Graduate Program in Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology

ARHM009. The Balkan Peninsula and the Eastern Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. Boyan Dumanov

Online course, 30 hours, 3 credits


The study of the material culture of the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean in Late Antiquity requires an interdisciplinary approach, encompassing a series of humanities and social sciences. The course aims to present the archaeological evidence on a series of topics related with historical processes in Late Antiquity. We tackle topics such as the sphere of political and cultural influence of the East Roman Empire and the role of overland and maritime transport for economic and cultural interaction. In our focus will come Late Antique cities, starting with Rome and continuing with Antioch, Alexandria, Thessaloniki, Athens, Corinth, Serdica, Philippopolis and others. The evidence on their urban planning will be use to shed light on issue of politics and economics. Types of production, trade, agriculture and stock breeding are among the topics we will be talking about. Economy will lead us to the study of Late Antique vici and villas.


The course continues with the archaeology of military units, tactics, armament, weapons, fortifications (such as the Anastasian Wall and others).


One of the most important innovations of Late Antiquity is Christianity and of course the archaeology of churches, episcopal complexes and monasteries are given a special attention together with burial rites. The course will end with a survey of religious and secular art in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.  






The study of Late Antiquity. Late Antiquity and Humanism. First studies and Western and Central Europe. Beginning and development in East Europe and Russia. Thematic, chronological and territorial scope.



Borders of the late antique world. Sence of the topic “Late Antiquity”. Physico-geographical characteristic and population of the East Roman Empire. Roads and communications. Naval transport and sailings. Charasetics of the periphery – the Great steppe, Caucasus, Persia, Arabian peninsula.



Constantinopolis – The New Rome? A history and archaeology of the idea about the “New Rome”. Rome and the imperial cities of the Later Roman Empire.Topograhy and urban planning of Constatinopolis.  Public and social places. Palaces and and secular buldings.



The late antique city – decay or transformation? The urban character of the late antique culture. Provincial capitals and local urban centers – Antioch, Alexandria, Thessaloniki, Athens, Corinth, Serdica, Philippolis, etc. Tendencies of the urban planning and topography. Classification according to the written sources and the archaeological record.       



Late antique economy – I. The cities as general factors in the formation of the economic life. Types of production. Archaeological aspects of the inner and outside trade. Industry. Agricultural economy. The meaning of transformation from agriculture to livestock breeding in the North Balkans.    



Late antique economy – II. Monetary economy and currency. Characteristic of the late antique coinage. Mints.    



The Late Antique village. The background of the Early Roman period. Archaeology of the vici – topography, structure and economy. Transformation of the villages in the late 5th – 6th cc. The Villa in Late Antiquity.    



Late Antique fortifications. Terminology. Defensive concepts on the Balkans and the Near East. The fate of the Roman limes. Fortified towns and fortresses. The Anastasian Wall and similar complexes.   



Ars militaris. The military treatises as important source for reconstruction of the military concepts. Types of military units and tactics. Navy. Armament – types and factories. Weapons in archaeological context.    



Christianity and the Balkans. Early evidences of Conversion. Church architecture, episcopal complexes and monasteries.



The Death in Late Antiquity. Cemeteries and funeral rites – the cemeteries and their planning, stratigraphy and situation within the settlement context. Tomb architecture. Funeral monuments.



Religious art. Art in context – ecclesiastical monuments – mural paintings and mosaics. Styles and tendencies.    



Secular art. Periodization and styles. Sculpture, mosaics and mural paintings. Ivories. The image of the emperor. 



Production and crafts. Raw materials Pottery, metallurgy, jewelry.



Ethnic changes. Inner migrations – ethnic structure of the local “Romanized” population. Barbaric enclaves after the beginning of the Migration period – models of interaction with the Roman administration. 




Essential readings:


Amandry, P.

1963 Collection Helene Stathatos III. Objets antiques et byzantins. Athene

Amiranachvili, Ch.

1962 Les emaux de Georgie. Paris

Arbeiter, A.

1997 Der Kaiser mit dem Christogrammnimbus. Zur silbernen Largitionsschalle Valentinians in Genf. – Antiquite Tardive 5, 153 –167

Arrhenius, B.

1985 Merovingian garnet jewellery. Emergence and social implications. Stockholm

Bagnall, R.S.

1987 Consuls of the Later Empire. New York

Baratte, F.

1983 The art of Constantinopol. An introduction to Byzantine art. 330 – 1453. London

Bardill, J.

1997 The Palace of Lausus and Nearby Monuments in Constantinople. - AJA 101, 69–83

Barnes, T.D.

1981 The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine. London

1998 Representing Historical Reality. Ammianus and the Late Roman world. London

Bavant, B., V. Kondic, J.-M. Spieser (ed.)

1990 Caricin Grad. Belgrade-Rome

Bishop, M.C., J.C.N. Coulston

1993 Roman military equipment from the Punic wars to the Fall of Rome. London

Borowski, M.J.

1979 Pulcheria, Empress of Byzantium. An investigation of the political and religious aspects of her reign. Oxford

Brailsfort, J. W.

1947 The Mildenhall Treasure. London

Breckenridge, J.

1978 Head of Ariadne. – In: K. Weitzmann (ed.) Age of Spirituality. Washington, 30 - 31

Brown, K. R.

