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Daily life in changing times. The agency of ordinary people in Late Antiquity

When:Fr 21-10-2022
Where:University of Amsterdam, Bushuis E1.01E

An activity of the research group Cities and Settlements in the Ancient World, in cooperation with Late Antiquity and Byzantine Studies. Organised by Sofie Remijsen and Daniëlle Slootjes.


While major changes unfolded in the late-antique Mediterranean, life in cities and villages went on. Despite major regime changes, the arrival of new people or shifts in the (local) religious landscape, the inhabitants of the cities and villages were in their daily lives still faced with the same questions of how to feed their families and to protect them from visible and invisible threats. The ways they did so, show not only the impact of the big historical processes on their daily lives, but also their active participation in the shaping of a new world.

This workshop aims to counter the top-down perspective that often seems inevitable in the study of large-scale historical changes. Rather than looking at the role of civil, military and religious leaders, it aims to foreground the role of ‘ordinary people’ in urban and rural communities, that is the large group of individuals ranging from local patrons and clergymen to men and women without education or position of power. How did the big historical processes of Late Antiquity affect the daily life of these people? And can we to trace the agency of ordinary people to enact change in the sources?


welcome and coffee from 10h00

10h30-11h15: Lucinda Dirven: Reconstructing lived religion in late antique Egypt and Syria. Problems, Possibilities, Projects

11h15-12h00: Patricia Kret: Using amulets to cope with life. Religious change and the (dis)continuation of amulets in Late Antiquity


13h15-14h00: Sofie Remijsen: Lived Time: Coping with change by means of temporal practices

14h00-14h45: Kay Boers: Navigating the Agency of Postclassical Citizens, 150 - 750 CE


15h15-16h00: Mike Flohr: Making sense of silence? Tabernae in later antiquity

16h00-16h45: Stijn Heeren: From Germania inferior to Germania secunda and beyond. Urban collapse, rural depopulation and the agency of new immigrant communities in the Late Antique northwest frontier (3rd to 6th century)


Please register with s.m.j.remijsen if you wish to attend.