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Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium
"Was there ever such a thing as Byzantium? Certainly no emperor ever called himself “Byzantine.” And while the identities of minorities in the eastern empire are clear—contemporaries speak of Slavs, Bulgarians, Armenians, Jews, and Muslims—that of the ruling majority remains obscured behind a name made up by later generations.
"Historical evidence tells us unequivocally that Byzantium’s ethnic majority, no less than the ruler of Constantinople, would have identified as Roman. It was an identity so strong in the eastern empire that even the conquering Ottomans would eventually adopt it. But Western scholarship has a long tradition of denying the Romanness of Byzantium. In Romanland, Anthony Kaldellis investigates why and argues that it is time for the Romanness of these so-called Byzantines to be taken seriously.
"In the Middle Ages, he explains, people of the eastern empire were labeled “Greeks,” and by the nineteenth century they were shorn of their distorted Greekness and became “Byzantine.” Only when we understand that the Greek-speaking population of Byzantium was actually Roman will we fully appreciate the nature of Roman ethnic identity. We will also better understand the processes of assimilation that led to the absorption of foreign and minority groups into the dominant ethnic group, the Romans who presided over the vast multiethnic empire of the east."
to:NB  books:noted  ethnicity  roman_empire  byzantium  identity_group_formation 
october 2018 by cshalizi
Lead pollution recorded in Greenland ice indicates European emissions tracked plagues, wars, and imperial expansion during antiquity | PNAS
"Lead pollution in Arctic ice reflects midlatitude emissions from ancient lead–silver mining and smelting. The few reported measurements have been extrapolated to infer the performance of ancient economies, including comparisons of economic productivity and growth during the Roman Republican and Imperial periods. These studies were based on sparse sampling and inaccurate dating, limiting understanding of trends and specific linkages. Here we show, using a precisely dated record of estimated lead emissions between 1100 BCE and 800 CE derived from subannually resolved measurements in Greenland ice and detailed atmospheric transport modeling, that annual European lead emissions closely varied with historical events, including imperial expansion, wars, and major plagues. Emissions rose coeval with Phoenician expansion, accelerated during expanded Carthaginian and Roman mining primarily in the Iberian Peninsula, and reached a maximum under the Roman Empire. Emissions fluctuated synchronously with wars and political instability particularly during the Roman Republic, and plunged coincident with two major plagues in the second and third centuries, remaining low for >500 years. Bullion in silver coinage declined in parallel, reflecting the importance of lead–silver mining in ancient economies. Our results indicate sustained economic growth during the first two centuries of the Roman Empire, terminated by the second-century Antonine plague."
to:NB  climatology  ancient_history  roman_empire 
may 2018 by cshalizi
Harper, K.: The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition.
"Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.
"A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit—in ways that are surprising and profound."

--- Suspiciously few reviews noted from classicists.
to:NB  books:noted  ancient_history  roman_empire  plagues_and_peoples  climate_change 
december 2017 by cshalizi
Roman Ruins Found in France Are Called ‘Exceptional’ - The New York Times
The ruins were uncovered near the southeastern city of Vienne and have been called “probably the most exceptional find from the Roman era in years.”
france  hn  ifttt  archaeology  Feedly  Pocket  roman_empire 
august 2017 by xer0x
Roman Roads – Sasha Trubetskoy
A subway-style diagram of the major Roman roads, based on the Empire of ca. 125 AD.....

