Pere P. Ripollès
The minting of coins in the Iberian Peninsula spread in from the mid-fifth century
This article discusses the social history of the Jews. It determines the extent Jewish communities possessed an inner-Jewish social structure and looks at the social ties that existed between the local communities. Some notable Jewish historians like Martin Goodman and Ed P. Sanders provide some important insights into the social relations of the Jews. The article also looks at the extent Jews were socially integrated into their different environments. The history and geography of the Jews, along with the different social problems that they faced, are discussed.
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.
Liv Mariah Yarrow
Under the Antonine emperors, imperial and provincial coinage largely follow the pattern of prior periods, with certain significant developments both in minting practices and iconographic representations. The major changes of Antonine coinage can be contextualized within three interlinking categories: coin production and output, changes in the presentation of the emperor and his family, and Rome's changing relationship with the provinces and the interrelationships between provincial cities. There was a trend of decline in the weight and fineness of the denarius, and a similar decline in the weight of the aureus; at the same time, smaller bronze denominations were minted with less frequency at Rome. Even more provincial mints appeared, and there was significant production of precious metal coinage at regional centers such as Caesarea in Cappadocia.
Christian Julien Robin
This article discusses the strong links between Arabia and Ethiopia in Late Antiquity. These links were primarily commercial and cultural, but sometimes also political. The Ethiopians borrowed their script from the Arabians, and this facilitated by the fact that the two peoples spoke kindred languages, belonging to the same Semitic family. Arabia and Ethiopia also shared the same off-center position in relation to the great poles of civilisation in the Near East, with which however they maintained intense relations that went back at least to the beginning of the first millennium
Marijke Van der Veen
The archaeobotanical evidence for food and farming in Roman Britain reveals continuity in the two principal cereals grown, but a marked increase in the scale of arable production in central-southern and eastern England, though not in the western and northern areas of Britain. Innovation comes in the form of horticulture: the growing of fruits, vegetables, and herbs for market. Exotic foods brought in by the Roman army created diverse consumer groups. Combined, these developments resulted in larger dietary breadth, growing diversity and regionality, increased social inequality in diet and economic opportunity, and new social realities at household and community levels.
The idea of classifying archaeology as a ‘tool’ alongside prosopography, metre, and numismatics, while ‘culture change’, ‘urbanism’, and ‘fall and transitions’ are classified under ‘history’, is provocative to any archaeologist. Romanisation – a topic that has been prominent in the English-speaking literature of the last two decades – seems to involve an implicit rather than an explicit synthesis of archaeology and history. An archaeology of urbanism in the Roman Empire will highlight the hugely varied nature of what we might class as Roman cities and bring us up against problems of functional definition, and it will document the dynamism of life in these places in all its varied forms and illuminate accompanying phenomena in vivid detail. It will also give us images of living and dead city inhabitants and their lifestyles; it will tell us about both poor and rich – in an unstructured way. An archaeology of urbanism will produce a great deal of information that reflects at one remove social structures and social organisation, while yielding little statistical information which can be converted straightforwardly into sociological data.
This article discusses Armenian history in Late Antiquity. It considers the multiple and varied influences upon all aspects of Armenian society and culture, from far-reaching decisions made at the highest level with immediate implications, such as the redrawing of boundaries between the Roman and Persian sectors of Armenia, or redefining what constituted orthodox belief, to the slow development of ideas, traditions, and practices at a regional and a local level.
Duncan B. Campbell
Eugenio La Rocca
In recent years, the question of what constitutes art has often been asked. The question arose quite naturally from the dismissal of the traditional concept of art as imitation of the real – a notion that, though variously inflected, has held sway up until the dawn of the twentieth century. In the ancient world, images were intended as a representation of the real, as ‘mimesis’, and they were perceived accordingly. By now it is common knowledge that the mimetic theory of art does not correspond to the actual practices of artists, even if they earnestly believed they were representing humans and objects as they really were. More than an actual imitation of the real, it was the artists' apprenticeship in the workshop of established sculptors and their acquisition of traditional techniques that determined how ancient artists worked. This article discusses art and representation, art as a means of communication and medium of expression, Roman art in the frame of ‘Lebenswelt’, Roman art and the Greek canon, the symbolic language of Roman art, and Roman art and stylistic dissonance.
The art of Roman Britain has often been sidelined or even denigrated, largely as a result of modern sensibilities concerning quality. Focusing on the moment of creation alone overlooks the longevity of objects, and the multiple and even conflicting potential interpretations by contemporary and later observers. How accurately any given art object may have been read is a problematic issue and one that continues today; there is a false confidence in the simplicity of this task for modern observers, even on the most basic level of subject. The varied assemblage from Roman Britain should provide more than illustrations of the deities that might have been worshipped, or the apparent failings of its makers and users in terms of competency or aesthetics. Its eventual deposition is also more complex than simple disposal of redundant objects or destruction of hated idols. The art of Roman Britain still has much to offer.
Craig H. Caldwell III
This article presents a glimpse of the Balkans in Late Antiquity, focusing on three areas: Pannonia, Dalmatia, and Thrace. Various levels of imperial investment overcame geographic impediments to trade and communication, joining niches within Illyricum to each other and to the wider Mediterranean world. Roman involvement in the region also connected it to populations to the north, whose appetite for goods and remunerative employment was the boon and bane of Pannonia in particular.
