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Michael R. Maas
Rice University (New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8559)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2011

Roman Imperial Ethnography and the End of Antiquity

How the classical age of the Mediterranean world drew to a close is one of the great historical themes in the western humanistic tradition. Roman Imperial Ethnography and the End of Antiquity approaches the problem from a fresh angle by considering how the changes in the ethnographic categories of inclusion and exclusion within the Roman Empire changed during the period of Late Antiquity (ca. 250-700 C.E.), when Roman rule in western Europe ended, Byzantine society emerged, and finally Islam reshaped the Mediterranean map. In the midst of these dramatic transformations Romans produced a vigorous new Christian vision of the world and its peoples that fundamentally altered the character of imperial society. We are the direct heirs of this new ethnography, which laid the foundation upon which later Europeans constructed much of their worldview and which has supplied many of the analytic categories and legends of origin with which modern nations legitimize their existence.