The last half century has seen an explosion in the study of late antiquity, which has characterised the period between the third and seventh centuries not as one of catastrophic collapse and ‘decline and fall’, but rather as one of dynamic and positive transformation. Yet research on cities in this period has provoked challenges to this positive picture of late antiquity. This study surveys the nature of this debate, examining problems associated with the sources historians use to examine late antique urbanism, and the discourses and methodological approaches they have constructed from them. It aims to set out the difficulties and opportunities presented by the study of cities in late antiquity in terms of transformations of politics, the economy, and religion, and to show that this period witnessed very real upheaval and dislocation alongside continuity and innovation in cities around the Mediterranean.
In this publication Fleur Kemmers gives an overview of 21st century scholarship on Roman coinage for students and scholars in the fields of ancient history and Roman archaeology. First, it addresses the study of numismatics as a discipline and the theoretical and methodological advances of the last decades. Secondly, it provides guidelines on how to consult numismatic reference works, including those available online. Recent scholarly approaches and insights in the functions of Roman coins as both vehicles of political communication and instruments for state payments are critically assessed. Furthermore, the publication reviews the evidence for a conscious monetary policy on the part of the Roman authorities. Finally, the impact of Roman expansion and imperialism on monetisation and coin use in Rome´s Empire is discussed.
Rome engaged in military and diplomatic expansionistic state behavior, which we now describe as ‘imperialism,’ since well before the appearance of ancient sources describing this activity. Over the course of at least 800 years, the Romans established and maintained a Mediterranean-wide empire from Spain to Syria (and sometimes farther east) and from the North Sea to North Africa. How and why they did this is a perennial source of scholarly controversy. Earlier debates over whether Rome was an aggressive or defensive imperial state have progressed to theoretically-informed discussions of the extent to which system-level or discursive pressures shaped the Roman Empire. Roman imperialism studies now encompass such ancillary subfields as Roman frontier studies and Romanization.
(Re)using Ruins, Douglas Underwood presents a new account of the use and reuse of Roman urban public monuments in a crucial period of transition, A.D. 300-600. Commonly seen as a period of uniform decline for public building, especially in the western half of the Mediterranean,
(Re)using Ruins shows a vibrant, yet variable, history for these structures.
Douglas Underwood establishes a broad catalogue of archaeological evidence (supplemented with epigraphic and literary testimony) for the construction, maintenance, abandonment and reuses of baths, aqueducts, theatres, amphitheatres and circuses in Italy, southern Gaul, Spain, and North Africa, demonstrating that the driving force behind the changes to public buildings was largely a combined shift in urban ideologies and euergetistic practices in Late Antique cities.
Authority and Control in the Countryside looks at the economic, religious, political and cultural instruments that local and regional powers in the late antique to early medieval Mediterranean and Near East used to manage their rural hinterlands. Measures of direct control – land ownership, judicial systems, garrisons and fortifications, religious and administrative appointments, taxes and regulation – and indirect control – monuments and landmarks, cultural styles and artistic models, intellectual and religious influence, and economic and bureaucratic standard-setting – are examined to reconstruct the various means by which authority was asserted over the countryside. Unified by its thematic and spatial focus, this book offers an array of interdisciplinary approaches, allowing for important comparisons across a wide but connected geographical area in the transition from the Sasanian and Roman to the Islamic period. Contributors: Arezou Azad and Hugh Kennedy, Sobhi Bouderbala, Michele Campopiano, Alain Delattre, Jessica Ehinger, Simon Ford, James Howard-Johnston, Elif Keser-Kayaalp, Marie Legendre, Javier Martínez Jiménez, Harry Munt, Annliese Nef and Vivien Prigent, Marion Rivoal and Marie-Odile Rousset, Gesa Schenke, Petra Sijpesteijn, Peter Verkinderen, Luke Yarbrough, Khaled Younes.
Sparta’s dominance over other Greek states was greatly hampered and finally ended because of the impossibility of maintaining its power in the face of oliganthropia, an irreversible demographic shortfall of its citizen manpower. In Spartan Oliganthropia, Timothy Doran examines the population decline of the Spartiates in the Classical and Hellenistic eras, a reduction from 8,000 to fewer than 1,000. The causes and consequences of this decline are significant not only for ancient Greek history, but also for population studies of pre-industrial societies and population dynamics more generally. This work offers a fresh survey of representative modern scholarship on this phenomenon as well as its own conclusions, discussing topics such as elite under-reproduction, wealth polarization, the link between female empowerment and low birthrates, and ideological notions of eugenic exclusivity, suggesting avenues for further research.
The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity David Walsh explores how the cult of Mithras developed across the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. and why by the early 5th century the cult had completely disappeared. Contrary to the traditional narrative that the cult was violently persecuted out of existence by Christians, Walsh demonstrates that the cult’s decline was a far more gradual process that resulted from a variety of factors. He also challenges the popular image of the cult as a monolithic entity, highlighting how by the 4th century Mithras had come to mean different things to different people in different places.
Water played an important part of ancient Roman life, from providing necessary drinking water, supplying bath complexes, to flowing in large-scale public fountains. The Roman culture of water was seen throughout the Roman Empire, although it was certainly not monolithic and it could come in a variety of scales and forms, based on climatic and social conditions of different areas. This article seeks to define ‘water culture’ in Roman society by examining literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence, while understanding modern trends in scholarship related to the study of Roman water. The culture of water can be demonstrated through expressions of power, aesthetics, and spectacle. Further there was a shared experience of water in the empire that could be expressed through religion, landscape, and water’s role in cultures of consumption and pleasure.
Aus archäologischen und literarischen Quellen werden die typischen Züge des Hauses der römischen Führungsschicht herausgearbeitet. Der Bestand an Denkmälern ist fragmentarisch, erlaubt aber mehr Aussagen, als gemeinhin angenommen wird. So lassen sich einige literarisch bekannte Funktionen rekonstruieren, in denen sich das römische etwa vom pompejanischen Haus unterscheidet. Dazu gehören etwa Räume für Gerichtsverhandlungen oder zur Bewirtung zahlreicher Gäste, aber auch Orte für die demonstrative Betätigung der senatorischen Frauen bei der Verfertigung von Textilien. Einige Eigenheiten bleiben bis in die Spätantike in veränderter Form erhalten.
This book is the fruit of the first ever interdisciplinary international scientific conference on Matthew's story of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi, held in 2014 at the University of Groningen, and attended by world-leading specialists in all relevant fields: modern astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, the history of science, and religion. The scholarly discussions and the exchange of the interdisciplinary views proved to be immensely fruitful and resulted in the present book. Its twenty chapters describe the various aspects of The Star: the history of its interpretation, ancient near-eastern astronomy and astrology and the Magi, astrology in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds, and the early Christian world – at a generally accessible level. An epilogue summarizes the fact-fiction balance of the most famous star which has ever shone.