Romans in New Worlds: Considering “Global Late Antiquity”, Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity XV, Santa Barbara, September 21–23, 2023
Late ancient Romans found themselves in an interconnected world, whether in an Italy traversed by steppe-land Huns, in exile among Iranians, or traveling the commercial highways of Central Asia. People in Mesopotamia, Sasanian Iran, the Umayyad Empire, and Tang China formed their own impressions of the people and culture that rimmed the Mediterranean Sea. Late ancient Roman things also surface in subsequent emerging global interconnections: Merchant communities in Kerala circulated Roman coins, for example, while Ethiopian bronzes changed hands in Palestine, and Roman Christian texts traveled the world–from Ireland to the Philippines. Long after Charlemagne the Frank was crowned “emperor of the Romans,” friars Christianizing what is now the US Southwest traveled with well-worn books by Augustine and Jerome.
For the 15th conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity, we invite you to propose papers and panels considering late Romans in these “interconnected, uncentered” worlds. Specifically, what did it mean to engage with Rome, Romans, or Romanness either for people interacting within the late ancient Empire or for people outside the late ancient Empire’s center in space and/or in time?
In addition to the traditional plenary panels focused on the Mediterranean and Mediterranean-adjacent worlds in Late Antiquity, we will provide fora and fodder for discussing the possibilities and challenges of “global Late Antiquity” as a paradigm, from plenary panels, to roundtable discussions, to a tour of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library, the repository for its sister institutions in the Southwest.