Byzantine Epirus

A Topography of Transformation. Settlements of the Seventh-Twelfth Centuries in Southern Epirus and Aetoloacarnania, Greece


Much of the past twenty years of scholarship on late-antique and medieval landscapes and settlement has introduced theoretical patterns reflecting meta-narratives of evolution and transition. This book draws on 5 years of archaeological and topographical fieldwork in order to attempt a rereading of Byzantine texts in accordance with recent perceptions of the historicity of space. The result is a fresh interpretation of settlement in Western Greece (Southern Epirus and Aetoloacarnania) from 600 to 1200 AD, springing from a postmodern theoretical background. While representing real progress in the treatment of the Middle Byzantine regions, the book makes an ecological contribution to historical and social studies through a new evaluation of the transformation of medieval settlement as a result of interaction between physical/social space and human agency.

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Myrto Veikou, PhD (2007) in Byzantine Studies, University of Athens, has been teaching at the Universities of Crete, Cyprus and currently the Hellenic Open University. She has published on Byzantine archaeology and settlement in Archeologia Medievale (2009) and the Byzantinische Zeitschrift (2010).
"...Coming nearly forty years later, her book builds on this inventory and advances our understanding in two important ways. Certainly the spread of development and tourism across modern Greece has enlarged the documentary record, which the author systematically gathers along with her own observations based on personal reconnaissance, local conversations, and random finds. But of greater significance than marshaling data is her critical assessment of sources in light of a generation of post-processual landscape study, with its conceptual shift from examining localized places to reconstructing their interactions amid a changing physical environment. The immediate achievement of Byzantine Epirus is to situate this half-millennium of regional history within a longer, more dynamic narrative of geographic and social evolution that continues down to the present; its larger contribution may be to remind us to view the margins of political mainstreams on their own terms rather than through the lens of external control. Theoretically justified, clearly organized, and closely documented, this fresh reconsideration of a remote and beautiful mountainous land will be of lasting value."
Marcus Rautman, University of Missouri, in The Medieval Review 14.02.12
List of Illustrations ... xi
List of Maps ... xxii
Preface ... xxv
List of Abbreviations ... xxvii

1. On the Remains of Middle Byzantine Epirus ... 3

2. A Geographical Outline of Byzantine Epirus (Seventh–Twelfth Centuries) ... 19
2.I. Defijinition, Political Geography and Relevant Toponymy ... 19
2.II. Physical Geography and Selection of the Research Area ... 21
2.III. Landscape Evolution: Geomorphological Landforms and Processes ... 25
2.IV. Human Geography ... 39

1. Architecture ... 51
1.I. Building Typology and Use ... 51
1.I.1. Fortifijications ... 51
1.I.2. Religious Buildings ... 57
1.I.3. Burial Spaces ... 68
1.I.4. Secular Buildings ... 88
1.I.5. Industrial Buildings ... 96
1.I.6. Water Supply Facilities and Water System Management ... 97
1.I.7. Road System ... 101
1.I.8. Harbour Facilities ... 103
1.II. Building Construction ... 104
1.II.1. Building Materials and Methods ... 104
1.II.2. Morphological Features and Chronology of Masonries ... 112
1.III. Conclusions ... 153

2. Dedicatory Inscriptions on or in Buildings ... 157
2.I. The Inscriptions ... 159
2.II. Conclusions ... 167

3. Monumental Art and Sculpture ... 171
3.I. Opus Sectile, Marble-Inlay, Mosaic and Fresco Decorations ... 172
3.II. Architectural Sculptures ... 176
3.III. Conclusions ... 207

4. Artefacts ... 211
4.I. Ceramics and Tiles ... 211
4.II. Metalwork ... 232
4.III. Glass ... 237
4.IV. Lead Seals ... 241
4.V. Numismatic Finds ... 250
4.VI. Conclusions ... 258

1. The Chronology, Typology, Transformation, Networks and Economy of Settlements ... 273
1.I. The Chronology of Settlements ... 273
1.II. The Typology and Transformation of Settlements ... 273
1.II.a. Fortifijied Settlements ... 273
1.II.b. Unfortifijied Settlements ... 290
1.II.c. Monastic Settlements ... 293
1.III. Network of Routes and Settlements ... 295
1.IV. Economic Activities ... 298

2. The Geographical Dimension of Settlement: Non-systematic Extensive Survey and the Historicity of Space in Archaeology ... 305

3. Aspects of the Transformation of Settlement within the Context of the Medieval Mediterranean ... 331
3.I. Historical and Archaeological Evidence: “Different Sources, Diffferent Histories?” ... 331
3.I.1. Theoretical Problems Relating to Medieval Settlement in Epirus and the Mediterranean ... 335
3.II. A Reconstruction of Settlement in Epirus ... 346
3.II.1. The Islands ... 346
3.II.2. The Mainland ... 349
3.II.3. A Correlation of Historical Settlements with Archaeological Evidence ... 354
3.III. Conclusions ... 357

Concluding Remarks ... 363

5.I. Introduction ... 369
5.II. The Sites ... 371

I. Material Culture Inventory ... 521
I.1. Dedicatory Inscriptions on or in Buildings ... 521
I.2. Opus Sectile, Marble-inlay, Mosaic and Fresco Decorations ... 526
I.3. Architectural Sculpture ... 529
I.4. Ceramics and Tiles ... 537
I.5. Metalwork ... 544
I.6. Glass ... 546
I.7. Lead Seals ... 547
I.8. Numismatic Finds ... 548

II. Abstracts of Byzantine Texts Used in Translation in this Work ... 553

III. Geomorphological Changes in Lowlands caused by Fluvial Sedimentation ... 561

Bibliography ... 565
Index of Sites ... 609
Index of Names ... 612
All those interested in Byzantine, medieval and Mediterranean archaeology and art, historical topography, history, geography, human and cultural geography.
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