Prehistory & Ancient History  /  Late Antiquity & Byzantium
Palmyra after Zenobia AD 273-750 Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 168
ISBN: 9798888570609
Pub Date: 15 Oct 2023
Imprint: Oxbow Books
This book casts light on a much neglected phase of the UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra, namely the period between the fall of the Palmyrene ‘Empire’ (AD 272) and the end of the Umayyad dominion (AD 750). The goal of the book is to fill a substantial hole in modern scholarship - the late antique and early Islamic history of the city still has to be written.   In late antiquity Palmyra remained a thriving provincial city whose existence was assured by its newly acquired role of stronghold along the eastern frontier. Palmyra maintained a prominent religious role as one of the earliest bisphoric see in central Syria and in early Islam as the political center of the powerful Banu Kalnb tribe.   Post-Roman Palmyra, city and setting, provide the focus of this book. Analysis and publication of evidence for post-Roman housing enables a study of the city’s urban life, including the private residential buildings in the sanctuary of Ba’alshamin. A systematic survey is presented of the archaeological and literary evidence for the religious life of the city in Late Antiquity and Early Islam. The city’s defenses provide another focus. After a discussion of the garrison quartered in Palmyra, Diocletian’s military fortress and the city walls are investigated, with photographic and archaeological evidence used to discuss chronology and building techniques. The book concludes with a synthetic account of archaeological and written material, providing a comprehensive history of the settlement from its origins to the fall of Marwan II in 750 AD.
Cyprus in the Long Late Antiquity Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781789258745
Pub Date: 15 Dec 2022
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Cyprus was a thriving and densely populated late antique province. Contrary to what used to be thought, the Arab raids of the mid-seventh century did not abruptly bring the island’s prosperity to an end. Recent research instead highlights long-lasting continuity in both urban and rural contexts. This volume brings together historians and archaeologists working on diverse aspects of Cyprus between the sixth and eighth centuries. They discuss topics as varied as rural prosperity, urban endurance, artisanal production, civic and private religion and maritime connectivity. The role of the imperial administration and of the Church is touched upon in several contributions. Other articles place Cyprus back into its wider Mediterranean context. Together, they produce a comprehensive impression of the quality of life on the island in the long late antiquity.
Dariali: The 'Caspian Gates' in the Caucasus from Antiquity to the Age of the Huns and the Middle Ages Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 1088
ISBN: 9781789251920
Pub Date: 25 Mar 2020
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: British Institute of Persian Studies Archaeological Monograph Series
The Huns, invading through Dariali Gorge on the modern-day border between Russia and Georgia in AD 395 and 515, spread terror across the late antique world. Was this the prelude to the apocalypse? Prophecies foresaw a future Hunnic onslaught, via the same mountain pass, bringing about the end of the world. Humanity’s fate depended on a gated barrier deep in Europe’s highest and most forbidding mountain chain.Centuries before the emergence of such apocalyptic beliefs, the gorge had reached world fame. It was the target of a planned military expedition by the Emperor Nero. Chained to the dramatic sheer cliffs, framing the narrow passage, the mythical fire-thief Prometheus suffered severe punishment, his liver devoured by an eagle. It was known under multiple names, most commonly the Caspian or Alan Gates.Featuring in the works of literary giants, no other mountain pass in the ancient and medieval world matches Dariali’s fame. Yet little was known about the materiality of this mythical place. A team of archaeologists has now shed much new light on the major gorge-blocking fort and a barrier wall on a steep rocky ridge further north. The walls still standing today were built around the time of the first major Hunnic invasion in the late fourth century – when the Caucasus defences feature increasingly prominently in negotiations between the Great Powers of Persia and Rome. In its endeavour to strongly fortify the strategic mountain pass through the Central Caucasus, the workforce erased most traces of earlier occupation. The Persian-built bastion saw heavy occupation for 600 years. Its multi-faith medieval garrison controlled Trans-Caucasian traffic. Everyday objects and human remains reveal harsh living conditions and close connections to the Muslim South, as well as the steppe world of the north. The Caspian Gates explains how a highly strategic rock has played a pivotal role in world history from Classical Antiquity into the twentieth century.
