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[Ancient Architecture in Syria: Southern Hauran]
Editor / Translator: Aisha Muhammed Ali Moussa
The Ancient Architecture in Syria (Southern Hauran), written by Howard C. Butler and translated by Aisha Moussa, is the product of studying 65 ancient sites in Southern Hauran. It focuses on the archeological and architectural heritage and presents detailed drawings of plans; restoration of buildings; and photographs of monuments, inscriptions and sculptures. The book covers the late pre-historic, Nabataean, Roman, Christian, and early Islamic periods (1st century B.C.E.- 7th century C.E.).
Many of the monuments described by Butler have long since disappeared or destroyed, so this book provides an invaluable, thorough, detailed, and photographic documentation of the archeological treasure in Syria, the cradle of civilizations, particularly in view of the current pressing need for development and investment there.

يعد كتاب العمارة القديمة في سوريا (جنوب حوران)، من تأليف هوارد كروسبي باتلر وترجمة عائشة موسى، ثمرة دراسة 65 موقعًا أثريًا قديمًا في جنوب حوران. ويتناول الكتاب دراسة تراث الفن الأثري والمعماري ويعرض رسمًا مفصلًا للمخططات وترميمًا للمباني وتصويرًا للصروح الأثرية والنقوش والمنحوتات. كما يغطي الكتاب أواخر عصور ما قبل التاريخ والفترة النبطية والرومانية والمسيحية ومطلع الحقبة الإسلامية، في فترة تمتد بين القرن الأول قبل الميلاد ومطلع القرن السابع الميلادي.
لقد اختفت العديد من المعالم الأثرية التي صورها باتلر منذ أمد بعيد أو دمرت، لذلك يقدم هذا الكتاب توثيقًا مصورًا لا يقدر بثمن ويعد الأكثر شمولًا ودقة عن الكنوز الأثرية الثمينة في سوريا مهد الحضارات، لا سيما في ظل الحاجة الملحّة الآن لتنشيط مشاريع التنمية وخلق فرص الاستثمار فيها.
In Kids Those Days, Lahney Preston-Matto and Mary Valante have organized a collection of interdisciplinary research into childhood throughout the Middle Ages. Contributors to the volume investigate childhood from Greece to the “Celtic-Fringe,” looking at how children lived, suffered, thrived, or died young. Scholars from myriad disciplines, from art and archaeology to history and literature, offer essays on abandonment and abuse, fosterage and guardianship, criminal behavior and child-rearing, child bishops and sainthood, disabilities and miracles, and a wide variety of other subjects related to medieval children. The volume focuses especially on children in the realms of religion, law, and vulnerabilities.
Contributors are Paul A. Broyles, Sarah Croix, Gavin Fort, Sophia Germanidou, Danielle Griego, Máire Johnson, Daniel T. Kline, Jenni Kuuliala, Lahney Preston-Matto, Melissa Raine, Eve Salisbury, Ruth Salter, Bridgette Slavin, and Mary A. Valante.
SENSORIVM: The Senses in Roman Polytheism explores how a range of cults and rituals were perceived and experienced by participants through one or more senses.

The present collection brings together papers from an international group of researchers all inspired by ‘the sensory turn’. Focusing on a wide range of ritual traditions from around the ancient Roman world, they explore the many ways in which smell and taste, sight and sound, separately and together, involved participants in religious performance. Music, incense, images and colors, contrasts of light and dark played as great a role as belief or observance in generating religious experience.

Together they contribute to an original understanding of the Roman sensory universe, and add an embodied perspective to the notion of Lived Ancient Religion.

Contributors are Martin Devecka; Visa Helenius; Yulia Ustinova; Attilio Mastrocinque; Maik Patzelt; Mark Bradley; Adeline Grand-Clément; Rocío Gordillo Hervás; Rebeca Rubio; Elena Muñiz Grijalvo; David Espinosa-Espinosa; A. César González-García, Marco V. García-Quintela; Jörg Rüpke; Rosa Sierra del Molino; Israel Campos Méndez; Valentino Gasparini; Nicole Belayche; Antón Alvar Nuño; Jaime Alvar Ezquerra; Clelia Martínez Maza.
The Jews of Hispania in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages through Their Material Remains
In Hispanojewish Archaeology, Alexander Bar-Magen Numhauser provides the first book-length archaeological exploration of the Jewish presence in late antique and early medieval Hispania. Using epigraphic, numismatic, architectural, and other archaeological remains, this volume describes the multiple cultural expressions of a vibrant Jewish community that emerged as part of the Mediterranean Diaspora, becoming part of the wider Hispanian society. Part of this review includes a detailed examination of the Ilici (Elche, Spain) basilical building, interpreted by previous scholars as both a church and a synagogue, using published and hitherto unpublished material of its decades-long excavation. From the archaeological remains of this Hispanojewish presence a new picture emerges, challenging the traditional premises of the archaeological research on the late antique western Mediterranean.
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)
Author: Luke Lavan

