The analysis and periodisation of the events and changes that take us from the Roman Empire at its height to whatever came after it have long occupied a distinguished place in European historiography. The collapse of the Roman state, however understood, issued in multiple polities of greater and lesser stability, as well as multiple vernaculars in law and language. This historiographic tradition was a European tradition, produced first in Latin and later in Romance and Germanic languages, and was preoccupied with explaining a European past and present. In the analysis of cause, much attention was focused on barbarism and religion, and in both cases there was a sharp divide in assessment. In addition, however positively the emergence of Europe was esteemed, the fall of Rome and the changes consequent to it were construed as a decline, a falling-off from classical ideals in reason, classical aesthetics in literary and decorative arts, and classical standards of prosperity in urban and economic life. This article explores when classical antiquity ended, focusing on literatures of the Roman decline and fall.
This article examines certain types of narrative from rabbinical sources and how they relate both to forms of social life and to expectations of Greco-Roman narrative, genre, and normativity. It situates them within the context of the writings of Hellenistic Judaism and to the adoption of Greco-Roman models by what becomes the dominant religious authority of the Christians. It also explores the particularity of the textual world of the Talmud as an issue of the construction and performance of subjectivity and concludes by highlighting the importance of the connection between narrative and lived experience for rabbinical writing and for the construction of the subject’s positionality within it. It argues that the Talmud reveals a defeated national group reforming its community in interaction with—and often in fierce and fearful contention with and gestures of separation from—dominant Greco-Roman culture, and from other Jews, more assimilated to that dominant culture.
This article presents a survey of research in farming and agriculture. It discusses the extent the economy was open that involved export and import. It then demonstrates how the local agriculture was adapted into the structure of the economy, and assesses the impact of the agrarian structure on agricultural variety. It also studies the influence Jewish religion might have had on agricultural practices in Roman Palestine. Finally, the article considers how different the agrarian economy of Roman Palestine was from the surrounding provinces.
This chapter explores the history of state formation in the Anatolian States, focusing on the Hittite state, which it explains arose in north-central Anatolia early in the Late Bronze Age while the Middle Bronze Age saw the rise of an Indo-European dynasty. It also considers the role of Pithana and his son and successor Anitta in establishing the first great Anatolian empire and the conquests made by the Hittites.
Steven J. Garfinkle
This chapter examines the history of the formation of city-states in the Fertile Crescent. It provides a working definition of city-state in both spatial and social terms, and describes the city-state, focusing on the historical periods of early Mesopotamia. The chapter also considers the ideology of the city-state, the administration of an integrated economy, the emergence of kingship and institutions of government, and the replacement of the city-state system with territorial kingdoms.
Anthropology and the humanities both deal with man, but they deal with utterly different kinds of man. To put them together was a difficult task, therefore: it was not a simple question of reconciling two disciplines, but of reconciling two different types of human being: the Romans and the ‘savages’, ‘classical’ and ‘primitive’ man. The more comparative the anthropology of Rome demonstrates itself to be – proposing a comparison of Roman culture with the culture of others, with non-Romans in the broadest sense of the term – the more it is perceived to be distinct from the rest of Classical Studies. There is so much emic attention in details and their related historical aspects, but so much etic freedom in using concepts linked to the culture of the observer. Clyde Kluckhohn insisted several times in his work on the indissoluble connection between anthropology on the one hand, and an interest in what we could define as ‘oddities’ on the other. This article discusses anthropology and the textuality of Roman culture.
This article deals with Jewish arts and crafts and manufacture and production. It first introduces the sources used to shed more light on the crafts, manufacture, and production industries in Roman Palestine. It then proceeds to look at various forms of arts and crafts in the province. The next section examines food processing, specifically wine and olive oil production.
This chapter examines the history of state formation in ancient Greece during the Bronze Age, providing an overview of the nature of the Minoan states and the extent of control exercised by Mycenaean states. It describes the key features of the states in the Mycenaean period, which include state structure and organization, palatial centers, military organization, economic organization and administration, and systems of communication and representation.
John F. Haldon
This chapter examines the history of state formation in the Byzantine Empire, or the eastern Roman Empire, during the fourth century to the fifteenth century
This chapter examines the history of state formation in Carthage, explaining that the history of the Carthaginian state is one with a changing constitution, with new institutions emerging and old institutions losing importance. It investigates why Carthage did not go the way of many other poleis like those in Greece. The chapter also argues that the end of Carthage is inextricably bound up with the question of Roman imperialism and that while its ruling aristocracy died with its city, there was no doubt that the Carthaginians had identified themselves with their city, its history, and its traditions.
