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CALL. 04.05.2020: Lost in connection. Connectivity in time of transformations - Napoli (Italy)




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Naples (Napoli, Italy)




The Conference aims at exploring cultural, social, religious, politic, and economic processes that affected ancient societies during phases of transformation and their wider impact on the societies.

Connectivity in the ancient world has been a vibrant field of study over the past years, leading to different research directions and interests. The principles of world systems theories were very attractive to archaeologists and historians working on pre-modern periods. Several times, connectivity has been looked at mostly from the perspective of imperial centres and final destinations rather than regions that — for various reasons and in different ways —were involved in inter-imperial contacts and exchange.

Many scholars looked at specific aspects of interaction through particular types of evidence — texts, coins, epigraphy, and archaeological artefacts — in order to understand better the nature of the connections that stimulated exchanges and interactions among different populations. Our aim is to analyse the impact of breaking points on these connections in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Roman and Late Antique periods.

For example, although many administrative and legal reforms changed from the 3th century onwards, there was always an ideal continuity with the Roman past and its institutions. One of the main consequences of the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine was the widespread adoption of Roman government practices and status standardisation of the provinces, so that even in multicultural contexts the influence of Graeco-Roman culture became more and more evident. At the same time, the regions of the Empire developed a certain degree of autonomy, and in the provincial cities new social and ethnic players (like Christian bishops) started to be involved in the local political life, taking up the Graeco-Roman inheritance of civic engagement.

By taking an expansive view of human activity, we hope to better understand the role of these transformations on previous networks and the development of new connections and exchanges. A high degree of multidisciplinary communication is necessary to understand such a complex phenomenon. The central challenge, however, is in finding appropriate parameters for integrating data from the various scales, regions, and scholarly approaches outlined above. By bringing together focused case studies from very different regions, we hope to foster discussion about how to link this data to broader questions about global exchange and its political and social consequences.

Abstracts of max. 300 words for a 25-minute presentation should be sent to by Monday 4 May 2020.

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