Towns and Cities

Helen Saradi

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Towns and Cities

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The enormous network of cities and towns of the Roman Empire also became important fixtures of Byzantium, forming centres of urban civilization and the basis of intense economic activity. In the early years of the Byzantine Empire until the last quarter of the sixth century, urban life flourished and the population in cities and in rural communities increased, with the exception of the northern Balkan peninsula. This period also witnessed the empire's profound transformation in the areas of religion, culture, and administration. One of the dramatic changes was the Christianization of the cities and the Church's creation of its own institutions including martyria, basilicas, and monasteries that replaced the pagan temples. Byzantium broke free from the antique Graeco-Roman tradition and adopted a new medieval model of the city with strong military and Christian elements. From the ninth century, and perhaps already from the late eighth century, Byzantine cities enjoyed an economic revival.

Keywords: cities; towns; Byzantium; Byzantine Empire; religion; culture; administration; economic revival; Christianization

Article.  4913 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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