Cities and their Hinterland
"Leptis Magna: city, territory, and long-distance contacts" by Katia Schörle
This lecture will focus on the Roman city of Lepcis Magna and its interactions with its hinterland, whether immediate or more remote. Located within the region of Tripolitania (Libya) Lepcis witnessed considerable growth during the first three centuries AD, as expressed through architectural grandiosity with its urban context, but also through the expansion of maritime villas along the coast and productive estates in the hinterland. The aim will be to review the context of growth within the regional context of trade, production and exchanges between the coast, the hinterland but also the limes, which shed a different light on intra-regional and local patterns of economic activities and exchange.
Dr. Katia Schörle is Research Associate at Centre Camille Jullian (Aix-Marseille Université). As an archaeologist and historian, her research aims to offer a renewed vision of the economy in the ancient and Roman Mediterranean, often from a long-term perspective. She is interested in the occupation and exploitation of the Mediterranean coastline, through all its forms: the urbanism of port cities, maritime villas, the exploitation of the territory and its resources, the architecture of infrastructures for commercial purposes (ports, warehouses) and on the other hand, the practice of trade in the Mediterranean (networks, economic integration phenomena), in particular through the lens of the intensification of long-distance trade across the Sahara and the East.
"Conduits and Politics: The Water Supply of Damascus in the Umayyad Period" bx Edmund Hayes
In one chapter of Ibn ʿAsākir’s description of the physical features of Damascus in his Tārīkh madinat Dimashq, he outlines the interventions made by Umayyad caliphs to the canal systems which brought water from the Baradā river flowing from the mountains down to Damascus and to the Ghouta, the agricultural lands surrounding it. This lecture will discuss this evidence for both great continuity in the hydraulic infrastructure of this oasis, but also political and legal changes arising from the Muslim conquests that had consequences for this infrastructure and the way it was managed. A key passage suggests that environmental scarcity, in the form of a decreased flow of water in the Baradā river, generated expectations among the population for the intervention of ruling caliphs, leading to infrastructural and management solutions. I argue that this provides us a rare framework for understanding how government, elites and user-communities negotiated water resources in the heartland of the Umayyad caliphate.
Dr. Edmund Hayes is a historian of the social, cultural and religious history of the medieval Middle East. He has studied Shi'i Islam intensively, including topics such as the agents who mediated for the Shi'i Imams, alms tax collection, and excommunication. Edmund is currently a part of the "Source of Life" project, at Radboud University, Nijmegen, researching water management in premodern Middle Eastern cities. Within this project, Edmund works in particular on the water supply of Damascus, and on medieval concepts for understanding water purity, hygiene, pollution and dirt. He gained his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2015. His monograph Agents of the Hidden Imam: Forging Twelver Shi‘ism, 850-950 CE was published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.