offered by modern scholars, despite their wide recognition that such an explanation would be both important and useful for understanding what played out in subsequent centuries with European efforts at exploration and cross-cultural contacts. Determining what Mongol policies vis-à-vis Europe were meant to achieve in the thirteenth century is useful for a better understanding the Mongol military system and the factors which determined the borders of that empire.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2009/2010

    Noel holds a BA in classical philology from Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and an MA in medieval studies from CEU, Budapest. In his MA thesis (2007) he dealt with the work of the German humanist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and his attempted synthesis of various spiritual and hermetic doctrines. The subject of his current PhD research is Agrippa’s reception and appropriation of biblical and patristic literature in the highly heterodox context of late medieval and Renaissance syncretism.

  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Studied at the University of Zagreb from 2007 to 2012 (BA in History, 2010; MA in History, 2013) and the Central European University in Budapest (MA in Comparative History: Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies, 2014).
    My dissertation project deals with ecclesiastical reform in the thirteenth century. Combining the development of canon and Roman law in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and the rise of the papal monarchy in the same period, my aim is to see if and how the process of reform as instituted by the Roman Curia at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 managed to transfer into Central Europe. Mainly focussing on the ecclesiastical hierarchies of Hungary-Croatia, Poland, and Bohemia in the century after the council I hope to provide an analysis of themes such as legal transfers and impact taking into account the specific character of church reform within the Central European region. The study will revolve around thousands of letters of correspondence between bishops and popes as well as charter evidence and other sources pointing to a discernable reform initiative correlating with the Lateran agenda of the thirteenth century, legally and to a degree politically.

  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Nirvana holds a BA in Swedish Language and Culture and Art History, as well as an MA in Art History from the University of Zagreb. She also obtained MA degree at the Department of Medieval Studies at CEU. She is currently writing a PhD dissertation provisionally entitled The Art of the Mithraic Cult in the Roman Province of Dalmatia under the supervision of Prof. Volker Menze.

  • Doctoral Candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2014/2015

    Karen Stark graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary's College of Maryland in St. Mary's City, MD with a BA in Archaeology and the Ancient World and a Minor in Museum Studies in 2010. She then received her MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from University College London in 2012 and a MA in Medieval Studies from Central European University in 2014. Her current research for the PhD dissertation focuses on the sacralization of space and landscape in the context of East-Central European Marian shrines from the 14th-16th centuries.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    Evren earned his BA in Law at Koç University and continued his studies at Central European University in the Department of Medieval Studies. His MA thesis explores the meaning of the Battle of Lepanto (1571) among late-sixteenth-century Ottoman historians. Since 2013, he has been a PhD student in the same department. His dissertation investigates how the epistemological bases of imperial legislation and archival practices of its enforcement relate to the nature of imperial governance grounded in the Islamic tradition and manuscript culture through an intellectual biography of a prominent chief jurisprudent (şeyhülislam) of the Ottoman Empire, Zekeriyazade Yahya Efendi (1561-1644), with a focus on his legislative thought.
    Evren's research interests include intellectual and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire as well as manuscript cultures in the pre-modern period.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    Dissertation abstract

    Environmental historical scholarship in the last few decades has demonstrated the complexity of the water-related disputes in a modern context. Several scholars have shown how methods employed in environmental history may contribute to questions which have been addressed mostly by legal, political or economic historians. This PhD dissertation aims to address the problems surrounding water management as places where different economic interests met.
    The dissertation proposes a study of water management in conflict landscapes, in places where the different actors – landowners, those who used the water for any purpose – had different interests. The sources such a study requires are fundamentally legal in character. However, the primary aim of the dissertation is not the pursuit of legal developments in water management. The legal character of these sources not only permits some conclusions on the legal understanding of water rights, but also provides significant data on environmental transformations and the way the water-land environment was perceived by the different actors living in a particular area. The way water was perceived is fundamental to understanding the logic informing communities in the way they manipulated and exploited in medieval Hungary. The disputes as well as the laws and regulations together with archaeological and topographic data from field surveys will provide an insight into the role of water in late medieval life in the Hungarian Kingdom.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2013/2014

    Mária Vargha has been graduated as an archaeologist and medievalist. Her current PhD thesis deals with the process of Christianisation and church organisation in Hungary. Despite that this topic is well researched and has been reconstructed using mainly written sources. However, given their paucity in this period, only the emergence of the most important bishoprics and archbishoprics are known while parishes (local churches), the smallest, but in a way the most important element of the church system, are not. Although historians have made many relatively successful attempts to reconstruct this process there are still some areas needing more comprehensive examination. It has not proved possible to reconstruct the parish system from the poor written sources even though these smaller entities encompassed the commoners who made up the largest segment of the population, thus playing a significant role in the process of Christianisation and church organisation. In this PhD thesis her aim is to concentrate on this smallest organisational element from a mainly archaeological point of view, and to create a picture of the local churches within the context of the parish organisation and thus, Christianisation that is not influenced by the results of historical research based on textual sources, but comes from the existing material sources: buildings, archaeological finds and features. The results of the analysis will be compared to the historical reconstruction of the same processes. The last element would be the investigation of the similarities and differences of the role of the Christianisation of the rural countryside as an element in the emergence of Christian monarchies of the region.

  • doctoral candidate
    Year of enrollment: 2008/2009