Fachbereich Geschichtswissenschaft
High-profile individual migration between Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity

The project dealt with cases of emigration - both voluntary and forced - between Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity, applying the prosopographical method. Analyzing Greco-Roman as well as Syriac sources the investigation focused on the dynamics of across-the-border interaction between the two states in the sixth century. 

During the war periods, cases of conspiracy and collaboration between these adversaries – the “collusion” were frequent. Initiatives of interactions bypassing the state structures and the formal means of communication often resulted in the defection of high profile individuals. For the times of peace, sources reveal a high degree of relatively free across-the-border mobility happening on the Roman-Persian border. Travelers and migrants, in particular members of the military, political and intellectual elites of Rome and Persia were often crossing the border between the two states. Ctesiphon and Constantinople provided cosmopolitan environments, while the state authorities were often interested – for various, political, military or cultural reasons – to support and sponsor such emigration. 

However, these individual high profile movers were also easily identifiable. Norms of diplomacy and circumstances of international politics could challenge the ‘political hospitality’ of the hosts, exposing migrants to demands of extradition and forced repatriation. 

My research sought to examine the problem of sustainability of emigration, in particular, among the high-profile individuals.


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