However, no sane Roman would use only roads where sea travel is available. Sailing was much cheaper and faster – a combination of horse and sailboat would get you from Rome to Byzantium in about 25 days, Rome to Carthage in 4-5 days
map  subway  rome  roman_empire  conclusion07 
june 2017 by berendes
Kenneth Harl - The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes | The Great Courses
36 lectures - list price $320
- the video version is a must in order to follow the names of groups, locations and movements
A few bothered by mispronunciation and a lot of ahs - but most reviewers very enthusiastic - and replaying lectures to get all the info. Counters a few complaints that it's too superficial, or that it pays too much attention to the sedentary civilizations that were affected - the last complaint seems to miss the very purpose of the course.
empires  Iraq  Mongols  Turcic_tribes  nomadic_invasions  Byzantium  steppes  Han_China  India  military_technology  Golden_Horde  trade-policy  Ottomans  Caliphate  late_antiquity  Atilla_the_Hun  Ghengis_Khan  Chinese_history  Egypt  cultural_exchange  empires-tributary  iran  Islamic_civilization  China  Eastern_Europe  military_tactics  religious_history  trade  video  Roman_Empire  courses  Mamluks  cultural_history  military_history  persia  government-revenues  barbarians  Eurasia  Black_Sea  cultural_transmission  Sufis  Tamerlane  Buddhism  MENA  ancient_Rome  Central_Asia  medieval_history  ancient_history  government-forms 
march 2017 by Werderbach
Aemilia (gens) - Wikipedia
The gens Aemilia, originally written Aimilia, was one of the most ancient patrician houses at Rome.
rome  roman_empire  history 
march 2017 by benjekman
Pausanias - Description of Greece: A Pausanias Reader in Progress | Center for Hellenic Studies @ Harvard
Translation of W. H. S. Jones, 1918 (Scroll II with H. A. Ormerod) Edited and Revised by Gregory Nagy (as of 2015.02.15)
antiquity  ancient_Greece  geography  Roman_Empire  Pausanias  etexts  Greek_lit 
november 2016 by dunnettreader
Robert A. Markus - Gregory the Great and his World (1997) | Cambridge University Press
The book is a study of Gregory the Great, the pope who sent Augustine (of Canterbury) and his fellow missionaries to convert the heathen English to Christianity (597). Markus gives a full account of Gregory's life and work, his thought and spirituality, within the setting of the world at the end of the sixth century. At a time of catastrophic change in Europe, Gregory's work as pope stands on the threshold of medieval Western Europe. The book deals with every aspect of his pontificate, providing a major contribution to the study of late antique society. -- No modern equivalent in any language -- Takes into account advance in historical scholarship over the 90 years since Dudden, and modern perspectives in the study of Late Antiquity -- Downloaded frontmatter (incl maps), excerpt, index via Air to DBOX -- added to Evernote
books  biography  6thC  intellectual_history  religious_history  medieval_history  Gregory_the_Great  theology  Papacy  Christianity  Christendom  Byzantine_Empire  Roman_Empire  Lombards  Italy  Church_history  missionaries  religious_culture  religious_lit  barbarians  Visigoths  North_Africa  heresy 
september 2016 by dunnettreader
Robert A. Markus - Saeculum: History & Society in the Theology of St Augustine (1970, rev 2007) | Cambridge University Press
Significant intro to rev'd edition, included in downloaded frontmatter along with TOC and original Preface. -- In this book Professor Markus's main concern is with those aspects of Augustine's thought which help to answer questions about the purpose of human society, and particularly with his reflections on history, society and the Church. He relates Augustine's ideas to their contemporary context and to older traditions, and shows which aspects of his thought he absorbed from his intellectual environment. Augustine appears from this study as a thinker who rejected the 'sacralization' of the established order of society, and the implications of this for a theology of history are explored in the last chapter. -- Downloaded frontmatter, excerpt & index via Air to DBOX - added to Evernote
books  downloaded  intellectual_history  theology  philosophy_of_history  Late_Antiquity  Early_Christian  Augustine  human_nature  eschatology  social_order  Providence  teleology  religion-established  politics-and-religion  religious_culture  Roman_Empire  paganism  pluralism  secularism  Roman_religion  secularization  Papacy  ecclesiology 
september 2016 by dunnettreader
Robert A. Markus The End of Ancient Christianity (1990) |Cambridge University Press
