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Politics beyond the Emperor: structures, strategies and evolution of the powers behind the throne fr

Starting from the age of Augustus, and for almost 1500 years, several emperors became the head of the Roman State (including Byzantium, which was the political and juridical continuation of the Roman Empire). The new political system based on autocracy, however, did not end the exercise of politics within the State. On the contrary, many actors and interest groups continued to try to influence the decisions of the monarch – and they often succeeded. This was not usually done through conspiracy and open revolt, as it is sometimes assumed, but rather happened within the frame of the normal functioning of the State. Roman and Byzantine history records a wealth of individuals who saw their position rise enormously, only to fall suddenly in the shadows – or worse – shortly afterwards. In these power games, the actors were not moved exclusively by self-interest: rather, they had a complex network of contacts, alliances and patronage on which to build their career – and to which they were somehow accountable. Violent action against the ruler were consequently only the acute phase of an ongoing political debate, even though such debate is not always easy to trace in the sources.This last aspect has recently come to the attention of the scholars, and there is a new interest for the possibilities of excercising political activity by an “aristocracy” which never ceased to play a key role in the precarious balance of power which characterised the Roman State.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 14-15/04/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO:Università di Bologna (Bologna, Italy)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: The Association Rodopis – Experience Ancient History ; The Department of Cultural Heritage ; The Department of History, Civilization and Culture of the Alma mater studiorum (University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)

INFO: web -



April 14th, Sala Rossa, Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, Via Marsala 26, Bologna

2:30p.m. Introduction and acknowledgments:

Alessandro Roncaglia(Università di Bologna).

3:00 p.m. First session:

Chair:Prof. Giovanni Brizzi, (Università di Bologna).

Simone Ciambelli (Università di Bologna): Il patronato interessato dei senatori presso le associazioni professionali di Ostia

Elena Gritti (Università degli studi di Bergamo): T. Flauius Claudius Sulpicianus (PIR2 F 373): capax imperii, a. 193 d.C.

Luca Bortolussi (Università di Bologna): Vescovi Cristiani e Corti Imperiali: Paolo di Samosata fra Zenobia e Aureliano

4:30 p.m. Pause, 30 minutes.

5:00 p.m. Second session:

Chair: Prof. Valerio Lieto Salvatore Neri (Università di Bologna).

Kamil Cyprian Choda (University of Tübingen): A Religious Takeover. How the Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus Misrepresents the Influence Exercised upon the Emperors of Late Antiquity

Beatrice Girotti (Università di Bologna): On the figure of the suffragator and the vitiorum omnium seminarium: the Court in Ammianus Marcellinus and Historia Augusta.

Giulia Marolla (Università degli studi di Bari): Dagli altari alla polvere: Stilicone da parens Augusti a semibarbarus proditor

6.30 p.m. Conclusion of the first day

8.30 p.m. Dinner (for speakers and discussants)

April 15th, Aula Gambi, Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, piazza San Giovanni in Monte 2, Bologna

10:00 a.m. - Introduction and acknowledgments:

Federico Alpi (Università di Pisa).

10.30 a.m. Third session

Chair: Prof. Salvatore Cosentino (Università di Bologna).

Julia Tullius (University of Tübingen): An intrigue by Bishop Porphyry of Gaza against Arcadius

Jeroen Wijnendaele (University of Ghent): A Game of Imperial Thrones: Stilicho and the succession of Arcadius (408 CE)

Vangelis Maladakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki): Homines Domini Imperatoris. Exercising Political Activity in the Justinianic Dynasty and Depicting it on the Coinage

12.00 a.m. Lunch break

2.00 p.m. Fourth session

Chair: Prof. Giorgio Vespignani(Università di Bologna).

Lucile Hermay (University Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense): Monks at the Byzantine Court, Power, Influence and Social Networks (IX-XIth century)

Marco Fasolio (Università degli studi del Piemonte Orientale):Dentro il sistema e contro l’Impero: l’ascesa politica di Teodoro Gabras e la costruzione dell’autonomia pontica dopo la battaglia di Manzicerta

Paolo Angelini (University of Leuven): The Slavs and the Byzantine imperial ideology: the struggle for the power

3.30 p.m.Coffee break

4.00p.m. Round table

Opening remarks: Alessandro Roncaglia (Università di Bologna), Federico Alpi (Università di Pisa)

Discussants: Prof. Giovanni Brizzi, Prof. Salvatore Cosentino, Prof. Alessandro Cristofori, Prof. Valerio Lieto Salvatore Neri, Prof. Giorgio Vespignani.

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