City Walls in Late Antiquity: An empire-wide perspective [Hardback]

Emanuele Intagliata(Editor); Simon J. Barker(Editor); Christopher Courault(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789253641 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 200p, H11 x W8.5, b/w and color
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City Walls in Late Antiquity


The construction of urban defences was one of the hallmarks of the late Roman and late-antique periods (300–600 AD) throughout the western and eastern empire. City walls were the most significant construction projects of their time and they redefined the urban landscape. Their appearance and monumental scale, as well as the cost of labour and material, are easily comparable to projects from the High Empire; however, urban circuits provided late-antique towns with a new means of self-representation. While their final appearance and construction techniques varied greatly, the cost involved and the dramatic impact that such projects had on the urban topography of late-antique cities mark city walls as one of the most important urban initiatives of the period.

To-date, research on city walls in the two halves of the empire has highlighted chronological and regional variations, enabling scholars to rethink how and why urban circuits were built and functioned in Late Antiquity. Although these developments have made a significant contribution to the understanding of late-antique city walls, studies are often concerned with one single monument/small group of monuments or a particular region, and the issues raised do not usually lead to a broader perspective, creating an artificial divide between east and west. It is this broader understanding that this book seeks to provide.

The volume and its contributions arise from a conference held at the British School at Rome and the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome on June 20-21, 2018. It includes articles from world-leading experts in late-antique history and archaeology and is based around important themes that emerged at the conference, such as construction, spolia-use, late-antique architecture, culture and urbanism, empire-wide changes in Late Antiquity, and the perception of this practice by local inhabitants.

Table of Contents

Contents list

Preface – Emanuele E. Intagliata, Christopher Courault and Simon J. Barker

Part 1. New Approaches to the Study of Late-Antique Walls

Ch. 1 – Emanuele E. Intagliata, Christopher Courault and Simon J. Barker

Approaching late-antique city walls through an Empire-wide perspective

Ch. 2 – Carmen Fernández-Ochoa, Angel Morillo

Late Roman city walls in Hispania. A reappraisal

Ch. 3 – Adriaan De Man

The City Walls of Lusitania revisited: a current perspective

Ch. 4 – Christopher Courault

The evolution of Cordoba’s city walls in Late Antiquity. New research perspectives.

Part 2. Construction Techniques

Ch. 5 – Cristina-Georgeta Alexandrescu

Defence, identity and transformation in the Late Roman cities from Scythia minor:

inherited knowledge in new building projects

Ch. 6 – Pierre-Antoine Lamy, Mathieu Ribolet

Dismantling, re-carving and re-using: some observations about the late city-wall of


Ch. 7 – James R. Snyder

Defending a New Capital: Ravenna’s Circuit Wall and the Revival of the Construction

Industry in Late Antiquity

Part 3. Regional Styles and Trends

Ch. 8 – James Crow

Power and Glory: ceremonial gates in Constantinople and the Balkans: prototypes and


Ch. 9 – Ayşe Dalyancı-Berns 6

An exceptional city wall? Re-thinking the fortifications of Nicaea in an empire-wide


Ch. 10 – Marc Heijmans

The late Roman city walls in southern Gaul

Part 4. City Walls in Times of Conflict and Peace

Ch. 11 – Catharine Hof

The revivification of earthen outworks in the eastern and southern empire by the

example of Resafa/Syria

Ch. 12 – Simon Esmonde Cleary

Late Roman city walls in Gaul: urban monument or state installation?

Ch. 13 – Sylvie Blétry

Halabiya-Zenobia: a city fortress on the Euphrates. The case of the evolution of its

fortification system

Part 5. The Afterlife of Late-Antique Walls

Ch. 14 – Francesco Maria Cifarelli, Federica Colaiacomo

The Wall Circuit of Segni in Late Antiquity: Urban and Topographic Issues

Ch. 15 – Jon Frey

Living in the shadow of the past: the afterlife of the Byzantine fortress at Isthmia

Ch. 16 – Michael Greenhalgh

Walls in Asia Minor in the accounts of European travelers

Conclusion – Emanuele E. Intagliata, Christopher Courault and Simon J. Barker

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