The political fragmentation of the Roman Empire also meant a reduction in the scope of economic, social and cultural relationships that had developed across different hierarchical levels and between distant places on Roman soil. New social and cultural relationships developed in the polities that followed the Roman Empire. Nonetheless, the survival of regional and interregional interactions assured certain homogeneity in political, cultural and social forms across post-Roman Europe. This phenomenon has been the topic of exciting academic debate in the last decade and different interpretations and methodological approaches have been proposed.
In this workshop, we intend to focus discussion especially on the issue of interactions beyond the local level between 300 and 800 CE in order to assess 1) to what extent these interactions were affected by the end of the Roman Empire as a political entity, and 2) how these connections contributed to lasting patterns that shaped the post-Roman world in social, cultural and political terms. We are interested in both Mediterranean-wide and smaller regional networks and would welcome papers that deal with all the regions of the (former) Roman Empire (including North Africa, Egypt, Syria, etc.) and its periphery (Ireland, Armenia, etc.).
The theme of this workshop has grown out of research undertaken through the ENFLAWE project (‘Episcopal Networks and Fragmentation in Late Antique Western Europe’). Funded by the EU-Marie Curie Actions and hosted at the Division for Byzantine Research (Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences-OEAW) this project analyses episcopal interactions in the late fourth and fifth century from a social network approach.
We would like to invite proposals from colleagues for papers on any of the following topics.
Functioning and structure of regional and trans-regional networks (aristocratic, ecclesiastical,
diplomatic, familiar, etc.):
Tensions between individual agency and structural constraint: how did new social
relationships and regional networks affect individuals’ social and political strategies?
Interactions and social capital: how were extra-local networks used for constructing
authority and prestige at the local level and beyond?
- Tensions between individual agency and structural constraint: how did new social
Symbolic interactions (secular or episcopal letters, relic distribution, gift exchange, etc.):
Interactions and identity: how effective were these extra-local relationships for
constructing and displaying cohesion and belonging?
Cultural mobility: critical evaluation of Greenblatt’s model of mimetic capital and
Christopher Gregory’s work on gift and commodity exchange
- Interactions and identity: how effective were these extra-local relationships for constructing and displaying cohesion and belonging?
Changing horizons in the late- and post-Roman World:
Tensions between centre and periphery: did the end of the Roman Empire change the
relationship between centre(s) and periphery/ies?
How did contemporaries conceptualise geographical distance and explain the process of
- Tensions between centre and periphery: did the end of the Roman Empire change the