TitleEmpire and Geography: The Borders of Byzantium
Date/TimeTuesday 3 July 2018: 11.15-12.45
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairShaun Tougher, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Paper 603-a The Gothic War and the Battle for Italy's Past
(Language: English)
Marco Cristini, Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
Index Terms: Byzantine Studies; Historiography - Medieval; Learning (The Classical Inheritance); Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 603-b The Landscape of an Imperial Frontier and Its Hinterland at the End of Antiquity
(Language: English)
Amy Wood, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney
Index Terms: Archaeology - Sites; Byzantine Studies; Geography and Settlement Studies; Local History
AbstractPaper -a:
The Gothic War was aimed, according to Procopius, at freeing Rome from Gothic tyranny, but the Goths considered themselves the legitimate defenders of Italy's freedom. This conflict was fought also with words, because both fronts used the past in order to justify their actions. Was Theoderic a barbarian tyrant or the Western emperors' rightful heir? Was Italy still part of the Empire when he conquered it? Was Gothic rule oppressive or just? 6th-century authors answered these questions differently, reconstructing Italy's past according to their loyalties. This 'war of words' allows a better understanding of memory's importance during Late Antiquity.

Paper -b:
The fruits of the Macquarie Gale Graeco-Roman Travelling Scholarship 2017, this paper will be a presentation of data and reflections on important Late Antique Roman and Early Byzantine frontier and hinterland sites in the Balkans. It will present a detailed and holistic understanding of the Late Antique geographical and human landscape in South-Eastern Europe with a view to making some preliminary conclusions as to why the region, which was seriously declining at the end of Antiquity, was eventually abandoned by the Emperor Heraclius in the 620s despite considerable economic and political investment in the area in the previous century, a question which has yet to be satisfactorily answered.