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Technology And Ideas: Architects And Master-Builders In The Early Byzantine World

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Chapter Summary

Eastern literary and epigraphic sources from the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. mention several architects/engineers in the service of the imperial court at Constantinople. They give us an idea of the scientific knowledge, technical expertise and social status of these men. A larger group of architects and master-builders are also attested. They operated mainly in a lower-key, local context, but they also moved abroad to answer the requests of patrons. A comparison between the written sources and archaeology allows us to reconstruct some examples of the mobility of people and ideas, and to advance some hypotheses about the development of building material culture in the late antique eastern Mediterranean world. In contrast to the Roman texts, in which overt references to architects are scarce, Early Byzantine sources report a relatively long list of ?intermediate? architects who, although not Constantinopolitan geniuses, were not simple master-builders either.

Keywords: architects; Constantinople; Early Byzantine; eastern Mediterranean world; epigraphic sources; master-builders; Roman

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