Abstract

This book presents a synthesis on a long-neglected aspect of Late Antiquity (A.D. 284–650): the development of civic public space in Mediterranean urban centres, often ignored in favour of new church buildings or luxurious private houses. It examines the material and human environment at the heart of the late antique city: the architectural, artefactual, and behavioural nature of those areas where people could not avoid interacting with each other: the squares, streets, shops, and markets pf the late antique city. The work is largely descriptive in content, intended to support a programme of artistic visualisation, as much as to provide material for reflection. It systematically addresses the physical appearance of buildings, people, and material culture found in each settings, and how they were bound together in human actions, both ritualised and everyday, under the headings of political, social, economic, and religious behaviours. Temporality and cultural aspects of urban experience are also explored in a less systematic manner. For each architectural space and each built structure within it, an attempt is made to provide a standardised discussion of chronological frequency, regional distribution, plan size, height, distinctive materials, decoration, sculptural ornament, urban setting, and function. Within each chapter, questions are asked about the distinctiveness of architecture and behaviour, and the causes of change.

Most of the detail on specific sites is contained within the appendices, which form an integral part of the work. Here methodology is explained and sites are given the same treatment according to a standard set of principles, notably in terms of their dating. A great number of original observations are made in this section, which take the notices beyond summaries of previous work. On occasion, some sites are discussed in greater length within the main text, disturbing the structure outlined above, where detailed knowledge of them seems more appropriate. Conversely, where data is overwhelming in scale, as it is for statues, a broad discussion of themes takes precedence over a presentation of facts. This is justified due to their accessibility, in an Oxford online database. A thematic discussion, with selected discussion of data is also introduced in the treatment of street architecture, for the discussion of encroachment, and for the planning of street grids. The sources for individual chapters, are evaluated briefly at the start of each section. Urban spaces are split unevenly into a three-part treatment of streets (architecture, processions, everyday life) and fora / agorai (4th–5th c., 6th–7th c.), except for markets and shops where single chapter is maintained. Some treatment of socio-political aspects of churches is found in the latter agorai chapter. Nonetheless, all sections cohere.

The conclusions contain thematic discussions of chronological and regional variation, focusing, respectively, on the axiom of continuity versus change, and on defining the limits of the late antique urban koine, whilst also seeking to evaluate the character of public space in the now-obscured city of Constantinople. The significance of the findings to the nature of late antique society is evaluated, for political, social, religious, commercial, and cultural aspects, and the impact of the Church on civic life is discussed in detail. Finally, the significance of public space to contemporary views of late antiquity is explored, with a consideration of the modern political matrices which influence our vision. The study is illustrated by around 170 figures, including urban plans, comparative monument plans, facade sections, and colour photographs of selected sites. The first volume is complemented by tables of architectural measurements and site distribution maps, with an index. The second volume contains a gazetteer of ceramic forms with reference to dating ranges attributed to them in standard manuals and works of reference currently in use.

In terms of the content, readers will find a detailed discussion of the nature of monumental streets in the period, both in terms of their fine architectural elements and ornaments and more mundane elements such as sidewalks and road paving, alongside a comprehensive discussion of the architecture of fora / agorai and shops, where fountains and fixtures are described alongside colonnades and hemispherical malls. The attention paid to the commonest elements of urban life, deliveries of goods to sewers, is designed to give one a comprehensive urban portrait, that is as much bottom-up as it is top-down. Although some textual bias towards the lives of the wealth is admitted, a light is shone towards the habits of stall-holders, beggars, children, wherever this is possible. Stress is placed on the great amenity of the late antique city, accessible without charge to the ordinary citizen, and the survival of complex urban regulation, certainly under the ‘notables’ in the 6th c. East. This, alongside evidence for inter-communal religious coexistence in public life, is seen as being a distinctive feature of urban life in the period, where Christianisation was both slow and subtle, supporting or ignoring, rather than overturning the classical city, which continued in many ways to resemble the form it had in the classical and Hellenistic period. This is nowhere more obvious than in the Aegean region where a distinctively Greek regional urban identity can be seen in the building projects of the 6th c. A.D. as much as the 4th c.