Asia Minor in the Long Sixth Century Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781789250077
Pub Date: 28 Feb 2019
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Asia Minor is considered to have been a fairly prosperous region in Late Antiquity. It was rarely disturbed by external invasions and remained largely untouched by the continuous Roman-Persian conflict until very late in the period, was apparently well connected to the flourishing Mediterranean economy and, as the region closest to Constantinople, is assumed to have played an important part in the provisioning of the imperial capital and the imperial armies. When exactly this prosperity came to an end – the late sixth century, the early, middle or even later seventh century –  remains a matter of debate. Likewise, the impact of factors such as the dust veil event of 536, the impact of the bubonic plague that made its first appearance in AD 541/542, the costs and consequences of Justinian’s wars, the Persian attacks of the early seventh century and, eventually the Arab incursions of around the middle of the seventh century, remains controversial.  This volume explores a series of themes including the physical development of large and small settlements, their financial situation, and the proportion of public and private investment. Imperial, provincial, and local initiatives in city and countryside are compared and the main motivations examined, including civic or personal pride, military incentives and religious stimuli. The evidence presented will be used to form opinions on the impact of the plague on living circumstances in the sixth century and to evaluate the significance of the Justinianic period.
The Logbooks Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9780819576446
Pub Date: 07 Jun 2016
Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books
In 1757, a sailing ship owned by an affluent Connecticut merchant sailed from New London to the tiny island of Bence in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to take on fresh water and slaves. On board was the owner’s son, on a training voyage to learn the trade. The Logbooks explores that voyage, and two others documented by that young man, to unearth new realities of Connecticut’s slave trade and question how we could have forgotten this part of our past so completely. When writer Anne Farrow discovered the logbooks of the Africa and two other ships in 2004, her mother had been recently diagnosed with dementia. As Farrow bore witness to the impact of memory loss on her mother’s sense of self, she also began a journey into the world of the logbooks and the Atlantic slave trade, eventually retracing part of the Africa’s long-ago voyage to Sierra Leone. As the narrative unfolds in The Logbooks, Farrow explores the idea that if our history is incomplete, then collectively we have forgotten who we are—a loss that is in some ways similar to what her mother experienced. Her meditations are well rounded with references to the work of writers, historians, and psychologists. Forthright, well researched, and warmly recounted, Farrow’s writing is that of a novelist’s, with an eye for detail. Using a wealth of primary sources, she paints a vivid picture of the eighteenth-century Connecticut slavers. The multiple narratives combine in surprising and effective ways to make this an intimate confrontation with the past, and a powerful meditation on how slavery still affects us.
Justinian's Balkan Wars Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 500
ISBN: 9780905205588
Pub Date: 06 Jan 2016
Imprint: Francis Cairns Publications
Justinian’s Balkan Wars is the first history of military and diplomatic affairs in the Roman provinces south of the River Danube during the reign of the Emperor Justinian (A.D. 527-65). The Emperor’s policies in this region have received little attention from modern historians, who have focussed on his struggles with the Sassanian Persian empire in the East, and, in the West, his glorious reconquests of Italy from the Goths and Africa from the Vandals. This comparative neglect reflects the influence of the contemporary historian Procopius, who (following his own bias) viewed the Balkans under Justinian as a backwater denuded of manpower and left vulnerable to the depredations of barbarian raiders. In contrast Justinian’s Balkan Wars argues that the Emperor was fully aware of the region’s vital strategic importance, and frequently committed more effort and resources there than in other theatres of operation.   Justinian’s Balkan Wars offers a detailed reconstruction of military and diplomatic relations between the Germanic, Hunnic and Slavic peoples north of the Danube frontier and Justinian’s eastern Roman Empire. It uses a variety of contemporary histories and chronicles to chart barbarian raids, imperial campaigns and the receptions of barbarian leaders in the glittering halls of the imperial capital, Constantinople. In doing so it sketches the contours of Justinian’s Balkan strategy and its relationship to other theatres of operation such as the Italian Peninsula and the Transcaucasus.   The book draws on administrative reforms, epigraphic and numismatic evidence, and the archaeology of settlement patterns to place these historical events in a wider socio-economic and physical context. It shows the importance of infrastructure, logistical preparation, political control and the support of local hearts and minds for successful campaigning in Late Antiquity. Justinian’s energetic military, diplomatic, and development policies in the Balkans ensured that the eastern Roman Empire in general prevailed against its barbarian opponents. Hence the eventual loss of Roman control over the majority of the Balkan provinces and their colonisation by Slavic tribes in the 7th c. was by no means inevitable when Justinian died in 565.
