“The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation”


22-25 MARCH 2017

Yale University

Organizers: Jan-Willem Drijvers, Noel Lenski




Twelfth Biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference


"The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation"



10:00 Registration begins

1:00-1:20 Welcome

1:30 – 4:00 SESSION 1 (State I) Law, State, and Society in the Fifth Century

Sebastian Schmidt-Hoffner (Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen – Featured Speaker) An Empire of the Best: Antimonarchical discourse and the imperial elite in the 5th c. East

Benet Salway (University College London) The legal and political significance of the publication of the Theodosian Code in the western empire

Hagith Sivan (University of Kansas, Lawrence) The Codification Craze: Why the Fifth Century?

Matthijs Wibier (Università degli Studi di Pavia) Reconsidering the law school in Berytus (and beyond)

Bronwen Neil (Australian Catholic University) Pope Gelasius’ Theory of Law and its Implementation at the End of the Fifth Century

4:00 – 4:30 Refreshment Break

4:30-6:00 SESSION 2: (Identity I) Contests over Cultural and Ethnic Identity

Richard Payne (University of Chicago) The Armenian Rebellion of 451 Reinterpreted: A Eurasian Perspective

Sara Fascione (Università degli Studi di Napoli) Othering in transition: Riothamus, rex Brittonum in fifth-century Gaul

N. Kivilcim Yavuz (University of Copenhagen) Looking Back at the Fifth Century: Revisiting the Origins of the Franks

6:00 – 7:00 Reception sponsored by Archaia: Yale Program for the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies


RALPH MATHISEN (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign) The End of the Western Roman Empire: Barbarian Invasions or Civil Wars?


8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:30 – 10:30 SESSION 3: (Literature I) Letters and Poems

Ed Watts (University of California, San Diego – Featured Speaker) Hypatia in the Letter Collection of Synesius

Felix Maier (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg) Same but different – The innovative character of Claudian’s concept of imperial rule for the fifth century

Gavin Kelly (University of Edinburgh) The nature of Sidonius’s letter collection

Veronika Egetenmeyr (Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel) Barbarians transformed: The construction of Identity in the Epistles of Sidonius Apollinaris
10:30-11:00 Morning Break [Coffee, Tea, and Light Snacks]

11:00 – 12:30 SESSION 4A: (Archaeology I) History and the Material Record

Zeev Weiss (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) Defining Limits in Times of Shifting Borders: Jewish Life in Fifth-Century Palestine

Galit Noga-Banai (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) The Rebuilding of S. Paolo Fuori le mura: An Urban Watershed in the Visual Orientation of Rome towards Jerusalem

Patrick Périn and Bailey Young (Musée d'Archéologie nationale, Paris / Northern Illinois University) Frankish Expansion in Belgica II and beyond through the Reign of Clovis: History and Archaeology

11:00 – 12:30 SESSION 4B: (Environment) Climate and Technology in Transformation

Cam Grey (University of Pennsylvania – Featured Speaker) Climate Change and Agrarian Change: Questions of Scale, Coincidence, and Causality

Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma) Framing the Fifth-Century Climate

Dominic Solly (Open University) A Reexamination of Roman gold mining technology

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch Break

1:30 – 4:00 SESSION 5: (Religion I) Religious Authority and Regionalism in Transformation

Michelle Salzman (University of California, Riverside – Featured Speaker) Title TBA

Maijastina Kahlos (University of Helsinki) Shifting Sacrifices? Fifth-century Developments in Ritual Life

Hartmut Leppin (Goethe University, Frankfurt) Rabbula of Edessa: Asserting Episcopal Authority in a World of Diversity 

Tiggy McLaughlin (University of Michigan) Fifth-Century Church “Reformers” and the Transformation of Christian Practice in Gaul

Jamie Wood (University of Lincoln) Transforming religious authority: Making and breaking bishops in fifth-century Spain and southern Gaul

4:00 – 4:30 Break

4:30 – 6:30 SESSION 6: (Archaeology II) The Archaeology of an Empire in Transformation

Philipp von Rummel (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin – Featured Speaker) Title TBA

Young Richard Kim (Calvin College) The Little Island That Could: Cyprus in the Fifth Century

Annewies Van Den Hoek & John Hermann (Harvard University / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) From Bowls to Lamps: Migration of motifs in African Red Slip ware

Lucy Grig (University of Edinburgh) Society, economy and cultural change in fifth-century Provence: a micro-regional approach

6:30 – 7:30 Reception


KATE COOPER (University of Manchester)