This article examines Roman approaches to the barbarians in terms of history writing, diplomacy, science, and law. It then describes how Christianity after Constantine influenced all of these approaches, changing the Roman understanding of their relation to barbarians. Next, it considers how historians from the eighteenth century to the present have explained the Roman-barbarian relationship in Late Antiquity. Their interpretations of barbarians were primarily influenced by the pressing issues of their own time, including Gibbons' Enlightenment concern with the social progress of humankind, the pressures of developing nationalism in nineteenth century Germany, and reactions to both of these approaches in the twentieth century, especially after the Nazi era.
This article discusses actors and gladiators, who were among the most despised and most revered people in Roman society. It looks at how the masses and the Roman elite viewed these marginalized groups of entertainers, and identifies the reasons why the games were considered indispensable despite the risks that they posed to Roman society. It also examines the various venues for performance, from the ludi, or public entertainments, to the agones, or Greek-style contests. The article ends with a discussion of the social statuses and situations of the entertainers.
Britannia’s northern frontier varied considerably over the Roman period, stabilizing only in the early third century. This variation leads to a fascinating archaeological record of the changing Roman military presence and its relation to the local population. This chapter examines the local Iron Age societies, considers military aspects of the invasion, and presents a wider view of life on the frontier. It then turns to the relationship between the indigenous population and Rome over four centuries. Historical sources for conflict indicate an uneasy relationship, but archaeological evidence uncovers other aspects: Roman material culture found varied uses in Iron Age societies, while the long and often difficult relationship had a series of unexpected consequences on both sides.
Simon Esmonde Cleary
Later Roman Britain is viewed in a wide context to identify which developments are expressions of wider trends and which are more insular. Four major factors are considered. First, the withdrawal of the imperial presence from northern Gaul and Germany, in particular as it affected the society and economy of these regions, which had become increasingly militarized. Second, the disintegration of the economic formations of the wider West following the removal of the imperial system, especially the economic nexus promoted by the fiscal requirements of the state. Third, the continuing vitality of ‘traditional’ urbanism derived from imperial and senatorial models, expressive of a common aristocratic culture and very visible in southern Britain. Fourth, the changes to settlement and funerary archaeology in the fifth century as expressions of social and economic restructuring. Britain is considered in relation to all these developments, to try to combat over-insular perspectives.
Much of Britain saw significant changes in the later part of the first millennium bc, particularly in the south-east. Widespread but regionally varied changes in settlement organization resulted in the emergence of new types of sites, some of which have been termed oppida. Changes included the reappearance of gold, the adoption of wheel-turned pottery, new styles of clothes fastening, and cremation burial from Late La Tène Gaul. The burial tradition included a small number of richly furnished burials. Imports of Roman origin were transmitted through Gaulish intermediaries. After Caesar’s expeditions to Britain, the influence of Rome was much more marked and imports increased. Contacts between Britain and Rome may have included formal recognition of some rulers as client kings. Evidence suggests a limited knowledge of literacy and Latin, but the cultural significance of many Roman objects is often unclear.
Britain’s place in the Roman Empire cannot be seen in isolation. The province’s close links to Gaul and Germany stemmed from earlier interaction in the late Iron Age, and these connections have been seen as highly significant in explaining the changes in burial, dress, and settlement that took place in Britain from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. Exploring evidence from changes in diet, architecture, and burial rites, this chapter will assess the nature and extent of cultural interactions between these provinces. In particular, it will examine whether these links can be used to argue for a ‘Gallicization’ of Britain, rather than a ‘Romanization’. It will question whether such terms are helpful in reconceptualizing the processes of cultural change before and after the Roman Conquest or whether they present their own set of problems for understanding cultural interactions and social change.
This chapter explores the migration patterns of those who were born in the Roman province of Britain and moved to the continental Europe in the late first–third centuries AD using epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Attention is given to the ways ethnic identity might have been projected by the mobile Britons, and the chapter shows how their identities were re-created and reused within the host societies. It shows that the epigraphic evidence consists of a considerable degree of variation in naming origin and that various choices were being made to express descent, although, in general, mobile British individuals still felt themselves to be connected with the province of their birth. Furthermore, the chapter deals with the occurrence of British-made brooches on the Continent and analyses how the contexts in which British brooches appeared reflect the diversity of their meanings and associations which emanated through their usage, considering that brooches are not evidence of the ethnicity of their users and wearers. It argues that the past was an important matter when brooches were put in specific contexts abroad. The desire to forget, reinvent, evoke, or project the past attests to the importance and value of memory in communities who travelled from Roman Britain to the Continent.
The study of rural settlement in Roman Britain is undergoing a period of re-evaluation and change. In the past, work has focused on the individual study sites, especially villas. Now there is an increasing interest in the exploitation of whole landscapes, with an emphasis on the people who lived in them and the ways that they exploited the resources available to them. These trends are reviewed, and a case study is presented based on the author’s fieldwork in East Yorkshire. Given that the bulk of the population of Roman Britain lived in the countryside, emphasis is placed on understanding the active role of these people in creating the culture of Roman Britain.