Constantinople Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781782971719
Pub Date: 29 Nov 2013
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Istanbul, Europe's largest city, became an urban centre of exceptional size when it was chosen by Constantine the Great as a new Roman capital city. Named ‘Constantinople' after him, the city has been studied through its rich textual sources and surviving buildings, but its archaeology remains relatively little known compared to other great urban centres of the ancient and medieval worlds. Constantinople: Archaeology of a Byzantine Megapolis is a major archaeological assessment of a key period in the development of this historic city. It uses material evidence, contemporary developments in urban archaeology and archaeological theory to explore over a thousand years of the city’s development. Moving away from the scholarly emphasis on the monumental core or city defences, the volume investigates the inter-mural area between the fifth-century land walls and the Constantinian city wall - a zone which encompasses half of the walled area but which has received little archaeological attention. Utilizing data from a variety of sources, including the 'Istanbul Rescue Archaeology Project' created to record material threatened with destruction, the analysis proposes a new model of Byzantine Constantinople. A range of themes are explored including the social, economic and cognitive development, Byzantine perceptions of the city, the consequences of imperial ideology and the impact of ‘self-organization’ brought about by many minor decisions. Constantinople casts new light on the transformation of an ancient Roman capital to an Orthodox Christian holy city and will be of great importance to archaeologists and historians.

New Light on Old Glass

Format: Paperback
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9780861591794
Pub Date: 30 Sep 2013
Imprint: British Museum Press
Series: British Museum Research Publications
This new publication brings together a range of leading scholars from Europe, America and the Middle East to discuss the most recent research in the field of Byzantine glass and mosaics in an interdisciplinary context. New Light on Old Glass explores how mosaics are perhaps the most outstanding examples of Byzantine art which survive; revealing changing aesthetics and issues surrounding the technical production of glass in medieval artistic practices. This is the first time that so many diverse papers, ranging from art history, archaeology, chemistry, physics and Byzantine studies have been assembled in one volume, and is the culmination of a five-year research programme on the Composition of Byzantine Glass Mosaic Tesserae, conducted by the University of Sussex in conjunction with the British Museum and sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust.
The Balboura Survey and Settlement in Highland Southwest Anatolia Cover
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781898249221
Pub Date: 30 Apr 2012
Imprint: British Institute at Ankara
Series: British Institute at Ankara Monograph
The Balboura Survey, conducted between 1985 and 1994, investigated the settlement history of a small district in the ancient region of Kabalia in the mountains of southwestern Turkey. Although the survey's focus was on the Hellenistic-Early Byzantine city of Balboura and its western territory, the fieldwork revealed significant prehistoric occupation, and the project included research into Ottoman and recent settlement. Vol. 1: Balboura and the history of highland settlement This first volume of the final publication analyses settlement in the survey area from the Chalcolithic to the 20th century, placing it in the context of the adjoining districts. Major themes include: - the relation of the local prehistoric sites to the long-lived cultures to the north and east, and to the sparse evidence for settlement along the coast to the south; - Balboura's foundation by immigrant Pisidians around 200BC, and the new pattern of small agricultural settlements which came with it, exploiting land up to 1700m; - the city's attachment to the Roman province of Lycia, its adoption of the civic culture of Hellenistic and Roman Anatolia, and the interplay of alternative ethnicities - Kabalian, Pisidian, Lycian and Roman; - subsistence, climate, and the stability of Balboura's rural settlement pattern through nearly 1000 years. - the balance between pastoral and settled occupation from the prehistoric period through to the present day. Vol. 2. The Balboura Survey: detailed studies and catalogues This second volume of the final publication contains detailed discussions of the prehistoric pottery and of the Hellenistic and later pottery, which provide a chronological framework for the interpretation of the survey, and a major study of Hellenistic and Roman inscriptions examined during the project, many of them unpublished. Later chapters discuss an early Balbouran soldier who died at Sidon, the fortifications and water supply of the city, funerary monuments, and churches and other early Christian remains. The final chapter discusses problems and methodological issues raised by the survey, which combined extensive and intensive fieldwork. Five detailed catalogues present the Hellenistic and later pottery, the evidence of ancient activity across the city site, the rural sites and their pottery, known inscriptions from the territory of Balboura, and Balbouran funerary monuments.
