Monographs and edited volumes


L'ultimo romano. Il generale Bonifacio e la crisi dell'impero d'Occidente

Jeroen Wijnendae, transl. G. Traina

Rimini, 21 Editore, 2015

Nel quinto secolo, l'Impero Romano d'Occidente è sprofondato nel caos, e sta lentamente disgregandosi sotto i colpi delle numerose popolazioni di stirpe barbarica che lo assediano. In questo scenario la figura del "comes Africae" Bonifacio assume un ruolo chiave. Ambizioso e carismatico comandante militare sposerà una principessa Visigota e otterrà così un seguito di guerrieri con i quali formerà una temibile guardia privata. Richiamato in Italia dopo l'invasione dell'Africa da parte dei Vandali, per opporsi al generale Ezio, morirà in uno scontro con quest'ultimo presso Rimini. Lo storico Procopio ricorda Bonifacio (e il suo grande rivale Aezio) con queste parole: «Giunsero a un grado di magnanimità ed eccellenza che se uno li definisse gli ultimi romani non si sbaglierebbe, tanto era vero che tutte le ottime qualità dei romani erano incarnate in questi uomini».

The Ancient City

Arjan Zuiderhoek

Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016

Greece and Rome were quintessentially urban societies. Ancient culture, politics and society arose and developed in the context of the polis and the civitas. In modern scholarship, the ancient city has been the subject of intense debates due to the strong association in Western thought between urbanism, capitalism and modernity. In this book, Arjan Zuiderhoek provides a survey of the main issues at stake in these debates, as well as a sketch of the chief characteristics of Greek and Roman cities. He argues that the ancient Greco-Roman city was indeed a highly specific form of urbanism, but that this does not imply that the ancient city was somehow 'superior' or 'inferior' to forms of urbanism in other societies, just (interestingly) different. The book is aimed primarily at students of ancient history and general readers, but also at scholars working on urbanism in other periods and places

Work, Labour, and Professions in the Roman World

Edited by Koenraad Verboven and Christian Laes

Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2016 (Impact of Empire 23)

The economic success of the Roman Empire was unparalleled in the West until the early modern period. While favourable natural conditions, capital accumulation, technology and political stability all contributed to this, economic performance ultimately depended on the ability to mobilize, train and co-ordinate human work efforts. In Work, Labour, and Professions in the Roman World, the authors discuss new insights, ideas and interpretations on the role of labour and human resources in the Roman economy. They study the various ways in which work was mobilised and organised and how these processes were regulated. Work as a production factor, however, is not the exclusive focus of this volume. Throughout the chapters, the contributors also provide an analysis of work as a social and cultural phenomenon in Ancient Rome.

Imperial Identities in the Roman World

London, Routledge, 2016

Edited by Wouter Vanacker and Arjan Zuiderhoek

In recent years, the debate on Romanisation has often been framed in terms of identity, that is, how the expansion of empire impacted on the constructed or self-ascribed sense of belonging of its inhabitants. Research has often focused on the interaction between local identities and Roman ideology and practices, leading to the notion of a multicultural empire but this volume challenges this perspective by drawing attention to the processes of identity formation that contributed to an imperial identity, a sense of belonging to the political, social, cultural and religious structures of the empire. Instead of concentrating on politics and imperial administration, the volume studies the manifold ways in which people were ritually engaged in producing, consuming, organising, believing and worshipping that fitted the (changing) realities of empire, focusing on how individuals and groups tried to do things 'the right way', the Greco-Roman imperial way. Given the deep cultural entrenchment of ritualistic practices, an imperial identity firmly grounded in such practices might well have been instrumental not just to the long-lasting stability of the Roman imperial order but also to the persistency of its ideals well into Christian late antiquity and post-Roman times.

