Islamic Antioch: A History of a Medieval City from the Fifth to Fifteenth Centuries


ACLS Fellowship Program




Western civilization survey courses still follow an entrenched assumption: “Western” culture manifested in the great classical cities of the Greek and Roman periods in the Mediterranean and when they declined, achievements in art, economics, and social organization transferred to medieval Europe. However, post-Roman Islamic cities played a crucial role in shaping both European and Islamic cultures. This project is a study of Antioch, the most significant city of the eastern Mediterranean, but also the least understood. It focuses on Antioch’s built environment and the city’s evolution by integrating material evidence from museums worldwide, archival sources, and newer archaeological and text-based studies to present an interdisciplinary narrative about the city after the Roman period. Studying the afterlife of Roman Antioch can erase the ideological disassociations of modern Western societies with their Islamic pasts and create real links that better show the gradual fluidity of urban and social transformations.