Coptic Culture Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781935488279
Pub Date: 31 Mar 2012
Imprint: Coptic Orthodox Church Centre at Shephalbury Manor
In May 2008, the Coptic Orthodox Centre in Stevenage, UK organised a conference on Coptic Culture: Past, Present, and Future. The conference aimed to highlight the contributions and achievements of one of the most obscure periods of Egyptian history: the Coptic Period. The importance of this period lies in its valuable contributions to some of the most formative theological debates of Christianity. Strictly defined as a Late Antique culture, spanning only the third to the seventh centuries AD, the heritage of the Coptic Period still survives today in the artistic expression, liturgical services, and heritage of millions of Egyptian Christians who live in Egypt and abroad. This period's lasting contributions, however, remain underappreciated and many of its aspects remain unclear or unknown to the general public. For the first time, the conference at the Coptic Centre brought together specialists working on all aspects of Coptic culture, from its earliest phases to the present day. One of the aims of the conference was to highlight new research on Coptic art, writings, and archaeology. By bringing together specialists, academics and Coptic clergy, the conference fostered an active discussion of what defined Coptic identity in centuries past and what it means to be Coptic in contemporary culture, both in Egypt and abroad. It is important that we draw on, understand, and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of this period as we look to our past to inform our present and define our future. The conference drew scholars from Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the USA. Their papers were organised along 5 general thematic blocks that dealt with (1) The Egyptian roots of Coptic culture; (2) How do we know what we know: Archaeological Sites and Museum Collections; (3) Aspects of Early and Medieval Coptic Culture: Case Studies; (4) Current Trends in Coptic Studies; and (5) Coptic Culture Today and where it's heading. This volume contains their contributions.
Gems of heaven' Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9780861591770
Pub Date: 15 Sep 2011
Imprint: British Museum Press
Series: British Museum Research Publications
This is the companion volume to one devoted to recent research on Byzantine jewellery published in 2010 and forms part of a series organised under the auspices of the British Museum Byzantine Seminar Series. The conference brought together leading scholars from Europe, the USA and the Middle East to discuss Late Antique gems and cameos. This is the first time that so many diverse papers, interdisciplinary in nature, have been assembled in a single volume and includes scientific papers addressing issues such as typology and sourcing of gemstones.
Butrint 3 Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 374
ISBN: 9781842179802
Pub Date: 08 Sep 2011
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Butrint Archaeological Monographs
This engaging and well-illustrated volume describes the excavations of a large urban sector, the so-called Triconch Palace, of the Adriatic seaport of Butrint. In so doing it adds to the new paradigm for the development of Roman towns in the Mediterranean. The book traces the changing nature of this rich and varied area - from 2nd-century Roman townhouses, to a 4th-century elite domus, to a Mid Byzantine trading area to late medieval allotments - and reveals the rhythms of Butrint and its Mediterranean connections. This is accompanied by discussions of the elaborate mosaic decoration of the palatial phase and their articulation of elite living, as well as of in-depth discussions of the implications of elite and domestic architecture in late antiquity and the Mid Byzantine period.
