DATE2019-01-08 12:44:22
AUTHORSJohn Haldon (1)|Neil Roberts (2)|Adam Izdebski (3)|Dominik Fleitmann (4)|Michael McCormick (5)|Marica Cassis (6)|Owen Doonan (7)|Warren Eastwood (8)|Hugh Elton (9)|Sabine Ladstätter (10)|Sturt Manning (11)|James Newhard (12)|Kathleen Nichol (13)|Ioannes Telelis (14)|Elena Xoplaki (15)
  1. History Department, Princeton University, Princeton, USA
  2. School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
  3. Institute of History, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Krakow, Poland
  4. Department of Archaeology, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  5. Department of History, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
  6. History Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada
  7. Department Of Art, California State University, Northridge, USA
  8. School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  9. Department of Ancient History and Classics, Trent University, Ontario, Canada
  10. Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, Vienna, Austria
  11. Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology, Cornell Tree-Ring Laboratory, Cornell University, USA
  12. Department of Classics, College of Charleston, USA
  13. Department of Geography, University of Utah, USA
  14. Research Center for Greek and Latin Literature, Academy of Athens, Greece
  15. Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate Change, Department of Geography, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany
ABSTRACTWhat was the role of climate change in the evolution of human society? The present contribution is intended to take up some of the challenges raised in the course of recent discussions on the role of climate and the environment in the history of Roman and early medieval Europe that make a significant contribution to the debate on the role of environmental factors in the evolution of human society. Anatolia was for several centuries the heart of the medieval eastern Roman empire, and the integration of high-resolution archaeological, textual and environmental data with longer-term low-resolution palaeo-environmental data affords greater precision in identifying some of the causal relationships underlying societal change. This regional focus ensures spatial congruence between the various lines of evidence in order to analyse the causal relationships between human activity, environmental change and the transformation of social, economic and political structures. The Anatolian case challenges a number of assumptions about the impact of climatic factors on socio-political organization and medium-term historical evolution. In particular, the study raises the question of how the environmental conditions of the later seventh and eighth centuries CE impacted upon the ways in which the eastern Roman Empire was able to weather the storm of the initial Arab-Islamic raids and invasions of the period ca. 650-740 or, following the subsequent recovery of the Empire in the tenth century, the arrival of Turkish nomads that appears to coincide with a sudden downturn in rural agrarian activities, especially on the central Anatolian plateau and around its fringes. Such shifts, observable in the palaeo-environmental as well as the archaeological and historical data, reflect a complex interaction of anthropogenic and natural factors. In thus promoting further collaboration among historians, archaeologists and climate scientists, it is argued that a better understanding and a more effective interrogation of the relationship between environment, society and historical change can be achieved. Haldon, J. et al., (2014, in press) Journal of Interdisciplinary History.