The invention of history in the later Roman world. The conversion of Isauria in the life of conon

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Abstract

The historiography of the later Roman Empire has emphasised the centripetal results of Christianisation, in which the new religion completed the earlier Hellenisation and destroyed independent languages, histories and notions of identity in Anatolia and much of Syria. However, the discourse of ethnic origins, drawn from Christian stories as well as the Classical past, allowed different kinds of cultural independence to survive this process on the edges of the Empire. While more famous cases are provided by the Armenians, Suryoye and Goths, here I examine an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at historical invention and cultural independence, that of the Isaurians from the end of the fifth century. I begin by discussing the stereotypes employed by a Roman élite to distinguish themselves from 'barbarians', both within and outside the empire, before examining the attempts of Isaurians to contest this in history and hagiography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalAnatolian Studies
Volume59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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