Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity explores the transformation of classical culture in late antiquity by studying cultures at the borders - the borders of empires, of social classes, of public and private spaces, of literary genres, of linguistic communities, and of the modern disciplines that study antiquity. Although such canonical figures of late ancient studies as Augustine and Ammianus Marcellinus appear in its pages, this book shifts our perspective from the center to the side or the margins. The essays consider, for example, the ordinary Christians whom Augustine addressed, the border regions of Mesopotamia and Vandal Africa, 'popular' or 'legendary' literature, and athletes. Although traditional philology rightly underlies the work that these essays do, the authors, several among the most prominent in the field of late ancient studies, draw from and combine a range of disciplines and perspectives, including art history, religion, and social history. Despite their various subject matters and scholarly approaches, the essays in Shifting Cultural Frontiers coalesce around a small number of key themes in the study of late antiquity: the ambiguous effects of 'Christianization,' the creation of new literary and visual forms from earlier models, the interaction and spread of ideals between social classes, and the negotiation of ethnic and imperial identities in the contact between 'Romans' and 'barbarians.' By looking away from the core and toward the periphery, whether spatially or intellectually, the volume offers fresh insights into how ancient patterns of thinking and creating became reconfigured into the diverse cultures of the 'medieval.'
'… the twenty chapters bear witness to the complexity and richness of late-antique societies and the many possible avenues for their interpretation.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'The editors have produced a very fine resource with this volume. It covers many thematic and geographical aspects of late-antique culture, which makes for a pleasing variety…' Classical Review
Contents: Introduction, David Brakke; Part I Shared Intellectual Space: 'It is not the custom of our Syriac language…': reconsidering the role of translation in the Polemics of Philoxenos of Mabbug, David A. Michelson; Negotiations with death: Ephrem's control of death in dialogue, Ellen Muehlberger; Nature, law and human freedom in Bardasian's Book of the Laws of the Countries, Kathleen Gibbons; Earth people in Rabbinic and Roman discourse, Anne Kreps. Part II High and Low Cultural Negotiation: Where high and low culture meets: the legend of the Cross, Harold Drake; Curiositas nihil recusat: a playful defense of 'low' biography against 'high' history, Cristiana Sogno; Decline of political culture: Ammianus Marcellinus' characterization of the reigns of Valentinian and Valens, Jan Willem Drijvers; 'How then is it not better to prefer quiet, than the dangers of conflict?': the imperial court as the site of shifting cultural frontiers, Charles F. Pazdernik. Part III Literary Culture: Augustine, the Donatists and the litterae pacifica, Jennifer Ebbeler; On the poetics of Dioscoros of Aphrodito: the encomium on Duke Kallinikos (P. Cair. Masp. III 67315), Raymond L. Capra; Late Antique visuality: blurring the boundaries between word and image, pagan and Christian, James A. Francis; The ant of God: Augustine, scripture, and cultural frontiers, Gillian Clark. Part IV Material and Popular Culture: Shining a light on shifting frontiers: cultural uses of ceramic lamps during late Antiquity, Kate da Costa; Sleeping arrangements and private space: a cultural approach to the subdivision of late Antique homes, Leslie Dossey; 'Blushing in such company?' The social status of athletes in late Antiquity, Sofie Remijsen; Viewing the column of Arcadius at Constantinople, John Matthews; Late Antique fora and public honor in the Western cities: case studies, Jinyu Liu. Part V Negotiating the Imperial Frontier: Rebaptism as a ritual of cultural integration in Vandal Africa, Eric Fourni