Department of History



Call for Papers: International Conference - Migration and Mobility across the Roman-Persian frontier, 3rd-7th c. A.D

Tübingen University, Germany December 13-15, 2018

We would like to invite historians and archaeologists to submit proposals for papers to be delivered at a two-day conference (December 13-15, 2018) at the University of Tübingen on migration and mobility across the Roman-Persian frontier in Late Antiquity.

The conference will be organised by Ekaterina Nechaeva and Alexander Sarantis as a part of the research activities of the DFG (German Research Foundation) Centre for Advanced Studies Project on Migration and Mobility in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages Project (Directors: Mischa Meier, Steffen Patzold and Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner).

While studies of cross-frontier migration in Late Antiquity tend to focus on the northern Rhine and Danube frontiers, the Roman-Persian frontier, running from the Transcaucasian Black Sea coast to the Syrian Desert, also witnessed regular population movements. Whereas the former concentrate mainly on the long-term migration into the empire of groups of ‘barbarians’, recent social scientific models include a greater variety of types of migration and mobility which can be applied to more flexible discussions of this topic in Late Antiquity. Indeed, where the Near Eastern Roman-Persian frontier was concerned, a wide array of population movements took place, into as well as out of the Eastern Roman empire. Some of these movements could be temporary (whether recurrent or not), others permanent, some voluntary, others involuntary (including forced/coerced migration), some sponsored or controlled by the state, others driven by migrants’ aims. Involving large communities, smaller groups, or individuals, this mobility could result from political, cultural or economic contexts. Studying these various types of migration and mobility can in turn provide multiple insights into socio-economic and political conditions and cultural trends in the Roman and Sasanian Persian empires, in particular, in communities on both sides of the frontier in the Near East. It will also offer a fresh perspective on Roman-Sasanian Persian political relations.

Geographical scope

Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia and Lazica, Sasanian Persia

Themes concerning migration and mobility across the Roman-Persian frontier

Individual case studies and longer-term, macro regional patterns

Movements of armies

Diplomatic exchanges

Professional mobility

Mobility and economic exchange

Mobility and religious and cultural exchanges

Forced migration/population movements

Migration driven by religious or political persecution

Return (voluntary and forced) of migrants

Exit and entry policies (mobility and state security)

Reactions to migration and mobility (state and society)

Wider contexts/explanatory frameworks (papers dealing with wider contexts could also discuss other, especially borderland, regions in Late Antiquity)

Settlement patterns, communications and natural landscapes

Environmental/climatic conditions

Socio-economic context

State control/administration (centre-periphery relations)

Cultural/religious life and institutions

Great power war and diplomacy

Military mobility

Legal framework (status of migrants, deserters, refugees, displaced people etc.)

Modern anthropological models


Abstracts of ca. 300 words should be submitted with a CV to

luisa.luizspam by 1st July 2018

Decision notification

Speakers will be contacted with the decision of the review panel by 1st August 2018


Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered