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The Urban Space of Antioch-on-the-Orontes, 638–1268

Bernd Andreas Vest, Fellow 2017–2018

I reassessed and reexamined the written sources on the medieval history of Syrian Antioch-on-the-Orontes from the time of its Arab-Muslim conquest until the city’s destruction in 1268, focusing on Antioch’s historical topography and urban landscape. I took into consideration not only the Greek, Latin, Old French, and Arabic but also the Syriac, Armenian, and other sources to contribute to the discourse on the city’s history and archaeology, the construction of its urban identity, and the “vision” of Antioch. The project could not be completed in an academic year, so I dedicated the lion’s share of my time to compiling as much material as possible. This consists of every mention of single buildings (notably churches, palaces, the walls, single gates, and single houses), buildings mentioned collectively (like houses and gates in general), and topographical features like city quarters, gardens, streets, wells, ovens, and even some artifacts closely connected with these. This includes information regarding the erection or destruction of buildings and their use, their buying, selling, renting, renovation, and so on. Special emphasis has been given to Antioch’s church buildings. After collecting material from a great variety of sources, I formed a consistent chronological account of all the available data.