At the Center and the Periphery of Lusitania: The Evolution of the City of Egitania and its Territory (4th -8th centuries)

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Abstract

The Suevic-Visigothic episcopal city of Egitania (Idanha-a-Velha, Portugal), erected over the Roman city of Civitas Igaeditanorum, was located at the heart of the old Roman province of Lusitania. Yet, this space has been considered by scholars as secondary in the general context of the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman and Suevic-Visigothic periods (4th-8th centuries). The textual and archaeological records together allow a general reconstruction of the evolution of the city during those centuries, but detailed conclusions remain elusive due to our poor knowledge of the urban and rural inhabitants of Egitania. This subsequently prevents a clearer understanding of the social, economic and cultural dynamics of the city and its territory, which so far have not been sufficiently studied in tandem.

The following essay merges these disparate historiographical themes into a synthetic thesis. This research is twofold. First, I attempt to elicit a solid basis of historical information by analyzing the main lines of general evolution of the city and the broad interactions of the urban community of Egitania. Second, I examine rural communities, paying special attention to the analysis of how they relate to the city and to each other. This methodology is based on the research carried out on Emerita (Mérida, Spain), capital of the Roman province of Lusitania and, later, of the Diocesis Hispaniarum. In this case, the landscape between the fourth and eighth centuries was structured by the superposition of administrative, economic, ecclesiastical and social networks that would unite the city with its territory. Thus, although recognizing that the city-territory relationship would have been variable in each region of the Iberian Peninsula, it seems fair to employ this epistemological model for analyzing Egitania.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-111
Number of pages23
JournalVisigothic Symposia
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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