Highly recommended by Patrick Boucheron -- This study is concerned with one, central historical problem: the nature of the changes that transformed the intellectual and spiritual horizons of the Christian world from its establishment in the fourth century to the end of the sixth. Why, for example, were the assumptions, attitudes and traditions of Gregory the Great so markedly different from those of Augustine? The End of Ancient Christianity examines how Christians, who had formerly constituted a threatened and beleaguered minority, came to define their identity in a changed context of religious respectability in which their faith had become a source of privilege, prestige and power. Professor Markus reassesses the cult of the martyrs and the creation of schemes of sacred time and sacred space, and analyzes the appeal of asceticism and its impact on the Church at large. These changes form part of a fundamental transition, perhaps best described as the shift from "Ancient" toward "Medieval" forms of Christianity; from an older and more diverse secular culture towards a religious culture with a firm Biblical basis. -- Downloaded TOC, Preface & excerpt via Air to DBOX - added to Evernote
books  downloaded  religious_history  religious_culture  politics-and-religion  religion-established  Christianity  Roman_Empire  Late_Antiquity  Early_Christian  paganism  secularization  Roman_religion  pluralism  eschatology  Augustine  Gregory_the_Great  Church_history  Papacy  ecclesiology 
september 2016 by dunnettreader
Judith Herrin - Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium. (eBook, Paperback 2015 and Hardcover 2013)
2nd volume of 2 collecting her work across her career - Unrivalled Influence explores the exceptional roles that women played in the vibrant cultural and political life of medieval Byzantium. Written by one of the world's foremost historians of the Byzantine millennium, this landmark book evokes the complex and exotic world of Byzantium's women, from empresses and saints to uneducated rural widows. Drawing on a diverse range of sources, Herrin sheds light on the importance of marriage in imperial statecraft, the tense coexistence of empresses in the imperial court, and the critical relationships of mothers and daughters. She looks at women's interactions with eunuchs, the in-between gender in Byzantine society, and shows how women defended their rights to hold land. Herrin describes how they controlled their inheritances, participated in urban crowds demanding the dismissal of corrupt officials, followed the processions of holy icons and relics, and marked religious feasts with liturgical celebrations, market activity, and holiday pleasures. The vivid portraits that emerge here reveal how women exerted an unrivalled influence on the patriarchal society of Byzantium, and remained active participants in the many changes that occurred throughout the empire's millennial history. Unrivalled Influence brings together Herrin's finest essays on women and gender written throughout the long span of her esteemed career. This volume includes three new essays published here for the very first time and a new general introduction - Herrin. She also provides a concise introduction to each essay that describes how it came to be written and how it fits into her broader views about women and Byzantium. -- Intro downloaded to Tab S2
books  kindle-available  downloaded  Byzantium  Roman_Empire  medieval_history  elite_culture  religious_history  religious_culture  women-intellectuals  women-in-politics  empires-governance  property_rights  women-property  court_culture  eunuchs  inheritance  gender_history  gender-and-religion  marriage  diplomatic_history  elites-political_influence  political_culture  popular_culture  popular_politics  ritual  Early_Christian  church_history  religious_imagery  religious_practices  religious_art  women-education  education-women  education-elites  Orthodox_Christianity  women-rulers 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Judith Herrin - Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire. (Paperback 2009) - Princeton University Press
Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium--long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium--what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today. Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history--from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks.

She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe--and the modern Western world--possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art.

An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453. - no ebook - lots of illustrations - Introduction downloaded to Tab S2
books  downloaded  Byzantium  Roman_Empire  medieval_history  elite_culture  religious_history  religious_culture  Islam  Islamic_civilization  Islam-expansion  architecture  architecture-churches  diplomatic_history  military_history  Christendom  Christianity-Islam_conflict  Orthodox_Christianity  Crusades  Constantinople  13thC  14thC  15thC  Ottomans  court_culture  courtiers  ritual  art_history  decorative_arts  popular_culture 
august 2016 by dunnettreader

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