Food, Identity ad Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Ancient World

Edited by Wim Broekaert, Robin Nadeau, John Wilkins

Brussels, Latomus, 2016 (Collection Latomus 354)

Greco-Roman diet and cuisine has recently received considerable attention, resulting in a wide array of studies on food production and consumption, cooking techniques, purchasing power and idealised diets. The current volume brings together a collection of papers investigating the nexus between food and identity in cross-cultural settings from Classical Greece until the rise of Christianity. Whenever different cultures engage in a process of exchange, food and cuisine are among the first aspects of identity to meet, clash and enrich each other. The authors analyse the various channels of mutual influence between different cultures and the deliberate choices made by producers and consumers. Because choice always carries information on people’s standing in society, their willingness (or refusal) to adapt and their view on the ‘other’, this volume contributes to the study of cultural interaction and integration in Antiquity through the lens of one of the most accessible items of exchange, viz. food.

Education and Religion in Late Antique Christianity

Edited by Peter Gemeinhardt, Lieve Van Hoof, Peter Van Nuffelen

London, Routledge, 2016

This book studies the complex attitude of late ancient Christians towards classical education. In recent years, the different theoretical positions that can be found among the Church Fathers have received particular attention: their statements ranged from enthusiastic assimilation to outright rejection, the latter sometimes masking implicit adoption. Shifting attention away from such explicit statements, this volume focuses on a series of lesser-known texts in order to study the impact of specific literary and social contexts on late ancient educational views and practices. By moving attention from statements to strategies this volume wishes to enrich our understanding of the creative engagement with classical ideals of education. The multi-faceted approach adopted here illuminates the close connection between specific educational purposes on the one hand, and the possibilities and limitations offered by specific genres and contexts on the other. Instead of seeing attitudes towards education in late antique texts as applications of theoretical positions, it reads them as complex negotiations between authorial intent, the limitations of genre, and the context of performance.



Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World

Edited by Paul Erdkamp, Koenraad Verboven, and Arjan Zuiderhoek

Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015 (Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy)

Explanation of the success and failure of the Roman economy is one of the most important problems in economic history. As an economic system capable of sustaining high production and consumption levels, it was unparalleled until the early modern period.

This volume focuses on how the institutional structure of the Roman Empire affected economic performance both positively and negatively. An international range of contributors offers a variety of approaches that together enhance our understanding of how different ownership rights and various modes of organization and exploitation facilitated or prevented the use of land and natural resources in the production process. Relying on a large array of resources - literary, legal, epigraphic, papyrological, numismatic, and archaeological - chapters address key questions regarding the foundations of the Roman Empire's economic system. Questions of growth, concentration and legal status of property (private, public, or imperial), the role of the state, content and limitations of rights of ownership, water rights and management, exploitation of indigenous populations, and many more receive new and original analyses that make this book a significant step forward to understanding what made the economic achievements of the Roman empire possible.

Structure and Performance in the Roman Economy. Models, Methods and Case Studies

Edited by Koenraad Verboven and Paul Erdkamp

Brussels, Latomus, 2015 (Collection Latomus 350)

History is a reality that can be observed only through the traces it has left. Some are words and images (on parchment, papyrus, stone or any other bearer) conveying us the emotions and reflections of people in the past. Others are the scars and leftovers of human lives and actions, scattered in the landscape, buried or sunk under water. Historians and archaeologists are experts in restoring the damage done to a body of evidence by time or human manipulation. We are trained empiricists, wont to look down and think bottom-up. Economic history, however, requires us to do more: we need to look up. Economics is about explaining patterns in human interaction by detecting its causes and effects. However good our restored data are, the patterns they reveal will always be too fragmented and have too many loose ends to unveil reality. Economic history is always an act of imagination. The challenge is to ensure that it does not become an insubstantial pageant. Theories, models and comparative history help us to do that. They are explanatory frames and tools, showing the consequences of our assumptions and suggesting solutions to fill in the gaps. They do not diminish the need for empirical research methods. The output of any model depends on the reliability of its input data. This book discusses theories and models we believe are useful in economic history, but it also invites the reader to look at methods (both new and traditional) to ensure that input data are reliable, and offers case studies showing what can be done.

Children and Family in Late Antiquity Life, Death and Interaction

Edited by Laes C., Mustakallio K., Vuolanto V.

