The Acts of the Ecumenical Councils

One great historian of antiquity has claimed (only half-jokingly) that we actually know more about the council of Chalcedon AD 451 than about any other event in ancient history. This is due to the fact that from this council as well as from several other late antique councils, comprehensive verbatim accounts are extant. These transactions were published in antiquity together with numerous other important documents as the so-called Acts. There are many reasons why the Acts have been much neglected by scholars so far. I have received a € 1,497,250 Starting Grant from the ERC for a major research project on the Acts, with the goal of making their evidence accessible to other scholars, and putting several conventional notions in late antique studies to the test.


Each and every publication of an ERC financed project must be available in open access (for the Humanities, the ERC permits a maximum embargo period of 12 months). The results of the "ACO" project will be permanently archived with Propylaeum, the specialized German service for Classics provided by the University Library of Heidelberg and the Bavarian State Library. Within Propylaeum’s repository, there is a specific section for "ACO" where anybody may quickly browse (and download) all work published through the project. Note that as of now, this section substantially lags behind the real progress of the project, since several publications continue to be “under consideration” or “in press”; besides, in some cases an agreed embargo period must be respected until the PDF can be deposited. Finally, two monographs (the annotated translation of the councils of 536 and the concluding book with the project findings) will be available only later.


1st Workshop (Bamberg, July 1-3, 2015): Current and Novel Trends in Research on the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils

2nd Workshop (Bamberg, July 6-8, 2016): Law and Lawmaking in the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils

3rd Workshop (Bamberg, July 5-7, 2017): Redaction and Publication of Conciliar Acts, Laws and Other Documents in Late Antiquity

4th Workshop (Bamberg, July 4-6, 2018): Trial Procedure in the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils and Other Late Antique Documentary Sources

5th Workshop (Bamberg, July 10-12, 2019): Unabridged Documents Preserved in the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils and Other Contexts

6th Workshop (Bamberg, June 29 - July 1, 2022): Novel Trends in Research on Unabridged Constitutions