Session Title

The Formation and Reformation of Power Networks in the Late Antique West

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Laurent J. Cases

Organizer Affiliation

Pennsylvania State Univ.

Presider Name

Laurent J. Cases

Paper Title 1

Power and Building in the Later Antique City: Local and Imperial Monumental Patronage in the West

Presenter 1 Name

Douglas Underwood

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Paper Title 2

Episcopal Activism and Intolerance in Late Antique Italy

Presenter 2 Name

Samuel Cohen

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Sonoma State Univ.

Paper Title 3

The Power of Things: Material Aspects of Power Networks in Post-Roman Gaul

Presenter 3 Name

Ralph J. Patrello

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Florida

Paper Title 4

Faith, Chastity, and Treason: Imperial Marriage Tradition in the Houses of Valentinian and Theodosius

Presenter 4 Name

Thomas Christopher Lawrence

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Pennsylvania State Univ.

Start Date

15-5-2016 10:30 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2040

Description

This session proposes to investigate the development of power networks from the reforms of Constantine in the fourth century A.D. to the Early Middle Ages. The Later Roman Empire underwent dramatic changes that began with the stabilization of the political situation under Diocletian. Emperors from Constantine onwards rebuilt the ruling class leaving out the traditional senators. The prosopographical survey of Chris Wickham indicates that, in Gaul, aristocrats that can legitimately claim descent from a Roman family disappear in the course of the sixth century.

Moreover, the Roman administrative apparatus disappeared from northern Gaul and Britain in the course of the fourth century, leaving in place only the military apparatus and the imperial court at Trier. By the fifth century, the diocese of Spain had ceased to function as an administrative unit. Chronologically, then, localities in the late-roman West experienced the end of Roman rule at different times and in different contexts. As recently argued by Guy Halsall, the Franks entered a world where the Roman State apparatus had disintegrated a century earlier. On the other hand, the Visigothic settlement took place largely in a world where the administrative system still, for large parts functioned. Thus, it would seem that the processes of reorganization of the localities cannot be generalized to the whole of the Roman West.

This panel will investigate the various contexts in which these reorganizations took place. What do the sources suggest about an increased localization of political organization in Gaul, Hispania, Brittania and Italia in this period? The papers will address these patterns not just from traditional historical sources, but also from archaeological sources.

Laurent J. Cases

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May 15th, 10:30 AM

The Formation and Reformation of Power Networks in the Late Antique West

Fetzer 2040

This session proposes to investigate the development of power networks from the reforms of Constantine in the fourth century A.D. to the Early Middle Ages. The Later Roman Empire underwent dramatic changes that began with the stabilization of the political situation under Diocletian. Emperors from Constantine onwards rebuilt the ruling class leaving out the traditional senators. The prosopographical survey of Chris Wickham indicates that, in Gaul, aristocrats that can legitimately claim descent from a Roman family disappear in the course of the sixth century.

Moreover, the Roman administrative apparatus disappeared from northern Gaul and Britain in the course of the fourth century, leaving in place only the military apparatus and the imperial court at Trier. By the fifth century, the diocese of Spain had ceased to function as an administrative unit. Chronologically, then, localities in the late-roman West experienced the end of Roman rule at different times and in different contexts. As recently argued by Guy Halsall, the Franks entered a world where the Roman State apparatus had disintegrated a century earlier. On the other hand, the Visigothic settlement took place largely in a world where the administrative system still, for large parts functioned. Thus, it would seem that the processes of reorganization of the localities cannot be generalized to the whole of the Roman West.

This panel will investigate the various contexts in which these reorganizations took place. What do the sources suggest about an increased localization of political organization in Gaul, Hispania, Brittania and Italia in this period? The papers will address these patterns not just from traditional historical sources, but also from archaeological sources.

Laurent J. Cases