In alphabetical order

Coutu, Ashley (Oxford University)

Zooming in on Ivory: How Scientific Methods are Shaping our Understanding of Global Late Antiquity

Archaeologists, historians, and biologists are working together to develop an exciting range of interdisciplinary methods which are shifting our understanding of material flows and inter-regional connections in late antiquity, one molecule at a time. Using an artefact biography approach which combines archival, archaeological and scientific data sets, it is becoming easier to source raw materials such as ivory ‘from tusk to town’. By tracing artefact journeys, we can map how materials move and are eventually crafted and valued in different cultural contexts to their origins. This paper will explore some of the key case studies and future potential of these methods with a focus on how African materials and networks were central to developing nodes of trans regional routes along the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean.

Laird, Andrew (Brown University)

The City of God in Mexico

The Christian literature of late antiquity was invoked throughout the history of colonial Latin America – from the tracts penned by Bartolomé de las Casas in the Caribbean to Jesuits’ accounts of their missions in California. In Mexico after the Spanish conquest of 1521, the reception of Saint Augustine and other authors assumed particular importance. As well as showing how missionaries, inspired by the patristic studies of humanists in sixteenth-century Europe, emulated the Church Fathers, this talk will highlight ways in which some indigenous Mexican writers and artists recalled late antique Christian authorities over the course of the 1500s.

Tannous, Jack B. (Princeton University)

“Rome” and “Romans” viewed from the East

In this lecture, I will attempt to survey some of the meanings that “Rome” and “Romans” had for people who wrote in Syriac in the late antique and medieval period, making use of Christian Arabic material as well. There was no unitary meaning for either of these terms, I will suggest, and it was Rome’s association with Christianity and the history of Christianity that was the most important factor in determining what “Rome” and “Romans” meant to Middle Eastern Christians in this period.