Impact of Climate Change

An article on ‘The impact of climate change on the agriculture and the economy of Southern Gaul: New perspectives of agent-based modelling’ by Nicolas Bernigaud et al. was published online in PLoS One 2024, 19(3), e0298895. It tentatively confirms, among other things, the decline in agricultural profitability in Late Antiquity due to deteriorating climatic conditions.


What impact did the Roman Climate Optimum (RCO) and the Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA) have on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire? Our article presents an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach developed to evaluate the impact of climate change on the profitability of vineyards, olive groves, and grain farms in Southern Gaul, which were the main source of wealth in the roman period. This ABM simulates an agroecosystem model which processes potential agricultural yield values from paleoclimatic data. The model calculates the revenues made by agricultural exploitations from the sale of crops whose annual volumes vary according to climate and market prices. The potential profits made by the different agricultural exploitations are calculated by deducting from the income the operating and transportation costs. We conclude that the warm and wet climate of the Roman period may have had an extremely beneficial effect on the profitability of wine and olive farms between the 2nd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, but a more modest effect on grain production. Subsequently, there is a significant decrease in the potential profitability of farms during the Late Antique Little Ice Age (4th-7th century CE). Comparing the results of our model with archaeological data enables us to discuss the impact of these climatic fluctuations on the agricultural and economic growth, and then their subsequent recession in Southern Gaul from the beginning to the end of antiquity.

Grig on Popular Culture

Lucy Grig has put out Popular Culture and the End of Antiquity in Southern Gaul, c. 400–550, Cambridge: CUP.

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1 Introduction: Popular Culture and the Study of (Late) Ancient History 1
2 Urban Contexts for Popular Culture in an Age of Transformation 36
3 Popular Culture, Society and Economy: The Countryside in Transition in Late Antiquity 73
4 Christianizing Popular Culture: The View ‘from the Pulpit’ 110
5 An Alternative View: Lived Religion As Popular Culture 144
6 The Kalends of January: The Persistence of Popular Culture 173
7 Conclusions: Popular Culture and the End of Antiquity? 219

Starostin on Late Antique Chronology

Dmitry Starostin writes on ‘Astronomical Cycles and Late Antique Chronology’ in arXiv:2403.03682 [physics.hist-ph], 6 March 2024, 24 pp.

Access via arXiv

Heightened eschatological sensitivity is in evidence among the historians writing in the 5th century caused by the irregularities of the lunisolar calendar and its particular realization, the Easter calendar. Crucial years include 410, 467 and 476. Sidonius on p. 13.

Jeweled Materiality of Objects and Texts

Call for Papers. Deadline 30 April 2024

The Jeweled Materiality of Late Antique/Early Medieval Objects and Texts From Cloisonné to Stained Glass to Experimental Poetry (4th–9th Centuries)

International conference, November 11–12, 2024
Center for Early Medieval Studies, Masaryk University, Brno
Organizers: Alberto Virdis, Marie Okáčová

The interface among the material, visual, and literary cultures of the long late antiquity and beyond has become a topic of scholarly interest ever since the publication of the seminal 1989 book The Jeweled Style by Michael Roberts. The visual–verbal dialectics of this period of geopolitical and cultural transformation, as manifested in various instances of spoliation, patterns of fragmentation, and a preoccupation with (exquisite) detail in different cultural media, were subsequently studied especially by Jaś Elsner and Jesús Hernández Lobato. The topical relevance of Roberts’ original concept more than 30 years after its invention is clear from, among other scholarly endeavors, the recent edited volume A Late Antique Poetics? The Jeweled Style Revisited (2023), which offers numerous insightful contributions on the topic across different genres, regions, and temporal contexts.

Read on via ResearchGate

Reception of Apuleius in Fifth-Century Gaul

The University of Bari is hiring a post-doctoral researcher for the project ‘Tradition and reception of Apuleius’ works in fifth-century Gaul’, with particular attention to Sidonius.

Advertisement here. Applications before 23 March 2024.

‘During the research period, the postdoctoral fellow will be required to trace an articulate picture of the reception and transmission of Apuleius’ texts in fifth-century Gaul. In particular, the research will concern the mentions of Apuleius and his literary output throughout the corpus of Sidonius Apollinaris. Although there is a consensus that he was read and appreciated by Apollinaris and his learned friends (notably Claudianus Mamertus), it is only through an exegesis of Sidonius’ Carmina and Letters that it will be possible to shed light on the linguistic and stylistic reception of Apuleius in the works of Sidonius and his literary circle of friends.’