David M. Lewis
Twentieth-century scholarship, guided in particular by the views of M. I. Finley, saw Greece and Rome as the only true ‘slave societies’ of antiquity: slavery in the Near East was of minor economic significance. Finley also believed that the lack of a concept of ‘freedom’ in the Near East made slavery difficult to distinguish from other shades of ‘unfreedom’. This chapter shows that in the Near East the legal status of slaves and the ability to make clear status distinctions were substantively similar to the Greco-Roman situation. Through a survey of the economic contribution of slave labour to the wealth and position of elites in Israel, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and Carthage, it is shown that the difference between the ‘classical’ and ‘non-classical’ worlds was not as pronounced as Finley thought, and that at least some of these societies (certainly Carthage) should also be considered ‘slave societies’.
This article discusses the garments that were worn by the Jews in Israel during the Graeco-Roman period. The discussion uses available material and literary sources, and tries to determine if the Jews wore different clothing from their Roman and Greek contemporaries.
Jonathan S. Perry
Focusing on a few key passages, derived principally from law codes and literary sources, this chapter sketches out the legal situation of collegia vis-à-vis “the state”. However, this material is weighed against the rich epigraphic evidence (i.e. inscribed documents) that suggests the widespread and, in practical effect, unrestricted nature of Roman associations. It suggests that the appearance of governmental interference and regulation, from the late Republic throughout the Principate, was itself merely a pretext, as the government continued to encourage the development and proliferation of collegia as a means of social and political control. It questions whether the senate and the emperors had an interest in actually regulating and licencing collegial assembly, and whether legal texts can be reconciled with the inscriptional material attesting extensive collegial organisation, particularly in Italy and the Empire’s western provinces.
The Roman law of contract has developed itself around the idea of obligation. At the beginning of its history, transactions were possibly differentiated only at an economical level, while from the juristic point of view only the obligatio mattered, so that the judicial remedies were general actions. This was probably a legacy of archaic law and society—which valued community more than the individual—some features of which were retained until the end of the Republic. However, changes in civil procedure caused the arising of a contractual system based on typicality, and this had the further consequence that the transactions not received into the system were considered atypical, their protection being provided by the reuse of the ancient general actions under new form. At the end of the Principate, changes in society and civil procedure reduced the importance of typicality, and some characteristic features of classical contract law were lost.
This article discusses the courts and the judicial system of Roman Palestine. It takes note of the judicial diversity that existed during the time, and considers the Roman provincial jurisdiction that acted as investigating magistrates, among others. The next section looks at the jurisdiction of Roman Palestine, where it introduces the Book of Acts, the literary representation of Roman justice. The article also refers to several sources that reflect the views of the governed about the purpose of Roman administration.
This article examines some of the ways the concept of culture has been deployed in Roman Studies, and in classical scholarship more generally. In so doing, it hopes to show what kinds of critical work this concept can be made to do; to make explicit some of the intellectual commitments that accompany the various uses of this term; to illustrate how these commitments are manifested in scholarly works which seem (to the author) to represent useful points of reference in our ever-shifting understandings of what ‘Roman culture’ is; and to relate these manifestations in Roman Studies to those found in other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. The article begins with a usage of ‘culture’ as a category that encompasses various kinds of aesthetic activity. This usage derives ultimately from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetic theory. The article also explores a semiotic approach to culture.
This article discusses the physical contexts of Jewish death during the Roman period and tries to determine if people believed in the afterlife. It describes the monumental tombs of the late second temple period. It observes a relevant transition that occurred in Jerusalem and its environs sometime during the late first century
This article examines approaches to the topic of life cycles among Jews in Roman Palestine. It first identifies the methodological issues associated with comparing the Jewish and (Graeco-) Roman understandings of life stages. It then studies the Qumran, rabbinic texts, and rabbinic sources on childhood, old age, and death. Finally, the article describes the life stages of the non-rabbis based on the rabbinic sources and Mishnah Abot 5:21.
Carlos F. Nqreña
The most significant and distinctive features of the period covered in this article, roughly the first two centuries
While century-old materialist and idealist frameworks still largely predominate in the archaeology and the history of later Roman periods, a freer theoretical rein can apparently be enjoyed when discussing the time before the expansion. It is as if these dangerous relativist forays were only deemed appropriate for those periods that have contributed less to the powerful icon of late Republican and Imperial Rome in modern western culture. In addition, this intellectual liberty seems to be slowly taking early Roman specialists towards the kind of discourse that can often be found in historical anthropology. Some legal historians had long emphasised the role of gentes in the administration of communal lands or the regulation of elite marriage in early Rome. It is telling that the debate on Roman imperialism has not progressed much in the last decades, in sharp contrast with what has happened for other instances of territorial expansion.