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The Proceedings of the Ecumenical Councils from Oral Utterance to Manuscript Edition as Evidence for Late Antique Persuasion and Self-Representation Techniques

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ACO project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ACO project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ACO" about.

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Project "ACO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 96047

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙497˙250 €
 EC max contribution 1˙497˙250 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-05-01   to  2021-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The Acts of the Ecumenical Councils of Late Antiquity include (purportedly) verbatim minutes of the proceedings, a formal framework and copies of relevant documents which were either (allegedly) read out during the proceedings or which were later attached to the Acts proper. Despite this unusual wealth of documentary evidence, the daunting nature of the Acts demanding multidisciplinary competency, their complex structure with a matryoshka-like nesting of proceedings from different dates, and the stereotype that their contents bear only on Christological niceties have deterred generations of historians from studying them. Only in recent years have their fortunes begun to improve, but this recent research has not always been based on sound principles: the recorded proceedings of the sessions are still often accepted as verbatim minutes. Yet even a superficial reading quickly reveals widespread editorial interference. We must accept that in many cases the Acts will teach us less about the actual debates than about the editors who shaped their presentation. This does not depreciate the Acts’ evidence: on the contrary, they are first-rate material for the rhetoric of persuasion and self-representation. It is possible, in fact, to take the investigation to a deeper level and examine in what manner the oral proceedings were put into writing: several passages in the Acts comment upon the process of note-taking and the work of the shorthand writers. Thus, the main objective of the proposed research project could be described as an attempt to trace the destinies of the Acts’ texts, from the oral utterance to the manuscript texts we have today. This will include the fullest study on ancient transcript techniques to date; a structural analysis of the Acts’ texts with the aim of highlighting edited passages; and a careful comparison of the various editions of the Acts, which survive in Greek, Latin, Syriac and Coptic, in order to detect traces of editorial interference.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Tommaso Mari
Working on the Minutes of Late Antique Church Councils: A Methodological Framework
published pages: 42, ISSN: 1754-517X, DOI: 10.18573/jlarc.112
Journal for Late Antique Religion and Culture 13/0 2020-01-30
2017 Tommaso Mari
Review of Hagit Amirav, Authority and Performance. Sociological Perspectives on the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451)
published pages: 1-5, ISSN: 1435-9626, DOI:
Plekos 19 (2017) 2019-06-19
2018 Tommaso Mari
The Latin Translations of the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon
published pages: 126-155, ISSN: 2159-3159, DOI:
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 58 (2018) 2019-06-19
2018 Luisa Andriollo
Imperial adlocutiones to the army: performance, recording and functions (2nd - 4th centuries CE)
published pages: 67-99, ISSN: 1437-9074, DOI: 10.14628/gfa_021_2018_a04
Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaft 21 (2018) 2019-04-18
2018 Luisa Andriollo
Review of Mark Hebblewhite: The Emperor and the Army in the Later Roman Empire
published pages: , ISSN: 1435-9626, DOI:
Plekos 20 (2018) 2019-04-18
2018 Thomas Graumann
Frieden schließen auf Konzilien? Zwei Beispiele aus dem vierten Jahrhundert
published pages: 53-69, ISSN: 2589-0433, DOI: 10.30965/25890433-04801004
Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum 48 (2016/17) 2019-04-18

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