Scale and the Study of Late Antiquity


June 3-5, 2021

Ohio State University

Organizer: Kristina Sessa




14th Biennial Meeting of Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference

June 3-5, 2021

Scale and the Study of Late Antiquity




9:30 – Welcome and Introduction to the Conference (Kristina Sessa, The Ohio State University)


Session One: Agriculture, the Environment, and Trade


Chair: Ellen Arnold (Ohio Wesleyan University)


10:00-10:30: Kostas Roussos (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Foundation for

Research and Technology, Hellas), “Ports and Harbors of Crete as Parts of Micro- and Macro-scale Networks between the 4th and 8th Centuries”


10:30-11:00: Haggai Olshanetsky (Bar-Ilan University) and Lev Cosijns (University of Oxford), “Timing and Measuring the Decline and Fall of the Agricultural Settlements in the Negev Desert as an Indicator of the Scale and Impact of the Justinianic Plague and



11:00-11:30: Hugh Elton (Trent University), John Haldon (Princeton University), and

James Newhard (College of Charleston), “Feeding Constantinople: from Farm to Capital”


11:30-12:00: Uiran Gebara (Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco), “Late Roman Rural Communities and Scale: the Colonate as Micro-Spatial History”


Session Two: The Economy


Chair: Kevin Uhalde (Ohio University)


12:30-1:00: Elizabeth Buchanan (University of Findlay), “Examining the Use of Credit in

Late Antique Egypt using a Micro Scale Approach”


1:00-1:30: Noel Lenksi (Yale University), “Late Antique Slave Prices - a Scalar Approach”


1:30-2:00: Alan Stahl (Princeton University), Mark Pyzyk (Princeton University), and

Lee Mordechai (Hebrew University), “FLAME: Framing the Late Antique to Medieval Transition through Coin Data”


First Keynote Address


2:30: Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California), “Architectural Timescales”




Session Three: Bureaucracy and Administration


Chair: Marion Kruse (University of Cincinnati)


9:30-10:00: Robin Whelan (University of Liverpool), “Quantification and Qualification: Revisiting the Christianization of the Late Roman Bureaucracy”


10:00-10:30: William Bunce (University of Oxford), “Scaling Up or Zooming in? Access to Law in Late Antiquity”


10:30-11:00:  Ralph Mathisen (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), “Propagator imperii: The Scale of Empire”


Session Four: Scale and the Study of Plague (Panel)


Chair: David Brakke (The Ohio State University)


11:30-12:30: Merle Eisenberg (National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center), Janet

Kay (Princeton University), Lee Mordechai (Hebrew University), and Tim Newfield

(Georgetown University), “The Justinianic Plague: From Macro to Micro and Back Again”


Session Five: Letters and Literature


Chair: Jaclyn Maxwell (Ohio University)


1:00-1:30pm: Becca Grose (University of Reading), “Avitus of Vienne, Amid and

Against the Crowd: Scale, Social Network Analysis, and Shifting the Focus in the Epistolary Relationships of Avitus of Vienne”


1:30-2:00: Hope Williard (University of Lincoln), “Letter Carriers and the Scale of

Communication in the Late Antique Mediterranean”


2:00-2:30: Erin Walsh (University of Chicago), “Salvation at the (Micro)Cosmic Scale: The Imperiled Self in the Poetry of Narsai”


Second Keynote Address 


3:00: Mike Chin (University of California at Davis), “This Will Be a Little Ridiculous:

History, Scale, and Play”




Session Six: Religious Communities


Chair: Fritz Graf (The Ohio State University)


10:00-10:30: Arik Avdokhin (HSE University, Moscow), “Large-Scale vs. Close-Up?

The (In)visibility of Christian Ideas and Language in the Urban Epigraphy of Late

Antique Asia Minor”


10:30-11:00: James Duncan (University of Liverpool), “The Scale of Christianity in Arnobius of Sicca: Ethnic Discourse and the Continuity of Group Identity Construction during the Diocletianic Persecution”


11:00-11:30: Colin Behrens (Cornell University), “Problem Definition and Scale

Jumping in the Priscillianist Controversy”


11:30-12:00: Emanuel Fiano (Fordham University), “Voice Scales: Citational Devices and the Emergence of Orthodox Subjectivity in the Discourses of Shenoute of Atripe”


Session Seven: Science and Material Culture


Chair: Maia Kotrosits (Denison University)


12:30-1:00: Dmitry Starostin (Saint Petersburg State University), “The Scales of Time:

Christian Time-Reckoning and the Problems of Astronomical Precession”


1:00-1:30: Anne Chen (Yale University), “Facing East and West: Scaling Tetrarchic Portrait Style”


1:30-2:00: Hallie Meredith (Washington State University), “Purposefully Corrupted

Replication as a Form of Cross-Cultural Expression: A New Approach to a Nonsensical Inscription on a mid-sixth AD Century Pectoral”


2:00-2:30: Dina Boero (The College of New Jersey), “Who Built Qal‘at Sim‘an?”


2:45: Business Meeting for Society for Late Antiquity/Shifting Frontiers