B-I-2 Fuzzy Borders

Friederike Fless, Stefan Esders


The Research Group »Fuzzy Borders« investigates the diverse qualities of borders and boundaries in antiquity as well as corpuses of knowledge which are effective in shaping the spatial design of borders. Its primary focus is on border zones and on the kind of indistinct, fuzzy borderlines which become visible and describable only against the background of concrete forms of delimitation. Our research activities are divided into two project groups, the first concerned with the formation and linear definition of borders, for example in the form of town walls, the second concerned with their dissolution and with border zones. The group is affiliated through Silke Müth and Peter Schneider with the DFG network of younger researchers entitled »Fokus Fortifikation,« which is preoccupied with town walls and fortifications in the eastern Mediterranean region. Incorporated into Research Area B (»Mechanisms of Control and Social Spaces«), the project is designed to provide a foundation for an improved understanding of the organization of social groups and of states through an examination of their external borders. We are also interested, finally, in instances where definitions of external borders are renounced altogether and states are organized from the center toward outer margins, for example, with the ›edge‹ of a given territory remaining undefined. Investigated on the basis of archaeological finds and textual sources are transboundary social relationships, whose significance for the transfer of knowledge currently forms the substance of discussions within our research group.

Keywords: Borders • Border Zones • Border Markings • Border Inscriptions • Town Walls • Fortifications • Border Peoples



Borders; Border Zones; Border Markings; Border Inscriptions; Town Walls; Fortifications; Border Peoples; Ritual; Expert Knowledge; Roman Military


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eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies (ISSN 2192-2608)