Across the River
Across the River
Romanized “Barbarians” and Barbarized “Romans” on the Edge of the Empire (Third–Sixth Centuries CE)
The author seeks to contribute to the field of frontier studies with bioarchaeological data, in the hopes of understanding how living in relative proximity, but under different sociopolitical organizations, may affect health. The goal of this research is to examine differences in overall health between two groups that have been characterized in the literature as “Romans” and “barbarians.” The research uses skeletal remains to address how the daily life of people under Roman-Byzantine control compared to that of their neighbors, the “barbarians” to the north. Comparing two contemporaneous populations from the territory of modern Romania—and dating from the third to the sixth centuries CE—the study examines health status and traumatic injuries. One collection comes from the territory under Roman-Byzantine control, the site of Ibida (Slava Rusă) from the Roman province of Scythia Minor, and the other originates from the Târgşor site, located to the north of the Danube frontier, in what was considered the “barbaricum.” Separated by a definite frontier, the Danube River, meant to (at least ideologically) segregate them to their divided worlds, these populations might have been more interconnected than the carefully promulgated imperial doctrine would have us believe.
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