8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:30 – 10:30 SESSION 7A: (Identity II) Identity and Alterity in Fifth Century Religious Contexts

Beatrice Caseau (Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne – Featured Speaker) From ascetics to monastics: Changing perceptions of monks and nuns in legal texts and hagiography

Chrysavgi Athanasiou (Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne) Children and maternal kinship in the Theodosian Code

Julie Kelto Lillis (Trent University) Title TBA

Peter Riedlberger (Otto-Friedrich-Universität, Bamberg) Uses of Alterity: the case of the so-called Donatists 

8:30 – 10:30 SESSION 7B: (State II) Gallic and African Power Structures in Flux

Merle Eisenberg (Princeton University) The Burgundian Revolution and the Transformation of Governance in the Late Antique West

Glendon L. McDorman (Princeton University) War, Hagiography, and the Transformation of Episcopal Authority in the Fifth Century

Marie Roux (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université) Administrative transitions in Gaul during the second half of the fifth century: the example of the Visigothic Kingdom through the Breviary of Alaric

Paolo Tedesco (University of Notre Dame / Austrian Academy of Sciences) State Formation and Economic Revival in Vandal Africa 440-540 CE

10:30-11:00 Morning Break [Coffee, Tea, and Light Breakfast Foods]

11:00-12:30 SESSION 8: (State III) Rulership in an Age of Transformation

Sarah Bühler (Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen) Maintaining an Empire in Times of Crisis: The Early Years of the Reign of Valentinian III

Meaghan McEvoy (Macquarie University, Sydney) Leo II, Zeno and the transfer of Roman imperial rule from a son to his father in 474 AD

Hans-Ulrich Wiemer (Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen) From Odovacar to Theoderic: merely a change of personnel?

12:30 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 SESSION 9B: (Archaeology III) Sites of Transformation: The Archaeology of the Fifth Century

Anna Flückiger (Universität Basel) Blind Dating: Towards a Chronology of Fifth-Century Material Culture in Augusta Raurica

Gloriana Pace (Università degli Studi di Pisa) Aiano - Torraccia di Chiusi (San Gimignano, Siena): a Roman villa in Central Italy during Late Antiquity (4th - 5th c. AD)

Raymond Brulet (Université de Louvain) Tournai: L’enjeu politique d’une ville au Ve siècle entre survie et installation du pouvoir franc

2:00 – 3:30 SESSION 9B: (Identity II) Understandings of Authority

Hajnalka Tamas (University of Exeter) From Prosecutor to Arbitrator of Orthodoxy 

Danielle Reid (Cornell University) Court and Coin: The Roman Imperial Image of Theoderic the Great

Lennart Lehmhaus (Freie Universität Berlin) Transfer and Transformation: knowledge, tradition and authority in the Talmudic century

3:30 – 4:00 Break

4:00 – 5:30 SESSION 10: (State III) Collective Assemblies and Shifting Loci of Power

John Weisweiler (University of Maryland, College Park) The Domestication of the Senate, the Rise of the Peasantry and the Fall of the Roman Empire

Christian R. Raschle (Université de Montréal) Representative government in the fifth century: the provincial assemblies

Daniëlle Slootjes (Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen) Administrative and/or church units? On the meaning of dioceses in the fifth century A.D.

7:00 Shifting Frontiers XII Conference Banquet


8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:30 – 10:30 SESSION 11: (Religion II) Money, Law, and Knowledge in the Transformation of Religion

Spyridon Loumakis (Concordia University, Montreal) Antilytron: Paying Ransom in Exchange for Salvation

Maria Doerfler (Yale University) Lives and afterlives: Changing visions of souls and their ransoms in fifth century Syriac Christianity

Tomasso Mari (Otto-Friedrich-Universität, Bamberg) “On account of the difference of language”: Greek, Latin, translation and re-translation in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451)

Christopher Beeley (Yale University) The Chalcedonian Coup

10:30 – 11:00 Morning Break

11:00 – 1:00 SESSION 12: (Literature II) Continuity and Change in Genre and Metaphor

Aaron Johnson (Lee University) Apologetics for a New World?  Cyril and Theodoret’s Transformation of a Genre

Paola Moretti (Università degli Studi di Milano) Pompeius’ commentary on Donatus’ Ars: the hard task of being a grammarian during an age of changes

Shane Bjornlie (Claremont McKenna College) The Sack of Rome in 410 as histoire imaginaire

Jason Moralee (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) The Anatomy of an Anecdote: 455, Geiseric, and the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus

1:00 – 2:30 Farewell Lunch - Meeting of the Society for Late Antiquity

2:30 – 5:00 Tour of Yale Museums