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Antioch: A History

By Andrea U. De Giorgi, A. Asa Eger

This is a complete history of Antioch, one of the most significant major cities of the eastern Mediterranean and a crossroads for the Silk Road, from its foundation by the Seleucids, through Roman rule, the rise of Christianity, Islamic and Byzantine conquests, to the Crusades and beyond.

Antioch has typically been treated as a city whose classical glory faded permanently amid a series of natural disasters and foreign invasions in the sixth and seventh centuries CE. Such studies have obstructed the view of Antioch’s fascinating urban transformations from classical to medieval to modern city and the processes behind these transformations. Through its comprehensive blend of textual sources and new archaeological data reanalyzed from Princeton’s 1930s excavations and recent discoveries, this book offers unprecedented insights into the complete history of Antioch, recreating the lives of the people who lived in it and focusing on the factors that affected them during the evolution of its remarkable cityscape. While Antioch’s built environment is central, the book also utilizes landscape archaeological work to consider the city in relation to its hinterland, and numismatic evidence to explore its economics. The outmoded portrait of Antioch as a sadly perished classical city par excellence gives way to one in which it shines as brightly in its medieval Islamic, Byzantine, and Crusader incarnations.

Antioch: A History offers a new portal to researching this long-lasting city and is also suitable for a wide variety of teaching needs, both undergraduate and graduate, in the fields of classics, history, urban studies, archaeology, Silk Road studies, and Near Eastern/Middle Eastern studies. Just as importantly, its clarity makes it attractive for, and accessible to, a general readership outside the framework of formal instruction.

Table of Contents

1 The Eagle of Zeus Arrives (303BCE–64BCE)

2 Orientis Apex Pulcher: The Roman “Beautiful Crown of the East” in the making (64BCE–192CE)

3 From Capital to Crisis: Antioch in the Late Roman Empire (193–458)

4 Theoupolis, the City of God (458–638)

5 Anṭākiya, Mother of the Cities (638–969)

6 The Byzantine Duchy of Antioch (969–1085)

7 The Saljūqs: An Interlude (1084–1098)

8 The Crusader Principality of Antioch (1098–1268)

9 A Mamlūk Entrepot (1268–1516)

10 Ottoman Antakya (1516–1918)

11 A Frontier Town Once More (1920–2020)

Author(s)

Biography

Andrea U. De Giorgi is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the Florida State University, USA. He specializes in Roman urbanism and visual culture from the origins to Late Antiquity, with emphasis on the Greek East. He is the author of Ancient Antioch: From the Seleucid Era to the Islamic Conquest (2016, paperback 2018), editor of Cosa and the Colonial Landscape of Republican Italy (2019), and co-editor of Cosa/Orbetello. Archaeological Itineraries (2016). Dr. De Giorgi has directed excavations and surveys in Turkey, Syria, Georgia, Jordan, and the UAE. Since 2013, he has codirected the Cosa Excavations in Italy, and currently studies the 1930s Antioch collections at the Princeton University Art Museum, USA. He has also collaborated with the Museo di Anchità di Torino, the Museo di Cosa in Ansedonia, and the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A. Asa Eger is Associate Professor of the Islamic World in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA. His research centers on Islamic and Byzantine history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on frontiers and the relationship between cities and hinterlands. He is the author of The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities (2015), winner of ASOR’s G. Ernest Wright Book award for 2015; The Spaces Between the Teeth: A Gazetteer of Towns on the Islamic-Byzantine Frontier (2012, 2nd edition 2016); and editor of The Archaeology of Medieval Islamic Frontiers (2019). Dr. Eger has directed excavations and surveyed all around Antioch (Antakya) in Turkey since 2001, as well as in Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. He currently studies the 1930s Antioch collections at the Princeton University Art Museum, USA, and 1970s survey material from the Tell Rifa’at Survey, the hinterland of Aleppo, at the Louvre Museum, France.

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