Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity

Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity

Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity

Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity

Synopsis

Late Antiquity has unified what in the past were disparate disciplinary, chronological, and geographical areas of study. Welcoming a wide array of methodological approaches, this book series provides a venue for the finest new scholarship on the period, ranging from the later Roman empire to the Byzantine, Sasanid, early Islamic, and early Carolingian worlds.

Excerpt

We first thought of collaborating on the two Romes in 2005. Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity had figured in our previous research, but it seemed to us that there was surprising little effort made to look at the two greatest cities of the late ancient Mediterranean together, despite the ideological and political importance of their relationship and the many features they had in common.

In the following summer, many of the contributors to this book met in Lampeter for a panel entitled “Two Romes” as part of the Celtic Classics Conference: we are grateful to Anton Powell, the inventor and organizer of the conference, for accepting our panel and for providing a format that allowed plenty of time for contributions to be heard and debated. Although the group who had been brought together came from different traditions and disciplines, we found both that there was much to be gained from studying the two Romes together and that we shared a revisionist dissatisfaction with the overly teleological approaches of much previous scholarship, whereby Rome was always destined to decline and become a papal city, and Constantinople likewise was always destined to take Rome’s place. By the end of three days, we knew that we wanted to bring the project forward to publication, but felt that we had heard too little on the New Rome compared to the old. This matched the survival of evidence from antiquity and the trend of modern scholarship, but it lacked balance; so we convened a short conference on early Constantinople in Edinburgh in spring of 2007 (opening on the birthday of the city, 11 May). Many of the speakers from Lampeter also attended, and in general we have found the experience of putting this book together one of sharing in an ongoing debate. One additional chapter (John Vanderspoel’s) was subsequently invited on the good advice of OUP’s readers.

The book is structured in sections: our general historical introduction, which also contextualizes the individual contributions, is paired with introductory chapters on the representation of cities in Late Antiquity and on the buildings and infrastructure of the two cities. Sections follow on topography . . .

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