Perhaps the most significant conclusion of the work, is that the Great city of Constantinople, the capital of Greek world, showed a strong affinity to the urbanism of contemporary Syria / Levant rather than to the Aegean and Asia Minor. The extent to which is reflected Balkan urban patterns is less clear, although it did so in materials. Its other major affinity is with Rome, most obvious in terms of its public plazas. Other notable observations, made by accident rather than design, include the identification of a severe recession in public works, not in the 4th c., the supposed time of a ‘decline of the curia’, but rather in the middle years of the 5th c., when construction only continued on public space in Rome and Constantinople. In the West, streets and fora were covered by beaten earth or worse, whereas, in the East, repairs simply stopped, although surfaces remained clean. The late 5th c. is marked by a clear recovery, but rather than being spread evenly across all types of, city as they were in the 4th c., secular building works are now concentrated in larger cities with smaller places dropping out of the classical urban orbit. There is some slight evidence of a recovery in public space in the West, starting before the reconquest and not confined to areas that Justinian’s armies occupied. A few previously undetected urban habits are identified, such as a western tendency to repave only a portion of very wide streets, in the 4th c., and an eastern desire to monumentalise minor streets that were too narrow for conventional porticoes and sidewalks, perhaps inspired by architectural solutions to the very narrow streets of central Constantinople.

The purpose of the work is, however, not merely analytical, but to produce a fog of sensations through which one might perceive everyday life and urban experience within the varied cities of the late antique world. The work encourages a positive evaluation of late antique culture from its heartland, and its most prosperous cities, from say the Gaza known to Choricius and his classmate Bishop Marcian, or the Emessa known to Symeon the Fool, rather than from the crumbling towns of 5th c. Britain or 6th c. Italy. These cities were places of admirable amenity, where the classical city reached its most sophisticated, at the level of pedestrian street experience, still serving the ordinary citizen. From this, the author has felt the need to identify something more than rupture, discontinuity, and reinvention in late antique life and point to substantial strands of authentic untroubled continuity with the classical past. He sees a transmission of classical culture in its syncretic Hellenistic form, from the Near East to Constantinople. It is this strand of culture, not that of Athens, which forms the great thread of classical continuity, the culture of Antioch and Alexandria, and of their schools and as much as their urban design. Attempts to reinvent classical culture with a refoundationalist emphasis on Archaic and classical Aegean roots, so popular in modern Europe, therefore risk cutting themselves from the mainstream of the Hellenistic world, in which Greek culture met Judaism in Syria, and Buddhism in Bactria, and where buildings and cities were developed on a far greater scale. The place of Christianity within this hybrid culture, seems neither incoherent nor dominant, a development in which voices of contradiction were balanced by those of incorporation and learning.

For the less philosophically inclined, the work draws on both a pile of textual sources and of archaeological reports. It is hoped that the information contained within the first volume will help both to contextualise ancient texts and assist in the writing of historical fiction about the period. The second volume may serve as a reference point for identifying elements of late antique urban features, such as sidewalks and market stalls, which for too long have been passed over. Quite how much of its method will be adopted remains to be seen: the direction of research excavations is a famously individualistic endeavour, related in some ways to performance theatre, the stuff of summer holidays. Furthermore, the patient, is, after all, dead, so let us not worry about it too much. That said, this book offers an exemplar for anyone seeking to make archaeological discoveries ‘count’ in reconstructing late antique society. It addresses thorny questions about phasing and dating which inevitably arise from using the reports of others, with very varied levels of interest in late antiquity and very varied methods. It tries also to show how important it is to build contrasting cases when evaluating historical propositions. Two seemingly contradictory tendencies can be true at the same time. Late Antiquity can be a time of continuity and rupture, of co-existence and conflict, all at the same time. One must resist the temptation to make a case around a rhetorical core which serves the political interests of the present, although some biases must be expected and are always worth admitting.

In: Public Space in the Late Antique City (2 vols.)