From Constantine to Charlemagne: Archaeology of Italy, AD 300-800

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This book seeks to offer an overview of the archaeological and structural evidence for one of the most vital periods of Italian history, spanning the late Roman and early medieval periods. The chronological scope thus covers the adoption of Christianity and the emergence of Rome as the seat of Western Christendom, the break-up of the Roman west in the face of internal decay and the settlement of non-Romans and Germanic groups, the impact of Germanic and Byzantine rule on Italy until the rise of Charlemagne and of a Papal State in the later eighth century.

Presenting a detailed review and analysis of recent discoveries by archaeologists, historians, art historians, numismatists and architectural historians, Neil Christie identifies the changes brought about by the Church in town and country, the level of change within Italy under Rome before and after occupation by Ostrogoths, Byzantines and Lombards, and reviews wider changes in urbanism, rural exploitation and defence. The emphasis is on human settlement on its varied levels - town, country, fort, refuge - and the assessment of how these evolved and the changes that impacted on them. Too long neglected as a 'Dark Age', this book helps to further illuminate this fascinating and dynamic period of European history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859284216
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 586
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

Preface and Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

1 Sources and Contexts 15

Introduction 15

Historical Contexts 21

A Note on Populations, Identities and Provinces 57

2 Church and Society 73

Introduction 74

The Early Church and Late Roman Italian Society 80

Christianization I: The Urban Church 91

Christianization II: Rural Christianity 112

The Early Church: Forms, Siting and Materials 121

Church Roles in Ostrogothic and Lombard Italy 137

Burials 148

Relics and Pilgrims 156

Monasticism 164

Texts and the Church: Inscriptions, Epitaphs and Graffiti 174

3 Urban Evolutions 183

Sources of Evidence 186

The Fortunes of Towns 195

Natural and Human: Fortunes and Losses 198

War and Towns: Urban Shrinkage and Military Needs? 202

Christianized Cities 206

The Old in the New: Spolia and New Material Language of Towns 208

Public Spaces and Monuments: Patterns of Survival and Loss 214

Living Spaces 227

Water 246

Population Loss? Space and Burials 249

New Towns 263

Conclusions 268

4 Defence and Power 281

Introduction 282

Interpreting Town Defences and Frontiers 284

The Later Roman Army and Italy 300

The Redesigning of Defensive Architecture 319

Fourth-Century Italian Frontiers 324

Fifth-Century Retrenchments 331

Defences after Rome 348

5 Rural Settlement and Patterns of Change 401

Introduction 402

Modes of Roman Rural Settlement 406

The Impact of Field Survey 412

Late Roman Villas and Farms 428

Churches, Monasteries and Burials 442

Germans and the Land 451

Rural Insecurities and 'Private' Defence: Hills, Refuges and Caves 473

Environments, Economies andBioarchaeologies 484

Rural Decay and Land Degradation: The Role of Climate Change 487

Conclusions 491

6 Conclusions - Living (and Dying) in Late Antique and Early Medieval Italy 497

People in the Past 497

The Plague: Horror and Historical Hesitation 500

Continuities, Changes, Transformations? 505

Divides and Mergers 507

Bibliography 511

Index 571

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