Martin Harrison traveled widely in Asia Minor from his youth onward, and he was always fascinated by the questions of how and why the great and elegant cities of classical antiquity declined, and what happened to the descendants of the people who lived in them. Over nearly forty years he returned again and again to remote Lycia, where the ruins of monasteries and churches, villages, hamlets, and towns remained largely inaccessible and unexplored. His interest eventually led him to undertake the excavation of the Phrygian city of Amorium, whose importance became greater as the classical cities declined. At its peak it was considered second only to Byzantium, until it fell to the Arab invasions.
The present study is the fruit of years of excavation and research by the author. The manuscript was largely sketched out when Martin Harrison unexpectedly passed away, and the volume has been finished and prepared for press by his long-time assistant Wendy Young, with further guidance from friends and colleagues with whom he had discussed the project.
The resulting volume explores Martin Harrison's belief that the coastal cities of Lycia declined after the fifth century C.E., and that smaller settlements (monasteries, villages, and towns) appeared in the mountains and further inland. In addition he considered that there was a demographic shift of masons and sculptors from the cities to serve these new settlements. This beautifully illustrated study provides convincing evidence from architecture, sculpture, and inscriptional sources to support this theory. It also contains a description of Amorium in Phrygia, as revealed in survey and excavation seasons from 1987 until the author's untimely death half a dozen years later. The volume includes a preface by Stephen Hill and an appendix by Michael Ballance and Charlotte Roueché on three special inscriptions from Ovacik.
The volume will be of interest to historians of the Near East and classical antiquity, to archaeologists, and to students of architectural history.
Martin Harrison was Professor of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Wendy Young was Research Assistant to the author until his death.
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