Unclassical Traditions Volume 2 Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9780956838100
Pub Date: 01 Jun 2011
Imprint: Cambridge Philological Society
Series: Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society Supplementary Volume
Unclassical Traditions. Volume II: Perspectives from East and West in Late Antiquity is the second of two collections of essays by leading scholars discussing the nature and extent of the late-antique engagement with the classical past. Rather than concentrating on developments at the centre of empire (the focus of a previous volume, Unclassical Traditions I ), the aim here is to present a set of views from the margins: social, political, religious, literary, geographical and linguistic. Ranging from Armenian ecclesiastical histories, Egyptian alchemy and Jewish power politics, across the Mediterranean to the challenges raised by shifting circumstances in 5th-century North Africa and Ostrogothic Italy, the eight papers in this volume seek to establish the persistent importance of the classical tradition throughout a broadly defined late antiquity. Despite the divergent forms taken by these various responses, they are united by a common preoccupation with that still authoritative past. From these eastern and western perspectives - often peripheral and sometimes isolated - the classical past appears neither monolithic nor inflexible but as offering a set of assumptions or conventions that might be opposed or accepted, subverted or ignored or reworked into a striking variety of newly imagined worlds. Like its predecessor, this volume will be of interest to anyone concerned with the history, literature and culture of the later Roman empire. It stems from an international conference held in Cambridge in 2009, generously supported by the Faculty of Classics and the Henry Arthur Thomas Fund.
The Dark Side of Childhood in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages Cover
Format: Paperback
Pages: 104
ISBN: 9781842174173
Pub Date: 14 Mar 2011
Imprint: Oxbow Books
This volume examines conceptions, ideas and habits connected with children in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, focusing on the "dark sides of childhood" in the pre-modern world. The authors investigate the long-term attitudes of people, as well as ruptures in habits and customs. The book is divided into three parts. "Unwanted" deals with parents who were unable to bring up their baby and handed it over to other people or the cruel whims of destiny. "Disabled" addresses what we would label as children's illnesses since disability was a concept largely unknown to ancient people. "Nearly Lost" examines demons, viewed as destructive forces with the ability to destroy children or young people, sometimes by literally sucking their lives away. The articles are written by an international team of specialists from Belgium, Finland, Italy and the United States and were presented at conferences organised by the research project "Religion and Childhood. Socialisation from the Roman Empire to Christian World", funded by the Academy of Finland (2009-2012, directed by Dr. Katariina Mustakallio), at the University of Tampere, Finland.
Unclassical Traditions Volume 1 Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9780906014332
Pub Date: 10 Sep 2010
Imprint: Cambridge Philological Society
Series: Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society Supplementary Volume
Unclassical Traditions: Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity is the first of two collections of essays by leading scholars discussing the nature and extent of the late-antique engagement with its classical heritage. This issue has long been at the heart of modern historical debate and, as this volume demonstrates, it was no less a matter of concern among authors and audiences in the period itself. From the Chronological Tables of Eusebius of Caesarea to the Brevarium of Festus and from the imperial panegyric to the Byzantine liturgy, eight papers explore how the persistence, dominance and normative nature of the classical tradition in its various forms could be negotiated, undermined, ironised or even flatly denied. Whether in the hands of Christian bishops such as Ambrose of Milan or Basil of Caesarea, or in the poetry of Ausonius or in the lives of the saints, many central aspects of late-antique culture here emerge as the product of a combination of authoritatively classical and avowedly unclassical traditions.
Alexandria Cover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9788779344914
Pub Date: 31 Jan 2010
Imprint: Aarhus University Press
Series: Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity
Throughout the entire span of Graeco-Roman antiquity Alexandria represented a meeting place for many ethnic cultures and the city itself was subject to a wide range of local developments, which created and formatted a distinct Alexandrine 'culture' as well as several distinct 'cultures'. Ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish observers communicated or held claim to that particular message. Hence, Arrian, Theocritus, Strabo, and Athenaeus reported their fascination of the Alexandrine melting pot to the wider world and so did Philo, Josephus and Clement. In various fashions, the four papers of Part I of the volume, Alexandria from Greece and Egypt, deal with the relationship between Ptolemaic Alexandria and its Greek past. However, the Egyptian origin and heritage also play important roles for the arguments. The contributions to the second part of the book are devoted to discussions of various aspects of contact and development between Rome, Judaism and Christianity.