"Victorinus Wall, erected during the reign of Justinian at Byllis, Epirus Nova". Foto A. Sarantis


02.06.2020, 16:15

Die Veranstaltung findet online über die Plattform Zoom statt.
Interessierte Teilnehmer können sich per E-Mail bei Dr. Benjamin Fourlas bis zum 1. Juni anmelden.

The event takes place online via Zoom.
Please register for participation by email until June 1st to Dr. Benjamin Fourlas.


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The Impact of Raiding and Migration on Balkan Settlement Patterns and Rural Economies, 5th to 8th c.

+++ Die Veranstaltung findet online über die Plattform Zoom statt. Interessierte Teilnehmer können sich per E-Mail bei Dr. Benjamin Fourlas bis zum 1. Juni anmelden. +++ The event takes place online via Zoom. Please register for participation by email until June 1st to Dr. Benjamin Fourlas. +++

Ein Vortrag von Dr. Alexander Sarantis (RGZM Mainz).

This paper will examine the impact of raiding and migration on rural settlement patterns, population levels and agricultural output in the provinces of Dalmatia, eastern Illyricum and Thrace from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. It will demonstrate that periods of raiding by non-Roman 'barbarian' groups prompted changes to elites, political organisation and thus settlement patterns, especially when accompanied by the weakening of imperial control. Even though these periods of political insecurity, in the late 4th, mid 5th and late 6th to early 7th centuries, caused a lot of damage short-term, medium- to long-term recovery was usually possible, provided that unified 'barbarian' threats subsided and the imperial authorities were able to invest in recovery projects.

Unlike raiding, migration was not damaging in and of itself. Late Antiquity witnessed considerable population movement across the Lower Danube frontier, most of it peaceful. It was only when larger armed groups arrived during periods of military insecurity and were thus not quickly accommodated by the imperial authorities that military conflict and disruption could result.

While periods of political insecurity affected cities, villas, and the monetary economy, they did not lead to the complete depopulation and agricultural dislocation of rural areas as is often suggested. Indeed, legislative texts, archaeological evidence, and environmental archaeological material demonstrate that rather than being uninhabited wastelands, rural areas continued to be productive and well-populated across the 5th and 6th centuries. The 7th to 8th century period witnessed more profound changes, including de-urbanisation, the end of a monetary exchange and economic contraction and simplification, especially in inland areas. Nevertheless, recent archaeological research, a re-analysis of limited textual sources, and comparative examples from other supposedly 'Dark Age' regions of early medieval Europe, once again suggest that many Balkan rural areas continued to be inhabited by populations engaged in agricultural activity, albeit on a smaller scale.