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Ancient Antioch: From the Seleucid Era to…

Ancient Antioch: From the Seleucid Era to the Islamic Conquest

by Andrea U. De Giorgi

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Antiocheia on the Orontes ranked among the most prominent cities of antiquity. It was the primary residence of the Seleucid kings and the capital of the Roman province of Syria. In late antiquity the city turned into one of the world''s largest economic, political and religious hubs. It is therefore not surprising that the city has attracted considerable scholarly attention. Nevertheless, our picture of Antiocheia is still highly distorted. This is due to the fact that most attempts to analyse the city's history and culture draw almost exclusively on the very rich but also very biased literary evidence provided by Libanius and other late antique sources. What is more, the apparent wealth of information on late antique Antiocheia regularly obscures how scarce our sources for the previous centuries are.

It is a major accomplishment that Andrea De Giorgi has chosen a different approach. He has tried to put more weight on the archaeological evidence in order to avoid misconceptions based on the partial views of ancient authors. Furthermore, his narrative of Antiocheia does not focus on the city in a narrow sense, but also takes into account the immense territory it administered. In so doing, De Giorgi provides not only a very useful introduction to the city, its inhabitants and their identities, but also offers interesting perspectives on the interplay between urban and rural social groups.
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