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  • From the Editor
  • Noel Lenski

This issue brings together a treasure trove of outstanding work on Late Antiquity. Richard Payne leads off with an article on “The Making of Turan” which describes how the Huns, and later the Turks, who assumed control of the northern reaches of the Sasanian Empire beginning in the fifth century, formulated political and social structures calqued on models from the Persian past but also distinctively imprinted with the practices and styles of the steppe. Maggie Popkin turns to the theme of “Symbiosis and Civil War” as she explores how the arch of Constantine used visual and architectural references to the arch of Septimius Severus in order to ease the tensions created by the representation of victory in a civil war. Jun Yi Wong offers a systematic and statistically informed study of iconoclasm at the temples of Edfu and Dendera to show that, far from representing unplanned and violent acts of random aggression, the effacement of Egyptian reliefs shows clear patterns that hint at ritual and performance. Walter Ward also explores the destruction of pagan monuments, but in the Transjordan and particularly at Petra. There, he argues, the earthquake of 363 did much more to level temples than the human agency of iconoclasts. In “Callimachus and the Bishops,” Byron MacDougall reveals how Gregory of Nazianzus redeploys Callimachus’s programmatic rhetoric of pastoralism to guide bishops and govern theology in his Second Oration. Martin Devecka returns to a letter explored by Shane Bjornlie in JLA 2.1—Cassiodorus Variae 10.30—to argue that the bronze elephants whose restoration Cassiodorus invokes serve as analogs to a tattered but still resistant Roman populace eager to overthrow its Ostrogothic masters. Benjamin Garstad treats the figure of Authari in Historia Langobardorum in order to prove that Paul the Deacon reinscribed the legend of Alexander the Great into late antique historographiy through the intermediacy of his source, Secundus of Trent. Finally, Jeroen Wijnendaele reopens the question of the Battle of Faesulae in 406 in order to prove that, contrary to Orosius’s account, the event represented a multi-stage battle that demonstrated well both the strategic acumen of Stilicho and the enduring strength of the Roman army in the fifth century.

By way of promotion of the field, I should like to use this space to pass on two important notices. First, the Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Twelfth Biennial Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at Yale University March 23–26, 2017 on the topic of “The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation.” The conference will be cosponsored by the University of Groningen. The call for papers reads thus: [End Page 1]

In chronological terms the fifth century is the pivot point of Late Antiquity. It is arguable that it also represents the major watershed between a monolithic world still dominated by the Roman Empire in the third and fourth centuries and the more tessellated worlds of the sixth and seventh. In this sense the fifth century can be viewed as the moment when Mediterranean Eurasia and North Africa witnessed profound political, social, religious, economic and cultural transformations. Shifting Frontiers XII seeks to investigate the nature and impact of these changes. We are particularly interested in six areas of research which reflect this trend.

  1. 1). Shifts in the archaeological and material record: archaeology of the frontier; art and power; spoliation; collectionism

  2. 2). State formation, re-formation, transformation: emperors, kings, rulers; law codes; new loci of political power

  3. 3). Transformations in religious authority: east and west—tension and cooperation; traditional religion; notions of the divine

  4. 4). Changes in climate, environment, geography: demography, disaster; microclimate / macroclimate; resource allocation

  5. 5). Literary transformations: epitomes, canons; commentary; Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian literature; translation

  6. 6). Identity transformation: ethnicity and identity; gender and sexuality; uses of alterity

Proposals should be clearly related to one of the above areas of research, and should state clearly both the problem being discussed and the nature of the new conclusions to be presented. Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations may be submitted via e-mail to Professors Noel Lenski and Jan Willem Drijvers, at Deadline for submission...


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