Fachbereich Geschichtswissenschaft

In recent decades the study of Late Antiquity has experienced a boost with a variety of research topics covered and innovative approaches employed. Especially rich and thought-provoking has proven to be the topic of migrations, given that the phenomenon is socio-politically relevant for the contemporary world as well, and has an ideologically charged quality in terms of how the origins of modern European nation-states has been imagined. The  research will be twofold. One research avenue will be focused on the study of a late Roman ecclesiastical writer whose life and experiences are in themselves a testimony to various aspects of human mobility in Late Antiquity: St Jerome of Stridon. The other research avenue will be focused on late Roman codes and legal compilations (Codex Theodosianus, Leges novellae, Codex Iustinianus, Iustiniani Digesta, Iustiniani Novellae). St Jerome's works, especially his epistles, as well as the late Roman laws will be analyzed in relation to their usefulness for the study of late antique migrations and human mobility. The research’s principal goal is to explore the selected literary sources on several levels, that is, the research seeks to answer the following interrelated research questions: what kind of information and in what contexts with regard to migrations and human mobility the selected literary sources offer; how these information correspond to and/or improve what is known about migrations and human mobility in Late Antiquity, i.e. how they can be used to reconstruct and explain these phenomena; how migrations and human mobility are perceived and presented; how the images of migrations and human mobility are employed for specific purposes. Two basic types of mobility as a point of departure will be considered: internal and external mobility, with relevant subsets pertaining to the selected source material. The exploration will include the discourses of power and social control, as well as the concept of connectivity in terms of social agency, i.e. activity of human actors in constructing networks of communication that can support and sustain mobility. With regard to the imagological aspect of the research, a particular attention will be given to the concept of alterity. Concretely, the notion of otherness (in socio-anthropological sense) will be employed to elucidate the reaction to various instances and contexts of migration and mobility. The exploration is also intended to be gender sensitive, i.e. it will take into account examples of female mobility. The research should result in a multilayered reconstruction how an ecclesiastical writer understood, perceived and presented various aspects of migration and human mobility in the late antique context, as well as how these phenomena were met and presented in late Roman legal documents, and in what manner attempted to be controlled by state authorities. The research is intent to enhance our knowledge of various aspects of migrations and human mobility in Late Antiquity with special emphasis on how these phenomena were understood and imagined at the time in question, which has not been sufficiently explored. The significance and innovation of the research consists in taking new avenues and novel approaches to the question of migrations and human mobility in Late Antiquity.

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