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Slavery in Late Antiquity

Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder, Fellow 2009–2010

My project involves the composition of a monograph on the development of slavery in the late antique period (third–seventh centuries) in both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. I am grateful to Dumbarton Oaks for allowing me to make great progress on this and several other undertakings.

I came with several different projects in tow and spent the first half of the fellowship working on these. This resulted in the following:

  1. completion of an article on the Tyche medallions minted on the occasion of the foundation of Constantinople in 330.
  2. completion of one chapter for a monograph on Constantine which I hope to finish in summer 2010. I chose to write the chapter at Dumbarton Oaks because it was directly related to the Tyche article. It traces pagan elements in the foundation of the new capital.
  3. completion of three chapters and supporting materials (maps, timelines, glossaries, family trees, art captions) for a coauthored textbook of Roman history to appear with Oxford University Press next fall.
  4. completion of a translation of the seventh book of the Justinianic Code, my contribution to another coauthored publication to appear with Cambridge University Press.

In the spring I worked almost exclusively on the slavery project and accomplished the following:

  1. transfer of data on the subject from my extensive preexisting Word files into a searchable database.
  2. completion of a review of a book on Byzantine slavery.
  3. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in the Novels of Justinian, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.
  4. completion and delivery of an academic paper on slavery in Frankish Gaul, which will appear as one of the chapters of the book.

During this period, I have also expended great effort gathering further primary sources and secondary studies, assimilating these, and entering them into my database. This is a massive project for which the unparalleled library resources at Dumbarton Oaks have been immensely helpful. I am fortunate to have one more year of fellowship during which time I hope to finish the monograph.