Propylaeum Blog

29.08.-01.09.2022: The End of the Roman Climate Optimum and the Disintegration of the Roman Empire

Avatar of Dorothée Grieb Dorothée Grieb - 27. Juli 2022 - Veranstaltungen

International Conference
Institute of Ancient History, University of Basel

Palaeoclimatologists believe to have identified a period of unusually warm and humid weather in Europe and the Mediterranean that expanded from roughly 200 BCE to 150 CE, which they called the "Roman Climate Optimum" or the "Roman warm period". Some historians have linked this overall perseverance of unusually stable and favorable climatic conditions to the expansion of the Roman Empire to its greatest height, and argue that these predominantly warm and humid conditions in large parts of the Empire enabled the delivery of sufficient supply to the growing urban population around the Mediterranean and to the Roman army.

This international conference organized within the frame of the SNSF-Project "The Roman Egypt Laboratory: Climate, Change, Societal Transformations, and the Transition to Late Antiquity" (PI: Sabine Huebner) will be the first that is specifically devoted to the notion of a Roman Climate Optimum and its impact on the fate of the Roman Empire. The conference will examine the implications of a Roman Climate Optimum for writing Roman environmental, political, social and economic history, and will bring climate scientists, ancient historians and environmental archaeologists around one table. Special emphasis will be placed on the challenges of a collaboration between ancient historians, archaeologists and palaeoclimatologists, the methodological diffculties in distinguishing between correlation and causality, and methods of assessing the impact of climatic variability or change on ancient societies without oversimplifying causal connections.

View program and further information

Conference Location: Hotel Ofenhorn, Ackerstrasse 1, 3966 Binn, Switzerland

Attendance via Zoom is possible, please register with Sabine Huebner to receive the link:

Organizer: Sabine R. Huebner, Institute of Ancient History, Department of Ancient Civilizations, University of Basel

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