Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World: Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity

Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World: Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity


Edited by Ralph Mathisen, Edited by Danuta Shanzer


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  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
  • Format: Hardback | 350 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 236mm x 34mm | 880g
  • Publication date: 30 April 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Aldershot
  • ISBN 10: 0754668142
  • ISBN 13: 9780754668145
  • Illustrations note: includes 27 maps, figures & b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 952,313

Product description

One of the most significant transformations of the Roman world in Late Antiquity was the integration of barbarian people into the social, cultural, religious, and political milieu of the Mediterranean world. The nature of these transformations was considered at the sixth biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in March of 2005, and this volume presents an updated selection of the papers given on that occasion, complemented with a few others. These 25 studies do much to break down old stereotypes about the cultural and social segregation of Roman and barbarian populations, and demonstrate that, contrary to the past orthodoxy, Romans and barbarians interacted in a multitude of ways, and it was not just barbarians who experienced 'ethnogenesis' or cultural assimilation. The same Romans who disparaged barbarian behavior also adopted aspects of it in their everyday lives, providing graphic examples of the ambiguity and negotiation that characterized the integration of Romans and barbarians, a process that altered the concepts of identity of both populations. The resultant late antique polyethnic cultural world, with cultural frontiers between Romans and barbarians that became increasingly permeable in both directions, does much to help explain how the barbarian settlement of the west was accomplished with much less disruption than there might have been, and how barbarian populations were integrated seamlessly into the old Roman world.

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Author information

Ralph Mathisen is Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and Danuta R. Shanzer is Professor and Vice-Chair of the Classics, Professor of Medieval Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in the Classics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I Constructing Images of the Impact and Identity of Barbarians: A. Literary Constructions of Barbarian Identity: Catalogues of barbarians in late Antiquity; Augustine and the merciful barbarians; Reguli in the Roman empire, late Antiquity and the early medieval Germanic kingdoms; Were the Sasanians barbarians? Roman writers on the 'empire of the Persians'; A Roman image of the 'barbarian' Sasanians; B. Political and Religious Interpretations of Barbarian Activities: Banditry or catastrophe? History, archaeology and barbarian raids on Roman Greece; John Rufus, Timothy Aelurus, and the fall of the Western Roman empire; C. Imperial Manipulation of Perceptions of Barbarians: Imperial religious unification policy and its divisive consequences: Diocletian, the Jews and the Samaritans; Hellenes, barbarians and Christians: religion and identity politics in Diocletian's Rome; Barbarians as spectacle: the account of an ancient 'embedded reporter'.; Part II Cultural Interaction on the Roman/Barbarian Frontiers: A. Becoming Roman: Movements of People across the Frontier and the Effects of Imperial Policies: The ius colonatus as a model for the settlement of barbarian prisoners-of-war in the late Roman empire?; Spies like us: treason and identity in the late Roman empire; The 'runaway' Avars and late Antique diplomacy; B. Becoming Roman: Social and Economic Interchange: Captivity and Romano-barbarian interchange; Barbarian raiders and barbarian peasants: models of ideological and economic integration; C. A New Era of Accommodation: Kush and Rome on the Egyptian southern frontier: where barbarians worshipped as Romans and Romans worshipped as barbarians; Petra and the Saracens: new evidence from a recently discovered epigram; Elusive places: a chorological approach to identity and territory in Scythia Minor (2nd - 7th centuries); Barbarian traffic, demon oaths, and Christian scruples: Augustine, Epist. 46-47.; Part III Creating Identity in the Post-Roman World: Visigothic settlement, hospitalitas, and army payment reconsidered; Building an ethnic identity for a new Gothic and Roman nobility: Cordoba, 615 AD; Vascones and Visigoths: creation and transformation of identity in northern Spain; Identity and ethnicity in the era of migrations and barbarian kingdoms in the light of archaeology in Gaul; Text, artifact and genome: the disputed nature of the Anglo-Saxon migration into Britain.; Part IV Epilogue: Modern Constructions of Barbarian Identity: Auguste Moutie, pioneer of Merovingian archaeology and the Spurlock Merovingian collection at the University of Illinois; Index.