Leuven, Peeters, 2015 (Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion, 15)

This volume continues the series of five previous Roman Family publications, and puts special focus on social history and living conditions in the familial contexts. It concentrates on three interlinked aspects of family life and interaction: liminal situations regarding demography and ecological factors that lay down the framework for family life, liminal conditions on the edges of familial life regarding child labour, child slaves and sexual attitudes towards children, and local traditions which confront us with people and cultures at the borders of the Roman Empire.
By focusing on three recurring points of departure (Late Antiquity, children and childhood, and the encounter between various cultures), and by presenting a wide variety of methodological approaches (from rhetorical analysis of discourses to statistical analysis, and from experiential life stories to iconographic analysis), the present volume offers a view on the status quaestionis of Roman family studies, and widens the thematic points of departure for the study of the Roman family, thus hopefully pointing to fruitful directions for further studies.

L’historiographie tardo-antique et la transmission des savoirs

Edited by Peter Van Nuffelen and Philippe Blaudeau

Berlin, de Gruyter, 2015 (Millennium-Studien / Millennium Studies 55)

Late Antiquity witnessed enormous cultural changes, affecting all areas of intellectual life. Historiography is one of the most characteristic genres of this period and perhaps one of the most innovative ones. This volume seeks to understand how historiography both responded to the cultural changes and shaped these at the same time. Indeed, a historiographical work aims at providing its readers with experiences from the past and at interpreting these in a meaningful way and often seeks to integrate this type of knowledge into a wider body of knowledge. This theme is explored from six angles in the present volume: 1) the relationship between historiography and rhetoric; 2) the transmission of classical rhetorical culture to areas beyond the Roman Empire 3) the circulation of information, traditions and documents in the whole area of the Roman Empire and frontier areas; 4) the role played by intellectual groups (clerical and lay) in this process 5) the social, cultural, and religious variety of audiences; 6) the impact of difference in genre on the engagement with forms of knowledge.

Literature and Society in the Fourth Century AD. Performing Paideia, Constructing the Present, Presenting the Self

Edited by Lieve Van Hoof and Peter Van Nuffelen

Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2015 (Mnemosyne Supplements 373)

Late Antiquity is often assumed to have witnessed the demise of literature as a social force and its retreat into the school and the private reading room: whereas the sophists of the Second Sophistic were influential social players, their late antique counterparts are thought to have been overshadowed by bishops. Literature and Society in the Fourth Century AD argues that this presumed difference should be attributed less to a fundamental change in the role of literature than to different scholarly methodologies with which Greek and Latin texts from the second and the fourth century are being studied. Focusing on performance, the literary construction of reality and self-presentation, this volume highlights how literature continued to play an important role in fourth-century elite society.


Libanius. A Critical Introduction

Lieve Van Hoof

Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014

A professor of Greek rhetoric, frequent letter writer and influential social figure, Libanius (AD 314–393) is a key author for anybody interested in Late Antiquity, ancient rhetoric, ancient epistolography and ancient biography. Nevertheless, he remains understudied because it is such a daunting task to access his large and only partially translated oeuvre. This volume, which is the first comprehensive study of Libanius, offers a critical introduction to the man, his texts, their context and reception. Clear presentations of the orations, progymnasmata, declamations and letters unlock the corpus, and a survey of all available translations is provided. At the same time, the volume explores new interpretative approaches of the texts from a variety of angles. Written by a team of established as well as upcoming experts in the field, it substantially reassesses works such as the Autobiography, the Julianic speeches and letters, and Oration 30 For the Temples.

La “descrizione dei tempi” all’alba dell’espansione islamica Un’indagine sulla storiografia greca, siriaca e araba fra VII e VIII secolo

Maria Conterno

Berlin, de Gruyter, 2014 (Millennium-Studien / Millennium Studies 47)

During the VII-VIII centuries Byzantine historiography is supposed to have remained silent, since no source dating to that period has come down to us. West Syriac historiography is believed to have been quite scanty as well because, according to Lawrence Conrad's theory, the only source that later Syriac chroniclers had for this period was Theophilos of Edessa, whose chronicle is commonly thought to be Theophanes' "oriental source" as well.
A thourough study of the materials shared by Theophanes (IX cent.), Michael the Syrian (XII cent.), the anonymous chronicler of 1234 (XII-XIII cent.) and Agapius of Mabbug (X cent.) has led the author of this book to reconsider the theory of the "circuit of Theophilos of Edessa" and to look with new eyes at the whole question of the writing of history in Greek, Syriac and Arabic during the first two centuries after the Islamic conquests.
The present work delves into this conspicuous case of "intercultural transmission" with the aim of finding some tentative answers to the unspoken questions due to our scarce knowledge of historiography in such a crucial period: who kept memory of what, why, for whom? in which forms were records produced, preserved and transmitted? how did religious issues influence this practice and how did these materials cross denominational borders?

Religion and Competition in Antiquity

Edited by David Engels and Peter Van Nuffelen

Brussels, Latomus, 2014

The notion of competition has become crucial to our understanding of Greek and Roman religion and is often invoked to explain religious changes and to describe the relationship between various cults. This volume seeks to raise our awareness of what the notion implies and to test its use for the analysis of ancient religions. The papers range from Classical Greece, Hellenistic Babylon, Rome and the Etruscans, to Late Antiquity and the rise of Islam. They seek to determine how much can be gained in each individual case by understanding religious interaction in terms of rivalry and competition. In doing so, the volume hopes to open a more explicit debate on the analytical tools with which ancient religion is currently being studied.

The Last of the Romans. Bonifatius - Warlord and comes Africae

Jeroen Wijnendaele

London e.a., Bloomsbury Academic, 2014

Despite his critical role in the western Roman Empire during the early fifth century AD, Bonifatius remains a neglected figure in the history of the late Empire.

The Last of the Romans presents a new political and military biography of Bonifatius, analysing his rise through the higher echelons of imperial power and examining themes such as the role of the buccellarii as contemporary semi-private armies. The volume offers a reassessment of the usurpation of Ioannes and Bonifatius' indispensable role in the restoration of the Theodosian dynasty in the West. The Vandal invasion of North Africa is re-examined together with Bonifatius's putative role as the traitor who invited them in.

The relationship between Bonifatius and Augustine of Hippo is assessed, bringing new light to the important, yet largely unstudied, influence of Christianity in Bonifatius's life. A further discussion revisits the rivalry between Boniface and Aetius. Although Procopius termed Bonifatius and Aetius the last of the Romans, this volume argues that they were the first of Rome's late imperial warlords. The volume closes with a reconstruction of the Odyssey of Sebastian, Bonifatius' son-in-law.

Penser la tolérance dans l'Antiquité tardive

Peter Van Nuffelen

Paris, Editions du Cerf, 2014 (Conférences de l'École pratique des hautes études)


Navicularii et negotiantes. A prosopographical study of Roman merchants and shippers

Wim Broekaert

Rahden/Westf., Verlag Marie Leidorf, 2013 (Paros. Studien zur griechisch-römischen Antike)

The volume provides a prosopography of Roman businessmen involved in business in the western part of the Mediterranean and present in epigraphy, mainly in the shape of tituli picti, amphorae stoppers, and anchors, but also in monumental epigraphy. This limits the chronological range of this analysis to the final two centuries of the Roman Republic and the first three of the Imperial Age. The book is not designed to be read from front to cover, but as a starting point or point of reference for anyone working on the nature of Roman business. It provides data on commercial partnerships, professional specialisation, family firms, the structure of agency as well as the close relationship between production and distribution. It also reveals facts of anecdotic value such as the extreme misfortune of a shipper whose name is found inscribed on the anchors of three different wrecks. The volume is organised by the various types of merchants, such as negotiatores, negotiantes, mercatores, nautae, utriclarii, navicularii, naucleri, propolae, poletai, emporoi, kapeloi, vinarii, frumentarii and [diffusores] olearii. This is followed by chapters on the three main types of small epigraphic sources and an index of names.


