Boundaries and Authority I
"In Search of Administrative and Ecclesiastical Boundaries: Late Antique Dioceses in Hispania" by Daniëlle Slootjes
This presentation offers a political, geographical and ecclesiastical perspective on boundaries in late antique Spain. It is part of a larger project on the meaning of late antique dioceses, in which I try to unite a Roman imperial and a religious administrative point of view by focusing on the geography of dioceses, i.e. their natural and artificial boundaries that defined their size as well as their way of functioning. In this presentation I would like to zoom in on late antique Spain. While the article – given in preparation for the talk – attempts to understand the development of the administrative structures and the underlying imperial decision making process in the diocese of Hispania, the presentation will offer an analysis of the functioning of the ecclesiastical dioceses in the Iberian peninsula. Bringing together the evidence for both perspectives will hopefully lead to new insights into the functioning of Hispania in Late Antiquity
Prof. Daniëlle Slootjes is Full Professor of Ancient History at Radboud University Nijmegen. She took her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), which was published in 2006 entitled 'The Governor and his Subjects in the Later Roman Empire' (Brill, Leiden). She specializes in the field of Late Antiquity, Early Byzantine and Early Medieval History, and focuses in particular on late Roman administrative structures, early Christianity and crowd behavior.
"Provinces, Tribes and Military Units in the Early Islamic Western Mediterranean" by Amira K. Bennison
The Islamic conquest of North Africa west of Egypt and the Iberian peninsula stretched over three quarters of a century from 642 until 713 and brought these extensive regions under the sovereignty of the Umayyad caliphs of Damascus. Due to the lateness of the sources and their preoccupation with battles, it is difficult to ascertain how these lands were administered. Two models are generally adduced, a Syrian-style solution in Ifrīqiya and Iberia, sedentary Late Antique societies with large Christian populations and provincial administrations that could be adapted, and a more fluid set of alliances with North African tribes in the Maghrib. This talk will consider what we can learn about early Islamic administration in what is now Morocco and southern Spain through analysing the vocabulary scattered in early sources, which includes references to land as provinces, towns and estates, but also to human resources (tribes and urban communities) and to the Islamic presence itself, often conceptualised as a series of military units (junds).
Prof. Amira K. Bennison is Full Professor in History and Culture of the Maghrib (Faculty of Middle Eastern Studies) at the Cambridge University. She has published extensively on medieval North Africa, including most recently, The Almoravid and Almohad Empires (Edinburgh, 2016). She is currently completing a monograph on medieval Maghribī cities and a short history of Muslim Spain.