Memory of empire: the post-imperial historiography.. (MEPIHLA)
Memory of empire: the post-imperial historiography of late Antiquity
Start date: Jan 1, 2013,
End date: Dec 31, 2017
"The current project aims at offering the first comprehensive interpretation and reconstruction of the historiographical traditions in the Mediterranean from the fourth to the eighth centuries AD, the crucial transitional period from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. In particular, it advances the hypothesis that the historiography of this period should be understood as ‘post-imperial’, in the sense that the literary, cultural, religious and political traditions of the Roman Empire remained the point of reference at a time when that empire had, by the seventh century, lost its grip on the West and large portions of the East. New realities were thus still understood within a traditional framework and described with long-lived categories – a situation that generated fundamental tensions within late ancient historiography but also spurred great creativity in the genre. In order to be able to test this hypothesis, the project will make new sources available (especially regarding fragmentary Early Byzantine, Syriac, and late Latin historiography), increase the accessibility of existing sources through the creation of an online database, and explore different philological methodologies and interpretative models through a series of specifically targeted studies. Emphasing the shared cultural heritage instead of cultural and political fragmentation, the interpretation will especially focus on the continuation of the rhetorical tradition in late Antiquity, the incarnation of meaning in geographical space, and intercultural contacts across the Mediterranean. It thus hopes not only to establish a new paradigm for our understanding of late antique historiography but also set the study of this field on an improved methodological footing."
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