Cultural Encounters on Byzantium's Northern Frontier, c. AD 500–700
Coins, Artifacts and History
- Author: Andrei Gandila, University of Alabama, Huntsville
In the sixth century, Byzantine emperors secured the provinces of the Balkans by engineering a frontier system of unprecedented complexity. Drawing on literary, archaeological, anthropological, and numismatic sources, Andrei Gandila argues that cultural attraction was a crucial component of the political frontier of exclusion in the northern Balkans. If left unattended, the entire edifice could easily collapse under its own weight. Through a detailed analysis of the archaeological evidence, the author demonstrates that communities living beyond the frontier competed for access to Byzantine goods and reshaped their identity as a result of continual negotiation, reinvention, and hybridization. In the hands of 'barbarians', Byzantine objects, such as coins, jewelry, and terracotta lamps, possessed more than functional or economic value, bringing social prestige, conveying religious symbolism embedded in the iconography, and offering a general sense of sharing in the Early Byzantine provincial lifestyle.Read more
- An interdisciplinary analysis of Byzantine frontier policy, contributing to a better understanding of the last Roman century
- Redefines the notion of 'frontier river' in Late Antiquity by synthesizing a wide range of textual and archaeological evidence
- Challenges previous interpretations of coins found beyond the frontier through an innovative comparative approach
Reviews & endorsements
'The book's brisk survey of imported pottery, oil lamps, and jewelry documents the broad appeal of Roman culture in northern barbaricum, and provides context for the intensive investigation of gold, silver, and bronze coinage. Excavated coins document contractual exchange among political elites as well as low-level social interactions, yet their popular reception remained as exotic objects rather than economic currency. Richly documented and closely argued, this book offers a fresh historical analysis of emerging cultural identities in the early Balkans. Recommended.' M. Rautman, Choice
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- Date Published: September 2018
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781108663748
- contains: 69 b/w illus. 19 maps
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. The Roman frontier in Late Antiquity
2. Cultural diversity in the Danube region and beyond – an archaeological perspective
3. Christianity north of the Danube
4. Contact and separation on the Danube frontier
5. The flow of Byzantine coins beyond the frontier
6. Putting the Danube into perspective – money, bullion and prestige in Avaria and Transcaucasia
7. Money and barbarians – same coins, different functions
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