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Research on Sources Relating to the Topography of Ancient Antioch in Syria

Catherine Saliou, Université de Paris 8, Summer Fellow 2009

The aim of my project is to assemble and analyze textual sources that allude to or deal with the topography and urban landscape of ancient Antioch in Syria in order to prepare the way for a topographic dictionary of the city and to study the relationship between urban space, urban identity, and collective memory. Due to the historical importance of the city, the sources are so rich that in 1839, C. O. Müller was able to draw a map of the city based on these documents alone. An impressive amount of work on the topography of ancient Antioch was done by Glanville Downey in his book published in 1961 and in his numerous papers. However, some of his conclusions are questionable or false. Consequently, a complete revision of Downey's work, through a critical and systematic study of the sources, is required. Essential antique sources include the works of Libanios, the ecclesiastical historians, the historical works of Procopius, the Chronography of Malalas, and a number of hagiographical texts. Medieval sources are also very important, not only for knowledge of the topography of the city in medieval times, but also for a better understanding of the development of urban narratives. My fellowship gave me the opportunity to improve my knowledge of the sources and to write two articles devoted to the names given to the mountain that rises above the city of Antioch (to be published in Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph), and to the textual evidence relating to the palace district.