1978 Objects from daily life: Catalogue. – In: K. Weitzmann (Ed.) The Age of Spirituality. New York, 302 – 349

1979 The Mosaics of San Vitale: Evidence for the attribution of some Early Byzantine jewelry to Court workshops. – Gesta 18, 1, 57 – 62

Brown, P.

1971 The world of Late Antiquity. New York

Browning, I.

1979 Palmyra. Park Ridge

Browning, R.

1981 Justinian and Theodora. Boston

Bruhn, J.- A.

1993 Coins and costume in Late Antiquity. Dumbarton Oaks Collection Publications 9. Washington

Bruun, P.

1961 Studies in Constantinian chronology. Numismatic notes and monographs. American Numismatic Society 146. New York

1966 The Roman Imperial coinage VII. London

Claude, D.

1969 Die byzantinische Stadt im 6. Jahrhundert. Munich

Coulston, J.C.N.

1987 Roman military equipment on 3rd century AD tombstones. – In: M. Dawson (ed.) Roman military equipment: The Accoutrements of war. Proceedings of the Third Roman military equipment Research seminar. Oxford: BAR S336, 141 – 156

Cruikshank Dodd, E.

1961 Byzantine silver stamps. Washington

1973 Byzantine silver treasures. Bern

Dalton, O. M.

1906 A second silver treasure from Cyprus.

1907 Byzantine plate and jewellery from Cyprus in Mr. Morgan’s Collection. – Burlington Magazine 10, 355 – 362

1909 Catalogue of the ivory carvings of the Christian era in the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities and Ethnography of the British Museum. London

1911 Byzantine Art and Archaeology. London

1925 Early Christian art. London

Dennison, W.

1918 A Gold tresure of the Late Roman period. New York

Deppert, B., W. Rudolf

1999 A Golden legacy. Ancient jewelry from Burton Y. Bury Collection at the Indiana University Art Museum. Indiana

Dimitriadis, E.

1990 The Harbour of Thessaloniki: Balkan Hinterland and Historical Development,” in OArmov".

Timhtiko;" tovmo" sto;n kaqhghth; N. K. Moutsovpoulo gia; ta; eijkosipevnte crovnia pneumatikh'" tou prosfora'" sto; Panepisthvmio. Thessalonike, 541–561

Downey, G.

1966 A History of Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conquest. Princeton

Dumanov, B

2003 Archaeology of the late antique treasures south of the Lower Danube (4-6 cc.). Common directions. – In: Thracia XV. In honorem Annorum LXX Alexandri Fol, 677 – 690

Frendo, J.

1975 Agathias. The Histories. Berlin

Foss, C.

1979 Ephesus after Antiquity: A Late Antique, Byzantine and Turkish City. Cambridge

Grierson, P.

1992 The role of silver in the Early Byzantine economy. - In: S. Boyd, M. Mundel Mango (Ed.) Ecclesiastical silver plate in sixth-century Byzantium. Papers of the symposium held May 16-18. 1986 at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Washington

Hassiotis, C. (ed.)

1997 Queen of the Worthy: Thessaloniki, History and Culture. Thessalonike

Holum, K.

1982 Theodosian Empresses: Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity. Berkeley

James, L.

1996 Light and colour in Byzantine art. Oxford

Janes, D.

1998 Brooches as insignia and loyalty to the Late Roman state. – In: N. Cambi, E. Marin (Ur.) Radovi XIII. Medunarodnog kongresa za starokrscansku arheologiju. Split – Porec (25.9.-1.10.1994). III. Split

Jobst, W.

1987 Der Kaiserpalast von Konstantinopel und seine Mosaike. - Antike Welt 18.3, 2–22

Karpp, H.

1966 Die fruhchristlichen und mitellalterlichen Mosaiken in Santa Maria Maggiore zu Rom. Baden-Baden

Kantorowicz, E.

1960 On the Golden marriage ring belt and the marriage rings of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. – DOP 14, 1 - 16

Kent, J. P.

1978 Roman coins. New York

Kiilerich, B.

1993 Late fourth century classicism in the plastic arts. Odense University Classical Studies 18. Odense

Kolias, T.

1988 Byzantinische Waffen. Wien

Kraeling, C. H. (ed.)

1938 Gerasa, City of the Decapolis. New Haven

Maxfield, A.

1981 The military decorations of the Roman army. London

Painter, K.

1977 Gold and silver in the Late Roman world. London

1980 Gold and silver in the Roman world. – Aspects of Early Metallurgy. London, 135 – 151

1988 Roman silver hoards: Ownership and Status. – In: F. Barate (ed.) Argenterie romaine et Byzantine. Actes de la Table Ronde, Paris 11-13 octobre 1983. Paris, 97 – 105

1990 The Seuso treasure. – Minerva 1, 4 – 11

Platner, B., T. Ashby

1929 Topographical dictionary of ancient Rome. Oxford

Reece, R.

1997 The myths and messages of silver plate. – Antiquite Tardive 5

Spieser, J.-M.

Southern, P., K. R. Dixon

1996 The Late Roman army. London

Vakalapoulos, A.E.

1972 A history of Thessaloniki. Thessalonike

Velkov, V.

1977 Cities in Thrace and Dacia in late antiquity. Amsterdam