About the author: Sergei Karpov graduated from Moscow State University and holds a Doctorate degree in Historical Studies. He was a Fellow of the Cini Foundation (Venice, 1977-8), and Research Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks (1994-5). Since 1995 he has been Dean of the History Faculty of Moscow State University. His other distinctions include the Lomonosov Prize (First Rank)(1992) and a Russian Federation State Prize (1996). He is Acting Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, President of the All-Russian Association of Medievalists and Early Modern Historians (1992); he is also a member of the Ligurian Academy of Sciences (Italy) and of the Leibnitz Scientific Society (Germany). Sergei Karpov’s main research interest lies in the medieval history of the Black Sea, Italy and Byzantium, archival studies and diplomacy. He has over 255 scholarly works to his credit.