“The construction of spatiality in ancient societies”

Heads:

François CHAUSSONANHIMA : ANthropologie et HIstoire des Mondes Antiques (UMR 8210)
Anne NISSENArScAn : Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité (UMR 7041)

Presentation:

Studies of spatial constructions are carried out on several scales, from the local area to up ancient empires, or, in pre-state societies, according to chrono-cultural areas. The chronological limits vary with Work Package (WP) members’ fields of study. It is important to maintain thematic consistency, since this is necessary for interdisciplinary discussions, and approaches that compare different geographical areas.

The focus areas developed earlier in relation to Mesopotamia, the Greek world and the Roman Empire have been retained and will be developed further. The geographical and chronological frameworks have been expanded to include other chrono-cultural areas. The Roman Empire, whose economic reach extends up to the North Sea, plays a key role here, developed in a new direction devoted to the ebb and flow of territories, empires and chiefdoms. It accompanies an openness to post-Roman societies in the West, which form an interesting contrast with the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople and the barbarian kingdoms pass on the Roman legacy, but in different ways. Later, the Carolingian Empire would adapt it in other forms and disseminate it with the Christian mission. The latter brought in new territorial and spatial constructions that, in fine, united the Romanised and barbarian lands into the Christian medieval west (which also marks the chronological end of the WP’s project).

Outside the Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilisations, the existence of complex chiefdoms or even small kingdoms (which could be described as pre-state) marks the starting point of the research undertaken. The Celtic worlds with their oppida, then later the Germanic societies with the emergence of large central squares, where relations with the Roman Empire were a constant, therefore lie within the fields of study.

In all of these areas, the configuration of the territories lends itself to analyses of the markers or tools for spatial construction. This might be their symbolic aspect (built around monuments or religious sites or seats of power), their economic functions (the frameworks of farms in rural areas, such as detailed surveys of lots, the locations and networks for trading) and the demarcation of territories (which, depending on the case, can take the form of defensive works or the construction of religious monuments).

Approaches comparing the different chrono-cultural areas over long periods open up methodological prospects for analysing spatial constructions. In other areas, comparing changes in local constructions and the layout of the areas provides a sound basis for evaluating and gauging the impact of the relations and interactions between contemporary societies through their diversity. The importance of distant relationships in civilisational interactions leads us to pay particular attention to the connection between the evolution of territorial spatial constructions and the density and extent of the networks linking them to other territories and geographical areas.

Keywords:

Mythology, religious and symbolic topography, description of the world, territories, cities, states, complex chiefdoms, barbarian kingdoms, borders, migrations, settlement, religious and symbolic topography, networks.

Research fields:

  • Mesopotamia;
  • Greek worlds;
  • Gaul and Frankish space;
  • Roman Empire: Italy, Mediterranean, Britannia, Germanies, Gauls, Spains, North Africa, Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria, Arabian Peninsula, Egypt;
  • North West Europe, the North Sea regions, Southern Scandinavia;
  • The Mediterranean world’s contacts with the adjacent seas: Irish Sea, English Channel, Atlantic, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea.

Publications:

  • Leila NEHMÉ, François VILLENEUVE, Pétra, Métropole de l’Arabie antique, Paris, 1999.
  • François CHAUSSON (dir.), Occidents romains. Sénateurs, chevaliers, militaires, notables dans les provinces d’Occident (Espagnes, Gaules, Germanies, Bretagne), Paris, 2010.
  • Grégory CHAMBON, Les archives du vin à Mari, Paris 2012.
  • Josiane BARBIER, Archives oubliées du haut Moyen âge : les gesta municipalia en Gaule franque, VIe-IXe siècle, Paris, 2014.
  • Benoît ROSSIGNOL (ed.), “The triumph of wealth, energy, and opportunism” (R. Syme, Tacitus, Oxford, 1958, p. 608) – Les élites de Narbonnaise de leur cité jusqu’au cœur du pouvoir romain : études de cas et contexte historique, table-ronde publiée in Revue archéologique de Narbonnaise, 49, 2016.
  • Emmanuel ARBABE, La politique des Gaulois. Du peuple à la cité, vie politique et institutions en Gaule Chevelue (IIe siècle avant notre ère-70), Paris, 2017 (lauréat 2018 du prix Augustin Thierry de la ville de Paris).
  • Salem MOKNI, Meriem SEBAÏ (edd.), Institutions municipales en Afrique Proconsulaire. Sources littéraires, épigraphiques et archéologiques, Tunis, 2017.
  • Francis JOANNES, Aline TENU, Philippe CLANCIER, La Mésopotamie : De Gilgamesh à Artaban 3300 – 120 av. J.-C., Paris, 2017.
  • François CHAUSSON, Sylvain DESTEPHEN (edd.), Augusta, Regina, Basilissa. La souveraine à la fin de l’Antiquité et au Moyen Age entre héritages et métamorphoses, Paris, 2018.
  • Gwladys BERNARD, Nec plus ultra – L’Extrême Occident méditerranéen dans l’espace politique romain (218 avant J.-C. – 305 après J.-C.), Madrid, 2018.
  • Josiane BARBIER, François CHAUSSON, Sylvain DESTEPHEN (edd.), Le gouvernement en déplacement. Pouvoir et mobilité de l’Antiquité à nos jours, Rennes, 2019.
  • A. ALVAREZ MELERO, A. ALVAREZ-OSSORTIO RIVAS, G. BERNARD, V. A. TORRES GONZELEZ (edd.), Fretum Hispanicum: Nuevas perspectivas sobre el Estrecho de Gibraltar durante la Antigüedad, Séville, 2019.
    Grégory CHAMBON, Les archives d’Ilu-Kân: gestion et comptabilité du grain dans le palais de Mari, Paris, 2019.
    Maria CECILIA D’ERCOLE, Julien ZURBACH, Naissance de la Grèce. De Minos à Solon 3200 à 510 avant notre ère, Paris, (Editions Belin), 2019
  • Salem MOKNI, D’une Syrte à l’autre, vol. I. : De Syrtis Minor au Golfe de Gabès, une histoire, un patrimoine, Sfax, 2019.
  • Marie DREX-BEAR (ed., avec la collaboration de François CHAUSSON et de Herwig MAEHLER), Les Archives du Conseil Municipal d’Hermoupolis Magna, Vienne (parution en mars 2020), Corpus Papyrorum Raineri XXXV.
  • Baerbel SCHNEGG-KÖHLER (ed., avec la collaboration de François CHAUSSON et de Wolframm SCHNEIDER-LASTIN), Die Inschriften zu den Ludi Saeculares : Acta Ludorum Saecularium, Vienne (parution le 30 avril 2020).