The Romans were not the first road builders in history, but they were the first to attempt to cover the whole empire up its frontiers with a systematic and dense network of carefully engineered and well-maintained roads. As the Byzantine Empire is the Roman Empire of the east, Byzantine roads are in effect the Roman roads of the eastern provinces, which the Byzantines in the course of their history little by little adapted to changing circumstances, needs, and means. This article focuses on the central regions of the Byzantine Empire, the Balkan peninsula, and Asia Minor. The article discusses the main routes of the Byzantine Empire; the purposes of road-building, their users, the means of travel; road administration, Byzantine road-building and repairing activities; different levels of roads and their Byzantine designations; the archaeological aspect of roads, bridges, and staging posts.
In addition to Greek, the Byzantines spoke many other languages. In Late Antiquity, Latin and Greek, the two "world languages", were not only the primary cultural languages, but also the sole official languages, of the Roman Empire. By the end of the sixth century, however, Greek-Latin bilingualism in the east, including Constantinople, had waned. This article looks at the range of languages used in the period of the Byzantine Empire's greatest extent, immediately after Justinian's wars of reconquest, from Late Antiquity and the early Byzantine Empire, to the middle and late Byzantine periods (mid-seventh century to 1453). It also discusses the evolving linguistic situation as the empire contracted, focusing on Greek diglossia and the problems and opportunities arising from the coexistence of different "varieties" of Greek as a spoken and written medium.
Even when people have the objects created and handled by the Greeks, the insights into Greek life they provide us with are not transparent or unmediated. No more so are the ancient texts to which people might turn for commentary. The question of ‘originality’ arises when people are dealing with texts, especially when our possession of these relies on their transmission through a long chain of copyists. This article describes the copyists' work: manuscript studies. Manuscript studies includes palaeography, the study of scripts, and codicology, the study of the material properties of a manuscript, such as writing material and ink, manuscript format, and page layout. In defining the object of study as medieval books written on parchment and paper, manuscript studies is distinct from papyrology, which is concerned with books and documents written on papyrus. The key questions in manuscript studies are when a particular manuscript was written, and where.
This article examines the patron-client relationship of Zimri-Lim, appointed king of Mari by the god Dagan, and the diviner Asqudum. It explains Zimri-Lim entrusted Asqudum with important administrative, diplomatic, and military responsibilities. In addition, Asqudum was also charged with negotiating Zimri-Lim's marriage to the princess Šibtu and then with accompanying her from Aleppo to the home of her new spouse. This article also describes Asqudum's divinatory, administrative, and commercial activities.