Disabilities in Roman Antiquity. Disparate Bodies A Capite ad Calcem

Edited by Christian Laes, C.F. Goodey, M. Lynn Rose

Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2013 (Mnemosyne, Supplements 356)

This is the first volume ever to systematically study the subject of disabilities in the Roman world. The contributors examine the topic a capite ad calcem, from head to toe. Chapters deal with mental and intellectual disability, alcoholism, visual impairment, speech disorders, hermaphroditism, monstrous births, mobility problems, osteology and visual representations of disparate bodies. The authors fully engage with literary, papyrological, and epigraphical sources, while iconography and osteo-archaeology are taken into account. Also the late ancient evidence is taken into account. Refraining from a radical constructionist standpoint, the contributors acknowledge the possibility of discovering significant differences in the way impairment was culturally viewed or assessed.

Romeinen en Barbaren. De ondergang van het Romeinse Rijk in het Westen

J. Wijnendaele

Leuven, Davidsfonds, 2013

In het jaar 400 strekte het Romeinse Rijk zich nog uit vande Ierse zee tot de Arabische woestijn, en van de straat vanGibraltar tot aan de Kaukasus. Amper een eeuw later was ditrijk in het Westen volledig van de kaart verdwenen en vervangendoor een dozijn barbaarse vorstendommen.Hoe kon zo'n bolwerk van macht en beschaving zo snel tenonder gaan? Het is een vraag die historici al eeuwen voor eenraadsel stelt omdat er nauwelijks bronnenmateriaal is. Tochslaagt Jeroen Wijnendaele erin om een beeld te schetsen vande turbulente vierde en vijfde eeuw. Van de dood van Valentinianusi (375) en het uiteengaan van het West-Romeinse enOost-Romeinse Rijk tot de verovering van Italië door de Ostrogoten(493). De lezer wordt meegenomen op een rondreisdoor het rijk in het voetspoor van spraakmakende figurenzoals Attila, St. Augustinus en Clovis


Orosius and the rhetoric of history

Peter Van Nuffelen

Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012 (Oxford Early Christian Studies)

The Histories Against the Pagans of Orosius, written in 416/7, has been one of the most influential works in the history of Western historiography. Often read as a theology of history, it has been rarely been set against the background of ancient historiography and rhetorical practice in the time of Orosius. Arguing for the closeness of rhetoric and historiography in Antiquity, this book shows how Orosius situates himself consciously in the classical tradition and draws on a variety of rhetorical tools to shape his narrative: a subtle web of interextual allusions, a critical engagement with traditional exempla, a creative rewriting of the sources, and a skilled deployment of the rhetoric of pathos. In this way, Orosius aims at opening the eyes of his adversaries; instead of remaining blinded by the traditional, glorious view of the past, he wishes his readers to see the past and the present in their true colours. The book paints a more complex picture of theHistories, and argues against the tendency to see Orosius as a naïve apologist of the Roman empire. In fact, he can be shown to put the Church at the heart of view of Roman history. Setting Orosius in the context of contemporary historiography and literature, it sheds new light on the intellectual life in the early fifth century AD.

Oud maar niet Out

Uitgegeven door Lieve Van Hoof en Peter Van Nuffelen

Lueven, Peeters, 2012

De financiele crisis, klimaatverandering, pedofilie - onze maatschappij ziet zich vandaag geconfronteerd met heel wat ingewikkelde problemen. Het debat over deze uitdagingen blijft echter veelal hangen in de jachtige en al te vaak oppervlakkige mode van de dag. Deze bundel kiest daarentegen resoluut voor een lange-termijnvisie, en gaat te rade bij de oude Grieken en Romeinen. De tijd waarin de klassieke Oudheid geidealiseerd werd is lang voorbij, maar terugkijken naar de verdiensten en gebreken uit het verleden dwingt ons om onze eigen opvattingen kritisch te herzien. Deze bundel biedt geen pasklare oplossingen voor het democratisch tekort, de multiculturele maatschappij of de betaalbaarheid van de gezondheidszorg, maar daagt ons wel uit om uit in confrontatie met het antieke ideeengoed onze eigen horizonten te verleggen.

Bijdragen van Luc Devoldere, Koenraad Verboven, Richard Seaford, Lieve Van Hoof, Toon Van Houdt, Christian Laes, Peter Van Nuffelen, Ludo Abicht, Luc Van der Stockt en Bart De Wever. Met een voorwoord van Herman Van Rompuy.