John Haldon

Shelby Cullom Davis '30 Professor of European History, Emeritus; Professor of History and Hellenic Studies, Emeritus
Office Phone
3-N-15 Green Hall

John Haldon is emeritus Shelby Cullom Davis '30 Professor of European History and Professor of Byzantine History and Hellenic Studies. From 2014 - 2018 he served as Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, and was Director of Graduate Studies for the History Department from July 2009 until June 2018. His research centers on the socio-economic, institutional, political and cultural history of the early and middle Byzantine empire from the seventh to the eleventh centuries. He also works on political systems and structures across the European and Islamic worlds from late ancient to early modern times, on the environmental history of the Byzantine and Ottoman worlds and the interface between societal change, environment and climate, and has explored how resources were produced, distributed and consumed, especially in warfare, during the late ancient and medieval periods. Professor Haldon is the author and co-author of more than two dozen books. His most recent monographs are The De Thematibus (‘on the themes’) of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. Translated with introductory chapters and detailed notes (Liverpool UP, Liverpool 2021), The empire that would not die:The paradox of eastern Roman survival, 640 – 740 (Harvard UP, Cambridge MA 2016), A tale of two saints: the passions and miracles of Sts Theodore 'the recruit' and 'the general' (Liverpool UP, Liverpool 2016), A Critical Commentary on the Taktika of Leo VI (Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC 2014) and Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era: A History, with L. Brubaker (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2011). 

Professor Haldon is the director of the Climate Change and History Research Initiative (A comparative approach to climate, environment and society in Eurasia, 300-1900. Towards understanding the impact of climate on complex societies) and the Environmental History Lab within the Program in Medieval Studies.  From 2006 - 2016 he also directed the Avkat Archaeological Project - an archaeological and historical survey in north central Turkey. As well as traditional methods of field survey and historical research, this long-term project employs cutting edge survey, mapping and digital modeling techniques to enrich our understanding of the society, economy, land use, demography, paleo-environmental history and resources of the late Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk/Ottoman periods. (Learn more about Avkat.)

A native of Northumberland, England, Professor Haldon has worked at the Universities of Athens and Munich, at the Max-Planck-Institut for European Legal History in Frankfurt, and at the University of Birmingham/UK, where from 1995 he was Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies and from 2000-2004 Head of the School of Historical Studies. He came to Princeton University in 2005. From 2007-2013 he was a Senior Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies in Washington D.C. He is President of the Association Internationale des Etudes Byzantines, a Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a member of the editorial boards of several scholarly journals in Europe and the USA.

Current Projects

Include a re-examination of the relationship between environment and social and political change in the Byzantine world; research on some aspects of institutional and administrative history of the seventh-eighth centuries; research into the origins and development of the so-called Second Iconoclasm; work on on comparative state formation in pre-modern societies.  As director of the CCHRI he also leads its major projects on various aspects of societal-environmental/climate interactions.

Area of Interest
Environmental History
Material Culture
Social History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
Hellenic Studies
Late Antiquity
6th through 14th Centuries
Middle East and North Africa